America is so diverse that you can close your eyes and think of an adventure, a place, a cast of characters and an inspired setting… and chances are you can find it in the U.S. From white sand beaches to Rocky Mountain highs, from well-coiffed University campuses to rugged and ruthless desert terrain, from 3 Michelin star restaurants, to sumptuous street food and characters in all shapes sizes, colors, styles and preferences, America has it all. And cities become the epic characters in great adventures on a stage known as the American scene.s Tourists love cities because they showcase the best in history, business and entertainment, food, charm and technology. Whatever makes a city sizzle is just around the corner or along the interstate if you want it. The following are 15 of the most visited cities in America:
1. New York City
New York is the city that never sleeps …and who wants to sleep when you’re a tourist with all this at your fingertips ? There’s just something about New York that makes you move faster, speak louder and think sharper than when you’re at home. No matter what time of year you visit, the streets of New York are always electric and buzzing with bright lights and ideas. One of the ‘command centers’ for the world economy, New York is a world leader in real estate, banking and finance, retail, tourism, media, entertainment and advertising, to name a few. And so it follows that 56.5 million people from all around the globe, find the eternal buzz of New York irresistible.
Unlike most cities, Charleston has been voted America’s Best City three times ! Here are a few reasons why: cobblestone roads, great basketball at College of Charleston, bike rides on the Ravenel Bridge, perfect grits, perfect weather, crab soup, sunsets on Sullivan’s Island, 75 degree winters and the warmest southern hospitality and charm your heart can stand. And oh yeah, mint juleps which are a beautiful cooling beverage that blends bourbon, water, crushed or shaved ice, and fresh mint.… after many mint juleps on a sublime September porch with friends, you will realize why you and Charleston are gonna be good play pals every fall forever and ever. 14 million visitors every year agree.
3. Las Vegas
What happens in Vegas … just might show up on Instagram so be on high alert. Watch out for random action snaps by friends and foes alike when you’re raising the roof in Vegas. And Vegas is big revenue. Demand for the ‘Hangover Suite’, tours of famous houses like celebrity Mike Tyson’s mansion, or celeb-stalking bars, pools and hot resident DJS or UFC fighters is every day in Sin City. No matter who you are, if you’re determined to turn up the party dial to the point where you can’t remember your sullied name, Vegas is the perennial best destination and 40 million visitors in 2014 seem to agree.
The small size of Seattle allows you to hit a week’s worth of sightseeing in just a few days. This compact high octane touring has about 20 million people clamouring to buy what Seattle is selling to guests and fans of the city’s charms. In just a few short days you can visit the buzzing Pike Place Market, savor world-class seafood fresh off the boat and onto a grill, panorama-gaze from the space needle, cruise the historic Seattle harbour, or visit the neighborhood where Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain grew up. Or relax and do some yoga or tai chi where Bruce Lee taught Kung Fu.
5. San Francisco
Food city fame is one reason people flock to San Fran. Another is the undulating, postcard quality design and cityscape. A city with a long tradition of loud and proud free speech, San Francisco has long always championed progressive values and culturally-forward community activity. Picture-perfect surroundings, glorious shopping, celebrated arts, artists, and architecture is also a part of the allure of San Francisco. A city where you will actually see all those things you’ve heard of or read about or seen in movies, San Francisco feels like home to most visitors and as a result, makes the destination list of 17 million visitors annually.
6. Washington D. C.
The nation’s Capital packs a big punch in terms of valuable experiences, sites, and stories. Many awesome attractions can be found here such as the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, the Pentagon and the White House. D.C. is the power capital of America and attracts many people for the intrigue as well as the fascinating and free museums. 17.4 million people visit Washington every year. But careful, unless you’re an insider, once the museums close for the day, Washington is a town of hushed tones and high brow diplomatic events, and can be underwhelming after dark, if frolicking nightlife is what you’re used to.
7. New Orleans
Looks like the good times are rolling again down Bourbon Street. The birthplace of Jazz, New orleans needs no new introductions to attract tourists, just the reassurance that it’s back to business as usual, 10 years after Hurricane Katrina. With the French Quarter buzzing with music, and some of the best southern food possible, even Anthony Bourdain is once again singing its praises. And with a couple of hundred years of Mardi Gras history to date, and what many say is the single best Jazz Festival in the world, the Big Easy is easing back to its old self in terms of tourism business. With 8.5 million visitors in 2014, it’s not all the way back from the 2004 high of 10 million visitors. But, it’s safe to say that, taking into account the struggling economy, the one-of-a-kind king creole celebration on the Mississippi, New Orleans is as hot as ever.
