Millions of travelers have shared their thoughts, and these United States destinations emerged as the top 20 favorites. You’ll be spoiled for choice for your next holiday, with options ranging from island life to historic charm to locales valued by foodies, art aficionados, and nature lovers.
TripAdvisor determined the winners using an algorithm that took into account reviews for attractions, restaurants, and hotels, as well as traveler booking interest during a 12-month period.
The list of winners for US destinations includes well-known favorites like Los Angeles, Seattle, and New Orleans, as well as some unexpected discoveries. Each of Florida, California, and Hawaii has three entries on the list. If you’re looking to travel, but on a budget, August is the best month to book.
1. Boston, Massachusetts
Boston’s attractiveness is founded in history, from Boston Common, the oldest park in the United States, to the Freedom Trail, which includes 16 significant American Revolution sites such as Paul Revere’s Old North Church, the Bunker Hill Monument, and the site of the Boston Massacre.
Visit Fenway Park for a Red Sox game, explore the upmarket boutiques and galleries along Newbury Street, or wander past hundreds of retailers, restaurants, and food vendors in the historic Faneuil Hall marketplace, which was founded in 1742. While traversing cobblestone alleys adorned with Victorian buildings, discover Boston’s lively culture.
Each of the city’s different communities has its own distinct flavor and flare. Explore the Boston Harbor Islands, interact with seals at the New England Aquarium, and toss tea overboard at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.
2. Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is known as the Music City for a reason: it is home to over 100 live music venues. Take in a performance or go behind the scenes at renowned locations like the Ryman Auditorium or the Grand Ole Opry, where legends like Carrie Underwood and Reba McEntire frequently play.
Smaller but equally popular venues include the Station Inn for bluegrass music, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge for just about everything, and the bustling “honky-tonk” taverns on Lower Broadway in downtown Nashville.
The famed Bluebird Café, located just outside of town, is a tiny venue where people queue up hours before showtime to hear singer-songwriters play each night. More reasons to come here include the emerging fashion scene and chef-driven restaurants such as the Peninsula, Folk, and Lyra.
3. Los Angeles, California
Tour the amazing movie studios, touch the renowned prints at the TCL Chinese Theatre, or try your luck at Sunset Tower or the Polo Lounge inside the Beverly Hills Hotel for a celebrity sighting.
Check out the exquisite shops on Rodeo Drive or go to the Grove for an eclectic mix of businesses near a farmers’ market frequented by celebrities such as Jennifer Garner.
Visit the Getty Center to see the classic artwork or the Griffith Observatory to look through the telescopes. Venice Beach, while somewhat touristic, boasts a selection of unique stores as interesting as the individuals on the boardwalk.
4. New Orleans, Louisiana
A trip to New Orleans, where jazz was born, and home to centuries-old live oaks and clacking streetcars, is never a terrible idea. Festivals and celebrations abound, the majority of which feature cuisine, music, or sometimes both.
Then stroll around the French Market and historic French Quarter, to sample gumbo and jambalaya at one of the many restaurant options. Nightlife possibilities abound in several unique areas, which range from live music on Frenchmen Street to enjoying private beverages at tiny cafés.
You can also take a guided ghost tour through alleyways, taverns, and cemeteries to get a sense of the city’s ghostly ambiance.
5. San Francisco, California
San Francisco has several colorful icons, including Fisherman’s Wharf and the Golden Gate Bridge. Visit the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory to satisfy your sweet taste, Pier 39 to see the sea lions sunbathing in the sun, and the historic Ferry Building to try local cheese and charcuterie.
Spend a whole day at Golden Gate Park exploring the Japanese Tea Garden and the Flower Conservatory. Join a bike tour that includes a visit to the Palace of Fine Arts and ends over the bridge in lovely Sausalito, a seaside town with cafés and shops, before taking the ferry back, taking in views of Alcatraz along the way.
6. Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, located on Lake Michigan, is known for its Midwestern warmth as well as its dynamic culture and culinary scene. Shop the 13-block Magnificent Mile, which is home to large department stores, upscale boutiques, and the historic Water Tower Place mall.
Wicker Park and Bucktown are great places to go for art galleries and unique bookstores. The Art Institute has incredible works on display, as does the Field Museum, which has natural history exhibitions. Bring the kids to Navy Pier for amusement park attractions, tourist cruises, and panoramic views of Lake Michigan.
Check out Millennium Park’s unique collection of public art, which includes the famed reflecting “Cloud Gate” sculpture, often known as “The Bean.” A hot dog at a Chicago Cubs game, a savory deep-dish pizza, a famous Chicago steakhouse, and a visit to one of the city’s many ethnic eateries are all must-dos for foodies.
7. Orlando, Florida
You may be familiar with it because of the Disney charm and the thrills of the roller coasters at Universal Orlando, but that’s only the beginning. Visit downtown Orlando and ride a swan-shaped pedal boat around Lake Eola, visit the Sunday farmers’ market and a slew of sidewalk cafés, or see a show in the glass-and-steel Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
Taste your way around several food truck experiences in walkable districts including the Milk District, Mills 50, and Ivanhoe Village, all of which also include restaurants and bars, many of which have live music.
Shop at Winter Park, where you’ll find elegant shopping and award-winning restaurants including Prato, the Ravenous Pig, and Luma on Park. Don’t leave until you’ve seen an Orlando City soccer game.
8. New York, New York
New York City is known for its art, theatre, food, and history, and it has something for everyone. As you stroll through bohemian neighborhoods like the East Village, soak up the energy. Visit iconic live venues like the Nuyorican Poets Café and see a show on or off-Broadway. For spectacular views, climb to the top of the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty.
Visit the Oculus, a massive transportation and shopping hub near the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, for high-end items, and the Strand, one of the city’s oldest bookstores, for miles of books.
Take a stroll through Central Park or along the High Line, an elevated walkway that runs along the city’s west side and offers spectacular views. The latter goes well with a visit to Chelsea Market’s restaurants and artisan stalls. At dusk, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge for the perfect end to your trip.
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