Five Great American Cities

Travel

There's never a shortage of great places to travel in the US. Spring is here, and the great weather begs for a weekend adventure! Here's our list of five great American cities, and what you can enjoy when you're there. Whether you're a local or visiting for a quick trip, you'll find bars, shops, and eats worth your while.

Charleston, South Carolina

This southern town is packed with great food. For a fun night off the beaten path, check out Wild Olive on John's Island. You'll have the best Italian food in the city, which showcases local ingredients.

For a decadent but delicious lunch, try The Glass Onion in West Ashley. The Fried Chicken Liver Po Boy is not for the weak of stomach.

For an extravagant night, great for a special occasion, visit McCrady's, Chef Sean Brock's elegant take on Lowcountry cooking. Looking for something stylish to wear while you dine? Visit the stylish M. Dumas and Sons for dapper attire.

Wash the weekend down with a brew at Gene's Haufbrau and start planning for a return trip!

Phoenix, Arizona

Despite the location in the southwestern corner of the US, Phoenix's Lo Lo's Chicken and Waffles boasts a mean dish of the same name. It's a must visit for die-hard lovers of the combination.

Walk off your Chicken and Waffles while strolling through the Phoenix Ranch Market, a purveyor of all ingredients Mexican and southwestern. Cut through the desert heat with a sweet horchata from the fresh juice stand, and leave with a bag of fresh corn tortillas.

Plan your trip for the first Friday of the month, to take advantage of Phoenix's First Friday's Art Walk where you can stroll in and out of galleries and shops in the cool evening air. Check out the vibrant local art scene and perhaps leave with a painting.

Rest your tired feet at La Grande Orange Pizzeria for a glass of white sangria and a wood-fired pizza pie. You can't go wrong with any of their options, but for a taste of the southwest, try The Rocket Man.

Seattle, Washington

A verdant paradise packed with restaurants that source local ingredients, Seattle is home to a vibrant food scene. In the hip Ballard neighborhood, Ray's Boathouse serves the freshest seafood and offers unparalleled views of Shilshole Bay. Great for a romantic dinner, try the Ray's Classic Sampler for a taste of the Northwest you won't forget.

The next night, try Spring Hill, Chef Mark Fuller's southern-inspired restaurant. Bonus? Unlike many restaurants, Spring Hill is open Mondays. So if you have the chance to turn your trip into a three-day treat, book a dinner on Monday, when the restaurant serves a special family-style menu.

Not only is Seattle packed with delicious eats, it has great shopping, too. Pick up a set of handblown votives to bring home with you at Glassybaby.

Nashville, Tennessee

You may know that Nashville is the home of the Country Music Hall of Fame, but did you know it's home to a hot food scene as well? Head down to Nashville for a food-packed adventure, starting with a night at Robert's Western World. The name has changed over the years, but you'll still find the same music that gave rise to modern country music.

The next morning, fill up on brunch at Marche Artisan Foods. Start light with a Leek and Goat Cheese Omelette or soothe any hangover with Bistro Steak with Two Fried Eggs, Potatoes and Salsa Verde.

Walk off brunch in the 12South area, where you can beat a hot day with a popsical from Las Paletas or an iced coffee from The Frothy Monkey Coffeehouse.

Wrap the weekend up with cocktail at The Patterson House, where you can find modern takes on timeless cocktails. Try their version of a Manhattan or the Juliet + Romeo, a twist on Gin and Tonic.

Austin, Texas

South by Southwest is over for 2011, which is all the more reason to head down south to this awesome city. The crowds are gone, leaving you with the city's amazing food and drinks at your fingertips.

Make sure to visit La Condesa, a 2010 James Beard nominee for Best New Restaurant. Not only is the food exceptional, La Condesa boasts over 80 varieties of 100 percent blue agave tequila. Pair a flight of tequila with Conchita Pibil to start, and order the Chuleta de Puerco next.

Continue your night at The Continental Club, which features great music throughout the year. Founded in 1957, this music venue has hosted great singers since it's inception, and continues to set the standard for great tunes.

After a great night out on the town, spend Sunday morning at Stubb's Bar-B-Q Gospel Brunch for a massive buffet featuring incredible grits, migas, and of course, BBQ. Great for families, the price is lower for kids 10 and under. Enjoy a lazy morning listening to the band play with a "make your own" Bloody Mary.

Are you from one of these cities? Tell us your favorite places to eat and drink in the comments!