The United States is home to some of the most amazing cities in the world. No matter where you are from or what you look for in a travel destination, there is a little bit of something for everyone. From New York City to Boston, visitors witness memorable skylines and historical monuments commemorating the rich history of each city. Each year the United States is graced with millions of tourists each year looking for their own slice of the nation to explore. Now, read on if you want to understand the hype behind these incredible places.
The 10 Most Visited Cities In The United States
|New York City
Data procured from The International Trade Administration
1. New York City – 6,992,000
Let’s kick off this journey in the Big Apple! With the hustle and bustle of city life, New York City(NYC) presents itself with features that undoubtedly make it an exciting place for visitors. Central Park, a remarkable spread of green, spans 843 acres, and sights of yoga classes or horse carriages are to be expected. Now, when you think of towering structures, NYC doesn’t disappoint. With around 314 skyscrapers dotting its skyline, there’s no doubt that the city reaches impressive heights. Amongst its significant landmarks, the 9/11 Memorial is poignant, occupying eight out of the sixteen acres at the World Trade Center. And for those intrigued by animals and history, The Bronx Zoo, established in 1899, provides education with 843 animals dwelling in 22 exhibits. Ultimately, the five boroughs ensure there’s always something to explore, and for our beloved visitors, the magnitude of NYC allows for emergent adventures at every turn.
2. Miami – 4,086,000
Sun, sea, and a touch of history! Miami brings you closer to nature and architecture like no other. The city gleams with the Art Deco Historic District, sheltering over 800 historically significant buildings that tell a story of design evolution. Taking a sharp turn towards festivities, Miami’s Calle Ocho Festival paints the town in the vibrant colors of Hispanic celebrations. But that’s not all; this is a city where visiting a castle made entirely by hand is possible. Coral Castle, crafted painstakingly by Edward Leedskalnin, is an astounding construction of 1,100 tons of coral rock. Beyond its sandy shores and festive streets, Miami introduces visitors to the wild side, with the Everglades National Park waiting just west of the city limits. Last but not least, anyone seeking a luxurious voyage will note that Miami houses the world’s largest cruise ship port.
3. Orlando, Florida – 2,920,000
Orlando, often termed the “City Beautiful,” is more than just theme parks. With over 100 lakes decorating the city, visitors get a chance to relax thanks to the former citrus industry’s water needs. Now, how about some focus on the unusual – Gatorland is a park that has been acquainting people with alligators and crocodiles since 1949. For those keen on space and technology, the launch site for SpaceX at Cape Canaveral is a sight into the future of American ambition. However, art lovers might be more interested in the world’s most extensive collection of Tiffany glass, found in the Morse Museum. And if that wasn’t enough, the Orlando Science Center has provided ‘edutainment’ since 1955, while the surprising revelation of Lake Eola being a sinkhole adds another layer of mystery. Beauty, mystery, and human prowess: there is a reason the beaten path to Orlando is heavily traveled, after all.
4. Los Angeles, California – 2,750,000
There is a story behind every corner in Los Angeles. Did you know that the globally recognized Hollywood Sign once flashed the words “Hollywoodland” to onlookers? The history of how this town grew into an iconic cultural powerhouse is embedded in these types of stories and sights. For example, stargazing at Griffith Observatory is often paired appropriately with braving the waves at Zuma, Santa Monica, or Venice Beach. For those passionate about the world of animals, the Los Angeles Zoo keeps 2,200 species on exhibit, and it has become a staple-stop since its inception in 1966. But if you are more into folk art and bizarre crafts, the Watts Towers are the mosaic result of Simon Rodia’s 34-year dedication. Visitors also come far and wide to engage in their love for sports: Dodger Stadium is the focal point of that intrigue, with a seating capacity that surpasses 56,000. Add to that, with over 100 museums in the vicinity, visitors are never short of revolutionary experiences.
5. San Francisco, California – 1,739,000
San Francisco’s legacy can be felt with every step on its over 50 hills. An engineering marvel, the Golden Gate Bridge, which came into existence in 1937, has since become a symbol of the city. Although, beyond the bridges and buildings, there is a peculiar history. Alcatraz Island, with its notorious past as a federal prison, is an icon of villainy and a forgotten industrial era. That era is not all doom-and-gloom; cable cars that have been efficiently running since 1873 in the city add a new flavor to transportation. Visitors, especially seafood sharks, find themselves spoilt for choice at Fisherman’s Wharf, where countless seafood vendors display their fresh catch. The city’s resilience is also worth noting, as it rose from the ashes after the 1906 earthquake and subsequent fires. And for those with an eye for architecture? The Painted Ladies, colorful Victorian and Edwardian structures, are the definition of admiration.
