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Most popular spots for July 4 travel

Where is everyone going for the July 4 holiday? Priceline.com says it knows where — to New York, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco and Las Vegas, for a start. What’s interesting about Priceline.com’s list, though — and in a little bit, I’ll give you their full top-50 list — is that because it is based on hotel reservations made using the Name Your Own Price hotel reservation service, it singles out not just cities but neighborhoods. If you’ve used Priceline.com to book a hotel stay, you know that you can specify what part of town you want to stay in. The list reflects that. So No. 1 is not just New York City, but Midtown West. Times Square and the Theater District come in at No. 7, and the Upper East Side is No. 8.

Chicago neighborhoods ranked at the top of the list in 2010 and 2011.

“This year, there were really two themes,” said Brian Ek, a Priceline.com spokesman.  “Many travelers decided to visit cities like New York, Chicago, Boston and Washington, DC, where there are big July 4th celebrations planned.  Others decided to escape the recent heat wave by heading for the beaches.”

There were a few surprises on the list this year.  “Because the 4th falls on a Wednesday, many travelers are making a week’s vacation out of it,” said Ek.  “And some are splurging a bit on their trips.  Hawaii destinations are #6, #9 and #39.  This is the first time I’ve seen Hawaii ranked so high, or so many times.  Despite record high international summer airfares, London and Paris made the list, perhaps because of the recent strength of the dollar.”

Keep going to read the full list.

Priceline.com’s Top 50 Destinations for July 4th 2012

#1           New York City, Midtown West

#2           Chicago, North Michigan Ave./River North Area

#3           San Diego, Downtown & Harbor Island

#4           San Francisco, Fisherman’s Wharf

#5           Las Vegas, Strip North

#6           Oahu, Waikiki Beach Area

#7           New York City, Times Square/Theater District

#8           New York City, Upper East Side

#9           Maui, Ka’anapali/Lahaina

#10         Boston, Waterfront/Convention Center

#11         Los Angeles, Santa Monica/Marina Del Rey

#12         Chicago, Millennium Park/Loop & Grant Park

#13         Seattle, Downtown/Pike Place

#14         Orange County, Disneyland/Anaheim North

#15         Niagara Falls, St. Catharines

#16         Las Vegas, Strip Vicinity South

#17         New York City, Midtown East

#18         Paris, Champs Elysees/Arc de Triomphe

#19         Seattle, City Center/Space Needle

#20         Montreal, Downtown/City Center

#21         Portland, Downtown

#22         San Francisco, Union Square East

#23         Milwaukee, Downtown

#24         Orange County, Newport/Huntington Beach

#25         Orange County, Disneyland/Anaheim South/Orange/Garden Grove

#26         Washington, DC, Convention Center/Capitol Hill Area

#27         St. Louis, Downtown

#28         Washington, DC, Crystal City

#29         Newark, Jersey City/Hoboken/Weehawken

#30         New Orleans, French Quarter

#31         Toronto, Downtown/Toronto North

#32         Boston, Harbor Front/Aquarium

#33         London, Westminster

#34         San Antonio, Riverwalk Area

#35         Orlando, Downtown Disney/Lake Buena Vista

#36         San Diego, Coronado

#37         Boston, Copley Square/Back Bay

#38         St. Petersburg, Clearwater Beach

#39         Oahu, Executive Center Area

#40         San Francisco, Financial District/Embarcadero

#41         Chicago, Greater Chicago

#42         Los Angeles, Downtown

#43         Washington, DC, White House/Downtown

#44         Niagara Falls, Buffalo Side

#45         San Diego, Coastal Area

#46         Key West

#47         New York City, Central Park South

#48         Los Angeles, Airport Area

#49         San Francisco, SOMA/Moscone Center

#50         Washington, DC, Dupont Circle/Woodley Park