Time's Greatest Places in the World to Visit, Ranked
When Time magazine asked its editors, writers and travel experts to nominate the world's greatest places based on quality, innovation, originality, influence and sustainability, it ended up with a diverse mix of 37 attractions to visit in 2019. (Separate lists showcase the best spots to stay in and eat at.)
To determine which of these places are the best of the best, we've ranked them based on the opinions of travelers on TripAdvisor. From hiking trails that showcase the most beautiful scenery to museums that know no boundaries, these are the spots that need to be on your radar in 2019 (and beyond!) — ending with a No. 1 pick that may just surprise you.
37. Ruby City — Texas
This is the only place to make the Greatest Places list before it has even opened.
Debuting in October 2019 in San Antonio, Ruby City — a museum painted, yes, red — will serve as an art space for local and international artists. The building was the dream of salsa heiress Linda Pace, who owned a gallery just down the road.
The building design sure does look cool, but until it opens and we see inside, we're keeping this at the bottom of the list.
36. Mata Ki Te Rangi International Dark Sky Sanctuary — Pitcairn Islands
One of the most remote places in the world, the Pitcairn Islands are home to a magnificent sanctuary known as Mata Ki Te Rangi (which literally translates to "Eyes to the Skies" or "Face to Heaven"). Earlier in 2019, it was named one of only 10 official International Dark Sky Sanctuaries in the world.
Without much obstruction to hinder views of the night skies, the stargazing here is sublime. Plus, to maintain the integrity of the star-viewing, the government enforces anti-light pollution guidelines.
35. Museum Susch — Switzerland
Built into the remains of a medieval monastery in Zernez, the Museum Susch opened in 2019 as a contemporary art museum.
Within the lower levels, rooms were carved directly into the Alps to house exhibits, blending modern culture with an ancient force of nature.
TripAdvisor rating: 3 stars (out of 5) based on 6 reviews
Sample review: "The spectacular project of two young Swiss architects offers multi-room exhibition for different works of art. The collection shows the contemporary art of various artists, but dominated by the female creators." (laserkid)
34. Quranic Park — United Arab Emirates
Dubai's gift to the world is its amazing array of attractions to fill you with wonder. Quranic Park is no exception.
The 148-acre park promotes peace, love and tolerance in an Islamic garden to provide insight into the Holy Quran. Walking and bike paths, lush and desert gardens, and an outdoor theater are accompaniments to the Cave of Miracles and the Glass House, which use interactive technology to showcase events and plants from the pages of the Quran.
The park opened as Dubai's newest attraction in spring 2019, with free entry to the gardens and a small fee to enter the Glass House and Cave of Miracles. When visiting the United Arab Emirates, take the time to visit this park to learn more about Islamic culture. Just note that you'll want a guide, as the stories found in the caves are in Arabic.
TripAdvisor rating: 3 stars based on 30 reviews
Sample review: "It's a great place to visit. A very informative park full of knowledge. You can see all around the treasure of knowledge about Islam, about humanity. Do visit and see the amazing park." (MNBABAR)
33. V&A Dundee — Scotland
Not to be confused with the V&A in London, the V&A Dundee is the first-ever Victoria & Albert Museum outside of London. The unique building is meant to serve as a "living room for the city," with a design mimicking a Scottish cliff using 2,500 stone panels.
The waterfront museum hosts events and exhibitions exploring Scottish design, another first-ever for the country.
TripAdvisor rating: 3 stars based on 1,717 reviews
Sample review: "Where to start! The exterior of this magnificent architectural building is a sight to behold. The way it seems to float on the River Tay or is it a cliff face. You decide. The interior space is cavernous." (David S)
32. Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland — California
When Disney announced plans to create a Star Wars-themed area at its Disneyland and Disney World resorts in California and Florida, respectively, it was as if millions of voices suddenly cried out. But not in terror; in anticipation.
Disneyland opened Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in May 2019 to much fanfare, and since then, reviewers have been raving about the level of detail put into the new land, with visitors and fans feeling like they have stepped right into their favorite films. Disney World's version opens August 2019.
