3 hot southern cities to visit in 2017

In this July 17, 2012 photo the skyline of Charlotte, N.C., is shown. Much was made about Charlotte emerging on the big stage when Democrats awarded their 2012 national convention to the city last year. But the tidy city of gleaming skyscrapers built with money during the flush years of banking is more in its middle age, trying to reinvent itself without cutting all the ties to its big cash past. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Southern cities such as New Orleans and Charleston, South Carolina, have long been on the radar of travel insiders. Each destination has its own quintessential charm, character and architecture. However, there are rising newcomers in the South worth exploring — from Nashville, Tennessee, to Asheville, North Carolina — that are garnering a lot of attention for their unprecedented growth and revitalization in older neighborhoods and are becoming destinations in and of themselves. Each of these booming cities also has a unique identity with a wide variety of activities, attractions and a focus on their local cultural diversity and culinary scene. Here are tips to plan your visit to these exciting cities this year. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton) (AP/Chuck Burton)
In this Friday, Oct. 19, 2012 photo, members of The American Chestnut Foundation tour a hybrid orchard outside Asheville, N.C. The organization is using such orchards to develop a tree that is mostly American, but will resist the blight that has driven it to near extinction. (AP Photo/Allen Breed)
Asheville This charming mountain town in western North Carolina has a funky bohemian vibe with its local food and craft artisans. The surrounding region is an outdoor lover’s paradise, with seasonal mountain biking, hiking, whitewater rafting and fly-fishing. In recent years, beer aficionados have flocked to this beer mecca. The craft brewery community (one of the largest in the U.S.) features about 30 brewers, including two of the biggest producers in the country, Sierra Nevada and New Belgium Brewing. Plus, well-known chefs embrace Asheville‘s culinary community, so there’s an incredible range of dining options, including some of the country’s most acclaimed restaurants, along with a lively music scene and nightlife. (AP Photo/Allen Breed) (AP/Allen Breed)
**ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND JULY 16-17**The Biltmore House is reflected in a pond on the estate in Asheville, N.C., Wednesday July 6, 2005. Seventy-five years after it was first opened to the public, George W. Vanderbilt's grand Biltmore House is showing off a new side. Ten rooms on the house's fourth floor _ including several that housed the servants who kept the 250-room house running _ have been restored and opened to the public for the first time. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Where to stay and dine in Asheville One of Asheville’s best-loved attractions is the historic Biltmore Estate. The 8,000-acre resort features two hotels, the Inn on Biltmore Estate and newer Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate. After touring the mansion and visiting its winery, head to one of the revitalized warehouse districts such as River Arts or South Slope for local bites and brews. Newer and notable restaurants in town include Buxton Hall Barbecue, Gan Shan Station, Local Provisions and En La Calle. Grab lunch at The Rhu and handcrafted cocktails and small bites at Sovereign Remedies, where you’ll find creative takes on classics made with local ingredients. If you love doughnuts, delight in the daily varieties at Hole in West Asheville. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/CHUCK BURTON)
Artist Steve Earle performs at his January residency at City Winery on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Laura Roberts/Invision/AP)
Nashville Music City will always be known for its country music fame, but with the changing tune of the traditional music genre and rapid growth across Nashville, there’s a lot more to see and do than visit the Grand Ole Opry. Nashville is all about its lively neighborhoods, and each one has its own distinct feel and personality. New Craftsman-style and minimalist architecture is finding a way to blend in with historic homes in Germantown and the older creative area of East Nashville, which is filled with musicians and artists. Most impressive is the hot new urban area, the Gulch, with its upscale hotels, boutiques, restaurants, breweries and flourishing nightlife. (Photo by Laura Roberts/Invision/AP) (Laura Roberts/Invision/AP/Laura Roberts)
Where to stay and dine in Nashville Make plans to stay in the Gulch at the swanky new Thompson Nashville, home to one of the hottest rooftop bars in town, L.A. Jackson. For Caribbean-inspired tapas, book a table at the sleek new Little Octopus, and for fresh seafood in a lively environment, have dinner at Fin & Pearl. Or, if you’re visiting between Wednesday and Saturday, head over to Bastion in the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood for a signature cocktail and dinner at its hidden private dining room. For a one-stop beer tour of local brews, head to the Filling Station in East Nashville. Foodies also won’t want to miss Proper Bagel in the Belmont area. (Thinkstock)   (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Maksymowicz)
