What makes a city cool? Is it a rich and varied history? A thriving arts scene? Chefs who are doing something new and different? Year-round parties and festivals?
The cities on this list have all that and more; an energy, a passion for life, and a distinctive identity that makes a vacation in any of these places a totally unique experience.
Stay Alfred has made it our mission to help you explore the most happening places to visit in the USA. right now, with this list of effortlessly stylish cities that are showing the rest of the world what cool looks like.
And while some of them have been the undisputed kings of cool for decades, there are some up-and-coming destinations you may not have considered…
Portland has long been the capital of cool in the Pacific Northwest (although don't tell Seattle we said so!). This city is always ahead of the curve, whether it's the new 'locavore' trend for fresh, locally-grown food or the avant-garde craft breweries scattered around downtown and Pearl district – right where our Stay Alfred vacation rentals are located. The clean air, abundance of parks and trees and proximity to both the mountains and the ocean mean it’s got everything a destination needs for the perfect vacation.
Boise has all the friendly charm of a small town, but a trailblazing artistic and culinary scene to rival any metropolis with award-winning wineries sitting side by side with independent galleries. The city is also blessed with 25 miles of green belt running along the scenic Boise River and a phenomenal location in the foothills of the Rockies. Whether you're admiring the view from the top of Camel’s Back Park or through the huge windows of Stay Alfred at The Fowler, Boise has definitely become one of the must-see places in the USA.
Whether its a band of revolutionaries tossing tea into the harbor or the Red Sox finally winning the World Series, Boston is always rebellious and surprising. There are plenty of gorgeous historic buildings here – we love them so much that we chose some for our Boston travel apartments – along with first-rate museums and the unique collection of churches, meeting houses and historic markers that make up the Freedom Trail. But the city doesn't lack for contemporary attractions, and its eclectic new fusion restaurants and unconventional boutique shopping are the epitome of east coast cool.
Minneapolis is often ranked as one of the happiest cities in the US, as well as the most livable; it must be the acclaimed modern art galleries, colorful street art, and a music scene that launched Prince's career that put in on the list of top places to visit in the US. But of course the real star of the 'City of Lakes' is the parks, hiking and biking trails, and breathtaking waterfalls. Take advantage of the fully-fitted kitchen in your Stay Alfred Minneapolis apartment to throw together a picnic and get out in nature at Minnehaha Park or on the Chain of Lakes.
This city has come a long way since its old west 'Cow Town' days, and modern Denver sparkles with cosmopolitan restaurants, jazz clubs, museums and performing arts venues. There's nowhere else that blends culture with the outdoors quite like Denver, as evidenced by hip concerts in the open-air Red Rocks Amphitheatre and baseball games at nostalgic Coors Field – right across the street from Stay Alfred at the Ballpark. Throw in a few cocktail lounges, handful of epic breweries and some eye-catching mountain scenery, and you've got some idea of what makes Denver one of the best places to visit in the USA.
Texas always makes a statement, and in Dallas that statement is big, bold and vibrant. The city attracts stylish shopaholics to its glitzy upscale malls, while foodies come for the surprisingly sophisticated culinary scene and sports fans come to cheer on the Cowboys. This is as cool as you can get when it's this hot. Speaking of the weather, you'll be thrilled to hear all of our Dallas vacation rentals have outdoor pools, and the city's trendy bars are always ready to serve you a cold beer on the patio.
With an incredible location in the foothills of the Appalachians that puts it close to world-class rock-climbing and white-water rafting, Chattanooga should be at the top of everyone's list of best places to travel in the US. The city has invested in high-speed fiber-optics that has attracted uber-cool tech startups and prompted a surge of new restaurants and bars. No worries if you're not the outdoorsy type; get your workout in Stay Alfred's 24/7 fitness center instead and spend your time taste-testing the city's twist on traditional Southern cuisine, like fried catfish or bacon and egg gelato.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Whether it’s a Jazz Festival, a Saints game, or the most famous Mardi Gras parade in the world, New Orleans is always ready to party. This melting pot of European, African and Caribbean influences is the perfect place to try groundbreaking new cuisine, check out the quirky exhibits at the Voodoo Museum, or just dance the night away in blues bars and jazz clubs. Your Stay Alfred getaway in New Orleans has tons of closet space, so feel free to pack all your party clothes and throw another pair of shoes in your suitcase.
Make Stay Alfred Your Place in America's Coolest Cities
Now that you’ve learned about America's coolest cities, it’s time to book an upscale Stay Alfred travel apartment, complete with a full kitchen and living room that feel like your home away from home, and, as always, nestled into a fantastic downtown location!