TripAdvisor rating: 3.8 stars based on 17 reviews
Sample review:"Wonderful experience. Detail is amazing and lots to see. Our family really enjoyed the experience. Highlight was the lightsaber!" (Maggie Callander)
31. Teatro Amintore Galli — Italy
In the town of Rimini, near San Marino, is the Teatro Amintore Galli, an unimposing performing arts center from the outside. Step inside, however, and it's a different story: The interior, lovingly restored and reopened to the public in 2018, is stunning.
The theater, which originally opened in 1857, was heavily bombed during WWII. Its destruction was followed by heavy looting, leaving behind a sad shell of what was once an iconic cultural attraction. But in 2014, the theater began getting the attention it deserved.
Since reopening last fall, the neoclassical venue has been offering opulence and sophistication to modern-day theater-goers.
TripAdvisor rating: 4 stars based on 24 reviews
Sample review: "A theater among the most remarkable and innovative examples of 19th-century Italian theatrical architecture, inaugurated by Giuseppe Verdi who specifically wrote the Aroldo for the official inauguration in 1857." (3ugy95)
30. Pohoiki in Isaac Hale Beach Park — Hawaii
Hawaii's largest island experienced a volcano eruption that made news in 2018 for destroying more than 700 homes. But out of destruction comes beauty.
Narrowly missing the Isaac Hale Beach Park, the lava that reached the coast resulted in the creation of the island's newest black-sand beach in 2019. As the black sand is created from crushed lava, Hawaiians know the beach may not last long, so people are flocking to see the miracle shore before it washes away.
TripAdvisor rating: 4 stars based on 174 reviews
Sample review: "Likely would never have come here were it not for the 2018 volcano event. The lava flow is incredibly impressive (coming in from Kanapala), and the black sand beach creation with the new lava delta is the newest real estate on Planet Earth." (LSUTraveller)
29. Liechtenstein Trail
In honor of its 300th anniversary in 2019, the Principality of Liechtenstein is inviting visitors to explore its history, modern attractions and people via a series of connecting trails.
The 46.6-mile Liechtenstein Trail passes by 147 specially selected sites and events, all easy to find using an app designed to accompany hikers. Go for it all at once, or just visit just a portion; either way, you'll discover what's cool in Liechtenstein.
TripAdvisor rating: 4 stars based on 841 reviews
Sample review: "We walked up from the city through vineyards, passing by nice old houses. There were also some boards telling some background information about Liechtenstein." (BerndK939)
28. Canada's Wonderland
One of three amusement parks on the Greatest Places list is also one of the oldest attractions to get a nod; while most other places have opened in the last year, Canada's Wonderland has been thrilling visitors since 1981.
The park is a favorite of travelers thanks to its 17 roller coasters, gigantic water park and festival atmosphere spread across 330 acres outside Ontario. There are more than 200 things to do here.
TripAdvisor rating: 4 stars based on 3,377 reviews
Sample review: "I have been visiting Canada's Wonderland for over thirty years now with my children and also as a child back in the day. Great place to go for families and thrill seekers." (marchincks)
27. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park — Australia
The iconic red rock of Australia in the Northern Territory is remote and difficult to access, but once you arrive, the journey you took to reach it will seem completely worth it.
Pilgrimages to the site are increasing, with travelers making their way to the isolated destination for hiking, biking, Instagram-worthy photography at sunrise and sunset, and tours of markings from ingenious people dating back 30,000 years.
TripAdvisor rating: 4 stars based on 4,170 reviews
Sample review: "Brilliant, changing colors, throughout the day and night." (rusky2018)
26. SoundWaves — Tennessee
Of all the places that made the Greatest Places cut, we admit we were a bit taken aback by the inclusion of this water park found at a massive hotel.
But the indoor/outdoor complex, which opened at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center last December, is actually legitimately impressive. What makes this Nashville attraction unique is that it's being touted as the first "upscale" water park in the country, with features like garden atriums, an adults-only pool and bar, and a classy restaurant.
