Incredible Places to Visit in the U.S. Now
If you’ve already checked off big-hitters like New York and LA, consider making a stop in the smaller second cities that have equally impressive museums, food scenes, and luxury hotels. From Detroit to Charleston, here are 6 incredible places to visit in the U.S. now.
Chelsea is Brooklyn-based travel writer, editor, and photographer. When not home eating her way through NYC, she's gallivanting across the globe, sailing the coast of Croatia or hiking the peaks of Peru. Her superpowers include booking flight deals and sleeping in small plane seats.
Despite the devastating fires that recently swept through California’s wine country, the support of locals and visitors has helped Sonoma make a strong, speedy recovery. MacArthur Place, a tranquil 19th-century estate hidden in the heart of town, is in the midst of a massive facelift, which will redesign the restaurant and bar, add outdoor showers and decks to the rooms, and expand the pool and spa area. From here, you’re close to country chic shops like Frenchie, a brand new picnic and provisions store that sells cheese boards, rosé, and gourmet sandwiches—perfect for an al fresco lunch in the leafy town square. Chateau Sonoma is another favorite thanks to owner Sarah Anderson’s expert eye for French antiques and flea market finds. But of course, you can’t visit Sonoma without sipping some of its famous wine. Beltane Ranch is a bucolic farm, vineyard, and inn known for its world-class sauvignon blanc and zinfandel. Meanwhile, fourth-generation farmers and brothers Adam and Andrew restored a crumbling, century-old hacienda and brought it back to life as Scribe, a romantic 40-acre winery specializing in chardonnay and pinot noir. They also host a chefs-in-residence program, with James Beard Award winner Ashley Christensen coming up this summer.
Charleston has all the trappings of a classic Southern getaway: downhome meals, charming inns, and preppy boutiques on King Street. Bed down at Zero George Street, a quaint complex of historic 19th-century buildings, shady courtyards, wide verandas, and a test kitchen for on-site cooking classes. Speaking of food, you won’t be at a loss for options in this town. Snag a seat at Basic Kitchen, where the airy interiors are just as beautiful as healthy plates like the rainbow bowl with sweet potato noodles, fresh veggies, and a Thai peanut sauce. For after-dinner drinks, Parisian bar Felix is the city’s new king of cocktails. We love the B.E.B. with gin, suze, pineau des charentes, and vermut.
With Detroit’s thriving arts and design scene has ushered in a wave of chic new boutique hotels. Most of these sleek stays are housed inside renovated historic landmarks, including Element Detroit Downtown in the 1924 Metropolitan Building and Siren Hotel in the Renaissance Revival-style Wurlitzer Building. The Detroit Foundation Hotel—a former fire station—also stays true to its roots by sourcing everything locally, from the custom Detroit Wallpaper Co. designs to the reclaimed wood headboards by Architectural Salvage Warehouse. Even the cook is at home here: Thomas Lents, a two-starred Michelin chef from Michigan, oversees the New American menu at the Apparatus Room as well as the eight- to 12-course meal at the Chef’s Table. (Keep an eye out for the first Shinola Hotel opening in the city later this year)
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The capital has stolen the spotlight thanks to a lineup of trendy eateries and new exhibits. Culture vultures should spend the day browsing the galleries at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American Art or checking out the JFK Center for the Performing Arts, which just added 2,500 square feet of performance space as well as new art installations, an outdoor terrace, and a scenic walkway to the Potomac River. For dinner, Maydān is one of the hottest debuts, attracting the likes of former First Lady Michelle Obama with its upscale Middle Eastern fare. At the end of the day, crash at the buzzy new Line DC. Housed within a converted 110-year-old church, the property features three restaurants, two bars, and a coffee shop helmed by chefs Erik Bruner-Yang and Spike Gjerde as well as design-forward digs with herringbone hardwood floors, brass and copper fixtures, and local artwork.
This quirky city is fun year-round, but in the summer it really shines. Drop your bags at the cool kid Ace Hotel, where you’ll be in the center of all the action, just steps from Pioneer Square to the south and the ritzy Pearl District to the north. Jumpstart your day with a local pour of Stumptown Coffee in the lobby, then head around the corner to Tasty n Alder for a decadent brunch of lemon ricotta pancakes and blueberry syrup. Once you’re all fueled up, hike to the International Rose Test Garden in the West Hills. Founded in 1917, this romantic park has 10,000 rose bushes that bloom in June, plus panoramic views of the city skyline and Mount Hood. End the day at the food truck mecca along 10th and Alder, where you can taste Portland’s legendary street food, like the signature chicken and rice at Nong’s Khao Man Gai or the hand-pulled noodles with seafood at Noodle House.
Kansas City, Missouri
Missouri may be considered a fly-over state, but Kansas City’s eclectic art scene, melt-in-your-mouth BBQ, and friendly hospitality make it a destination in its own right. The Fontaine is an ideal homebase, with Persian-style carpets, hand-blown Venetian glass chandeliers, and a rooftop pool. From here, hop over to Monarch Coffee for a morning pick-me-up before exploring the Crossroads arts district and its stationery shops, vintage boutiques, and jewelry stores. When hunger strikes, Tribe Street Kitchen in the waterfront River Market nabe is sure to quench your cravings. Eat around the world with dishes such as Peruvian ceviche, Indian crispy curried cauliflower, Vietnamese banh mi, and Moroccan chicken skewers. If you’re into arts and culture, don’t miss the concerts at the Moshe Safdie-designed Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts as well as works by Kandinsky, de Kooning, Duchamp, and Delacroix at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Finish off the evening with a bottle of bubbly and fresh-shucked oysters at Ça Va champagne bar.
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