North America is such a diverse continent, and there’s so much to see and do. What to explore first? We started with chasing waterfalls in North America, now we’re exploring the best cities in North America to visit. I’ve asked my fellow travel bloggers what their favorite cities in North America are, and they came up with a lot of beautiful cities worth your time. All these cities in Canada, the US, Mexico and Cuba deserve to be on your itinerary when you visit these countries.
Best Cities in North America
First we turn our attention to Canada, then Mexico, Cuba and at last the US.
Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.
The capital of Canada is a beautiful city. Which is in the North of Ontario, on the border with Québec. It’s at the beginning of a Toronto to Halifax Road Trip.
In the city center visit Parliament Hill, the Parliament’s library, Liberty Bell and the Notre-Dame Basilica. From the end of June till end of August you can witness the changing of the guards at Parliament Hill. The Notre-Dame is the oldest church in Ottawa, it was built in 1847. Each year in May the Tulip Festival is celebrated, since 1953. Tulips are all over the city for 2 weeks. Take a self-guided Ottawa walking tour to see all the beautiful things Ottawa has to offer.
Make your way to the Rideau Canal and the Rideau Falls. The Rideau Canal is 202 meters long, from lake Ontario to the Ottawa River. Admire the 8 locks from Plaza Bridge still mended by hand, it’s a sight to see. In January and February there’s an 8 kilometer long ice skating rink on the canal. The Rideau Falls are a bit closer to the Ottawa River than the locks and beautiful to see.
One of the best cities in North America is Toronto. It is a vibrant, cosmopolitan place with so much to see and do there.
Let’s start with the CN Tower, which is the tallest free-standing structure in the western hemisphere. It can be seen from miles around and no trip to Toronto is complete without visiting the Lookout Level. From there you get breath-taking 360-degree views of the city and beyond.
You can eat in the revolving restaurant and if you want the ultimate experience then test your nerves on the Edge Walk. You’re securely attached to the tower but get to lean right over the edge! It’s worth it just for the photos alone, and the memory of doing something really unique and exhilarating.
Right next door to the CN Tower is Ripley’s Aquarium, home to some amazing sea creatures. You can walk through a tunnel with sharks, rays and other fish swimming all around you. It’s an amazing immersive experience and one of the top attractions in Toronto.
If you’re feeling peckish then take a walk to St Lawrence Market where you can choose from a vast array of fresh produce including meat, fruit, vegetables and sweet treats.
Summers can be incredibly warm, and winters biting cold. There’s a network of underground tunnels in the downtown district with shops and restaurants, which link to the subway system.
If you’re a fan of street art then check out Graffiti Alley which is between the Fashion District and Chinatown. It covers two or three blocks and features some great murals by some top international artists. Toronto is the perfect base for a memorable adventure, just a short hop from New York and close enough to Niagara to visit on a day trip.
Contributed by Sarah from In Search of Sarah.
A visit to Niagara-on-the-Lake is like taking a trip back in time, with its Victorian-era architecture, flower-filled, tree-lined streets, horse drawn carriages, and bursts with small-town charm.
Just 90 minutes from Toronto and only 20 from Niagara Falls and sitting at the mouth of the Niagara River, you’ll be trading high-rises and casinos for adorable BnBs, boutique shops, award-winning restaurants, and of course, wineries!
With close to 30 wineries right in Niagara-on-the-Lake, there’s no shortage of activities to partake in to enjoy them, whether it’s wine and cellar tours, food and wine pairings, bike tours, picnics in the vineyards, weddings, and much more! You can easily spend an entire weekend touring these diverse wineries, during any season!
Of course, there is an abundance of activities aside from wineries to enjoy in this lovely town. With numerous waterfront parks, historic places of interest (including haunted Fort George), art galleries, coffee shops, gelaterias and a performing arts theatre to enjoy, walking down these streets will soothe your soul. You can even go for High Tea at the famous Prince of Wales Hotel and relax at one of the many spas afterwards.
Tip: Come and enjoy Niagara-on-the-Lake during the fall or winter, where you’ll be able to enjoy all this beautiful place has to offer without the crowds.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Contributed by Cecily from Groovy Mashed Potatoes.
