Summer's the time to get out and see America and there is a lot of America to see. A lot of millennials will be hitting up the hotspots this summer: Maybe trying to start an internet business in Seattle, going for an internship in Washington, D.C., or moving to New York City with nothing but a suitcase, a camera, and that credit card that Mom and Dad gave them. But for those who are lucky and can actually choose where they want to travel this summer, here are a few places where you might find a bed — and some unexpected good times.
1. Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston has the unfortunate reputation of being the place where people go when Savannah is all booked up. But people who end up in Charleston instead will probably find that they are, in fact, the lucky ones. The city has great cuisine, great beaches, and one of the most beautiful college campuses in the entire South. It also has the Gothic feel of Savannah while also being a much cleaner city. Sometimes, at the right time of the evening on the bay, you can even see dolphins making their way north. Drop in. You won't regret it.
2. Santa Fe, New Mexico
New Mexico is one of those states like Idaho and Wyoming: Most people from east of the Mississippi are probably not even aware that it exists. But it still has a lot to offer, not the least of which is an art gallery on almost every corner. The city has a longstanding tradition in the arts, whether it comes in the form of a Georgia O'Keefe painting, a live music festival or a novel of the American West. (The city is home to Cormac McCarthy, among others.) The city is built in an old pueblo style which fits together well with its surroundings. It might not be the first place that you think of, but it isn't a place that you will easily forget.
3. Boise, Idaho
This could stand in for any number of Western cities that nobody thinks much about, from Coeur d'Alene to the north to Bozeman, Montana to the east. The culture of the Rocky Mountain states is something that few millennials take much interest in when they are from the coasts. It used to be that the smartest kids from off the farms in Cheyenne, Wyoming or Winnemucca, Nevada might make it back East to get a full education, but no American who has ignored the American West is fully educated. (And American West means the actual American West, not the strip of territory that runs from San Diego up to Seattle.) The reason is because the American West is the only region which still offers Americans what the first settlers came for: Not the sense of place that can be found in the South, but rather a sense of space. For stretching your legs, Boise is a good place to start.
4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
When it comes to the Atlantic Seaboard, Philadelphia is the odd man out. It does not have the universities like Boston, the commerce like New York, or the power like Washington. But when it comes to having a good time, there are few better places for it. Seriously, how can one not love a city whose residents are so passionate about sports that their principal stadium has four jail cells? But this is not all. Unlike New York City, which has always had the tendency to build on top of the past, Philadelphia has always had the space to build along side of it whether this is reflected in Independence Hall or the Amish wagons that sometimes make their way into the city. And I'll take the Philly cheesesteak over New York-style pizza any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
5. Washington, D.C.
It might seem a bit strange that a city that so many people want to move to could be "underrated," but cities can be rated highly for the wrong reasons. People who move to Washington, D.C. mostly do it to get close to the halls of power, but that is only one of the things that Washington, D.C. offers, and it is hardly the best thing. Anyone who is spending this summer in Washington, D.C. should recognize the city for what it is: A massive conglomeration of people from every region of the United States, all with unique experiences and interesting stories. It's also a great city if you are looking for cheap baseball tickets, a cosmopolitan assortment of restaurants, and an intriguing event or lecture to go to almost every night. Getting your eyes off the work desk and taking a good look at all that's going on around you is probably the best way to start appreciating the city for what it is.