San Antonio River Walk
The San Antonio River Walk gets an average of 11.5 million visitors each year. It is an area of shops, restaurants, and sidewalks located on either side of the San Antonio River that winds under pedestrian bridges and through the city.
An area of unparalleled beauty and convenience, this oasis absolutely bubbles with delight! Here, you can stroll over wonderful pedestrian bridges while basking in the many shops and restaurants along plush sidewalks on either side of the river.
12 million people visit Niagara Falls each year. Since Niagara Falls is on the border between the United States and Canada, these visitors are basically shared between the two countries. We’ll count it as a U.S. win nonetheless.
Niagara Falls pours over 600,000 per second on average! Talk about a powerful display of nature in action. With its thunderous Niagara noise and breath taking views to artists and dreamers who dared tread its land-- it’s easy to see how Niagara Falls has made its own mark of greatness on the world map.
It is the third largest waterfall in the world, behind only Victoria Falls on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe and Iguazu Falls on the border of Argentina and Brazil. Ever visited those waterfalls? If not, you better start planning your next summer vacation.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
As the most-visited national park in the United States, Great Smoky Mountains National Park gets around 12.5 million visitors each year. The best part is that entrance to the park is always free!
It covers a large area of land in Tennessee and North Carolina, so no wonder it gets so many visitors! It’s called the Smoky Mountains because of the English translation of the name the Cherokees gave the area named after the blue-hued fog and mist that always lingers in the hills.
Balboa Park in San Diego, California, is 1,400 acres, nearly double the size of Central Park in New York. It has nearly 13 million visitors each year and is home to a wide variety of attractions, the most notable being the San Diego Zoo.
The park is responsible for the growth and popularity of San Diego. When the Panama Canal first opened, a giant exposition was held in the park to attract people to San Diego as a port, which caused a massive growth in population.
That exposition had a few small animal exhibits that are now a part of the San Diego Zoo, and they’re still there after well over 100 years later! It's incredible how what were once "small animal exhibits" have flourished over time, leaving us with so much more to explore and observe!
It is said that 15 million visitors take a trip to Pier 39 in San Francisco every year, but this structure has always had its sketchy numbers since its beginning in the 70s. It was proposed, built, and owned by Warren Simmons.
Simmons wanted to create a place where tourists would flock, and he just about succeeded in that vision. While it’s not the most pristine place to tour, it does have lots of fun restaurants and attractions, and as a more recent edition, lots of napping wild sea lions!
17 million people crowd Bourbon Street in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana, each year. It is now known for its wild nightlife, bars, and the very large number of partiers, but it didn’t always have that reputation. It was once the most densely-packed residential area of New Orleans.
It was also where many modern innovations were formed. Bourbon Street isn’t actually named after the alcohol, but rather the alcohol is named after the street. Who knew?! And since it opened in 1855, this lively establishment is filled with colorful characters, awe inspiring music and lively experiences.
It was also one of the public pioneers of television, draft beer, jazz, and karaoke. No wonder it’s so popular! Bourbon Street was a pioneer of many timesaving luxuries. Air conditioning? Check. Electricity? Double check. No wonder it's still popular today; if nothing else, Bourbon Street had taste in entertainment!
Although this was the first Disney Park, it is definitely not the most popular. While it does have an annual 18 million visitors, that is not even half of the visitors that Disney World in Orlando, Florida, gets.
It opened in 1955 in Anaheim, California, under the direction of none other than Walt Disney. It has welcomed over 700 million visitors since its opening, and is a must-see for any Disney fanatic.
Historic Faneuil Hall gets about 18 million visitors each year. This is due to its historical significance and grand marketplace, which is home to several notable shops and restaurants. Its history dates back all the way to the 1740s when it was first opened in Boston.
It’s nicknamed “The Cradle of Independence” because it was where patriots met to plan their independence from Britain. It has been visited by many presidents over the years and has held many historically significant events.
