Destination Directory

10 Smaller Cities You Should Know About

Sometimes, the iconic big cities get all the glory.

According to Resonance's America's Best Cities 2019 report, there are 10 smaller U.S. cities—with populations from 200,000 to 1 million—that deserve to be on your radar. The report identifies cities that are most desirable for both locals and visitors, using six core categories: Promotion, Prosperity, Place, People, Product, and Programming.

Have you visited any of them?

Honolulu, Hawaii

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Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson.

In this capital city revered as the heart of Hawaii, groups can find historic landmarks, fine dining and world-class shopping—not to mention some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world, including the famous Waikiki Beach.

Omaha, Nebraska

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Photo courtesy of Visit Omaha. 

An urban oasis on the plains, Omaha exceeds expectations. Groups can explore the walkable cobblestone streets of the Old Market Entertainment District, lined with antique emporiums, distinct boutiques, entertainers, pubs and more than 30 locally owned restaurants.

Charleston, South Carolina

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Photo courtesy of Charleston Area CVB

Whether groups are looking to golf, soak up historic architecture or simply relax, Charleston has it. While visiting, they could even learn about sea turtle conservation efforts led by the South Carolina Aquarium.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Photo courtesy of Ron Behrmann, Courtesy of Visit Alburquerque

Diverse cultures and dynamic traditions abound in this high desert oasis, known as the "Hot Air Balloon Capital of the World." Groups could soar high above the city, sample traditional New Mexican cuisine, take a stroll under the neon lights of Route 66 and more.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

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Photo courtesy of Lori Duckworth/Oklahoma Tourism. 

With the airport located only 15 minutes from downtown Tulsa, there's no reason not to visit. After groups explore the city—which boasts one of the nation's most extensive collections of art deco architecture—they can experience the taste of Tulsa with flavors ranging from barbecue and Mexican to Caribbean and Mediterranean.

Reno, Nevada

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Photo courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com

Located a mere 30 minutes from the stunning Lake Tahoe, Reno proudly calls itself "The Biggest Little City in the World"—and for good reason. Here, groups can enjoy rock climbing, skiing, and horseback riding, explore the Riverwalk District, hear live music, and more. Whether visitors prefer hiking boots or high heels, this lively town has the perfect experience waiting for them.

Asheville, North Carolina

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Photo courtesy of Jared Kay, courtesy of ExploreAshleville.com

Asheville's unmistakable mountain vibes are a breath of fresh air groups will find themselves craving again and again. Admiring the Biltmore Estate, exploring the city's craft-brewery scene, and learning about mountain culture on a walking tour are simply the beginning.

Colorado Springs, Colorado

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Photo courtesy of Visit Colorado Springs

With more than 60 area attractions including trains, museums, parks, a zoo and more, Colorado Springs has no shortage of opportunities for groups to broaden their horizons. Ditch the pavement and go biking or hiking on mountain trails, drink up at various distilleries, marvel at red rock formations inside Garden of the Gods Park, travel to the top of Pikes Peak, and more.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

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Photo courtesy of Myrtle Beach Area CVB

This South Carolina gem's 60 miles of beautiful coastline are complemented by lush natural wonders and Southern hospitality. Groups could ride the 200-foot SkyWheel, take in a live show at House of Blues, tee off on a challenging golf course, relax on the beach, and go deep-sea fishing. Don't forget there's stellar shopping, too!

Madison, Wisconsin

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Photo courtesy of Focal Flame Photography, Courtesy of Visit Madison. 

Groups with an affinity for the performing arts will feel right at home in Madison. The city, which boasts touring Broadway shows and various galleries and museums, is dotted with clubs and venues hosting concerts nearly every night. Don't forget to hop into one of Madison's five lakes to swim, kayak, boat and more. Beautiful views and unforgettable experiences are aplenty.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for Groups Today.

Main photo courtesy of Charleston Area CVB.


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