Going “off the beaten path” is a popular endeavor among many travelers. We seek out the smallest town in a state to discover its charm and sense of community or look for undiscovered beauty in the towns deemed the prettiest. Smaller towns and more remote areas may hold some of the best food and drink in the country, as well as attractions that haven’t been totally overrun by tourists. There’s something to be said, however, for the big city in all of its bustling, fast-moving glory.
With a bigger population comes more options and more variety in food, drink, culture, and entertainment. That’s why you’ll often find that the best restaurant scene or the most prolific artistic community in a given state may be located in its largest metropolis. More often than not, you’ll find a state’s best Italian cuisine or its top Chinese food in its biggest city. While cities are known for their expensive dining options, they also tend to have many more affordable alternatives as well due to demand and competition. Entrepreneurs of all stripes flock to cities where they have a bigger audience to see, taste, feel, or otherwise enjoy their business or creative endeavors. As a result, you won’t run out of things to do for a while, if ever.
It should be noted, however, that — given that some states are less dense in population — not all “big cities” are created equal. In fact, the smallest big city on this list has a population of approximately just 43,000! If you’re the type to thrive in an urban setting or simply look for a destination where you have plenty of options relative to the rest of the region, consider taking a trip to the biggest city in every state.