At right, SanAntonio’s Henry B. Gonzalez-Center
According to SmartAsset, a financial think tank that explores consumer and business issues, San Antonio, Texas wins top honors as the best city in the United States for conferences, a designation it won for the second year in a row. SmartAsset examined the availability of hotel rooms and restaurants as well as their costs as part of a formula that evaluated 102 of the nation’s largest cities. It also factored in a city’s crime rate, the availability of bars and nightlife, and the proximity of its event venues to the local airport.
According to the study, San Antonio outranks other cities because it has more hotels than many other cities, several large event venues, and inexpensive dining, with an average meal costing $22.50. El Paso’s second place finish on the list was partly the result of the low average cost for a hotel room and its rich entertainment options, and San Diego’s third place finish was earned in part by its abundance of hotels available at an average cost of just $147 per night. The top five spots were rounded out by Austin, Texas, and Irving, Texas, making for a near sweep for Texas at the top of the study. The reason, researchers say, may have something to do with the state’s low crime rate, warm weather, and reasonable cost of living compared to other parts of the country.
With the exception of Columbus, Ohio, which finished sixth, cities in the top 10 all enjoy more temperate climates year round, though climate didn’t prevent Boise, Idaho, from coming in at No. 11 or Madison, Wisconsin, from landing at No. 20. New York and Los Angeles barely made it into the top 20, largely because of the high costs associated with visiting, the crime rate, and, in New York’s case, the distance to downtown from a major airport.
SmartAsset conducts the survey annually. The full report is available at smartasset.com.