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New Orleans Named the Best City in the United States for Dining and Live Music by Headline News and Travel + Leisure “America’s Favorite Cities” Survey 2008
125,000 travelers select New Orleans as number one for destination restaurants, food/dining and live music

NEW ORLEANS – Sept. 16, 2008 – New Orleans has been named the best city to dine in the United States, taking top honors for the “Destination Restaurant” category and best in overall “Food/Dining” in Headline News and Travel + Leisure Magazine’s annual “America’s Favorite Cities” survey. New Orleans also was honored as the best place in the country for live music, and ranked second nationally for nightlife.

An online survey appeared on and was accessible via from March 7, 2008, to June 15, 2008. Respondents were asked to rate their choice of one or more cities from across the country in 45 different categories on culture, shopping, people, food and other characteristics.

New Orleans was voted best in the following subcategories:

  • Live music/bands
  • Destination restaurants
  • Ethnic food/cheap eats
  • Vintage stores/flea markets

Other top five finishes for New Orleans include:

  • Cafés/coffee bars
  • Spring Break
  • Cocktail hour/lounge scene
  • Late-night/club scene
  • Singles/bar scene
  • Diverse
  • Affordability
  • People-watching
  • Antique stores
  • Wild weekend

New Orleans beat world-famous culinary capitals such as San Francisco, Chicago and New York.

“We are proud that our city’s two most dominant brands – food and music - were named as the best in America by so many discerning travelers,” said J. Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. “In New Orleans you will find exquisite fine dining from some of the world’s best chefs, as well as the best seven-dollar-meal you’ll ever eat with delicious specialties such as oyster po-boys. Being recognized as the best in so many categories such as people-watching, antique stores and affordability, reinforces the richness of our culture and the strength of the overall experience for visitors.”

Visit for full survey results and the bracket game where people can select America's Favorite City overall. New Orleans and other Favorite Cities winners will be featured in Travel + Leisure magazine’s October issue, on newsstands September 23.

These rankings are the latest accomplishments in a string of awards bestowed on New Orleans in 2008. In July, Yellow Tail wines announced New Orleans was voted by online surveyors as “America’s Most Sparkling City.” The 2008 PlanetOut Travel Awards recognized New Orleans as one of the best U.S. cities for gay travel in May, and in April TripAdvisor honored New Orleans in the categories of Top 100 World and Top 25 United States for the “2008 Travelers’ Choice Destinations Award.”

New Orleans was chosen as one of the top 10 places to go in 2008 by Sherman’s Travel, and, an online travel agency specializing in trips for college students, chose New Orleans as one of its top 10 domestic spring break destinations of 2008.

Consistently recognized as one of the top five convention and visitor bureaus in the United States, The New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau is the driving force behind New Orleans' most important industry, tourism. Today the cultural riches, sensual indulgences and unparalleled service that define the New Orleans experience continue to flourish, as they have for centuries. The most celebrated and historic core of the city - including the French Quarter, Central Business District, Warehouse and Arts District, Magazine Street, the Faubourg Marigny and Garden District - are thriving. In 2007 New Orleans welcomed 7.1 million visitors, nearly double the amount of visitors in 2006. For more information, visit