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Explore 7 N.F.L. Cities Beyond Football – The New York Times – New York Times


Whether you are a football lover or not, there’s plenty to like about each one of the N.F.L.’s 32 host cities, and fans will be flocking to several of them this weekend for Week 2 of the 2017 season. If you’re one of them, but looking for more to do than just the game — or if you’re just curious to learn more about some of these great American cities — here are seven to explore.

“The Workers,” by Tim Kaulen, an Industrial Arts Co-op project, was made from reclaimed steel.CreditDarren S. Higgins for The New York Times

Pittsburgh, Pa.

Sunday: Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m. E.S.T.

The Steel City’s charms are often hidden from view. While the revitalization of downtown Pittsburgh has earned lots of attention, much of the action is found farther out, in once-overlooked neighborhoods like Lawrenceville and East Liberty. It’s a place where abandoned buildings reveal art museums in the making, where decaying industrial sites prove ripe for urban exploration, where residential streets hide restaurant kitchens turning out remarkably fresh, local food.

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The view of downtown Baltimore from the top of Federal Hill.CreditDarren S. Higgins for The New York Times


Sunday: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens, 1 p.m. E.S.T.

The allure of Baltimore lies not in its built-for-tourists Inner Harbor, where you’ll find chain restaurants like Hard Rock Cafe, but in its abundance of 19th-century architecture and hip cocktail bars — not to mention its welcoming outdoor spaces and world-class art museums.

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The nighttime skyline of Indianapolis, from the White River State Park.CreditStacy Able for The New York Times


Sunday: Arizona Cardinals at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. E.S.T.

This monument-filled, sports-mad city rebuilt its urban core in 2013 with a recreational trail linking cultural sites and introduced the broadest electric car-sharing program in the country in 2015. Entrepreneurs — upcyclers making shoulder bags from fabric culled from the old RCA Dome, nationally lauded chefs redefining Midwestern fare — share a green streak, and a plethora of outdoor activities will appeal to fans of parks and recreation.


36 Hours in Indianapolis

Rolling hills and lush tress provide a great escape at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland.CreditJason Henry for The New York Times

Oakland, Calif.

Sunday: New York Jets at Oakland Raiders, 4:05 p.m. E.S.T.

Long overshadowed by its dolled-up big sister across the Bay, Oakland is its own town. Even as its status as one of the most diverse cities in the country is threatened by tech-boom-era gentrification, its vibrant cultural heterogeneity remains its greatest strength. The city’s rather dull skyline belies its architectural splendor — from glamorous movie palaces to the Kevin Roche-designed midcentury-modern Oakland Museum of California to the 135-acre Mills College campus, where Beaux-Arts and Spanish Colonial Revival buildings are set among eucalyptus trees.

36 Hours in Oakland

CreditBeth Coller for The New York Times

San Diego

Sunday: Miami Dolphins at San Diego Chargers, 4:05 p.m. E.S.T.

San Diego has its own particular brand of laid-back cool. The coastal city is made up of distinct neighborhoods, each adorned with its own retro-style, street-spanning sign. Locally brewed, high-percentage craft beers and cocktails are the tipples of choice here — this is a city that knows how to have a good time and has a finely honed appreciation of top-notch booze. With more than its fair share of sunshine, gorgeous beaches and a newly buzzing restaurant scene, San Diego is a vacation spot for those looking for low-stress California fun.

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Beer on a Budget in San Diego

The view of downtown from Echo Park.CreditLaure Joliet for The New York Times

Los Angeles

Sunday: Washington Redskins at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m. E.S.T.

Despite pop culture portrayals of Los Angeles as either comically superficial or darkly dystopian, the nation’s second largest metropolis is a vivid, soulful, eclectic city. It’s home to year-round blooms and captivating street murals, musical innovation and outsider art, deeply rooted communities and world-class food cooked by chefs from around the globe. The greatest challenge for visitors is not what to do, but which version of this vast city to embrace.

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A beer at Historians Ale House, where the draw is Colorado beers: Typically at least 75 percent of its 40 tap list is local.CreditMorgan Rachel Levy for The New York Times


Monday: San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos, 10:20 p.m. E.S.T.

The signs of Denver’s economic high times as a pot boomtown and bastion of progressive urban policies are everywhere. There is the B-cycle bike-share program, among the most affordable and best-run systems in the country, and the recently renovated Union Station, which has taken a still-in-use 1881 train station and made it the focal point of the thriving LoDo neighborhood. And there are the inconspicuous marijuana dispensaries that dot nearly every neighborhood, and more stunning public spaces — from Washington Park to the Cherry Creek bike path — than one city has a right to.

36 Hours in Denver

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