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Sunlit skyline of Atlanta, Georgia

8 Fast-Growing US Cities You’ll Want to Visit

Urban America is Always Evolving

Did you know that the largest Icelandic community outside of Iceland is in Washington Island--a tiny island off the coast of Wisconsin? Or that the largest population of Ethiopians outside of Africa is in Silver Spring, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C.? In fact, the very identity of the United States is built on the comings and goings of different groups as their lives and cultures intertwine with the land, history and development of America. This ongoing reinvention of American towns and cities can be seen throughout history, and the country, making travel to the United States an ever-evolving discovery. To see it for yourself, check out our list of the 8 US cities undergoing the biggest transformations today.

The Vessel in Hudson Yards, New York City

1. New York City, New York

Urban reinvention is perhaps most visible in the always-on, always-innovating, metropolis of New York City.

While history and unchanging structure make up the framework of New York City, the people, groups and ideas that pass through its culture-making machine contribute to near-constant evolution. The Manhattan skyline itself has seen adjustments in recent years thanks to the erection of One World Trade Center, as well as the futuristic hive design of The Vessel in Hudson Yards. Over the river in Brooklyn, “transformation” has been the theme for the last few decades, as seen in neighborhoods all over the borough, from Bushwick to Red Hook.

Washington Monument and Mount Vernon Place in Baltimore, Maryland

2. Baltimore, Maryland

Across America, other cities have been shedding their industrial pasts in favor of a more usable infrastructure that meets the demands of the modern age.

Take Baltimore for example: the city was once the second leading port of entry for immigrants into the United States, followed by a stint as a major manufacturing hub. After yet another transformation, modern-day Baltimore ranks as one of the coolest cities on the East Coast. For shopping and nightlife, visit Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, or take a sailing tour on the Chesapeake Bay. With an exploding arts scene, vibrant neighborhoods and growing culinary prowess, Baltimore is a must-visit on any East Coast trip.

Summer carnival in Detroit, Michigan

3. Detroit, Michigan

Similarly, over in the midwest, Detroit is undergoing a transformation of its own as industrial buildings get reimagined for community use as part of the Detroit Future City initiative.

Visit Detroit today and you can stay in a hotel that used to be a Firehouse (Foundation Hotel,) and go to a nightclub in a former factory. Perhaps the biggest change to the area has been the development of Detroit’s waterfront. What was once a patchwork of private properties and industrial buildings, has become one of Detroit’s busiest public spaces, known today as Detroit RiverWalk. Even amidst Detroit's modern transformation, the deep history of the city can still be experienced at places like the Henry Ford Museum and the Motown Museum.

Lady Bird Lake cuts through downtown Austin, Texas

4. Austin, Texas

Another notable urban transformation can be found in Texas, where the city of Austin has led the United States in population growth for the last 8 years straight.

Why’s everyone going to Austin, you might ask? We suggest you find out for yourself, though it may have to do with the city’s indie music scene, buzzing tech scene, pleasant climate and constant inflow of cultural offerings. Add to that, the city’s culinary delights such as tasty tacos and mouth-watering bbq, and you’ll start to get the gist. On your visit, be sure to see the city’s historic capitol building and take a stroll around Lady Bird Lake.

Wheeler Ferris Wheel at dusk, overlooking the Oklahoma City skyline

5. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

In the heart of the country, you’ll find a city famous for a mixture of “cowboy culture,” and more modern attractions.

In Oklahoma City, you can see real-life cowboys (and cowgirls!) wrangle and ride at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds. Or, for a calmer version, explore the state’s wild-west history at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Next check out one of the city’s newest additions, the Wheeler Ferris Wheel. Purchased on eBay in 2008, the Wheeler Wheel is THE historic Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel, refreshed with renovations and operating in its new home of Downtown Oklahoma City. For another modern must-see, visit Factory Obscura, a 550-square meter immersive art exhibit created in partnership with over 30 Oklahoma City-based artists.

Reno, Nevada, skyline against the Sierra Nevada Mountains

6. Reno, Nevada

In the high desert river valley at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains lies the so-called, “Biggest Little City in the World,” otherwise known as Reno, Nevada.

This casino town retains its old-west, Americana charm, amidst a sprawling and picturesque natural environment. The city’s now undergoing a major transformation defined by healthy living, outdoor activities and the art, music and lifestyle imprint of the nearby Burning Man festival that happens annually in a Nevada desert outside of Reno. When you visit Reno, partake in the local gambling offerings downtown at Circus Circus, then head over to the MidTown District, where you can grab a farm-to-table meal, and check out the new shops and businesses that are reinventing Reno for the modern age.

Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory in Kentucky

7. Louisville, Kentucky

History, southern hospitality and metamorphosis come together to create modern-day Louisville.

Surrounded by natural beauty, Louisville is perhaps best known for three things: bourbon, baseball and the world-famous horse race known as The Kentucky Derby. Visit the race’s venue at Churchill Downs, and then check out the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory where they still produce the famous baseball bat. After that, go bourbon tasting at one of the many distilleries in the city.

Wall mural street art in Kansas City, Missouri

8. Kansas City, Missouri

Go neighborhood hopping in Kansas City, Missouri, a city with a long-standing Jazz tradition that can be found, among other places, in the historic 18th and Vine District.

Modern times sees Jazz intermingled with the other two prides of Kansas City: baseball and barbecue. In fact, Kansas City is known for its very own style of barbecue, characterized by its wide variety of meats, smoking woods and thick red tomato-based sauce. In addition, Kansas City is rich in African-American culture and history, and is home to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, as well as the American Jazz Museum.

Make your next trip an urban adventure! You’ll enter the magical rabbit hole of major cities like New York and Chicago, and discover the changing landscapes of historic towns as they reinvent themselves for the future.