Though flying to foreign countries is exciting, exploring cities within the US can ignite a thrill of its own. In addition to the convenience of being able to have your own car with you during your travels, venturing within the US can help you discover some lesser-known activities and destinations that your whole family can enjoy. We’ve compiled a list of 10 cities across the US that you (likely) never thought to travel to, along with recommendations for winter-friendly activities and local kosher restaurants. Bon voyage!
As always, we want to encourage you to consult and observe the CDC’s COVID guidelines and regulations before making any travel plans.
10 Cities Across the US You Never Thought to Travel To (Plus Kosher Restaurant Recommendations)
There are plenty of ways that your family can enjoy the Windy City this winter – just make sure to hold on to your kippahs if you partake in any of our outdoor suggestions! If you love animals, we suggest checking out the Lincoln Park Zoo. You can see animals such as a black and white colobus monkey, a pygmy hippopotamus, and an African lion at this zoo. The zoo also has a large display of plants – over 2,000, to be exact!
Chicago is also a great place for sports fans. The Chicago Sports Museum is “a must,” according to ESPN Sports Anchor Matt Barie. This museum, which offers skills challenges and simulated experiences, is advertised as being appropriate for all ages.
Another family-friendly activity in Chicago is the American Writers Museum. This museum’s mission is to educate the public about past and present American writers, as well as inspire young writers. The museum hosts exhibits featuring immigrant and refugee writers, Ray Bradbury, and Frederick Douglass.
Kosher restaurant recommendations in Chicago:
Atlanta is another great family-friendly destination! Your young drivers will love test-driving a Porsche in Atlanta’s Porsche Experience Center, and your kiddos will be happy to tag along for the drive. There are also simulator experiences available at this center.
Younger kids in particular will appreciate Atlanta’s Legoland Discovery Center. Some attractions this Legoland features include a miniature replica of Atlanta and The Great LEGO Race Virtual Reality Experience.
Atlanta’s World of Coca-Cola is another worthwhile attraction to visit while in the area. The museum features a walk-through of Coca-Cola’s history, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the company’s bottling process. Of course, there is also an opportunity to taste various Coca-Cola beverages as part of this experience.
Kosher restaurant recommendations in Atlanta:
3. St. Louis
If your family needs a way to get their energy out after sitting in the car for several hours (we understand), you may want to stop by St. Louis’s Ultimate Ninjas first. This site’s obstacle and agility courses will allow anyone ages 5 and up to climb, swing, and train. Your whole family is bound to enjoy this playful experience!
The St. Louis Museum may be an appropriate next stop for your family. This highly interactive museum for kids features exhibits such as Zoo Vet Clinic, Glo-Shapes, Imagination Playground, and Dino Dig.
Another notable attraction in St. Louis is The Magic House. This children’s museum has an early childhood learning lab, a Namaste India exhibit, and an art studio workshop. The museum is designed to “pique curiosity and spark imagination.”
Kosher restaurant recommendations in St. Louis:
We recommend taking your family to Sea Life Michigan, the state’s largest aquarium, to see jellyfish, rescued sea turtles, stingrays, and sharks. You can also check the aquarium’s website for special events that may be happening during the time of your visit.
The Henry Ford museum provides a fun and educational experience for both adults and kids. The museum showcases “authentic objects, stories, and lives from America’s traditions of ingenuity, resourcefulness, and innovation.” As stated on their site, the museum’s “purpose is to inspire people to learn from these traditions to help shape a better future.” It’s a great experience for all kids ages 5 and up.
There’s also outdoor ice skating to enjoy at Greenfield Village.
Kosher restaurant recommendations in Detroit:
Soul Cafe is managed by Friendship Circle and is part of Friendship Circle’s Soul Projects, which focuses on providing vocational opportunities to adults with special needs. They offer mouthwatering dishes like soup, salad, pizza and pasta.
Jerusalem Pizza is known nationwide for its crazy flavors of pizza. Think chulent pizza, falafel pizza, and southwest chicken pizza, to name a few. They also have bagels, sandwiches, ice cream, and milkshakes.
