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Lyndsey Fish

Best Vacation Spots for 20 Somethings - 5 U.S. Cities Everyone in Their 20's Should Visit

We love traveling, we work at Go City® – it's kind of required. We love hearing about people's favorite experiences and places to visit so naturally, we took a poll in the office asking employees to name 5 cities that they've been to that they think everyone in their 20's should visit.

Why 5 cities, why 20-somethings

We limited our list to five U.S. cities (as opposed to say, 20) because visiting 5 U.S. cities in your 20's is totally doable and we figured that 5 cities could illustrate how diverse U.S. cities are.

What makes a city great for 20-somethings, specifically, to visit? A totally unique but awesome mix of the following characteristics: an active nightlife, unique-to-the-city culinary creations, a culturally diverse population, landscape conducive to outdoor activities, and a few more intangible feel-good characteristics that make us want to cancel our return flights and move there when we visit.

The 5 U.S. cities everyone in their 20's should visit are...

5. Portland, Oregon

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Why it made the list

Portland O. is like the Portland M. of the west; it gets overlooked because it's a little out the way, but once you're there, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the cities creativity, chill vibes, and appreciation for bicycles. Portland, Oregon is also the micro-brew capital of the nation with more breweries than any other city in the world (52 to be exact)! That's what we call a "beertopia".

What to do when you visit

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Get a Voodoo Doughnut:

This place constantly makes the cut on 'best doughnut shop' articles year after year. Maybe it's because they offer nearly 100 different varieties, all with funny names that will put a smirk on your face, OR it could be for the fact that they hold legal wedding ceremonies here. Whether you're a doughnut lover or not, it's a must-see!

See a live show at Holocene:

This place offers up a variety of free live music every Sunday and hosts lots of other art and music events throughout the week. You can sit outside on their large patio or get your dance on inside, what used to be, an old Best Auto Parts warehouse.

4. San Francisco, California

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Why it made the list

This city was made for 20-somethings with lots to offer foodies, micro-brew enthusiasts, activity and adventure-seekers, winos, and more. Visiting San Francisco quickly turns into wanting to move to San Francisco. San Francisco's geographical location is one of its most desirable traits. With its consistently fair weather and close proximity to wine country, Lake Tahoe, Muir Woods, the Pacific Ocean, and more, there are a whole host of things for visitors to do.

What to do when you visit

Visit Wine County

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Some of the best wines in the world come from Napa Valley and Sonoma. Get somebody else to do the driving and enjoy the scenery and samples. Spend the day learning about the history of California's wine industry and sample wines as you visit multiple vineyards.

Take some time to relax and take in the sweeping views of the picturesque vineyard settings while sipping on a newfound favorite. Insider tip: Lots of vineyards can arrange to ship your favorite finds to your home. They make great souvenirs and gifts!

Explore Muir Woods

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Go on a tour of Muir Woods in the picturesque seaside/mountainside area called Marin County. Hiking enthusiast? Turn your visit to Muir Woods into a day of easy hiking. Rent a car and head to Mount Tamalpais. Hike down to Muir Woods and then back up to where you parked your car. The drive on the way takes you through beautiful Marin County with lots of places to pull over for unbelievable views of downtown San Francisco from atop Mt. Tamalpais.

Cross the Golden Gate Bridge

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Whether you go by car, foot, or bike, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge is a San Francisco must-do. Best way to explore? Rent a bike for the day and go on a self-guided tour (moderate ride). Recommended route: You'll ride past Crissy Field where you can stop for photos and the best views of the bridge.

Then, follow the path to the Golden Gate Bridge, cross over, and continue on to the quaint oceanside town of Sausalito where you can stop for waterfront lunch or poke around the shops. From there, you can either turn around and head back the way you came, take the ferry back to Fisherman's Wharf, or continue on to Tiburon where you will have the same options for your return.

En route to Tiburon, you'll cover long stretches of bayside parks and bike paths. From Tiburon, riders can stop for refreshments, explore the shops, and then turn around and head back or hop on the Ferry to Fisherman's Wharf.

Eat like a local

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Tacolicious: Get the fish tacos (we don't think they make 'em better anywhere in the world), street corn, and a passion fruit margarita.

Bi Rite Creamery: For completely original ice cream flavors like balsamic strawberry, lavender and Sonoma honey, salted caramel, and more, head to one of Bi Rite Creamery's locations. Even if you know which flavor you want to get, ask for a sample of something completely unique.

Tartine: Suggested by pretty much anyone who's lived in SF, Tartine is worth the block-long line you'll see during peak hours. This cafe offers a wide selection of authentic French pastries and breakfast bites. Croque monsieur, Croque madame, almond croissant (as you can see from the picture, we couldn't choose just one).

Tour a brewery: San Francisco is home to an up-and-coming craft brewery scene. Check out Anchor Brewing for one of the best brewery tours (and tastings!), like ever. Make a reservation as soon as possible, due to popularity, these tours fill up faster than you can book a plane ticket.

3. New York City, New York

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Why it made the list

Going to New York City just to get a view of the skyline is a perfectly legitimate reason to justify your plane ticket. Other acceptable reasons to justify your airfare are the amazing food, the boozy culture, the world-class museums, the Statue of Liberty, people watching, and just to immerse yourself in a city so romanticized by American movies and pop culture.

