A Capital Destination

Austin travels onto new list of most popular U.S. vacation destinations

Austin travels onto list of most popular U.S. vacation destinations

Austin cityscape with the Texas state capitol
Austin is among the most popular destinations for travelers.  Jeremy Woodhouse/Getty Images

Travelers apparently can't get enough of Texas. On Tuesday, February 25, Tripadvisor published winners of its 2020 Travelers Choice Awards, and both Austin and San Antonio rank in the top 25 popular U.S. destinations. 

To determine the most popular places to visit, the travel site "pull[s] together all the reviews, ratings, and saves that travelers share from across the globe — and use[s] that info to spotlight the very best."

Austin appears at No 21 on the list.

“Live music is the essence of Austin, but it isn’t even close to the whole story. With spectacular entertainment districts, ubiquitous culture, and top-notch restaurants, Austin allows you to create your own soundtrack,” Tripadvisor says. “Austin boasts more than 250 music venues, the world’s first James Beard Award-winning [barbecue] pitmaster, an eclectic arts scene, and the unique migration of 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats. Take a look around and put the Live Music Capital of the World on your playlist.”

In 2018, the Austin metro area welcomed 28.9 million visitors, generating $8.7 billion for the regional economy.

San Antonio, meanwhile, has the No. 24 spot among most popular destinations in the U.S. (New York City holds the top spot in the country.)

“Step to the beat of wafting flamenco music as you wander the downtown River Walk before sampling as much chili (San Antonio’s signature dish) as your taste buds will allow,” Tripadvisor says. “A visit to the Alamo is an absolute must, as is taking in a show at the ornate Majestic Theatre. San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is dotted with 18th-century buildings and features, making for an enriching excursion.”

It's no surprise that San Antonio made the list. In addition to hosting about 37 million visitors a year — which contributes $15.2 billion to the local economy — its world-class attractions, luxe accommodations, and even H-E-B tortillas have made it a must-hit destination for travelers across the globe.

Elsewhere across the state, Houston grabs the No. 13 spot on Tripadvisor’s list of the top 25 trending destinations in the U.S., the only Texas city. Trending destinations were determined using an algorithm that measured year-over-year increases in positive Tripadvisor ratings for accommodations, restaurants, and attractions, and measured increases in booking interest and searches.

“Houston hums with an energy and independent spirit all its own. A leading cultural and culinary destination in the South, the city is home to over 11,000 restaurants featuring cuisine from more than 70 countries,” Tripadvisor says. “The thriving arts scene includes resident opera, ballet, symphony and theater companies. The Museum District houses 19 museums, all within walking distance. Be sure to visit Space Center Houston, where you can visit NASA’s Historic Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center.”

Houston drew 22.3 million visitors in 2018, producing about $16.5 billion for the local economy.

Key Largo, Florida, ranks first on Tripadvisor’s list of the top 25 trending destinations in the U.S.