There was a time when I made it a point to travel to a new city every year. Some years I would see three new cities, and other years I would visit one or two. In total, I’ve seen just over thirty American cities, big and small. And although I’ve enjoyed every journey, I narrowed my list down to the top five American cities I believe everyone should see at least once in their lifetime.
Of course, I live in Nashville, but it’s hands down one of my favorite cities. So much so that I can’t even think of any other city I would rather call my new home. There is always something to do on any day of the week. If you’re in the mood for a night out, you can head to Broadway or Music Row for a guaranteed fun time. Or, if it’s the season, you can watch the Predators face off with a heated rival. And if music is your thing, there are at least a hundred bars featuring live music every night of the week. And if you tire of the activity and want a few moments of peace, you can drive an hour out of town and ease your mind at one of the many waterfalls in the surrounding area. Nashville is a magical city, and four years later, I’m still very glad that I chose this city to be my new home.
I was in San Francisco for a total of two hours and I feel in love with the city! Bustling cable cars, unique shops, and stunning architecture are just the few aspects of San Francisco that make it a must see on your list. And I can’t forget to mention the society of sea lions that bask in the sun. From the Painted Ladies to the iconic Pier 45, there is something to see around every corner. The city is in the stunning Bay area, and it’s one of the most beautiful, and definitely the most unique city I have ever seen. Oh, and the food is amazing!
New Orleans is one hell of a time! Whether you’re there to experience the infamous Bourbon Street or to lurk around for the local haunts, New Orleans never fails to impress. This city, even though it was completely submerged back in 2005, manages to enchant unsuspecting eyes. There are voodoo stores on every block that you would think would all be the same, but are somehow different. The French Quarter gives you the feeling of being in Europe without the expensive plane ticket across the Atlantic. The unexpected parades that march through downtown showcase the best music that New Orleans has to offer. What’s there to not like about this city? Best of all, it’s incredibly hard to not enjoy yourself in the Big Easy. The city is full of food, fun and surprises, so make sure this city is on your list!
Sin City! Las Vegas is as much fun as everybody says it is. Every other step leads you into a casino, and a new adventure. Several of the bars offer drink specials for the ladies (sorry guys) and everyone there is out to have a good time. If you have never given Las Vegas a try, you should. Even if you’re not into gambling, which is probably a good thing, there are plenty of shows to see and thrill rides to try. And if neither of those activities seem to interest you, then at the very least, you’ll be impressed with the amount of effort that went into the hotels on the strip (New York New York anybody?) Nevertheless, you will make a new friend in Vegas. It may not last any longer than the trip, but at least you get to meet someone new, or possibly pose in a giant shoe.
Sweet home Chicago! I would recommend visiting the Second City in the summer when they have Blues Fest, the Taste of Chicago, and Lollapalooza happening at Grant Park. But also because winters in Chicago can be a bit much. I personally cannot handle six months of winter, but Chicago is a gorgeous city with an impressive skyline that runs along the lake. There is always something happening in Chicago, whether it be a concert, a fashion show, or a comedy show, you will not struggle to find something to do. And if you have acquired an expensive taste, then take a walk down the Magnificent Mile. There is nothing else like it. I personally would recommend the Signature Lounge atop the John Hancock. I was fortunate enough to have a former love bring me their for our anniversary and the views are stunning! You have Navy Pier to the East, the Sears Tower to the South, and the always iconic Lake Shore Drive just below your feet. Chicago is a city that everyone should see, and I’m not just saying that because it’s my hometown.
Now these are just the best large cities to visit. I’ve seen my fair share of small cities that all possess their own charm and are more than worth a visit. I know that travelling can be expensive, but seeing the world beyond your doorstep is one of the most exhilarating experiences one could ask for in this lifetime. Next time you plan a trip, make sure that one of these stunning cities make your list of options.