Vancouver is a buzzing city on Canada’s west coast known for its stunning nature, fun outdoor activities and burgeoning food scene. What makes the cosmopolitan city so unique is its access to the wilderness. It’s surrounded by the North Shore Mountains and Pacific Ocean, making it one of Canada’s most beautiful cities.
There are so many fun things to add to your Vancouver itinerary. If it’s a sunny day, have a picnic at one of the city’s picturesque beaches. For quiet beaches, visit Jericho Beach or Locarno Beach. For lively beaches check out Kits Beach or English Bay. In the afternoon take a bike ride around the seawall of Stanley Park, Canada’s most famous park. It’s larger than Central Park in NYC. You will have scenic views of the Pacific Ocean, Siwash Rock and West Vancouver along the way.
If it’s a rainy day, go boutique shopping in the historic Gastown neighbourhood or visit Granville Island, known for its markets, shops and breweries.
For dinner, eat Pacific-Northwest cuisine at Blue Water or Botanist, both known for their seafood specialties. Afterwards, finish off your evening with cocktails at Reflections, a rooftop lounge located in the roaring 20s luxury hotel, Hotel Georgia.
Contributed by Nick from Fun World Facts.
Edmonton, the provincial capital of Alberta, is a surprisingly rewarding destination in Western Canada, especially for visitors with kids. You may be surprised to see a suggestion for a mall here, but West Edmonton Mall is like no other.
Once the largest in the world, WEM houses a long list of awesome attractions: the largest indoor amusement park and waterpark in Canada, an ice skating palace, a lake with a replica of Christopher Columbus’ Santa Maria ship, an IMAX theatre, go-karts, mini golf, a whole lot of shops, a Chinatown, a European boulevard, and a New Orleans street with bars & restaurants. Last but not least, you can spend the night in the attached Fantasyland Hotel. The hotel’s quirkily themed rooms include an awesome Space Room that is really out of this world!
Just in case you don’t want to spend your entire holiday at the mall, Edmonton has some great outdoorsy sights as well. The city boasts the largest urban green space in North America, the Edmonton River Valley (according to this list of facts about Edmonton, it is larger than all of Manhattan in New York!) Just outside of Edmonton, Elk Island National Park offers the chance to see plains bison, an animal that once almost went extinct; you’re practically guaranteed to see them.
One final reason to visit Edmonton, particularly in summer, is to take in a few festivals that the city is famous for. These include the Edmonton International Fringe Festival (the largest one in the world after Edinburgh!), Edmonton Folk Music Festival, Heritage Days, and Cariwest, a Caribbean festival and parade.
Contributed by Mia from Walk a While with Me.
While North America is filled with incredible cities, one of the best Canadian cities to visit is undoubtedly Montreal.
One of the most historically significant cities in Canada, it features charming architecture in Old Montreal, lively nightlife in downtown Montreal, and stunning views from Mount Royal. Needless to say, there are a lot of incredible things to do in Montreal!
Montreal is located between Ottawa and Quebec City, and sits on the Saint Lawrence River. A city with a vast history (in Canadian standards), Montreal was founded in 1642 and acted as a fur-trading center.
Today, you can admire Montreal’s history at the Notre-Dame Basilica, Old Port of Montreal, and Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal. With all of this gothic-inspired architecture, Montreal is a great way to experience some of Europe in North America!
But that’s not all there is to add to your itinerary. On top of everything listed before, you can also explore the Jean Talon Market, go museum-hopping, or take a self-guided Montreal walking tour.
Overall, Montreal isn’t a city you should miss when visiting North America!
Québec City, Québec
Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.
The most European looking city in Canada should be on anyone’s itinerary, since it’s such a quaint city. It’s the capital of the province of Québec.
Old Québec is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s walkable and safe, and best explored on foot. Stroll in the cobblestone streets in the only fortified city north of Mexico. It’s the perfect place to soak yourself in the French Canadian culture. The fortified walls are 400 years old, walk on them and visit the four gates. Old Québec has charming little streets and local shops. Don’t miss out on Rue du Petit-Champlain. This pedestrian street is charming with its fine bistros, art galleries, local shops and enchanting ambiance.
Admire the most photographed hotel in the world and Québec City’s most famous landmark: Château Frontenac. Visit the Citadelle de Québec. A British fortress, the largest in North America, on the famous Cap Diamant. There’s a military museum inside.
