Traveling is one of the most thrilling experiences in life, as it promises adventure and exposure to all forms of entertainment and culture.
Depending on where you go, you can also find various thrills to enjoy, as well as natural landmarks, man-made creations and all kinds of engaging activities.
And the food, my goodness, the food.
The beauty is, regardless of your travel experience, there are a number of amazing spots to hit up in the United States alone. The Las Vegas casinos will bring you to Nevada and the allure of the Big Apple will demand a trip to New York.
But where do those cities rank in the top must-visit cities the USA has to offer? Let’s find out as we break down the best cities you have to check out in the United States:
New Orleans, Louisiana
What’s better than the home of Mardi Gras, where everyone gets the okay to drink and be merry – in fabulous attire or not – out on the streets of Louisiana for two weeks?
Not much, but New Orleans isn’t just about one two-week stretch of the year.
This is a hot spot for vibrant culture and glorious food, no matter what time of year you visit. There are other major attractions to take in as well, with Jazz Fest and various amazing musical festivals taking over the city.
You come for the music, nightlife and culture and stay for the food, of course.
Authentic New Orleans crawfish, oysters, beignets, gumbo and jambalaya can be found at every turn and you won’t find these specialties made better anywhere else.
Will Smith didn’t write a song about Miami for nothing, folks. The heartbeat of Florida, Miami gives you a deep connection to the state’s Cuban culture, amazing views, pristine beaches and glorious Cuban cuisine.
Everyone knows Miami for its beaches, which undeniably register as the major draw to take the hike to Florida’s deep south. An up close and personal visit with the Atlantic Ocean will make your visit worthwhile alone, while lavish adventures await at every turn.
Whether you aim to put your toes into the sand or not, Miami also offers dazzling night clubs, an underrated art scene (hey there, Art Deco District!), a sizzling dating atmosphere and delicious Cuban dishes.
Home of iconic sports teams like the Bears, Cubs, Blackhawks and Bulls, the Windy City is the ideal destination for any die-hard sports fan, but is so much more.
The house that Michael Jordan built pulsates with championship blood, but Chicago is also notorious for amazing comfort food, inviting culture and iconic attractions.
Cloud Gate (known by many as “The Bean”) is showcased in art and movies ad nauseum, but it’s still a sight to behold and a must for anyone who hasn’t been to Chicago. That represents just one awe-inducing fixture in Chicago, and is just one tie to show business that such a historic city offers.
Like most places, you also visit Chicago for the food.
Chicago has its own unique, legendary takes on American staples like hotdogs and pizza, while it’s also home to some of the most captivating musical festivals and events in the states.
None of this quite touches on Chicago’s storied downtown, which is saturated with brilliant architecture, fantastic eateries and captivating midwestern culture.
If you want a whole new spin on culture, consider the trek to Portland, where the dream of the 1890’s is alive. That’s just an homage to the hit comedy Portlandia, which itself props up one of the most eclectic and interesting cities in the United States.
Fred Armisen pokes fun at Portland’s personality as a city, but every joke bears a hidden truth about a beautiful, quaint city that evokes simplistic living and a unison with all things nature.
Portland also has a vibrant city life, but it’s best known for its expansive farmer’s markets, organic (and delicious) eateries, forward-thinking residents, craft beer and a vivacious music and art scene.
You’ll have to hope to dodge the rain out west, but Portland is home to amazing scenery and an eclectic cultural fabric. It’s not to be missed if you’re seeking out the must-visit cities in the USA.
Seattle, Washington also ranks highly and could easily be listed here, but offers a lot of the similar cultural attributes Portland does. Both are worth checking out and Seattle may actually be more popular in terms of iconic attractions.
New York, New York
The Big Apple awaits any tourists who have never been and there’s so much to tap into here, it’s kind of ridiculous.
Times Square obviously takes the cake for tourist attractions, but New York also offers the ever busy Grand Central Station, towering skyscrapers and so much more. Iconic man-made landmarks like The Statue of Liberty and The Empire State Building will also draw you in, while you can’t visit New York and not hit up Central Park.
The possibilities are virtually endless just by strolling around NYC with no real plan in mind, but visitors can also entertain themselves at the Rockefeller Centre, take in one of the many New York-based sporting events (Knicks, Giants, etc) or even take a second to reflect at the 9/11 Memorial.
New York is the city that never sleepers for a reason. The art scene is about as good as it gets, while Broadway and the amazing New York-themed dishes (most notably their pizzas) will keep you busy throughout your stay.
Just for the breathtaking city views and numerous landmarks, New York is worth visiting at least once in your life.
Las Vegas, Nevada
The same can be said for Vegas, which is probably the real city that never goes to bed. Las Vegas is known for bright lights, entertainment, food and gambling and it has them all in spades.
Bad puns aside, Vegas offers a vibrant stay on The Strip, where you can gamble the night away, hit up lavish hotels and check out their many Vegas shows.
Sin City isn’t just about tapping into the dark side or betting it all on black. Las Vegas also offers impressive museums, breathtaking helicopter rides (over the Grand Canyon, no less), scenic desert adventures and some of the best entertainment in the world.
You’re probably missing out on the gambling experience of a lifetime if you go to Vegas without hitting the casinos, but it’s worth visiting whether you play at a table or not.
Are there more USA cities you probably need to visit? Absolutely.
Some are obscure and demand your presence for one specific reason. Others are about as big or as engaging as the ones that made this list, but perhaps offer just slightly less to experience.
The point of this list is you can’t go wrong with it. One way or another, you’re going to be exposed to amazing nightlife, some great culture and plenty of entertaining things to keep yourself busy.
No matter what you’re looking for, these eight U.S. cities demand your attention. It’s up to you to decide which one you visit first.