15 Low-Key Cities in the U.S. People Forget Are Awesome To Visit

Tourist Woman on plane

What comes to mind when you think of underrated or forgotten cities?

People were asked this same question and came up with these 15 low-key cities in America that people have forgotten are pretty amazing to visit.

1. Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine, USA downtown skyline.

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Portland, Maine is a center of growth and economy and boasts a vintage northeast American feel. The people are friendly, the food is delicious, their beer is world-class, and the city is walkable, so you don’t need transport to get places. 

2. Portsmouth, New Hampshire

portsmouth new hampshire

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Portsmouth has that charming small-town feel and is packed with history. Spend time in the Strawberry Banke Museum or USS Albacore Museum, walking the gorgeous waterfront and visiting their Instagram-worthy lighthouses.

3. Madison, Wisconsin

madison wisconsin

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Madison is famous for its vast craft beverage selection and exciting events like Craft Beer Week, Isthmus Beer & Cheese Festival, and Great Taste of the Midwest. Visitors love exploring the Olbrich Botanical Gardens and Henry Vilas Zoo and the delicious food they can indulge in while exploring Madison.

4. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

milwaukee wisconsin

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Milwaukee is a low-key, fantastic city if you love beer gardens and good beer. The city is known for its Major League Brewers and famous breweries. On top of that, visitors enjoy free concerts, gorgeous bike paths, river paths, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. 

5. Burlington, Vermont

vermont autumn

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Burlington offers incredible surrounding mountain vistas, a friendly atmosphere, and excellent shopping opportunities. It has fabulous museums and a thriving art scene you can learn more about when visiting this lovely city.

6. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

pittsburgh pennsylvania

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Many travelers agree that Pittsburgh is highly underrated for no good reason. The city boasts the Heinz Museum, the Andy Warhol Museum, and the Mattress Factory. The City of Asylum is the world’s most extensive residency program for writers living in exile and hosts regular festivals to honor those who live there. 

7. Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee

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Memphis means “established and beautiful,” precisely what you will experience when visiting. As the birthplace of the blues and rock ‘n roll, as well as R&B, jazz, gospel, soul, and rap, you are in for a lot of good music in Memphis.

8. Detroit, Michigan


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The world’s automobile capital is also well-known for its 1960s Motown music. The diverse ethnic backgrounds of the people who live in Detroit means you are in for diverse cuisine, art, sports, and music experiences. You must also hit the town one evening to enjoy its exciting nightlife.

9. Richmond, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia, USA at historic Main Street Station and Interstate 95.

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Richmond’s surprising food scene is only improving and is one reason it should be on a list of underrated cities. The music and art produced in Richmond are just as good as the food, and you can see for yourself at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Virginia Commonwealth University of Contemporary Arts Museum. 

10. Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri, USA downtown skyline.

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Kansas City in Missouri also boasts incredible museums, such as the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the WWI Museum, and the Nelson Atkins Art Museum. The city has urban neighborhoods and prairie restoration areas. Jazz clubs, boutique hotels, breweries, and excellent restaurants make this city awesome.

11. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico

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What sounds more remarkable than the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta? This event is held over nine days in the first week of October and is the world’s biggest balloon festival. Over 500 hot air balloons are on site, and you can have a chance to have a ride. Along with other reasons, travelers have agreed that Albuquerque is a city that deserves more recognition as a travel destination.

12. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota at night time as seen from the famous stone arch bridge

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Art lovers will thrive in the Minneapolis art scene, spending time in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and the Walker Art Center. The latter’s permanent collection has over 13,000 contemporary artworks and was established in the 1800s. 

13. Newport, Rhode Island

newport rhode island

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Newport, Rhode Island, is the world’s sailing capital and is suited to travelers searching for a small seaside atmosphere. Newport has luxurious mansions, charming shops, and stores to browse, along with its scenic coastline. You can also attend the Newport Jazz Festival or Newport Folk Festival if you’re there at the right time.

14. Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama

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Although known for its steel and iron industry, Birmingham offers much more. Learn more about the history of the area through its museums, indulge in a delicious meal or two at its restaurants, and spend time admiring the natural beauty of this underrated city.

15. St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri

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The quirky City Museum, the Broadway Oyster Bar, and the Fox Theatre make St. Louis a fantastic travel destination. Enjoy free entrance to the Saint Louis Zoo, and take your pick of excellent restaurants along Delmar Loop or float along on a riverboat tour while you’re there. 

Where indicated, some images courtesy of Depositphotos.com.

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Jordy Johnson

Jordy gave up her home base to travel South Africa and experience more of her country. From that decision, she’s landed work as a travel writer for a magazine that showcases southern Africa and has grown her Instagram travel page, WeTheWests. She enjoys showing locals and foreigners all the beautiful and unique places and experiences South Africa and the rest of the world have to offer.