8. Palm Springs
The Coachella Valley has officially gotten its mojo back to the tune of 5 million visitors annually. The monied set of 20s and 30 somethings have re-discovered Palm Springs on the waves of festival gatherings like Coachella Music festival and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Iconic hideaway to 20th century needle-movers, Palm Springs gained its popularity mid-century as the hidden city of sun, spas and stars. This sun soaked desert oasis is going through a renaissance, returning to its glory days as a legendary playground to the stars. It’s also a hot spot for mid-century architectural design freaks, rock stars and the mercurial art-chic who find the allure of the natural arid seclusion irresistible. As is the cool company of well-heeled tastemakers.
9. San Diego
Head to Mission Beach, San Diego if you want a classic California experience. Lounge and soak up the sun or swim with sun-kissed regulars and tan-seeking travelers. Endless sightseeing around San Diego offers its 34 million visitors each year a wide range of natural ecological wonders, trails and outdoor adventures. San Diego also has an authentic old school amusement park, a wide range of well-designed restaurants with delightful seaside menus, bars and dancing for anyone that loves life near the beach.
Sometimes you just want to escape to the dessert. There’s something about the arid starkness of the sun and dry heat here that is clarifying. And Arizonans know it. So do the 4 million visitors to Sedona, Arizona, a desert spa town which makes its mark as an American tourist hotbed by pampering its visitors. Rejuvenating massages, invigorating hikes and exhilarating horseback rides through Sedona’s crimson desert are designed to calm the soul and energize mind and body. Famous as an artist’s enclave, visiting these ancient and breathtaking red sandstone desert formations will change you and your idea of peace forever.
Whether swimming, snorkeling, outrigger canoeing or exploring miles of volcanic ocean vistas, it doesn’t take a lot of coaxing to make people want to visit Hawaii. With legendary surf, some of the world’s most revered coffee and the magical Aloha spirit, Hawaii represents the best of both worlds old and new. Must-see destinations in Honolulu include the Diamond Head volcanic ridge, Pearl Harbor or WW II Ship, Valor at the Pacific National Monument. But regardless of the draw, the magical fusion of modern American life and Pacific Island beauty make Honolulu the destination for more than 8 million visitors per year.
The ‘American Riviera’, Miami is a bronzed parade of sexy everything. A hedonistic playground for visitors in pursuit of a sun-drenched adventure, Miami is the party capital for this generation’s excesses. Spend the days soaking up sun and pastel cocktails on white sand beaches or hit LIV Nightclub, inside the iconic Fontainebleau Hotel, for a little celebrity gazing. Miami has many other attractions like deep sea fishing tours and art deco architecture which are second to none. But most of the 38 million annual visitors are just like you and your pals, trying to rub a little South Beach magic onto their tingling skin, and get their sexy back.
13. St. Louis
No city sings the happy blues like St. louis. An historic city, St. Louis draws crowds for the Gateway Arch, the St. Louis Museum and the Busch Stadium, but it was the superhighway of the mighty Mississippi River that built the pipeline to St. Louis’ legend. St. Louis was an early influencer among American cities and in the 1800s was the 4rd largest city in the U.S.. St. Louis became a busy tourist city, hosting both the World’s Fair and the Summer Olympics in 1904. For its role in popularizing the blues, and launching the United States onto the world stage as the first non-European city to ever host the summer Olympics, St. Louis attracts 21.6 million visitors annually.
For a town that started out as a humble general store, Branson Missouri is a showtown success. Branson is like the Vegas of the Ozarks mounting a wide variety of shows, music, comedy, and acrobats performing in 90 shows at 50 different venues each day. If you love the outdoors, escape to the Ozarks for a day or two of hiking, fishing or camping. Think, Vegas minus the gambling but surrounded by the most stunning mountain playground with streams, fresh air and the most memorable vistas outside of the rockies, as the venue for your breakfast on the morning after The Osmonds or the Acrobats of China.