The 14 Most Underrated Cities in America - United Hub

The 14 most underrated cities in America

By The Hub team

You've already been to New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Where to next? Let us introduce you to the most underrated cities across the U.S. These 14 spots are pioneers in everything from urban development and job creation to culture and cuisine. Head there quickly before everyone else finds out.

City view of Providence, Rhode Island from the river

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1. Providence, Rhode Island

Once gritty and impoverished, Providence, just south of Boston, is now a creative hub for arts and culture. Take bustling Westminster Street, full of design shops, craft stores and galleries, as well as the nationally-recognized food scene. (Did you know top culinary school Johnson & Wales University is located right downtown?)

view of the St. Louis Arc at sunset.

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2. St. Louis, Missouri

Think of St. Louis as several attractive neighborhoods, each with their own distinct personality. We love Soulard, the French-influenced neighborhood where you'll find bistros, farmers' markets and photogenic streets. But there's also Central West End, known for its quaint sidewalk cafés, and Cherokee Street, home to the hottest restaurants in town.

View of downtown area in Portland, Maine

Corey Templeton/Flickr

3. Portland, Maine

Portland is possibly the most exciting food city in the country…and we're talking more than just lobster rolls (although it has that, too). One of the pioneers of the eat-local movement, Portland boasts everything from inventive Asian fusion at places like Miyake and The Honey Paw to creative takes on Italian. (Don't miss the epic Sicilian-style pizza at Slab.)

City view overlooking the water.

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4. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

What's not to love about a city that's incredibly cheap (a three-bedroom house in the hip neighborhood of Bay View will cost you about $200k) and prides itself on beer and cheese? Milwaukee is increasingly becoming sophisticated and cosmopolitan, but it holds on to its old-school German roots. (Read: So. Much. Beer.)

Busy restaurant in Burlington, Vermont.

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5. Burlington, Vermont

You'll find no shortage of granola, Birkenstocks and Bernie Sanders bumper stickers in this hippie locale, but there's also way more sophistication than you might expect in Burlington. For example, you can hike along the Robert Frost Trail, marked with excerpts of his poems, or enjoy a locally sourced meal at foodie hot spot Hen of the Wood. Oh, and it's the home of Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

Colorful umbrellas decorate a restaurant along the canal in San Antonio, Texas

Thomas Vela/Getty Images

6. San Antonio, Texas

It seems like Austin gets all the spotlight these days, but San Antonio deserves some attention, too. Despite being the country's seventh-largest city, it's got a peaceful, slow-paced vibe. Take a stroll along the canals of the San Antonio River, then hit up Market Square, an enormous open-air Mexican market serving some of the best huevos rancheros on this side of the border.

Pathway in a park in Baltimore, Maryland

Dwight Nadig/Getty Images

7. Baltimore, Maryland

You might never guess that Baltimore, a mid-Atlantic city, is home to one of the country's most up-and-coming art scenes. Head to the funky neighborhood of Station North for stellar urban street art, or visit the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM), which is completely dedicated to the work of self-taught artists.

Busy nightlife on a street in Detroit, Michigan.

Jason Mrachina/Flickr

8. Detroit, Michigan

Detroit is a story of revival: An industrial powerhouse in the 1950s, it took a downturn in the '70s but has reinvented itself in the past ten years as a hipster hot spot replete with industry (take watch company Shinola); remarkably beautiful, affordable real estate; and and cutting-edge culture. In fact, Detroit's theaters make up the second-largest theater district in the U.S. after New York.

Annual balloon festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico

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9. Albuquerque, New Mexico

New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment, and a visit to Albuquerque will show you why. Often overshadowed by Santa Fe, this desert city boasts a unique arts-and-crafts scene, farm-to-table Southwestern cuisine and an annual balloon festival, when colorful hot-air balloons take flight across the horizon.

Skyline view of Louisville, Kentucky at sunset.

David Liu/Getty Images

10. Louisville, Kentucky

Love your liquor? Well, Louisville just might be the cocktail bar capital of the country. Head to Main Street (you might mistake the row of cast-iron buildings for New York's Soho) and you'll find tons of bars serving up creative concoctions, like the "El Guapo" at Proof on Main, made with beet-infused tequila, and the blackberry julep at 8Up.

