In July I spent some time in (and took runs in) a couple of cities that I hadn’t much more than passed through before – Kansas City and Sacramento. As I was looping around the California state capital building above it dawned on me how some cities are just ‘underrated.’
My own hometown of Charlotte, NC probably falls into the underrated category – a ‘not quite big city’ in the Southeast that doesn’t really have that ONE THING that it is known for around the world. Yeah, we’ve got the Panthers and Bank of America, but no one really knows the truly great things about Charlotte until they come for a visit and ask a resident where they should go? Depending on who you ask, you’ll get a variety, but there’s a good chance they’ll tell you to eat in Dilworth, NoDa or Plaza Midwood; spend a day at Lake Norman, catch a baseball game at BB&T Park, or hit the Mint Museum if that’s your style. Or they might send you to my personal favorite – a day at the US National Whitewater Center for rafting, mountain biking, rock climbing, zip lining, good food, great beer, and live music. We always exceed expectations!
Kansas City and Sacramento are much the same in that regards. I found great food in both towns – Hock Farm Craft and Provisions in SacTown, and Anton’s Taproom in KC. Both had interesting historical features – The National World War 1 Museum is in Kansas City (picture above is taken from the museum looking back at the city), and Sacramento is the oldest incorporated city in California and has been the state capital since just after it was granted statehood. The people in both of these cities were fantastic to me and I think they are truly underrated.
So, is there a lesson in all of this? Maybe not, but then again, maybe their is…if you keep an open mind and dig around a little bit, there is something special and unique about just about everywhere. People in mid-sized cities like Charlotte, Kansas City, and Sacramento always seem to be trying to keep a secret (their city is really pretty great) because they don’t want too many more people to know about it, lest it change them. I’m all for exploring every city to find the very best it has to offer right under its underrated surface.