33 Amazing U.S. Cities You Should Visit in 2018

13 minute read

If you’re the type of person who keeps a travel bucket list, you probably have destinations all over the world that you’d like to visit. But there are also plenty of amazing vacation destinations in the US, whether you’re looking to lounge by the beach, explore a new city, or take on the great outdoors.

From the newly revitalized Detroit, Michigan, to the serene landscapes of Bend, Oregon, there’s no shortage of places to visit in the US no matter what you’re looking for.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

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Santa Fe was recently named one of the best cities in the world by travelers and one of the best US cities for foodies.

It also has a booming art scene featuring 200 art galleries on two square miles, including the craziest fun house in America and SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico’s leading contemporary art gallery, which is undergoing a massive expansion.

Detroit, Michigan

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In recent years, Detroit has transformed from a struggling city to a bustling one filled with trendy galleries, hip hotels, and cool distilleries. There’s a hockey and basketball arena downtown, and three new parks that will extend the riverfront trail. It’s no wonder that the city was named one of the best cities for travel in 2018by Lonely Planet.

Plus, getting to all of Detroit’s hotspots is easy thanks to the QLine streetcar.

Read more about Detroit here »

Read more: 100 trips everyone should take in the US

New Orleans, Louisiana

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It’s never a bad time to visit NOLA, but this year, the party capital is celebrating its tricentennial — or 300th anniversary. That means that 2018 will bring plenty of special events, concerts, parties, and fireworks.

New hotels like The Ace and The Henry Howard, as well as the $10 million renovation of the historic Pontchartrain Hotel, will make a trip here more luxe than ever.

Bon Appétit also named Turkey and the Wolf, one of the city’s sandwich shops, the best new restaurant in the country. Go for the fried bologna, and then stop by the famed Café du Monde for beignets.

Chicago, Illinois

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Named the “Restaurant City of the Year” by Bon Appétit, Chicago is a hot destination for foodies. Must-eats include the Au Cheval burger — which is frequently named among the best burgers in the country— deep dish from any number of the city’s institutions like Lou Malnati’s or Pequod’s, and anything from Alinea, which is considered one of the best restaurants in the country. The city also saw the opening of the first-ever Nutella Café this year.

Besides its buzzing dining scene, Chicago has plenty of other tourist draws: beaches, ballparks, breweries, comedy clubs, museums, and music festivals. Trivago also named the Langham Chicago the best five-star hotel in the US for 2018. Just do yourself a favor and go in the spring or summer.

Read more about Chicago’s food scene here »

Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Minneapolis is definitely the place to be in 2018, as the city will host Super Bowl LII in February, as well as the Summer X Games (an extreme sports event) in July.

The city was also recently ranked as one of the happiest cities in the US according to National Geographic.

Charleston, South Carolina

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Filled with historic buildings to marvel at and cobblestone streets to stroll along, it’s no wonder Charleston tends to top bucket lists the world over — it was even named the best city in the world by Travel + Leisure in 2016 .

Between beautiful architecture, delicious Southern food, and friendly locals, Charleston is the perfect getaway.

Read more about Charleston here »

Orlando, Florida

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It should be no surprise that Orlando was ranked the second most fun city in the US by Wallethub earlier this year, leaving the lead to Las Vegas.

Between Walt Disney World, Epcot, and Universal Studios Florida, you’ll never run out of things to do in this city, no matter the time of year.

Nashville, Tennessee

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Nashville may be known as the Music City, but it also has a thriving culinary scene that foodies love.

The city has two restaurants on OpenTable’s list of the 100 hottest restaurants in 2017. Check out Puckett’s 5th & Church and The Southern, which are both known for their delicious twists on local comfort food.

Siesta Beach, Florida

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This beach is famous for its super soft sand, which is 99% pure crushed quartz. It tops lists of the world’s best beaches annually, and even won the number one spot on both TripAdvisor’s 2017 Travelers’ Choice Awards for best beach in the US, and Dr. Beach’s ranking of the top 10 beaches in the US.

