When you think of an urban vacation, a handful of specific cities come to mind. The glittering lights of New York City, the music-drenched streets of Nashville, Chicago pizza, Los Angeles glamour, or Las Vegas gambling. However, if you’re looking for something that’s a little different than these tried-and-true vacation destinations, here are five cities you probably haven’t visited, but definitely should.
St. Petersburg, FL
Often overlooked for neighboring Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg is a beach city with thriving nightlife and an incredible art scene. Downtown streets are lined with bars, clubs, restaurants, art galleries, and performance spaces. With about 250,000 residents, St. Petersburg has big city excitement coupled with small town friendliness. You can buy a handmade purse or wallet, go for a swim in the ocean, and see a rock concert at the State Theater all in the same day.
Update: Apparently their official tourist website expired and isn’t working. I guess they didn’t use a site like www.vpscoupons.org. We hope the site comes back soon.
Sturgeon Bay, WI
Sturgeon Bay is the first city you hit upon entering scenic Door County in Wisconsin. Door County is famous for its bays, tree lines, and fresh cherry juice. Door County is a popular travel destination for Midwesterners of all ages, but many people head further north than Sturgeon Bay. They’re missing out, though! For a town of less than 10,000 people, Sturgeon has a lot to do: fishing, boating, and a lively music scene. Head there in June for the annual Steel Bridge Song Fest that brings in hundreds of musicians from around the world.
Nestled in the shadows of the Great Smoky Mountains, Asheville is a surprising oasis for young people. The community is full of life, with a dining scene that rivals cities ten times its size. Asheville is also known for having an abundance of local music any night of the week. The town has a certain hippie flare to it that isn’t quite as prevalent throughout the rest of the south; you may see more dreadlocks in this medium-sized town than you’ve ever seen in your life.
Eugene has been known as a vacation hotspot among the alternative lifestyle sect since the ’60s. If you thought Portland had an arts culture, you’d be surprised that its neighbor to the south has just as lively of an arts scene with only a third the population. Eugene plays host to dozens of festivals, lots of nature, and even an urban jungle. If you’re the outdoorsy type that still wants a city vacation, Eugene is the perfect destination with opportunities for cycling, kayaking, rafting, and running.
From antiques shows to garden walks to art festivals, Charleston is a historic town with a wealth of shopping and culture. Take a romantic stroll down a cobblestone street or indulge in the paranormal with one of the city’s many ghost tours. Charleston is southern hospitality and Antebellum era architecture at its finest. If you’re a fan of sightseeing or photography, the views in Charleston are unparalleled elsewhere. If you’re a history buff, visit one of the city’s many museums for a day of education and entertainment.