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Best Places to Visit in the US

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Since 1973, Lonely Planet has been “providing inspiring and trustworthy information for every kind of traveler.” And if you’ve visited their website, read any of their books (more than 130 million books in 13 different languages and counting), or used any of their newer technologies, you know why. They are among the best of the best in the world of travel media.

Every year they release their annual “Best in the US” lists, featuring a bevy of  destinations—a fascinating mix of regions, cities, and states—they feel are worthy of a second, and often first, look.

In any given year some on the list may surprise you. But they will all, no doubt, inspire you to get out there are explore all that this wonderful country has to offer.

Following are a few destinations they have featured in the past in their words, the only way to aptly tell the story!

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – “Hands up to the sky, Rocky fans.”

Recently recognized as the US’s first and only World Heritage City and visited by the Pope, Philly’s on a roll right now.  In 2016 hosting the Democratic National Convention in July and celebrating the 40th anniversary of Rocky, the city is experiencing a transformation to its urban core, yet retaining its deep American history and uniquely gritty flavor. (www.visitphilly.com) 

Natchez, Mississippi – “Natchez will be rolling on the river in 2016.”

Hitting its 300th anniversary that year – making it two years older than New Orleans – this charming city settled along the Mississippi will be hosting hundreds of events throughout the year, from their annual hot air balloon races to historical celebrations. (http://visitnatchez.org)

Yellowstone National Park – “Where better to celebrate than where it all began?” This is the world’s first national park, established 145 years ago. Yellowstone’s biggest draw, the Old Faithful geyser, just got a new boardwalk and gateway towns like Gardiner, Montana and Cody, Wyoming are all geared up to accommodate the millions of visitors expected while the US National Park Service celebrates its centennial this year. (www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm)

Birmingham, Alabama – “Could Birmingham be the coolest city in the South?”

The once industrial Avondale neighborhood has been reinvigorated with a surge of pubs, breweries and good eats, and the Civil Rights District is notable for the Civil Rights Institute, the 16th St. Baptist Church and the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. (http://birminghamal.org)

Alaska  “Hey Americans: have you crossed the Arctic Circle in your own country?” In 2015, President Obama became the first sitting president to visit this remote state and its time the rest of Americans follow, especially to experience the newly renamed Denali, America’s tallest peak, which can be done on foot for the adventurous, or by train or bus. (www.travelalaska.com)

Somerville, Massachusetts – “Boston’s hippest ‘hood moved a few stops up the Orange Line.” Boston’s most exciting new neighborhood has cutting-edge restaurants, craft breweries and offbeat attractions like the hugely popular Museum of Bad Art, the Tiny Museum, the Fluff Festival and HONK!, a festival of socially-conscious music-making. (www.bostonusa.com/partner/aboutgbcvb/regions/somerville)

Northwest Arkansas – “Give the Rockies a run for their money.”

With wide open spaces, mountains and crystal blue lakes and rivers, this region also has cultural flare, with towns that are distinctly unique from one another, like Fayetteville – an artsy university city with a vibrant literary scene – and Eureka Springs, which has access to some of the best hiking in the Ozarks. (www.northwestarkansas.org)

San Antonio, Texas – “Take a hearty stew of Mexican culture, add a dash of Austin weird and a big dollop of pure Texas ‘tude.” The popular River Walk has expanded from three to 15 miles and the Pearl Brewery District continues to evolve with top-notch restaurants, a cooking school and outdoor events throughout the year, helping to make San Antonio the Lone Star State’s most compelling, culturally eclectic city right now. (http://visitsanantonio.com)

Southern New Mexico – “If it’s Southwestern wilderness you’re after, head toward the border.” Santa Fe and Taos usually get the spotlight, but go south to truly experience the Wild West by visiting the recently established Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument and the strange scenery continues at White Sands National Monument, where you’ll find alien landscapes far more out-of-this-world than anything in Roswell. (http://southernnewmexico.com)

Milwaukee, Wisconsin  “The city’s beery side still bubbles strong.” Chicago may cast a big shadow, but the city is enjoying its moment in the sun, with attractions like beer-tasting tours at both household name brands and new craft breweries, the stunning Quadracci Pavilion and the Milwaukee Art Museum. (http://www.visitmilwaukee.org)

For more top pics on the go by Lonely Planet, check out their Make My Day guidebook series and app. (www.lonelyplanet.com/makemyday).

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