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Top travel destination in Texas: It's Houston, of course, says Trip Advisor

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News_Houston Museum of Natural Science_Paleontology Hall_May 2012
Houston Museum of Natural Science Paleontology Hall. Photo by Whitney Radley
Japanese Gardens Hermann Park
Japanese Gardens at Hermann Park Photo by Patrick Talley
Art opening: John Singer Sargent: The Watercolors
John Singer Sargent exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Photo © 2013 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Saturn V, rocket, Houston Space Center
Saturn V rocket at Space Center Houston. Photo by Wolfgang Houston/Panoramio
News_Sarah_No Reservations_Cockrell Butterfly Center_exterior_day
Houston Museum of Natural Science Cockrell Butterfly Center. Courtesy of Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
welcome to Houston postcard with skyline
News_Houston Museum of Natural Science_Paleontology Hall_May 2012
Japanese Gardens Hermann Park
Art opening: John Singer Sargent: The Watercolors
Saturn V, rocket, Houston Space Center
News_Sarah_No Reservations_Cockrell Butterfly Center_exterior_day

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.

Houston zoomed up 13 spots to hold the No. 12 ranking. San Antonio is No. 16 (up from the previous year) and Austin, new to the list this year, claimed the No. 18 spot. Dallas didn't make the cut.

So what makes Houston a hot destination for 2014?

This sprawling city hums with the energy and independent spirit that turned it from swampland into the fourth-largest city in the U.S. Everything is big, from the towering skyscrapers to the city's prominence in aerospace, oil, shipping and finance. Even the architecture makes big, bold statements, like the medical center towers that resemble two giant syringes. A thriving business center, the city has become increasingly cosmopolitan, with an influx of diverse ethnic groups and a strong emphasis on the arts. Opera, ballet, symphony and theater are all top-notch, and museums abound. The midday heat is easily escaped inside the numerous attractions and shopping areas, particularly in the pedestrian-friendly 6.5-mile underground city. Since you're in the place that broadcast man's first step on the moon, you may want to pay a visit to Space Center Houston, where you'll be whisked into outer space through simulations and films. Once back on earth, you can hop on the tram to the complex's NASA/Johnson Space Center to watch astronauts and engineers at work and in training."

Trip Advisor shares 481 things to do in Houston, with Houston Museum of Natural Science, Hermann Park and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston as "don't miss" attractions.

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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