This hallowed ground has become a symbol of how brave men and women chose revolution to pursue anti-establishment beliefs. It holds much more value beyond memorable walks among park trails — even unseen forces echoing through every story it carries.
Golden Gate Bridge
24 million people visit the Golden Gate Bridge annually. It was christened by nearly 200,000 people in one day the first day that it was opened because many people wanted to be part of the many “firsts” of the bridge.
It had a rough start caused by a massive earthquake during its building, and many people died while building the bridge. However, its current support system has rarely been questioned, but on its 50th anniversary in 1987, a tightly-packed crowd of over 300,000 people began to flatten the high arches of the bridge.
Visiting the National Mall in Washington D.C. has become a phenomenon in recent years! A "rite of passage" of sorts, 25 million travelers are lucky enough to traverse the iconic landmark each year. Who wouldn’t want to experience the history and grandeur? You can almost feel the vibrant energy bursting out of this hot spot of American history.
With over 70 monuments and memorials and 26 miles of sidewalks, it is perfectly suited for these thousands of visitors each day. Whether you come to people-watch, appreciate poignant tributes or simply take an afternoon stroll in between all the hustle and bustle, you're sure to leave with something greater than what you came for.
Not only does it memorialize events and people, it has also held many historical events and people itself. Who can forget Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech or the March on Washington? It is still where many protestors go to this day to make their voices heard.
38 million people walk through the paths of Central Park every year. While it is pristine and beautiful today, it has a rather shady history. It was once home to Seneca Village, a place where many freed African American slaves, Irish people, and Germans lived. They were forced out of their homes by the city’s plan to develop the park.
The land also wasn’t great for a park as it couldn’t grow plants well, but the city’s bureaucrats wanted this European-inspired park so badly, they took tons of more-fertile topsoil from New Jersey to support the grass and trees. It is now a very popular destination for tourists and is featured in hundreds of movies.
Mall of America
We sure didn’t know this was that popular, but the Mall of America brings a whopping total of 40 million people each year to Bloomington, Minnesota, to shop at its hundreds of stores, dine at its wide variety of restaurants, and even seek thrill at its indoor amusement park.
And who could forget the greatest hallmark feature — its indoor amusement park? Thrilling rides can make even the foggy days merry, at least long enough to burn a few hours while out shopping with your family on your only day off... But it's fun, right?!
The Mall of America is the largest mall in the United States, but the largest mall in North America is actually in Alberta, Canada, while the largest mall in the world can be found in China. Nevertheless, it still brings in a shocking number of tourists each year.
Las Vegas Strip
The Las Vegas Strip is definitely one of the most popular tourist attractions in the United States as it brings in over 43 million people from around the world. When people from other countries are asked where they would like to visit in the United States, there's one place they jump to most often.
Whenever you ask which city is better – Las Vegas or New York – people just seem to be divided right down the middle. Half of them will gush about Viva Las Vegas, while the rest are passionate advocates for their Big Apple! There's just no never consensus – but no doubt about it, they both rank high in the opinions of most Americans.
Las Vegas was built up to attract millions of people with its glamorous casinos, restaurants, and hotels. It is notorious for bad behavior, and we all know that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Nevermind the fact that even accidentally getting married at one of their little chapels is a legally-binding contract.
We were so clueless. 40 million people make their way to Bloomington, Minnesota each year for one primary purpose: The Mall of America. And what a multifaceted experience this place offers!
Hundreds of stores boasting some of the trendiest clothes and the greatest discounts in town. A wide variety of restaurants tailored to accommodate any type of craving that happens to excuse you from optimal productivity levels while eating HQ lunch meetings.
It wasn’t always called Times Square, though, and got its name from the New York Times that moved there in 1904. The tradition of the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square began three years later in 1907, and has been held every year since.
58 Million people from all around the world visit Disney World each year on average. That is 40 million more people than Disneyland gets each year on average. However, Disney World is much bigger and has 4 different theme parks and 2 water parks to entertain tens of thousands of guests at once.