Close to Québec City are the Montmorency Falls, which are 30 meters higher than Niagara Falls.
Contributed by Shelley from Travel Mexico Solo.
As the largest city in North America, and one of the biggest in the world, those who love the excitement of a big city will love Mexico City. There are so many amazing things to do you could spend a week or a month exploring and never run out of sites to see.
If you love history, Mexico City has that. Within the city, there’s the Templo Mayor, which is an Aztec temple that’s actually buried underground — though it has been excavated, so you can visit. If you love ruins, the Teotihuacan Ruins, located about an hour outside of the city, are some of the best prehispanic ruins in Mexico.
For lovers of museums, Mexico City has about 150 of them to choose from! In fact, it is one of the Top 10 cities for having the most museums. For art, there’s the Frida Kahlo Museum (AKA Casa Azul), and for history buffs, the Mexico City Anthropology Museum is world class.
Beyond all this — there’s also lots and lots of tacos! If you’re not someone who likes tacos, you still have plenty of options for amazing food in Mexico City, like tortas (sandwiches), tamales, chilaquiles, and churros.
Tulum, Quintana Roo
Contributed by Shelley from Travel To Merida.
Tulum is one of the best Yucatan beaches in Mexico. Located right on the Caribbean Sea, Tulum has become one of the top Mexico travel destinations in the last decade or so — and for good reason!
There are so many things to do in the Mexican beach town of Tulum. While it is well known as a party town, and it certainly does have that side, there’s also plenty to do during the day.
For visitors who want to see Mayan ruins, the Tulum Ruins are located right in town on the beach in the Tulum Archaeological Zone. There’s also the Coba Ruins and Ek-Balam Ruins, both located about an hour from town.
Besides its beautiful white-sand beaches and blue waters in the Caribbean Sea, Tulum has other amazing places to swim and soak up the sun. Located throughout the Yucatan Peninsula and Tulum, there are the cenotes, which are natural pools in the jungle, that make a nice alternative to the beach.
There’s also Sian Ka’an, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which is best explored by boat. On the water, you’ll likely see dolphins, as well as turtles, and many types of birds. Located within the biosphere, there’s also the off the beaten path Muyil Mayan Ruins.
In short, Tulum has something for everyone — and you won’t want to miss this unique Mexico beach town.
San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas
Contributed by Zoe from Zoe Goes Places.
San Cristobal de las Casas is a beautiful city in the mountains, located in Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas. The city is the playground of many outdoor types, with some of Mexico’s best natural attractions right on the doorstep of San Cristobal. On the outskirts of the city, there are a few eco-parks – such as El Arcotete and Grutas de Rancho Nuevo – with hiking trails, zip lines and caves to explore. The entrance to these parks is cheap and they’re easily reached by public transport. But, just outside of the city is where the real magic begins!
To the west of San Cristobal is the stunning Sumidero Canyon. This 8-mile long and up to 1000-metres deep canyon is surrounded by dense greenery. And, the canyon itself is home to a host of wildlife including a large group of crocodiles that are regularly seen on the river banks. Plus, to truly top off your visit, there are also 3 viewpoints along the top of the canyon’s walls to give you a bird’s eye view of this incredible landscape!
However, the top attraction near San Cristobal has got to be the Cascadas El Chiflon waterfall park. With 5 main waterfalls along a 1200-metre stretch of river, as well as zip lines and a swimming area, there is plenty to do on a day trip to the park. But, the creme de la creme of El Chiflon has to be Cascada Velo de Novia, a 120-metre high waterfall, which has its own viewing platform for a simply spectacular experience. You can’t afford to miss out!
Cancún, Quintana Roo
Contributed by Venaugh from Venaugh.
I’m sure we’ve all heard how beautiful the beaches in Mexico are and I thought it was just a hype but after having visited Cancun, I have fallen in love! The view from the hotel was all that I needed to happily sit and enjoy the tranquility.
On top of this, there are lots of activities around to do, albeit a bit of a drive away. Cancun is in the southeast of Mexico on the Yucatan peninsula and easily one of the best cities in Mexico. There are some gorgeous islands off the mainland where you can take day trips to, such as Cozumel and Isla Holbox. During July to September there is also the whale shark migration where you can swim with the sharks which was an absolutely incredible experience, not to mention, no risk of being eaten since they only eat small fish, shrimp, and plankton. About an hour and a half away are the gorgeous cenotes which are breath taking. Cancun is definitely worth all the hype.