Seattle, Washington

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Take in Seattle’s skyline from the Space Needle’s 520-foot high observation deck, which will reopen after a renovation that will allow even better views of the city and Mount Rainier in the distance. The 605-foot tall tower was built for the 1962 World’s Fair.

Magic Mountain, Vermont

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Small but mighty, this resort prides itself in its laid back vibe and community feel — as well as its challenging expert trails, tree-skiing, and “real black diamonds.”

According to Liftopia‘s latest Best in Snow Awards, which incorporates feedback from thousands of skiers and snowboarders to determine the most popular ski resorts in North America, Magic Mountain is the number one ski resort in the country, taking home the title of “Overall Best in Snow.” Those surveyed called it “the best kept secret in the Northeast” and “a true skier’s mountain.”

Read more: The hippest cities in the US everyone under 30 wants to move to

Sedona, Arizona

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Sedona, Arizona, is a relaxing vacation destination that’s perfect for anyone who loves the outdoors. From a yoga festival to a one celebrating vegetarian- and veganism, Sedona is perfect for an active yet peaceful getaway.

Besides beautiful scenery, Sedona is also said to be home to a healing energy vortex, which is known to promote spiritual development.

Park City, Utah

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Park City, Utah, is one of the best winter vacation destinations according to US News and World Report. Whether you hit the slopes or explore the charming downtown, there’s plenty to do in Park City.

Plus, it’s about an hour drive from the Salt Lake City airport, so it’s one of the most accessible vacation destinations in the country if you’re looking for a getaway to the mountains.

Maui, Hawaii

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Maui was voted the 6th best island in the world by Travel + Leisure in 2017. It is also home to one of the best swimming holes in the world, Seven Sacred Pools at ‘Ohe’o, and stunning black sand beaches.

If you still need some convincing, 2018 is rumored to be one of the cheapest years to fly to Hawaii so far.

Savannah, Georgia

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Savannah, Georgia’s, historic district is one of the best preserved in the country. You can spend your days walking on cobblestone streets, admiring beautiful historic homes, or even taking a riverboat ride.

An added bonus? Savannah was named one of the friendliest cities in the US byConde Nast Traveler earlier this year, so tourists will always feel welcome.

New York City, New York

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From excellent food to incredible shopping, world class museums and unforgettable shows, New York City is always a good idea.

However, it is also home to the world’s best restaurant, per a list titled The World’s 50 Best Restaurants that comes out annually. Eleven Madison Park was rated number one on the planet this year, thanks to its incredible haute cuisine, and even more incredible presentation of said cuisine. Chef Humm’s signature roasted duck is not to be missed.

Jacksonville, Florida

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Located in northern Florida, Jacksonville is a city with plenty to offer, including several zoos and wildlife preserves.

Jax, as the locals call it, was named as one of the best value places to visit for 2018 by Lonely Planet. From tasting beer at local breweries to going on a guided kayak tour, there are plenty of fun yet affordable activities all over the city.

Bend, Oregon

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Bend combines the best of two worlds: suds and skiing.

The Oregon town is home to a great ski resort, but is also known for having the highest micro-brewery per capita in the United States. Bend also features a beer trail that lets you drink your way across its 22 breweries, but you should start at Bend’s original brewery, Deschutes Brewery, which is known for its Black Butte Porter and Mirror Pond Pale Ale.

Boston, Massachusetts

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Boston, Massachusetts, is a must-see destination for anyone who loves American history. Follow the Freedom Trail from Boston Common to the USS Constitution to learn more about the American Revolution at the sites where key events actually happened.

Whether you’re flying, driving, or traveling by train, Boston is an incredibly accessible city that’s manageable enough for a weekend getaway.

Asheville, North Carolina

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Lonely Planet named Asheville the top US destination to visit last year. Nestled among the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, the city offers plenty of outdoor activities as well as shopping, history, and a thriving arts scene.

The city is also home to the Biltmore Estate, which includes the largest privately-owned home in the US. From breathtaking mountains to gorgeous architecture, Asheville is an under-the-radar city worth exploring.

