You've ticked off NYC's Empire State building and run round Central Park, you've strolled along Ocean Drive, Miami, and you've ridden the trams in San Fran. You might think you've had your fill of iconic US city sights.

But the cities of the US are as beautiful, diverse and full of culture as the country they're in, so there are plenty more to discover. That's why we've compiled a guide of the metropolises just waiting to be explored. From the alternative to the adventurous, here are the cities you should be heading to this year.

Portland

Maine

Portland, Oregon has stolen the limelight long enough: it's Portland, Maine's turn to shine. Perched on the eastern seaboard, this rough and ready port-city-turned-hipster-haven was once a key destination on the freedom trail that helped African Americans escape slavery in the South. These days, it's home to a burgeoning arts scene, a clutch of restaurants that make the most of the region's brilliant seafood, breweries churning out craft beers, and the same unfettered access to the great outdoors that's the trademark of any US getaway.

Stay: Pomegranate Inn, from £127. pomegranateinn.com

Getting There: Delta flies from Heathrow to Portland Maine with one stop from £697. delta.com

Tucson

Arizona

The Sonoran desert
Mexican dancers in Tucson

You might think that the desert is acres of sand and cacti, but for chefs, it's a larder stuffed with incredible ingredients just waiting to be used in ingenious new ways. Tucson, down towards the Mexican border in Arizona, became the first US Unesco City of Gastronomy in 2015 for its chefs' use of the Sonoran desert's unusual produce.

There's Stephan Paul, a furniture maker-turned-distiller who's using mesquite wood to smoke the barley that goes into his whiskey; Don Guerra of Barrio Bread who's baking loaves with heritage grains that have grown in the region of hundreds of years; and chocolatier Adam Krantz, who uses his sweet treats to capture the unique flavours of the desert, to name but a few.

Stay: Hacienda del Sol, from £319. haciendadelsol.com

Getting There: Virgin Atlantic flies from Heathrow to Tucson via LA from £878 return. virginatlantic.com

Pittsburgh

Pennsylvania

If you're after an epic skyline, heaps of outdoor activity, an under-the-radar food scene and an up-and-coming arts community but don't want to elbow your way through the crowds to reach your craft beer and fried chicken burger, look to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

It's the latest city to attract the hip and the hungry to its brunches, street-food carts and farm-to-table restaurants, while the Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh is the birthplace of the legendary artist) and the trendy Mattress Factory gallery firmly cement its creative credentials. Need extra incentive? BA launched direct flights in spring 2019 – a sure sign that Pittsburgh is a city on the up.

Stay: The Parador Inn, from £127. theparadorinn.com

Getting There: BA flies from London Heathrow to Pittsburgh from £419 return. ba.com

Sacramento

California

As a holiday destination, Sacramento has received very little love. But last year's smash hit movie Lady Bird highlighted it as a destination that punches well above its weight, with lush parks, architectural character, farmers markets and farm-to-table restaurants aplenty. The community here is small but lively, devoted to following the thriving food, art and theatre scenes. Jump on a rental bike and tour the city's museums, or use Sacramento as a base for exploring California's unrivalled landscapes.

Stay: The Sterling Hotel, from £164. sterlinghotelsacramento.com

Getting There: Virgin Atlantic flies from Heathrow to Sacramento with one stop from £707 return. virginatlantic.com

Louisville

Kentucky

You'd be forgiven for thinking spending a few days in the Bluegrass State's capital city would be hazy daze of old-school saloon bars serving bourbon and BBQ. And you can probably find those if you seek them out – but what you'll notice after a day or two is that Louisville is a thriving cosmopolitan city, with a cracking contemporary dining scene, loads of interesting bars, a vibrant LGBTQ+ community and, of course, bourbon distilleries welcoming drinkers for tours. Try out Garage Bar on Market Street – a dive bar and pizzeria created from, yes, a former gas station – and don't miss the always lively Nowhere Bar, throwing out tunes all night long and catering to the LGBTQ+ crowd and regular punters alike.

Stay: 21c Museum Hotel, from £190. 21cmuseumhotels.com

Getting There: Iberia flies from Heathrow to Louisville with one stop from £665 return. iberia.com