My 11 Favorite U.S. Cities to Visit (by a Chicago area resident)

denver bear.jpg
Memorial Day weekend is a time when many people hit the road, or catch a plane, to visit one of America's great cities, national parks, recreational areas or wherever their family or friends may be.

I stayed put in my suburban Chicago home this weekend, but had flown to Denver (home to the peer bear at left) last weekend and on recent weekends had driven to such Midwestern hot spots as Grand Rapids, Milwaukee and Champaign-Urbana. (The hyperlinks are to travelogues I wrote; haven't done so for Denver yet, but this is a link to a review of the U2 show I caught there.)

Although I have visited and enjoyed a good number of natural attractions, both at home and abroad, I am admittedly partial to cities. In the U.S. alone, I have been to more than 50 "major" cities (typically those with populations over 200,000) and have enjoyed visiting dozens of art museums, nearly every current major league ballpark and numerous unique local attractions while dining at regionally notable restaurants.

Like most of my lists, my choices of "11 Favorite U.S. Cities to Visit" can readily vary, but the ones below are those that felt right to include at this point. Being a near lifelong resident, I didn't include Chicago but highly recommend it to anyone who's never been here. On its own merits, I also didn't opt to include Los Angeles, a city where I've lived and have friends I always enjoy visiting.

My apologies also to Denver, Seattle, Austin, San Antonio and even Detroit, cities I like but just beyond these top picks. Except where noted, all photos were taken by me.

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