If you’re on the road, one of the best ways to get a taste of life like a local is to spend an afternoon in a neighborhood coffee shop. You’ll encounter people who know the city, especially the specific neighborhood you’re in, like the back of their hand and can give you all kinds of recommendations about how to best spend the rest of your travel time. Since at the very worst you’ll have spent the afternoon in a cute place with good coffee and chill music, there’s nothing to lose.
Since not all coffee shops are created equal, here are a few of the great ones — hidden gems tucked away in corners of the US. If you’re passing through one of these cities, be sure to check these places out, and if you’re not, consider drawing up some travel plans because these places are worth it, promise.
Saturdays Surf is a unique way to enjoy coffee in New York and, considering the density of coffee shops from the West Village to the edges of Bushwick and beyond, that’s no small feat. They’ve got a few locations, but their space on Crosby Street in SoHo is where you’ll want to be. It offers sunny vibes that will satiate the need to feel the freedom of the sea for any beach-lover landlocked in the concrete jungle. This location is a one-stop-shop of scooping up a new board, a wetsuit, or a good cappuccino to be enjoyed on their absolutely epic patio space in the back that offers the exact kind of break from the streets that you’d expect from a NYC surf shop. [photo: saturdaysnyc.com]
Whether you’re part of the most common group of North Dakota visitors (those just passing by en route to somewhere else) and need a good place to get out and stretch your legs or you just so happen to find yourself in Bismarck, Terra Nomad is not to be missed. They’ve got incredible coffee concoctions, delicious eats featuring local ingredients and have even started offering clothing and footwear selections that you simply can’t find anywhere else in the state. [photo: terranomadcompany.com]
This sanctuary in south Minneapolis has it all: indoor and outdoor seating, huge garage doors for windows that are open on nice days, a variety of coffee, board games, and hefty wine selection. The best thing about Studio 2 is its ability to transition: you can tuck yourself away in a corner and work all afternoon before having a few friends meet up with you for an evening of wine and board game battles — an invaluable pastime when the Minnesota weather turns cold. [photo: studio2mpls.com]
Good coffee and a homey atmosphere aren’t exactly what come to mind when you think of Vegas, but that’s exactly what you’ll find at Sambalatte. At this little oasis of normalcy in Summerlin, you’ll find everything from on-trend rainbow lattes, yummy Italian snacks, and the best ham and brie sandwich you’ve ever tasted to live music on the weekends and a second level library. Like all of the hidden gems in Vegas, you’ll find it tucked away in a strip mall. [photo: sambalatte.com]
This sweet little spot, complete with a small yet endlessly charming backyard, got its start in the Baltimore County Public Library in Towson before it launched its flagship store in Hampden, Baltimore’s hipster hideout. Spro is one of those rare coffee shops that knows what they’re talking about when it comes to quality coffee, but aren’t snobby about it. They’re happy to help people learn to love coffee by uncover the flavors that speak to them. [photo: sprocoffee.com]