The 20 Most Visited Landmarks In The USA (That Are Actually Surprising)

The United States is home to some of the most popular tourist attractions in the world. Each state has at least one landmark they like to sell as the top spot for tourists to visit. Some places like New York, California and Illinois have multiple attractions that make it stand out for those looking to make a trip. There are some obvious things that everyone knows will be crowded. However, changes do often occur with certain landmarks becoming popular over time. Quite a few surprising places have become known as impressive destinations worth checking out.

Everyone wants to make the most of their trip when visiting a new state for the first time. The average person will want to hit up tourist attractions to find out if the hype lives up to the joy achieved from seeing it. We will look at the informative list of the most visited landmarks in the United States as of 2018. These places currently get the most visitors and attention from folks wanting to have a good time, and for good reason. However, some of them are certainly quite unexpected.

Read on to find out where the most popular spots are in the country. These are the twenty most visited landmarks in the United States with some surprising places.

20 Pier 39 in San Francisco


San Francisco is one of the most beloved areas in the United States. It makes perfect sense that Pier 39 is among the highest-populated landmarks in the country. Pier 39 features a combination of many great activities for everyone to enjoy.

Sailing, park rides, and an incredible aquarium experience offer a fun variety of activities. Many people spend the entire day there going from the fun attractions to the many top dining options to special events. There are often firework celebrations and themed events that bring people to the area for extra fun. Fleet Week is the next major event that will see many people come to Pier 39.

19 Mall of America in Minnesota


The Mall of America is a very underrated place that people visiting Minnesota love to check out. It is technically a large mall despite most people visiting for other reasons. There are many enjoyable rides located inside of the mall, which adds the fun of a theme park day without the humid weather or potential rain.

Nickelodeon Universe is arguably the top attraction in the Mall of America with people of all ages loving the rides. There’s also a log chute that everyone is suggested to try out at least once when visiting the mall. The convenience of being a mall adds the element of shopping or relaxing in between checking out the rides and other fun activities offered.

18 Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah


Bryce Canyon National Park is not often mentioned when talking about the most beloved parks in the country. The fact that it is in Utah makes it unlikely to be on your list of obvious places to visit. However, it has become a hot spot for nature lovers and tourists.

5 million people per year find their way in Bryce Canyon National Park to check out the beautiful scenery. The formation of the rocks set up a stunning visual that is worth finding. Many nature enthusiasts decide to visit Utah for the first time with Bryce Canyon National Park as the motivation.

17 Navy Pier in Chicago


Most people expect the Willis Tower to be the top landmark in Chicago, but it is the Navy Pier that attracts the most people annually. The location near the stunning lake allows folks to enjoy one of the most beautiful parts of the city with a lot of other fun entertainment surrounding it.

Navy Pier is known for its amazing Ferris Wheel ride that gives you a breathtaking view of the city. There are other rides, a mini-golf course and museums to make up a full day in the area. Food is an appealing aspect of the Navy Pier with many great restaurants to choose from. Deep dish pizza is often the most popular choice at Chicago’s most popular landmark.

16 Mackinac Bridge in Michigan


The Mackinac Bridge is the visual most people think of when it comes to Michigan landmarks. This bridge connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas in Michigan, with many residents using it on a daily basis to get to their work or home locations.

Many tourists enjoy checking it out at least once when visiting the area. A total of 9 million people per year visit the Mackinac Bridge in one way or another. This stands out among the most surprising places that draws such a crowd. The bridge certainly has become part of the identity for Michigan.

15 South Street Seaport in New York


New York City is home to a few of the most visited landmarks in the world. One of the more surprising places to get a lot of attention is the South Street Seaport. It is a historic area in Manhattan with a variety of things to do there. Various New York publications even voted it the best place for a date in the city.

South Street Seaport features a variety of options with great restaurants, shopping hot spots, IPIC theaters and museums. There is also the beautiful view that adds to the day on its own. Many tourists end up loving South Street Seaport due to the ability to do many different things in one day.

14 Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee


Great Smoky Mountains National Park allows two states to appreciate its beauty as it borders both North Carolina and Tennessee. The visual makes it one of the most beautiful parks in the country and that shows in the numbers. An estimated 9 million people make it out to Great Smoky Mountains National Park each year.

The stunning forests and wildflowers leave people wanting to see more of the gorgeous park. There are also the perks of streams, rivers and waterfalls for those that find relaxation near the water. Hiking routes allow visitors to truly appreciate the surroundings of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

13 Venice Beach in Los Angeles


Los Angeles is among the dream destinations for people wanting to travel more in the United States. Many fun places exist in Los Angeles, but Venice Beach is the one that stands out the most. 10 million people per year check out the gorgeous beach to appreciate the beauty and hustle of Los Angeles.

The beach itself is spectacular, but the Venice Beach Boardwalk provides more fun for a day of variety. You get the view of Venice Beach along with various forms of street entertainment. Top performers in the city do things like juggle, sing, dance and sculpt all on the boardwalk. Venice Beach gives you a relaxing day along with unique forms of entertainment.

12 Pike Place Market in Seattle


Pike Place Market is a hot spot in the Seattle area with a combination of historical and modern fun. It overlooks the waterfront of Elliott Bay and has been around for over 100 years. Seattle residents take pride in visiting the popular area while tourists often go there among the first choices of places to check out.

The markets offer a variety of delicious foods, from fresh fish to tremendous seafood dishes. There are also frequent cheese tastings that receive rave reviews. You can even find the first ever Starbucks location at Pike Place Market. Many themed events take place there to add more fun to the area and provide great experiences.