Does it truly qualify as a glamorous experience? You be the judge!
TripAdvisor rating: 4 stars based on 11,362 reviews
Sample review: "We got to experience the SoundWave indoor water park the day it opened. Everyone enjoyed the water park – especially the Flow Rider." (GoBU_12)
25. Troy Museum — Turkey
The ancient city of Troy is world-famous for its mythical battle between the Trojans and the Spartans. But Troy is not a mythical city, and for the visitors aiming to discover the truth behind it, a new museum is pleased to cater.
The Troy Museum in Turkey opened in 2018 and displays 4,000 years of history inside its walls.
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 stars based on 2 reviews
Sample review: "The Troy Historical Society and the City of Troy are to be complimented for a terrific job saving multiple historic buildings. Very impressive!" (RLane_11)
24. SFER IK — Mexico
This gallery in Riviera Maya, built to look like a treehouse, features stunning works focused on art and nature. Walk barefoot along the wood floors and actually touch and feel the natural pieces of the museum's collection. Visitors are meant to feel like they are a part of the artwork, as well as the outdoors.
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 stars baed on 16 reviews
Sample review: "Speechless! If i didn't have a required minimum of 100 characters my review would have been: GO! Hands down, the most beautiful design space we have ever seen in the entire world period. GO!" (landseair26)
23. Xiqu Centre — Hong Kong
When it comes to music halls, acoustics are very important. Enter the Xiqu Centre, which opened in 2019. Not only does it house the traditional Chinese Opera, it does so in a landmark 8-story building made with undulating aluminum to mimic the flow of water along the neighborhood's waterfront — providing amazing acoustics.
Unable to catch the main show? The Tea House provides performances to introduce you to Chinese Opera.
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 stars based on 19 reviews
Sample review: "Visited Xiqu Centre for Teahouse theatre and it was an unexpected treat. The building is beautiful. Architecture really lovely. Teahouse theatre excellent intro to Chinese traditional music and opera. Great night." (Fran B)
22. National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts — Taiwan
Architects went above and beyond to turn an eyesore military harbor into a work of beauty with the debut of the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts.
The museum has an open-air theater built right into its curving roof, and the curves continue throughout the ground level to move wind through public spaces. A sense of flow continues in the concert hall, which architects created in a steppe design with seating floors at varying heights encircling the podium.
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 stars based on 21 reviews
Sample review: "Finally open to the public in October 2018, this monumental, magnificent construction took a lengthy 15 years to build on an old military landsite, adjoining the Weiwuying park. The luxury of space cannot be underestimated in this lavish design... The white, wavy exterior echoes the waves of sound both within and through the complex walls, and there are numerous cafes and a restaurant (Stage) onsite." (Kay L)
21. The Shed — New York
When New York City unveiled its Hudson Yards project in spring of 2019, it transformed an abandoned transportation area with a unique pedestrian/art monument called The Vessel, along with The Shed, a performing and visual arts center.
Called a "permanent space for temporary events," The Shed showcases multi-disciplinary works in an 8-floor building that can actually expand and contract using a kinetic system that rolls!
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 stars based on 23 reviews
Sample review: "Located by the High Line, this is a nice place to appreciate art for free in a beautiful building. Show in 2nd floor better than the one in the 4th but that does not make the visit less worth it. Recommended." (reviewerAndy)
20. Zakouma National Park — Chad
Bringing Chad's wildlife back from the brink, Zakouma National Park touts an inspiring story.
Nearly 4,000 of the park's elephants were poached between 2002 and 2010. In 2010, the government made an effort to stop the poaching, and only 24 elephants have been poached since. In 2018, the park began a breeding program and for the first time, the elephant population is on the rise. Now, you can visit on safari and witness and support the conservation efforts firsthand.
Spanning 1,158 square miles, the park is Chad's oldest, as well as the last remaining Sudano-Sahelian ecosystem.
