If you can't swing a big trip into the world this year, never mind. The world -- or at least readers of Travel & Leisure magazine and Lonely Planet's "Best in Travel 2013" book -- may come to you.
The magazine's December issue celebrates America's great cities, and the Twin Cities rank at the top in several categories.
Meanwhile, Lonely Planet just released its annual list of the top places across the country to visit in the coming year. We're in the top 10, sandwiched between classic northern Maine and up-and-comer Verde Valley, Ariz. The travel guidebook publisher points to Minneapolis' Nice Ride bike-share system and to St. Paul's Hmongtown Marketplace, among other spots. Another plus: the 2-mile St. Anthony Falls Heritage Trail along the Mississippi.
Green spaces are one of our best features, agrees Travel & Leisure. The Twin Cities area ranks at the top for public parks and outdoor access -- two whole spots above Portland, Ore. Among 35 cities, including gems such as Charleston, S.C.; Santa Fe, N.M.; and Memphis, we also rank at the top for a summer visit, cleanliness, home decor and design stores and intelligence. The list is the result of an online survey, in which people were asked to rate cities in a wide range of categories.
Respondents were also asked whether they live in or had visited the city. The two-tiered results led to a pointed dichotomy -- one that highlights another of our assets: We don't like to toot our own horn. While visitors ranked us No. 1 in braininess, we placed ourselves at No. 5. No need for such humility, people. We are smart -- smart enough to live in a place as cool as this.
Send your questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on twitter @kerriwestenberg.