20 Most Unique Cities to Visit in Your 20s
July 13, 2017
30 Most Gorgeous Fall Towns
September 11, 2017

In today’s world of social media—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat—the hashtag symbol is about as recognizable and well-known as anything. And when it’s placed in front of something like, say a town, it means that city is happening, popular, and trendy.

With that in mind, we looked at the top 300 most populated cities in the United States. Of course, the major ones like Los Angeles and New York City topped the list, but we also came across some smaller ones that are creating quite the buzz on social media. These cities had up to 1.5 million social posts using the city hashtag (according to data available in July, 2017). We wanted to uncover what all the chatter was about and decided to dive in to see what travelers were visiting for and discover what makes these places pop. Follow along and be sure to add these destinations to your future travel plans.

 

1. Indianapolis, Indiana

Instagram posts – 1,202,204

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the capital city of Indiana is one of the most trending places in the country. Just look at all the cool things that call this city home: the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (one of the most popular attractions with 26,358 Instagram posts), Lucas Oil Stadium, and the nearby Museum of Miniature Houses, just to name a few. And wait until you get a load of the amazing festivals that take place throughout the year. Go during the end of September and enjoy cold beers at Oktoberfest or if you prefer vino, make your way to town in early June for the Vintage Indiana Wine & Food Fest. This place has more hashtags than a Kylie Jenner Instagram post.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

2. Toledo, Ohio

Instagram posts – 1,200,919

Holy Toledo! Welcome to the hottest town in northwest Ohio. Start off your stay in town with a self-guided walking tour of the Old West End, where Victorian and Edwardian-style houses line the streets. Next, spend the afternoon enjoying the animals at the #ToledoZoo, like 52,986 people on Instagram already have. A selfie with a lion in the background will get some likes. Cap your night off with a few drinks and laughs in the Uptown Neighborhood. The Attic on Adams is a great place to shoot pool and meet new friends.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

3. Santa Fe, New Mexico

Instagram posts – 1,164,014

Before you visit “The City Different,” you better decide whether you want red or green sauce on your enchiladas. But that decision doesn’t have to come until dinner time. Before that, drive over to the Palace of Governors and check out the New Mexico History Museum. Next, take a quick tour through some of the city’s most well-known art galleries like SITE Santa Fe and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, or chose another from the nearly 300 galleries in the city. After gazing upon beautiful works of art all afternoon, you’ll understand why this town is one of the trendiest in the country.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

4. Madison, Wisconsin

Instagram posts – 1,113,458

Why is Madison, Wisconsin, so trendy? Well, one reason might be because of all the millennials that attend nearby University of Wisconsin–Madison who put a hashtag symbol in front of just about anything. Especially when they post photos from the observation deck of the capitol building or from the 50-yard line at Camp Randall Stadium. When you pay a visit to this radical city, be sure to do all the above and don’t forget to meet new friends along State Street.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

5. Fort Worth, Texas

Instagram posts – 1,079,420

Yee-haw! People say everything is bigger in Texas and it’s hard to argue that point after you join the other 19,000 Instagrammers spending a few hours at the Fort Worth Stockyards. What was once the biggest livestock market in the country is now full of entertainment, shopping, and dining venues. And when you want to see a country music show at a venue that’s been voted country music’s club of the year 11 times, check the schedule at Billy Bob’s Texas and get some tickets. Hashtags galore at this joint.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

6. Salt Lake City, Utah

Instagram posts – 1,079,027

If you fancy yourself an outdoor enthusiast, then this city is the place for you. Some of the country’s best ski resorts like Alta, Solitude, and The Canyons are within 30 minutes of SLC. There also seems to be endless amounts of hiking and biking trails surrounding the city. If you really want to get a lay of the land, take your rental car on a scenic drive through Big Cottonwood Canyon. The winding roads pass through mountain pine forests that make you think you’re traveling through an issue of “National Geographic” magazine. #NoFilter needed for these shots.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

7. Olympia, Washington

Instagram posts – 1,077,364

The Pacific Northwest is loaded with trendy cities and Olympia, Washington, is among the trendiest. Partly because this town is home to Wolf Haven International, one of the most reputable wolf sanctuaries in the country. Schedule a visit and come face to face with these beautiful creatures. But the fun doesn’t stop with powerful predators. Take a drive along the South Sound Wine Trail and stock up on some of the region’s finest bottles of wine from places like Medicine Creek Winery and Madsen Family Cellars. Make your way back to town to look for fresh produce and unique treats like croissant donuts at the Olympia Farmers Market to pair with your new wine.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

