Ranking the Top 25 U.S. Attractions

The United States of America is one of the largest countries in the world, ranking third in both land mass and population worldwide. It represents 26 different climate zones with everything from tundra in Alaska to subtropical in the Southeast to hot desert in the Southwest. In addition to being one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world, the U.S. is also one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. There are 350 languages spoken in U.S. households, with citizens represented from all over the world.

This list will feature world-famous sites we’ve all heard of as well as a few obscure, but absolutely must-see attractions scattered across the 50 U.S. states. Here are the top 25 U.S. attractions:

25. Mount Rushmore – This uniquely American landmark is located in South Dakota and features the four likenesses of former U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. The monument of iconic presidents is blasted from and carved into the rock face towering above the spectators below. Visitors can try the short Presidential Trail at the base of Mount Rushmore which provides better views and an interesting perspective on the landmark.

24. Freedom Trail in Boston – This 2.5 mile walking route 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 sites can be found at the Visitors Center in the Boston Common.

23. Venice Beach in Los Angeles – Venice Beach is a must-visit spot during a trip to Los Angeles. The Venice Beach boardwalk is highly entertaining with all manners of street performers giving passersby a show. After tourists stroll the boardwalk, they can take a walk along Venice Beach and sink their toes into the sand. Not only is the boardwalk excellent for entertainment, shopping, and dining, the area has become a hotbed for new Silicon Valley offices such as Google and Snapchat among many others, bringing billions of investment dollars to the region.

22. Golden Gate Bridge – The bright orange and red Golden Gate Bridge stretching across the San Francisco Bay has been a California icon since it was built in the 1930s. Those looking to snap a picture of the bridge from the coast below or a higher vantage point might experience view obstruction as thick fog is a frequent occurrence in San Francisco, particularly around the Golden Gate Bridge.

21. River Walk in San Antonio – Also known as the Paseo del Rio, the River Walk is a network of walkways lining the San Antonio River, reserved for pedestrians. The revitalized area is packed with region-specific architecture, lush greenery and water views. The River Walk is a hub for shopping, dining and culinary exploration. The River Walk also features a variety of entertainment, with occasional live music and seasonal events.

20. Arches National Park – Arches National Park is a US National Park outside of Moab, Utah covering more than 75,000 acres. The park is located on the Colorado River and is known for containing over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, including the world-famous Delicate Arch. The park contains the highest density of natural arches in the world and is a must-see National Park.

19. Thomas Jefferson’s MonticelloMonticello was the home of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence. Located just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia, the estate now serves as one of the top tourist destinations of the region with daily tours of the house and property while serving as a World Heritage Site, a museum, and a non-profit organization.

18. Kennedy Space Center – Located on the coast of Florida in Cape Canaveral, the Kennedy Space Center has been the launch site for every US human space flight since 1968 and currently operates as a launch site for unmanned rockets. Visitors can learn more about the early pioneers into space, and the history behind the space race. There is also the chance to participate in a Shuttle Launch Experience, replicating the experience of space travel.

17. The Las Vegas Strip – As one of the most iconic cities in all of North America, Las Vegas is often referred to as a “playground for adults.” The Las Vegas Strip houses some of the most famous hotels and casinos in the United States, including the Bellagio, the Venetian, and the MGM Grand among many others. Vegas is also famous for phenomenal live performances. World-class performing groups from music to magic to comedy and acrobatics can be found here nightly.

16. The French Quarter in New Orleans – New Orleans, Louisiana, is made up of several unique districts, but none is so famous as the French Quarter. Also known as the Vieux Carre, the French Quarter explores the rich French colonial influences on the city, including beautiful architecture featured most prominently in the St. Louis Cathedral. Visitors can also enjoy amazing food, street performers, live music, and the world-famous Bourbon Street, the undeniable hub of nightlife, drinking, and entertainment in the city.

15. The Biltmore Estate – This Gilded Age estate was built by George Washington Vanderbilt II and is the largest privately-owned home in the United States. The estate covers nearly 7,000 acres and the home is 178,926 square feet with 250 rooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. The Biltmore Estate is Châteauesque in style and uses the French Renaissance as influence. Visitors can take tours of the mansion, wander the vast and impressive gardens, and stay, dine, and drink in several high-end establishments on the property.

14. Navy Pier in Chicago – Extending over the waters of Lake Michigan is the Navy Pier, an enormous pier in the heart of Chicago’s coastal Streeterville neighborhood. Within the pier, there are countless attractions suited to the whole family. Beautifully manicured gardens are the ideal place for a scenic stroll, and lots of souvenir shops are a wonderful way to snag gifts on a vacation to Chicago. The pier is also home to the Chicago Children’s Museum, two theaters and an abundance of excellent restaurants.

13. Walt Disney World – As the most visited attraction among the many theme parks of Orlando, Florida, Walt Disney World is actually made up of several distinct theme parks, including the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and the Blizzard Beach Water Park. Visitors enjoy state-of-the-art rides and entertainment, watch Broadway-quality shows and explore nightlife, dining, shopping and boundless entertainment at Disney Springs.

