Saturday, June 15, 2024

33 Most Visited Places in the United States: How Many Have You Seen? 

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It’s no secret that the United States is packed with popular places. From coast to coast, you’ll find a wide variety of sites brimming with excitement. Most of them are world-famous, meaning you’ve probably heard of them before, but you might find a few unfamiliar.  

From tourist attractions and historical buildings to US national parks and famous destinations, this roundup of the most visited places in the United States has a little bit of everything. 

1. Times Square, New York

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Image from James Ting on Unsplash

Times Square in NYC is one of the most visited destinations in the US -– as well as the whole world. This commercial junction connects Broadway, Seventh Avenue, and 42nd Street (one of the most famous streets in New York) — other very popular areas in the city. It’s an entertainment hub stuffed full of shops, eateries, and theatres. 

Times Square is well known for its towering buildings lined with billboards; they illuminate the whole area and dazzle at night. It’s one of the most energetic and beautiful places in NYC. 

2. Central Park, New York

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Image from michal dziekonski on Unsplash

You can’t visit the Big Apple and not see Central Park. This sprawling green space is synonymous with the city, and it’s been that way for a long time. It’s one of the most historical places in NYC. The park opened in 1858, and it’s been attracting outdoor enthusiasts ever since.

The park is bigger than the principality of Monaco. It’s dotted with attractions and facilities. With lakes, ponds, statues, monuments, carriage rides, and thousands of benches, it provides the full park experience. Grab a coffee from a nearby cafe and enjoy a leisurely walk through one of the world’s most famous parks. 

3. Niagara Falls, New York

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Niagara Falls is the name of a city and a vast waterfall that straddles the border of New York state and Canada. It’s one of the most popular cascades in the world, attracting millions of visitors each year. 

There are lots of fun ways to explore this outdoor area. If you visit Niagara Falls State Park, you can see the Observation Tower and view the 3 other waterfalls in that area: American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and a section of Horseshoe Falls. There are also trails you can take to different viewpoints. Don’t miss my complete article on how to see Niagara Falls from the United States side.

4. Washington Union Station, Washington D.C.

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Image from Caleb Fisher on Unsplash

Washington Union Station is a popular train station and transportation hub located in Washington, D.C. It opened in 1908 and featured elegant architecture with gleaming marble and soaring ceilings. 

This building had to undergo major restorations in the 1980s, but the original character of the station was preserved. It’s worth checking out for the architecture and design alone, but if that’s not something you fancy, you can visit countless shops and eateries too. 

5. National Mall and Memorial Park, Washington, D.C

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Image from Paula Nardini on Pexels

National Mall and Memorial Parks contain many Washington D.C. landmarks. Some of the most popular include the Washington Monument, the World War One Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site. 

These attractions represent some of the United States’ most significant events and people. They honour the bravery and sacrifices of those who have served their country. It’s one of the best places to learn about America. 

6. White House, Washington D.C.

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The White House is one of the world’s most famous landmarks. Located in the nation’s capital, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, it’s the official workplace and residence of the president of the US. It has housed every single commander-in-chief since John Adams took office in 1800.

The construction of this grand building lasted from 1792 to 1800. Although, over the years, it’s gone through quite a few refurbishing and expansion projects. 

Fun Fact: The White House contains 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 28 fireplaces, and 8 staircases.

7. Grand Canyon, Arizona

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Arizona’s Grand Canyon is one of the most mesmerising products of Mother Nature. This natural formation shows off millions of years of geological history. This Arizona landmark is enormous in scale; it’s even bigger than the entire state of Rhode Island. 

Pictures just don’t do this place justice; it’s the site you must see and experience for yourself.  Spend the day hiking and taking in the jaw-dropping sights. You can also take a scenic aeroplane tour and see this natural wonder from above. 

While you’re in Arizona don’t miss the stunning sunsets in Tucson and sunsets in Sedona.

8. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 

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Yellowstone National Park is a stunning wilderness recreation area. It’s found mostly in Wyoming, although it spreads into sections of Montana and Idaho too. 