Havana, La Habana
Contributed by Carley from Home to Havana.
Unlike any other city in North America, Cuba’s capital city of Havana is a Spanish colonial gem filled with history and beauty more than enough to land a spot on any traveler’s bucket list. Plus, just a short ride away from some of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches, Havana has something to offer for every kind of traveler.
While Cuba used to be off limits to travelers from the United States, new regulations make it much easier to visit independently. However, make sure you don’t head to Cuba without booking travel insurance for Cuba first – it’s a requirement for all travelers, and can be difficult to find an insurance policy to cover you, especially if you’re from the United States or Canada.
Visitors will want to spend their time exploring the beautiful and historic neighborhood of Old Havana, filled with historic buildings from colonial times up through the early 20th century, and of course, the classic American cars that fill the streets. The sites most worth a visit surround the four historic plazas in Old Havana: Plaza Vieja, Plaza de San Francisco, Plaza de Armas, Plaza de la Catedral. Visitors can easily make a self-guided walking tour of Old Havana around and between these four plazas to see much of the beauty and history that Havana has to offer.
San Diego, California
Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.
A sunny city in the South of California near the border with Mexico. It’s an important harbor and navy city in the USA. It was the end of our California Road Trip.
Famous sites to visit in San Diego are SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo and Balbao Park. SeaWorld is a theme park combined with an aquarium. San Diego Zoo is one of the largest in the world. In Balbao Park you’ll find the San Diego Zoo, but also several museums.
If you’re a history fan than don’t skip Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, San Diego Mormon Battalion Historic Site and the USS Midway Museum. In the Old Town former Mexican times come to life. The USS Midway Museum is a maritime museum on the Midway, an aircraft carrier, that was used for years. It’s at the Navy Pier. The historic site is situated in Old San Diego and tells all about the Mormon Battalion that joined the American army.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Contributed by Alex from Wander With Alex.
Virginia Beach is in Coastal Virginia along the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay. Did you know that Virginia Beach holds the Guinness World Record for the longest pleasure beach in the world coming in at 35 miles?! But Virginia Beach isn’t just for beach lovers. From hiking and camping to adventure parks and art districts, Virginia Beach is a must-visit for solo travelers or the whole family.
If you’re visiting Virginia Beach for a beach vacation, you’ll want to come between May and September. You can spend the day on the sand, bike the boardwalk, fish off the pier, head over to the Atlantic Fun Park, or snap an Instagram worthy photo with King Neptune! You can take a charter boat out for a little fishing or dolphin watching too.
If you’re an art lover, you must check out the ViBE Creative District. This art district features paintings by local artists which can be found on buildings, curbs, and parking meters. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is another fabulous option and has free admission!
First Landing State Park is Virginia’s most visited state park. Head over to 64th street and go kayaking on the beautiful Chesapeake Bay.
When you’re done playing on the water, take the kids over to the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center and learn about the area’s marine life. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the Adventure Park and go ziplining!
Of course you must have seafood! Native to the Chesapeake Bay, our blue crabs are plentiful and make for amazing soft shell crab sandwiches which can be found at many restaurants when in season. Local restaurants you’ll want to visit include Waterman’s Surfside Grill, Rudee’s Restaurant and Cabana Bar, and Chic’s Oyster Bar!
New Orleans, Louisiana
Contributed by Mary from Bucket List Places.
They say America is a melting pot, but the biggest melting pot in the USA is New Orleans, a bucket list place defined by the many cultures who influenced its history. This unique city is a must-visit for its Cajun-Creole food, jazz music, beautiful bayou environments, and historical sites of significance.
New Orleans is beautiful any time of year, but the city is known for the incredible Mardi Gras celebrations which transform the French Quarter into a giant parade, costume party, and bar crawl all rolled into one. Even outside of the Mardi Gras celebrations in February or March, Bourbon Street in the French Quarter is often bustling with activity, live music, and tourists.
For a bit more tranquility, head to 1,300 acre City Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country. Besides the slew of recreational activities, you can ogle oak trees which are over 800 years old, seek out over 280 bird species, and even visit the New Orleans Botanical Garden and New Orleans Museum of Art.
