North America holds unlimited potential. There is so much on offer: epic natural beauty, ancient land, vast, dynamic culture, incredible people, and of course – some of the best cities in the world. But what are the best cities in North America? These are The Best Travel Places’ top five favorites.
A city of towers, markets, coffee shops and extensive waterfront views, Seattle is a gem of the west coast. Its location is ideal: on the ocean, in the shadow of mountains and only a short ferry from the most beautiful places in Canada. The streets of Seattle are always buzzing, filled with energy, movement, and a continually growing arts scene. The skyline of the city is impressive, yet not overpowering, with the famous space needle dominating, the sunset from one of these towers is one of the best you can witness.
It is a large place, and everything is available. Yet the streets hold a distinct neighborhood feel, full of independent bars, cafes and shops – and of course, the unique, vibrant Seattle markets, including the famous public market center. Spend a day sailing on the lake, or hiking the nearby mountains and return to the city for a night art museum, concert or evening meal. For the perfect blend of culture and nature, Seattle is the place for you.
A connection between all these cities is not only their greatness but also their proximity to water. Chicago is certainly no exception. On the great Lake Michigan, the city draws not only beauty but leisure, culture, and freedom, from the water. Pathways line the lake edge, inviting runners, cyclists, and afternoon strollers to enjoy its stillness. Yet the area is buzzing, full of life from the happy inhabitants of Chicago.
It is a rich urban center, with innovative architecture, vibrant culture and of, course, the best pizzas in America. Everything that is happening happens in Chicago. A big music tour? A major sports game? A cultural movement? This city and its people know about it. The city defines its people, who channel its bustling energy and urban spirit. Whether you are passing through or settled down, a traveler or an inhabitant, assuredly – Chicago will draw you in.
There is no North American city to match the stunning encompassing views of Vancouver. Surrounded by epic mountain ranges and encircled by endless coastal pathways, immense natural beauty saturates the city. To walk through these streets, and meet a magnificent view at every corner, is an experience in itself. Secluded forests and the wild land of the North always look down upon the center and are only a bus ride away to explore. Nature is an intrinsic part of this city. Yet, somehow, Vancouver has even more to offer than its majestic scenery.
Even more West Coast culture fills the space. Local breweries, independent shops, small coffee chains; all can be found in the center of Vancouver. Hippies roam the streets. Outdoor enthusiasts actively explore the parks and beaches. Artists and creatives slowly wander, soaking in the distinct and special atmosphere for inspiration. Inspiring is what Vancouver is. For no one could not deny that beautiful moment when the sun sets over the mountains, casts shadows over the totem poles of Stanley Park and blazes red and yellow upon the glass fronts of the coastal city buildings.
Iconic scenes, classic images, and exceptional urban beauty is what awaits you in San Francisco. A city of openness; in both its wide streets and liberal attitude. The roads are long and seem to extend endlessly until stopping at the waterfront. Classic trams navigate the city and its hilly terrain. The city is impressive and offers many opportunities to show off its dramatic beauty. Streets follow the inclines of the city and around every corner, you can find an extensive hilltop view.
In the evening, the sun sets within the long, paralleled city streets, covering them with a distinct hazy brightness, unique to San Francisco. Sitting inside a tram, passing the bustling sidewalks. Standing on the end of Pier 39. Strolling the small flowered alleyways once walked by famous American writers. Looking down upon the Golden Gate Bridge. These are all outstanding San Francisco moments that stick with you.
We like to think there is no winner on this list – but this just has to be our personal number one favorite. Is Quebec City the best city in North America? Possibly. Well, probably, yes. After all, what is there not to love? With a flare of local European character in the epic land of North America, travelers to Quebec City enjoy a truly unique experience.
The city welcomes you with impressive and dominant hilltop architecture – Château Frontenac – reminiscent of ancient castles in continental Europe. The French culture here is potent. It saturates into every small cobbled alley, every charming local café, every walled walkway, every artistic exhibition space, and every spirit of every person that walks its streets. This distinct, unified individuality is simply incompatible with other North American cities.
In the winter, Quebec City becomes a snow-covered wonderland. Many festivals celebrate here every year, and the streets fill with tradition and classic Christmas merriment. Seasonal carnivals extend into the summertime too, with parties taking you deep into the late summer nights.
Cultural attractions, museums, art galleries, theaters, observatories, you can find all of these in Quebec City. Yet the greatest way to get to know the area is to enjoy the subtle movements of the streets. To wander along the Rue du Trésor, to sit and watch the ships at the Old Port, or climb to the viewpoints over the city. These are the real gems of the city – the beautiful unmissable features.
“I’d say Quebec City is the most beautiful city in North America I’ve seen.”
It is easy to recognize the old city as a UNESCO world heritage site. This quarter is a walled, quaint ideal. Chateaux and market squares immerse you within its ancient heritage. Allow the space to transform your experience, and embrace the authentic French lifestyle. Sip a coffee at a local bar, and watch the world go by. Try the national cuisine. Wander slowly, relax and appreciate the constant moments of wonder.
Quebec City is, however, so much more than its roots. It has taken its heritage, expanded and transformed it into something new and truly individual. An independent beauty, this place has found the perfect balance. It is the perfect unity of old and new, ancient and modern, nature and city, charm and drama, past and future. A city of balance. A city of ideals; waiting to grasp any traveler lucky enough to visit it.
Is Quebec City your favorite city in North America? Leave your comments below!