Are you tired of the same old vacation plans to sit on the beach all day? Sometimes it’s more exciting to explore a new place and experience the local food and fun. But narrowing down which city to choose can be difficult.

With a country as expansive and culturally diverse as America, there are lots of intriguing cities to explore. Here are four cities full of unique landmarks and attractions for you to add to your travel bucket list.

San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the most popular vacation cities in America, and for good reason. It’s right on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, and it is full of new sights to see.

Gaze out at the Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Point. Snack on seafood and snap some photos of the cute sea lions at Fisherman’s Warf. Wind your way down Lombard Street and experience how crooked the San Francisco roads can be. And of course, take a ride in a cable car.

Eat your heart out at The Ferry Building. This iconic building is an architectural wonder, and it doubles as a market full of some of the best cuisine in San Francisco. Historically it was the primary port into the city, but in 2003 it reopened as a public food market.

If you’re feeling adventurous, take a boat ride out to Alcatraz. This historic island-bound prison is now a mesmerizing museum. San Fran has so many fascinating attractions and landmarks, you’ll never run out of things to do.


If you’re used to spending your vacations on the coast, consider going up north for a change. Chicago is home to some pretty unique museums and experiences.

Snap a photo with the giant silver bean, Cloud Gate. Talk a walk along the beaches of Lake Michigan. Reach for the stars at the Adler Planetarium. Go on an architecture river cruise and learn about the cityscape from a Chicago Architecture Center guide.

Make sure you don’t step back on a plane before you’ve tried some Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Local favorites are Pizzeria Uno (the birthplace of original deep dish), Tano’s Pizzeria, and Pequod’s Pizza.

Take in some culture at the Chicago Art Institute, turn over a new page at the American Writer’s Museum, or take a walk through history at The Field Museum. If you’re looking for something a little bit quirkier, try the International Museum of Surgical Science or the Video Game Art Gallery. There’s always something new to learn in Chicago.

Austin, Texas

How can anyone resist visiting a city with a motto like “Keep Austin Weird?” Austin, Texas, is known for its thriving live music scene, but there are so many more things to discover there.

Get in touch with nature by kayaking on Lady Bird Lake or visiting the Zilker Botanical Garden. Set off on a creepy ghost tour in an actual hearse. If you like history, check out the Texas State Capitol or the beautiful Driskill Hotel from the 1880s.

You won’t want to miss out on authentic Tex-Mex food while you’re in town. Satisfy your cravings at Torchy’s Tacos, Juan in a Million, or La Condensa.

Find a perfect souvenir at one of the many eclectic shops on South Congress Avenue. When you’ve finished shopping around, head to Congress Bridge at sunset to watch a huge colony of bats take flight every evening.

For more details on how to spend a perfect weekend in Austin, check out this article.


If you’ve never experienced the City of Brotherly “ove, add it to your list! Philadelphia is the birthplace of America, drenched in history. And it also has some pretty delicious cheesesteaks. Here are some of the spots you won’t want to miss in Philly.

For a peek into America’s past, stop by Independence Hall. The Declaration of Independence was signed there, the Constitution was created there, and it is home to the Liberty Bell.

Visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art (and pose for a photo running on the “Rocky Stairs”). Check out the iconic LOVE statue. Stroll along the piers of the Delaware River. Marvel at the mosaics in Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens.

For the best possible Philly cheesesteak experience, try Pat’s King of Steaks, Geno’s Steaks, or John’s Roast Pork.

Ready, Set, Explore

Now that you have plenty of vacation inspiration from coast to coast, you can get started on planning your next trip. The only question is, where will your adventures take you?