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 stars based on 26 reviews
Sample review: "My wife and I are seasoned Africa travelers and we were part of a group with four other experienced travelers. We all thought this was one of the best if not THE best safaris we’ve been on." (Prim8Pal)
19. Chillida Leku — Spain
In 2000, Eduardo Chillida opened an outdoor site to showcase his sculptures by appointment only. Following his death in 2002, the land was transferred and transformed.
Since April 2019, Chillida Leku has been showcasing Chillida's country house and 27-acre sculpture park to the general public. Visitors will find 40 of Chillida's works among the grounds and the main building, exactly as Chillida designed.
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 stars based on 48 reviews
Sample review: "It's now open and it is worth the wait. A truly beautiful, spiritual experience." (baldnavel)
18. Transcaucasian Trail — Georgia and Armenia
Fundraising efforts are underway to continue constructing this long-distance trail following the Caucasus Mountains through Georgia and Armenia. The 1,864-plus-mile trail is being created with the help of volunteer hikers, and now that Time has added it to its Greatest Places list, the work will surely continue into 2020.
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 stars based on 53 reviews
Sample review: "DIlijan National park is amazing place for nature lovers. Transcaucasian hiking trail cross all famous spots in national park, but much more you can explore once you enter forest." (Gira_Travel)
17. Gorongosa National Park — Mozambique
Another African national park attempting to bring back its wildlife can be found in Mozambique. Gorongosa National Park began its restoration in 2008, and extended its renovation program another 25 years in 2018.
Like Zakouma, Gorongosa fought to end poaching and more than 650 elephants now live in the park, which you can visit on safari with a sustainable tourism focus.
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 stars based on 55 reviews
Sample review: "Gorongosa was destroyed during the civil war, but there is an amazing team of caring people working to restore one of the crown jewels of African safari parks." (nyctravelr)
16. Central Library — Canada
Calgary's flagship public library opened in 2018 to bring cool back to visiting the library. The building is a work of art in what was formerly a train station.
The train still moves through the library from ground level, while the glass-walled building facade features a contemporary modular, hexagonal pattern.
Inside, concrete is left exposed and you'll find a spiral wood atrium reaching 85 feet to a sky-view through an oculus.
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 stars based on 73 reviews
Sample review: "We visited the new public library with family on a recent visit and were overwhelmed by the beautiful architecture and wide open spaces set aside for reading and researching." (ChaplainP)
15. Geosea Geothermal Sea Baths — Iceland
The Blue Lagoon is so yesterday. Rather than visit that tourist spot for a dip in Iceland's geothermal baths, Time thinks Geosea is the place to go, and we can see why.
Where the Blue Lagoon is surrounded by black lava rock in a rugged setting, GeoSea overlooks the ocean from infinity-pool-style baths. It also features dining with views.
Located in Husavik, Geosea is also in northern Iceland, far removed from the traffic of Reykjavik and its airport.
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 stars based on 94 reviews
Sample review: "Fantastic place!!! An architectural wonder, serenely integrated into the natural surroundings. Wish we had skipped Myvatn nature baths and headed straight here! Geosea is wayyyy nicer. Geosea is the best!" (VncrCanada)
14. Red Sea Mountain Trail — Egypt
Follow the Bedouins along a 105-mile byway that is the first long-distance trail available for exploring Egypt. Open just this spring, the trail is actually the Bedoiuns' hunting and trading trails made accessible to visitors — with plans for extensions over the years.
Walk through the mountains as Bedouin guides show off the scenery that is their home. Hikers can have their gear carried by camels and meals prepared along the 10-day hike.
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 stars based on 126 reviews
Sample review: "The Colored Canyon is simply stunning, built out of beautifully colored rock formations. It's not too difficult to hike, especially with the help of a local Bedouin guide." (ExoticandAwesome)
13. Camp Adventure — Denmark
When it comes to theme parks, we are so over crowds, long lines and high prices. But Camp Adventure is an amusement park we can get used to.
