These U.S. Cities Were Just Named the Nation's Best Cities to Visit

Did your favorite destination win a nod from Condé Nast Traveler readers?

Editor's Note: We know COVID-19 is continuing to impact your travel plans. Should you travel now, be sure to familiarize yourself with the CDC’s latest guidance on domestic and international travel as well as local requirements, protocols, and restrictions for both your destination upon your arrival and your home city upon your return. Be safe out there.

Which US city is the best? Well, that depends on who you ask. For readers of Condé Nast Traveler, they seem to have reached a consensus. Look no further than the publication's latest edition of its annual Reader's Choice Awards for the answer.

Nearly a quarter-million people participated in the publication's survey, and the final result is a testament to the staying power of long-standing favorites as well as a sprinkling of newcomers.

The rankings include several major cities with huge populations and diehard locals. But, there were a few surprises as well. New Orleans lost its third place spot in last year's ranking and fell to eighth. Other cities, like Portland, Oregon, which placed eighth last year, have completely fallen off the list. Meanwhile, underdogs like Honolulu and Nashville have risen in the ranking. The cities climbed from ninth and tenth spots to the second and fourth, respectively.

These are the top 10 big cities in the US:

1. Chicago
2. Honolulu
3. San Diego
4. Nashville
5. New York City
6. Boston
7. San Francisco
8. New Orleans
9. Washington, DC
10. Seattle

This year marks the sixth time in a row that Chicago has topped the list, a historic feat. The Windy City had an incredibly busy summer, with tourism rates nearly returning to their pre-pandemic levels. Total hotel room demand during the summer months (June, July and August) exceeded 3 million room nights, which is nearly 90 percent of summer 2019 levels, according to Traveler.

"There are so many reasons why Chicago is the Best Big City in the US—we have world-class restaurants, top-tier hotels and meeting spaces, cultural institutions and entertainment venues that can rival the best in the world and vibrant, diverse neighborhoods that make sure there is something for every visitor," Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot said in a statement. "Most importantly, our city is full of people and organizations that care deeply and work tirelessly to make Chicago the most welcoming and inviting city in the world."

Traveler didn't forget about the little guys. The outlet also provided several small cities with the spotlight in another ranking of the 10 best small cities in the US. This year, Charleston and Aspen swapped spots for the number-one rank. The rest of the list features a few repeats including Santa Fe, Alexandria, Savannah, and Greenville, along with a set of newbies like Santa Rosa Beach and Wilmington.

These are the top 10 small cities in the US:

1. Charleston, South Carolina
2. Aspen, Colorado
3. Santa Fe, New Mexico
4. Alexandria, Virginia
5. Savannah, Georgia
6. Greenville, South Carolina
7. Key West, Florida
8. Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
9. Palm Beach, Florida
10. Wilmington, North Carolina

Whether you're looking to squeeze in a last-minute vacation before the holiday season, or you'd just like bragging rights at your local bar, review the full list here.

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Jeremy Porr is a News Writer at Thrillist. Follow Jeremy on Instagram.