To learn more about New Orleans’ storied past and ecological intrigue, you can join a ghost tour or swamp tour – keep your eyes peeled for gators!
Even getting to the Big Easy is easy; the cheapest bus ticket from Baton Rouge is only $7.99, which leaves plenty of money for extra beignets at breakfast. When heading to North America, you simply cannot miss the chance to dance to jazz music and taste the gumbo which are so quintessentially New Orleans.
Contributed by Meg from Fox in the Forest.
With over 300 days of sunshine a year, an excellent foodie scene, and lively art and music vibes all over the place, the Mile High City is one of the most amazing destinations in North America to visit. Like any big city, Denver’s neighborhoods each have a flavor of their own, so you’re guaranteed to feel right at home here regardless of your interests. For edgy vibes, head to South Broadway, for shopping & fabulous brunch spots, Lower Highlands will do just the trick, and for all things street art and warehouses, River North is your go-to!
Aside from its cultural and gastronomical offerings, another aspect that makes Denver such an incredible place to be is the fact that it’s the perfect base to explore some of the most beautiful places in Colorado A visit here means combining metropolitan vibes with nature escapades so incredibly easy that you’ll be able to get the best of both worlds in one go. Rocky Mountain National Park is just a stone’s throw away, and outdoorsy day trips to go hiking, climbing, skiing, and pretty much any outdoor adventure are right around the corner, which makes getting away from the bustle and hustle of the city and right into the heart of nature absolute breeze.
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Contributed by Donna from Explore the Road with Donnamarie.
I have lived in Ft. Lauderdale for almost thirty years, and I believe it is a must see travel destination. Why? There are miles upon miles of sandy beaches that you can enjoy all year round. If you enjoy an active lifestyle, there are plenty of activities available such as snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing, fishing, and surfing. There are numerous nature preserves where you can go paddleboarding and kayaking while spotting local flora and fauna. For a walk on the wild side, head to the Florida Everglades for an airboat ride through the slowest river in the world. Here you may spot gators, panthers, and other local creatures.
When you are ready for some culture, head downtown to see street art and go to the theater. For nightlife, there are numerous clubs on the strip or hit the shops on Las Olas. If you visit during hockey season, catch a Panther’s game.
Ft. Lauderdale is also a great central location if you are staying for a while. We are located in between Miami and West Palm Beach. Both are easy day trips. Take a day trip north to the Japanese Gardens and to visit the home of railroad magnate Henry Flagler. Head south to Miami to be immersed in cultures from South and Central America. Experience the famous South Beach and see Vizcaya, an Italian mansion with beautiful gardens.
The possibilities are endless. There is a lifetime of things to do and see.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Contributed by Candice from CS Ginger.
Washington DC is one of the best cities in North America to visit because of its rich historical sites and ties to current events in the United States. The capital city of the United States is full of historical museums, landmarks as well fun downtown areas.
Most people visit Washington DC to visit the National Mall. It is the most visited national park in the United States and is home to many famous landmarks like the Jefferson Memorial, Washington Memorial, and Tidal Basin. Some of the best things to do on the National Mall in Washington DC are to tour the US Capitol Building, see the Declaration of Independence and Constitution in the National Archives, and walk through the Holocaust Museum.
Even though the National Mall is what the capital city is known for, there are lots of fun things to do in Washington DC besides the National Mall. Ambar is a Balkan Cuisine restaurant that has one of the best brunches in town. Arlington National Cemetery is another historically significant area of town where you can watch the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Another fun part of town to explore is the Fish Market and the DC Wharf.
Another nice area to explore in Washington DC is Georgetown. It is one of DCs oldest neighborhoods. The Waterfront Park is a fun place to explore on electric scooters and be sure to visit one of the famous cupcake shops in town.
New York City, New York
Contributed by Lenore from The Nitty Gritty Travel OT.
When talking about the greatest cities in North America to visit, New York City should be at the top of your list. I mean honestly, who hasn’t heard of the iconic NYC?! If you haven’t, you’re seriously living under a rock (just kidding). One of the many things that makes New York City so great is the culture. You can visit any block and have a plethora of food options varying from Caribbean, European, and Asian to name a few.