Disney World is advertised as the most magical place on Earth, and many details go into every inch of the park to make that the experience for the visitors. It would take years to visit every spot in the park and a lifetime to sleep in all of the available rooms. No wonder people want to go back year after year.
Exploring every inch of this park is a daunting feat; you'd need years! As if that weren't enough, between the themed lodges and crazy rides, there's just no way you'd have time to explore all of them – not even in a lifetime! We can see why people return here year after year – with each visit, they get the chance to experience something new and exciting.
Most people think of a train station as a place that's going to help you get to your tourist destination, but in the case of Union Station in Washington, D.C., it's the station itself that's a major destination for visitors. This busy transportation port averages about 40 million visitors per year.
If you think that Union Station is just the American HQ for Amtrak, then you've got a lot of surprises coming to you! Why? Well, aside from the obvious potential to hop any kind of train on any route at your disposal, it might surprise you to know that there's lots of shopping and quality eats at this historically heroic hot spot before delving right into the grandiose architecture itself.
And whether you're looking for a chance to fill your shopping cravings or follow in hallowed footsteps of presidents and traveling dignitaries alike, then Union Station could be your next destination. What fun is it without exploring a bit more than the conventional ticket booths inside anyways?!
Millennium Park in Chicago, IL was constructed as a way to celebrate the third millennium (aka the 2000s). Originally finished in 2004, this cornerstone of tourism took millions of dollars to create and is visited by an average of 25 million tourists per year.
Described as the "front lawn of Chicago," Millennium Park serves as more than just a collection of trees and bike paths for passersby. The biggest draw is, of course, the 4000-seat Jay Pritzker Pavilion, where an outdoor concert experience awaits. Arts and culture aficionados shouldn't miss out on the annual Grant Park Music Festival held there; it's an opportunity to listen to some truly remarkable music!
Other pleasant sights at Millennium Park include natural views like gardens full of vibrant blooms in the summertime, while indoors art fans can explore over five different art galleries inside. Whether you're looking to take in a stunning show under the stars or get lost exploring dynamic artwork, Millennium Park promises a serene adventure.
Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station in New York City is much more than just a simple transportation hub—it's a historical and wildly popular landmark. Originally opening in 1871, as Grand Central Depot, the station has stood for more than a century and has an average of 21.6 million visitors per year.
Ready for an unforgettable experience? Look no further than the one of a kind Grand Central Station. With more than just trains to catch, you'll be mesmerized at all of its hidden surprises. From more than 40 stores hiding mind blowing deals, to award winning restaurants that would make even Gordon Ramsay jealous, looking exactly like they stepped out of an old movie scene – GCS has it covered.
But that's not all! Bored of your leisurely stroll and shopping trips? Not to worry; here you'll find a library in the middle of a train station! Plus, don't forget about their tennis court (who knew stations had those!). So why go anywhere else when travel is THAT much fun? Save yourself and visit Grand Central Station!
Chicago has enough hotspots for a lifetime of vacations, but Lincoln Park is one Chi-town spot you don't want to miss. This 1200+ acre park sits along the edge of Lake Michigan, and, considering that gorgeous view, it's no wonder that the park boasts an average of 20 million visitors per year.
Get ready for some outdoor fun at Lincoln Park. With numerous playgrounds, a golf course, and every type of boating imaginable, you're sure to have an adventure for the books. But it doesn't stop there! There's even more to explore if you just look a bit harder.
Did you know that Lincoln Park's renowned zoo is FREE? Yeah, that's right, the perfect way to get your fill of sights without breaking the bank. And trust us: you'll need at least a little time here to see it all. At least a day or two it is!
Nothing says "Classic California" like Venice Beach. This sunny hotspot in Los Angeles brings in about 10 million visitors per year. Whether you want to catch some rays on the beach, do some skateboarding, or just explore the iconic boardwalk, there's something for everyone at Venice Beach!
