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Isn’t summer the time of year when we’re all supposed to leave the city in favor of a Hamptons weekend, beach time in the Florida Panhandle, outdoor grilling at a Midwest lake house or camping at a National Park somewhere out West? Not so fast! There are plenty of reasons to make your summer escape not from the city but to it, including a once-in-a-lifetime solar event, a roaring new streetcar line and so much more. Still not convinced? Keep reading…

RELATED: See what’s on sale this week on our deals page!

New York City, NY

Ever wish you’d been at Coachella or Lollapalooza when they were still in their infancies? Your wish is granted at Panorama, a 3-day music festival happening June 28-30 at Randall’s Island, a small landmass smooshed between Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. Panorama is only in its second year (we’ll forgive you for missing the first) but already boasts a star-studded lineup including Frank Ocean, Tame Impala, Future Islands, Belle and Sebastian and more. Sure, NYC gets hot and sticky in the summer, but June is usually temperate and if cooling off requires visiting a trendy (and Instagrammable) ice cream joint, Manhattan has like a million of them.

RELATED: Want to be stationary in a building that used to make stationery? Book NYC’s Paper Factory Hotel now.

Miami Beach, FL

Wait a minute. Isn’t Miami Beach the place where everyone from the Northeast and Midwest goes to escape the cold in winter? Yes, and that’s exactly why you should visit in summer. Room rates drop, tourists go elsewhere and the Atlantic Ocean tempers the stifling heat. Also, Mid-Beach has made the island seriously cool again. Check out the Faena district, an ambitious six-block project that comprises the celeb-infested Faena Hotel, Casa Claridge and new retail. There is also Ian Schrager’s EDITION (which includes an indoor ice rink for cooling off), poolside shenanigans at millennial cool hostel the Freehand and the mainland’s new Miami Institute of Art.

RELATED: Think pricey hotels are for the birds? Stay in a Deco District classic at the Pelican Hotel.

Boulder Falls | Trover photo by Monika Christopherson

Boulder, CO

Why Boulder and why now? Because this fun and funky, small city just a stone’s throw from Denver is officially cool again. Think food truck eats at indoor/outdoor live music hangout Rayback Collective, savory morning buns at hip New American eatery Arcana and brews and bikes at Full Circle (there’s even an informal brew trail called the Boulder Beer Bike Tour). Plus, the city’s summer events calendar includes rubbing elbows with world-class athletes at June’s Boulder IRONMAN (the largest IRONMAN in the world), two nights with John Mayer and the Grateful Dead at Folsom Field and the summer long Colorado Shakespeare Festival. As for the weather, it’s pretty much paradise: When the sun sets, Boulder’s dry summer heat gives way to cooler nights.

 RELATED: “Glamp” it up in Boulder! Book the city’s hippest hotel, crunchy, cool crash pad Basecamp today.

Columbia, SC

The Great American Eclipse, a rare solar event that is streaking across the country August 21 and will block out the entirety of the sun for several minutes, cuts a narrow U.S. path beginning in coastal Oregon and ending in South Carolina. It will mostly touch rural areas where eager tourists have already snatched up limited hotel rooms and campground space within national parks. But the path does include a couple of big cities, including Nashville and Columbia. We say go for Columbia which is gearing up for a full weekend of pre-eclipse activities, including public lectures, museum happenings, a geocaching scavenger hunt, fireworks and more.

RELATED: Get our JETSETTER promo code and other deals here!

Photo courtesy of Tourism Media

Detroit, MI

Michigan’s comeback kid adds more fuel to its roaring engine with the opening of the QLine Streetcar, which began service in May. The first streetcar to roam Detroit city streets since the old lines closed for good in 1956 (automobiles and buses led to their demise), zips riders along Woodward Avenue from downtown through Wayne State University, ending near the Penske Tech Center. The ride includes attractions such as the Ford Field, MGM Grand Detroit, the Detroit Opera House, Little Caesars Arena (opening fall 2017), the Museum of Contemporary Art and, importantly, Shake Shack. Best of all, ridership is free until July 1.

RELATED: What happens when an old Holiday Inn turns into Motor City’s coolest hotel? Check out Trumbull & Porter!

Left: Flickr CC: Mattheew Deery | Right: Tourism Media

Minneapolis, MN

Do you have any idea how hard it has been to recommend a Twin Cities visit without being able to direct tourists to the beloved Sculpture Garden at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis? At last the wait for an Instagrammable pic in front of “Spoonbridge and Cherry” is over as the newly renovated garden is set to reopen this summer featuring reconstruction of the Garden, a “green” Hennepin Avenue and the addition of hundreds of new trees. But wait, there’s more. Paisley Park, Prince’s recording studio for 30 years, is now open for public tours and don’t miss the murals dedicated to the Purple One at Chanhassen Cinema and the Sencha Tea building.

 RELATED: Buy your next piece of art from an old cigarette vending machine at the posh and artsy Le Meridien Chambers.

Paso Robles, CA

Not everything cool in California happens along the coast and not all oenophiles (that’s wine enthusiast to the layperson) need visit tourist-trodden Napa Valley for a killer wine weekend. An inland city, Paso Robles (a coastal day trip only takes 40 minutes) is still part of California’s Central Coast and is everything we dream of in a weekend getaway. Its summers are hot, dry and awash in endless sunshine, it’s surrounded by some 200 (mostly family owned and operated) wineries and has a perfectly pleasing, and walkable, foodie-friendly downtown. Plus, accommodations are solid; check out Hotel Cheval and Allegretto Vineyard Resort.

RELATED: Robles the dice on a room with an ocean view at the Cambria Beach Lodge just a short drive away!

Santa Fe, NM

The quintessential summer city, sunny Sante Fe is a desert town that also happens to sit at an altitude of 7,200 feet meaning that while desert neighbors like Las Vegas, Phoenix and nearby Albuquerque sizzle, Santa Fe remains balmy and manageable. A compact place, check out its groovy Pueblo architecture, visit the excellent Georgia O’Keefe museum and of course kick back with a margarita and Mexican bites (we recommend Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen). Afterward, have a cocktail at divey Matador. For comfy digs right along old Route 66, check out the El Rey Inn. To unwind in this spa town, head to Ten Thousand Waves Japanese Spa.

RELATED: When they go high, we go Pueblo by booking a room at the Southwest-styled Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi.

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Tagged: Florida, Miami

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Jason Heidemann

Jason Heidemann

Jason is a Lead Content Specialist for Expedia Group, and manages content initiatives across numerous Expedia-owned brands. His work has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Time Out, the Huffington Post, Chicago Magazine, Passport and many others.

5 thoughts on “Top American cities you’ll want to visit this summer”

  1. I love this post. I do recommend NY in the summer, just pace yourself & fell in love with Paso years ago!

  2. I need a vacation for canada 5days.I need a flight,hotel and private car. Can you send me cheapest price.

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