18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA (2024)

Written by Lana Law
Updated Sep 16, 2022

The United States is home to some of the most spectacular scenery in the world and some of the most recognizable icons on the planet. Many of the top attractions in the United States are bucket list destinations, drawing visitors from around the world.

Compiling a list of places to see is step one. But keep in mind, given the size of the United States, most people plan their trips to a specific region, be it the East Coast, the Southwest, the beaches of Florida or California, or outlying regions like Hawaii and Alaska.

You may want to see the city sights, or head out to the top parks and natural areas in the US. In some cases, you can easily combine the two if you plan a day trip or two.

Plenty of options await you, with incredible sights sprinkled across the country. For anyone in the enviable position of having unlimited time and resources, these are the top attractions to include on your US itinerary.

On This Page:

  • 1. Grand Canyon
  • 2. Niagara Falls
  • 3. Statue of Liberty
  • 4. White House
  • 5. Walt Disney World Resort
  • 6. Waikiki
  • 7. Las Vegas Strip
  • 8. Yosemite National Park
  • 9. Golden Gate Bridge
  • 10. Times Square
  • 11. Freedom Trail in Boston
  • 12. Yellowstone National Park
  • 13. San Antonio River Walk
  • 14. Kennedy Space Center
  • 15. St. Louis Arch
  • 16. Glacier National Park and the Going-to-the-Sun Road
  • 17. Mount Rushmore National Memorial
  • 18. Sedona's Red Rock Country

1. Grand Canyon

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA (1)

This incredible natural attraction is one of the most visited places in the United States. Carved out by the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon cuts deep into the landscape, creating dramatic cliff walls and ledges. Visitors standing on the rim of the canyon can see down to the canyon floor a mile below, and look out over the ridges and cliffs that run as far as the eye can see.

The South Rim, about 4.5 hours by car from Las Vegas, is the most visited section of Grand Canyon National Park. This is where you'll find a large visitor center, regular bus service along the Rim in the high season, and a walkway that runs along the canyon with numerous viewing points and platforms. Several wonderful hikes, including the Bright Angel Trail, leave from here.

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA (2)

The Skywalk, a glass bridge leading out over the edge of the Grand Canyon is another popular attraction. It is located at Eagle Point, on the West Rim. This area is about a four-hour drive from the South Rim, but usually less than a 2.5-hour drive from Las Vegas. If you are planning a day trip from Las Vegas, this area is a good option

The North Rim, which also has lookout areas, provides a different perspective. This section of the park is less visited and has limited access from November to May due to snow and winter conditions.

Read More: Top Tourist Attractions at the Grand Canyon

2. Niagara Falls

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA (3)

Situated along the Canada-US border, Niagara Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in the world. The water from Lake Erie flows into Lake Ontario over these massive waterfalls, known for the great quantity of water that is constantly tumbling over the vertical drop.

Niagara Falls is actually a set of three falls: It consists of the largest section, known as Horseshoe Falls, with a drop of 187 feet; a second section on the American side of the river, known as the American Falls, with a drop of 89 feet; and a much thinner section located next to the American Falls, known as Bridal Veil Falls, with a drop of 78 feet.

Views are good on both sides of the river, but the Canadian side gives a very different perspective and is worth a visit if you don't mind crossing the border into Canada.

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA (4)

Summer is the most popular time to visit Niagara Falls, when the weather is warm, gardens are in bloom, and wandering around is pleasant. Winter provides a unique opportunity to see the snow-covered shores and ice-covered railings, street signs, and trees. It's truly a winter wonderland.

On clear days, the plume of mist rising from Niagara Falls can be seen from as far away as the CN Tower in downtown Toronto, Canada, on the opposite shore of Lake Ontario.

Read More:

  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Niagara Falls, NY
  • From New York City to Niagara Falls: Best Ways to Get There

3. Statue of Liberty

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA (5)

A universal symbol of freedom, the Statue of Liberty is America's most familiar icon and the largest statue in the world. Standing proudly in New York Harbor, visitors can admire the statue from various points around the city, particularly Battery Park, or take a ferry right to the statue.

For people who plan to go out to the statue, options include grounds tickets, pedestal tickets, or crown tickets, which allow different levels of access to the site. One of the best options is to take a sightseeing tour and see both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Official site: http://www.nps.gov/stli/index.htm

Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in New York City

4. White House

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA (6)

The White House is the official residence of the President of the United States, and should be on the top of your list of things to see in Washington. This historic structure has been the home of every president except George Washington. Lafayette Park is on the north side of the White House; beyond is a pedestrian-only zone, full of interesting characters, and an excellent spot to get a great photo.

