Join for Just $16 A Year
- Discounts on travel and everyday savings
- Subscription to AARP The Magazine
- Free membership for your spouse or partner
Members receive a Donut with purchase of a L or XL beverage
Thanks to the veterans who served our country
Let us know how the new health care law helps you
En español | Long known for horse racing and bourbon, Kentucky has a more sophisticated side — and Louisville is leading the way. Its micro-distilleries, cool commercial strips and smartly converted spaces — such as the 21c Museum Hotel, where luxury accommodations meet contemporary art — are among the changes boosting the city's up-and-coming reputation.
Muhammad Ali Center (at left); James Leynse/Corbis
Easy access from the airport, coupled with new and renovated resorts — many along Condado Beach — make San Juan one of this year's best U.S. beach destinations. You can eat well, play as hard as you like (day or night) and relax in style in the capital city of this lush, sunny island.
Massimo Borchi/Atlantide Phototravel/Corbis
This year marks the end of an 11-year cycle of especially colorful northern lights (the aurora borealis), thanks to sunspots surging millions of miles away. In fact, 2013 will peak with a "solar max" in the skies over Fairbanks. The city is also a great place to enjoy hearty Alaskan cuisine and local pubs. And, of course, there's all that surrounding pristine wilderness to explore.
Ron Crabtree/Getty Images
The longtime home of politicos has more local flavor than ever. The New York Times named it one of 46 places to go in 2013, thanks to its "blossoming" independent food scene, with restaurants helmed by internationally acclaimed young chefs. In addition, this year the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History — free to visit, like all the Smithsonian museums — opens an appetizing new permanent exhibit, "Food: Transforming America's Table 1950–2000."
Katherine Frey/Washington Post/Getty Images
Minneapolis and St. Paul are expanding their bike-lane networks and adding tantalizing new restaurants, while still maintaining their rep as eco-friendly art and music scenes. The historic Lowertown neighborhood in St. Paul hosts a biannual Art Crawl that includes hundreds of artists and galleries (this year, April 26-28 and Oct. 4-6). In Minneapolis, catch a show at the Guthrie Theater or check out one of the country's best contemporary art museums, the Walker Art Center.
Jim Mone/AP Photo
The culinary and cultural buzz around Houston may be a sign that the hipsters (and their food trucks) are migrating from Austin, the Lone Star State's capital of cool. Not only is Houston's restaurant scene becoming one of the most vibrant in the country, but investments in art and architecture are also classing up the city's down-home reputation.
Thanks to great weather, gorgeous scenery, delicious Southwestern cuisine and friendly locals, the state's nickname, Land of Enchantment, isn't just hype. You can ski by day and kick back with a green-chili cheeseburger at the desert's edge by night. Try to time your trip for October's Albuquerque Hot-Air Balloon Fiesta: A more enchanting sight you might never see, even in New Mexico.
Blaine Harrington III/Corbis
The Gulf Coast is still cleaning up from the nation's worst oil spill, but its vibrant cities — including New Orleans; Biloxi, Miss.; Mobile, Ala.; and Pensacola, Fla. — are wonderful, affordable destinations for a road trip or weekend getaway. They appeal to everyone from foodies and sun worshippers to wildlife lovers and casino-hoppers.
Trina Dopp Photography/Flickr RF/Getty Images
This may be the year that the arts in Philly get more limelight than the city's cheesesteaks. New and improved galleries in neighborhoods such as Northern Liberties and Fishtown are adding to the cultural boom, as are some thriving small-troupe theaters. And the Barnes Foundation, renowned for its fine- and decorative-arts collections, recently opened an innovative, if controversial, campus in the heart of the city.
The most populous of New York City's five boroughs has its own distinct personality and history. Here you'll find some of the country's best restaurants (for all budgets), museums, parks and gardens, and independently owned shops. In addition, 2012 saw the opening of the Barclays Center, a venue that hosts concerts by top performers and is also home to the NBA's Brooklyn Nets.
Christian Kober/Robert Harding/Corbis
It's long been a favorite city for outdoorsy types, with fresh air fueling some of the country's finest urban hiking and biking. But the past few years have seen a resurgence of interest in the city and its rep as home to innovative food trends, music and art. All of this puts Portland in a position to steal the thunder of its well-to-do northern neighbor, Seattle.
Anthony Pidgeon/Redferns/Getty Images
Once you've crossed big destination cities such as Manhattan, Chicago and San Francisco off your list of must-see places in the U.S., you might think, what's next? It's not easy to choose with so many scenic, diverse and interesting areas of the country to visit. Here are a few of our top travel picks for 2013.
From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.
Members can earn exclusive points with Balance™ Rewards from Walgreens.
Members save every day at participating Denny's locations. Conditions apply.
Members enjoy exclusive savings on dining, travel, tech & more at AARPdiscounts.com.
Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change. Join Today