In addition to culture, as far as activities, there is something for everyone. Not sure of what to do once you arrive? How about visiting the museum, opera, bar, lounge, or a seasonal activity like ice skating at Rockefeller Center during Christmas or free movies in the park in the Summer? The city has you covered and the best part is you don’t need a car. Most places are easily accessible by train or bus and if you’re feeling adventurous how about walking to your destination (as someone who’s born and raised in NYC I can assure you I do this all the time).
Do you know many famous movies and TV shows have taken place in NYC? If you’re lucky, you might even stumble upon a filming location for a show like “Law & Order”. If this doesn’t convince you to visit, I don’t know what will. I promise you, you will fall in love. I know I am and always return no matter where I go. Hope you enjoyed my thoughts on why you should visit NYC and will pay us a visit in the future!
Contributed by Nikki from She Saves She Travels.
If you’re looking for the best cities in North America to visit, then Seattle, Washington must be on your list! This vibrant city in the Pacific Northwest has something to offer for everyone. Whether you’re staying for a week or have just a day in Seattle, there’s a lot to see and do!
The iconic downtown scene cannot be missed! You absolutely need to see the famous Seattle Space Needle, world-known Pike Place Market and if you’re up for adventure, the Seattle Great Wheel. The Chihuly Garden and Glass is stunning and the best views in the city are at Kerry Park. On a clear day, you’ll even see Mount Rainier!
With a robust restaurant scene, you simply cannot go hungry in a city like Seattle. There’s a plethora of locally sourced seafood, so try the fish, crab, lobster, shrimp and more.
If you have plenty of time to explore, the best day trips from Seattle include Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, Snoqualmie Falls, Whidbey Island and North Cascades National Park.
Contributed by Adriane from Put on Your Party Pants.
Chicago is an amazing city, full of beautiful architecture, culture, and things for families to enjoy together.
It is home to two zoos, Brookfield and Lincoln Park. You can visit several iconic museums, including the Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum, and Kohl Children’s Museum. It also is home to the Shedd Aquarium, housed in a massive complex overlooking Lake Michigan. The Art Institute of Chicago features miniature rooms to appeal specifically to children.
Navy Pier is a gorgeous area overlooking the water with lots of restaurants, shops, and a ferris wheel. The Chicago Children’s Museum is located inside.
Millennium Park and Maggie Daley Park are public parks with great play areas for kids.
For a great view of the city and surrounding areas, visit Skydeck Chicago in Willis Tower, the second tallest building in the country. For a bit of a thrill, check out Tilt in the John Hancock building. There, you can lean against the glass while it tips downward.
Contributed by Sydney from A World in Reach.
Savannah, Georgia is a beautiful coastal city with a lot to offer. There are a ton of things to see and do in Savannah, putting the Southern city among the best cities to visit for a weekend trip in the United States.
When spending a few days in Savannah, plan your itinerary around exploring the beautiful Historic District. Covering over 5 square kilometers, the Savannah Historic District is one of the largest in the US. It’s dotted with 22 unique historic squares, each one commemorating important people or historic events. You’ll also find gorgeous homes, churches, and plenty of trees draped in Spanish Moss. At the southern end of the historic district is Forsyth Park, home to the beautiful (and frequently photographed) Forsyth Fountain.
Savannah is said to be one of the most haunted cities in the United States, and the locals have taken advantage of that claim by offering ghost tours of some of the city’s most haunted sights. Opt for a spooky bar crawl or hop in a hearse for a drive around some of the city’s scariest sights – exploring Savannah’s haunted history is one of the best things about visiting the city!
Traditional southern cuisine is abundant in Savannah. There are countless restaurants serving up staples like fried chicken, collard greens, seafood boils, and more. For a romantic dinner, make a reservation at The Olde Pink House, one of the city’s most famous restaurants. Don’t miss having a drink in the cellar tavern before your meal!
San Francisco, California
Contributed by Sarah from Tiny Trailblazers.
Despite the wealth pouring in from Silicon Valley to the south, San Francisco has clung to its gritty, bohemian identity. It’s still a place for dreamers, artists and hustlers, with something for everybody.
I recommend exploring the city on foot. Trams crisscross the seven square miles, so there is always the option of hopping on a street car to spare tired feet. Start the day with a museum: San Francisco has the Exploratorium and the California Academy of Science for interactive exhibitions, or head to the Museum of Modern Art or the De Young for art. My favorite is the Asian Museum of Art, which blends technology and art to create stunning immersive experiences.
