Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Art Museum
You know what keeps us up at night? All the places that deserve the spotlight but don’t always get it. First timers to most destinations will make a beeline for the tried and true but that’s led to over tourism. Plus, constant crowds can be a real strain on the locals who call those places home. There’s so much more to explore than the biggest city lights and here, we’ve rounded up our favorite alternatives.
If you love Miami, visit Fort Lauderdale, FL
Fort Lauderdale has the three essential B’s: beaches (23 miles of it!), boats and breweries — craft of course. The coastal community are the neighbors you’ve always wanted and the weather is sublime because you’re almost always guaranteed sunshine. Fun fact: their tourism site is called sunny.org!
Foodies rejoice, the burgeoning Greater Fort Lauderdale Food & Wine Festival is giving South Beach Food & Wine a run for its money. The week long fȇte features Broward County’s best along with its rising culinary stars. There are daily themed events you can nab tickets to depending on your fancy. Your appetite will be as happy as your heart because proceeds benefit the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.
Every beach has a story and across Greater Fort Lauderdale, you can sample a different one every day. Hillsboro Beach beckons with resilient sea turtle sightings and a historic lighthouse from the turn of the 20th century. Further down the coast, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea is a diver must; its crystalline waters are the permanent home of the SS Copenhagen, a British cargo steamer. Take a peek at a live beach cam if you can’t decide where to go first.
Where to stay: Kimpton Goodland – Fort Lauderdale Beach
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
If you love Chicago, visit Milwaukee, WI
Art lovers, bird watchers and bikers alike can find their kindred spirit in Milwaukee, a vibrant city that hugs the Western shores of Lake Michigan. Unconfined by any one adjective, Milwaukee has its own Midwest pluck and has a lot more brewing than just beer.
Milwaukee is home to rich biodiversity ranging from quiet woods to teeming wetlands. Explore local trails all year round and swing by the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center to learn about one of the most iconic birds of prey: raptors.
The Milwaukee Art Museum began humbly as an art gallery in 1888 and is now a sprawling collection of 30,000+ pieces including an annual Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition that recognizes young local artists. For an epic experience, the Harley-Davidson Museum explores the mechanics and legends that define the brand.
With a nickname like Brew City, you know we couldn’t leave this classic off the list. Milwaukee and beer are synonymous with each other after all. Pabst and Miller had their frothy starts here and a 100+ breweries have come and gone. There are beer gardens, museums, tours and tasting rooms galore to whet your thirst. Overwhelmed? We get it; spin the bottle with this handy beer directory.
Where to stay: Kimpton Journeyman Hotel in the historic third ward district.
Photo of Schlitz Audubon Nature Center by Zoe Finney-Schlitz
If you love Charlotte, visit Winston-Salem, NC
Arts and innovation and Black pioneers have shaped the Winston-Salem we know and love today. Originally the headquarters for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, major textile businesses and food giants, the city is attracting tech and healthcare industries as its next frontier. With the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains as its backdrop, there’s no better cultural bridge between past and present.
Held in August, the biennial National Black Theatre Festival is hosted by the North Carolina Black Repertory Company and features workshops, performances and celebrations drawing talent from around the world. The company regularly produces and elevates incredible work by African American creators.
A 15-minute drive takes you to Körner’s Folly, dubbed the “strangest home in the world.” Fans of the Winchester Mystery House will get a kick out of Julie Gilmer Körner’s eclectic 3.5 story 22 room Victorian. Filled with original furniture design, artwork and architectural details, every unique room is the physical embodiment of a vivid artistic imagination ahead of his time.
The newly branded Kaleideum North (née SciWorks), is a treat for all the senses. Kids and adults alike can roll up their sleeves to learn about the wonders of the world through scientific play, lush gardens and a planetarium that hosts musical laser shows and young astronomers programs.
Where to stay: Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in downtown Winston-Salem.
Kimpton Cardinal Hotel Photo Credit @lisadieder
If you love Philadelphia, visit Pittsburgh, PA
Without the ingenuity of Pittsburgh’s greats, we wouldn’t have chipped ham, the polio vaccine or the emoticon. The steel in its history books has paved the way for a new Pittsburgh, one that’s a master class in resilience and reinvention.
After a smoky industrial origin story, Pittsburgh has emerged as a leader in environmental best practices and green living. Investments in eco-friendly technology, design and manufacturing illustrate its commitment to preserving the world’s limited natural resources. Over 150 LEED-certified buildings dot the city and number one on the list is the Frick Environmental Center, a vibrant living building and education center that’s free to the public.
For an unbeatable panoramic view, take the Duquesne or Monongahela Incline, otherwise known as funiculars, which have been in operation for almost 150 years. Afterwards, wander in the dino footsteps of Apatosaurus louisae and Diplodocus at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
Where to stay: Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh in downtown Pittsburgh.
Photo of Fallingwater courtesy of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
If you love London, visit Manchester, England
The Smiths called it home, gothic architecture soars across the skyline and futbol is its bread and butter. We could only be talking about Manchester, the Gateway to the North. Its thriving performing arts, museums and nightlife scene make it more than a weekend stopover.
Designed by Alfred Waterhouse (also behind London’s Natural History Museum), Manchester Town Hall is the blueprint for European Neo-Gothic architecture. 24 bells, a clock tower, Great Hall and count them, SEVEN staircases, make this one of Manchester’s most well known landmarks. Snap a pic from the outside for now as it undergoes a top to bottom renovation.
If you find yourself here in the winter months, Chill Factore doesn’t depend on the elements because it’s the UK’s coolest indoor ski experience. Whether you’re a pro keeping their skills sharp or brand new to the slopes, there’s lessons and hourly lift passes for everyone.
For a breath of fresh air, lace up your sneakers and explore over 20 walking trails that will take you through beautiful bridges, piers, woodlands and lakes. It’s straight out of an English fairytale.
Where to stay: Kimpton Clocktower Hotel in Manchester’s City Centre.
Courtesy of the Harley-Davidson Museum