America is a land of diverse cultures, stunning landscapes, and vibrant cities, and though domestic travel is currently taking a backseat to more exciting international adventures, there are still plenty of destinations that beckon legions of tourists with their charm and allure.
Condé Nast Traveler recently conducted a poll with over half a million participants in hopes of finding America’s best cities to visit.
These were the results:
Boasting an iconic skyline, gorgeous natural wonders, and an exquisite food scene, Chicago was voted the best U.S. city in 2023 by Condé Nast Traveler readers.
The Windy City is truly the perfect melting pot of architecture, art, and culture.
Here, you can marvel at some truly awe-inspiring buildings like the Willis Tower and the John Hancock Center.
The architectural achievements displayed all over the city are truly a testament to human ingenuity.
However, the stunning skyline is only a small part of Chicago’s allure.
The cultural scene is as vibrant as ever, featuring many world-class museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Field Museum, and Adler Planetarium.
Set along the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago offers some breathtaking natural views that you wouldn’t expect from such an infrastructurally advanced destination.
To really enjoy the untouched views of Chicago, though, you’ll want to explore some of the many hiking trails scattered a short drive away from its center.
Starved Rock State Park, Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve, and Morton Arboretum are not to be missed.
Beyond its abundant photo ops, Chicago also boasts one of the most vibrant culinary scenes in the country.
Not only is the food here exceptional, but the wide array of restaurants and eateries in the area cater to all types of travelers.
Whether you’re looking to dine in a Michelin-starred establishment or just enjoy a comforting slice of deep-dish pizza, one thing’s for sure – you won’t be left disappointed.
2. San Diego
San Diego is a truly unique city where dreamy beaches meet urban sophistication, so the fact that over half a million travelers consider it to be one of the best destinations in all of the U.S. should come as no surprise.
Located along the sun-soaked coast of Southern California, San Diego creates the perfect backdrop for the warm fall getaway of your dreams.
Whether you want to surf, go scuba diving, or simply bask under the Californian sun, you’ll get your pick of soft-sanded beaches.
My top recommendations would be Coronado Beach, Grandview Beach, and the iconic Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.
While in the city, don’t forget to plan a stop at the San Diego Zoo. While tickets can be a bit pricey, hovering around $70, the experience is worth every penny.
Though the no.3 choice might come as a surprise to some, Milwaukee is actually the perfect spot for those looking to find a balance between a lively cultural scene and that warm Midwest hospitality we all know and love.
Between the historic Milwaukee Public Market, Milwaukee Art Museum, the city’s RiverWalk, and the numerous restaurants and breweries, you’ll be spoiled for choice when crafting your itinerary.
Don’t let the charming atmosphere fool you, though. Milwaukee boasts a vibrant nightlife that’ll make your autumnal travels that much more exciting.
4. New Orleans
The list wouldn’t be complete without the Crescent City, which most of us know as the birthplace of jazz.
If not for anything else, visit New Orleans for its rich musical heritage by visiting iconic venues like Preservation Hall, where jazz performances capture the very essence of the genre.
Don’t worry, though; the city’s charm isn’t reserved exclusively for the musical souls.
History buffs won’t want to miss out on a tour of the famed National WII Museum, whereas foodies will have the time of their lives trying locally-made gumbo and jambalaya.
5. San Francisco
Though the smallest of all the cities that made the list, San Francisco is one of the most naturally beautiful, innovative, and culturally diverse destinations in all of the U.S.
Perched on the hilly terrain of Northern California, the city is home to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, which not only offers breathtaking views of the bay but also serves as a gateway to the natural wonders of the region.
Make sure to plan a trip to Muir Woods and Alcatraz Island while in the area – you won’t be disappointed.
Each of the city’s neighborhoods boasts a distinct character – from the artistic enclave of Mission District and the historic charm of Fisherman’s Wharf to the innovative allure of Silicon Valley.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com