18 U.S. Cities That Tourists Always Overlook But Shouldn’t

Photo of author

By Darryl Henderson

If you’re looking to stray off the beaten track a little and avoid the peak tourist areas, there are many fantastic cities in the U.S. that tourists often miss. We’ve listed 18 cities that are true gems of the country for the same iconic memories – and less busy crowds!

Rochester, New York

Photo Credit: Roland Shainidze/Shutterstock

A trip to the Big Apple is usually on most people’s bucket lists, yet the city of Rochester is often forgotten about. This vibrant location is ideal for those who love culture, thanks to its number of galleries, the Eastman School of Music, and a tour of the Strong National Museum.

Tacoma, Washington

Photo Credit: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Tacoma is another great city in Washington that offers a variety of museums, including the Tacoma Art Museum and the Museum of Glass. It even has a district dedicated to museum culture. If you want to get out of the main hustle and bustle, it’s the perfect combination of city life and beautiful nature.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Photo Credit: Jacob Boomsma/Shutterstock

Albuquerque offers a lot in terms of culture, thanks to both its Native American and Hispanic heritage. During a trip to Albuquerque, you can enjoy exciting fiestas and explore the mountains. According to U.S. News, hot air balloon rides, gourmet food, and scenic hikes are just a few of the reasons to visit.

Omaha, Nebraska

Photo Credit: Kristopher Kettner/Shutterstock

Omaha is definitely worth a visit if you’re an animal lover, yet it’s always forgotten! Here, you can find the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo, as well as the aquarium. You can also take in a spot of shopping in the city’s historic Old Market, which often also has live entertainment.

Birmingham, Alabama

Photo Credit: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

If you’re looking for a city steeped in history, away from the main tourist crowds, Birmingham in Alabama can help you there. You can learn about civil rights landmarks and take a visit to the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum if you’re a motorhead!

Dayton, Ohio

Photo Credit: Grindstone Media Group/Shutterstock.

Dayton houses the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, so if you’re interested in aviation history, it’s a must-see. Alternatively, if you love architecture, the Oregon District houses many “lovingly preserved” buildings, as noted by The Detroit News. It baffles us that so many tourists overlook Dayton!

Little Rock, Arkansas

Photo Credit: Eduardo Medrano/Shutterstock

Another slice of overlooked history is Little Rock, a place you’ll want to visit if you’re interested in its Central High School National Historic Site to learn about desegregation. If hiking is more your thing, don’t worry: Little Rock has the Pinnacle Mountain State Park, ready to explore!

Reno, Nevada

Photo Credit: Jacob Boomsma/Shutterstock

Give Las Vegas a miss and try the lesser-known Reno instead, a city surrounded by the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains, offering a tranquil escape to Lake Tahoe. You can enjoy the Riverwalk District to experience the art scene or even visit when the annual Reno Balloon Race is taking place.

Spokane, Washington

Photo Credit: Real Window Creative/Shutterstock

If you want to visit the famous 1974 World’s Fair site, take a trip to Riverfront Park in Spokane. This city also offers a vibrant arts scene, with plenty of live music events and the First Friday Art Walks. You can also enjoy local tastings with the Spokane Winery Association!

Corpus Christi, Texas

Photo Credit: Roschetzky Photography/Shutterstock

Love aquariums? How about visiting one of the biggest in the United States, found in Corpus Christi? If that’s not your cup of tea, you could instead explore the nearby beaches and watersports found at Padre Island. The city also boasts an aircraft carrier museum, the USS Lexington, so there’s plenty to do.

Greenville, South Carolina

Photo Credit: Kevin Ruck/Shutterstock

Forbes describes Greenville as where “big-city cool meets small-town America.” This city provides a thriving culinary scene where you can expect traditional Southern delicacies with a modern twist. Check out the Upcountry History Museum, or take in the stunning waterfalls in downtown Falls Park on the Reedy.

Duluth, Minnesota

Photo Credit: JL Jahn/Shutterstock

The shore of Lake Superior can be found in Duluth, so you’ll have plenty of scenic and outdoor activities to keep you entertained during a trip to this city. You can learn about the Great Lakes ecosystem at their namesake aquarium or take a visit to the historic Glensheen Mansion.

Allentown, Pennsylvania

Photo Credit: Mihai_Andritoiu/Shutterstock

If you prefer your vacations to be steeped in history, Allentown will provide you with the America On Wheels Museum as well as plenty of historic sites related to the Liberty Bell, which could be found in this city during the Revolutionary War. Despite these fantastic attractions, tourists drive past Allentown every year!

Eugene, Oregon

Photo Credit: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Willamette River and its surrounding forests will give you plenty of fresh outdoor air when visiting Eugene, Oregon. If you need a refreshing beer after a scenic walk, you can visit the local craft brewery scene before taking a trip to the Museum of Art. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Photo Credit: Drone Trekkers/Shutterstock

Ruby Falls is America’s deepest known commercial cave and biggest underground waterfall, so if you aren’t feeling particularly claustrophobic, go and find them in Chattanooga! You can also stretch your legs along Walnut Street Bridge, one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world.

El Paso, Texas

Photo Credit: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

According to The Lonely Planet, El Paso is often overlooked in favor of its neighbor, Ciudad Juárez. Thankfully, El Paso is finally becoming a more favorable city to visit thanks to its exciting blend of Mexican and American culture, its stunning Franklin Mountains State Park, and the famous El Paso Mission Trail.

Worcester, Massachusetts

Photo Credit: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

If art, music, and history are your top three travel must-dos, then Worcester could be your next favorite place. Offering the Worcester Art Museum, the Mechanics concert hall, and plenty of American Revolution landmarks, you certainly won’t be bored in this city. Tell your friends too, because this city is seriously undervalued!

Des Moines, Iowa

Photo Credit: Jacob Boomsma/Shutterstock

This list couldn’t be complete without Des Moines, Iowa; it should definitely make your bucket list, thanks to its contemporary art offerings and unique shopping and dining experiences. You can even attend the Iowa State Fair after a visit to the Des Moines Art Center and historic East Village. Don’t miss out!