14 of the Most Underrated U.S. Cities Americans Say You Need to Visit

Aerial view university campus area looking into the city suberbs in Lexington KY

Feeling restless and bored of the usual ho-hum tourist spots across the good ole USA? Craving something more thrilling and exciting? Well, you’re in for a treat! Fellow wanderers have spilled the beans on some of the best-kept secrets in the country, and we’re inviting you to come along for the ride! So, fasten your seatbelts, grab a map, and venture off the beaten path to uncover some truly magical and underrated gems together!

1. Detroit, Michigan

Downtown Detroit
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“Detroit is way underrated,” the first Americans stated. They said Michigan as a whole is severely underrated as a travel destination in the U.S. Despite its economic struggles, Detroit has a vibrant arts and cultural scene. The city is home to renowned institutions like the Detroit Institute of Arts, which houses an impressive collection, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Detroit has also been a breeding ground for musical genres such as Motown and techno. The city’s street art and graffiti culture have gained international recognition, with numerous public art installations.

2. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, WI / USA - June 04, 2019: Aerial view of Milwaukee, Wisconsin featuring the Discovery World, the Dennis Sullivan sailing vessel , Lakeshore Park and the Milwaukee Art Museum
Editorial credit: James Meyer / Shutterstock.com

Milwaukee is a surprisingly nice city with great food, culture, nice architecture, and lots of festivals in the summer,” the next American stated. Milwaukee’s reputation has been overshadowed by other major cities in the United States, such as New York and Los Angeles. As a result, it is often overlooked or underestimated by people who are unfamiliar with its many offerings.

3. Savannah, Georgia 

Savannah, Georgia, USA at Forsyth Park Fountain.
Photo credit: Sean Pavone // Shutterstock.com

Savannah is a charming southern city known for its beautiful historic district, with live oaks and Spanish moss. Visitors can take a stroll down River Street, indulge in delicious southern cuisine, or take a ghost tour to learn about the city’s haunted past.

4. Omaha, Nebraska 

Omaha, NE - October 11, 2018: An evening view of the Omaha, Nebraska skyline from the Gene Leahy Mall.
Editorial credit: Kristopher Kettner / Shutterstock.com

This city may not be on the top of everyone’s travel list, but some Americans say it’s definitely worth a visit. This Midwestern city boasts a thriving arts and culture scene, with museums like the Joslyn Art Museum and the Durham Museum. Take advantage of the famous Omaha steaks and the beautiful Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge.

5. Portland, Maine 

Portland, Maine, USA coastal townscape.
Photo credit: Sean Pavone // Shutterstock.com

Step into the charming coastal town of Portland, where the ocean breeze and seafaring heritage converge in a picturesque setting. Meander along the cobblestone streets of the Old Port, where eclectic boutique shops and mouthwatering seafood eateries await you at every turn. The nearby Casco Bay Islands offer adventure seekers a world of exploration, while Acadia National Park beckons with breathtaking hiking trails. 

6. Saratoga Springs, New York

Saratoga Springs, NY, USA - July 29, 2020: "Welcome To Saratoga Springs" statue of jockey riding horse.
Editorial credit: Chris Ferrara / Shutterstock.com

Nestled within its charming borders, this small city packs a powerful punch of excitement and entertainment. All eyes turn to the famous Saratoga Race Course, where visitors are treated to exhilarating displays of speed and agility by magnificent thoroughbred horses every summer. The city also boasts beautiful Victorian architecture, natural mineral springs, and a vibrant arts scene. Take advantage of the delicious farm-to-table restaurants in the area.

7. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis downtown skyline in Minnesota, USA at sunset
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Located in the northern United States, Minneapolis is a city that is often overlooked in favor of larger Midwestern cities like Chicago. However, this underrated gem has plenty to offer visitors, including a thriving arts scene, beautiful parks and lakes, and delicious cuisine. The iconic Mall of America and the birthplace of musical legends such as Prince and Bob Dylan are both in the city. Don’t miss out on exploring the city’s many museums, including the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. 