It was originally built by James Hoban in 1792 and, after being burned down by British forces in 1814, was rebuilt in 1818. Tours of the White House are free, but reservations must be made a minimum of three weeks in advance. Strict security rules are always in effect.

Official site: http://www.whitehouse.gov/

5. Walt Disney World Resort

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA (7)

This mega amusem*nt park in Orlando is the top family attraction in America, and has been catering to both young and old for decades. Opened in 1971, Walt Disney World has managed to maintain its relevance and its allure for children and even many adults throughout the years.

Walt Disney World Resort encompasses not only the various theme parks, it also includes water parks, Downtown Disney with shopping and theaters, and much more, from fine dining to golf. This is a place where you can spend a day or a week.

If you feel the need for a bit of sand and surf, the beaches of Florida's Atlantic coast are only an hour away.

6. Waikiki

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA (8)

Home to the most popular beach in the Hawaiian Islands and possibly the most famous beach in the Pacific, Waikiki has been a tourist destination for over a century. Today this area is a cross between tropical paradise and modern city.

Relaxing on this beautiful stretch of sand with palm trees blowing in the wind will certainly let you know you are in the tropics, but the high-rise buildings and busy street in behind are a reminder that you are not far from civilization. Shopping, dining, surfing, and sunbathing are all part of what makes this small section of Oahu so popular with tourists of all ages from all parts of the world.

Read More:

7. Las Vegas Strip

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA (9)

Walking along the Las Vegas Strip, the main street leading through the city past the mega resorts, is like strolling through an amusem*nt park for adults. Recreations of the New York skyline, the Eiffel Tower, the canals of Venice, and many more foreign sites line this famous street.

Beginning at one end with the Luxor Hotel, designed in a pyramid shape, a walk down the street will reveal an erupting volcano and dancing fountains, while inside the resorts are all kinds of oddities and entertainment. Many of the best things to see and do in Las Vegas are sights that can be seen for free.

One of the main attractions in Las Vegas is the constant lineup of shows. World-famous singers looking to settle down turn to Las Vegas as a home base, where they perform regularly. Unique performing groups from magic to comedy and acrobatics can also be found here nightly.

When you've had enough of the nightlife and city lights, you can still explore the nearby attractions on a day trip from Las Vegas. See nearby Death Valley National Park, Hoover Dam, or Valley of Fire State Park. Explore the desert on hiking trails around Las Vegas, some of which are just minutes from downtown.

8. Yosemite National Park

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA (10)

One of America's most loved parks, Yosemite National Park is one of the best places to visit in California, particularly for nature lovers. Famous sights, like the incredible granite domes of El Capitan and Half Dome, have to be seen in person to fully appreciate their grandeur. The massive waterfalls that tumble off sheer cliffs from mountain snowfall or sudden summer rainstorms are another of the park's highlights.

Yosemite National Park is full of activity-based things to do that include hiking, climbing, walking, and horseback riding. Hiking trails in Yosemite lead to some of the most scenic areas and are a good way to escape the crowds at lookouts.

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA (11)

For those less inclined to be physically active, the sheer natural beauty of Yosemite can be enjoyed from a picnic table over a leisurely home-packed lunch. You can also see the highlights on a driving tour through the park.

Accommodation is limited in the park to several lodges and a number of very nice campgrounds. Outside the gates, more options are available.

9. Golden Gate Bridge

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA (12)

Arching across San Francisco Bay, joining San Francisco and Marin County, the Golden Gate Bridge has been a California icon since it was built in the 1930s. Contrasting with the blue water, the bridge's orangish-red color is an aesthetic accent that brings a unique quality to the city.

It also has a unique presence when it's shrouded in fog with just the peaks of the main towers projecting through the low-lying cloud. The bridge is approximately two miles long and part of Hwy 101 or SR 1. If the day is clear, one of the best viewing spots is on Conzelman Road, located in Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Read More:

10. Times Square

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA (13)

Bustling Times Square, famous for its flashing billboards, New Year's Eve count down, and constant throngs of people, lies at the heart of Midtown Manhattan. This intersection, in normal times, is really about the energy one feels when standing on the corner as taxi cabs rush by and lights flash overhead, rather than any individual site on the square.

While it is an interesting place to visit during the day, it is probably best seen at night to experience the full impact.

Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in New York City

11. Freedom Trail in Boston

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA (14)

Boston's Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile walking route that leads past some of the city's most important historical attractions. A line of red bricks, inlaid in the sidewalk marks the route, making it an easy way for tourists to find their way around.

Information on the trail and the sites can be found at the Visitors Center in the Boston Common, which is a good place to start your tour. Sites along the Freedom Trail include the State House, Old State House, the Old Granary Burying Ground, Old City Hall, Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere House, and many more.

Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Boston

12. Yellowstone National Park

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA (15)

Yellowstone National Park is home to a huge ancient volcano, which has resulted in a dramatic landscape and awesome natural phenomena. Geysers and hot springs, along with incredible waterfalls along the Yellowstone River are just some of the attractions drawing in huge numbers of tourists each year.

The park, the oldest national park in the USA, is also home to all kinds of wildlife, with free-roaming bison, bighorn sheep, antelope, black bears, and grizzly bears.

The park is also a wonderful place to camp, with a total of 12 Yellowstone campgrounds containing 2,000 sites.

Read More:

13. San Antonio River Walk

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA (16)

San Antonio's River Walk is a beautiful location and a great place to spend some time, whether you are looking for a place to wander, enjoy a meal, or look for souvenirs. Stretching along the San Antonio River in the heart of the city, this pedestrian area is lined with restaurants and outdoor dining areas, with everything from casual to fine cuisine.

Small boats meander along the river and scenic arching bridges complete the tranquil scene. Large old trees drape over the river and walkway providing shade. The River Walk also features a variety of entertainment, with occasional live music and seasonal events.

Official site: http://www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com/

Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in San Antonio

14. Kennedy Space Center

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA (17)

For those who have ever dreamed about what it would be like to blast off into space, a trip to the Kennedy Space Center is a must-do. The spacecrafts of NASA along with the history of space exploration make for an entertaining and educational experience. This is a popular attraction with all ages and one of the top things to do in Florida.

You may think that your visit will be a quick one; see a few spaceships and then head on your way. However, many people are surprised when they become fully engrossed in their visit and end up spending most of the day at the center.

Things to see include the rocket garden, the real Space Shuttle Atlantis, the Heroes and Legends exhibit, and the Journey to Mars exposition, along with many others.

Official site: https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/

15. St. Louis Arch

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA (18)

This famous "Gateway to the West" in St. Louis is both symbolic and eye-catching. Rising above the city, gleaming in the midday sun and illuminated at night, the arch can be seen from miles away on the otherwise flat surroundings.

It was built in the early 1960s and stands in Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park. Elevators offer easy and scenic transportation to the top of the arch where visitors are treated to great views out over the city and surroundings.

Official site: https://www.gatewayarch.com/

16. Glacier National Park and the Going-to-the-Sun Road

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA (19)

Montana's Glacier National Park offers some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the United States. Mountains, lakes, glaciers, valleys, and waterfalls combine to form a spectacular alpine landscape.

One of the best ways to truly appreciate the terrain is from the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road. This narrow road, hugging the mountain side as it winds its way up and over the 7,747-foot Logan pass, opened in 1932.

Due to the elevation and climate, the road is only open during the summer months. The sights along this road are superlative, and you'll likely find yourself stopping at handy pullouts to soak it all up.

Glacier National Park also has some unique historic lodges, including the East Lodge, with it's huge timbered interior. The park is also a top hiking destination in the state. Hiking trails lead to wonderful alpine vistas if you're willing to put in a bit of effort.

The park is relatively isolated, so most people plan to visit for a few days. Accommodation is available in the historic lodges and hotels in West Glacier, and if you feel like camping in Glacier National Park, 13 campgrounds are available.

Read More: Top Things to Do in Glacier National Park

17. Mount Rushmore National Memorial

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA (20)

If you find yourself in South Dakota, don't miss a chance to see Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Towering above the surrounding forest are the faces of four US Presidents: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt.

This incredible achievement was created by one man, John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum, and upon his death, finished off by his son Lincoln. The hard work of carving giant heads out of stone started in 1927 and continued on for many years until its completion in 1941.

The national memorial is a popular attraction, especially in the summer. Try to plan to arrive early in the day to avoid the crowds.

18. Sedona's Red Rock Country

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA (21)

Just a wonderfully scenic two-hour drive from Phoenix, this small city has quickly become one of Arizona's top places to visit.

Its beautiful setting, in among the red rocks, makes it perfect for a day trip from Phoenix, but it makes an even better vacation destination. Plan on spending at least a night or two to enjoy all Sedona has to offer. The town has some fantastic restaurants as well as spas and luxury resorts in and around town.

Sedona has a bit of everything when it comes to keeping busy: fantastic hiking, mountain biking, and camping, all coupled with a quirky vibe that makes a trip here fun for everyone.

Sedona is a year-round destination, but is especially popular in the spring, when the trees burst into bloom and you get the occasional desert rain storm.