Venice Beach is not just famous; it's legendary! It's often billed as a "global tourist destination" for its amazing natural attractions and bustling shopping district. But if you think that summing up the beach with descriptions like "cultural hub known for its eccentricities" is exaggerating, we definitely suggest you take a trip to see it for yourself!
From surfing it's pristine waters to skating its boardwalk, Venice Beach offers more than enough entertainment opportunities to make the visit worth your while–especially if you're in the Los Angeles area. So go make some history of your own!
Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market is a Seattle fixture, and, like the rest of the Pacific Northwest, it's a pretty fun-yet-chill sort of place. As one of the oldest and most famous public markets in the United States, it's no wonder that this modern-day bazaar brings in more than 10 million visitors per year.
The Pike Place Market—you never know what you're gonna get, but there's always handmade goods and homegrown produce available! If you've got a hankering for adventure, don't forget to join in on the hunt for the market's unofficial mascot: Rachel.
That's right, Rachel is a 500+ pound bronze piggy bank who can (apparently?) withstand any amount of shenanigans. Money, snacks—there's something special waiting for everyone at the Pike Place Market.
South Street Seaport
New York City seems like a place where everyone is obsessed with the newest, hottest thing. But it's also a city with some amazing history if you know where to look. One of the biggest historical sites in the city is the South Street Seaport, which boasts almost 10 million visitors per year.
Ah, South Street Seaport. Where 1625's Dutch West India Company put a pier and declared this as the cruising palace of Manhattan! What a long legacy! After almost 400 years, it still reigns as a top tourist attractant— albeit with a slight twist.
Whereas back in the days, ships were initially drawn to dock here. Nowadays, the Seaport mall and tourist center capture the wandering tourists to do some "shoppercising" at this region along the East River!
A bridge may just be a way to get from point A to point B, but if you build them big and elaborate enough, they're likely to turn into a full-blown tourist destination. That's the case with Michigan's Mackinac Bridge—which brings in almost 10 million visitors per year.
The majestic Mackinac bridge connects the beauty of Michigan's Lower and Upper Peninsulas in a way like no other. Its opening in 1957 has since then publicized its grand reputation to bring people from all around the world flocking to its grounds. Stretching across 5 miles, it's become recognized as something of a hallowed pilgrimage ground for modern day bridge pilgrims alike!
Missing out on experiencing its beautiful sight would be like cheating yourself out of petting an alpaca at the petting zoo! While tourists traveling up north to visit Mackinac Island are widely aware joys it offers, this tpoetic piece of architecture also draws admirers from all corners of the earth!
The Navy Pier has the distinction of being Chicago's second most-visited tourist destination in the city. The 50 acres of stores, parks, entertainment, and restaurants located on the shore of Lake Michigan bring in about nine million visitors per year. And there's plenty of fun to be had at the pier!
Are you a kid at heart longing to get that carnival feel? Head to Navy Pier in Chicago, where you can soak up classic carnival vibes. Cruise on Ferris Wheels for a dizzying endurance test or take a break by the Lake Michigan shoreline – no matter what brings you here, fun awaits! And if roller coasters aren’t your style, great news: Navy Pier is way more than just amusement rides.
Check out The Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s cutting-edge spin on old classics, explore the exhibits of the Children’s Museum, and pop into the greenhouses of the Chicago Botanical Garden. Spend one day – or two! Or even three – having a blast on Navy Pier!
Is there a more iconic and classic tourist destination in the United States than the Grand Canyon? There may not be much reason to visit Arizona, but we'll make an exception for one of the most amazing natural landmarks in the world. Many agree, and the canyon brings in more than 5 million visitors per year.
So, you wanna visit the Grand Canyon? Who wouldn't! After all, it's not every day you come across a giant hole in the ground. But don't think the party stops there...this natural wonder has basically everything adventure seekers need!
