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Looking for your next summer vacation spot? Here are the best US cities to visit, according to CNN

The network's inaugural list promises to bring the personality of bigger cities without so much of the crowds.
Portland Maine
Posted at 8:06 PM, Jun 24, 2024

Still itching for a summer vacation but have no clue where to go? Look no further than good ol' Richmond, Virginia.

The city takes the No. 1 spot on CNN's newly released list of America's Best Towns to Visit, an inaugural ranking of some of the nation's best and brightest travel locations according to the network.

The list features smaller cities in the U.S., ranging in size from 50,000 to 225,000 residents, that CNN promises will deliver all the same personality as your typical big-city vacation hotspot — just without all the crowds and commotion. That includes above-average food and beverage offerings, cultural experiences, ease of lodging and transportation, and obviously that "wow factor."

So if that's your speed for these next couple of sweltering months, read on to find your next favorite place, according to CNN.

1. Richmond, Virginia

The capital city nabbed the top spot for its museums, "dynamic neighborhoods," a diverse food and beverage scene boasting 30 breweries, and its history. It also promises a nearly year-round festival season, which would be a plus for music lovers.

2. Providence, Rhode Island

Also a capital city, CNN says Providence deserved the No. 2 spot for its innovative transformation over the past half-century that managed to still uphold its history. A river naturally separates the thriving community of top-notch cuisine, art, architecture and education.

3. Tacoma, Washington

The port city of Tacoma oozes Pacific Northwest scenery with a slower pace than its neighbors. Chill at one of its many coffee shops or breweries while looking out at the water, up to the mountains and embrace the city's "hipster vibes," CNN says.

4. Portland, Maine

It might be Maine's most populous city, but CNN promises it won't make you feel that way. The publication says the coastal town has a "big-city feel in a small-city package," complete with an array of outdoor activities and a booming culinary scene. Just don't forget to eat some lobster.

5. San Luis Obispo, California

"SLO" could be the poster child for the West Coast's laid-back reputation. CNN says the town's natural environment coupled with wine and hiking trails will have you feeling the old-school California vibes. And if that's not your scene, stay cool in one of its various museums or boutiques.

Still not sold? CNN says it's other high-ranking towns, in order from No. 6, are: Flagstaff, Arizona; Macon, Georgia; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Duluth, Minnesota.