Trust the Locals brings you the Top U.S. attractions you’ve never heard of, compiled by locals around the country. Use this list to help plan your next vacation- or get crazy and plan a road trip to visit all of them!
LAURANCE ROCKEFELLER PRESERVE, JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING
In Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the Laurance Rockefeiller Preserve is car-accessible from May through the end of October. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. purchased the land in 1932 intending to donate it to the Grand Teton National Park, but instead decided to use it as a family retreat. Finally in 2001, John’s son Laurance Rockefeller donated the land to the Park, and in 2007, the preserve became open to the public. During your trip to Jackson Hole, a visit to the preserve and a hike to Phelps Lake are a must!
GUTHRIE THEATRE, MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA
In Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Guthrie has several theaters and plays to choose from at any given period, but if you don’t have time to see a show, it’s worth it just to walk by to see the interesting sci-fi look of the building. There are some great restaurants within walking distance if you want to do dinner and a show… Sea Change, Sanctuary, and Spoonriver to name a few.
BALBOA PARK, SAN DIEGO
You’ve probably heard of the San Diego Zoo, but may not have realized it’s within Balboa Park, the largest urban cultural park in the U.S. Balboa Park is home to 17 museums, several major gardens and many famous attractions, including the San Diego Zoo. The park features super cool architecture and tons of nature trails. Check out the lawn bowling courts and El Prado museums. Admittance is free to the park grounds, Botanical Building, outdoor gardens, and some attractions.
CITY MUSEUM, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
The City Museum in St. Louis is basically a giant playground for kids and adults; its a modern playhouse filled with repurposed architectural and industrial objects. You should visit especially if you have kids, but even if you don’t! Don’t skip a turn down the 10 story slide, and be sure to wear close-toed shoes! The museum is right off Washington Avenue, a street downtown full of restaurants, bars and local shops.
FELL’S POINT, BALTIMORE, MARYLAND
Fell’s Point is one of Baltimore’s oldest neighborhoods and runs along the north shore of the Baltimore Harbor and the Patapsco River. Locals love visiting Fell’s Point for unique shopping. Some favorites include Su Casa for furniture, Poppy and Stella for women’s shoes, and aMuse for unique children’s toys. After shopping, snag a table on the water at V-NO, a wine shop and bar that serves wine by the glass and light snacks. Their toasted nuts are seriously addicting.
AMERICAN SIGN MUSEUM, CINCINNATI, OHIO
If you want to check out a museum in Cincinnati and appreciate a mix of art and nostalgia, go to the American Sign Museum, which houses and preserves a massive collection of vintage neon signage from across the country. The museum also displays the manufacturing equipment used to create and design the signs. It’s super unique and one of the top U.S. attractions you’ve never heard of but should make sure to check out!
MCDOWELL SONORAN PRESERVE, SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA
Just 15 miles north of Scottsdale, the McDowell Sonoran Preserve is the largest urban preserve in the U.S. and covers more than 30,000 acres with almost 170 miles of trails. Locals love hiking up Tom’s Thumb, the first developed trailhead on the north side of the McDowell Mountains. There are quite a few switchbacks, so be prepared for a moderately difficult hike. The total mileage, out and back, is just over four miles. The Preserve is open every day between sunrise and sunset, and dogs on leashes are welcome.
ARCHITECTURAL BOAT TOURS, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
The city of Chicago is famed for its architecture, and the 130 years of innovative styles and designs can surely be seen while strolling downtown, but it’s much more fun to witness while on a boat (with a knowledgable guide, to boot!) There are several companies that operate tours down the Chicago River throughout the year, when weather permits. Make sure to check in advance whether or not your boat will have a bar on board. If not, secure drinks from the kiosk before departing.
WYNWOOD WALLS, MIAMI, FLORIDA
Wynwood Walls is urban graffiti at its finest- a warehouse district turned hip neighborhood with rotating street art from some of the most highly regarded artists in the world. Wynwood Walls is open to the public all year round and admission is free. If you are artsy you will love this attraction!
BURLINGTON BIKE PATH, BURLINGTON, VERMONT
Burlington’s bike path offers views of Lake Champlain for eight miles. You can rent a bike and knock out 16 miles from end to end, or just walk a portion of the path. Although it’s most popular during the summer & fall, more and more people are visiting in the Spring and Winter. There are several other paths and causeways in the area (includingColchester Causeway), so a bike rental will keep you busy for a full day!