Sites of America
1. Times Square, New York City, N.Y.: 35 million This Manhattan crossroads of commerce topped Forbes Traveler's global tourist attraction list, so it's no surprise that it's number one here, too. A study cited by the Times Square Alliance estimates an average of more than 2,000 pedestrians Times Square, New York City traversing a block of 7th Avenue during a 15-minute weekday period. On New Year's Eve, more than one million revelers pack Times Square. 2. The Las Vegas Strip, Nev.: 31 Million The "Neon Trail" that comprises the heart of Sin City is also part of the federal government's National Scenic Byways Program, which designates roads based on "archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities." Hard to say which of these qualities best describes Vegas, Las Vegas Strip but we can disqualify "natural." The NSBP's number for Strip cruisers is 31 million, about 80 percent of the city's total (39.2 million) visitors. National Mall and Memorial Parks, Washington, D.C. 24 million Many of the nation's iconic public landmarks are found in the 1,000plus acres of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, including the Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson Memorials, and the Korean and Vietnam War Veterans Memorials. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The Smithsonian Institution's 19
museums are also adjacent to The Mall; last year the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History alone drew 7.1 million visitors. 4. Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, Mass.: 20 Million Built in 1742 by Peter Faneuil, a wealthy Boston merchant, Faneuil Hall served as a commercial center of the city for centuries and a site for famous orations, like Samuel Adams' independence-rallying speech to colonists. Faneuil also includes the restored 19th-century Quincy Market. Today, shoppers account for a large share of visitors, and while we've excluded pure Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons shopping malls (like Minnesota's Mall of America) from this list, Faneuil's historic significance vaults it to the status of cultural attraction. 5. Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.: 17.1 million The most popular of Disney's Florida attractions saw a 2.5 percent increase in visitation compared with 2006, according to the TEA/ERA Theme Park Attendance Report. The Magic Kingdom is the most popular of Disney's Florida attractions, followed Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons by Epcot, Disney Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, and we've used it as a watermark for traffic to Disney's "destination complex."
6. Disneyland Park, Anaheim, Calif.: 14.9 million With nearly 15 million visitors last year, the original Disney park (opened in 1955), had a record season according to the TEA/ERA. The new Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage and the Pirate's Lair (renovated after the "Pirates of the Caribbean" blockbuster films) were big hits with guests. 7. Fisherman's Wharf/Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco, Calif.: 14 million The city by the Bay receives approximately 15.8 million visitors a year, and Fisherman's Wharf is its top visitor attraction. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which includes the famous orange bridge along with numerous other spaces throughout the Bay Area, draws 14.3 million visitors annually.
8. Niagara Falls, N.Y.: 12 million The Falls, which straddle the U.S.-Canadian border, have been a tourist mecca since the mid-19th century. Using the bridges that connect both sides, the thundering waters are visible from observation towers, by boat and from various hiking trails and, on the Canadian side, from the Whirlpool Aero Car, an antique cable car. With statistics from the Niagara Falls Tourism Bureau and Niagara Falls Brige Commission, visitors are approximated at 12 million a year.
9. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tenn./N.C.: 9.4 million America's most visited national park is neither the Grand Canyon (which comes in at number 20 on our list) nor Yosemite. With more than 800 miles of protected trails, this natural wonder hosted nearly 10 million hikers, birders and drivers last year.
10. Navy Pier, Chicago, Ill.: 8.6 million Opened in 1916, this Chicago landmark on the shore of Lake Michigan has served as a campus and military training facility. Today it hosts 50 acres of shops, restaurants and exposition facilities. The Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the Chicago Children's Museum are here, along with a full calendar of nighttime fireworks shows.
11. Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Ariz./Nev.: 7.6 million Thirty miles southeast of Las Vegas lies the U.S.'s largest man-made lake and reservoir, a recreational mecca for boaters, swimmers, fishermen and naturalists. But Lake Mead, which is formed by the Hoover Dam's interruption of the Colorado River, may not stay on this list for long. It's a major source of water for the southwestern U.S. and according to researchers, if consumption patterns and climate change continue at their current pace, the lake may be dry by 2021. 12. Universal Studios Orlando/Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando, Fla.: 6.2
million Like its rival Disney, Universal houses what ERA's Christian Aaen calls a "destination complex" in Orlando, where two theme parks, Universal Studios Orlando and Universal's Islands of Adventure, vie for thrill-seeking tourists. Among Universal Studio's attractions are Shrek 4-D and a "psychological thrill ride," Revenge of the Mummy.
