Five Charming US Cities to Visit (if You’ve Done NYC and LA)

Secured that selfie at the top of the Empire State Building? Adventure to one of these alternative must-visit US cities next. From San Antonio’s palm-fringed streets to Portland’s left-field leanings, we’ve got the inside scoop

Swap New York's selfie-stick-swamped sidewalks for one of these more tranquil US cities instead. Having adventured from sun-baked Arizona to weather-beaten Oregon, we deliver the goods on the destinations we think you'll love, including the design districts to note, quirky drinking dens to make tracks for and coolest restaurants to have on radar. Plus, we pit-stop at our favourite stylish stays, all of which are guaranteed to make a trip that little bit more memorable.

Stateside: five beautiful US cities to visit right now

Denver, Colorado



Colorado's capital has long been a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Beyond the city limits, cutting-edge architecture makes way for verdant greenery, jagged peaks and dramatic rock formations, giving the place a uniquely hypnotic vibe - one that has to be felt to be believed. Spend hours stomping between the bruised sandstone bluffs of Red Rocks Park, where sweeping ripples absorb beams of sunlight and, after sunset, the Milky Way lights up the sky. The park's famed amphitheatre is situated at the base of the mountains - check out the programme of upcoming concerts and events for the ultimate open-air gig. We're recharging our batteries in high style at The Ramble Hotel, before skipping to Snooze for fight-size buttermilk pancakes and breakfast burritos.

Where to stay: The Ramble Hotel

San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio


You'd be forgiven for assuming that Texas is all BBQ platters and Black cowboys, but step away from the cattleman hats and roper boots and prepare to be dazzled by colourful San Antonio. Bordered by Houston and Austin, the United States' seventh-largest city feels far removed from its American siblings. Founded as a Spanish colonial outpost in the 18th century, there's still a distinctive European air about many of its neighbourhoods. The vibrant Pearl District is a honeypot for artists and creatives, while the San Antonio River Walk sees foodie start-ups thriving alongside storied eateries. Visit all-day-bistro Boudro's for wood-grilled plates and seafood platters: its colourful parasols and canal-facing seating make for a great long, lazy afternoon.

Where to stay: Hotel Valencia Riverwalk

Portland, Oregon



The unofficial food capital of the US, Portland (aka the Rose City) offers the quintessential East Coast experience: lobster and oysters by the bucketful followed by salty air-filled walks, old-school boutiques and streets lined by red-brick houses. Art lovers should swing by Roux & Cyr International Fine Art Gallery, where oil-painting courses and workshops take place. Not your vibe? Find the best bagels in town at Rose Foods, whose build-your-own-style menu offers every type of spread and fish base possible. For upscale seafood, try Eventide, which also draws crowds for its no-fuss cocktail menu. Then, head back to base at Ace Hotel, an art deco set-up with antique flourishes.

Where to stay: Ace Hotel Portland

Phoenix, Arizona



Arizona - a patchwork of bruised valleys and red canyons. Also, the home of picturesque Phoenix, a city that arises like a mirage from its sun-baked surroundings. The perfect day should start with a visit to the Desert Botanical Garden, where conservation experts enlighten visitors on the beauty of Arizona's unique Sonoran ecosystem - which, we can assure you, is far more interesting than it sounds. Afterwards, head to MonOrchid Gallery, an urban art space showcasing works by talented local artists. In town on a Friday night? Round up the troops and head to Culinary Dropout. This food-focused gastropub serves up a no-frills vibe, alongside craft ales and stellar sharing plates.

Where to stay: Rise Uptown Hotel



South Carolina

A must-visit on any trip south of the Mason-Dixon line, Charleston is a place of Southern belles, pastel-hued antebellum architecture, flavourful food and turbulent history. Stop by Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, the oldest public gardens in the US, where Monet-style footbridges and mossy trees are punctuated by bright flowers and white peacocks. Halls Chophouse is a local institution, serving everything from pan-seared scallops and burrata salad to creamy ravioli - and that's before we even get to the entire steak-dedicated menu. Stay at the charming Emeline and enjoy an impressive roster of events such as pizza Sundays, fireside s'mores sessions and drag brunches - to name but a few.

Where to stay: Hotel Emeline

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