Dear 100 Hour Board,
My wife and I have a week off in July and can go anywhere in the U.S. We like pretty places, comedy shows, musicals, and good food. Do you have any recommendations, or do you know of any hidden gems?
We just got back from an Alaskan cruise and it was awesome. We spent every day hiking in a different beautiful Alaskan port city and every evening back on the ship enjoying, well, comedy shows, musicals, and good food.
This could be you (but it's not; it's us):
Branson, Missouri is, as Homer Simpson says, "like Vegas if it were run by Ned Flanders." It's full of performances, including Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede dinner and show and the Acrobats of China. Lambert's Cafe (30 minutes away) remains my favorite restaurant of all time. Mostly because of nostalgia—I haven't been there for 18 years, and it probably wouldn't be quite as special if I went again. But still, where else can you find a restaurant where they throw rolls at you? It's also in the middle of the Ozarks, so I assume it's pretty (I didn't pay much attention back then). Sounds like it fits your requirements.
We just took a trip to New Mexico, and for me it was a hidden gem; for some reason it hadn't been on my travel radar before, but it was full of pretty places and good food. We had a toddler with us so weren't looking for comedies or musicals (gotta hit that 7pm bedtime), but Santa Fe had a thriving arts scene, with a gorgeous opera house, and I'm sure Albuquerque has some nightlife of the sort you'd like.