Parents magazine has named America’s 10 Best Cities for Families to Visit. Whether you’re looking for an urban beach or a culture capital, Parents’ list offers something for everyone. Priceless vacation memories come from destinations with lots to do, and this list has taken the hassle out of navigating the coolest museums for families, historical treasures, and massive parks. From green retreats to fun on the cheap, Parents has your next family getaway covered.
Introducing the 2013 Parents 10 Best Cities for Families to Visit, in ranked order:
1. San Diego, California
2. Portland, Oregon
3. Washington, D.C.
4. Orlando, Florida
5. Chicago, Illinois
6. San Francisco, California
7. New York City, New York
8. San Antonio, Texas
9. Indianapolis, Indiana
10. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
“Visiting a city makes a great family vacation, whether it’s a spur-of-the -moment weekend or a trip planned months in advance” says Dana Points, Editor-in -Chief of Parents. “Especially if you have kids of various ages, a city retreat is a great way to fit in something for everyone. We’ve even put together some special discounts Parents readers can use while mapping out their itineraries.”
To find places that make it easy to bring the kids, Parents compared the following factors in the
nation’s 100 most-populated cities: the number, quality, and cost of family attractions; airport play areas and other family features; average hotel prices and the range of options; crime rate; public- transportation options; and weather. Cities with the total highest scores made the 10 best list.
Hit the Streets Most of the family-friendly attractions in D.C. are free, so there’s no pressure to stay all day to get your money’s worth. While the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History (dinosaurs galore) and National Air and Space Museum (lunar rockets) are obvious stops on the National Mall, don’t miss the National Museum of American History. Kids can see Dorothy’s ruby slippers and Harry Potter’s Hogwarts robe. “Take breaks by riding the carousel or flying a kite on the mall,” suggests Eileen Ogintz, author of The Kid’s Guide to Washington, DC. While not near the other main attractions (you’ll have to hop on the Metro), the free National Zoo — with its 2,000 animals, including pandas — is well worth the hike. Another favorite: The National Portrait Gallery in Chinatown. “We love the big, bright atrium where we can take the kids to see portraits of the presidents,” says resident Tricia Bowman Pietravalle, a mom of three. “And if you have a crawler, you’ll appreciate that the gallery is mostly carpeted.” For a fun meal, try Jaleo, in Penn Quarter, which serves up tapas on a glass-covered foosball table so you can play between courses. Or go celeb-watching at Carmine’s Italian restaurant across the street.