- Rodrigo Paredes/ Flickr
- All over the country, there are popular cities that are completely overrated.
- Cities like New York, Nashville, Chicago, and Miami are just a few examples.
- Instead, people should consider traveling to underrated cities like Memphis, Atlanta, Detroit, and Philadelphia.
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Whether it’s because there are too many tourist traps or too many people, some of the most popular cities in the US are just not worth your precious days off.
From the amusement park-ridden Orlando to pricey San Francisco, overrated cities exist all over the country. Luckily, there are smaller, cheaper, and quieter alternatives that are better options for travelers.
Here are some of the most overrated cities in the US and where you should consider traveling to instead.
Instead of heading to Orlando for Disney World, travel to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, for Dollywood.
- matthew macpherson/Flickr
Orlando, Florida, is well known for its Disney World parks and the Universal Studios amusement park. While the parks are the main reason people flock to this city, Orlando has little to offer beyond them.
Instead, you can take a trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and experience the famous Dollywood for much cheaper. With plenty of children’s rides, the park is a perfect alternative for a family vacation. The park also has the world’s fastest wooden roller coaster for thrill seekers to enjoy, plus there’s a water park. If all of that isn’t enough, the park is located in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, which has a number of outdoor activities for the whole family.
While Nashville, Tennessee, is known for its country music, consider Memphis, Tennessee, instead.
Nashville is often called the US’ country music capital, and is home to some of the country’s best live music venues, like the famous Grand Ole Opry. But the popularity of the city has caused an influx of tourists and has crowded the streets.
Instead, take a trip to Memphis, Tennessee, where music is just as celebrated. The famous Beale Street offers a wide array of live music venues, bars, and restaurants that will excite any traveler. Memphis is even home to Elvis’ famous home, Graceland, which you can tour.
Las Vegas can get expensive, so head to Atlantic City, New Jersey, instead.
Las Vegas, Nevada, is known for its world-class casinos, famous celebrity residencies, and drunken late nights. But it is also known for large crowds, long lines, and extremely expensive hotels and eateries.
That’s why Atlantic City, New Jersey, is the better, cheaper option for those looking for a fun, gambling-focused getaway. Atlantic City is also home to famous casinos like Ceasars Palace, Tropicana, and Hard Rock. While Las Vegas has its strip, Atlantic City has an iconic boardwalk that overlooks a great beach. In the summer, Atlantic City is a great alternative to the desert heat of Las Vegas, especially when you dip your feet in the ocean after a long day of gambling.
Avoid the crowds of New York City and instead travel to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- Sean Pavone/Shutterstock
New York City is known for its culture, including famous restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and museums. But it’s no secret that Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs are crowded and expensive. In fact, the city sees about 60 million visitors every year.
But you can experience the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan city in a more relaxed atmosphere when visiting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Yes, the city is known for the Liberty Bell and the Rocky steps, but there’s so much more that Philly has to offer. Grab a bite at America’s oldest farmer’s market, Reading Terminal Market; explore art and history at one of the city’s famous museums on Benjamin Franklin Parkway; or tour the city’s expansive waterfront.
If you want to experience hipster culture, don’t go to Portland, Oregon. Instead, head to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Instead, take a trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico, which was ranked one of the top hipster cities in the nation, and is filled with stylish coffee shops and breweries. You can also experience some of the city’s renowned museums – like the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center – and plenty of art galleries, which can be found all over historic Old Town.
Travel to Detroit, Michigan, instead of booking a trip to Chicago, Illinois.
Although Chicago is the biggest city in the Midwest, some call it depressing, even miserable. In fact, author Rachel Shteir ripped into it, calling Chicago conformist and one giant cliche. For those who do love the city, it’s still hard to avoid the tourist traps and the crime that continues to plague it.
Instead, consider Detroit. The city has had a complicated history, starting with the boom and bust of the automobile industry, but has recently rebranded itself as a world-class city filled with culture and history. Experience the city’s beauty at the Belle Isle, which has an aquarium, zoo, and conservatory.
Instead of making Miami, Florida, your summer travel destination, try San Diego, California.
Miami is home to some of the best beaches and nightlife in the country, but for those who are looking for a calmer getaway, Miami may be a bit much. During Spring Break and the summer months, the city descends into mayhem and debauchery. Also, the city has been named one of the rudest in the nation.
That’s why San Diego is the perfect locale to soak up the sun, take a dip in the ocean, and party – without the chaos of Miami. Coronado Beach, La Jolla Shores, and Ocean Beach all offer amazing shores for beach lovers.
Sure, Los Angeles is the center of the movie industry, but Atlanta, Georgia, is gaining a reputation as the “Hollywood of the South.”
- Sean Pavone/Shutterstock
Los Angeles, California, is known for many things, but it’s often associated with Hollywood, red carpets, and celebrities. Many flock to the city to experience the limelight first-hand, but are bogged down by the traffic, lack of culture, and expensive restaurants. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a known tourist trap.
There are other cities in the US where you can experience the same movie magic but with much better culture and diversity – like in Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta has quickly made a name for itself in the movie making industry, some calling it the Hollywood of the South. Beyond movies, Atlanta has a ton to offer every traveler. From Piedmont Park to Zoo Atlanta, this Southern city is filled with charm, culture, and delicious barbecue.
Avoid San Francisco’s high hills and even higher prices and travel to Providence, Rhode Island, instead.
- Shutterstock/Sean Pavone
Once the center of the hippie movement, San Francisco is now the most expensive city in the country. Although it’s one of the more beautiful cities and well-known for its rich LGBTQ history, it can be difficult to get around, and the weather is almost always gloomy.
That’s why you should choose Providence, Rhode Island, as your travel destination instead. The small city in New England has slightly better weather (in the summer at least), and is also one of the most welcoming cities to LGBTQ people. Providence also has amazing waterfronts that can easily compete with San Francisco’s. From boating to casinos, Providence has everything a traveler could need at a cheaper cost than SF.
For stunning nature and adventure, trade Honolulu, Hawaii, with Olympic National Park in Washington.
- Nick Mealey/ Flickr
Honolulu, Hawaii, is the perfect location to experience some of the most beautiful and natural landscapes in the entire country. But a trip to the Hawaiian islands can get expensive and is filled with tourist traps.
If you want to save money but still experience jaw-dropping nature, you should take a trip to Olympic National Park in Washington. Although it’s not a tropical climate like Hawaii’s, the national park is sure to leave you impressed with its breathtaking rain forest. A hike through the expansive trees leads to a coastline of picturesque beaches. Just like Hawaii, the Olympic National Park is like nowhere else.