While New York, Orlando and Las Vegas might be the most visited US cities for us Brits but, with 50 States to choose from, there are plenty of lesser-known USA holiday destinations that will welcome you with open arms.
Visiting up and coming destinations, known as undertourism, is a growing global travel trend. It works on both a local scale, exploring neighbourhoods and boroughs in popular cities, and on a larger scale with travellers choosing to explore the unknown and, arguably, more memorable destinations.
From low-key beach breaks to culinary-focused city stays, Visit The USA has chosen for us five highlights in the U.S. that are waiting to be explored by the intrepid…
For arts districts and craft beer: Dallas, Texas
Austin has long been favoured as Texas’ hip city escape, but visitors who head north to Dallas will discover a city with a flourishing arts scene, as well as some of the state’s best bars and restaurants.
Downtown, the Dallas Museum of Modern Art features 22,000 works of art stretching over 5,000 years of history while in the leafy suburb of North Oak Cliff, the Bishop Arts District is home to independent shops selling locally designed jewellery, art and all-natural beauty products.
Deep Ellum is the spot for an alternative night out; colourful murals line the streets, and craft-beer bars sit side-by-side with blues music venues.
For history and seafood: Portland, Maine
Portland, Oregon has been celebrated as a quirky holiday destination for years, but its namesake town on the east coast, Portland, Maine, has plenty to offer travellers interested in history and coastal cuisine. The port city was first settled in 1632, and its rich maritime heritage can be experienced through historical walking tours or a visit to the Maine Historical Society Museum in downtown Portland.
Seafood lovers can enjoy a lobster roll from one of Portland’s many excellent quality seafood shacks, or opt for an elevated experience at the James Beard Award-winning Eventide Oyster Company, which offers some of the best seafood dishes in town served with a signature Bubbly Mary (a bloody Mary with cava).
For gastronomy and the great outdoors: Tucson, Arizona
Tucson – designated as the USA’s first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in 2016 – has some of the best tacos in the country thanks to its location an hour’s drive north of the Mexican border. It also has so much to offer outdoors lovers, including hiking through the Sabino Canyon and Saguaro National Park, exploring three miles of passageways and caves at Colossal Cave Mountain Park or horse riding and rock climbing at White Stallion Ranch.
Accommodation options in Tucson include Hotel McCoy—a colourful mid-century-inspired modern art hotel suitable for laid-back travellers, and Posada by Joshua Tree House — a serene five-suite inn located within 38 acres of forest, perfect for nature-lovers.
For beaches and a vibrant LGBTQ+ scene: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Lauderdale is just an hour’s drive north of Miami and has beaches and bars to rival its famous neighbour.
The highly anticipated Seminole Hard Rock Hotel—a huge casino and hotel complex built in the shape of a guitar featuring 469 rock star-worthy rooms and suites, waterslides and live events—opened in late 2019.
Fort Lauderdale is also one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly destinations in the world, and is home to the world’s first LGBTQ+ Visitor Centre that showcases the attractions and bars that may interest visitors.
For dining and distilleries: Louisville, Kentucky
Home to the Kentucky Derby and the Muhammad Ali Centre, Louisville is ideal for an easy-going city stay with excellent restaurants.
The city’s burgeoning food scene ranges from contemporary American cuisine with city-skyline views at the rooftop restaurant 8UP, to thick and cheesy Louisville-style pizza at Impellizzeri.
Imbibers can enjoy Kentucky’s favourite product, bourbon, at their pick of distilleries and bars such as Gerstle’s in Crescent Hill, serving signature deep-fried cheese balls with bourbon and side of live blues and rock’n’roll, and Old Louisville’s 610 Magnolia, which pairs locally-distilled bourbon and wine with multi-course tasting menus.
Further information on lesser-known USA holiday destinations can be found at VisitTheUSA.co.uk.