20 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in United States of America

Jul 22, 2021

The original powerhouse of the New World, America has a fascinating history, marked by the curious clash of cultures when the European settlers arrived. You'll find legendary museums and galleries, wonderful parks, lively cities, the stunning Grand Canyon, fascinating landscapes, amazing architecture, and a national birdlife. There are more than 3,500 nationally protected areas, from small parks to vast national parks. From dramatic deserts to pristine forests, America offers something for every visitor.

The United States offers its citizens more than two dozen cities on the prestigious UN World's Best Awards list. Over a million people visit these communities each year to enjoy world-class attractions and stunning scenery, including San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, and Miami. A visit to these cities should be at the top of every travelers' list.

But it's not just the tangible sights and museums that make these cities an experience, but the vitality of its cultures and people. From New York City to San Francisco, the areas between have their own personality and exciting things to do.

This is a tourism guide to a city where the motto is "City on a Hill" for a reason. You'll find world-class museums, cutting-edge architecture, historic churches, charming parks, and the bustling streets of every American city. And while there's plenty to see here, just remember it's the local characters who are going to make your visit memorable.

Grand Canyon

Photo of Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park: en.wikipedia.org

A destination that spans almost half a million square miles of the landscape, the Grand Canyon is one of the most spectacular sights in the USA. You'll need to allow 2-3 days to get a full tour of the canyon's highlights, and almost a week if you include getting to and from the South Rim and the small towns that dot the canyon floor. The Grand Canyon's South Rim is the best place to begin your experience. The Grand Canyon Village is a large tourist attraction and gateway to the South Rim and it offers an extensive selection of shops, food outlets and even an airline ticket office. Nearby, the rim offers a variety of interesting sights including the Mather Point Light, the Glen Canyon Dam, the Hualapai Indian Reservation and the Hualapai Hilltop Trail, which offers sweeping views of the canyon. Get a taste of Arizona and the West by spending the night in a Yavapai Resort. Relatively inexpensive and set back from the bustle of Grand Canyon Village, these hotels are made up of traditional wood-frame buildings with an Arizona theme.

San Francisco

Photo of San Francisco
San Francisco: en.wikipedia.org

A collection of sister cities, San Francisco attracts over a million visitors each year and is a perfect choice of getaway for the California-bound vacationer. Located on the Pacific Coast, the city is approximately 170 miles from Los Angeles and roughly two-and-a-half hours' drive from the famous city of San Diego. The Bay Area, home to the Golden Gate Bridge and the great cities of San Jose and San Francisco, includes a variety of options for those seeking to travel to San Francisco. The city's public transport system is user-friendly and provides a great introduction to San Francisco's remarkable public transport system. The most scenic way to arrive at San Francisco is to take the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge or the Golden Gate Bridge to the city.

Read more 👉  Top Rated Tourist Attractions in San Francisco

Los Angeles

Photo of Los Angeles
Los Angeles: en.wikipedia.org

Ever since the Hollywood industry came to the American west in the 1920s, Los Angeles has been synonymous with the entertainment industry. Once dubbed "the Paris of the West," L.A. is perhaps most famous for its flourishing movie scene; an open-minded city with an eclectic range of people from all corners of the globe; and the bright, bustling metropolis that is synonymous with the "new American" lifestyle, with its tasty cuisine, throbbing nightlife and exciting style. Travel between Los Angeles and the nearby, popular beaches of Santa Monica and Venice begins at LAX, the airport with one of the most extensive luggage carousels in the world. Buses are the most popular and common way of getting around Los Angeles, and to reach different parts of the city from each other. The world-famous 405 freeway makes connecting several cities and municipalities fairly simple, while the expressway known as the I-5 is the most popular route for driving between Los Angeles and the surrounding cities. Los Angeles is perhaps the most accessible metropolis in the world, with over 3.5 million people living within its limits, and the only way of seeing its incredibly diverse and entertaining scenes is by foot or by bicycle.