The dramatic topography is made up of canyons, rivers, forests, hot springs, and geysers. One of the most famous geysers is Old Faithful, which has erupted approximately every 44 minutes to 2 hours since 2000. 

The park is also home to hundreds of animal species, including bears, bison, wolves, elk, and antelope. 

9. Florida Keys, Florida

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The Florida Keys are an archipelago of tropical islands about 120 miles (193 km) off the coast of Florida. It’s a hot spot for fans of snorkelling, scuba diving, boating, and just about any other water activity you can think of. 

Key West is the most famous of the islands. It’s popular with sun-worshippers in search of an exciting beach vacation. Other well-known islands include Key Largo, Marathon, and Islamorada.

10. Yosemite National Park, California 

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Yosemite National Park is one of the numerous amazing places in California that’ll leave you breathless. Located in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, the natural scenery is as dramatic and gorgeous as it gets. With calm lakes, ancient sequoia trees, and picturesque vistas, you’ll be treated to incredible views everywhere you look. 

Some of the most well-known areas of the National Park include El Capitan, Half Dome, and Bridalveil Falls. There’s also Yosemite Village, which features rustic shops, restaurants, and accommodations. 

11. Big Sur, California 

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Image from Nathan Moore on Pexels

The Big Sur region is an undeveloped section of the coastline along California’s central coast. It stretches for about 71 miles (114 km) between San Simeon and Carmel-by-the-Sea. It’s often referred to as the most scenic coastal route in the US. 

On one side, you have the Pacific Ocean; on the other, you have the rugged Santa Lucia Mountains. Dotted throughout are redwood forests and beaches. Besides sightseeing along the highway, Big Sur offers hiking trails, camping sites, and accessible beaches.  

Big Sur is one of the best places to stop on a road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco and is also home to one of California’s best sunsets.

12. Disneyland, California 

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The Disneyland theme park is in Anaheim, California. It’s the original park opened by the Walt Disney Company, and it’s the only one to have been designed and built under the supervision of Walt Disney. Throughout the years, it’s undergone many expansion and renovation programs. 

Today, it contains different themed sections, including Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, New Orleans Square, Critter Country, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Mickey’s Toontown, and Tomorrowland. As with all the other Disney parks, it’s popular with all ages due to its abundance of attractions. 

13. Hollywood Walk of Fame, California 

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The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a historical landmark in California with more than 2,700 stars. They’re embedded in the sidewalks along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street in Hollywood, California.

This free attraction runs for about 15 blocks, or 1.3 miles (2.1 km). The names on the stars represent a mix of real and fictional people. They include actors, musicians, directors, producers, and fictional personalities.

Fun Fact: The first star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was laid in 1960. It was dedicated to Academy Award-winning actress Joanne Woodward. 

14. Golden Gate Bridge, California

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The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the world’s most beautiful bridges. It spans the Golden Gate, a one-mile (1.6 km) wide strait connecting San Francisco Bay with the Pacific Ocean. It links the city of San Francisco with Marin County. 

The bridge opened in 1937 to serve car, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic. It’s an iconic symbol of San Francisco and one of the most impressive engineering achievements in modern times. 

While you’re in San Francisco check out my articles on unique restaurants in San Francisco and the best places to watch the sunset in San Francisco.

Fun Fact: The Golden Gate Bridge gets its name from the body of water it crosses over, not the shade it’s painted. The official color of the bridge is called international orange.

15. Pier 39, California

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Pier 39 is another popular spot in San Francisco. It’s a shopping centre and tourist attraction set right on one of the city’s piers. It contains eateries, a video arcade, a carousel, street performers, the Aquarium of the Bay, and more. Pier 39 is a tourist hot spot that stays busy almost all hours of the day. 

It’s also a popular spot for sightseeing. You can view sea lions casually sunbathing on the docks right off the pier. And further out, the pier supplies incredible views of San Francisco Bay, including Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Bay Bridge. 

You might enjoy reading my article on the United States’ most diverse cities.

16. Venice Beach, California 

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Image from Matthew LeJune on Unsplash

Venice Beach showcases the quintessential laid-back California lifestyle. Backed by the Pacific Ocean and dotted with palm trees, this is the ultimate place for fun in the sun. 

