DESTINATIONS

Congratulations to these cities, selected by SYTA Member tour operators as the 2016 top United States destinations favored by students and teachers alike.

By Lisa Stickler

#1 New York, New York


New York City warrants a plethora of nicknames. Students could tour the city, visit a new museum or cultural institution (practically every hour), enjoy professional theatrical performances, visit historic destinations, take a ferry ride or watch sporting events. And the list doesn’t nearly stop there! Broadway—New York’s Great White Way—will dazzle your theatrically inclined students. Along with watching a musical or play, educational opportunities such as master’s level classes, workshops and set tours are available. New York is best understood via multiple unique vantage points. Tall, architecturally significant structures provide vast aerial views of the city’s iconic bridges, while skyline and sea level tours offer students a more intimate look at the numerous landmarks. New York is an amalgamation of historically significant landmarks and occurrences, contemporary events and potential! Your students will become entranced by its complexities and memorized by its electrifying vibe.

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#2 Boston, Massachusetts


A walk along Boston’s cobblestone streets is a walk through our nation’s history. This city is replete with historic sites such as centuries-old parks, public and government buildings, significant burial grounds, churches and schoolhouses. Outdoor activities include whale watching, pedaling swan boats, taking in a baseball game at an iconic ballpark and walking through an 18th-century marketplace. A bonus: The rock on which the pilgrims landed is only a short drive away.

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#3 Los Angeles, California


This Southern California town is home to a vast array of entertainment and outdoor activity options. Students might enjoy a variety of theme parks or film and television experiences. Sporting meccas dot the city. Famous outdoor shopping venues offer surprising entertainment. Tidepools, sea caves, robust waves and boardwalks make area beaches even more interesting. Other attractions could teach students about who—or what—roamed the earth long ago. Los Angeles is a city of endless options.

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#4 Washington, DC


From memorials and monuments to government walking tours, students will become immersed in this city’s political underpinnings and noteworthy history. In addition to politically inspired offerings, Washington D.C., has much to share with aspiring astronauts, pilots and conservationists—students may even see a giant panda or four. Land, water and trolley tours simplify your exploration. If you time your trip well, you could enjoy the cherry blossom trees that grace our nation’s capital.

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#5 Miami, Florida


Miami offers more than beach-related fun, although its many beaches are magnificent. The city’s museums, parks, planetariums and cultural centers all cater to young travelers. City tours—via double-decker bus, bike, Segway, tram or amphibious vehicle—highlight the multifaceted destination’s attractions and rapidly growing downtown area. Last year, nearly 4.9 million cruises departed from PortMiami, many brimming with excited students awaiting their opportunity to perform on the open sea.

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#6 San Francisco, California


The winding roads of San Francisco will lead your students to an internationally recognized bridge, past painted Victorian homes and to a historic wharf. Students could even peer at the city from above! Other areas of interest include a historic point of immigration, many museums and a 100-acre zoo. Depending on the age of your travelers, a trip to the former “home” of Al Capone could create a memorable experience.

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#7 Chicago, Illinois


Shop, museum hop, delight in intricate architecture and eat deep-dish pizza—but don’t forget about Chicago’s neighborhoods. After all, these are the heart of the city. They are home to a bustling currency exchange, a no-charge zoo, an aquarium, a beautiful lakefront, the site of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, President Barack Obama’s family residence, a famous pier, two baseball teams, numerous theatrical venues and more. Guided tours highlight the city’s diverse attractions.

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#8 Orlando, Florida


From theme parks to major sporting venues to aquatic destinations, Orlando has something for everyone. Its theme parks offer more than just rides: Students could enter a land of fantasy, build architecturally unique structures and marvel at the science of discovery. Eco-tours, taking place alongside alligators, create unforgettable experiences. A giant observation wheel provides breathtaking city views and a beautiful botanical garden supplies a dose of Zen in an otherwise excitement-packed area.

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#9 San Diego, California


Students walking or riding a trolley though San Diego’s thriving downtown will notice historic and modern structures standing side-by-side. Those interested in sea-based exploration could embark on a harbor cruise. Those fascinated by aquatic life will enjoy the area’s water parks, marine parks and oceanography centers. While gazing out at the ocean from the area’s numerous beaches, hiking trails and reserves, lucky students may even observe pods of whales sailing through the water.

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#10 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


The City of Brotherly Love is also known as the birthplace of American democracy. Accordingly, students could view historic documents and objects while visiting iconic buildings, homes, parks, and museums large and small. Learn more about Philadelphia’s sights and attractions via foot, bus, Segway, trolley, amphibious vehicle, or horse and carriage tour. While touring, ask your students to keep an eye out for unique outdoor artwork and a famous set of stairs!

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