Next, pick a neighborhood to soak up some San Francisco vibes. Haight-Ashbury, right next to Golden Gate Park, retains its hippie credentials. If you miss independent record and bookstores, this is the perfect place to spend a few hours browsing for treasures.
If you prefer hipster to hippie, head to Hayes Valley, where you will find boutiques and cafes centered around a sunny square, perfect for people watching. Grab a fresh juice and pastry from La Boulangerie or indulge in what is possibly the best ice cream in the world at Smitten.
You can’t visit San Francisco without riding the famous cable cars. It is one of the only places in the world where you can ride a national historic landmark. The Powell-Hyde line will take you to Fisherman’s Wharf, where you can warm up with a classic clam chowder sourdough bowl.
Contributed by Jan from Leisurely Drives.
Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love and Pennsylvania’s largest city, is the ideal city for history lovers, especially American history.
The historical center with the Independent Hall is a must-visit to live the times when George Washington was nominated as the chief of the army and Benjamin Franklin as the first Postmaster General. The Liberty center bell is another impressive place to visit and immerse in the history.
The historic district, lined by narrow cobblestone streets, trees and well-preserved ancient houses including the Elfreth’s alley is worth walking around. Museums of all kinds – especially arts and architecture are abound in this city.
Reading Terminal is the old but bustling farmer’s market in the center of Philadelphia – very popular with the residents. Fresh vegetables, seafood and meat and ready-to-eat yummy foods are displayed with enthusiasm here.
The city is also known for its street art and graffiti all over the city. Some of the art is truly 3-dimensional painted by talented artists.
The most popular specialty food of this city is the Philly Cheesesteak – a sandwich made with thinly sliced ribeye steak, caramelized onion and provolone cheese.
Philadelphia is a must-visit city for every visitor to North America.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Contributed by Lisa from Planning Away.
One of the best cities in North America is Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City is known to have the “best snow on earth”. There is a reason the 2002 Olympics were held in this great city. Winter time in Salt Lake is incredible.
Salt Lake City is located in a valley surrounded by mountains. This means that you can easily drive to a ski resort in less than an hour. If you love to ski, planning a Salt Lake City ski trip will not disappoint. The best skiing in Salt Lake City is Alta Ski Resort. It is located at the highest elevation which makes for great skiing. Snowboarding, snowshoeing, and snow tubing are also popular things to do in winter.
If you visit during the summer, some of the best activities to do are hiking and biking. Downtown Salt Lake City is also a nice area to visit. Temple Square offers free tours which includes one of the largest genealogical (Family Search Center) libraries in the world. There are many museums and great places to eat throughout the Salt Lake Valley.
Salt Lake is a great place to visit!
Contributed by Sam from My Flying Leap.
No list of the best cities in North America to visit would be complete without including Phoenix. The “Valley of the Sun” is not only the fifth-largest city in the US but also a top tourist spot.
Phoenix is great any time of the year, but when it really shines is during the winter months. When much of the rest of the country is blanketed in snow, Phoenix has incredible warm temperatures. Imagine sitting outdoors at restaurants or going swimming outside in December—you can in Phoenix!
Learn to fall in love with the subtle beauty of the desert by visiting the Desert Botanical Garden. You’ll find a lot of fun events throughout the year and during the holidays. Head to the Musical Instrument Museum for a fascinating perspective on music from around the world.
Check out Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s unique summer home, or the Heard Museum for a celebration of location southwestern US Native American Art. Hike the many mountains in and around the city for some incredible views or lounge in the many resort spas all over town.
Phoenix is also a foodies’ paradise. There are incredible restaurants with lots of different kinds of cuisine. Many have large windows that open to the outside to enjoy the incredible temperatures for much of the year.
Whether you come here to explore, play, or relax, you’ll find it all. There’s so much to do in Phoenix, and it’s a city not to miss!
St. Augustine, Florida
Contributed by David from DavidnBrace.
If you’re looking for a historic getaway in the US that still offers subtropical weather and white sand beaches, then there is no other place to look than St. Augustine Florida. The oldest city in America has an incredible line up of sights, activities and dining to suit any family’s expectations.
