In a land as massive as the USA, you’ll never run short of places worth visiting. Each state has its own distinct identity, which makes the country a lot like fifty smaller countries all joined together. Yet, with that said, so many tourists still head for the same cities and sites over and over again.

Yes, you “heart” NY. LA will make you starstruck. And Miami is a sun-seeker’s’ paradise. We all know about these, of course, but as a consequence, some of America’s finest cities aren’t getting the love they deserve. That’s a shame, because there’s more to the USA than these headline cities. In addition, while the streets of those cities are filled with tourists 365 days per year, some of the more unsung cities will be quieter. That makes these unsung heroes the perfect destination if you want to get away from the crowds.

Houston, Texas

Houston

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Houston has played its part in some of its finest, and nerviest, moments in American history; Houston is where the Apollo mission control was situated in the 60s and 70s. From Neil Armstrong letting us know the Eagle had landed, to Jim Lovell informing the world that they had a problem – Houston and space travel are linked in our collective minds.

It only makes sense, then, to make a pilgrimage to the Space Center as part of a trip to Houston. After a rewarding day paying tribute to mankind’s giant leaps, you can head for Galveston Bay to enjoy the beach and seafood that’s on offer. You can also gaze in wonder at the beautiful coastline, and you will soon see why Glen Campbell was so keen to immortalize Galveston in song.

Portland, Oregon

Portland

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For many people, Oregon is just that state that sits between California and Washington. It rarely gets the attention those two states garner, as a result. This is a major injustice, as its sightseeing opportunities are plentiful.

From The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry to the beautifully serene Japanese Garden, this city is a perfect place to spend some time relaxing and seeing sights few tourists take the time to explore. Take a couple of hours out to travel south, and you can also visit Eugene – the home of US track athletics. This is where Olympians are made, and Hayward Field is worth the trip all by itself.

Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland

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Few cities in America divide opinion quite like Cleveland. There are those who look down on it for its blue collar reputation; more fool them, though. Those in the know appreciate Cleveland for its brain, its soul, and – of course, its rock and roll. This is where you’ll find The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and where legends as diverse as Trent Reznor, Bobby Womack, and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins got their start. If you have music in your heart, there’s something in Cleveland for you.

If the music idea leaves you cold, then there are still plenty of attractions to enjoy. From a first-rate Museum of Art, to several high-achieving sports teams – there’s plenty waiting for you in the mid-west.