America is extremely diverse, in both its physical landscape and political leanings. Whether you’re traveling through the midwest to discover an often-overlooked landmark or to either coast for foodie destinations, you’re certain to come in contact with Americans from every part of the country. Yes, some will share political leanings that veer far away from what you might consider the accepted norm, but that’s the beauty of the States. It takes all kinds to make the country thrive.
Seattle is a fascinating city of dichotomies. It is an urban area surrounded by the natural beauty of the Pacific northwest. It is a small enough city to be known for its neighborhood coffee shops while being the birthplace of corporate innovation giants like Microsoft and Starbucks. It is a city as famous for its gray skies and rain as it is for its magnificent view of a snow-capped Mt. Rainier on a clear day. In spite of, or perhaps because of the juxtaposition of Seattle's make up, a unique culture has been born out of this city that has become symbolic of the place itself. Seattle is known as a liberal, open-minded spot where great minds are choosing to live and so the highlight of visiting Seattle is less about a list of attractions, although riding to the top of the Space Needle is a must and more about the experience of the city as an attraction of its own.
NYC is such a densely populated melting pot that the truth is that anybody, with any ideological leaning, can find a space there to call home. The reality of the term "melting pot" is that the city's diverse population brings so many unique and different points of view to the table that it would be impossible for the city to function without an accepting, progressive culture to allow everybody to fit in and have a voice. New Yorkers consistently vote liberal politicians into office as a declaration of the love they have for their progressive home's belief system. The list of things to do in New York City is endless: ride to the top of the Empire State building, watch a Broadway show or take a boat ride around Manhattan to name a few. The guarantee is that getting there will be as interesting as the final destination!
Located in a state that has been at the forefront of liberal legislation, calling Oakland progressive is an understatement. Oakland exudes all the liberalism of California and then some. One just needs to go on its tourism website to realize that the people of Oakland are proud of what they are about and are ready to shout it from the mountaintops — or at least the home page of their website! Located in the picturesque Bay Area of California, Oakland has something for literally everyone. It's a family-friendly city that boasts museums, zoos, and sporting events right alongside posts for dispensaries and LGBTQ+ community resources. Oakland prides itself on tolerance and visitors will be treated to a sense of acceptance that will make them feel free to explore whatever their hearts desire.
As the seat of the United States government, Washington DC is a hotbed of opposing ideologies and soapbox politics. The energy of the city is filled with purpose and passion — it is a place where important things happen. But while the political buzz of both parties can be felt equally, do not mistake all the suits walking down Pennsylvania Avenue for conservativism. Always leaning a little more left of center, D.C. has one of the largest LBGTQ+ communities in the country and decriminalized marijuana possession back in 2015 — two key indicators of a more liberal point of view. Regardless of whether a visitor is "Blue" or "Red," however, there is no shortage of things to do. Whether it is a tour of the Capitol building, a walk through the Vietnam Memorial or a visit to the Holocaust Museum, anyone who visits Washington D.C. leaves more informed than they were when they arrived.
Boston has historically been known as a liberal city with a politically left foundation that has stayed true over time. Who could be considered more progressive than the Founding Fathers and the revolutionary tea party that rocked the world? Bostonians continued that tradition with an undying loyalty to the Kennedy family, whose civil rights platform pushed the envelope for the nation. Boston loves pushing limits and being passionate while doing it. Visit Boston and walk the Freedom Trail, have lunch at Quincy Market or catch a Red Sox game. No matter what the activity, Boston is Boston. Just ask anyone who lives there.
From the Gold Rush in the 1840s to the legendary Haight Ashbury District in the 1960s, San Francisco has always attracted outside-the-box thinkers who have seemed a little different for their time. The San Francisco of the 21st Century has a population that has remained true to its roots. This city continues to be a home for people who push the edges of the middle American establishment and have a lot of fun doing it.
While the culture of San Francisco is more progressive, the city's attractions are sure to please all walks of life. Take a tour of Alcatraz, walk over the Golden Gate Bridge, spot sea lions or meet friends for lunch in Chinatown — and have a trolley car take you where you want to go!
Located in the pacific Northwest, Oregon is known for its beautiful ocean and lush forests. The fact that Portland became an urban getaway with all of the amenities of nature did not happen by accident. The people of Portland didn't just talk about the progressive ideologies of environmental protection. They did something about it. In addition to getting a large amount of its energy from renewable resources, Portland figured out a way to maintain its urban appeal while protecting its natural beauty. Portland boasts 250 parks within the city limits as well as several thousand acres of green space. Add to that a visit to the Mississippi Neighborhood for quaint restaurants and trendy bars, or a walk through Powell's City of Books, the world's largest independent book store, and you've got a city with something for everyone.
The whole world got to know Berkeley in the 1960s when it became an epicenter for activism. Images of Vietnam War protests held in Berkeley entered the living rooms of Americans everywhere and left an indelible sense of what the city was about. Although no longer known for its newsworthy protests and flower children, Berkeley has remained a city that embraces its counter-cultural history. Telegraph Avenue is a walk through time where visitors can browse record shops like Amoeba Music, pop into book stores like Moe's Books, and explore street vendors selling tie-dyed treasures. The Downtown Arts District has a different vibe but is full of a rich blend of music, art, and culinary adventures. Combine that with the academic influence of prestigious UC Berkeley and this remains a mecca for both modern day progressive thinkers, as well as those nostalgic for a time and place where everyone was fighting for a cause.
It's no surprise that Burlington is about as progressive as you can get. Burlington has a certain understated progressivism about it that makes it both charming and fascinating. Vermont is better known for ski slopes and Ben and Jerry's than protests, yet the entire state exudes a lifestyle of acceptance. Take a walk down the Lake Champlain Waterfront, eat at a local South End restaurant, or tour numerous breweries. Burlington doesn't have to scream its ideas from the mountain tops. Visitors just know it — even while they are eating Ben and Jerry's.
Situated at the base of the Rocky Mountains, with magnificent views in all directions, residents of Boulder find their home in one of the first states to legalize recreational drugs. This willingness to push the envelope on the status quo is what makes Boulder a haven for liberal-minded thinkers and nature enthusiasts alike. Visitors who want to experience Colorado's natural beauty can take in the Flatirons, Eldorado Canyon State Park, and Chautauqua Park. But just because hiking, biking, and climbing seem to be a staple of the city's culture, less adventurous visitors to Boulder should not be scared away. Boulder also offers the Pearly Street Mall with enough boutiques and cafes to fill anybody's day. After a hike, enjoy a cold beer at one of the many microbreweries in Boulder. Don't forget, Colorado is home to the famous Coors beer and a tour of the manufacturing plant is only a short drive away. On a trip to Boulder, adventure and a good drink await!