Lonely Planet has released its annual list of the top 10 Best Places To Travel in the United States in 2016. Over the past four decades, Lonely Planet has cultivated a dedicated traveler community and printed more than 130 million books in 13 different languages to most destinations on the planet. The Lonely Planet ecosystem also includes digital and mobile apps like the all-new Guides app, a comprehensive ebook portfolio, 12 international magazines including a US edition launched in 2015, an award-winning website and over 8.5 million followers on social media.
Lonely Planet’s Best in the US 2016 list is a diverse mix of cities, regions and states across the country that are poised to shine in the year ahead – places often-overlooked, hidden gems and household names with new reasons to visit in 2016. This year, national treasurePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania was named number one, followed by the picturesque town of Natchez, Mississippi and the iconic Yellowstone National Park in third place.
Now in its 6th year, Lonely Planet’s Best in the US is a handpicked list selected and ranked by the US-based editors and travel writers at Lonely Planet to point to the 10 most exciting, intriguing and up–and-coming top US destinations worth visiting in the year ahead.
“These are the places to pay attention to in 2016,” said US Destination Editor Rebecca Warren at Lonely Planet. “Whether they’ve been on the public radar for years or are only recently emerging as travel hotspots, each destination offers compelling reasons to visit this year.”
Lonely Planet’s Best in the US 2016
1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – “Hands up to the sky, Rocky fans.”
Recently recognized as the US’s first and only World Heritage City and visited by the Pope, Philly’s on a roll right now. Hosting the Democratic National Convention in July and celebrating the 40th anniversary of Rocky this year, the city is experiencing a transformation to its urban core, yet retaining its deep American history and uniquely gritty flavor.
2. Natchez, Mississippi – “Natchez will be rolling on the river in 2016.”
Hitting its 300th anniversary this year – making it two years older than New Orleans – this charming city settled along the Mississippi will be hosting hundreds of events throughout the year, from their annual hot air balloon races to historical celebrations.
3. Yellowstone National Park – “Where better to celebrate than where it all began?”
This is the world’s first national park, established 144 years ago. Yellowstone’s biggest draw, the Old Faithful geyser, just got a new boardwalk and gateway towns like Gardiner, Montana and Cody, Wyoming are all geared up to accommodate the millions of visitors expected while the US National Park Service celebrates its centennial this year.
4. Birmingham, Alabama – “Could Birmingham be the coolest city in the South?”
The once industrial Avondale neighborhood has been reinvigorated with a surge of pubs, breweries and good eats, and the Civil Rights District is notable for the Civil Rights Institute, the 16th St. Baptist Church and the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.
5. Alaska – “Hey Americans: have you crossed the Arctic Circle in your own country?”
Last year, President Obama became the first sitting president to visit this remote state and it’s time the rest of Americans follow, especially to experience the newly renamed Denali, America’s tallest peak, which can be done on foot for the adventurous, or by train or bus.
6. Somerville, Massachusetts – “Boston’s hippest ‘hood moved a few stops up the Orange Line.”
Boston’s most exciting new neighborhood has cutting-edge restaurants, craft breweries and offbeat attractions like the hugely popular Museum of Bad Art, the Tiny Museum, the Fluff Festival and HONK!, a festival of socially-conscious music-making.
7. Northwest Arkansas – “Give the Rockies a run for their money.”
With wide open spaces, mountains and crystal blue lakes and rivers, this region also has cultural flare, with towns that are distinctly unique from one another, like Fayetteville – an artsy university city with a vibrant literary scene – and Eureka Springs, which has access to some of the best hiking in the Ozarks.
8. San Antonio, Texas – “Take a hearty stew of Mexican culture, add a dash of Austin weird and a big dollop of pure Texas ‘tude.”
The popular River Walk has expanded from three to 15 miles and the Pearl Brewery District continues to evolve with top-notch restaurants, a cooking school and outdoor events throughout the year, helping to make San Antonio the Lone Star State’s most compelling, culturally eclectic city right now.
9. Southern New Mexico – “If it’s Southwestern wilderness you’re after, head toward the border.”
Santa Fe and Taos usually get the spotlight, but go south to truly experience the Wild West by visiting the recently established Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument and the strange scenery continues at White Sands National Monument, where you’ll find alien landscapes far more out-of-this-world than anything in Roswell.
10. Milwaukee, Wisconsin – “The city’s beery side still bubbles strong.”
Chicago may cast a big shadow, but the city is enjoying its moment in the sun, with attractions like beer-tasting tours at both household name brands and new craft breweries, the stunning Quadracci Pavilion and the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Lonely Planet’s Best in the US 2016 goes beyond the locations featured in its Best in Travel 2016 book, in stores now, which includes the company’s picks for where to visit in the coming year, all over the globe. Best in Travel 2016 features Nashville, Hawaii and the USA as national destinations among the global selections for 2016.
The list is available online at www.lonelyplanet.com/best-in-us, with accompanying articles to each destination. It will also be featured in the second edition of the new US Lonely Planet magazine in March. Best in the US 2016 is sponsored by Turkish Airlines