11 Balboa Park in San Diego


One of the most popular places in all of California is Balboa Park located in San Diego. Many of the most beloved places in San Diego happen to be in Balboa Park. The San Diego Zoo is located there and considered among the top zoos in the world.

Museums, carousels, gardens and an art center make up the things to do during a day in Balboa Park. It has become an important part of San Diego for good reason and anyone visiting the area is likely going to spend at least one day in Balboa Park. It may take longer to truly enjoy everything offered there.

10 Golden Gate Park in San Francisco


Another California park with a lot of interest is the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The park gives visitors many fun options to have a good time. Some of the top attractions in the park are the de Young Museum, California Academy of Sciences, the San Francisco Botanical Garden and Japanese Tea Garden.

Fun activities like biking, tennis, disc golf and Segway tours are all offered for more action-packed entertainment. Golden Gate Park brings in over 13 million people year with both locals and tourists looking to enjoy the beautiful San Francisco location. The popularity of this landmark is well deserved.

9 Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston


Another surprising place to bring in millions of visitors is the Faneuil Hall Marketplace located in Boston. 15 million people visit the marketplace each year. Most folks go there to appreciate the variety of shopping and dining options. You can get all your clothes shopping done each season along with a superb meal.

The Faneuil Hall Marketplace also offers entertainment with musicians, magicians and street performers all there. There are even various outdoor classes and activities for those wanting to get exercise or play games in a beautiful location. Expect the Faneuil Hall Marketplace to continue growing in popularity as it continues to trend upwards.

8 Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco


The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most iconic images in all of the United States. Most people in the country instantly think of San Francisco when seeing it. The bridge is even recognized globally for pop culture reasons as it was part of the credits for hit 90s sitcom Full House.

Many people love visiting the Golden Gate Bridge when taking a trip to San Francisco. There are often big crowds there, especially during the summer months as everyone wants to get a cool picture when checking it out. The walking tours, hike options and bridge café all are fun elements to visiting the Golden Gate Bridge.

7 Disneyland Resort in California


Disney has some of the most beloved places to visit all over the world. Their theme parks are second to none when it comes to getting tourists to take a trip there. The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California is a huge hit with over 16 million visitors each year wanting to take in the beauty and fun of it all.

The rides are the biggest selling point for Disneyland with people of all ages wanting to indulge in childhood fun. Its design is so intricate that it turns into a fantasy land for anyone that loves Disney to experience it for the first time. People come from all over the world to visit the Disneyland Resort in California.

6 Disney's Magic Kingdom in Florida

via:The Cheat Sheet

The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando features quite a few landmarks. Magic Kingdom is the biggest attraction with 17 million visitors per year. The theme park has six different themed areas full of rides and entertainment for people of all ages.

Almost any Disney landmark will attract a crowd, but Magic Kingdom has become the most popular one in the United States. Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean are some of the memorable rides that bring people in. This is certainly the top place to visit if you want a memorable theme park experience in the United States.

5 Grand Central Terminal in New York


New York City is known for having the most people using public transportation in the United States. It is fitting yet surprising that a terminal is one of the top landmarks. Grand Central Terminal is just a train station to many New Yorkers who use it on their daily commute, but for visitors, it has become much more than that through the years.

Grand Central Terminal has been around for over a century and offers many things aside from just taking the train. There are many high-end restaurants and some fun cheaper options to enjoy a meal. The fancier restaurants allow you to overlook the busy lower area of everyone rushing to the trains. Grand Central Terminal gets over 21 million visitors per year.

4 Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas


Las Vegas is among the busiest areas in the United States. The bright lights and wild fun offered makes it appealing to many people wanting to visit for a vacation. Just under 30 million people per year visit the Las Vegas Strip to take in the wild activities offered there.

Many casinos are located there for the ideal fun for most people visiting Las Vegas. There are also many entertainment shows offered from Cirque du Soleil to magic shows to concerts. Everyone can find fun on the Vegas strip. It may be quite surprising to see this many people visit, but the Las Vegas Strip has become a top tourist attraction in the United States.

3 Union Station in Washington, DC


Union Station is arguably the top train station in the United States. It certainly brings in the most tourists as 36.5 million people visit it each year. The hub allows people to travel around the Washington area with ease. There are many other things offered in Union Station to make it more than a form of public transportation.

Hundreds of dining options, shopping locations and a giant food court make it an interesting place to spend some time in between transit. There’s even a movie theater in Union Station that makes it convenient to see a movie whenever one has time. Union Square will likely be part of your best possible trip in Washington.

2 Central Park in New York


The most beloved park in New York and arguably in the entire United States is Central Park. New York is such a busy area that going to a park is the perfect way to unwind from a busy week. However, you won’t find an escape from the crowd as over 40 million people visit Central Park each year.

There are many elements to the park aside from the obvious green areas many will choose to relax or have a picnic at. Central Park has its own zoo full of animals like bears, monkeys and penguins. The William Shakespeare Monument, Bethesda Fountain, Nature Observatory and the stunning lake all find ways to bring fun for folks visiting Central Park.

1 Times Square in New York


The most visited landmark in the United States is the busiest part of New York City. Times Square is often the first visual most people associate with New York City for good reason. An average of just under 42 million people visit Times Square each year.

The bright lights from the billboards and the countless shopping options make it stand out to the average eye when going for the first time. There is iconic the Broadway Theater District that offers many incredible award-winning plays.

Everyone from locals to tourists will find something of interest in the Times Square area. A concept so simple has become the most visited place in the United States.

References: World Atlas, Touropia

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