6. Las Vegas, Nevada – 1,660,000
From shimmering lights to thrilling highs, Las Vegas serves excitement on a silver platter. For those feeling lucky, there is no shortage of places to test your fate, with over 150 casinos and gambling joints ready to roll the dice. While the Strip is an attraction in itself, drawing in over 38 million total visitors each year, it is the Stratosphere Tower that provides a bird’s-eye view like no other, being the tallest freestanding observation tower in the U.S. Taking a step back in time, the Neon Boneyard offers a nostalgic journey, preserving the illuminated memories of old Las Vegas signs. On a lighter and tastier note, a fun fact for the visitors: around 60,000 pounds of shrimp are enjoyed daily in the city! Finally, for those seeking a blend of nature and engineering, the Hoover Dam stands proudly just 30 miles southeast, concluding our dazzling tour of Las Vegas — No wonder international visitors just cannot get enough of this unstoppable metropolis.
7. Washington D.C. – 1,167,000
To step into Washington D.C. is to face the totality of the country’s decisions and dreams. While the three branches of the federal government operate here, they are not the sole highlights. Bookworms would be elated to know that the Library of Congress, located here, possesses over 39 million books. A visitor could spend days, if not weeks, exploring the Smithsonian Institution’s 20 museums, with displays of authentic spacecraft and ancient relics. On the streets, every turned corner reveals monuments and memorials. The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in West Potomac Park is a reminder that civil change is possible, however costly. Another foundational stop is the White House, which many feel is representative of the greatest concentrated power on the planet. Lastly, the city’s global connectivity is evident, with around 177 foreign embassies residing in D.C. If that is not a welcoming reality to international visitors, what is?
8. Chicago, Illinois – 1,061,000
There is a certain energy about Chicago that can be felt the moment one steps into the Windy City. Once ruling the skies, the Willis Tower dominated as the tallest building globally for a quarter-century. Now, there is actually more to the city than skyscrapers. Imagine a river flowing backward! The Chicago River does just that after engineers pulled off the impossible and reversed the flow. Stretching its arms into Lake Michigan, the Navy Pier has curated the memories of romantics and entrepreneurs for over a century. While the pier might now cater to modern pleasures, Chicago’s history is flavorful, evident in every slice of deep-dish pizza that originated here (although, in my New Englander opinion, is it not just tomato soup in a bread bowl?). Moving on to parks and monuments, Millennium Park, with its Cloud Gate, or as many call it, “The Bean,” reflects the city’s spirit and sky. As for the sport-inclined, cheering for the Chicago Cubs at a home game is an experience hard to forget. Chicago, after all, knows how to make its visitors feel right at home.
9. Boston, Massachusetts – 738,000
Stepping back into the past, Boston is a time capsule of early American victories in the name of colonial freedom. For instance, the Boston Tea Party of 1773 was a bold call for independence, and apparently, there are still remnants of British tea at the bottom of Boston Harbor. Then we have Fenway Park, decorated by the legendary green monster, which has achieved the title of one of the world’s oldest baseball stadiums. However, what truly encapsulates the essence of this historic city is the Freedom Trail. Meandering through a stretch of 2.5 miles, it guides those curious about the past, connecting them to pivotal sites like Paul Revere’s house – a resilient structure from the 1600s right in the city center. For visitors, the greatest difficulty when it comes to traveling to Boston is tearing themselves away because there is always more to see.
10. Honolulu, Hawaii – 711,000
Visiting the heart of the Pacific might make one feel worlds away from the usual, and Honolulu does not disappoint its 2.7 million foreign guests. With a city framed by azure waters, Diamond Head serves as a towering reminder of Earth’s dramatic geologic power. A visit to Honolulu is not merely about sun and sand; it is about the legacies of the people who first stepped foot on the island chain. Iolani Palace, wearing the crown of distinction as the only royal palace in the U.S., is a privilege to experience for those with a leaning toward nobility. However, tracing history takes a solemn note at Pearl Harbor, where thousands died in the infamous WWII attack. Elsewhere, Waikiki Beach attracts a colossal number of visitors, and photos and selfies from the beach have established it as a social media mainstay. Meanwhile, the Bishop Museum hosts one of the largest collections of Hawaiian artifacts. However, for guests to truly witness the spirit of Hawaii, the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival is an essential event to experience.
An upstart country filled with upstart cities, it is fitting that each metropolis is in constant competition to outdo the next. That drive for bigger and better is ultimately a boon for the traveling visitor, both domestic and foreign. The grandness comes from the reality that each location is made up of countless blends of immigrants and cultures, allowing for the greatest flavors to shine brightest. Visitors are always invited to contribute to each city’s mosaic, provided they have the financial means — but then again, that’s America for you!