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The Top 10 Places in the U.S. to Visit in 2016

Lonely Planet's travel experts have scoured the U.S. to create the ultimate travel wish list for 2016. Some of our choices are perennial favorites, while others are just stepping into the spotlight, but all have one thing in common: now is the time to go.
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Lonely Planet's travel experts have scoured the U.S. to create the ultimate travel wish list for 2016. Some of our choices are perennial favorites, while others are just stepping into the spotlight, but all have one thing in common: now is the time to go.

Can't decide? Discover which destination suits your travel style with our Best in the U.S. quiz and download the free Secret USA ebook for 30 extra off-the-radar spots.

10. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Exterior of the Milwaukee Art Museum which houses over 30,000 works of art. Image by Abhishek Chandra / 500px Chicago may cast a big shadow, but the city is enjoying its moment in the sun, with attractions like beer-tasting tours at both household name brands and new craft breweries, the stunning Quadracci Pavilion and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Read more here: Milwaukee: brewing up a buzz
9. Southern New Mexico
The strange white dunes of White Sands National Monument © Justin Foulkes / Lonely Planet Santa Fe and Taos usually get the spotlight, but go south to truly experience the Wild West by visiting the recently established Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument and the strange scenery continues at White Sands National Monument, where you'll find alien landscapes far more out-of-this-world than anything in Roswell. Read more here: The weird and wild outdoors of southern New Mexico
8. San Antonio, Texas
Diners take a break along the San Antonio River Walk © Stuart Dee / The popular River Walk has expanded from three to 15 miles and the Pearl Brewery District continues to evolve with top-notch restaurants, a cooking school and outdoor events throughout the year, helping to make San Antonio the Lone Star State’s most compelling, culturally eclectic city right now. Read more here: San Antonio: the newest luminary in the Lone Star State
7. Northwest Arkansas
Glimpse the Ozark wilderness in Devil's Den State Park, Arkansas. Image courtesy of Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism With wide open spaces, mountains and crystal blue lakes and rivers, this region also has cultural flare, with towns that are distinctly unique from one another, like Fayetteville – an artsy university city with a vibrant literary scene – and Eureka Springs, which has access to some of the best hiking in the Ozarks. Read more here: Discover Northwest Arkansas: from small-town chic to the great outdoors
6. Somerville, Massachusetts
American Fresh Beer Garden. Image Courtesy of Assembly Row Boston’s most exciting new neighborhood has cutting-edge restaurants, craft breweries and offbeat attractions like the hugely popular Museum of Bad Art, the Tiny Museum, the Fluff Festival and HONK!, a festival of socially-conscious music-making. Read more here: Somerville: rockin’ the Boston suburbs
5. Alaska
Edgerton Highway, Alaska © Michael Hennernan / Lonely Planet Last year, President Obama became the first sitting president to visit this remote state and it’s time the rest of Americans follow, especially to experience the newly renamed Denali, America’s tallest peak, which can be done on foot for the adventurous, or by train or bus. Read more here: State of extremes: Alaska's last frontiers
4. Birmingham, Alabama
An old mill in Mountain Brook, a suburb of Birmingham Alabama. Image by Robbie Brewer / 500px The once industrial Avondale neighborhood has been reinvigorated with a surge of pubs, breweries and good eats, and the Civil Rights District is notable for the Civil Rights Institute, the 16th St. Baptist Church and the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. Read more here: Birmingham, Alabama: the South’s newest rising star
3. Yellowstone National Park
Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park. © Lorcel / Lonely Planet This is the world’s first national park, established 144 years ago. Yellowstone’s biggest draw, the Old Faithful geyser, just got a new boardwalk and gateway towns like Gardiner, Montana and Cody, Wyoming are all geared up to accommodate the millions of visitors expected while the US National Park Service celebrates its centennial this year. Read more here: Insider’s guide to Yellowstone: where to trek and geyser gaze without the crowds
2. Natchez, Mississippi
Image courtesy of Natchez Convention and Visitors Bureau Hitting its 300th anniversary this year – making it two years older than New Orleans – this charming city settled along the Mississippi will be hosting hundreds of events throughout the year, from their annual hot air balloon races to historical celebrations. Read more here: Natchez: 300 years of life on the river
1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
® B. Krist / Visit Philadelphia Recently recognized as the US’s first and only World Heritage City and visited by the Pope, Philly’s on a roll right now. Hosting the Democratic National Convention in July and celebrating the 40th anniversary of Rocky this year, the city is experiencing a transformation to its urban core, yet retaining its deep American history and uniquely gritty flavor. Read more here: Historic Philadelphia: exploring America’s first World Heritage city

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