Spoonbridge and cherry sculpture in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Meet Minneapolis/Flickr

11. Minneapolis, Minnesota

From the North Loop—where old industrial warehouses have been converted into bustling restaurants, lofts and shopping spaces—to the verdant urban parks and sprawling bike trails, Minneapolis is a hip and happenin' plains city. The winters may be grueling, but it's all worth it for the chance to hit the beach or sail on Lake Calhoun come summer.

The downtown village in Park City, Utah

Eric/Flickr

12. Park City, Utah

Home to famed Deer Valley ski resort, Park City is a year-round destination for outdoorsy types. The downtown village is a quaint stretch of shops and après-ski bars and prides itself on excellent restaurants. Don't miss a five-course meal paired with house-made whiskeys at The Nelson Cottage, a spin-off of the ever popular High West Distillery and Saloon.

locals walking the streets in Boulder, Colorado

Pedro Szekely/Flickr

13. Boulder, Colorado

They say Boulder is 25 square miles surrounded by reality…what's not to like about that? This easygoing college town is a total mecca for hiking stoner types—and we say that with affection. When ski season ends, there's always mountain biking on Flagstaff Mountain or rafting down Boulder River.

Aerial view of Asheville, North Carolina

George Rose/Getty Images

14. Asheville, North Carolina

A huge craft-beer scene and farm-fresh restaurants, like the newly opened Buxton, make Asheville an exciting food city, but we also love it for its proximity to the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. During the summer, take a half-day trip to hike through nearby Pisgah National Forest, and in fall, head to Navitat Canopy Adventures to zip-line above the changing leaves.

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Entertainment for all

By The Hub team, August 04, 2020

Our Marketing Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity team and Bridge, our Business Resource Group (BRG) for people with all abilities, partnered together to test and provide feedback on our award-winning seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) system.

Aptly named "Entertainment for all," our new seatback IFE system offers the an extensive suite of accessibility features, allowing for unassisted use by people of all visual, hearing, mobility and language abilities.

"It's nice to know that I can get on a plane and pick my favorite entertainment to enjoy, just like every customer," said Accessibility Senior Analyst and Developer and Bridge Chief of Staff Ray C., who is blind.

"As a deaf employee, the closed captioning availability on board our aircraft is something I value greatly," added Information Technology Analyst Greg O. "The new IFE further cements United's visibility within the deaf community and elsewhere. It makes me proud to be an employee."

Accessibility features of the new IFE include a text-to-speech option, explore by touch, customizable text size, screen magnification, color correction and inversion modes, and alternative navigation options for those unable to swipe or use a handset. For hearing-impaired and non-English-speaking passengers, customization options provide the ability for customers to be served content and receive inflight notifications based on their preferences and settings —with closed captions, with subtitles or in the language of their choice from the 15 languages supported. Our "Entertainment for all" system won the Crystal Cabin Award in 2019, and recently, the Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Research and Development Award for Audio Description by the American Council of the Blind.

"This really showed the benefits of partnering with BRGs in helping us improve products and services for our customers and employees," said Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Senior Manager Corinne S. "Even though we have been recognized with awards for our IFE accessibility features, we are not resting on our laurels but continuing to work towards improving the inflight entertainment experience for all of our customers to ensure entertainment is available for all."

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at jointherevolution.org/pledge.

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

United works with partners to send food to USDA food bank

By The Hub team, July 23, 2020

In collaboration with food-logistics company Commodity Forwarders Inc. (CFI), United moved nearly 190,000 pounds of fresh produce to Guam for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program. This new program was created to provide critical support to consumers impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

A variety of fresh fruits were transported from Los Angeles (LAX) to Guam (GUM) on United's newly introduced, non-stop cargo-only flight – a route added to meet cargo demand during the COVID-19 crisis. The fresh food was repacked in 10-pound cases in Los Angeles, prepared for departure at CFI's LAX location, and flown to GUM by the United team. Through this beneficial partnership between United and CFI, the perishable goods were kept cool during every step of the process and distributed as part of the food bank program in Guam.

"Everyone on our team has worked relentlessly during the pandemic to get critical goods to where they are needed most. Establishing a comprehensive network of cargo-only flights have allowed us to keep the supply chain moving even while passenger flight capacity has been reduced," said Regional Senior Manager of Cargo Sales, Marco Vezjak. "Knowing that we are able to help during these difficult times – in this case the Guam community – is our biggest reward and greatest motivation to keep moving forward."

United is proud to play a role in maintaining the global food supply chain and helping people access the supplies they need. Since March 19, United has operated over 4,000 cargo-only flights, moving over 130 million pounds of cargo.

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