The Danes love the outdoors and built a theme park for the purpose of enjoying it even more. The climbing park features 10 courses, as well as a 147-foot-tall winding Forest Tower, across its 18.5 acres in Ronnede. You can fly along the longest zip lines in the country (nearly 1,500 feet!), and even attempt the nation's largest indoor climbing wall.
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 stars based on 154 reviews
Sample review: "We spent a lovely afternoon here. We opted not to do the ropes and flying foxes although that looked fun. Instead we walked along the lovely boardwalk and went up the tower and had lunch beside the pond. The tower is great and gives a commanding view around the countryside." (S7014CSmichaelh)
12. Statue of Unity — India
India's beloved Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was the first Home minister of the country once it regained its freedom from Great Britain. To honor the activist and statesman, India recently erected the world's tallest statue: "Patel," standing 587 feet tall.
Known as the "Iron Man of India," visitors can see the man in steel watching over the country at Sardar Sarovar Dam in Kevadia.
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 stars based on 201 reviews
Sample review: "Nice place to visit, nice facilities, very interesting museum and one can go inside the statue via lift and get a beautiful view of the area all around." (saritag222)
11. The National Museum of Qatar
In Qatar's capital city of Doha, the National Museum's architecture is as sprawling and beautiful as the contents exhibited inside.
Using curving discs and cantilevered angles, the design is meant to resemble the Qatari desert's crystal clusters known as "desert roses." Inside, the history of Qatar is on display, so visitors can learn about the nation's culture during a visit to its museum.
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 stars based on 217 reviews
Sample review: "If you like museums, and have enough time to explore Doha, I believe you definitely should go to this museum. To start, the architecture is amazing, never seen something like this. The museum content is very interesting." (gustavocJ3315JY)
10. Helsinki Central Library Oodi — Finland
With its location opposite a government building, the Helsinki Central Library Oodi was constructed as a symbol of how the public and government can work together, side by side.
Glass floor-to-ceiling windows provide city views from inside reading rooms on the top floor, while other unique reading nooks, featuring a combination of glass and wood details, can be found scattered about. The building opened in late 2018 and is a beautiful place to relax and reflect.
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 stars based on 246 reviews
Sample review: "I never dreamed that a Library would be one of my favorite attractions but this one is spectacular. Don't miss this. You will be so jealous going home to the plain little buildings we have in our cities." (Cindy H)
9. Mori Building Digital Art Museum — Japan
The world's first digital art museum can be found in Tokyo in what may be the most unique museum-park hybrid ever created. Using digital sites, sounds and colors, Mori Building Digital Art Museum truly stirs the senses.
Spanning nearly 33,000 square feet, the museum features 470 projectors and 520 computers that incite the imagination, sending you through a path of discovery that is considered "borderless," as it is ever-changing. Even performers may join you on your journey, and no two visits are the same!
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 stars based on 781 reviews
Sample review: "Wow. You cannot but be in awe of this unbelievable interactive design experience. You have to live it. It is beautiful and takes you to a different zone. No map or itinerary, just get lost in there and enjoy the unique spatio-physical experience of being immersed in an aquatic-natural-technological world, where everything moves and changes, and responds to you, in great music." (AboudyG)
8. Fabrica de Arte Cubano — Cuba
If you're ready to ditch the libraries and get your groove on, Havana's biggest and best nightclub is Fabrica de Arte Cubano. Housed in a former factory, the building showcases art in a modern-day entertainment facility.
You can grab drinks, check out the art, catch a play or dance the night away in this multi-floor hotspot that proves Cuba isn't stuck in its Art Deco days.
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 stars based on 2,299 reviews
Sample review: "We were recommended to check this location out as it has arts, performances, nightclub, outdoor bars all in one location." (Elise S)
7. Zealandia — New Zealand
New Zealand itself could be considered an eco-sanctuary, but within the city of Wellington is the first completely fenced eco-sanctuary. The goal is to completely restore Wellington valley's forests within 500 years. To that end, more than 20 wildlife once native to the area have been reintroduced, including those gone from the area for over a century.
Visitors aren't checking out a zoo during a visit. This is a groundbreaking conservation project you can become a part of by visiting.