8. Jersey City, New Jersey

Instagram posts – 993,387

It’s true that New York City might be the trendiest city in America, but a stone’s throw across the Hudson River is a trending city in its own right. Jersey City has everything you’re looking for in a superb vacation. Get food to-go from Baozi Brew and enjoy an afternoon picnic at Liberty State Park. You’ll have sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty. Speaking of that beautiful green lady, there’s a 15-minnute ferry you can take to the statue. Head back to Jersey City for a raspberry gin crush at LITM.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

9. Colorado Springs, Colorado

Instagram posts – 979,662

Are you ready for the #greatoutdoors? You better be, because Colorado Springs, Colorado, is chalk-full of outdoorsy things to do. Roll the windows down and take a remarkable drive up the Pikes Peak Highway all the way to the summit. You can almost see California from the top. And when you get hungry, enjoy some #foodporn with a perfectly cooked American wagyu flatiron steak from The Famous: A Steakhouse.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

10. Durham, North Carolina

Instagram posts – 940,263

There’s just something about college towns that’s exciting, and Durham, North Carolina, is no different. Judging from the 25,000+ Instagram posts, it could be the awesome atmosphere of Cameron Indoor Stadium during a Duke Blue Devils Game. Or it could be the jamming tunes coming out of The Pinhook bar and the cool styles on sale at the chic stores along 9th Street. Whatever it is that draws you to this incredible town, you won’t be disappointed.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

11. Fresno, California

Instagram posts – 930,847

It’s one of the only cities in California with underground gardens. We’re talking about Forestiere Underground Gardens, which happens to be a top thing to do in town. There’s even 769 beautiful Instagram posts to prove it. Fresno is also the home of the Rogue Festival in March.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

12. Tulsa, Oklahoma

Instagram posts – 885,879

One of the most popular things in town is the11-day extravaganza known as the Tulsa State Fair (this popular attraction has 18,051 Instagram posts and counting), which has become the biggest of the two state fairs in Oklahoma.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

13. Mesa, Arizona

Instagram posts – 881,167

When it’s hot as the dickens out, one of the best things to do in Mesa is float down the nearby Salt River (43,706 Instagram posts) in an inner tube. Gather up your friends and your waterproof phone case and rent a few tubes from Salt River Tubing for a perfect day of fun under the sun in Arizona.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

14. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Instagram posts – 865,615

Even though “Breaking Bad” ended years ago, it’s still quite popular to take a “Breaking Bad” tour. Join the other 2,000 Instagrammers in sharing your experience with your followers. #iamthedanger.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

15. Providence, Rhode Island

Instagram posts – 863,929

The historic neighborhood of Federal Hill (61,048 Instagram posts) is home to some of the best Italian food in all of New England. Places like Old Canteen, which has been around since 1956, and Cassarino’s Ristorante, which has been voted the best Italian restaurant in Providence several times, are both must-visits.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

16. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Instagram posts – 861,156

The East Coast Surfing Championships in its 55th year this August is a week-long event featuring championship surfing, concerts, and other fun activities. Is it any wonder that this fest, the oldest surfing competition in the western hemisphere, is one of the most popular things to do in the area? Didn’t think so.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

17. Omaha, Nebraska

Instagram posts – 807,563

Photo courtesy of Visit Omaha


The Old Market district is making a good argument for being the Midwest’s best neighborhood for dining, drinking, shopping, mingling, and having fun. Several thousand Instagram posts prove it.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

18. Salem, Oregon

Instagram posts – 800,125

Some capital cities have the reputation of being nothing more than the seat of government, but not Salem, Oregon. Just spend a few hours exploring the Salem Downtown Historic District (5,714 Instagram posts) to see what we mean.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

19. Boise, Idaho

Instagram posts – 788,036

The Freak Alley Gallery is the largest mural gallery in the Northwest and a pretty spectacular site. It also has 11,143 Instagram posts so, yeah, it’s popular. The outdoor mural gallery is free and open to the public anytime, so you can capture the perfect shot for your feed.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

20. Aberdeen, Washington

Instagram posts – 754,814

Come as you are and take the Kurt Cobain walking tour. Grunge lives! #comeasyouare has 171,471 Instagram posts and the tour is a must-do for any Nirvana fan.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

21. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Instagram posts – 739,858

Sipping a mocha at a café in the Bluff View Arts District is about as hip as you can get. How popular is downtown Chattanooga? With plenty of parks, art, live music, events, and 12,595 Instagram posts it is one of the most popular areas of Chattanooga.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

22. Rochester, New York

Instagram posts – 739,151

You’re never too old to spend a day at The National Museum of Play (4,942 Instagram posts), where you can let your inner child run free. It’s also the home of the National Toy Hall of Fame, so yeah, this place is frickin’ awesome.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

23. Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Instagram posts – 737,191

In one day, you can visit the Louisiana State Capitol Building and take an alligator swamp tour. And if you’re wondering how trending downtown Baton Rouge is, just check out one of the art, food, music, and community events going on every week as shown in the 5,000 plus posts attached to #downtownbatonrouge.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

24. Casper, Wyoming

Instagram posts – 693,795

For one, it has the same name as the friendly ghost, but it’s also where the Central Wyoming Fair and Rodeo takes place. Bucking bulls and roller coasters, what could be better?

