The South is full of wonderful gems in terms of natural beauty, dining, culture and more. Along with the more rural areas of the south that feature the opportunity to disconnect and get away from it all, there are also fantastic cities and metro areas. Many of the bigger cities in the south are economically thriving and attracting people as new residents and also travelers.
So what are the southern cities you should consider visiting?
Our roundup of the best southern cities for travelers include the following:
Nashville, TN is an exciting, vibrant city. Set in central Tennessee, Nashville is the home of country music,andits nickname is “Music City.” Cultural and musical venues include the famed Grand Ole Opry which has seen the likes of Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton,and Johnny Cash. If you love country music, there’s also the honky tonk and live music venues along Broadway, the Country Music Hall of Fame and of course, the Ryman.
Beyond the history and the music, Nashville has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years and the excellent restaurants, bars and nightlife and shopping showcase this growth.
A few can’t miss spots include Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James shop and the Parthenon full-scale replica.
Louisville, Kentucky oozes classic southern charm. Louisville may be best known for the Kentucky Derby but other things to visit or do include the Muhammad Ali Center, the Frazier History Museum and the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory.
You can sample Kentucky Bourbon and enjoy a mint julep, as well as the many farm-to-table restaurants throughout the city. Louisville and many other southern cities have become a haven for renowned chefs.
Interestingly, Louisville is home to the largest caverns in the United States, so take a visit to Mega Cavern. If you want entertainment and nightlife, you can visit 4th Street Live.
Visiting Charleston, SC is something everyone should include on their bucket list. Also dubbed the Holy City, Charleston is visually stunning. The beautiful homes are charming, ranging from the row and townhouses downtown to the plantations outside of town. Much of the architecture of the city predates the Civil War.
Spring and fall are amazing times to go, to escape the heat and humidity of the summer. You can walk around most of downtown Charleston, but you will want to get reservations to most of the downtown restaurants because they get busy.
What’s great about Charleston is that in addition to the Historic District with carriages and cobblestone streets, is the fact that the coast is nearby. You can take a quick drive to Folly Beach, which is relaxed, laid back and feels a bit bohemian. There’s also Sullivan’s Island, with beautiful homes and stretches of pristine beach.
Atlanta is one of the largest cities in the south and is lively and full of energy. If you visit Atlanta when the weather’s nice, you can enjoy one of the many bar and restaurant patios, or participate in a festival of which there are many in the city. There are parks like Centennial Olympic Park, located downtown and Piedmont Park in midtown.
Shopping options include Atlantic Station in Midtown and the Ponce City Market. There’s the Atlanta Beltline for running and walking and a plethora of charming neighborhoods throughout the city.
The Georgia Aquarium is located downtown and is one of the largest in the world housing whale sharks, sea lions,and beluga whales. There’s the World of Coke Museum and the CNN Center.
Atlanta is also a city rich in history. Historic landmarks include the King Center and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
Finally, Austin, Texas, like many of the cities on this list is fast-growing and is becoming a travel go-to not only for domestic but also for worldwide travelers. Austin is known for restaurants and bars, outdoor activities, and a sense of quirkiness leading to the mantra “Keep Austin Weird.”
South Congress Avenue is a good place to casually walk and check out the different stores and boutiques. You’ll find everything from jewelry and clothes to cowboy boots. At the Congress Avenue Bridge, visitors can see millions of bats fly from under the bridge each night from spring to fall. You can paddle board or take a cruise on Lady Bird Lake, and visit the Texas Capitol Visitors Center.
There are a lot of patio dining options such as Perla’s Seafood and Oyster Bar, and there are music and honky-tonk venues like the Broken Spoke.