13. SeaWorld Florida, Orlando, Fla.: 6 million Attendance was up one percent from the previous year for this watery theme park-one of several Orlando sites on our list. Shamu Stadium and the Whale and Dolphin Theatre are among the marine spectacles on display here. The TEA/ERA puts SeaWorld's 2007 attendance at 5.8 million; the Orlando Sentinel cites an anonymous Busch Entertainment (the park's parent company) source citing 6.2 million visitors. We've split the difference and called it six million. 14. San Antonio River Walk, Texas: 5.1 million The paths along the San Antonio River wind by shops, restaurantsâ€”and the Alamo. The River Walk proclaims itself the "Number One entertainment destination in Texas," with 5.1 million visitors a year. Paseo del Rio's Executive Director Greg Gallaspy says 888,000 of those come for events produced by the association, including a mariachi festival and the Fiesta de las Luminarias, when the walkway is aglow with candle-lit bags.
15. Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah: 5 million The Mormon church's headquarters are here, but Temple Square is more than just a destination for Latter Day Saints. In 2007, visitation to the square, which is festooned with lights for the holiday season, numbered around five million, making it Utah's top tourist destination. According to the Church, "Records indicate visitors represented every state in the United States as well as 83 different countries."
16. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Penn./N.J.: 4.8 million River-focused recreation is what draws nearly five million tourists to this Appalachianridge park on the border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. But there are several historical attractions here, too, including Native American archaeological sites and colonial villages. 17. Universal Studios Hollywood, Calif.: 4.7 million The flagship of the Universal theme park empire calls itself "The Entertainment Capital of L.A." A bold claim in a city known to call itself the entertainment capital of the world. Nearly five million star gazers and thrill seekers came last year to tour the sets of "Desperate Housewives," "King Kong" and other Universal productions. 18. Metropolitan Museum, New York, N.Y.: 4.5 million (tie) Founded in 1870 (and moved to its current home in Central Park in 1880), the Met's vast stores of art include more than two million works in its two-million-square-foot building. In 2006, four and a half million visitors came to peruse some of the world's greatest art collections, from American and European to Egyptian and the newly refurbished Greek and Roman Galleries. 18. Waikiki Beach, Oahu, Hawaii: 4.5 million* (tie) This iconic Hawaiian tourist destination, on the edge of the Honolulu neighborhood that shares is name, offers splendid views of the volcanic cone, Diamond Head. With its droves of tourists, it also made Forbes Traveler's list of over-hyped beaches. Upwards of 4.5 million sunbathers try to relax on its sands each year 20. Grand Canyon, Ariz.: 4.41 million This famous gorge was etched in geologic time by the Colorado River over a period of
about 6 million years. Tourists have arrived at a much quicker rate since the canyon achieved National Park status in 1919. A horseshoe-shaped glass Skywalk, opened in 2007, allows the nearly 4.5 million visitors a chance to experience vertigo. 21. Busch Gardens Africa, Tampa Bay, Fla.: 4.4 million This Africa-themed park houses over 2,700 animals alongside the usual array of rides, restaurants and shows. At "Jambo Junction" guests can participate in feedings of animals like Caribbean flamingos, lemurs, cuscuses, sloths and opossums. At "Rock a Doo Wop," they can enjoy hits of the '50s and '60s. 22. Cape Cod National Seashore, Mass.: 4.35 million Lighthouses, cranberry bogs, dunes and forests line the 44,600 acres of preserved coastline in Massachusetts. The bicycle and hiking trails and sandy beaches enticed more than 4 million visitors last year. 23. SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego, Calif.: 4.26 million Owned by Anheuser-Busch, the original SeaWorld San Diego was founded in 1964 by four UCLA grads who initially wanted to open an underwater restaurant. For $170 a head, visitors over 10 can now slip into a wet suit and cavort with polar bears in the "Wild Arctic Interaction Program." 24. American Museum of Natural History, New York: 4 million (tie) The AMNH's 45 permanent exhibit halls contain a vast record of world history, from dinosaur fossils to the human genome. The 18-acre campus is located in Theodore Roosevelt Park on Manhattan's Upper West Side, and its popular overnight program gives eight-to-12-year-olds the thrill of "falling asleep in the darkened halls of one of the world's most famous museums." 25. Atlantic City Boardwalk, New Jersey: 4 million (tie) The Boardwalk (immortalized in the Monopoly board game) runs along the beach for four miles, skirting past casinos, hotels and shops, and connects with the Garden Pier, home to the Atlantic City Historical Museum and the Atlantic City Art Center. The Following Are Places Not on this list that I recommend
26. Sequoia National Park- The Great Red Wood Trees The park is most famous for its Giant Sequoia trees, including the General Sherman tree, the largest tree on Earth. They are long-lived evergreens living for up to 2,200 years and reaching up to 115.5 m (379.1 ft) in height and 8 m (26 ft) diameter at breast height.
