Below you will find a list of the top ten most visited American cities according to 2016 data. Among some surprises is Atlanta in third position and Chicago as the second most visited city in the United States. These popular U.S. cities are known for their unique attractions, dynamic nightlife scenes, cosmopolitan natures, and attractive shopping destinations.
10) San Francisco – The city is one of the most famous cities in the U.S and much of San Francisco’s fame is due to its pastel Victorian homes, eclectic food scene, easy-going artistic culture and of course because of the Golden Gate bridge. Other famous attractions include the Fisherman Wharf, the Golden Gate National Park, the City Lights Bookstore, the Palace of Fine Arts and the Bay Bridge. San Francisco is known for its cool maritime climate, which often throws off tourists, as well as for its steep hills. In 2016, over 25 million tourists visited San Francisco.
9) San Diego – Located in the southern part of California and nearby the border of Mexico, the city received almost 35 million in 2016. The climate is warm and sunny all year, making it an ideal vacation destination. Here, visitors come to check out the San Diego Zoo, which has over 4,000 animals spread out over 100 acres; the famous SeaWorld, where visitors can learn about marine life; the La Jolla Cove, where you can admire the natural beauty of the coastline and see seals very close; and also the beautiful beaches such as Pacific Beach and Mission Beach. For anyone interested in history, the Maritime Museum is full of information about the history of San Diego as a seaport.
8) Philadelphia – A historic city that played an important part in the founding of the country. It is located in the eastern state of Pennsylvania along the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. Because of its historical importance, the city is a common vacation destination spot with around 42 million visitors annually. Some of the most historic sites in Philadelphia include the Liberty Bell, a symbol of freedom, and Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were written.
Over 6 million people a year visit the Reading Terminal Market, the oldest farmer’s market in the nation, to try a variety of local dishes. For a little bit of nature while in the city, Longwood Gardens provides serenity on its 1,077 acres of artfully designed horticultural displays.
7) Las Vegas – It is the largest city in Nevada and is located in the Mojave Desert. This city is recognized around the world as an excellent spot for gambling, shopping, entertainment, nightlife, and dining, and have attracted over 42 million tourists in 2016. When people arrive, the first place they go is usually “The Strip”, an almost three-mile long stretch lined with luxury resort hotels.
Among the famous sites are the gondola rides and the the grand canal shoppes at the Venetian hotel, the impressive water fountain free show at the Bellagio Hotel (every half hour from 3pm to 8pm each day), a dine-in a replica of the Eiffel Tower, a ride to the top of the 1,149-foot Stratosphere for 360° views of the city, and the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Vegas (free and is mostly known for its overhead light show, Viva Vision, which is spectacular display of lights and technology).
6) Los Angeles – The capital of cinema is the second-largest city in the United States and the largest city on the west coast. In 2016 L.A attracted over 47 million people. The city is home to several world renowned museums and parks, as well as world-famous neighborhoods such as Beverly Hills and Hollywood. L.A is also a favorite among tourists for its famous beaches, including Malibu, Venice and Santa Monica, which enjoy the pleasant southern California climate. Studio tours and the Universal Studios Hollywood are popular options for tourists.
5) Orlando – Located in central Florida, it received almost 48 million visitors in 2016 and mostly because of the Walt Disney World. The city has various golf courses, options for camping, various hotels, two water parks, and four theme parks that are part of the Walt Disney World: Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot Center, and Magic Kingdom. Universal Studios is another popular attraction that provides visitors with several interactive experiences involving movies. For an educational element, tourists can also check out Gatorland, which has thousands of reptiles, and Kennedy Space Center, a NASA visitor area and space mission launch site.
4) Anaheim – Located between Los Angeles and San Diego in Orange County, the city received more than 48 million tourists in 2016. Most of these individuals visit Disneyland, the first amusement park by Walt Disney. This park is divided into eight distinct lands including Main Street USA, Mickey’s Toontown, Adventureland, Tomorrowland, New Orleans Square, Star Wars Land, Frontierland, and Fantasyland. In addition, Anaheim offers visitors day trips to Catalina Island, whale watching tours, and Knott’s Berry Farm amusement parks
3) Atlanta – We are almost sure that you did not expect to find Atlanta in this list, right? But this major US city located in north central Georgia saw 51 million tourists in 2016. This city is a major urban center of the southeastern region of the country. The two main tourist attractions in Atlanta are the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola. The Georgia Aquarium houses 10 million gallons of water and several thousand marine species. It was the largest aquarium in the world until 2012 when it was replaced by the Marine Life Park in Singapore.
At the World of Coca-Cola, visitors can learn about the history of the Coca-Cola company. It also offers several interactive exhibits including a 1930’s soda fountain replica. For history buffs, the Atlanta History Center gives tours into American life between the 1860s and 1920s and the Michael C. Carlos Museum has one of the biggest collections of ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art in the southeastern region.
2) Chicago – The third most populated city in the United States is the second most visited, with over 54 million visitors passing by in 2016. We also think that you did not expect to see Chicago as second in this list. The city is located on the shores of Lake Michigan, it experiences strong gusts of wind, giving it the nickname “Windy City.”
Visitors here can enjoy an excellent art scene, unique architecture, and extensive shopping opportunities. Art lovers should not miss the Art Institute of Chicago, which houses well over 100,000 works of art. Some of the most famous art exhibits here include Monet, Renoir, and Seurat. For those interested in architecture, the John Hancock Center, the Tribune Tower, and the Wrigley Building are must-sees. For a shopping and unique dining experience, the Navy Pier is perfect.
1) New York – “Start spreading the news, I am leaving today, I want to be a part of it, New York, New York…” who of you doesn’t know the famous song sung by Frank Sinatra? Yes, I guess no surprise here. The city welcomed 59.7 visitors in the year 2016 alone. This city is located on the east coast of the country by the New York Harbor, where the Hudson River drains into the New York Bay and on to the Atlantic Ocean.
Some of the most popular sights include the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and Central Park. For individuals interested in works of art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art offers over 2 million pieces and is a wonderful place to spend the afternoon. For a true New York City experience, visitors should include at least one of the many theater productions on Broadway Avenue in Manhattan.