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Austin named top U.S. travel destination — along with two other Texas locales

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View of Downtown Austin across Lady Bird Lake from South Shore District
Austin ranks No. 18 on Trip Advisor's list of U.S. travel destinations.  Photo courtesy of South Shore District/Facebook

In time for summer vacation planning, Trip Advisor has announced the top 25 travel spots in the U.S., as determined by travelers.

Deemed the Travelers' Choice awards, the rankings take into account the millions of reviews and opinions of Trip Advisor's users. Researchers used an algorithm to determine "the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for hotels, attractions and restaurants in destinations worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period." The result? 25 hot destinations in the U.S., including three from Texas. 

Austin, new to the list this year, claimed the No. 18 spot. The Capital City is joined by two other Texas destinations: Houston, ranked No. 12 (up 13 spots from the previous year); and San Antonio, ranked No. 16 (up one spot from the previous year). 

So what makes Austin a hot destination for 2014? Our signature SXSW festival, the iconic Capitol, and the cool waters of Barton Springs. 

Every year thousands of hipsters, groupies and die-hard fans flock to Austin for the annual South by Southwest festival, which has catapulted the Texas city up the must-visit charts for many travelers. The sandstone Capitol building is symbolic of the Lone Star State’s "bigger is better" mentality, featuring a gorgeous whispering gallery rotunda and 22 acres of grounds. Cool off with a dip in Barton Springs, a huge natural limestone pool that’s fed by underground sources.

Trip Advisor shares hundreds of things to do in Austin, but calls the LBJ Library, Zilker Park and the Capitol "don't miss" attractions. And for travelers that prefer a Texas vacation with less hipsters and groupies, Trip Advisor suggests San Antonio's River Walk or Houston's Museum of Fine Arts.

The full list of hot stateside destinations is as follows: 

  1. New York City, New York
  2. Chicago, Illinois
  3. San Francisco, California
  4. Las Vegas, Nevada
  5. New Orleans, Louisiana
  6. Los Angeles, California
  7. San Diego, California
  8. Seattle, Washington
  9. Washington, D.C. 
  10. Orlando, Florida
  11. Honolulu, Hawaii
  12. Houston, Texas
  13. Charleston, South Carolina
  14. Boston, Massachusetts
  15. Portland, Oregon
  16. San Antonio, Texas
  17. Palm Springs, California
  18. Austin, Texas
  19. Branson, Missouri
  20. Atlanta, Georgia
  21. Phoenix, Arizona
  22. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  23. Saint Louis, Missouri
  24. Nashville, Tennessee
  25. Miami Beach, Florida

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