Detroit was once the epicenter of the car-making industry in the United States. Nicknamed “Motor City,” in recent times as the American automobile industry has taken a hit, the city has fallen into disarray. Many people perceive Detroit to be filled with crime and poverty.
However, the city is undergoing a renaissance. New projects are underway including urban gardens, art shows and much more. It is certainly worth visiting this resilient city to see the positive changes, even if only in their infancy.
The premier event of the year is the North American International Auto Show, which is held every year in January. Also, on Labor Day weekend you can attend the Detroit International Jazz Festival. Another must-do activity during your visit if you are a sport’s fan is to see a Tigers, Lions or Red Wings’ game. If you prefer culture instead, check out the impressive collection of art work at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
The pleasures of visiting Pittsburgh remain a well-kept secret. Once you discover its scenic rivers and hills, cheap food, beer and friendly locals you will wish you had come sooner.
One of the interesting aspects of Pittsburgh is its architecture — its skyline is impressive for a city of its size. During the industrial era, there was a concentration of wealth and growth in Pittsburgh, so today many enormous skyscrapers and beautiful stone buildings tower over the Pittsburgh streets.
Pittsburgh also has a fantastic music scene, featuring primarily punk rock and indie bands. While you are in town, check out the free Pittsburgh City Paper to see what concerts are playing. You should also take a ride up the funicular “inclined planes” that transport you up Mt. Washington and offer great views of the skyline. Spend the day at one of the excellent museums in the city, from the Carnegie Science Center to the Museum of National History to the Andy Warhol Museum.
Milwaukee has a great selection of funky bars featuring live music several nights of the week. Its selection of restaurants is diverse and exciting and there are plenty of cool neighbourhoods to explore.
In the summertime, Milwaukee comes alive with festivals, including the German Fest, Polish Fest, Festa Italiana and the Irish Fest. During your visit you will also be able to take a Milwaukee Ghosts tour and learn about the local haunted buildings, as well as relax in the green oasis of the Boerner Botanical Gardens.
If you’ve seen the TV series, The Wire, you might think Baltimore is a crime-ridden and seedy city. However, that is only one side of the story and Baltimore is much different than you might think.
The city has a fascinating past, filled with tales of smuggling on the high seas, which can be discovered at the Fell’s Point Maritime Museum. The American Visionary Art Museum pushes the boundaries of what is typically considered gallery art. See the sharks and stingrays at the National Aquarium and explore the interactive exhibits at the Maryland Science Center.
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is relatively well-known, but it makes this list because it is so often overshadowed by the bigger cities of Austin, Houston and Dallas in Texas. However, San Antonio has endless activities, shows, parks, museums and sites worth seeing. The people are friendly and the downtown scene is vibrant. San Antonio still has a welcoming small-town feeling, despite its size.
San Antonio is home to the very well-known landmark, the Alamo; in fact, the Alamo is the most visited site in Texas. The city also showcases the Mexican and Spanish heritage of Texas better than anywhere else in the state and the Hispanic atmosphere of this city makes it unique in the U.S.A.
While you are here you can stroll along the River Walk, have dinner on a river-tour boat, visit the San Antonio Zoo and golf at some of the best golf courses in Texas.
About the Author: Shane Landon is a freelance writer and travel blogger from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His favorite underrated city in the U.S.A. is Baltimore and he keeps coming back for more great seafood.