North America

5 must-visit cities in the USA

In terms of cool, interesting and trendy cities, the USA definitely has the lion’s share. There’s a huge selection which, depending what you’re into, will satisfy your every whim.

So where do all the cool kids hang out? Where should you go to experience the very best of American culture with a fashionable twist?

Lisa Crowther, city-hopper, trendsetter and all-round lover of all things USA compiled a list of what she thinks are 5 of the hippest American cities. Question is, where do you go first?

5 CITIES IN AMERICA YOU MUST VISIT

PORTLAND, OREGON

An urban playground jam-packed with hordes of young professionals, and you know what that means; hordes of cool bars, music venues, cafes and restaurants to occupy them!

This city oozes coolness from every street corner. The Aladdin Theatre on the Eastside, a former vaudeville house in the 1920s, showcases the best live music in the city and has previously hosted the likes of Jeff Buckley, Brian Wilson, and Beth Orton.

Then there’s its reputation as the place to go for beer lovers all over the world, thanks to the 30+ breweries that operate in the area and the numerous beer tasting festivals held regularly across the city.

One of the best things about Portland? The beautiful mountain backdrop of Mt Hood, which on a clear day can be seen casting its presence over the city from the busy streets.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSLYVANIA

Being neatly sandwiched between New York and Washington DC awards Philadelphia instant ‘cool points’ straight away, but what else does the city have to offer?

With the largest concentration of higher education students in the country, the city definitely has a young vibe. With an average age of residents at just 34 years old, it’s full of youthful energy.

But the thing that really makes Phili so great, is that it’s one of the foremost creative cities in the world. Drenched in music, art, theatre and opera, including an eclectic music history having played its part in the careers of Billie Holiday, David Bowie and the American Orchestra, it has played an important role in the creation of some of pop culture’s musical greats.

And then there’s the street art. It seems that creativity is everywhere you turn in this city and, depending on your opinion of street art of course, you can expect to be blown away by the imagination and originality of the residents. Philadelphia is the place to bring your artistic dreams to life.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON STATE

Seattle’s biggest claim to fame, besides that Tom Hanks movie, is its role in the birth of the grunge scene. A music genre that, in the 90s, defined a generation of young people.

Although I may not have been a part of it myself, the importance of the movement didn’t escape me, which is why it gains a place on my list.

The Capitol Hill district of the city is full of the very bars that were pivotal in the birth of grunge and they still attract a cool, alternative crowd today.

Besides that, the city is the home of Microsoft, the very first Starbucks, which opened it’s doors in 1971, and some pretty amazing fish tacos (I loved Jacks Fish Pot in Pikes Farmers Market in the Downtown area of the city.)

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

A bohemian haven with its legendary café culture and rich music and arts scene, New Orleans has established itself as one of America’s primary centres of ‘coolness’.

The newest hipster hub is located in the Marigny area of the city, which is full of old, but well-preserved architecture and street cafes full of character and colour that brings the neighbourhood to life.

The locals shop in indie vintage shops and spend their free time roaming the local flee markets. Evenings are spent hopping across the bar scene and sampling pomegranate martinis at venues such as the infamous Hi-Ho Lounge and Mimi’s bar.

Read more on New Orleans here: Travel crush – Feel the energy of New Orleans.

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

I wanted to try and be a little less ‘obvious’ with this list and search out some of the lesser known gems of America’s coolest cities, but there’s no way of denying it, it’s impossible to create a list of America’s hippest cities and leave out New York, in fact I’d say it was almost criminal, it’s not only one of the hippest cities in the US, but probably in the world.

So where do I start? How about music. Yes, Madison Square Garden is the place to go to see the big gigs, but the great thing about New York is the smaller venues such as The Village Underground and Barbes, regularly host the latest up and coming bands in America, so you can go and see next big thing before they get, er, big, in a much more intimate venue and at a fraction of the cost.

New York is also known by some as the American capital of theatre thanks to the might of Broadway, and you can’t go for a visit to the Big Apple without singing along to a musical or two, and soaking up those theatrical vibes.

The Meatpacking District oozes cool and is the hub of the young, hip crowd, where they hang out drinking martinis on roof top bars and shopping for authentic designer pieces in vintage boutiques.

There’s no doubt in my mind that New York is still the grand daddy of all things cool in America, but that’s just me.

Want to read more on New York? Check out our blog: New York wrap, for a locals guide to the city that never sleeps.

Ready to buy that plane ticket and go kick-back in one (or all) of these cool cities? Search for flights now. Alternatively, we’ve got a USA travel guide filled with loads of handy tips, advice, and deals if you’re just looking for some more inspiration!