Read more 👉  Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Los Angeles

Las Vegas

Photo of 2017 Las Vegas shooting
2017 Las Vegas shooting: en.wikipedia.org

It's hard not to be seduced by the neon lights and the shimmering, glittering skyline of Las Vegas, United States. The Strip, the famous main thoroughfare, was built for the world's casinos and the frenzied throngs of tourists who pour into the city to fuel this culture. Play is a necessity of life in Las Vegas, with most guests in the city spending over 3 hours a day at the gaming tables. But Las Vegas is much more than just a collection of slot machines. The grandiose marvels of this remarkable city are spread out over 140 acres. Each attraction attracts millions of dollars worth of gaming tables, and nearly 2,000 slot machines. It's a fascinating, entertaining city where nothing seems impossible.

Read more 👉  Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Las Vegas

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Photo of Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park: en.wikipedia.org

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site encompassing 792,663 hectares of the Appalachian mountain ranges. The park spans into five U.S. states and is well-known for its biodiversity. The Smokies, which reached their highest peak at Mount Le Conte, is home to the largest cluster of waterfalls in the continental United States, and offers a number of hiking trails through valleys, mountains and across peaks. The Mammoth Caves of the park contain a thriving population of bats and cave salamanders. Other famous attractions include the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, which runs through the whole park; and Great Smoky Mountain National Park's most impressive attraction, the misty natural mineral springs called the Smokemont waterfalls. The Smokies, which can be visited by car, motorcycle, car, bicycle and bus, are reached by the two main roads, US-441 and US-440. There are various accommodations including hotels, bed and breakfast places, and camp sites. The park is home to several small towns, of which Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Cherokee, Townsend, Bryson City and Oconaluftee are the largest. The Southbound and Northbound passes of the Parkway are valid for the entire park, and both entrances are located at Cherokee. If you're planning to spend more time in the Smokies, consider spending the night in the town of Cherokee, which has shopping, a historic downtown and a small but lively town square.

Disneyland

Photo of Disneyland
Disneyland: en.wikipedia.org

A year-round amusement park on a 213-acre site in Anaheim, California, Disneyland is the ultimate destination for people of all ages. Home to such attractions as the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Indiana Jones Adventure, this spectacular theme park has more rides and attractions than any other Disney theme park in the world.

Washington, D.C.

Photo of Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.: en.wikipedia.org

Washington, D.C. is the capitol of the United States and sits on the banks of the Potomac River. It is the most visited city in the country, and every tourist can agree on two things: that it is attractive, and that it has a lot of tall buildings. It is situated on the Potomac, a wide, tidal river that runs through the heart of the city. The city itself is built on a series of ridges, hills, and natural water-filled valleys. As a very modern city, its importance lies in the processes of government and politics, not the myths and legends that surround it. As a practicality, visitors will be interested to know that they cannot visit Washington, D.C., without going through a security checkpoint where they will have to submit to a security check and walk through a metal detector, as they would for any international airport.

Dallas

Photo of Dallas
Dallas: en.wikipedia.org

Dallas, TX is known as the City of Stars, and rightfully so. The home of the Dallas Cowboys, the City of Stars is also home to the State of Stars and the State's largest sports arena, which is often a favorite site for the annual American Music Awards and various sporting events. The City of Stars also boasts one of the most appealing public spaces in America, Six Flags Over Texas. Other attractions include the National Hockey League's Dallas Stars, the Cotton Bowl, Allen's Courthouse Square, Arts District and American Airlines Center, which is home to the world-renowned National Basketball Association's Dallas Mavericks. The Dallas Museum of Art is among the United States' largest art museums, which, along with the Museum of Contemporary Art and Nasher Sculpture Center, make up the rich mix of galleries and museums in Dallas.

Read more 👉  Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Dallas

New York City

Photo of New York City
New York City: en.wikipedia.org

Famously home to millions of New Yorkers, New York City is the global city par excellence. In the city, the local inhabitants have a strong taste for colonial buildings and old-world charm. This city, with over 8.5 million inhabitants, offers an abundance of things to do. The shops, restaurants and culture are the main attractions and are sure to keep you busy for days. New York is best enjoyed as a traveler - witness the big city buzz, go shopping in your favourite department store and enjoy New York's best view. Some of the top New York attractions are the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center and the Statue of Liberty. New York City is an excellent city for travelers who like shopping, fun and entertainment. The wide range of attractions makes it the perfect place for everybody. You can stay at any of the many hotels for example Four Seasons Hotel New York or Conrad New York.

