As someone who’s been fortunate enough to travel all over the United States, I’ve visited numerous great American cities. I love many of them, but these 5 are, in my opinion, in a league of their own.
The Rose City is truly a beautiful place. On all sides and even down the city streets in Downtown Portland, there are trees everywhere. It carries the same Cascadian feeling as Seattle, yet Portland seems a bit calmer and a bit… weirder. But in a good way! It’s really a lovely place. They also happen to be home to Portland Timbers, formerly my favorite soccer team (although I have since dropped them in favor of my hometown club, Atlanta United FC). If you’re thinking about going to visit the PNW, don’t you dare pass up Portland. In many ways, I prefer it to Seattle.
The Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and the CLink. The home to thousands of avid fans who cheer the names of Seahawks, Sounders, Supersonics, and Starbucks to the heavens. Seattle is a magical town full of wonderful, intense people. Unlike Portland, Seattle is a bustling center in the middle of Caucasia. Flanked seemingly on all sides by volcanoes and a volcano of human activity in itself, Seattle’s Starbucks fueled energies create a beautiful blend of cultures. Unlike Los Angeles where I felt as if cultures merely coexisted instead, Seattle feels part-East Coast, part-Asian, part-Californian, and 100% Cascadian. The rain might discourage you from living in Seattle if you’re used to sunlight all the time, but don’t ever let it stop you from getting out there to visit.
I’ve talked about Anchorage before in this post, so I’ll keep this brief. Anchorage is a breathtakingly beautiful town. The culture (to me at least) seems like what would happen if someone took Dallas’ don’t-mess-with-Tex attitude and the laid-back lifestyle in Cascadia, then mashed them together. There aren’t many tall buildings and there’s not even a tenth of the people as there are in a city like Seattle, but it’s still a nice place to visit and take in the scenery.
Manhattan, New York, New York
As far as *being a city* goes, NYC is the most city-like city there could possibly be. You can walk on the streets and be flanked by 60-floor buildings all around. The jungle is real, and it’s all around you while you’re in Manhattan. You could spend a year just in Manhattan–let alone the other boroughs which I’ve not visited properly yet–and never have reason to be bored. It’s a sea of yellow taxis. It’s an amazing view from the top of the Empire State Building. It’s the great universities of Columbia and NYU. It’s a calm day in the middle of Central Park, far away from all the noise and out of sight of the buildings. It’s NYC, and it’s whatever you want it to be. That’s what makes New York so magical for me.
Atlanta will always be home to me. I’m a suburbanite in truth, but this is the city I’ve always felt attached to. Soon, I’ll have my first address within the city proper, and I’m looking forward to getting to know it better (which I shall share on here). ATL or A-Town (just never Hotlanta), I’m proud to say that I’m from Metro Atlanta and I love it dearly. The skyline is one of the country’s best, especially coming in on I-20 Eastbound. Now more than ever, the town is becoming a melting pot of culture, and the city is–for the most part–embracing new cultures and peoples as they arrive. The city is even embracing soccer now with a near-religious fervor, something I never thought I’d see.
If you’ve never been before, come visit Atlanta. Eat at the Varsity (or just visit for pictures and eat at Chick-fil-A). Watch a Braves game. Come scream and yell with thousands of other Atlanta United supporters. Enjoy the city in the forest because it’s really quite a nice place to be. Just try not to mind the traffic.