With theme parks, cruises, casinos, and other fun-filled vacation hot spot options, it can be difficult for travelers to make time for cultural activities. Contrary to popular belief, vacationers of all ages actually can have fun while enriching their lives by becoming exposed to and involved in other cultures. Culture isn’t difficult to find, either. The following list compiles five culturally-rich cities in the U.S. that can add more inspiration and education to your time away from home without sacrificing the fun aspect of vacations.
Chicago is one of the most diverse cities in the U.S., with an aura of culture, tolerance, and pride that immediately envelopes you as soon as you arrive. In addition to world-class cuisine ranging from classic hot dog stands to gourmet first class restaurants, Chicago pride parades and other special cultural events ensure a complete eye-opening experience for vacationers of all ages and backgrounds. While in the city, make sure to take advantage of must-see cultural sites like Lincoln Park, the Chicago Cultural Center, and the Civic Opera House for a more holistic experience.
2. San Francisco
Speaking of pride, San Francisco is one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the country, with pride parades and countless festivals celebrating tolerance and diversity. After commemorating love in all forms, visitors can experience world-famous landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and the oldest Chinatown in North America. Ride the trolley to get the full San Francisco experience and enjoy a day of surfing and other coastal activities at one of the city’s many gorgeous beaches. Vacationers can even revisit the Summer of Love at the famous Haight-Ashbury district, which is known for its pivotal role in liberal movements of this era.
3. New York
Go from boho to chic in the original melting pot of New York City, which is brimming with enough culture and diversity to last you for an extended stay. Even if you’ve never been, everyone knows about famous New York sites such as the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Broadway, and other culture-filled landmarks that provide a stimulating experience for the whole family. With such a wide variety of people and activities, New York delivers a sensory overload that truly enriches your life in lasting ways.
A little known fact about Houston, Texas is that 90 languages are regularly spoken in the city, which speaks volumes about the incredible diversity that exists in this region. Houston has a very unique “southern” charm that maintains a culture specific to the city, while simultaneously celebrating different backgrounds and groups of people as well. Educational activities are always within reach when you visit the city, which include the Houston Space Center and the largest fine arts museum in the Southwest for fun and affordable cultural activities.
For a fantastic cultural experience, Charleston, South Carolina is an excellent vacation destination that brings history to life in this bustling town. From jazz festivals to theatrical performances to naval and maritime museums, Charleston comes with enriching tourist attractions that provide a breath of fresh air to travelers looking for activities that combine both education and excitement. If you’ve already experienced the cultures of other famous cities or want to plan a more original vacation, consider Charleston as your cultural destination.
Culture isn’t always easy to come by in the U.S., but there are several cities that have a rich history and diverse population that make them worth the trip for your next vacation. Although you may have plenty of cultural activities closer to home, traveling to one of the above cities gives tourists the opportunity to see the world from a whole new perspective and enjoy an enriching experience with its own unique flavor.
Picture by: © Jeremy Atherton, 2006.