Read more 👉  Top Rated Tourist Attractions in New York City

Washington Monument

Photo of Washington Monument
Washington Monument: en.wikipedia.org

Washington, DC's most famous monument, named after the US's first president, is a prime example of neoclassical architecture, erected between 1848 and 1853. The 555-foot-high monument stands on a hill overlooking the elegant US capital and has been much photographed. After climbing the 555 steps to the top, visitors are rewarded with a stunning 360-degree panorama of the National Mall and all of Washington, from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the White House. From the top, visitors can also view some of the city's more famous skyscrapers, including the World Bank and the Federal Building. The Memorial is an especially pleasant destination in early May when cherry blossoms are in full bloom.

Florida Everglades

Photo of Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park: en.wikipedia.org

In a state packed with fascinating natural wonders, Florida's aquatic gem is the one place that most people know about. The Everglades National Park covers 2,700,000 acres of marshlands, swamps, and prairies and is only accessible by boat, air, or by walking or biking across a series of man-made canals. Almost 90% of the park is at least partially inaccessible to the public; some areas remain mostly untouched. If you're an outdoors enthusiast, try a canoeing trip or a visit to the Bok Tower Botanical Gardens, which contain a small collection of tropical plants and animals native to South America.

Denver Art Museum

Photo of Denver Art Museum
Denver Art Museum: en.wikipedia.org

Designed by Lawrence Halprin, the Denver Art Museum, or DAM as it is known to locals, was the first new museum in downtown Denver to open since the original Denver Art Museum burned to the ground in 1916. Opened in 1989 in the late-American modernist tradition of the influential museum pioneer Thomas H. Benton, the DAM holds some 2000 works ranging from classical antiquity through the 1960s and including works by Warhol, De Kooning, and Kline. The museum is especially strong in the Western, American, and Abstract Expressionist movements of the 1950s and 60s, but also has works by David Hockney, Lucian Freud, Joan Mitchell, and others. The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection of French Impressionists is considered the world's largest collection outside Paris, but most of the artwork is on display in the museum's two other locations.

Atlantic City

Photo of Mid-Atlantic (United States)
Mid-Atlantic (United States): en.wikipedia.org

Although somewhat better known now as the place that gave the world the Las Vegas Strip, Atlantic City was once the center of the American tourist industry, offering tourists a city and hotel experience unlike anywhere else on the east coast. It was once the world's largest tourist attraction and is the only resort city in the United States to still be run by a private corporation.

Alcatraz Island, San Francisco

Photo of Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island: en.wikipedia.org

Alcatraz Island is home to what is one of the world's most famous prisons. From 1895 to 1963, the island served as a U.S. federal prison. Prisoners included the infamous Al Capone and Clyde Barrow (although he was never on the island). From the Golden Gate Bridge, tourists can reach Alcatraz by ferry and taxi. To experience the prison firsthand, take the 90-minute "Inmates, Guards and Alcatraz" tour, which visits the lighthouse, chapel, cells, and other prison structures. Alcatraz is part of the U.S. National Park system and is home to numerous festivals and events throughout the year, including the famous Alcatraz Blues Festival. Other events include treasure hunts, special tours, cookouts, and Native American dance performances.

White House

Photo of White House
White House: en.wikipedia.org

On April 14, 1865, after more than four years of conflict, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in his second term. With both houses of Congress and seven states still in rebellion, Lincoln's cabinet was in disarray. At the same time, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia was leading a major offensive in Virginia, threatening to advance into the north. Hoping to raise morale, the military-supported Lincoln met his Cabinet in the White House. He asked for suggestions for the future of the nation, and some of the ideas he heard for action came from his family, the Lincolns. The White House that exists today dates back to the 1815-1824 period, when it was a tavern. In the 1830s, it was home to the first Treasury Department, the first Bureau of the Census, and the Supreme Court of the United States. As such, the White House was where the American government made many of the laws that governed the nation. More than four years after Lincoln's assassination, the Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrendered his army to Union general Ulysses S. Grant in the White House. Today, the White House continues to be a symbol of freedom and democracy, and most government agencies that still exist are housed here, while the White House Visitors Office welcomes a million visitors every year.

