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Here are the 30 best midsized cities to visit in the US

When planning a trip in the U.S., big cities like New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles often come to mind. They have lots of attractions, tons of food options and a unique culture. They also have high prices and can be a bit overwhelming to navigate.

But, that shouldn’t hold you back from having an authentic city experience. That’s why RewardExpert released a ranking of the best midsized cities to visit in 2017, where you can get the feel of a metropolitan vacation without the hassle of dealing with a major hub.

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St. Petersburg, Florida, ranked as one of the best midsized cities to visit in 2017.

“Travelers typically belong to one of two camps; they either want to explore the wonders of nature, or delve into a city’s unique culture,” RewardExpert CEO Roman Shteyn said in a statement. “The cities that fall in between America’s biggest metropolises and most remote hamlets offer experiences that can delight both camps. We’ve uncovered that midsized cities offer a diverse range of activities in a more leisurely atmosphere and at a more affordable price.”

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The website that helps travelers fly cheaply by maximizing points and miles analyzed more than 250 midsized cities (those that have between 100,000 and 300,000 residents) across the U.S. using 13 metrics distributed across four key dimensions: affordability, safety, recreational activities and city profile. A score was then given to each city to determine the top five destinations for all of the major regions, including the Northeast, Midwest, Mountain West, Pacific West, South Central and South Atlantic.

So, where should you go this year? If the Northeast is on your agenda, head to Syracuse, as it ranked No. 1 in the region. Both your hunger for culture and food will be satisfied here as they have more than 30 restaurants per 10,000 residents, and Syracuse is home to cultural events like the Syracuse Jazz Fest that takes place every summer. Providence, Rhode Island; New Haven, Connecticut; Allentown, Pennsylvania; and Stamford, Connecticut, rounded out the top five for the Northeast.

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Syracuse, New York, ranked as the No. 1 midsized city to visit in the Northeast.

Over in the Midwest, Ann Arbor, Michigan, is the place to go. Since it’s home to the University of Michigan, you get all of the benefits of a college town like museums, galleries, restaurants, bars and sports. The other top five Midwest cities — Madison, Wisconsin; Fargo, North Dakota; Des Moines, Iowa; and Joliet, Illinois — all boast lots of recreational activities, like biking and golfing, to keep you busy.

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Heading further across the country, Boulder, Colorado, took the top spot for the Mountain West region given its incredible access to the great outdoors. No matter what season, there’s thousands of acres of recreational space where you can ski in the winter or bike in the summer. Similarly, Salt Lake City, Utah; Reno, Nevada; Provo, Utah; and Billings, Montana, all have similar offerings along with emerging food and art scenes.

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It's pretty easy to see why Boulder, Colorado, ranked as one of best midsized cities to visit in 2017.

Moving west, Eugene, Oregon, came in at No. 1 for the Pacific West region as it is known for its art and restaurants in addition to outdoor activities. The city is even home to the Willamette River Bike Trail, a scenic path for biking and walking. California dominated the top five, though, with Ventura, Santa Rosa and San Mateo all making the list. Spokane, Washington, was the only other city in the region to crack the top spots because of its revitalization in recent years, bringing in a number of new restaurants, shops and galleries.

Meanwhile, Knoxville, Tennessee, reigned supreme for the South Central region; it's known as one of America’s best cities for music like it’s neighbor, Nashville. Incredibly, there are about 50 restaurants and bars per 10,000 residents, so you can spend a vacation eating, and listening to some good jams. Honestly, what’s better than that?

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Charleston, South Carolina, is filled with history, architecture, art and food.

Lastly, the South Atlantic is booming with some interesting midsized cities. Charleston, South Carolina, came in at No. 1 for the region and it’s pretty easy to see why. The city is filled with history, well-preserved architecture and some of the best restaurants in the country. In fact, Charleston has 54 restaurants, cafes and bars per 10,000 residents, which is more than any other city in the region on the list.

Check out the full list below:

Northeast

1. Syracuse, New York

2. Providence, Rhode Island

3. New Haven, Connecticut

4. Allentown, Pennsylvania

5. Stamford, Connecticut

Midwest

1. Ann Arbor, Michigan

2. Madison, Wisconsin

3. Fargo, North Dakota

4. Des Moines, Iowa

5. Joliet, Illinois

Mountain West

1. Boulder, Colorado

2. Salt Lake City, Utah

3. Reno, Nevada

4. Provo, Utah

5. Billings, Montana

Pacific West

1. Eugene, Oregon

2. Ventura, California

3. Spokane, Washington

4. Santa Rosa, California

5. San Mateo, California

South Central

1. Knoxville, Tennessee

2. Baton Rouge, Louisiana

3. Midland, Texas

4. Little Rock, Arkansas

5. Denton, Texas

South Atlantic

1. Charleston, South Carolina

2. Athens, Georgia

3. Richmond, Virginia

4. St. Petersburg, Florida

5. Durham, North Carolina

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