Tonight I am suffering from the sort of carlag that comes from driving a total of 22 hours across two days. My calves feel like lumps of coal and my brain feels like mush. I am thinking about making ramen noodles. I might fall asleep first.
My journey to San Francisco this weekend marked the first time I visited the Bay Area. I enjoyed its gorgeous water, rolling hills, and classy bohemian vibe. It was a city I had high on my list to visit. Now that it’s been scratched off I am asking myself which American cities that I have never visited do I most want to experience.
This is tough. To date, I’ve visited New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Boston, Seattle, Las Vegas, Memphis, Dallas, Houston, and Austin, just to name a few. Plus, I’ve lived in New Orleans and Portland.
Where should I go next? Should I slip a blindfold on and point at the map? Or should I look both ways before I cross the country again? Here’s my list of possible cities next in line for a visit.
10. Seaside Heights, New Jersey
I recently quit my Jersey Shore addiction. I think it happened after Snooki got knocked up and Pauly D went on tour with Britney Spears. The thrill is gone but I would not mind taking a trip to the Jersey Shore as an archaeological exploration trip into one of our nation’s biggest cultural voids and one of my former biggest reality TV pleasures.
9. Santa Fe, New Mexico
I had fighting words for New Mexico in my Top 10 places I would not want to live list. My friend Tracy disagreed with me, citing Santa Fe’s charm as a reason to give New Mexico a chance. Well, if I am in the southwest anytime soon, I might just have to check Sante Fe out. If Santa Fe disappoints, there’s always Roswell and its UFOs less than 200 miles away.
8. Boise, Idaho
Blue turf and potatoes. Maybe I could eat Idaho potatoes on Smurf Turf. That could be fun. Boise also has a burgeoning musical scene that I am fond of. Still, it’s seven hours away from Portland. The distance makes me think, “Do I really want to go to Idaho that bad?” Maybe, yes, no.
7. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
My undying worship of all things Kevin Durant makes a trip to Oklahoma City during the NBA season seem like an OK venture (no pun intended). Then again, I hear the words “Oklahoma City” in my head and I wonder if I am insane for even considering a place that I know for basketball and bombings in my Top 10 places to go.
6. Louisville, Kentucky
Technically, I might have been to Louisville at some point during my youth. But, seeing how as I don’t recall, I am adding the land of Hunter S. Thompson and Johnny Depp to my list. Louisville seems sort of southern, sort of metropolitan, sort of fun, sort of rugged. Check this out: Just learned on Wikipedia that Louisiville’s population exploded from 256,000 in 2000 to 741,000 in 2010. Must be something about the place.
5. Denver, Colorado
I’ve always had a nonsensical soft spot for Denver – the Mile High City. I say nonsensical because I know next to nothing about Denver or Colorado and yet I am intrigued enough by the city’s altitude to want to visit. At this moment, I can’t think of any instances where I heard a person rave about Denver or tell me I must go to Denver. Is it a best kept secret or does it suck? I need to investigate.
4. Athens, Georgia
Like a weirder, smaller, more arts-friendly Atlanta. I have had Athens on the brain for quite some time, but it is super duper far away from the Pacific Northwest. One day, I’ll make it back to the Southeast. Did I mention it has lots of live music and that Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum once called it home? It must be the mecca for amazing.
3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The birthplace of MotownPhilly and Philly cheese steaks. Oh, and Ben Franklin once roamed the city’s turf. I really want to catch an Eagles game just to see if their fans are as heartless as they seem. Plus, it’s only 90 miles from New York City. Next time I am in the Big Apple this is happening.
2. Baltimore, Maryland
I feel like I know this city and yet I have never visited. David Simon’s classic TV show The Wire and his true crime book Homicide offered insight into a deeply corrupted city, and yet made it seem fascinating. A city that can produce bands like Animal Collective and Beach House must have some type of artistic core too.
1. Detroit, Michigan
Maybe it’s the lack of sleep or the carlag or the need for food but Detroit feels like the city I need to check out next. I want to know about its recovery or lack thereof. I want to see the engine that once drove America. I want to see the places that inspired Sufjan Stevens’ instant classic album, Michigan. There’s something romantic, in my mind at least, about Detroit. Maybe I am attracted to decaying industries. If Detroit fails to leave a mark – good or bad – there is always Chicago less than five hours away.
So what’s the city or cities you most want to visit? Tell me!