Aerial view of Rochester, New York.

9 Most Charming cities in the Mid-Atlantic

The Mid-Atlantic is a term often used to describe the areas encompassing New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Washington DC. Whereas New England is best known (unsurprisingly) for its close resemblance of England and the British Isles, the Mid-Atlantic's character was more heavily shaped by the arrival of immigrants from countries like Italy and Germany in the mid to late 19th century. 

Today the Mid-Atlantic has some of the most recognizable and famous cities in all of the United States each of which has its own unique identity and culture that are specific to its areas. 

New York City, New York

Aerial view of lower Manhattan New York City
Aerial view of lower Manhattan, New York City.

New York City is one of the most famous cities on the planet, let alone within the Mid-Atlantic region. New York is a big place and is made up of five distinct boroughs. These boroughs are further broken down into neighborhoods, and it is here where you find all of the charm and appeal. 

No matter what flavor of the world you want, you can find it easily in New York City. Little Italy, Chinatown, Harlem, Hell's Kitchen, SoHo, and many more areas of the city offer something so different than the others. Each part of New York is like visiting another nation, which is why people love it so much. No matter what you are looking for when you travel, there is a guarantee you will find it somewhere throughout the mass expanse of NYC.  

Washington DC

Washington DC, the US Capital.

Quite literally the beating heart of the United States, Washington DC has served as America's capital city for more than 200 years. There is an endless supply of historic sites and monuments to see here. 

Whereas some cities have all of their attractions spread out and miles apart from one another DC has managed to consolidate most of them in one area. Anyone can reasonably see the White House, Lincoln Memorial, MLK Memorial, the Capitol Building, Washington Memorial, and so much more all within one day and on foot. There is no need for a car or tedious public transport. Each of the monuments is even more awesome in person than they are on screensavers or postcards. Taking a trip to DC is often an unforgettable experience. 

Richmond, Virginia

Fall over Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia
Fall over Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia.

One of the earliest English settlements in North America, Richmond has one of the more underrated and overlooked histories when compared to other cities in the Mid-Atlantic region. Despite being somewhat of a large city, Richmond has still managed to keep ahold of that small-town atmosphere that fosters a sense of community and togetherness. The people here are friendly and are more than happy to help out a tourist looking for directions or looking for a place to eat. 

The well-respected Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is a great place to go for cheap to appreciate some of the finer things in life. It might not have the international respect that the MET has, but it punches well above its weight. 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Beautiful philadelphia downtown skyline at sunset
Beautiful skyline in Philadelphia at sunset.

The "City of Brotherly Love" is the second largest city in the Mid-Atlantic region, only behind the mega city that is New York. Philadelphia has a reputation for having a rough, blue-collar edge to it, but behind this reputation is one of the best cities in the United States. 

Anyone visiting Philadelphia should see the more iconic parts of the city. Taking a trip to the Liberty Bell and jogging up the Rocky Steps might not be the most original things in the world, but they are just as enjoyable as you might think. 

However, what really sets Philadelphia apart from the rest of the nation is its sports teams. The fans in Philadelphia are some of the most passionate in all of North America, and going to a Flyers, 76s, or Eagles game is a must if the opportunity presents itself. 

Albany, New York 

Aerial View The Empire State Plaza Dominates Downtown City Skyline
The skyline of Albany, New York, with the Empire State Plaza dominating the skyline.

Contrary to popular belief, the capital of New York State is not NYC but rather Albany instead. Albany is on the smaller side when it comes to population, with around 100,000 residents. Despite its small size Albany has tons to offer in terms of entertainment. 

Taking a trip to the Albany city hall is a treat in and of itself. The building is made almost entirely of brick and stone. It is decorated with ornate sculptures and carvings on the walls as well. It looks more like a Gothic church rather than a sea of government. The state capitol building is no different. The design and architecture are nothing short of extravagant. 

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Highways passing through Pittsburgh.
Highways passing through Pittsburgh.

Another working-class city, Pittsburgh, has long been overlooked thanks to its undeserved reputation for being an eyesore. While this might have been true at one point in time, over the last few decades, the city has made a concerted push to build new parks and other green spaces, adding much-needed color to the concrete jungle. 

Even taking a leisurely bike ride around the Pittsburgh waterfront is enough to change even the most stubborn heart about the underrated beauty of this city. Some of the bike treks are guided, while most are not. There are even tours of Pittsburgh's most haunted buildings. Here you can explore some of the city's historical buildings while also getting in touch with your inner ghost hunter. 

Virginia Beach, Virginia

The oceanfront at Virginia Beach, Virginia.
The oceanfront at Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Located right where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, Virginia Beach has long been a vacation spot for those living in the Mid-Atlantic region. Much of the city's economy is centered around the accommodation of visitors and is very tourist friendly. 

As the name of the city would suggest, the shoreline at Virginia Beach is some of the best in the area. The atmosphere here is certainly geared towards families rather than young partygoers. Dozens of cheap and affordable hotels face the beach and ocean, making staying in one of these establishments a much if you visit. There are also tons of high-quality restaurants right along the beachfront too. A great place to explore after you are done taking in the sun and swimming in the ocean. 

Rochester, New York

Rochester, New York
High Falls district in Rochester New York under cloudy summer skies

Rochester is located on the southern shores of Lake Ontario. Describing Rochester as a "lakeside city" does not really justify how large the Great Lakes are. Lake Ontario is nothing short of a small inland sea. Sailing and fishing in Rochester are a large part of the city's identity and culture. 

The seaside vibes of Rochester are perfect for those who are looking to take it easy. This city is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of its larger southern counterpart in NYC. If the water is not for you, then perhaps taking a nice walk around the George Eastman Estate is in order. This stunning home has been incredibly well-kept and maintained over the years. Especially the flora and fauna that were originally put in my Eastman himself. 

Wilmington, Delaware

The Delaware River flowing by Wilmington, Delaware.
The Delaware River flowing by Wilmington, Delaware.

The often overlooked and overshadowed state of Delaware is criminally underrated. Its capital city, Wilmington, has all the bells and whistles of a large metro area while also giving off a small-town feeling. 

Wilmington is located along the Christina River and has one of the most well-kept and clear boardwalks around. The food and entertainment in the area are also top-notch. Make sure to also take a look at the Grand Opera House and Nemours Estate if you want to experience the finer things in life. Both are great activities to do if you are with your family. 

The cities of the Mid-Atlantic are incredibly diverse and have something to offer everyone, no matter what you like. The charm of these cities comes from different aspects, but the allure is undeniable. Many of these places do not have the good weather of California or Florida but make up for it with their abundance of culture and rich history. 

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