WalletHub used 40 metrics that include "travel costs and hassles," "local costs" and "attractions" to evaluate the top destinations this summer. CNBC Make It compared its top five cities with Marriott U.S. Travel Trends Report, which collected data from 1 million Marriott.com searches and bookings, as well as a digital survey with 2,000 people to determine travel preferences for summer weekend getaways.
Three cities overlapped in both reports.
One of the cheapest destinations for Memorial Day weekend, Chicago is a perennial favorite for summer vacationers, when the beaches are open, Wrigley Field is busy with Cubs and White Sox fans, rooftop bars are back in business and outdoor festivals like Lollapalooza are happening.
There are also dozens of street, art and beer festivals that happen only in the summer months, like Andersonville Midsommarfest.
Chicago broke a record of 55.2 million annual visitors in 2017.
About 20 million people visit Walt Disney World every year but some people are visiting Orlando without checking out the theme park. A record 72 million travelers visited the city last year, according to tourism and convention board Visit Orlando.
The city is home to museums, like Orlando Museum of Art, a busy nightlife scene and Broadway shows, and it's a gateway to nature parks and beaches about an hour away, like Daytona Beach. It's also one of the best places in America people are moving to, according to US News & World Report.
Orlando is also WalletHub's No. 1 city in America to get married, due to wedding-friendly factors like being a convenient destination and affordability.
"Hot-lanta" has major attractions like the Georgia Aquarium and The World of Coca-Cola museum, and summers are busy with festivals, like Atlanta Summer Beer Fest. Television shows have put a spotlight on Atlanta, like Bravo's "Real Housewives of Atlanta" and AMC's "The Walking Dead," which are filmed there, as well as Hollywood films, like "The Hunger Games." There are even movie tours.
Not only will people vacation in Atlanta this summer, they are moving in. According to Penske Truck Rental, Atlanta ranked as the top city in the U.S. to which people are moving to for the eighth consecutive year, and summer is the best time to move.
Chicago, Orlando and Atlanta also all made Priceline's list for most popular travel destinations for Memorial Day weekend 2018.
New York City and Seattle were the two other spots in Marriott's top five most searched cities for summer travel. Washington, D.C. and Austin rounded out WalletHub's list.
Like this story? Like CNBC Make It on Facebook
Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal owns Bravo.