Read More:

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the USA (2024)


What is the #1 tourist destination in the US? ›

Top tourist attractions
Tourist attractionLocationVisitors (millions)
Las Vegas StripLas Vegas, Nevada42
Union StationWashington, D.C.40
Mall of AmericaBloomington, Minnesota40
National MallWashington, D.C.32
21 more rows

What is the largest tourist attraction in the US? ›

Times Square in New York is the most visited destination in the US as well as in the whole world. Annual visitors are recorded at 41.9 million. Times Square is a commercial junction, dotted with shops and lit up by billboards.

How many tourist attractions are there in America? ›

As of 2007, there are 2,462 registered National Historic Landmarks (NHL) recognized by the United States government. As of 2018, New York City is the most visited destination in the United States, followed by Los Angeles, Orlando, Las Vegas, and Chicago.

Which US state has the best tourist attractions? ›

10 Best States to Visit in the U.S. This Year
  • California. ...
  • Texas. ...
  • Colorado. Outdoors and adrenaline-pumping activities. ...
  • Alaska. Remote and vast wilderness. ...
  • Hawaii. The famous tropical state. ...
  • Maine. Quaint coastal vibes. ...
  • Massachusetts. For a dose of U.S. history. ...
  • Wyoming. A place to channel your inner cowboy.

What is the 1 tourist city in America? ›

New York was the most visited City with 6.99 million annual visitors. ALSO READ| List of States in USA - Check How Many States in USA?

Where do American tourists go the most? ›

Hawaii is the most popular domestic vacation destination among Americans. Unsurprisingly, over a third (35%) would consider visiting the Aloha state sometime in the next few years. Las Vegas, Nevada is the second most popular destination, followed by NYC.

What is the busiest tourist attraction? ›

The British Museum was the most visited tourist attraction in London in 2023, welcoming roughly 5.8 million visitors. The Natural History Museum in South Kensington and the Tate Modern followed in the ranking that year, with around 5.7 million and 4.7 million visits, respectively.

What is the famous in the USA? ›

From the bustling streets of New York City to the serene landscapes of the Grand Canyon, the United States is known for its diversity, innovation, and cultural influence. From Hollywood's silver screen to Silicon Valley's technological marvels, America has consistently shaped global culture and progress.

Which is the most visited tourist? ›

10 Most Visited Countries in the World
  • 8) Germany. ...
  • 7) United Kingdom. ...
  • 6) Mexico. ...
  • 5) Italy. ...
  • 4) Türkiye (Turkey) 51 million visitors (up 69% since COVID) ...
  • 3) United States. 51 million visitors (up 130% since COVID) ...
  • 2) Spain. 72 million visitors (up 130% since COVID) ...
  • 1) France. 80 million visitors (up 64% since COVID)
Feb 20, 2024

Which US city has the most attractions? ›

With over 95 tourist attractions, Orlando is most definitely among the world's premier destinations with an array of fun and exciting things to do that keeps most visitors coming back to experience more fun.

What is the most visited country in the world? ›

Top 10 Most Visited Countries in the World (All Time) Based on data from Data Pandas, The Most Visited Country in the World is France no.1 followed by Spain, the United States, China, Italy, Turkey, Mexico, Thailand, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

What is the number one attraction in the United States? ›

Central Park in New York City

Believe it or not, the No. 1 tourist attraction in America, as rated by Americans, is a park—New York City's Central Park, to be exact. The nation's most visited urban park (by far), Central Park receives some 42 million visitors annually.

What is the number one tourist destination in the United States? ›

Home to world-famous theme parks that attract millions of visitors a year, like Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld, it comes as no surprise that Orlando is the number one top travel destination in the U.S.

What is the least visited US state? ›

Most visited states in the U.S. 2022

In contrast, only 13 percent of respondents said they had visited Alaska, making it the least-visited state.

What is the most visited vacation place? ›

Most Visited Cities in The World
  1. Hong Kong, China with 27.880 million tourists per year.
  2. Bangkok, Thailand with 22.453 million tourists per year. ...
  3. London, UK with 19.827 million tourists per year. ...
  4. Singapore, Singapore with 17.618 million tourists per year. ...
  5. Macau, China with 17.337 million tourists per year. ...

What most attract US to a tourist destination? ›

What things attract tourists to visit a place? Tourists are drawn to destinations by unique attractions, cultural experiences, local events, and captivating landscapes. Therefore, creating a compelling narrative around these aspects helps in attracting tourists.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Greg O'Connell

Last Updated:

Views: 6399

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (42 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Greg O'Connell

Birthday: 1992-01-10

Address: Suite 517 2436 Jefferey Pass, Shanitaside, UT 27519

Phone: +2614651609714

Job: Education Developer

Hobby: Cooking, Gambling, Pottery, Shooting, Baseball, Singing, Snowboarding

Introduction: My name is Greg O'Connell, I am a delightful, colorful, talented, kind, lively, modern, tender person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.