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

25. Knoxville, Tennessee

Instagram posts – 681,626

This city seems to have some sort of festival or event going on every month. There’s the Big Ears Music Festival in March, Rhythm N’ Blooms Music Festival (#rhythmnblues has 6,771 posts) in April, and Knoxville Brewfest in June—and that’s just three.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

26. Portland, Oregon

Instagram posts – 680,706

The “Rose City” has more food trucks (over 500) and microbreweries (more than 70) than any other city. Oh, and #keepportlandweird has 134,845 posts on Instagram. Enough said. That’s about as popular as it gets.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

27. Spokane, Washington

Instagram posts – 676,040

What should you do in Spokane? You can begin your afternoon with a stroll through the Manito Park and Botanical Gardens. For dinner, enjoy a meal at Clover, a charming town house turned restaurant with a killer beef Wellington.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

28. Grand Rapids, Michigan

Instagram posts – 675,651

There’s a ridiculous amount of entertainment and performance arts centers located about town that will enlighten you. And if you want to see some animals, check out the John Ball Zoological Garden. #johnballzoo has 12,820 Instagram posts.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

29. Auburn, Maine

Instagram posts – 675,191

With a population of just over 23,000, this small East Coast town is making a big buzz. #festivalplaza (1,384 Instagram posts) is the place to be if you’re looking for local townspeople showcasing their art, musical talents, and yoga poses.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

30. Newark, New Jersey

Instagram posts – 670,140

This city has experienced a jazz revival with some of the most renowned jazz clubs on the East Coast located here. Check out Clement’s Place and the Priory downtown. #downtownnewark has nearly 7,000 Instagram posts featuring the neighborhood’s flavors and events.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

31. Glendale, Arizona

Instagram posts – 662,583

What’s the most popular thing to do in town? Wandering around Westgate City Center in the downtown district that has 4,389 Instagram posts. This entertainment district is packed with shopping, dining, and events that will give your feed bragging rights.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

32. Carmel, California

Instagram posts – 650,250

Other than the fact that this is one of the most awesome beach towns on the West Coast, the 17-Mile Drive will leave you speechless. Add a few Instagram pics of your own with the #17miledrive that has over 80,000 posts. A few more won’t hurt.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

33. Syracuse, New York

Instagram posts – 622,463

It’s a college town and college towns are always trendy. Especially if it has the Central New York Scottish Games and Celtic Festival in mid-August. There’s also a hip downtown area that’s worth exploring (#downtownsyracuse has 7,892 Instagram posts).

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

34. Green Bay, Wisconsin

Instagram posts – 589,073

Football season is approaching, which means the cheese heads are coming out of hibernation. Take a tour of the historic Lambeau Field. The #lambeaufield has 81,562 Instagram posts and that number is likely to go up with the start of football season.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

35. Helena, Montana

Instagram posts – 566,981

The 1+1=1 Gallery downtown might be the coolest art gallery you visit this year. Just check out #downtownhelena, with 2,083 Instagram posts.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

36. Eugene, Oregon

Instagram posts – 565,262

Iris Vineyards makes some of the best wines and hosts some of the best #winewednesdays (33,066 Instagram posts) in the state.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

37. Waterloo, Iowa

Instagram posts – 533,771

The locally owned SingleSpeed Brewing (292 Instagram posts) brews a beer called Coconut Migration, an American double IPA with toasted coconut that is absurdly fantastic.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

38. Ann Arbor, Michigan

Instagram posts – 527,285

This is a town where football reigns king and since Big Blue’s season starts in a few weeks, take a tour of “The Big House” that is Michigan Stadium (#michiganstadium has 6,372 Instagram posts).

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

39. Arlington, Virginia

Instagram Posts – 518,550

Eating a Mexican brunch and drinking a spicy margarita on the rooftop of Don Tito (2,761 Instagram posts) is where it’s at.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

40. Albany, New York

Instagram posts – 518,261

Sunset concerts at Jennings Landing (115 Instagram posts) on the banks of the Hudson River are the perfect way to end a day.

Want to rent a car and explore more in the city? Click here

 

We’ve given you 40 places in America noticeably trending online and the top reasons they simply must go on your itinerary this year. Hit the road already.

Chris Killen
Chris Killen
Chris is a San Diego based writer and editor who loves nothing more than sharing his travel experiences, tips, and insights with anyone who’ll listen. When it comes time to escape everyday life, you can find him in a lounge chair on his local beach or exploring the desolate coastline of Baja. “There’s no adventure too far.”

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