Where Are the Best Cities for a Day Trip?

Where Are the Best Cities for a Day Trip?

Key Takeaways

  • New York City, Oakland, and Long Beach are the best cities for a day trip.
  • El Paso, Jacksonville, and Oklahoma City are the worst cities for a day trip.
  • New York City is the best city for biking, followed by Long Beach and Oakland. 

Hit the Road, Jack!

You have a day off coming up, and the weather forecast looks perfect. Why not plan a day trip? Lucky for you, we’ve already done the legwork and scoured Yelp to locate the best destinations across the country. Whether you prefer visiting zoos and museums or outdoor activities like walking and biking, there’s a city near you where you can plan the perfect day. 

The Must-See Cities

To help point you in the direction of your next little adventure, we’ve compiled a list of the top cities in the U.S. for a one-day visit. But there are also a few you may want to avoid. Read on to find out the best and worst places for day-tripping nationwide.

Top 25 Cities for a Day Trip

No list of the best day trips would be complete without the Big Apple. NYC’s No. 1 ranking is no surprise, as it’s home to world-renowned restaurants, museums, and entertainment. And with North America’s largest public transportation system, this city is easy to get around.

The next two best cities for day-tripping were on the opposite coast in sunny California: Oakland, a hub of creativity with endless attractions for art lovers, and Long Beach, a destination for beach bums and marine life enthusiasts. 

As for the last cities in the U.S. you’d want to visit for the day, El Paso, Texas, ranked at the bottom. Sure, it has some lovely parks and a few museums, but your time might be better spent elsewhere if you only have one free day. Jacksonville, Florida, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, fared slightly better, but they were still among the three least attractive places to day-trip.

A Closer Look

Next, we ranked the top American cities according to 14 specific factors. What are the best places for biking, taking in some art or history, and finding a superb meal? Use our interactive table to sort our list of cities according to your favorite activities, and read on to learn more about ideal single-day destinations. 

Naturally, we’ll start with the best cities for cyclists. To develop a bikeability score, we used bike scores and Yelp data, including the total number of each city’s bikes, bike tours, and bike rental spots. By these metrics, New York City was the best destination. But while NYC has nearly anything a tourist could ask for, not everyone enjoys the hustle and bustle. If that sounds like you, Long Beach or Oakland are the next best destinations, as these cities ranked second and third for bikeability.

If you’re a foodie, though, and you’re in the vicinity, we urge you to consider New York City. Plenty of bus trips from many surrounding areas will drop you off in the heart of it all. Food fanatics in SoCal can head to Los Angeles for some of the most celebrated restaurants in the country, while those in more central areas will find plenty of gorgeous grub in Chicago.

What’s Your Pleasure?

Is fine dining your forte, or do you prefer the adrenaline rush of a roller coaster ride? Whatever you’re into, the perfect nearby city awaits you! We’ve selected the top cities for each activity to help you choose.

Where to plan your next day trip

Yet again, we found Long Beach to be a great destination for many day-tripping activities. It ranked in the top three for six of the eight categories we searched for, including biking, amusement parks, outdoor activities, zoos, and restaurants. Long Beach also ranked second for having the most day trip activities per 100,000, so if you’re in the area, there’s sure to be something to suit your fancy for the day. Bicycle enthusiasts can also have a lovely time in New York City or Oakland — the two best day trip destinations for avid cyclists. 

Meanwhile, those in the DMV (D.C./Maryland/Virginia) area have some attractions nearby that would make for a great family visit. Washington, D.C., is a cultural hub, with more museums than any city in the world. It’s also home to the Smithsonian National Zoo, which offers free admission! Baltimore is about an hour’s drive north and home to the Maryland Zoo. They host tons of activities year-round for kids and adults alike, including a winter light show and seasonal beer and wine festivals.

Where To?

While the best day trip cities were along the coasts, there are some cities in between to scratch that wanderlust itch. While NYC and Long Beach might be the two best spots for cyclists, Chicago also has several long bike trails and also offers foodies a visit to remember. Our interactive table of the top 50 cities to visit for the day can help you find the best destinations, whether you’re looking for arts and culture, outdoor experiences, or amusement park thrills. So, where are you headed next?


This metaranking combined 14 variables in the 50 most populous U.S. cities. Data was gathered from Yelp, the walkability score, and the bike score to come up with the best cities to take a day trip. Metarank variables included the following data categories and weights:

  • Walkability score (weight = 7.14)
  • Bikeability score: includes the bike score, number of bike tours on Yelp, and number of bike rentals on Yelp (weight = 28.56)
  • Museum rank: includes the number of art museums and the number of museums on Yelp (weight = 14.28)
  • Outdoor activity rank: includes the number of botanical gardens, parks, and hiking trails on Yelp (weight = 21.42)
  • Zoos: includes the number of zoos on Yelp (weight = 7.14)
  • Amusement parks: includes the number of amusement parks on Yelp (weight = 7.14)
  • Total day trip activities per 100,000 residents rank: includes all 10 Yelp day trip activities for an overall score (number of bikes, bike tours, bike rentals, art museums, museums, botanical gardens, parks, hiking trails, amusement parks, and zoos) (weight = 7.14)
  • Restaurants per 100,000 residents rank: includes the number of restaurants on Yelp (weight = 7.14)

About Velotric Bike

Velotric Bike offers e-bikers affordable, high-performance experiences across America. Get around town on your next big trip with ease and style on a Velotric bike.

Fair Use Statement

If you find our data useful, feel free to spread the knowledge to any day-trippers who might agree. Just make sure your purposes are noncommercial, and please include a link back to this article.

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