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The 25 Most Popular Cities to Visit in America


Surfers catch waves late in the day under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Surfers catch waves late in the day under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Big cities and small historic towns top the list of most popular places to visit in the United States, according to the travel site,TripAdvisor.

Millions of TripAdvisor users voted New York, Chicago and Charleston, South Carolina as the top three destinations in the United States.

Here’s a look at TripAdvisor's Top 25 most popular travel destinations in America!


1. New York City

A passenger boat in front of One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan in New York, April 17, 2015.

A passenger boat in front of One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan in New York, April 17, 2015.

More than 50 million people visit New York City every year. The five boroughs -- or regions -- of New York have some of the most easily recognized attractions in the world. Visitors on a budget can take a free boat from Manhattan to Staten Island for a great view of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline.

2. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago residents take a selfie after the Chicago River is dyed green ahead of the St. Patrick's Day parade.

Chicago residents take a selfie after the Chicago River is dyed green ahead of the St. Patrick's Day parade.

America’s third-largest city offers world-class museums, great food, sporting events, and iconic architecture -- including Willis Tower, America’s tallest building. The Midwest city is also known for comedy. The Second City theater is where many famous comedians got their start, including Mike Meyers and Tina Fey.

Check out our own Chicago travel story here!

3. Charleston, South Carolina

Re-enactors in 2011 fire mortars towards Fort Sumter, to mark the first shots of the Civil War fired 150 years ago in Charleston.

Re-enactors in 2011 fire mortars towards Fort Sumter, to mark the first shots of the Civil War fired 150 years ago in Charleston.

Many say Charleston is one of the most beautiful and historic places in the United States. The coastal city has a very rich history. The Civil War began at its waterfront, at Fort Sumter, which visitors can explore. But present-day Charleston has a lot to offer, too. Conde Nast Traveler voted it the number one U.S. city, for its beautiful architecture, food, and friendly people.

Check out VOA Learning English’s Charleston travel story here!

4. Las Vegas, Nevada

A man takes pictures of Caesars Palace hotel and casino, in Las Vegas.

A man takes pictures of Caesars Palace hotel and casino, in Las Vegas.

The desert city of Las Vegas is known around the world for its casinos and bright lights. Visitors stay at world-class hotels, eat at top chefs’ restaurants, and usually see a spectacular show or concert.

5. Seattle, Washington

Customers at Pike Place's Fish Market

Customers at Pike Place's Fish Market

Visitors to the West Coast city of Seattle will find the iconic Space Needle, the world’s first Starbucks, and Pike Place Market, one of the oldest and most famous farmers markets in the country. The Space Needle was built in 1962 for the World’s Fair. Riding up to the top provides views of the nearby mountains.

6. San Francisco, California

Surfers catch a wave under the Golden Gate Bridge

Surfers catch a wave under the Golden Gate Bridge

The most famous San Francisco site is the Golden Gate Bridge. Opened in 1937, it still ranks among the top 10 longest bridge spans in the world. Beyond the bridge, San Francisco has beautiful ocean views and one of the largest Chinatowns in the world. Just a ferry ride away is Alcatraz Island, the former federal prison.

We have written about Alcatraz here.

7. Washington, D.C.

Cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., with Thomas Jefferson Memorial in the backdrop, April 12, 2015. (photo taken by Diaa Bekheet)

Cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., with Thomas Jefferson Memorial in the backdrop, April 12, 2015. (photo taken by Diaa Bekheet)

No city in America packs as many monuments and museums into one area as Washington, DC. From the Thomas Jefferson Memorial to the World War II Memorial, Washington has enough (free!) attractions to keep you busy for several weeks. In the spring, the cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin draw millions of visitors from around the world.

8. New Orleans, Louisiana

Dressed for Mardi Gras, friends enjoy beignets and coffee at the famous Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans.

Dressed for Mardi Gras, friends enjoy beignets and coffee at the famous Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans.

New Orleans is home to the annual Mardi Gras celebration, the always busy Bourbon street, the elegant French Quarter, jazz and beignets -- the signature dessert of the city. After a fun night in the city, you can head to Cafe Du Monde for a cup of coffee and a trio of beignets.

9. Palm Springs, California

Palm-lined streets in Palm Springs

Palm-lined streets in Palm Springs

Palm Springs is a resort city in the Coachella Valley desert. Beginning in the 1920s, the city was a popular place for movie stars to escape Hollywood and relax. With an average of 354 days of sunshine per year, visitors can enjoy golfing, hiking, horseback riding, swimming, and tennis.

10. San Diego, California

Coronado Beach in San Diego

Coronado Beach in San Diego

Few places in America have better weather than San Diego. It’s a good thing, too, since there’s a lot to explore outdoors in this southern California city. Try your hand at surfing in the Pacific Ocean on some of America’s best beaches, or enjoy the ocean from a distance at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park.

11. St. Louis, Missouri

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis stands 192 meters tall along the banks of the Mississippi River.

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis stands 192 meters tall along the banks of the Mississippi River.

One of this Midwest city’s nicknames is “The Gateway to the West.” Indeed, St. Louis’ Gateway Arch is a monument for westward expansion in the United States. It is the tallest freestanding monument in the nation. Visitors can take an elevator to the top.

12. Sedona, Arizona

A landmark of Sedona's skyline and one of the most photographed sights in Arizona, Cathedral Rock is located in the Coconino National Forest.

A landmark of Sedona's skyline and one of the most photographed sights in Arizona, Cathedral Rock is located in the Coconino National Forest.

Sedona is a relaxed desert community in the U.S. southwest. Some of the oldest rocks on Earth surround the area, called Red Rock Country. Each morning and every night, the rock formations change colors. Sedona is also famous for its growing arts community and Native American history.

