10. Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is ridiculous in a lot of ways, from its gaudy trappings to its laissez-faire attitude towards...well, most of human behavior. But the city has a surprising number of spas, zoos, and aquariums, not to mention the nightlife. There isn't a better place to people-watch anywhere in the country.
9. Portland, Oregon
Okay, this might actually be a better spot to people-watch than Las Vegas. There are also countless local coffee shops for the morning, microbreweries for the nighttime, and all kinds of places for the day in between. If you love gardens, you're more than covered. The city has the Rose Test Garden, home to an array of roses, one of the largest and loveliest Japanese gardens outside of Japan, the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, and the Lan Su Chinese Garden. There's also a beautiful river gorge, the stunning Multnomah Falls, and all kinds of interesting local businesses and music to check out.
8. Tampa, Florida
WalletHub ranked Tampa number one for their "rest and relaxation" category. That includes things like swimming pools, spa centers, beauty salons, the cost of maid service, and the niceness of the weather. Tampa also stands out for attractions like the manatee viewing center, the Big Cat Rescue, and the escape room game centers. There are also several local movie theaters that offer dinner and drinks with a show, like Studio Movie Grill and Pitcher Show.
7. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh has a surprising number of zoos, aquariums, and swimming pools. It also has a strong art music scene that spills out into the streets. Last year, guerilla performances of the bar-based opera Happy Hour! took the city by surprise as what seemed like fights broke out into arias in front of bewildered patrons at bars around the city, all thanks to composer Roger Zahab and the Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh.
(image via Opera Theater of Pittsburgh)
6. St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis has a high concentration of golf courses. It also has a lot of museums, from City Museum, which has upcycled the city's history into an enormous playground, to the Saint Louis Science Center, with its interactive labs and planetarium. Don't forget about the stately Cathedral Basilica, the Botanical Garden, and of course, the Gateway Arch.
5. Boise, Idaho
Boise has a lot of public recreation spaces, and many of those center around the city's natural beauty. Check out the Greenbelt along the river, Julie Davis Park, or the World Center for Birds of Prey. There's also skiing or hiking in Bogus Basin, where you can rent a yurt. The Old Penitentiary, which is fascinating historically, may be a little chilling depending on what you want out of your vacation.
4. Scottsdale, Arizona
Scottsdale is overrun with golf courses and spas, which is great news for your vacation. The town is sitting amidst gorgeous desert scenery. There's an Old West reconstruction town minutes away, a railroad museum, a butterfly garden, and a couple of wineries in town. Don't overlook the town's classic car culture, which includes a high-performance driving school.
3. Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati's attractions are broad. The city is home to the Great American Ballpark, of course. For those wanting some culture in their staycation, there are several museums, from the Taft Museum of Art to the American Sign Museum to the Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Nature lovers will be thrilled with the conservatory, stargazers can visit the observatory, and thrillseekers have Coney Island nearby.
2. Atlanta, Georgia
Georgia ranks high in rest and relaxation. The prevalence of swimming pools is a plus, as is the cost of living. Of course, Georgia has its aquarium, the High museum, the Fox Theater, and the World of Coca-Cola museum. There are numerous local tourist attractions dedicated to the city's place in history, especially during the civil rights movement. If all you do is venture out at night and take in the rap scene, that would almost be enough for a vacation, right there.
1. Orlando, Florida
It seems unfair that the home of Disney World tops the list, but there are a few things to consider here. The first is that a person's relationship to Disney parks is very different when they live close enough that a yearlong pass is an option. The second is that a lot of locally-minded, more affordable entertainment options have sprung up in the Mouse's shadow. Orlando leads the country in zoos and aquariums per person, and it comes in second for both golf courses and spas. The city was built for entertainment, which makes it a great place for people trying to vacation in town.