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Video: What Is Your Favorite U.S. City?

To celebrate this year’s America’s Favorite Cities feature, Travel + Leisure’s Sarah Spagnolo took to the New York City streets, asking travelers and locals about their favorite places in the U.S.A.

From Austin to San Francisco, Nashville, Miami, and more, travelers can’t get enough of America the Beautiful. Perhaps that’s why 97% of travelers are planning to explore this country this year. But why? For some, it’s the food (pizza in New York), while for others, it is the history and culture (case in point: Charleston, with roots that date back to the 17th century).

Now, it’s your turn to vote. In our annual America’s Favorite Places Survey, we go beyond our hometown, asking our readers everywhere to weigh in on cities, towns, and regions. Categories range from shopping to nightlife, and food and drink in destinations from California’s Wine Country to Providence, Rhode Island. Share your favorites in our survey, then tweet us with your thoughts using #TLCities. In December, we’ll reveal the results—may the best destination win!


Kansas City’s Best BBQ

Kansas City BBQ

K.C. didn’t invent barbecue—it perfected it. So says Doug Worgul, author of The Grand Barbecue. No surprise K.C.’s distinctive ’cue topped our America’s Favorite Cities survey. Worgul tells T+L where to get a bite.

“At Arthur Bryant’s (pictured; $$), the floors are greasy and it looks like the walls haven’t been painted in 20 years—but you won’t care once you try the brisket.”

“Major blues acts have played BB’s Lawnside BBQ ($$). Order the ribs; they’re not too sweet and not too spicy.”

“You can watch the meat being cooked outside at Woodyard Bar-B-Que ($). They do a really interesting smoked barbecue hamburger.”

For more survey results, see travelandleisure.com/afc.

Photo by Brooke Vandever

Why We Love Boston More Than Ever


As we, and the rest of the country, wait for information about the horrific bombing in Boston yesterday, we'll be sending our hopes and prayers to that city's residents. We also want to take a moment to remember all the things we love about that classic American city and look forward to visiting there again soon.

There's a reason T+L's readers selected Boston as America's Favorite City in 2008: Steeped in history, Boston also has a cool, modern edge. What's not to like in a town that has beautiful parks like Boston Common, great museums like the Boston Children's Museum, historic waterfront areas, and beloved sports venues like Fenway Park? And, of course, great food, especially pizza. (Top among America's Best this year.) Need more reasons Boston is the best? The charming regional accents, the colleges, the college bars, and the amazing hotels.

For these and so many other reasons, we love Boston. To all our friends and readers there, we're thinking of you and we hope to see you soon. Yours is a world class city, and you mean the world to us.

Photo © Della Huff / Alamy

3 Great New Orleans Music Venues

New Orleans music

We asked Alison Fensterstock, a consultant for HBO’s Treme, for her top three venues in the Big Easy—winner for Best Music Scene in our America’s Favorite Cities survey.

D.B.A. has a great mix of local rock, soul, and brass in an intimate setting.”

“The corner of St. Claude and Elysian Fields is a burgeoning music district. Drop into Hi Ho Lounge for acoustic bluegrass.”

Saturn Bar, a dive in Bywater with a thrift-store feel, hosts casual sets from neighborhood musicians.”

Photo by Cheryl Gerber

Best Pizza in Chicago

Best pizza in Chicago: Coalfire

Deep dish is but one slice of the scene in Chicago, winner for Best Pizza in our America’s Favorite Cities survey. We tapped resident Heather Sperling, an editor at tastingtable.com, for her favorites.

Coalfire (pictured), in West Town, is my go-to for a meaty pie. I love the margherita pizza topped with ’nduja, an oily, spicy Calabrian-style sausage.”

“Perfectly chewy, blistered pizza is baked in a brick oven at Lincoln Park’s Pizzeria da Nella. The owner comes from a long line of Italian pizzaioli.”

“Pan-style fanatics flock to Burt’s Place, in the suburb of Morton Grove. It’s legendary for its buttery, caramelized crust.”

Check out all of America's Best Cities for Pizza.

Photo courtesy of Coalfire Pizza

Pack the Hand Sanitizer: T+L Readers Crown America's Dirtiest Cities

America's Dirtiest Cities: Las Vegas

Hipster types may call a city "gritty" as a way of explaining how cool, artsy and authentic it is. Other folks, meanwhile, may translate that as meaning that the city streets are covered with graffiti and litter, and that even the park squirrels seem to smoke a pack a day.

That may not be the case in Atlanta for long, as the city just passed an ordinance saying that no one—not even residents with cute fluffy tails—can smoke in the parks anymore.

Even so, Atlanta still landed in the top 5 of the 20 dirtiest cities in America, according to Travel + Leisure readers. But which city won the survey—making travelers wish they'd packed more hand sanitizer? (Hint: it's a past champion, whose locals also won the survey for being surly.)

Another cleanliness-challenged city, Las Vegas just passed its own ordinance saying that those guys handing out fliers on the Strip now have to clean up after themselves every 15 minutes. Here's hoping Hotlanta and Sin City both tidy up their rankings for next year's survey.

Related: America's Dirtiest Cities

Photo by iStock

New Orleans Revs Up for Mardi Gras Celebration


MSNBC.com Travel | The beads are ready to be tossed, the costumed crowds are in the mood to party and tourism officials are smiling.

It can only mean one thing: It’s Mardi Gras time in New Orleans.

“It is the event of the year. It’s our largest, in terms of economic benefit. It is probably the most iconic celebration for the city,” said Jennifer Day-Sully, a spokeswoman for the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.

About a million people are expected to take part in the festivities over the 12 days leading up to Fat Tuesday, which falls on Feb. 21 this year, Day-Sully said. The city doesn’t break that number down into out-of-town visitors and local attendees.


PHOTO: Lucas Jackson / © LUCAS JACKSON/Reuters/Corbis

TODAY Show: The Results Are In - America's Favorite Cities Survey

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Which U.S. city is the cleanest? The most affordable? Best for hotels? T+L Features Director Nilou Motamed shares the results from our popular annual survey—America's Favorite Cities. For complete results—in 50 categories, go here.


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