A couple enjoy a sunny afternoon against the backdrop of the Midtown skyline from Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Sunday, March 25, 2012. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Atlanta With new sports venues, world-class shopping, excellent dining, museums, an aquarium and plenty of history, Atlanta is all about big entertainment and shopping. Known as “ATLwood,” Atlanta is also home to America’s largest film studio project. You never know when you might run into one of today’s biggest celebrities while visiting movie sets with Atlanta Movie Tours, or the CNN Studios at CNN Center for a behind-the-scenes look at how the news is produced. After your tour, head over to Atlanta’s old urban centers and revitalized warehouse districts that are now home to thriving business districts and dynamic dining scenes, with each part of town offering a unique and culturally diverse experience. (AP Photo/David Goldman) (AP/David Goldman)
Helmets representing the 768 college football programs in the U.S. are displayed as fans arrive to spend the night in the College Football Hall of Fame, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Atlanta. The school associated with a fan's registration card will light up their team's helmet upon swiping the card at the entry to the museum. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Where to stay and where to dine in Atlanta Not-to-be missed highlights in Atlanta include its two new museums: the College Football Hall of Fame and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. When hunger sets in, visit the lively food hall, Krog Street Market, on the city’s BeltLine in Inman Park. For an afternoon of shopping and noshing on delicious food, visit the bustling Ponce City Market, which is housed in the storied Sears, Roebuck & Co. store. For a quiet evening in the city, make reservations at Staplehouse, which was recognized by Bon Appétit in 2016 as “The best new restaurant in America.” The restaurant’s inspiring backstory is reason enough to go. (AP Photo/David Goldman) (AP/David Goldman)
(1/7)
In this July 17, 2012 photo the skyline of Charlotte, N.C., is shown. Much was made about Charlotte emerging on the big stage when Democrats awarded their 2012 national convention to the city last year. But the tidy city of gleaming skyscrapers built with money during the flush years of banking is more in its middle age, trying to reinvent itself without cutting all the ties to its big cash past. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
In this Friday, Oct. 19, 2012 photo, members of The American Chestnut Foundation tour a hybrid orchard outside Asheville, N.C. The organization is using such orchards to develop a tree that is mostly American, but will resist the blight that has driven it to near extinction. (AP Photo/Allen Breed)
**ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND JULY 16-17**The Biltmore House is reflected in a pond on the estate in Asheville, N.C., Wednesday July 6, 2005. Seventy-five years after it was first opened to the public, George W. Vanderbilt's grand Biltmore House is showing off a new side. Ten rooms on the house's fourth floor _ including several that housed the servants who kept the 250-room house running _ have been restored and opened to the public for the first time. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Artist Steve Earle performs at his January residency at City Winery on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Laura Roberts/Invision/AP)
A couple enjoy a sunny afternoon against the backdrop of the Midtown skyline from Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Sunday, March 25, 2012. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Helmets representing the 768 college football programs in the U.S. are displayed as fans arrive to spend the night in the College Football Hall of Fame, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Atlanta. The school associated with a fan's registration card will light up their team's helmet upon swiping the card at the entry to the museum. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Plan the ultimate Southern adventure in these edgy and dynamic hot spots.

Southern cities such as New Orleans and Charleston, South Carolina, have long been on the radar of travel insiders. Each destination has its own quintessential charm, character and architecture. However, there are rising newcomers in the South worth exploring — from Nashville, Tennessee, to Asheville, North Carolina — that are garnering a lot of attention for their unprecedented growth and revitalization in older neighborhoods and are becoming destinations in and of themselves. Each of these booming cities also has a unique identity with a wide variety of activities, attractions and a focus on their local cultural diversity and culinary scene. Here are tips to plan your visit to these exciting cities this year.

More from U.S. News

15 Best Foodie Destinations in the USA

How to Visit America’s Best Foodie Cities on the Cheap

3 Underrated Southern Spots to Visit This Spring

3 Hot Southern Cities to Visit in 2017 originally appeared on usnews.com

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up