8. Galena, Illinois

Galena Illinois
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Tucked away in the northwest corner of Illinois, Galena is a charming city that often gets overshadowed by nearby Chicago. However, this historic city is well worth a visit, with its beautiful architecture and quaint shops and restaurants. Stroll down Main Street to see the city’s 19th-century buildings or visit the Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site, where the Civil War general and former U.S. president once lived. The city also has numerous wineries and outdoor activities like hiking and skiing.

9. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Rachel Carson Bridge (aka Ninth Street Bridge) spans Allegheny river in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Photo credit: Mihai_Andritoiu / Shutterstock.com

While Pittsburgh has long been nicknamed the “Steel City,” it has recently undergone a remarkable metamorphosis, emerging as a thriving center of innovation and creativity. Within the city’s limits, visitors can immerse themselves in a vibrant arts scene, explore world-class museums, and indulge in a diverse culinary landscape that will tantalize taste buds. Visitors can explore the city’s many neighborhoods, including the trendy Lawrenceville area, or ride up the Duquesne Incline for stunning city skyline views. 

10. Tucson, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona, USA downtown skyline with Sentinel Peak at dusk. (Mountaintop "A" for "Arizona")
Photo credit: Sean Pavone // Shutterstock.com

Located in the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona, Tucson is often overshadowed by nearby Phoenix. However, this vibrant city has plenty to offer visitors, including a rich history, stunning natural beauty, and delicious food. Take a hike in the nearby Saguaro National Park to see the iconic cactus or explore the city’s many museums, including the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and the Pima Air & Space Museum. With its warm climate and laid-back vibe, Tucson is the ideal destination. 

11. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois, USA downtown skyline from Lincoln Park at twilight.
Photo credit: Sean Pavone // Shutterstock.com

Situated in the heart of the Midwest, Chicago, also known as the Windy City, is frequently overshadowed by its more renowned counterparts in New York and Los Angeles. However, this underrated gem is home to some of the country’s most stunning architecture, delicious cuisine, and incredible cultural experiences. Take a stroll along the Chicago Riverwalk, enjoy the view from Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower), or catch a show at the iconic Second City comedy club. Chicago is also a hub for sports enthusiasts, with its passionate fan base for the Bears, Cubs, and Bulls.

12. Greenville, South Carolina

Greenville, South Carolina, USA downtown cityscape on the Reedy River at dusk.
Photo credit: Sean Pavone // Shutterstock.com

It is present in the foothills of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains and lies a hidden gem of the southeastern United States – Greenville, South Carolina. A picturesque city that boasts a charming downtown area, scenic parks, and a plethora of outdoor activities that will leave you in awe. TWalk along the Swamp Rabbit Trail, visit Falls Park on the Reedy or catch a show at the Peace Center. Greenville also has a thriving food and beverage scene, with various restaurants and breweries.

13. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Aerial of Chattanooga Tennessee TN Skyline
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Situated in the middle of the Tennessee Valley, Chattanooga is a vibrant city with something to offer everyone. From its rich history to its natural beauty, this city has plenty to offer visitors and residents alike. Take a ride on the Incline Railway, explore the Tennessee Riverwalk, or visit the famous Ruby Falls. Chattanooga is also home to various museums, including the Tennessee Aquarium and the Creative Discovery Museum. There are several parks and recreational areas to explore, including Rock City Gardens and Lookout Mountain.

14. Lexington, Kentucky

Aerial view university campus area looking into the city suberbs in Lexington KY
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Recognized as the “Horse Capital of the World,” Lexington, Kentucky, is a charming southern city often overlooked by travelers. With its rolling hills, historic landmarks, and incredible bourbon, Lexington is great for those looking for a unique and authentic Southern experience. Take a tour of the Kentucky Horse Park, visit the historic Mary Todd Lincoln House, or go on a bourbon-tasting tour. Lexington is also home to the University of Kentucky, which brings a youthful energy to the city and plenty of opportunities to catch a Wildcats game.

Source: Reddit

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Jackson, Mississippi, USA skyline over the Capitol Building.
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Madison, Wisconsin, USA state capitol building at dusk.
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Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA downtown skyline at dusk.
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