June 17, 2024
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Nation’s capital rising in best destination rankings


By Claire Ballentine

Ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Washington has more than just politics to boast about. It also shot up a recent rankings list of the best cities in America to visit.

New York is No. 1, again. Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco round out the top four, all same as last year. But the surprise was that the nation’s capital gained six spots, rising to No. 5 this year.

The results come from rankings released June 5 from Resonance Consultancy, a specialist in the destination-branding industry. Las Vegas, last year’s No. 5 city, fell two spots to No. 7.

To determine the list of best big and small cities in America, Resonance collected public data on cities that focused on 23 different criteria, including crime rates, air quality, housing affordability, entertainment offerings, cultural diversity and economic vitality. The survey also takes into account social-media metrics — Facebook check-ins, Google search results, TripAdvisor reviews and Instagram posts — to identify how a city tells its story.

Washington’s jump was not a surprise to Resonance president Chris Fair, especially after Amazon chose Crystal City, just outside the capital, as half of its second-headquarters plan. “I think the growing vibrancy of the city in terms of the culinary, entertainment, and nightlife activities is under-reported,” Fair said.

The U.S. capital scored points for its museums, and not just the famous ones under the Smithsonian umbrella.

A slate of new cultural offerings include the Kennedy Center’s $175 million expansion called the Reach, scheduled to open in September, and the Museum of the Bible, with an immersive, 17-projector theater, which opened in 2017.

Plus, there’s Phase III of the Wharf, a $2.5 billion mixed-use development that features more than 20 restaurants to add to the city’s growing culinary scene. The list includes the casual Southern Italian-inspired Officina, from Michelin-star chef Nicholas Stefanelli, along with Del Mar, featuring Spanish cuisine from Michelin-star restaurateur Fabio Trabocchi.

• Contact Claire Ballentine at cballentine@bloomberg.net.