12 Best Places to Visit in July
These U.S. destinations are fit for making summer memories that will last long after your tan has faded
The Music City is a great place to visit in July, with its iconic musical landmarks, classic southern cuisine and lively culture.
Is there anything better than summer vacation? July is full of sunshine and celebration thanks to Independence Day and beautiful weather just about everywhere in the U.S. From food festivals to hiking in the mountains to colonial architecture, we reveal 12 of the best places to visit in July—and what to do in each place!
Get down with honky tonks and hot chicken in Nashville, TN
Nashville, a hub for some of the best music and food in America, kicks off our list of the best places to visit in July. Home to the Grand Ole Opry and dozens of quality music venues, it’s practically impossible to visit Nashville without seeing top-notch live music. Head to the Ryman Auditorium, also known as the “Mother Church of Country Music” for your baptism. The Ryman was home to the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974 and has seen everyone from Hank Williams to Kacey Musgraves grace the stage.
There are so many places to eat in Nashville’s ever-evolving culinary scene, but if you like spicy food, don’t miss trying some of the city’s famous “hot chicken.” The king of Nashville’s hot chicken scene is Prince’s Hot Chicken, but you can find it on just about every menu in town.
Between the music and food, enjoy some sunshine in Centennial Park, one of Nashville’s favorite parks. Explore the full-scale replica of the ancient Parthenon, stroll the beautiful sunken garden or attend one of the park’s many summer concerts.
Experience a booming food scene and racing history in Indianapolis, IN
Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the world’s largest sports venue and hosts races throughout the year, including the iconic Indianapolis 500.
A booming food scene and world-class museums are turning this Midwestern city into an exciting destination, also making it one of the best places to visit in July. Indy is the “Racing Capital of the World” thanks to the Indy 500. If you can’t catch a race, you can visit the Indy Motor Speedway Museum anytime to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the track and see famous cars from races past.
The best way to experience downtown Indy is to rent a bike and explore via the Cultural Trail, an 8-mile bike route that runs through downtown and connects with the White River-Wapahani Trail, which takes you through White River State Park. From there, take the Momon Trail up to the eclectic Broad Ripple neighborhood. Don’t forget to stop along the way to shop and eat your way through town.
Speaking of food, you can’t visit Indianapolis without experiencing one of the best brunches in the country. Milktooth is a local favorite that has landed on best restaurant lists since opening in 2014. They serve only brunch, which includes dishes like Korean BBQ Wings, sourdough waffles and the most decadent grilled cheese you’ll ever have. There will be a wait, but it’s absolutely worth it.
Find your Zen in Portland, OR
Portland is loaded with top-notch eateries, from fine dining to classic treats.
At the doorstep of Oregon wine country and some of the best peaks in the country, Portland is foodie heaven and a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. With at least 10 urban wineries and tasting rooms, you can sip some of the state’s best wines in the heart of downtown. If you need a sweet treat, don’t miss one of Portland’s famous donut shops like Blue Star or Voodoo Donut.
When you’re ready to burn off those calories, Portland is home to some awesome bike and walking trails. When you’re ready to unwind, visit the Portland Japanese Garden for over 12 acres of peaceful gardens, a Japanese tea house and total Zen.
Sip on Southern Comfort in the heart of bourbon country in Louisville, KY
Bourbon is known as “America’s Native Spirit,” and Louisville is the heart of its production.
Louisville may be known for The Derby, but there’s so much more to the city. Since you’ll be in the heart of Bourbon Country, a distillery tour is a must. Check out one of the originals like Old Forester or the newer Rabbit Hole for a tour from grain to glass and tasting.
Another rite of passage in Louisville is eating a hot brown. Created in the 1920s, this open-faced turkey sandwich topped with bacon and deliciously rich mornay sauce is the most famous sandwich in town..
Walk off that hot brown with a visit to the Old Louisville neighborhood for a dose of history. Take a tour of the largest continuous historic district featuring Victorian architecture in the U.S. and maybe take a snooze under a tree in the city’s own Central Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.
Keep it cool (and weird) in Austin, TX
Named for the former First Lady, Lady Bird Lake is a great place to get outdoors without venturing too far from town.
Continue exploring with some bar hopping on Rainey Street. This quaint street near downtown is lined with bungalows turned into local restaurants and bars. Austin boasts the second highest number of food trucks in America, so when you get hungry, check out one of Austin’s famous food-truck parks and sample your fill of the best Southwest and global cuisine.
No trip to Austin is complete without seeing a show. Featuring stars from Junior Brown to Robert Plant since 1955, The Continental Club on South Congress is the grandfather of the Austin music scene.
Indulge in food and fun in Pittsburgh, PA
Kennywood has old school favorites and cutting-edge coasters to keep everyone in your family smiling.
The Steel City makes our list of the best places to visit in July because it truly comes alive in the summertime. If you’re visiting Pittsburgh with the family, check out Kennywood, a classic amusement park that’s been around for over 100 years. Classic attractions like the wave swinger are fan favorites, but Kennywood has lots of modern roller coasters, too.
Discover how steel is made and learn about the rise and fall of Pittsburgh’s steel heritage with a tour of the Carrie Furnaces, where there’s also a variety of art installations and events every summer.
Pittsburgh is also home the annual summer event, Picklesburgh. This celebration of all things pickled draws thousands of people to downtown Pittsburgh to sample artisan cocktails with pickled ingredients, pickle-themed snacks like popcorn and ice cream, and ethnic foods that use pickled ingredients. You can even learn how to can pickles and enter a pickle-juice drinking contest.