13. Honolulu, Hawaii

A paddle boarder looks out over the Pacific Ocean as the sun sets off of Waikiki Beach, in Honolulu

A paddle boarder looks out over the Pacific Ocean as the sun sets off of Waikiki Beach, in Honolulu

The capital city of Hawaii, Honolulu is surrounded by beautiful scenery, including Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head mountain. Honolulu is also home to the Pearl Harbor Historic Site, the Navy base bombed by Japan during World War II, leading America to enter the war.

14. Miami Beach

A dancer in Little Haiti, a neighborhood in Miami.

A dancer in Little Haiti, a neighborhood in Miami.

Miami Beach offers beautiful white sands, gourmet restaurants and a very active nightlife. Beyond the beach and bright lights, visitors should check out the surrounding ethnic neighborhoods, such as Little Havana and Little Haiti.

15. Branson, Missouri

A rollercoaster at Silver Dollar City, in Branson, Missouri.

A rollercoaster at Silver Dollar City, in Branson, Missouri.

Branson is the place to go for country music concerts, comedy shows, and magic shows. Most days, up to 90 performances are taking place at nearly 40 theaters in the city. Set near the Ozark Mountains, the surrounding nature offers great fishing, biking, and hiking.

16. Boston, Massachusetts

Faneuil Hall, right, is seen at night in Boston. Faneuil Hall is one of the historic sites on Boston's Freedom Trail.

Faneuil Hall, right, is seen at night in Boston. Faneuil Hall is one of the historic sites on Boston's Freedom Trail.

For first-time visitors to this historic East Coast city, walk the four-kilometer Freedom Trail. The trail leads visitors to 16 major sites, including the Paul Revere House. Built in the 1680s, it is the oldest structure in downtown Boston. The city is also home to world-class universities like Harvard and MIT.

17. Savannah, Georgia

Diners eat at Mrs. Wilkes' restaurant in Savannah, Georgia

Diners eat at Mrs. Wilkes' restaurant in Savannah, Georgia

Savannah’s beautiful and tree-filled historic district is the largest National Historic Landmark in the United States. But the city is not only a feast for the eyes. Eat at one of Savannah’s family-style restaurants to experience the best of U.S. southern hospitality.

18. Orlando, Florida

The Cindarella Castle at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

The Cindarella Castle at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

Orlando is the “amusement parks capital” of the United States. The most famous amusement park, of course, is Walt Disney World. After the roller coaster rides, you can visit the park’s EPCOT Center. EPCOT (the Experimental Community of Tomorrow) includes places that represent cultures of countries around the world.

19. Portland, Oregon

Colorful leaves are reflected in a pool of water at the Portland Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon

Colorful leaves are reflected in a pool of water at the Portland Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon

The friendly city of Portland, in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, offers excellent dining and beautiful nature. Be sure to visit the city’s Japanese Garden, one of the biggest of its kind outside of Japan. Portland also claims to have more breweries than any other city on earth.

20. Lahaina, Hawaii

A humpback whale leaps out of the water near Lahaina on the island of Maui in Hawaii.

A humpback whale leaps out of the water near Lahaina on the island of Maui in Hawaii.

Lahaina is the former capital of Hawaii. In the 1800s, it was an important whaling village. The great writer Herman Melville wrote about this era in his classic novel Moby Dick. Today, visitors have a chance to see humpback whales in the waters here from December to May.

21. Saint Augustine, Florida

Visitors walk past the Casa Rodriguez, one of the oldest structures in St. Augustine.

Visitors walk past the Casa Rodriguez, one of the oldest structures in St. Augustine.

St. Augustine is the oldest European settlement in the United States. The Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon claimed the area in the name of Spain in 1513. Be sure to visit the Castillo de San Marcos monument, a fort built by the Spanish in the late 1600s.

22. Nashville, Tennessee

People visit the the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville.

People visit the the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville.

Nashville calls itself the “Music City.” Visitors can learn about the music scene at the Country Music Hall of Fame, and then enjoy some times at the famous Grand Ole Opry, the world’s longest-running live radio program. Some of the most famous musicians recorded their hit songs here, including Elvis Presley and Jon Bon Jovi.

23. Los Angeles, California

Hollywood, California

Hollywood, California

From the palm-lined ocean avenues to Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles impresses visitors. Get a look at how films are made at one of the movie studios, or high-five a famous person’s prints at the TCL Chinese Theater. If you are in LA in late February or early March, you might even get to see all the movie stars in one place on Oscar night.

24. San Antonio, Texas

A woman fans herself to stay cool while attending the Fiesta Mariachi Festival on San Antonio's River Walk.

A woman fans herself to stay cool while attending the Fiesta Mariachi Festival on San Antonio's River Walk.

During San Antonio’s Fiesta Week in April, more than 3 million visit the city. But the city’s attractions can be enjoyed year-round. Don’t miss the tree-lined River Walk or the Alamo -- a former Roman Catholic mission and the location of the famous Battle of the Alamo in 1836.

25. Austin, Texas.

Jenny Lewis performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival on Oct. 12, 2014, in Austin, Texas.

Jenny Lewis performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival on Oct. 12, 2014, in Austin, Texas.

Many visitors come to this fun, bike-friendly city in the Texas Hill Country for great music. The outdoor music festivals Austin City Limits and South by Southwest always feature some of the most popular bands of the year.


Which cities would you most like to visit in the United States? If you have already visited the U.S., what was your favorite place? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the comments section!

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Words in This Story

destination - n. a place to which a person is going

world-class - adj. of or among the best in the world

iconic - adj.relating to a widely known symbol

spectacular - adj.

attraction - n. something interesting or enjoyable that people want to visit, see, or do.

surrounding - adj. all around a particular place or thing

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