Top 10 WBA 2024 Cities in the United States: A Comprehensive Guide

Wherever Travel + Leisure readers venture in the United States, they seek cities rich in history, walkable downtowns, regional cuisine, and vibrant cultural and artistic scenes. This year’s WBA 2024 rankings highlight many southern and western states, but a few classic Northeast destinations also captured readers’ hearts. A common thread among these top cities is a strong, unique identity that sets them apart.

How Voting Works

Each year, Travel + Leisure invites readers to participate in the World’s Best Awards survey, sharing their opinions on top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Over 186,000 readers completed the 2024 survey, casting more than 700,000 votes across over 8,700 properties. Cities were rated on:

Sights/landmarks
Culture
Food
Friendliness
Shopping
Value
Respondents could choose a rating from excellent to poor, with final scores averaging these responses.

What Readers Loved

Readers honored perennial favorites like Chicago (No. 9), Honolulu (No. 4), and New Orleans (No. 5), and once again showed their love for Charleston, which ranked No. 1 for the 12th consecutive year. For the first time, Annapolis (No. 12) and Aspen (No. 10) made the list, indicating an increasing attraction to regional culture and outdoor hubs. New Mexico and Texas also had a strong presence, with Santa Fe, Taos, Fort Worth, and San Antonio making the top 10.

The Full List of WBA 2024 Cities in the United States

1. Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, the Holy City, clinches the top spot yet again, thanks to its historic architecture, walkability, Southern hospitality, and an unbeatable culinary scene. “Charleston can compete with any European capital for its arts, entertainment, active lifestyle, and food,” noted one voter.

Many visitors appreciate its diverse offerings, whether for couples’ weekends, family vacations, or friends’ getaways, always finding something new to experience. Another reader praised Charleston as “a great example of a city that holds to its roots but also strives to be current and welcoming to everyone.”

2. Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe, an artsy Southwestern destination, has ranked high for nearly 20 years, partly due to its 320 days of sunshine. “Santa Fe is like its own country within a country,” gushed one reader. Its unique blend of culture and history, exemplified by Pueblo-style buildings and independent galleries, makes it “a photographer’s dream and a shopper’s delight.”

3. Savannah, Georgia
Savannah charms readers with its leafy parks, excellent shopping, carriage rides, and cemetery tours. “This is one of my family’s favorite cities,” said one reader. The Starland District is thriving, with the debut of Hotel Bardo and must-visit restaurants like Brochu’s Family Tradition.

4. Honolulu, Hawaii
Honolulu earned high marks for its natural beauty, including beaches, volcanoes, and hiking trails. Travelers also praised its shopping and Native Hawaiian traditions. “Aloha spirit abounds!” explained one visitor, who appreciated the city’s diverse activities and friendly locals.

5. New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is renowned for its eclectic mix of cuisines and legendary bars and restaurants. Visitors also love the city’s laid-back vibe, superb history tours, festivals, and markets. “New Orleans is a great walking around, let’s-pop-into-this-place kind of city,” noted one visitor.

6. San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio impresses with historic sites like the Alamo and the Mission, and contemporary attractions such as Museum Reach. The River Walk is particularly beloved, described as “probably one of the nicest places we have ever visited in the States.”

7. Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth blends cosmopolitan and ranch vibes, with top-notch rodeos and cultural institutions like The Kimbell Art Museum. “There are almost 20 theaters. You can attend the ballet, the opera, and symphony orchestra concerts,” said one visitor.

8. New York, New York
The city that never sleeps lives up to its reputation with Broadway shows, iconic museums, top-tier shopping, and world-class dining. One reader summed it up: “NYC is a great place to visit. Costly, yes. Worth it? Absolutely. Reasonably clean? Yes. Fun? That goes without saying.”

9. Chicago, Illinois
Chicago offers great architecture tours, sports events, and famous deep-dish pizza. The city’s diverse neighborhoods and easy-to-navigate public transportation also earned praise. “I love Chicago. The food, the sports. Did I mention the food?” enthused one reader.

10. Aspen, Colorado
Aspen’s year-round appeal includes hiking trails, the renowned Baldwin Gallery, and the legendary Woody Creek Tavern. Readers appreciate its well-rounded offerings and spectacular scenery.

Conclusion

The WBA 2024 rankings highlight diverse cities across the United States, each with its unique charm and appeal. Whether you’re drawn to the historic streets of Charleston, the artistic vibes of Santa Fe, or the vibrant energy of New York City, there’s something for every traveler. As these cities continue to evolve and grow, they remain beloved destinations for their strong identities and unparalleled experiences.

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