Read more about Asheville here »

Breckenridge, Colorado

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While many people may think that it’s best to visit Colorado during the wintertime, the state, and especially Breckenridge, is beautiful year-round.

Whether you’re looking for winter skiing, summer hiking, or just a relaxing spa getaway, Breckenridge is the ideal spot. It’s also located in the healthiest county in the country, in case you needed another reason to visit.

Atlanta, Georgia

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From gourmet food halls to a museum dedicated to Coca Cola, Atlanta, Georgia, is home to all kinds of attractions that tourists love.

In 2018, Atlanta will become a haven for sports fans, since the city will host the College Football Playoff National Championship on January 8 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Honolulu, Hawaii

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You can do far more than just lounge on the beach in Hawaii’s capital city. Honolulu, which was voted one of the happiest cities in the US, is home to several museums, like the USS Arizona Memorial, and the ‘Iolani Palace, the former residence of Hawaii’s royal family.

The palace is not only a fascinating look into Hawaii’s history, but it is also said to be haunted.

Austin, Texas

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With a motto like “keep Austin weird” you know this place is cool. The big city with a small town vibe is known for its music scene, and for being home to the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference and as well as the Whole Foods HQ, but where it really shines is in its culinary scene, which ranges from barbecue that people wait hours in line for to all kinds of tacos.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

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This town in coastal New Hampshire is full of classic New England charm. Whether you spend your time in Portsmouth strolling the downtown streets to taking a harbor cruise, you’ll probably want to move to the city before your trip is over.

It’s also home to one of OpenTable’s most romantic restaurants in the nationRistorante Massimo, located near Portsmouth Harbor.

Boulder, Colorado

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Boulder, Colorado, was named the happiest city in the US earlier this year by National Geographic. It’s no wonder, considering that the college town, home to the University of Colorado Boulder, has the perfect combination of outdoor activities, restaurants, and shopping.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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A trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a must for anyone who loves American history. From the Liberty Bell to the National Constitution Center, there are countless historical sites worth exploring.

Of course, a trip wouldn’t be complete without running up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum, raising your hands in the air, and pretending to be “Rocky.”

St. Augustine, Florida

Lightner Museum and City Hall, St. Augustine, oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement, Florida, United States of America, North America
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Saint Augustine’s history dates all the way back to 1565, making it the oldest city in the US. But there’s no time like the present to explore the city’s Spanish-colonial architecture and beautiful natural surroundings.

Madison, Wisconsin

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For a college town, Madison, Wisconsin, has a lot to offer: farm-to-table dining, craft beer, lakes, biking and hiking trails, and a buzzing music scene. It was even recently voted one of the best food cities in the US.

If you’re a “Shrek” superfan, you can also attend the 2018 Shrekfest in James Madison Park that celebrates all things “Shrek.”

Yosemite National Park, California

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The granite cliffs, stunning waterfalls, and scenic vistas of Yosemite National Park in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains make it one of the most iconic national parks in the world.

If you haven’t made the trip before, 2018 is the perfect year to knock it off your bucket list.

Read more: The 30 safest cities in the world

Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska

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With so many amazing national parks in the US, it’s worth putting a few on your 2018 travel bucket list.

Denali National Park and Preserve is one of the best places to take in the natural beauty of Alaska. The park is not only home to the highest peak in North America, but also tons of other outdoor activities that any type of tourist can enjoy.

Washington, D.C.

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The nation’s capital is definitely a great place to visit in 2018. Filled with free museums, an abundance of green spaces, and a booming food scene, there is always something to explore no matter how many times you’ve already visited.

Some new museums have also opened up recently, including the Museum of the Bible, which opened in November 2017, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened in 2016 and has gained a ton of recognition since.

San Francisco, California

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No matter what time of year you visit San Francisco, there are always plenty of things to do, from concerts to festivals to art exhibitions.

If you visit in February, you can attend SF Beer Week and explore the city’s craft beer scene. In the summertime, San Francisco hosts Outside Lands, a music, food, and comedy festival that hosts a ton of popular artists including Lorde, Solange, Schoolboy Q, and Tove Lo.

This article originally appeared on ThisIsInsider.com

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