Cities as Vacation Destinations

DCist highlights a U.S. News list of the best vacation destinations. I think the places on the list can be categorized one of three ways:

  • Major cities (New York, Washington, San Francisco)
  • Beaches (Maui, Miami Beach, Honolulu)
  • “Destinations” (Disney World, Las Vegas, Yosemite)

I get why people want to vacation on the beach or go to Disney World or Vegas. I’ve done all of these things personally. But I’ve always been curious about what people find appealing about vacationing in cities. I love to do it – but I’m also much more urban-minded than the typical American.

If you look at the cities on the U.S. news list, you’ll see that they share one key thing in common: ability to walk around. Why does New York, San Francisco and Chicago make this list while Dallas, Atlanta and Houston get left behind? They’re all part of the 10 largest metro areas, after all. They’re all huge cities with big economies and lots of stuff to do.

When I lived in Dallas I thought about this a lot. What fun would it be to fly to Dallas, then have to rent a car at the airport and spend your vacation driving from destination to destination? It’s not that these cities aren’t culturally rich or that they don’t have things to do – it’s that everything is all sprawled out, much like the cities themselves, and that makes them less appealing to the vacationer.