7 Under-the-Radar Destinations for Couples

By | October 18, 2016 |

Been there, done that with your significant other? Certain cities, whether it’s San Francisco for its cultural attractions or Miami for its beaches, have a natural pull. But exploring unfamiliar destinations together can be a romantic alternative as you uncover new hot spots, share craft beer flights, and stop in locally owned shops to find a one-of-a-kind souvenir to bring back home. Urban destinations from Buffalo, N.Y., to San Antonio, Texas, are reinventing themselves and stand ready to welcome you with open arms. Here are a few new favorites perfect for a couple’s getaway.


Every couple should add a trip to Niagara Falls to their bucket list. But before or after your ride on Maid of the Mist, make time to visit this constantly revitalizing city, the second largest in New York. From a vibrant beer garden carved out of the ruins of a grain silo to boat tours and kayaking on the Buffalo River, its urban waterfront over the past few years has come dramatically alive.

Throw in the completion of a 15-year, $50 million restoration of a Frank Lloyd Wright mansion, vibrant neighborhoods and a tangible can-do spirit, and you’ll understand why the time is ripe for a visit.


Need something to wash down Cincy’s famous chili? Thanks to the waves of German immigrants who settled in the neighborhood that became known as Over-the-Rhine, the Queen City once offered hundreds of taverns and dozens of breweries.

Book an afternoon with Cincinnati Brewery Tours to hear about the time when axe-wielding prohibitionist Carrie Nation beat a hasty retreat after surveying a single block where 136 saloons stood ready to slake thirsty throats and other fascinating tales. Beer and history-loving couples are sure to enjoy their time wandering underground (through a series of dimly-lit tunnels connecting several old breweries) and behind-the-scenes (to meet some of today’s craft brewers) — while enjoying plenty of sips along the way.


Music and motors still dominate this muscular city, but couples will also find museums, murals, markets and makers aplenty. The Ford Rouge Factory Tour will get your engines running, and the tiny studio in the tiny row house — aka Hitsville — at the Motown Museum will keep them humming.

Other highlights include visiting the sprawling Eastern Market, one of the country’s largest and oldest farmers markets, viewing Diego Rivera’s fresco cycle at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and planning a date night to catch a concert or play at the unimaginably ornate Fox Theatre.


Who says the “Circle City” is only about the oval — its legendary 2.5 mile speedway? White River State Park, the country’s only cultural urban state park offers a lower-key alternative for couples, with the Indianapolis Zoo and a host of museums, many of them alongside a picturesque central canal teeming with walkers and cyclists.

Elsewhere in this state capital, you can find a museum devoted to fanciful author Kurt Vonnegut and a collection of memorials and monuments that rivals that of Washington, D.C. Make time to rent bikes and set out together on paths that lead you from one attraction to the other.

Minneapolis-St. Paul

Despite their moniker, these “twin cities” located just ten miles apart along the Mississippi River are quite distinct. Older sibling St. Paul offers romantic strolls along streets lined with Victorian mansions and tempts with peeks at architectural treasures like the State Capitol building, clad in nearly two dozen varieties of stone.

Minneapolis delivers big-city culture, giving couples lots to explore and discuss. See a show at the nationally-renowned Guthrie Theater, which stages provocative adaptations of the classics, as well as new works, or visit an exhibit at the Walker Art Center, which is known for exhibitions of today’s most cutting-edge artists.


Just beyond the North Carolina capital’s downtown, an emerging warehouse district beckons. The area’s low-slung red brick factories are now home to dining, cultural and shopping touchstones, including artisan chocolate makers, craft breweries and art galleries.

Meanwhile, Raleigh Denim Workshop is a concentrated effort to bring back one of the city’s central industries — textiles, specifically jeans making. The workshop offers tours of its factory in the back (complete with several vintage machines) and the opportunity for you each to pick up a pair of hand-crafted jeans out front.

San Antonio

Two attractions define San Antonio. The first is its lush, winding and ever-happening Riverwalk, which moves to the beat of outdoor restaurants, live music and funky shops. The second is the historic Alamo, where legendary frontiersman Davy Crockett was killed in battle during Texas’ revolution against Mexico.

But while you may come here to “remember the Alamo,” you will learn that the building dates back to the mid-18th-century and was one of five Spanish missions established at the time. For a romantic day trip, pack a picnic lunch and plan to discover all five of them, following the Mission Trail, a national park and World Heritage Site.

So pack up and choose one of these up-and-coming cities to explore together. You’re sure to discover something new about each other and make fond memories as you set out to experience each city’s unique adventures and local gems.

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