12. Glacier National Park – The National Park system of the United States is one of the truly remarkable characteristics of the country. Glacier National Park in Montana offers some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States with mountains, lakes, glaciers, valleys, and waterfalls combining 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 ft Logan pass, opened in 1932. Due to the elevation and climate, the road is only open during the summer months.

11. Denali National Park – The Denali National Park and Preserve is located in Interior Alaska and contains Mount McKinley, the highest mountain in North America. The word “Denali” means “the high one” in the native Athabaskan language and refers to Mount McKinley. In addition, the park protects an incredible wilderness area that contains grizzly bears, caribou, moose, wolves, and numerous other creatures.

10. Yosemite National Park – Continuing with the awesome National Park system, Yosemite is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, about 3 hours east of San Francisco. This extraordinary outdoor wonderland is known worldwide for its amazing scenery, with spectacular granite cliffs, breathtaking waterfalls, and towering sequoia trees that can be hundreds of years old. Yosemite Valley is a top spot to explore in the park, because it boasts the enormous Yosemite Falls as well as the granite monolith called Half Dome.

9. Manhattan and Times Square – New York City as a whole could be number one on this list, and though it should be, the entire city is not considered a U.S. attraction. Times Square is considered a U.S. attraction however, and is a must-see during your visit to New York. Go to check out the billboards, catch a glimpse of the Naked Cowboy, and maybe go somewhere like Madame Tussaud’s, but make sure you venture a block or two off Times Square for better dining options.

8. Volcanoes National Park and Kilauea – Kilauea is the most recent of a series of volcanoes that have created the Hawaiian Archipelago. It is a very low, flat shield volcano, vastly different in profile from the high, sharply sloping peaks of stratovolcanoes. Kilauea is one of the most active volcano on the Earth, an invaluable resource for volcanologists. Thirty-three eruptions have taken place since 1952, not including the current eruption which started on January 3, 1983 and is still ongoing.

7. The Florida Keys – The Florida Keys are a 120-mile long chain of tropical islands curving around the base of the Florida peninsula, connected to the mainland by a series of bridges. The most spectacular bridge, the Seven Mile Bridge in the Lower Keys, has been used as a location for films including True Lies and 2 Fast 2 Furious. US Highway 1, the “Overseas Highway” runs from Key Largo, Islamadora, Marathon, Lower Keys and finally to Key West, the most distant and most famous island. Check out our article on the best things to do while visiting the Keys.

6. The White House in Washington D.C. – The White House in Washington DC is the official residence and office of the President of the United States. It was built between 1792 and 1800 and first used by President John Adams. Tours have become increasingly difficult to book with bookings made at least six months in advance and limitations on group sizes. That said, if you can’t manage to book a tour, the rest of Washington D.C. has ample opportunities for museums, monuments, and other attractions.

5. The Statue of Liberty – A universal symbol of freedom and gift to the U.S. from the French, the Statue of Liberty is America’s most familiar icon and the largest statue in the world. Standing 152 ft in the 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. Anyone who plans on going inside the Statue of Liberty is encouraged to make advanced ticket reservations.

4. Central Park – Central Park is the most visited urban park in the United States, with more than 40 million visitors annually, and one of the most filmed locations in the world. Though it is not the largest park in New York City, it does cover 843 acres of land between the Upper West Side and Upper East Side. Visitors can spend time at the Central Park Zoo, check out the beautiful lake, or just spend time walking around people watching in this urban oasis amidst the concrete jungle of New York City.

3. Niagara Falls – Niagara Falls is the collective name for the three waterfalls located along the border of New York and Ontario, with Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls as the individual names of each spectacle. Horseshoe Falls is by far the largest of the three with approximately 90{8638ccd9af8282cbf0f67b1fdb6786def932c7d7210936cf91a8c530d7383d94} of the Niagara River flowing over Horseshoe. It’s also the most iconic and picturesque and can be viewed from both the U.S. side and Canadian side. Check out our article on all things to do while visiting Niagara.

2. Yellowstone National Park – Yellowstone National Park was the world’s first national park, with more than 2.2 million acres set aside in 1872 to preserve the vast number of geysers, hot springs, and other thermal areas, as well as to protect the incredible wildlife and rugged beauty of the area. Yellowstone lies on top of a gigantic caldera volcano where light, hot, molten rock rises toward the surface. Subsequently, the park contains half of all the world’s known geothermal features, with more than 10,000 geysers and hot springs. In addition, black bears, grizzly bears, deer, elk, bison and wolves can all be found within the park’s borders.

1. The Grand Canyon The Grand Canyon is located in northern Arizona and is one of the great tourist attractions in the United States. Carved over several million years by the Colorado River, the canyon attains a depth of over 1.6 km (1 mile) and 446 km (277 miles) long. The Grand Canyon is not the deepest or the longest canyon in the world but the overwhelming size and its intricate and colorful landscape offers visitor spectacular vistas that are unmatched throughout the world.