Sample beer, cheese and brandy in Madison, WI
There’s plenty of great farmers’ market finds at the Dane County Farmers’ Market—the largest of its kind in the country.
Kick off your vacation with a visit to the Essen Haus for a boot filled with your brew of choice, hearty German fare and some live polka music. Another Wisconsin classic is the Old Fashioned cocktail, and the best place to have one in July is on the patio of The Old Fashioned. They serve 10 different types of the cocktail, so choose what strikes you—and don’t forget to order the cheese curds.
Another reason Madison is one of the best places to visit in July? You can immerse yourself in the largest producer-only farmers market in the country, the Dane County Farmers’ Market, every Saturday in the downtown square. Shop for beautiful produce, delectable baked goods and, of course, more cheese curds.
Combine the great outdoors with city sophistication in Denver, CO
Red Rocks Amphitheater is one of the top venues in the country to catch a performance, but it’s worth visiting anytime for the incredible sights.
The Mile-High City is another of the best places to visit in July. A visit to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre is a must—their summer concert series will be in full swing, so check out their calendar to see who is touring. Not just a famous music venue, Red Rocks is a geological wonder where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains. If you can’t make it for a show, you can enjoy hiking and biking a variety of trails in the park, or elsewhere in Denver.
Denver is also a major beer destination. Create your own pub crawl or take a tour of the local craft breweries on the Denver River North Art District Craft Brewery Tour. In nearby Golden, CO, Coors offers tours of its brewery, which is the largest in the world.
Another way to enjoy the fabulous July weather in Denver is at 16th Street Mall. Designed by famed architect I.M. Pei, this promenade is lined with over 40 outdoor cafes, 20 shops, parks, brewpubs and more. If your feet need a break, hop on one of the free shuttles that run daily and stop on every corner.
Pig out in Kansas City, MO
Barbeque is a core food group in Kansas City, with its distinct style of slow-cooked meat coated in sweet sauce.
There are over 100 BBQ joints in Kansas City, as well as a Barbecue Society dedicated to promoting the famous cuisine. If you ask the locals where to find the best ‘Q, you’ll never get the same response, yet the Kansas City style remains consistent—cooked “low-and-slow” and slathered in a thick sweet sauce with burnt ends.
Kansas City jazz is another tradition that’s alive and well. Visit the American Jazz Museum to learn about the KC jazz greats. For an old-school live jazz experience, head to The Green Lady Lounge.
Before you head home, catch the Royals play at Kauffman Stadium. Be sure to sit near the stadium fountains so you can get splashed to keep cool while you cheer them on!
See history come to life in Williamsburg, VA
Take a trip to the 18th century in Colonial Williamsburg and celebrate the Fourth of July like it’s the first one.
Home to the first permanent English settlement of Jamestown, the Williamsburg area might be one of the best places to visit in July simply because of their Independence Day celebrations. Don't miss the reading of the Declaration of Independence on the courthouse steps in Colonial Williamsburg, watch military exercises at American Revolution Museum at Yorktown and end the day with an explosive fireworks show in Colonial Williamsburg, Historic Yorktown or Busch Gardens.
When you need a celebratory drink, head out on the Williamsburg Tasting Trail and sample from the 12 local breweries, wineries and distilleries..
Even if you’re visiting after July 4, a visit to Colonial Williamsburg is a must. Where else can you “meet” Thomas Jefferson, shoot a musket and learn from some of the best craftsmen in America?
Taste the best of “Beer City USA” in Grand Rapids, MI
See where some of your favorite beers are born in Beer City, USA.
Home to breweries like Founders, Brewery Vivant and more than 80 others, beer tastings alone could keep you totally busy on your trip to Grand Rapids. You can even combine your beer-tasting adventures with other activities—check out one of the city’s beer tours by kayak, party bike or trolley.
When (or if) you need a break from the beer, visit the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, one of the top 100 must-see museums on the planet. The gardens merge horticulture and sculpture beautifully throughout the 158-acre property. In the summer, take advantage of their outdoor concert series, which has featured artists like Lyle Lovett and Brandi Carlile.
Savor Southern cooking and soak in the Carolina coast in Charleston, SC
There’s no shortage of Spanish moss-lined trees in the Lowcountry hotspot of Charleston.
You could visit Charleston with nothing on your agenda but eating at the best restaurants and still not try them all. Charleston’s dining scene is second to none, thanks to chefs like Sean Brock of McGrady’s Tavern, Travis Grimes of Husk and Mike Lata and Jason Stanhope of FIG.
Charleston is also one of the oldest cities in America, so don’t miss exploring some of its fine architecture. The Aiken Rhett House and Nathanial Russell House in downtown Charleston are wildly different—one untouched since the 19th century, the other fully restored. But both offer unique looks at two different preservation methods.
And, of course, Charleston is one of the best places to visit in July because—in addition to the fine dining and architecture—you can stick your toes in the sand at “the edge of America” at Folly Beach. Watch for dolphins jumping in the surf and bald eagles soaring above you, and make sure to stay for a blazing sunset.
More to Explore
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Put your wallet away—and take in some of Music City’s sights on the cheap
Things to Do in Kansas City
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Texas Hill Country Wineries
Enjoy fantastic vineyards within a two-hour drive of the state capital.