8 Coolest Cities You Must Experience for Yourself

Jennifer Cuellar
Jennifer Cuellar
9/27/2017 - 7:21am

There are experiences we hold onto long after we travel. That one crazy concert that seemed to last all night. That one sports game when the score was tied until the audacious move in the final seconds. And that one fairytale town you took your kids to and they still don’t know if it was make-believe or not.

When it comes it our happiness levels, we can buy things and we can buy stuff. But studies show that experiences make us happier. And there’s no better way to experience life than to travel to new places. So the question is: Where should you travel next?

We know you’ve already heard about the Austins and the New Yorks, but what about the unexpected? What about the places that leave you surprised, intrigued, and maybe even with a gob of face paint still on your cheeks on your way home? Perhaps the places you may have never even thought of? Flights.com is proud to present the coolest cities in America you simply have to experience for yourself. Ready? Let’s do this.

Durham, North Carolina

Beer. Oh, sweet beer. If you want to experience more sudsy goodness than you know what to do with, a trip to Durham, North Carolina, during World Beer Festival Durham is in order. Now in its 22nd year, this event offers about 250 beers for you to taste.

Durham, North Carolina
via Flickr/Maureen

While you’re here:

Florence, Oregon

Here’s something we bet you’ve never done before: sandboarding. Much like you would with snowboarding, you grab a board and cut down the side of a hill. Where should you try this new sport? Florence, Oregon, where you’ll find Sand Master Park, the first all-sandboarding park of its kind. This is just one of the reasons why Florence is one of the best American cities to visit.

Florence, Oregon

While you’re here:

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

If you’ve never experienced a long soak in a natural hot spring, it’s time to change that. But which location should you go to? We recommend Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where a short trek takes you to Strawberry Park Hot Springs, an all-natural pool surrounded by forest.

Steamboat Springs, Colorado
via Flickr/qJake

While you’re here:

Beach Haven, New Jersey

You haven’t lived until you’ve caught some monster waves on a surfboard. And when you’re looking for a place to get started, Beach Haven, New Jersey, is a good place to begin. As the home of the first Ron Jon Surf Shop, Long Beach Island is ready to connect you with some spot-on surf lessons—making Beach Haven one of the hippest cities in America.

Beach Haven, New Jersey
via Flickr/Patrick Stahl

While you’re here:

Holland, Michigan

Experiencing something that’s equal parts beautiful as traditional is a wonderful thing. And for something rather unexpected, you have to visit Holland, Michigan. The name should be the first clue to what this town is all about. This spot embraces Dutch culture, from the tulips to the snacks.

Holland, Michigan

While you’re here:

Lake George, New York

When a place is pretty enough that even Georgia O’Keeffe used it as inspiration for her paintings, well, you know it’s a place you need to experience in person. We’re talking about Lake George, New York, and if it’s not on your to-do list yet, it’s time to change that.

Lake George, New York

While you’re here:

Glendale, Arizona

Known for its bone-crushing sports teams, if you’re in Glendale, it’s because you want to experience what it truly means to be a fanatic. Love football? Not as much as Arizona Cardinal fans. Loyal locals go crazy for their team. Plus, the stadium doubles as a Super Bowl venue and concert hall, making it one of the coolest cities in the U.S. for big events.

Glendale, Arizona
via Flickr/John Vetterli

While you’re here:

Mansfield, Massachusetts

Sometimes it’s hard just to...be. No phone, no camera, no Plexiglas separating you from experiencing the world you’re living in. But if you’re willing to let go, we have a suggestion for you: the great state of Massachusetts and the city of Mansfield.

Mansfield, Massachusetts
via Yelp/Lauren L.

While you’re here:


There are some experiences that carve a place in your heart and never leave. Maybe it’s a raucous festival you attend with friends, or a magical place you take the kids, or somewhere where you feel brave like you’ve never felt before. Traveling isn’t just about getting away; it’s about creating new narratives in your life. Dare to travel. Dare to adventure!

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