New York City has something to offer everyone (couples, nerds, etc.). Avoid the tourist traps and explore some of the unique, cutting-edge culture the city is famous for.

What to do when you visit

Scope out the best skyline views

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No visit to New York City is complete without an Instagram showcasing a sweeping view of the city skyline. Head to one of our top 4 picks of places to go for a view of the Manhattan skyline.

Kick back and unwind

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Sonny's Soda Shoppe: This indoor/ outdoor rooftop bar offers sweet cocktails and even sweeter New York City rooftop views. Their retro-Italian-inspired menu has everything from Italian staples like pizza to boozy Popsicle cocktails and the casual seating, turf flooring, and string lights create an inviting and playful atmosphere.

SixtyFive Bar & Cocktail Lounge: With views that rival Top of the Rock, this recently re-opened bar has surprisingly managed to stay under the radar a bit. Head up here for the views, a great wine selection, and delicious appetizers (we recommend the sliders and fries!).

Blue Ribbon Beer Garden: Go here to see and be seen. We're not sure which is better, the open atmosphere, Indian spice market-esque décor, ping pong tables, or the frozen foam-topped beers that are the perfect refreshment on a hot summer day.

Explore the museum culture

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Whether your main reason for heading to The Met is for the view or to see historically significant art from around the world in person, don't leave NYC without browsing through at least one museum.

Check out the modern art masterpieces such as Vincent van Gogh's The Starry Night or Claude Monet's Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond, or Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans at the MoMa or admire the architectural wonder by Frank Lloyd Wright that is The Guggenheim, which is also home to famous works of art by some of the greats such as Cézanne, Manet, Monet, Picasso, Pissarro, and Renoir.

Sample the local favorite cuisine

Summers: Summers serves what is hands-down one of the best egg and avocado sandwiches, like ever. Get a cold brew coffee, made-to-order juice, or served-in-a-coconut water to compliment your sandwich.

The Meatball: With six locations and counting, it's safe to say that The Meatball craze in NYC is going strong. The visionaries behind The Meatball have taken these Italian classics to a whole new level their creative, gourmet renditions.

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Photo Credit: Lois Official Facebook Page[/caption] Lois: Wine enthusiasts will enjoy the carefully selected wines on tap and seriously, well-crafted bites. Insider tip: if they have the avocado arepa or pork rillettes on the menu, GET THEM. Treat House: Forget cronuts. Indulge your sweet tooth (and your inner 4-year-old) with gourmet rice crispy treats. They're almost too pretty to eat, but impossible to resist.

2. Austin, Texas

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Why it made the list

If you haven't already been, Austin is unlike anything you would imagine Texas to be. The city's motto, "keep Austin weird", is an indication of what you can expect from the laid-back and friendly locals. Austin has also claimed it's name as "the music capital of the world" (we were surprised too) but not after we saw it for ourselves!

What to do when you visit

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Go for a swim in Barton Springs

This year-round, 70-degree natural spring is located right at Zilker Park. Play around in the large pool or venture out onto Barton Creek where you can swim, hike, bike, sail, paddleboard, take a boat tour... you get the drift!

Go see a live show

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Live music can be found on any day or night of the week in Austin upholding its title as music capital of the world. There's even a live band that plays in the airport. You can find all of Austin's music events here.

Stop by Torchy's Tacos

If there were a national food truck competition going on, Austin would definitely be winning! You can find a multitude of awesome food truck options downtown Austin but Torchy's Tacos was our favorite. They've got wild options like fried chicken and chile's or blackened salmon. Located at 1311 S. 1st Street, Torchy's Tacos may not necesarily be traditional, but it's definitely delicious! See the menu.

1. Chicago, Illinois

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Why it made the list

Chicago has it all. Besides being known as "second city" for it being the second to reach the highest population in the U.S, after New York, it perfectly mixes the big city feel with mid-western small-town friendliness. You can find anything and everything here, from great food, to bars and live music, and free events all summer. Chicago also takes great pride in it's public parks, artwork, and architecture . Visiting Chi-Town is a must in your twenties!

What to do when you visit

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Lake Michigan: The Lakeshore in Chicago is 18 miles long and a big part of what makes the city so awesome. There are trails for running, cycling, or taking a stroll. You'll also find some great restaurants/bars along the way. We highly recommend making a stop at Castaways, a beachside party spot with delicious drinks and fun vibes.

The Hideout: This secret spot may not be so secret anymore but it's defintely worth seeing. They've got a different themed event happening every night of the week such as Blue Grass Tuesday's and Epic Dance Party Saturday's.

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Millenium Park: Although it's a popular tourist destination and one of the most photographed places in the country, it's definitely worth visiting. The park is constantly hosting live entertainment such as music shows, art exhibitions, local vendors and fairs. Not to mention it's home to the infamous "bean"; the large reflective sculpure that looks like a giant... bean. There's also an entertaining, somewhat creepy/ cool "Crown Fountain" that spits water at you between the months of May and October (think great people watching). So there you have it young wanderlusters. If you think we missed a place, let us know where you think the best places are for 20-somethings to visit in the comments, we just might feature it in an upcoming blog post. Happy Travels!

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