Weird destination

Austin strikes a chord on Travel + Leisure ranking of the best U.S. cities

Austin strikes a chord on T+L ranking of the best U.S. cities

Austin skyline ACL Fest 2021
Austin's music festivals and live-music scene continue to be major attractions for travelers.  Photo by Daniel Cavazos

Readers of one popular travel magazine apparently love keeping things weird, Austin-style.

In a recent survey, Travel + Leisure readers ranked Austin the 13th best city in the U.S. Charleston, South Carolina, topped the list. Two other Texas cities earned praise: San Antonio (No. 6) and Fort Worth (No. 12).

Each year, the magazine asks readers to share their thoughts about cities, airlines, hotels, spas, and other travel experiences. Readers grade cities based on their sights and landmarks, culture, cuisine, friendliness, shopping, and overall value.

“The 2021 standouts are as far-flung as ever, and suggest a renewed appreciation for places that offer unparalleled natural beauty and, in many places, fewer crowds,” Jacqui Gifford, editor in chief of Travel + Leisure, says in a news release.

Among the standout attractions in Austin are our live-music scene and festivals, the world-class Circuit of the Americas racetrack, Barton Springs Pool, lots of local parks, and the Congress Avenue bats.  

“What you hear is true. With vibrant entertainment, art and culture, inspiring cuisine, and stunning outdoor experiences, Austin lets you create a soundtrack all your own. So take a look around, and put the Live Music Capital of the World on your playlist,” touts Visit Austin website.

Travel + Leisure readers also gave a nod to Austin’s Commodore Perry Estate, Auberge Resorts Collection, which leads the list of top resorts in Texas.

Other resorts making the cut are:

  • Four Seasons Resort & Club Dallas at Las Colinas in Irving, No. 2.
  • The Woodlands Resort in The Woodlands, No. 3.
  • The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa in Houston, No. 4.
  • La Cantera Resort & Spa in San Antonio, No. 5.
  • Gage Hotel in Marathon, No. 6.
  • JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa in San Antonio, No. 7.
  • Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa, west of Bastrop, No. 8.
  • Horseshoe Bay Resort in Horseshoe Bay, No. 9.
  • Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa in San Antonio, No. 10.

Additionally, two Austin spas represent Texas on the list of the top 15 domestic spas: Lake Austin Spa Resort (No. 5) and Miraval (No. 12).

And San Antonio’s Hotel Emma ranked seventh among the 15 best city hotels in the continental U.S. Hotel Emma is the only Texas property on this list.