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 stars based on 2,461 reviews
Sample review: "The vision of the project and the efforts deployed to support it are remarkable. We spent two hours at the park, learning about the native birds and plants and understanding the evolution of this land. Highly recommended for all ages!" (mihaelat707)
6. Hearst Castle — California
Unlike many of the sites that made Time's list, Hearst Castle has been an attraction for years. First built by William Randolph Hearst between 1919 and 1947, the castle is open for tours in Northern California.
At the 60,645-square-foot castle, visitors find a collection of the Hearst family's belongings that is best described as hodgepodge and eclectic. Family members definitely had a taste of their own!
The castle's grounds, spanning 127 acres, are also well worth exploring.
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 stars based on 6,606 reviews
Sample review: "Hearst Castle never fails to impress!" (paso57)
5. Newseum — Washington, D.C.
Dedicated to journalism and America's First Amendment rights, the Newseum in the U.S. capital features exhibits focused on news delivered in the print, radio and television format. Highlighting the importance of journalism throughout history, a portion of the museum is dedicated to the journalists who have lost their lives in a battle to tell the truth.
Sadly, this is the only place on the Time list that will be closing. Newseum's doors will close permanently at the end of 2019, so make a beeline to this amazing museum before you miss it.
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 stars based on 8,601 reviews
Sample review: "One of the few museums in DC that is not free and it kinda shows. This place is fantastic and you can see what happens when money is put to use. Each level keeps up the great exhibits. You cannot miss this when you are in DC." (bradafied)
4. Museum of Black Civilizations — Senegal
Many Black families around the world are descendants of African citizens stolen and sold into slavery. The new Museum of Black Civilizations in Dakar explores this horrifying history while offering a glimpse of Blacks in Africa as the "cradle of humankind."
Illustrating African civilizations and how the Americas grew from slave trading, the museum is a contemporary and thought-provoking addition to the world's best museums and exhibits.
TripAdvisor rating: 5 stars based on 1 review
Sample review: "Brand new museum in Dakar. A visit that can last up to 3 hours if you are a museum fan. Beautiful discovery." (philip455)
3. VAC Library — Vietnam
It's not about books at this new library in Hanoi that aims to teach children about the importance of sustainability. This "hybrid farm" creates an interactive eco-system where kids can climb and explore, with nooks to stop and read along the way.
The name comes from abbreviated Vietnamese words that mean "garden," "pond" and "cage." Children will see a fish pond, vegetable path, chickens and more in this self-sustaining farm environment located in the bustling city.
TripAdvisor rating: 5 stars based on 38 reviews
Sample review: "Stunning , awesome and inspiring architecture." (Nam Truong)
2. National Comedy Center — New York
Jamestown, New York, is renowned by comedy fans, as it is the birthplace of Lucille Ball. Thousands descend upon the town annually to show their love for Lucy — and now they can do so at the National Comedy Center, which opened in the summer of 2018 as a replacement for the now-defunct Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum.
The museum spans 37,000 square feet, sharing the history of comedy through involving exhibits. Events include live comedy shows and runs of comedic films.
TripAdvisor rating: 5 stars based on 184 reviews
Sample review: "If you like the comedic arts, you will really enjoy this museum. It is basically a Comedy Hall of Fame. It is very interactive." (GoBU_12)
1. The Gathering Place — Oklahoma
The top spot is reserved for a place that doesn't just want you to visit; it wants you to engage with your fellow man.
Situated along the riverfront, the Gathering Place is a 100-acre park with bike and walking trails, a 5-acre playground, sports courts, a boathouse and expansive lawns to host concerts — a place for locals to gather.
Cafes and bars are also found in this relaxing space that cost more than $400 million to create. It opened in September 2018 and certainly has brought city residents and visitors alike together.
TripAdvisor rating: 5 stars based on 303 reviews
Sample review: "This park is so well designed and maintained. I wish I were a kid again so I could experience all the fun things this has to offer. It's one of the most family friendly places I've ever seen." (TulsaZephyr)