New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles are among the most popular US destinations for a reason. They attract hordes of tourists from all over the world. But while these major urban hubs of American culture are unabashedly buzzing with excitement, they can often feel like overpriced, overcrowded, ostentatious tourist traps. That is unless you visit them in the off-season. Why not skip the crowds and craziness on your next vacation, and head for some of the underrated quirky, charming and historic cities in America? They, quite frankly, deserve a bit more recognition. Sometimes the best surprises are found off the beaten path.

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01Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Thanks to an influx of students from Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh, the former industrial city is now teeming with cultural offerings and a newly flourishing foodie scene. That, combined with stupendous scenery at the convergence of the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio Rivers, make this city more pretty than gritty these days.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania skyline Photo by Heidi Kaden Lopyreva on Unsplash