Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Ever visit a town that you were surprised how nice it was?

Ever visit a town that you were surprised how nice it was?

Sep 3rd, 2004, 09:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 136
Ever visit a town that you were surprised how nice it was?

Have you ever visited a town, on business or for pleasure, that you were excepting the worse but it turned out to be wonderful?

I am looking for advice on towns to visit on a planned cross country road trip. I have been to all the major "tourist towns" On this cross country trip I want to visit "real towns" where the average tourist would not make an effort to stop in---- but in reality-- are very nice and may seem like a nice place to live and have a nice feel to them. Towns that I could get the feel for the best America has to offer!

Your thoughts are appreciated!
travdis is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 09:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,449
Not a town but I was surprised by the scenic beauty of Northwest Arkansas. Prior to visting Bentoville for the first time, I had fairly low expectations. But the area has nice rolling hills and some really picturesque rivers.

I'd also say the downtown area of Delray Beach Florida was much nicer than I expected.
Ryan is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 09:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,175
I was surprised at how nice Phoenix was. It's a city that I look forward to going back to!

Also I really liked Memphis and didn't think I would. Talk about kick a-s fun!!!
stormygirl is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 09:47 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,620
Here is a off the wall idea:

Dubuque Iowa. Really nice river town that has done some great things in recent years. Make sure and check out the National Mississippi River Museum. Really nice riverfront and a homey downtown area. No traffic.
placeu2 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 09:49 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
Bristol, RI. And I ended up living there for 3 years.

Didn't have much expectation when visiting Natchitoches, LA; but it's much prettier than I've thought.
rkkwan is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 09:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,212
I went to visit a friend in Milwaukee a few years ago, and was shocked at what a great city it was. Clean, nice parks, friendly people, fantastic restaurants...and wow, I didn't even bring my camera. I was there for Summerfest and 4th of July and had a blast.
suzanne is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 09:55 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,631
People often say that about my home city, Austin Texas. Everyone thinks Texas is all a dry, dusty desert and they are pleasantly surprised that Austin is so green and hilly. As for me, I was also surprised by how much I liked Memphis. Great city!!
P_M is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 09:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,714
Kansas City, Missouri (the town of fountains I think) and Pittsburgh are 2 that come to mind as very pleasant surprises. It's been a while since I was in both, but KC was lovely (and I loved the Raphael Hotel) and Pittsburgh had such great architecture and history. I did get lost driving in Pittsburgh though.
mclaurie is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 10:04 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,766
I traveled to Missoula, Montana a few years ago. I thought I would find a sleepy little town. Instead it was like a smaller version of counter-culture San Fransico! I loved it. Hippies everywhere, hundreds of people accually peddling on two wheels, an alternative life style festival in the park by the river downtown, bars jamed with people all night. Wow.
jor is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 10:23 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,989
Nashville. I had it all in my mind that this was going to be a backward town with nothing to offer if you weren't into country music-boy was I pleasantly surprised. Nice downtown, beautiful areas, Vanderbilt-well worth a stop.
swalter518 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 10:24 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,692
Here are two out in the West that might be of interest:

Boise, ID
Bozeman, MT
(www.bozemanonline.com) is a decent site.

MarthaB is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 10:39 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,749
Sorry, it's over the border, but Niagra-on-the-Lake, Ontario. I put off going to the Shaw festival for ages because I thought the area would be ultra tacky, like the Falls area. What a surprise. NOTL (as they call it) is one of the cleanest, most charming towns around, and now I keep wanting to go back for the Festival every year.
Patrick is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 10:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 225
I found so many little towns in Montana friendly and welcoming. Loved Bozeman and Three Forks. Virginia City was also a site. A little touristy but cute just the same.
SuzieQ is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 10:46 AM
Posts: n/a
The outlying scenery of Las Vegas. They always show the lights of Vegas but never those pretty mountains in the background.

Parts of New Jersey. Didn't realize there are such pretty areas in Northern Jersey.
Sep 3rd, 2004, 10:49 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 500
We just drove from Orange County CA to St. Louis and back via New Orleans. The biggest surprise was Memphis. I had been before as a child but really enjoyed it upon my return. It felt clean, quirky, up-and-coming, great music scene, interesting musical history, fun bars on Beale Street, fantastic food, racially diverse, AAA Cardinals team playing in a nearby stadium and packing them in. A terrific experience. Plus Graceland!
sfamylou is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 10:53 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,874
Pittsburg, PA
Columbus, Ohio
missypie is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 11:45 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
I also have to agree with Pittsburgh again. It was the largest of the US cities I have not visited, so decided to spend a weekend there. It's wonderful - all the bridges and interesting buildings. Fundiculars to Mt. Washington, the new stadiums/ballparks, and everything is pretty close by. Positively surprised!
rkkwan is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 12:20 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,379
Well, this is a great trolling effort! And it is travel-related, so kudos!

And while we're at it:

San Luis Obispo, CA. Went there for a classic car show (guest of a restorer/reseller), wasn't expecting much. Lovely little town, with a lively downtown area. And the drive up from Long Beach was beautiful (once we got above Santa Monica on PCH). And Ojai too! Love that town as well.
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 12:21 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 157
Ithaca, NY -- Even though I visit often, I always forget how pretty and eclectic the town is. The towns in the Finger Lakes are really nice in general.

New Hope, PA / Lambertville, NJ - -quaint with lots of cute little shops and restaurants

Pittsburgh, PA -- I travel there for business and dreaded going, but now I like hanging out in the city, lots of fun.
SenecaGirl is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 01:04 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,848
The two that surprised me the most were Kansas City, MO and Cincinnatti, OH. There are many towns I like better than either but none that were as surpisingly nice as these two.
dwooddon is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:47 AM.