Get your family excited to visit Nashville – which is a 13-hour drive from New York, according to Google Maps – by building a country music playlist for your trip. Nashville is known as the Music City as well as the home of country music. A visit to Nashville would be incomplete without stopping by the Country Music Hall of Fame. The hall of fame’s events change on a weekly basis, so be sure to check their event calendar to get the most current information for your trip.
The Grand Ole Opry is another top attraction in Nashville.
Kosher restaurant recommendations in Nashville:
6. Las Vegas
There is a ton for both kids and adults to do in Fabulous Las Vegas! You can go indoor skydiving (just make sure your kids are over 40 pounds), or visit the Shark Reef Aquarium. You can visit exotic sharks, giant rays, endangered green sea turtles, piranha, and a Komodo dragon here. Animal encounters, such as sting ray and sea turtle feedings, are also available.
If your crew is more into dolphins than sharks, you might consider visiting Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. You’ll be able to come face-to-face with bottlenose dolphins, white tigers, white lions, and leopards at this habitat, according to their website. Dolphin “meet and greet” are available as well.
Kosher restaurant recommendations in Las Vegas:
Philadelphia is a relatively short drive from the tri-state area and can be a fun road trip destination. Your kids will love Philly’s Please Touch Museum, which features a host of exciting exhibits, including Cents and Sensibility, Fairytale Garden, Food & Family, Imagination Playground, and Please Touch Garden.
Fireman’s Hall Museum is another fun idea. The museum is actually a renovated firehouse from 1902. You will learn all about fire prevention, the fire alarm box system and the evolution of fire engines. Just make sure to make a reservation before visiting Fireman’s Hall.
The Bucks County Children’s Museum is another stop you can make while in Philly. The museum’s exhibits include Town Square, Factory Works, Big Dig, and The Hospital.
Kosher restaurant recommendations in Philadelphia:
8. San Diego
December actually kickstarts San Diego’s whale watching season, which lasts until April. You can take a whale watching cruise with Flagship Cruises and Events and look out for gray whales, fin whales, humpbacks, minke whales, dolphins, and sea lions, according to the Flagship website. The company is so confident that you’ll see a whale on this outing that your next trip is guaranteed to be free if you don’t!
Another fun winter activity that you can do in San Diego is Skating by the Sea. This beachfront ice skating experience is located at Hotel del Coronado.
If you’re looking for something indoors, we recommend checking out AxeVentures. Here, you’ll be able to smash objects with a baseball bat or a hammer in the Rage/Smash Room and participate in axe throwing.
Kosher restaurant recommendations in San Diego:
Seattle is another great spot to travel to with your family this winter. You can visit the Museum of Pop Culture, which features exhibits such as Contact High: A Visual History of Hip Hop; Heroes, and Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume; and Fantasy: The World of Myth and Magic. The museum is also hosting a Scout Month until January 31st, so you may want to check that out as well!
Seattle is also home of the original Starbucks! You may consider stopping by as part of a walk around the city, or whenever you need a coffee fix.
Another popular attraction in Seattle is the Space Needle. This 605-foot building has a rotating glass floor and glass benches!
Kosher restaurant recommendations in Seattle:
With its beautiful mountain views, Denver is a peaceful and scenic vacation spot. If you enjoy skiing, we recommend visiting one of the many ski resorts in the Denver area, such as Winter Park. This resort features sunset and astronomy tours and other winter-friendly experiences.
Kids Wonder is an intentional play center located in South Denver. There is a toddler area, which has climbing areas and slides, as well as an area called Lil’town, which includes a grocery store, cafe, and construction zone, just to name a few examples. Kids are encouraged to “imagine, communicate, explore, and strengthen their conflict-resolution skills.”
Another fun indoor activity is Kids Dig, an indoor sandbox with over 60 tons of sand! There are play conveyors and diggers that kids can utilize while playing in the sand.
Kosher restaurant recommendations in Denver:
We hope this list will help enhance your vacation! Enjoy, and safe travels!
*Please note that Kosher.com does not take responsibility for the level of kashrut of any of the restaurants mentioned in this article. If you have questions about the kashrut of a particular restaurant, it is best to check with the local orthodox rabbi of the particular region the restaurant is located in.