Visiting the Venice Beach Boardwalk is a must. It stretches for over two miles (3 km) and is lined with hundreds of street vendors, restaurants, bars, and street performers. While you wander, you can stop at an outdoor eatery for food, drinks, and a bit of people-watching. 

17. Balboa Park, California

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Image from Leslie Yu on Unsplash

Balboa Park is a sprawling urban park in San Diego, California. Many attractions are contained within the boundaries of this cultural destination. Besides green spaces, you’ll find several theatres, 17 museums, lush gardens, walking paths, the world-famous San Diego Zoo, and much more. 

The park has been attracting visitors since it opened in 1868. It has a Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style that blends right in with the city’s rich history. Best of all, the park does not charge an entrance fee. 

18. Walt Disney World, Florida

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It’s no wonder Walt Disney World is one of the most visited places in the United States — it’s the happiest place on earth, after all. No matter your age, your inner child will relish the nostalgic atmosphere of this attraction. 

This theme park caters to every type of visitor, from kiddie rides and carnival games to thrilling roller coasters and entertaining shows. There are many dining options, from food vendors to high-end eateries. And last but not least, you can remember your trip by stopping into a souvenir shop for a Disney-themed memento. 

19. French Quarter, Louisiana

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Visiting the French Quarter in New Orleans is quite the experience. This charming district showcases all of the city’s best features. If you’re into the macabre, the voodoo shops, ghost tours, and crumbling cemeteries will provide a one-of-a-kind experience. 

If you’re a foodie, there are endless places to enjoy authentic creole cuisine. You can also explore the city’s past at the many historical places in NOLA in the French Quarter — some date back as far as the 1700s.  

20. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

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Bryce Canyon National Park is a nature reserve located in southern Utah. Despite its name, this attraction is not a canyon. It’s known for its many natural amphitheaters and hoodoos, which are spire-shaped rock formations.

The vast landscape is made up of red, orange, and white shades that contrast beautifully with the blue skies above. This scene is especially magical when the sun sets. Plenty of hiking trails allow you to admire the scenery from different angles. 

21. Zion National Park, Utah 

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Zion National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the US. It is located in southwest Utah and is renowned for its steep red cliffs, forested trails, and the rocky Virgin River. 

You’ll find lots of activities for adventurous travelers, like hiking, biking, backpacking, camping, and climbing. The best way to see the park is on two feet, but a scenic shuttle runs along the roughly six-mile (10 km) Zion Canyon Scenic drive.

And while you’re visiting Utah don’t forget to check out the fantastic Park City.

22. San Antonio River Walk, Texas

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The San Antonio River Walk in Texas is a pedestrian-lined street next to some of the city’s most popular spots. This includes restaurants, bars, shops, and tourist attractions, like the San Antonio Museum of Art, and a handful of Spanish colonial missions, including the Alamo. 

It’s 15 miles (22 km) long, and, as the name implies, most of the path travels along the water. If you don’t feel like walking the route, you can take a riverboat cruise and explore the waterways in a more relaxing setting. 

23. The Alamo, Texas 

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The Alamo is a Spanish mission and fortress in San Antonio, Texas. It was built in 1718 by Roman Catholic missionaries and marks the spot of a pivotal event in Texan and US history. 

This Texas landmark is where the 1836 Battle of the Alamo occurred, fought between the Republic of Texas and Mexico. The historic site serves as a shrine to Texas independence and tells the story of the battle and other key events in the state’s history.

24. Navy Pier, Illinois 

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Image from joestoltz on Pixabay

Navy Pier is a 3,300-foot-long (1,005-metre) pier on the stunning shoreline of Lake Michigan in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood. This former Navy training center holds historical significance, although today, it attracts crowds for different reasons. 

It’s overflowing with entertaining activities, like carnival rides, regularly scheduled fireworks, restaurants, and shops. If you’re not afraid of heights, the iconic Ferris wheel will give you a great glimpse of the city’s nearby skyscrapers. 

25. Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Massachusetts 

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Image from Brett Wharton on Unsplash

Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston is a popular marketplace and meeting hall that opened in 1742. It has ties to the founding of the United States; famous figures from America’s past, including Samuel Adams and Jamis Otis, gave speeches here regarding US independence. 

Today, it houses three popular markets: Quincy, North, and South. You’ll find a wide variety of shops, full-service restaurants, and casual food stalls. This is the place to go if you want to experience the local culture and food scene. 

26. Las Vegas Strip, Nevada

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The Las Vegas Strip pulses with energy 24/7. It’s the ultimate playground for vacationing adults. With high-end hotels, world-class shows, a surplus of shops, and gambling options galore, you can enjoy a completely over-the-top getaway. 

Whether you want to dine out every evening, dance the night away, or relax by the pool and order cocktail service, you can enjoy this city at whatever pace. This is the type of place that people visit repeatedly because there’s always something new and exciting happening. There are plenty of things to do in Las Vegas that aren’t gambling.

27. Pike Place Market, Washington 

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Pike Place Market is one of the oldest continually running markets in the US. It’s been operating since 1907. It is located on Seattle’s stunning waterfront, showcasing everything the city is famous for, including views of Seattle’s stunning sunsets.

You’ll find roughly 200 different vendors selling everything from fresh fish and vegan treats to home decor and flower bouquets. Make sure to come hungry; there are food options to please all palettes. 

While you’re in Seattle make sure you check out the fantastic wineries in Washington State as well as some of Washington State’s hot springs.

Fun Fact: The original Starbucks coffee shop is just around the corner from Pike Place Market. 

28. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park sits on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. 

The vast terrain contains lush forests, blooming wildflowers, scenic streams, quiet rivers, and thundering waterfalls. All of this natural beauty can be admired from the many hiking routes that wind through the park. 

If you visit, make sure to head to Clingmans Dome. It’s the highest point in the national park as well as the whole state of Tennessee. An observation tower offers incredibly beautiful views of the mountains as far as the eye can see. 

29. Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado 

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Image from Alec Krum on Unsplash

Mesa Verde National Park is a sacred place in southwest Colorado’s rural landscape. The Ancestral Pueblo people sustained a thriving community in this area for hundreds of years. 

Today, it welcomes visitors to explore the many well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings. You can take a guided tour or wander around Mesa Verde on your own by hiking one of the well-marked trails. 

30. Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

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Mount Rushmore has got to be one of the most unique landmarks in the United States. Carved into the side of South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore, you’ll find the faces of four former US presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. 

Each of the sculpture’s faces is approximately 60 feet (18 metres) in height. Construction for this massive project lasted from 1927 to 1941. 

Fun Fact: The sculpting of Mount Rushmore was extremely dangerous. Roughly 90% of the mountain had to be carved using dynamite. Surprisingly, the project saw zero fatalities over its 14-year construction timeline. 

31. Mackinac Bridge, Michigan

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The Mackinac Bridge is a suspension bridge that rests over the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan. It opened in 1957 and connects the state’s Upper and Lower peninsulas. Before the bridge’s construction, these areas could only be traveled between by ferry. 

This famous American bridge operates a toll bridge and is only accessible to vehicle traffic, except on Labor Day when the bridge opens up for the annual Mackinac Bridge Walk. 

32. Mall of America, Minnesota

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The Mall of America is a huge shopping center in Bloomington, Minnesota. It’s the largest mall in the United States, and millions of visitors walk through its doors each year. There are approximately 520 shops and 50 restaurants — but that’s not all it has. 

The mall also houses an aquarium, an amusement park, a theatre, a minigolf course, an escape room, and much more. It’s safe to say that this attraction provides more than just a shopping experience. 

33. Acadia National Park, Maine 

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Acadia National Park sits along the Atlantic coast of Maine. It’s a highly scenic recreation area with a landscape of rocky beaches, granite peaks, and woodland. Hiking is an extremely popular way to immerse yourself in the beautiful terrain. There are trails for all skill levels. 

On the edge of the national park, you’ll find Bar Harbor, one of the most beautiful towns in America. It’s one of the best places to base your trip to the national park. 

Don’t miss my post on unique things to do in Maine.

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