St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York

Photo of St. Patrick's Cathedral (Manhattan)
St. Patrick's Cathedral (Manhattan): en.wikipedia.org

In the heart of midtown Manhattan stands New York's famous cathedral to the faith of its Irish inhabitants. Set on Fifth Avenue, this massive Gothic structure features a stunning two-story rose window designed by John Hughes. Dedicated to St. Patrick, the cathedral is an Episcopalian structure and has been in operation since 1846. The interior is sumptuous and its surroundings are filled with beautiful flowers. It is one of the best-preserved examples of Carpenter Gothic style of the 19th century, which was popularized in 1851 by architect Henry Hobson Richardson. The style drew from the architectural traditions of the Middle Ages, including pointed arches, rounded columns and rich detailing. Although Protestant Episcopalians have used the cathedral since its opening, it has played an important role in Irish American history as the church where Mary McElroy, the bride of Sir Thomas Esmond, was baptized in 1923.

Lake Tahoe

Photo of Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe: en.wikipedia.org

Lake Tahoe is one of the world's greatest treasures. It's nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California between the Nevada border and the high western edge of the Eastern Sierra, offering some of the best recreational opportunities in the world. In addition to its other recreational assets, Tahoe offers a variety of spectacular scenery, featuring breathtaking views of the Eastern Sierra wilderness as well as striking vistas of the San Francisco Bay. The Sierra Nevada foothills are cut by several large and beautiful lakes, such as Truckee, Emerald Bay, and Squaw. These lakes are often the high points of many mountain-based recreational activities, such as white-water rafting, mountain climbing, skiing, and snowboarding. Travelers to Lake Tahoe should check out some of the area's lesser-known offerings, including Emerald Bay State Park, which has hiking trails, kayak rentals, a lighthouse, a hot-springs facility, and a wide variety of historic sites and native flora and fauna.

Seattle

Photo of Seattle
Seattle: en.wikipedia.org

Often called the Emerald City, Seattle is perhaps best known for its famous Space Needle observation tower and the winding tree-lined avenues of charming, small historic neighborhoods with breathtaking views of the downtown skyline. Known for its famous Rain or Shine days, Seattle has a sizable rainy season from November to April when the sun is totally absent and rain is not an unusual sight. Other than sun or rain, however, Seattle is known for a number of things, like the Magnolia bakery and excellent breakfast spots where eggs Benedict, Brie blintzes, and hot cinnamon buns are king. For shopping, the Pike Place market and funky area of Pioneer Square are well worth checking out, along with the lively establishments of Capitol Hill and Seattle's bustling downtown. Seattle has a thriving nightlife, with lively clubs, lively after-work bars, and live jazz music venues in its abundance. For any type of outdoor adventure, Lake Union or Lake Washington can be visited. The beaches at Marymood Park are also pleasant. Of course, the historic downtown is also an obvious sight. Here, the grand views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains and the distinctive architecture are the true highlights, with much of the 19th-century architecture giving the streets the feel of a European city, making Seattle a unique and beautiful place to visit.

Alcatraz Island

Photo of Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary
Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary: en.wikipedia.org

Alcatraz Island is a 2.5-hour ferry ride from the San Francisco Bay and has been used as a prison for well over 100 years. A living museum, the former prison, which has been closed for visitors since September 1963, now houses the World War II-era U.S. Navy Prisoner-of-War camp, a tourist attraction. The most prominent attraction is the island's famous island prison, a few miles out of the main San Francisco Bay. Concrete cells and blocks, many left untouched since 1962, give visitors a clear sense of the era and the crimes for which prisoners were imprisoned. The cells, once enclosed by a high wire fence, still have the small holes where prisoners once peered out for anyone approaching them. Other places of interest include the adjacent island of Alcatraz and a visitor center.

Key West, Florida

Photo of Key West
Key West: en.wikipedia.org

No other city can match Key West in size, though it's hard to feel intimidated by its 2,000 residents and 4,000-plus permanent residents. The city's residential districts, and the rough-and-tumble tourist areas that house many of its visitor-serving businesses, take up almost the entire island. Key West attractions include a patchwork of historic houses from bygone days, colorful homes rebuilt after Hurricane Irma, some of which open to visitors (see sidebar "Key West Architecture"). There are just as many shops and restaurants offering Key West specialties such as conch fritters and Key lime pie, as well as just-refreshed tropical drinks. The city takes its name from the early 19th-century buccaneers who used its islands as hideaways. Today, Key West remains a hoot, as evidenced by its love of the nautical and colorful folk of old, with two big parties, The Shrimp Boat Festival in April and the Conch Republic Independence Celebration in July.