I don't recall ever doing anything phrased this way, so...Sorta riffing on/consolidating the "medium sized cities" post
Everybody knows about the "biggest" and the "best" cities, the San Franciscos, Chicagos, Denvers, etc. The most "fashionable" for whatever reason among urbanists.
So: What do you think are the best of the unfashionable, under-rated, "unknown" cities, of whatever size? It should be a city, not merely a suburban component of a larger metro area.
I have three favorites I'll post. None are completely unknown, but they are certainly not "in" either (except maybe to their residents):
1. SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA.
Sure it's hot and flat, but this city boasts blocks and blocks of beautiful pre-war "suburban" neighborhoods like McKinley Park and Land Park, pockets of great Victorian and arts and crafts housing in Midtown and Alkali Flata basically uninterrupted bicycle trail system that is approaching 40 miles in length-all along a major river system, excellent examples of moderate density inner city infill development in Midtown Sacramento, a fantastic city park system based on neighborhood parks that are generally jewels, and TREES...hundreds of thousands of trees. Plus, "urbane" infill has led to a restaurant renaissance in Sacramento, with great food available in almost every neighborhood. Throw in monthly art gallery walks that have become almost too successful, the tourist attractions of the Capital itself, Old Sacramento (which can be fun and has one of the best, if pricey, art galleries for Pueblo pottery outside New Mexico), and you can have a good time in the Big Tomato. It's my nearest "city," so I visit a lot.
I really like Cinci. I know it's conservative and their are racial tensions. I know the city has stagnated in population and is not an exemplar of good professional planning. Still, what a great range of neighborhoods. Mount Adams has to be one of my favorites, with its narrow streets and lanes, quirky courtyards, melange of architecture, and the presence of Eden Park and a big art museum. Plus, one can actually walk to downtown, which despite some urban design flaws is still a pretty exciting downtown district with some potential. Add in the college neighborhood near UC, the beautiful old money suburbs of the east side (Hyde Park has a jewel of a neighborhood square, as does the slightly less polished Mount Lookout), the park system, the reality that Cinci is a center for several companies, not just a branch plant town. I love Cinci-although I probably wouldn't order sushi/Asian food there in the future
OK downtown with great cast iron district along Main Street. But, it's the Highlands area that makes me love Louisville. Miles of quirky bohemian shops, great residential areas, beautiful Olmstead-design park system. Plus, an awesome record store!