27. Mount Rushmore Near Keystone, South Dakota, it is a monumental granite sculpture by Gutzon Borglum, located within the United States Presidential Memorial that represents the first 150 years of the history of the United States of America with 60-foot (18 m) sculptures of the heads of former United States presidents (left to right): George Washington (1732– 1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), and Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865). The memorial attracts approximately two million people annually. 28. Yellowstone National Park The vast natural forest of Yellowstone National Park covers nearly 9,000 km2; 96% of the park lies in Wyoming, 3% in Montana and 1% in Idaho. Yellowstone contains half of all the world's known geothermal features, with more than 10,000 examples. It also has the world's largest concentration of geysers (more than 300 geysers, or two thirds of all those on the planet). Established in 1872, Yellowstone is equally known for its wildlife, such as grizzly bears, wolves, bison and wapitis. 29. Grand Teton National Park It is in northwestern Wyoming, next to Yellowstone National Park. The central feature of the park is the Teton Range, a 40-mile-long mountain front. The range includes eight peaks over 12,000 feet (3,658 m), including the Grand Teton at 13,770 feet (4,198 m). Elk, moose, pronghorn, mule deer, and bison are commonly seen in the park. Black bears are common in forested areas, while grizzlies are occasionally observed in the northern part of the park. More than 300 species of birds can be observed, including bald eagles and peregrine falcons.
30. Yosemite National Park Yosemite National Park lies in the heart of California. With its 'hanging' valleys, many waterfalls, cirque lakes, polished domes, moraines and U-shaped valleys, it provides an excellent overview of all kinds of granite relief fashioned by glaciation. At 600–4,000 m, a great variety of flora and fauna can also be found here. 31. New Orleans, The French Quarter New Orleans is the home of jazz music and Mardi Gras as well as the French Quarter. The French Quarter is New Orleans most popular neighborhood. It is one of the best preserved historical neighborhoods in America, and has such a strong and lasting Spanish and French influence that you may really feel like you're visiting a foreign country. Occupying the same six by thirteen block area laid out in 1722, it's the only intact French Colonial and Spanish settlement remaining in the United States.
32. Key West, Florida- Mallory Square, Hemmingway House Key West is at the end of the Florida Keys, a group of Islands that extend from the tip of Florida to the south west. They are connected by long bridges that extended hundreds of miles. Key west was the home of Earnest Hemmingway and is known to have a liberal and eccentric population. One of the more popular tourist destinations is the Hemmingway house. Tourists also go to Mallory Square in the evenings to see artists and street performers while waiting for the sun to set. Links for More Information An extensive list of Great American tourist sites can be found at the following link http://www.planetware.com/california/yosemite-national-park-us-ca-ynp.htm Popular Road Trip Routes Across America http://www.roadtripusa.com/ The Top Ten National parks in America http://www.infoplease.com/toptens/nationalparks.html A Slideshow of America Scenery http://oldbluewebdesigns.com/mybeautifulamerica.htm