Downtown St Augustine is built around the historic district. With hundreds of shops, dozens of art galleries, candy makers and coffee spots your family can spend more than a whole day just exploring downtown. We always make sure to spend at least a day wondering the historic roads and popping into shops or dinners. One of our kids’ favorite downtown activities is the Whetstone Chocolate Factory where you can get a peek inside the factory and learn how the chocolatiers hand make artisanal chocolates.
If the fine white sand beaches aren’t the main draw for St Augustine, the amazing history is. The area was originally occupied by the Timucuan people who flourished and eventually led Ponce De Leon to the fabled Fountain of Youth, which you can still visit and even drink from! The very first church built in America also lies at the fountain of youth site. For our kids though, the most hauntingly awesome part of St Augustine’s history was taking the Dead Walk Ghost Tour. The tour walks you through some of the most haunted places in the city, including where the pirates were hung, the oldest hospital in the US and a few places of brutal murders. During the tour you get to play with K2 meters which show increases in EMF and the kids loved ‘ghost hunting’ with them.
Contributed by Bernadette from Book Retreats.
A New England town that is synonymous with witches is Salem, Massachusetts because of the witch trials that occurred there in 1692. Around 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft and since then the town has been the topic of books, films, and folk tales.
There is plenty to see, visit, and try in Salem any time of the year but the prime time to go is during October when the town ties in its history with Halloween. Each day has numerous events which lead to October 31st and almost everyone walks around in costumes.
The town is quintessential Northeast with wood and stone buildings, the most famous of which is the House of Seven Gables. It is the oldest wooden mansion of New England and the setting of the book by Nathaniel Hawthorne. For those that like to see the changing of the leaves, you will see it everywhere you go and have photos filled with Fall colors. And, of course, a walking tour after the sun sets is a great way to learn about the history of the town, see historical sites, and hear all kinds of stories from locals.
Salem is 45 minutes away from Boston and can be easily accessed by train. If you do happen to visit in October, book reservations well in advance and try to book a hotel in town because traffic can be really bad. It is small enough that you can walk and see everything witch-related by foot.
Contributed by Kelly from Girl with the Passport.
Without a doubt Portland, Maine is easily one of the best cities in North America to visit. Not only is this gorgeous coastal city a short bus ride away from the international airport, but it has a fun and funky vibe about it that is unlike any other place in the US. Plus, even though it’s a major city, it still has a warm and welcoming, small town feel that is best exuded by the friendly people who live here. It was also recently named one of the safest cities in the US.
However, the real highlight of any visit is enjoying some of the best things to do in Portland, Maine. And no trip to Maine would ever be complete without admiring some of the state’s awe-inspiring lighthouses. So, start your visit off with a trip to the state’s most famous lighthouse, Portland Head Light. Afterward, head back into Portland proper and check out Bug Light and Spring Point Ledge Light too!
Once you’ve had your fill of lighthouses, explore the cobblestone streets and historic buildings of the Old Port area. While you’re here, be sure to take a scenic walk along the Eastern Promenade before hopping on a ferry to nearby Peaks Island or grabbing some fresh duck fat fries from Duckfat Friteshack.
If you’re still hungry, be sure to snag a delicious lobster roll from The Highroller Lobster Co. before inhaling a decadent sea salt chocolate donut from Holy Donut. Next, go on an impromptu craft beer crawl since this city is loaded with independent breweries that serve up some of the best beers in the nation, like the ever awesome Urban Farm Fermentory.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.
This crazy city is a world on its own and should not be missed. Whether you like gambling or not, it should be on your itinerary on a South western road trip.
Primarily famous for the casinos and extravagant hotels. In the middle of the Mohave desert is the largest gambling paradise of the USA. The center of the city consists of the Strip, which is one long street. Here you’ll find the famous hotels with casinos such as the MGM Grand, the Bellagio, the Mirage and the Luxor Hotel. To name only a few.
Walk up and down the whole Strip, walk inside the hotels and admire the grandiosity, enjoy the free shows, such as the fountains at the Bellagio. Next to that there are several shows of famous stars and groups in Las Vegas all year long. It calls itself the greatest arena on earth.
Those are our 30 Best Cities in North America to visit
This concludes our list of cities in North America that deserve a place in your bucket list. Next up we’ll be exploring the Best Cities of Europe to Visit!
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