Rank 'Em: NBA Vacation Destinations

Created: April 20, 2010, 12:19 PM

Is the Dawg Pound part of Cleveland's charm?

What are the best and worst vacation destinations when it comes to the cities involved in the NBA playoffs?

Joakim Noah made waves with his recent comments suggesting Cleveland wasn't near the top of his list of favorite cities, and not just because his room usually comes with a view of LeBron James dunking in his face. But does Noah have a point when it comes to the city by Lake Erie? Or is he missing Cleveland's charms?

Which of the 16 cities playing host to NBA playoff games tops your list of ideal vacation spots?


 
 
  • "A cosmopolitan city with a progressive mentality in the heart of the Deep South, Atlanta has maintained ties to its unique history even in the wake of unprecedented growth. Even as the exploding population and international corporations have transformed the city into a cultural and commercial power with museums, theaters, restaurants, shopping and four pro sports teams, Atlanta also features sites that honor its role in both the Civil War and the African-American civil rights movement." -- ESPN Travel
  • "When it comes to cities steeped in U.S. history and culture, Boston is simply unrivaled. From Boston Common to the Old State House, Faneuil Hall to Bunker Hill, the city is an iconography of colonial America. Providing a survey course in the highlights, the 3-mile Freedom Trail takes visitors to 16 sites archetypal of 17th century and 18th century America, including the sites of the nation's first public school and of the Boston Massacre." -- ESPN Travel
  • "When it comes to cities steeped in U.S. history and culture, Boston is simply unrivaled. From Boston Common to the Old State House, Faneuil Hall to Bunker Hill, the city is an iconography of colonial America. Providing a survey course in the highlights, the 3-mile Freedom Trail takes visitors to 16 sites archetypal of 17th century and 18th century America, including the sites of the nation's first public school and of the Boston Massacre." -- ESPN Travel
  • "Spreading its broad shoulders above the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago is the undisputed capital of the Midwest. A blue-collar town in the popular mind-set, the reality of the Windy City is an utterly diverse metropolis that boasts world-class architecture, museums and theater among its many cultural options." -- ESPN Travel
  • "Nestled in the northeast corner of Ohio along the shores of Lake Erie, Cleveland has transformed itself from a Rust Belt manufacturing and industrial hub to a sophisticated cultural center and increasingly popular destination for tourists. Shedding its image as "the mistake by the lake," Cleveland has been revitalized by downtown development, with new museums, sports complexes, restaurants and clubs joining the already renowned Cleveland Museum of Art and Cleveland Orchestra." -- ESPN Travel
  • "Everything's bigger in Big D. Populous and sprawling - especially when lumped into the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, the fifth-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. - Dallas has an image as a city of oil-rich businessmen in cowboy boots and 10-gallon hats. In fact, it is a center of banking and technology. Although the slick downtown area lacks the cultural scene of similarly sized cities, it's beginning to catch up. Already home to the stunning Meyerson Symphony Center and Nasher Sculpture Center, the Arts District will soon add an opera house and a theater." -- ESPN Travel
  • "A gold-rush town that has blossomed into a banking and financial center, Denver's location at the base of the Rocky Mountains has made it a top destination for nature lovers, even as it has embraced art and culture. While the Mile High City boasts mountain views and the nation's largest city park system, it also features the Denver Performing Arts Center, second largest in the country. Museums, galleries and shopping populate downtown Denver, and the city's historic district, LoDo (Lower Downtown), is home to bars, restaurants and jazz clubs." -- ESPN Travel
  • "Vibrant and eclectic Los Angeles, the second-largest city in the U.S., is much more than movies and beaches. While the entertainment industry, tourism, shopping and parties are important aspects of its identity, L.A. is more importantly a product of its diverse population. From Santa Monica to Hollywood to downtown and beyond, the city is home to people from more than 140 different countries, and as a result, its art, music and food are as varied as those of anywhere else in the world." -- ESPN Travel
