Some travel-worthy cities seem to get skipped over by tourists naturally. Perhaps they have a bad rap from the past like Detroit which suffered from post-recession urban blight. Others may have needed a facelift to renovate and create more green spaces. Still, others could be overshadowed by closer, larger cities. Whatever the reason, here’s a list of the most underrated cities in the world.
Taipei is a friendly city of 3 million that was once choked in smog. Today, more green spaces and an excellent public transport system makes it a pleasant Asian city. Outdoor enthusiasts will love Yangmingshan National Park, mountain hiking trails, and riverside bike paths. Travelers rave about the local cuisine served in quaint eateries.
Scotland’s largest city beats out both London and Manchester for Britain’s best music scene. Franz Ferdinand and acts like Belle and Sebastian got their break in the Glasgow’s clubs. The city is also now the home of a new Zaha Hadid–designed transport museum, giving the city a forward look to the future for design.
Don’t overlook Providence for Boston. The deteriorating West End neighborhood is now rifting with friendly bars, vintage stores, and excellent cafes. The waterfront has had a facelift creating a vibrant cultural scene and making this college town an exciting New England city.
Once known as “the City of Churches,” the coastal city of Adelaide has shed its reputation for stuffiness since a new multiethnic mix has created an avant-garde art scene and lively foodie culture. Travelers like the city’s mild climate, great beaches, and the 125-acre Adelaide Botanic Garden.
Tourists flocking to resort-clogged Cancún shouldn’t overlook this city located only 2.5 hours away on the Yucatán peninsula. Mérida’s limestone architecture has earned it the name “The White City.” Home to the Cathedral de San Ildefonso, the oldest cathedral in North America, Mérida is a true colonial gem. Visit the Museo Macay with its impressive display of local contemporary art.
The UNESCO World Heritage port city of Bordeaux is well-worth the three-hour TGV ride from Paris. The city has had a tremendous facelift over the past two decades. Gone are the grimy period facades and forlorn quays along the Garonne River. Instead, travelers will find grass-lined bicycle paths and a modern tram that winds through the streets.