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Best Weekend Getaways

U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

After a long week, sometimes a short getaway is in order. But deciding which destination to travel to can be daunting when you only have a weekend to spend. To help you choose the right trip, U.S. News considered factors like accessibility, affordability and entertainment options, as well as reader votes, to determine which cities offer the best setting for a weekend away. Vote for your favorite destinations below to help guide us in determining next year's ranking. 

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#1 New York City

#1 in Best Weekend Getaways

Visitors can reach New York City by train, plane or automobile, so weekend getaways are a cinch. Plus, ample attractions indoors (like museums and Broadway shows) and outdoors (like Central Park and the High Line) make unpredictable weather a nonissue. For a dose of history, take the ferry to Ellis Island or the Statue of Liberty. Read More »

Buzzing Times Square View 75 photos
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#2 San Francisco

#2 in Best Weekend Getaways

The City by the Bay offers temperatures in the 60s most of the year, making it ideal for walking across the Golden Gate Bridge, riding the famous cable cars and exploring the city's eclectic neighborhoods. What's more, sports lovers can enjoy superb views of the San Francisco Bay from AT&T Park during baseball season. Read More »

Golden Gate Bridge View 43 photos
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#3 Chicago

#3 in Best Weekend Getaways

Chicago's iconic eats, diverse neighborhoods and abundance of can't-miss sights make it a great weekend vacation spot. On warmer days, snap a selfie in front of "The Bean" and embark on an architecture river cruise. Meanwhile, museums like the Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum are ideal places to escape winter's biting temps. Read More »

Chicago Skyline View 50 photos
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#4 San Diego

#4 in Best Weekend Getaways

You could spend the whole weekend relaxing on Coronado Beach, Mission Beach and San Diego's other world-renowned shores. If you can pull yourself away from the sand, check out beloved attractions like the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park and Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. After the sun sets, enjoy the nightlife of the Gaslamp Quarter. Read More »

San Diego View 49 photos
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#5 Montreal

#5 in Best Weekend Getaways

Old-world charm is front and center in this Canadian city. In the Old Montreal area, travelers can stroll cobblestone streets lined with boutiques and eateries. When the weather is nice, head to the sprawling Mount Royal Park for a picnic, guided hike or leisurely bike ride. The park also offers snowshoeing, ice skating and more every winter. Read More »

Vieux-Montreal View 39 photos
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#6 Charleston

#6 in Best Weekend Getaways

Charleston boasts Spanish moss-laden bed-and-breakfasts and gas lamp-lit cobblestone streets to transport you to a simpler time. Spend the day strolling along The Battery, indulging in decadent low country cuisine or checking out the vibrant Charleston City Market. If you're a fan of the water, sign up for a boat tour or visit Sullivan's Island. Read More »

Pineapple Fountain View 51 photos
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#7 Toronto

#7 in Best Weekend Getaways

Hop across Lake Ontario to our northern neighbor for an urban escape. It's tough to see all of sprawling Toronto in just a few days, but first-timers can hit the high points, such as the CN Tower, the St. Lawrence Market and the Hockey Hall of Fame. Save an evening to explore the Distillery District. Read More »

Toronto View 37 photos
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#8 Washington, D.C.

#8 in Best Weekend Getaways

Not only is America's capital chock full of free attractions, but many of them are concentrated on the National Mall, making it easy to see the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and other highlights in just a matter of days. While visiting, don't miss out on the popular weekend brunch scene – just remember to make reservations in advance. Read More »

Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool View 46 photos
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#9 Vancouver

#9 in Best Weekend Getaways

It's hard to rival this Canadian city's idyllic natural landscape: Hiking, skiing, mountain biking, zip lining and boating are just a few activities travelers can enjoy on weekend trips here. Get your dose of the great outdoors in Stanley Park or on the sands of Kitsilano Beach before grabbing a bite to eat at the Granville Island Public Market. Read More »

Vancouver waterfront View 43 photos
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#10 Quebec City

#10 in Best Weekend Getaways

The streets of Old Québec are enchanting any time of year. And thanks to its compact, walkable landscape, you can see a lot in just a few days. Shopaholics should visit Quartier Petit Champlain, while history buffs can explore the jail, college and library that comprise the Morrin Centre. When the weather is warm, head to Battlefields Park. Read More »

Snowy Quebec View 33 photos
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#11 Seattle

#11 in Best Weekend Getaways

This jewel of the Pacific Northwest offers iconic sights like Pike Place Market, the original Starbucks and the Space Needle, all of which you can see in a matter of days. You can even squeeze in a hike in Discovery Park or on nearby Mount Si. Just remember to bring an umbrella and a raincoat – weather in the Emerald City can be unpredictable. Read More »

Seattle Skyline View 39 photos
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#12 Boston

#12 in Best Weekend Getaways

Whether you're catching a Red Sox game at Fenway Park or learning about the American Revolution along the Freedom Trail, you can see the highlights of "Bahston" in just a few days. If you have kids in tow, the Museum of Science, the Boston Children's Museum and the New England Aquarium are must-sees. Read More »

Boston Harbor View 43 photos
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#13 New Orleans

#13 in Best Weekend Getaways

You can't tackle all of the Big Easy's top sights in one weekend, but its diverse offerings make it easy to choose activities based on your interests. History buffs can visit The National WWII Museum, while outdoorsy types can walk through City Park. No trip would be complete without eating beignets and enjoying a night out in the French Quarter. Read More »

Jazz in the French Quarter View 46 photos
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#14 Asheville, NC

#14 in Best Weekend Getaways

Part-mountain town, part-hipster sanctuary, this North Carolina locale is a haven for adventurers and beer lovers. The Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah National Forest boast jaw-dropping vistas, and the North Carolina section of the Appalachian Trail is a must for die-hard hikers. After an active day, travelers can return to town to sip one of 100-plus local brews. Read More »

Asheville primary View 18 photos
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#15 Santa Monica

#15 in Best Weekend Getaways

If exploring all of Los Angeles in one weekend seems overwhelming, head to one of the best beaches in California for a quick trip. Santa Monica offers balmy weather year-round, plus distractions away from the sand, including a 22-mile-long bike path, an amusement park pier, a trapeze school and plenty of people-watching.

Santa Monica Beach
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