  • "The image of Miami as a sunny paradise of pastel Art Deco architecture, endless beaches and glitzy nightlife may still hold up. But, a population explosion in South Florida combined with the region's accessibility to Latin America, has helped turn the city into a hub of international banking and trade. Yet even as Miami's strategic location and rapid growth has attracted an influx of big business, tourists continue to flock here in the simple pursuit of fun in the sun." -- ESPN Travel
  • "'The nation's watering hole' has come a long way since the rise of famous beer barons like Miller, Pabst and Schlitz in the 19th century. Milwaukee today remains a haven for brew lovers, but it is a diverse, festive city rich in history and culture as well. Miller Brewing Company, now one of the largest breweries in the world, offers free tours (and samples) at its headquarters, while the Milwaukee Art Museum, with its otherworldly bird-like addition, is an architectural landmark for the new millennium." -- ESPN Travel
  • "The Ford Center actually hosted NBA games before the Thunder moved to Oklahoma City from Seattle for the 2008-09 season. The New Orleans Hornets played parts of the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons at Ford Center after they were displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Ford Center is undergoing improvements for the 2009-10 season, including new terrace suites, scoreboard and video renovations." -- ESPN Travel
  • "In Orlando, it's all about the Mouse. There wasn't much of anything going on in central Florida until 1971, when Walt Disney World opened its doors and turned Orlando into one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world. In the footsteps of its mega-success, still more theme parks sprouted up all around - Epcot Center, SeaWorld, Animal Kingdom, Universal Studios, MGM Studios and more. Still, the city and surrounding areas have plenty to offer that isn't already Disney-fied, including museums and science exhibits (Kennedy Space Center is a short trip), terrific restaurants and world-class golf." -- ESPN Travel
  • "Forget the image of Phoenix as a quaint metropolis tucked away in the American southwest; this rapidly developing city is bearing down on Philadelphia and on the verge of entering the top-five most-populated U.S. cities. Such explosive growth has been both a blessing and a curse for the Valley of the Sun. While the downtown and greater metro areas have been rejuvenated and are booming economically, Phoenix is also experiencing the predictable pitfalls of urban expansion - smog, traffic, sprawl. It's not the best recipe for attracting visitors desperate for a hot, sunny day in mid-winter, but they don't seem to notice." -- ESPN Travel
  • "The Trail Blazers sold out 810 straight games at Veterans Memorial Coliseum from 1977 to '95 before moving to the Rose Garden, the West Coast's largest arena, which was built at a cost of $267 million. The Rose Garden is owned by the team and managed by AEG Facilities. Named in homage to Portland's moniker as the Rose City, the arena boasts more than 650 televisions, an "acoustical cloud" to optimize sound for each event and a four-sided, state-of-the-art Mitsubishi high-definition scoreboard that was installed in 2007. The building is the centerpiece of Portland's 35-acre Rose Quarter campus, which hosted more events than any other complex in the world in 2008. The Rose Quarter -- which al
  • "Set against the snowy backdrop of the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountains, Salt Lake City raised its visibility as a top destination for winter sports addicts after hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics. Area resorts boast of "the greatest snow on earth," and skiers flock to world-class getaways like Snowbird, Alta and Brighton. During summer months, resorts open their lifts and runs to mountain bikers in what is becoming a booming business." -- ESPN Travel
  • "Typified by its two most recognizable landmarks, the Alamo and the Paseo del Rio -- or river walk -- San Antonio has evolved into a city where modernism still leaves room for history. Besides the iconic mission that now serves as a museum and shrine dedicated to the Texas Revolution, San Antonio boasts a bevy of districts and sites that transplant visitors to the city's infancy, including the San Fernando Cathedral, the Spanish Governor's Palace, Fort Sam Houston and La Villita ?? an original settlement of Spanish soldiers. The River Walk, meanwhile, offers a more contemporary experience." -- ESPN Travel