If you’re looking for ways to squeeze more travel into your calendar this year, you only need to look around the U.S. With so many American cities reinventing themselves, travelers can discover something exciting right around the corner. And in more established cities, there are plenty of new gems for repeat travelers to find. Whether you go for a week or weekend, these are the best U.S. cities to visit in 2019.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
After the damage of 2017’s Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is ready and eager to welcome back tourists to the island in 2019. And with the reopening and refurbishing of hotels like the San Juan Marriot and Stellaris Casino and brand-new hotels like Serafina Beach Hotel, there are many more opportunities for travelers to enjoy a tropical vacation that doesn’t require a passport. You can go shopping along Condado Beach or visit the Santurce neighborhood to taste San Juan’s rising culinary scene for yourself. At Lote 23, you’ll find a “gastronomic park” made up of dozens of food stalls that serve everything from grilled fish to tacos, pizza, and donuts.
Visitors in January could also have the opportunity to take part in a historical musical event—the San Juan production of Hamilton. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the renowned Broadway musical, will reprise his role as Alexander Hamilton in San Juan for the first time since he stepped off stage in New York in 2016. Check out Discover Puerto Rico to browse vacation packages that include tickets to the San Juan production.
Buffalo, New York
For a getaway near the Great Lakes, look no further than Buffalo in upstate New York. In addition to being just 30 minutes from Niagara Falls, Buffalo is in the middle of a revitalization worth seeing for yourself. Hot wing devotees have long been drawn to the city before for its famous Buffalo Wing Trail, but you might be surprised to find out that architecture fans also have a lot to discover. Opening in spring 2019 is the Lipsey Architecture Center, showcasing Buffalo’s architectural heritage—which includes Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House. In the warmer months, you can get outside in Elevator Alley, a repurposed area that has transformed the city’s industrial grain silos into something way more fun, with outdoor movie screenings and a zip-line.
Consider visiting in July for the Garden Walk, the biggest free garden tour in the U.S. Every year Buffalo’s dedicated home gardeners open their backyards to visitors for this city-wide event. It’s a great way to explore the city and make a connection with the locals.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Though it’s often overshadowed by its neighbor Miami, Fort Lauderdale has been growing into its own with a thriving arts scene, luxurious hotel options, and 23 miles of beaches. You can partake in classic Fort Lauderdale activities like hopping aboard the Jungle Queen Riverboat Cruise for dinner and a show, or pay a visit to FATVillage, an arts district that offers visitors a chance to browse galleries or shop from local artists. If you happen to be there on the last Saturday of the month, don’t miss the monthly ArtWalk.
If you’re looking for some funky eats, check out restaurants like Rhythm + Vine, an outdoor garden restaurant with a rotation of local food trucks, so every time you go you can try something different.
Asbury Park, New Jersey
This summer, take a trip an hour south of New York City to the Jersey Shore’s most happening and musical city—Asbury Park. Home of the Stone Pony, the historic music venue that launched native New Jersey superstars like Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi, Asbury Park is a must-visit destination for any classic rock fan. In 2019, the city is bursting with reinvention. Asbury Park’s once-decaying waterfront buildings are seeing new life, such as the old carousel building which has been transformed into a theater space and skate park.
Along the boardwalk, you can find everything hip from craft coffees to Korean-fusion tacos, along with restaurants where you can get your seafood fix, like the Langosta Lounge or the Asbury Oyster Bar. If you can’t visit during the summer, you can still plan a trip around cool events like the Music and Film Festival in April or the Sea Hear Now Festival in September.