There's plenty of fun for people who love the great outdoors, including rafting, hiking, and camping. If traipsing along the edge of a dangerous canyon isn't your thing, you can also schedule a helicopter tour to see the whole thing safely and in style!
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park has been around since Woodrow Wilson signed it into law in 1915. Spanning almost 700 miles, the park is the third most-visited national park in the country, with almost 5 million visitors each year. You won't find views like these anywhere else in the world!
The Rocky Mountains are, of course, the star attractions at Rocky Mountain National Park, but there's so much more happening in the area! Spend some time exploring one of the park's visitor centers to find out what else is around – and don't forget about fishing fans!
Nationwide, one of the rocky mountain's biggest draws is its incredible fishing spots. So don't miss out – even if you'd rather climb a mountain than fish for a bite! Plus, there are plenty of lodges and cabins for "glamping" if roughing it isn't your style.
New Jersey might not have the best reputation in the world, but there's one thing most people can agree on about the state—Atlantic City is a pretty cool place to visit. 27 million annual visitors isn't anything to be ashamed of, and this major tourist hotspot continues to bring in the big bucks for the state.
Ready to play a game of chance? You won't find a better top spot than Atlantic City – it's got tons and tons of opportunities for gambling. But before you take off your shirt to throw into the betting pool, know that the best thing about this city isn't even related to gambling.
The classic boardwalk has some seriously budget-friendly yet satisfying fun for all ages, which you won't get anywhere else in the world. Go ahead and try it – certain options don't require you to hand over your entire salary or give up your firstborn!
If you want to see the ocean in Georgia, you're going to have to go quite a bit further east than Atlanta. However, if you want to see one of the largest aquariums in the world sporting all kinds of ocean life, it's just the place for you!
Visitors from all over the world flock to the Atlanta Aquarium yearly for its diverse eco-systems and animal inhabitants. With almost 3 million visitors per year, it's no wonder why this major tourist attraction is so in demand! Famous for its wide collection of species including Bottlenose Dolphins, Manta Rays, and Beluga Whales, the Atlanta Aquarium is a go-to destination in Georgia.
In 2018 the destination announced an expansion with a hefty $100 million price tag — surely grabbing more visitor attention than ever before! With state-of-the-art therapies such as sea floating tunnels providing unique views into Shark tanks, there's little doubt that The Atlanta Aquarium will swell in popularity even further with this new infrastructure.
Pearl Harbor National Memorial
The United States changed forever when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, killing more than 1000 soldiers. The national memorial established in 1962 to commemorate this dark day features multiple museums and memorial sites and brings in more than a million visitors each year to Honolulu.
At the national memorial, it's hard to miss the site everyone comes to see. Mounted intricately on the water: a stirring monument honoring the antiquity of the USS Arizona. An event all too familiar yet preserved in time and applicable to this day, seeping off those seemingly simplistic panels crafted in memoriam.
But choosing not to move, under that level remains the wreckage of what was once a vessel exceeding expectations, turning age old expeditions into reality. Now entombed beneath rippling waves and vivid coral where only remnant visibility tells tales of legendary significance and honor. Yep, you guessed it: direct sighting of the final voyage behind one catastrophic explosion and heart wrenching story enshrined eternally from ages past!
Most cities find some way to commemorate their founding, but none have done it in such an extravagant way as St. Louis. The iconic Gateway Arch was constructed in the 1960s to commemorate the founding of the city on the banks of the Mississippi. The national park brings in millions of visitors each year.
Are you brave enough to take the plunge to the top of the arch? Those seeking an adventurous ride should check out the tram elevators, while thrill seekers and those who can't stand enclosed spaces (or just enjoy sweat and staircase workouts) have emergency stairs at their disposal.
The reward for reaching the peak is an impressive 30 mile long panoramic view on a good day. So why summon your bravado, get physical or check out the tram and take in that unforgettable experience.