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Houston zooms up national top travel destinations list, flirts with Top 10 as Dallas is completely shut out

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San Antonio is one of the top U.S. travel destinations according to Trip Advisor users. Courtesy photo
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Austin is new to Trip Advisor's list. Photo via MegansWiceGood.com
Houston Grand Opera Verdi's Aida with HGO chorus and supers
Houston gets props for its arts scene, including its "top notch" opera. Photo by © Lynn Lane
News_San Antonio_River Walk
News_Austin_Zilker Park_joggers
Houston Grand Opera Verdi's Aida with HGO chorus and supers

Just in time for summer vacation planning, TripAdvisor has put out a list of the Top 25 U.S. travel spots for 2014, as determined by travelers. Among the usual suspects such as New York, Chicago and Las Vegas are three Texas cities: Houston, San Antonio and Austin.

Houston ranks No. 12 in the country, up a whopping 13 spots from the previous year. San Antonio, up one from last year, lands at No. 16. Austin, which claims the No. 18 spot, is new to the list this year. Dallas didn't make the list at all.

According to TripAdvisor, Houston’s “don’t miss” attractions include the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Hermann Park and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. “This sprawling city hums with the energy and independent spirit that turned it from swampland into the fourth-largest city in the U.S.,” reads the blurb, which goes on to praise Houston’s “top notch” opera, ballet, symphony and theater, as well as its numerous shopping areas.

As for San Antonio, TripAdvisor advises wandering the downtown River Walk and “sampling as much chili as your taste buds will allow.” Trip Advisor also calls a visit to the Alamo is an “absolute must.” Zzzzz. At least the lauded McNay Art Museum is listed among the city’s “don’t miss” attractions.

Newcomer Austin gets props for South by Southwest — which lures thousands of “hipsters, groupies and diehard fans” — iconic Capitol and cool waters of Barton Springs. Must-visits include LBJ Library and Zilker Park.

For its Travelers’ Choice Awards, TripAdvisor took into account the millions of reviews and opinions of its 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.”

Below is the full list of hot U.S. destinations:

  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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