Top 25 U.S. Attractions, Ranked by Yelp Reviews
Locals and visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to attractions in the United States. Across the country, there are thousands upon thousands of attractions that bring people from all over the world to check off bucket lists, snap photos and make memories.
So, what are the best attractions in the U.S.? To find out, we went to the source — the travelers themselves. Here are the top 25 U.S. attractions, ranked by Yelp reviews.
25. Navy Pier, Chicago
Spanning half a mile and stretching into Lake Michigan, Navy Pier is one of the most-visited attractions in Chicago. Its shining feature is a 196-foot Ferris wheel, but tourists are also drawn to the IMAX theater, beer garden and strings of restaurants.
It has one of the best views of the glittering Chicago skyline and a brilliant fireworks display on Wednesday and Saturday evenings in the summer. Locals bemoan how touristy it has become, but it’s still a must-see for anyone’s first-time visit to Chicago.
* The Yelp ranking was based on 2020 data that reported the attraction’s percentage of total five-star reviews.
Where to Stay: Hotel EMC2
Art meets science at this Marriott Autograph Collection hotel. The boutique hotel is all about modern luxuries with whimsical touches. Notice the hotel’s “robot attendants” (Leo and Cleo), the Alexa in each room and interactive art installations throughout.
Marriott devotees will love the classic amenities like a fitness center and guest rooms with mini fridges. The location is just off the Magnificent Mile and a five-minute drive to Navy Pier.
24. Union Station, Washington, D.C.
Because it can be difficult to book a tour of the White House, the home of the president is actually not on this list, but Washington, D.C.’s Union Station made the cut. Constructed in the early 20th century, this beaux-arts-style building is one of the most beautiful structures in the nation's capital. The Grand Concourse is home to 36 Roman-style statues, and the hall itself was modeled after Diocletian's Roman baths, complete with gleaming marble and sparkling gold filigree.
It's also a hub of activity, with more than 90,000 visitors and commuters coming through its restaurant-lined halls each day. Foodies love the familiar options like Shake Shack and Legal Seafood, and its strategic location makes it convenient to get to other major attractions around the city like The Capitol and the Smithsonian museums.
Where to Stay: Kimpton George Hotel
Just steps from Union Station, this American history-themed hotel has all the touches of a luxury city hotel — with a lot of personality to boot.
The hotel has an onsite restaurant serving French bistro fare and offers a complimentary wine reception each evening. Other amenities include a fitness center and business center.
23. Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston
Once a meeting place for revolutionary ideas (women's suffrage, war, you get it) that has earned it the nickname the "Cradle of Liberty," Faneuil Hall is one of the most-visited sites in Boston. The building was constructed in 1742 and was expanded in the early 19th century.
Today, it is a member of the National Park Service and consists of the hall, plus three markets linked by a cobblestone square. There are more than 100 shops and “specialty pushcarts” that make it a massive meeting point for shoppers, diners, locals and visitors alike.
Where to Stay: The Godfrey Hotel Boston
Right at the heart of Boston's Downtown Crossing (just half a mile from Faneuil Hall Marketplace), The Godfrey Hotel Boston is a stylish spot, packed with energy, minus the price tag.
On either side of the hotel is a coffee shop and a Peruvian-Asian restaurant. Inside are sun-drenched, airy rooms, a 24-hour fitness center (the hotel also offers complimentary bicycles) and a chic lobby perfect for meeting with friends or hunkering down with a book.
22. South Street Seaport, New York
The birthplace of Manhattan is one of its most beautiful and historic neighborhoods. The Seaport District is located east of the Financial District and runs along the East River. While it’s close to the financial heart of the world, it feels like a step back in time to the 17th-century Dutch colony.
Cobblestone streets are flanked with historic buildings, while funky bars and restaurants spill out into the street on warm summer evenings. Enjoy spectacular views across the river into Brooklyn and Queens, but be forewarned that this is a prime tourist area and prices definitely reflect that.
Where to Stay: Mr. C Seaport
Fresh, sleek and chic (with a Mad Men-era throwback flair) Mr C Seaport is a fun, energetic and elevated classic property just steps from the South Street Seaport. Like New York City itself, the hotel is 24-hour with a non-stop front desk, in-room dining and fitness center.
Each room has HBO and in-room movies as well as a large work desk and refrigerator. A lovely outdoor terrace has views over the Brooklyn Bridge.
21. Pier 39, San Francisco
Charming in design, with more than 30 cafes, seafood restaurants, shops and wine bars, Pier 39 is a must for anyone's first visit to San Francisco. It has a perfect vantage point of Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, and is popular for the dozens of sea lions that sunbathe on the docks below it.
It’s also walking distance from Pier 33, which is the jumping-off point from which to get to Alcatraz. Don't expect to see many locals here — it is the definition of a tourist trap — but visitors can’t get enough of it.
Where to Stay: Hotel Zephyr
Steps from Pier 39, Hotel Zephyr is a splash of color and style in historic San Francisco. Paying homage to the seafaring location, each room is nautical-themed with porthole windows and whimsical maritime touches.
A 24-hour reception and mini-market is open to guests, as is a fitness center, a game room and ticket service. The Camper is a fun dining option that serves locally sourced cuisine, craft beers and California wines.
20. Times Square, New York
Ask any out-of-towner what they know about New York City, and chances are Times Square ranks in the Top 5. It is one of the most-visited destinations in the entire city and is famous around the world for its flashing neon lights, Broadway theaters and New Year's Eve ball drop.
Being the center of “the center of the universe” has its pros but certainly has its cons as well, namely being overly expensive, overly crowded and often, overly hyped. Breeze through for a selfie with SpongeBob, but then keep on moving. You won’t find many New Yorkers lingering any longer than they absolutely have to in this part of town.
Where to Stay: The Moxy Times Square
Catering to the next generation of budget-conscious travelers, The Moxy Times Square is under the Marriott umbrella, featuring design-forward concepts, small rooms but even smaller price tags.
The Times Square outpost of the brand has exposed brick and leather couches for decor, as well as five Tao-group restaurants, including a rooftop bar and a restaurant devoted to egg sandwiches.
19. Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, Florida
Doused in movie magic, Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World gives visitors an insider's backlot look into the Hollywood of the 1930’s and ’40s. Though not sprinkled with as much fairy dust and fantasy charm as Magic Kingdom and Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios has some of the best rides in all of Disney World, from the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror to the Aerosmith-themed Rock 'n' Roller Coaster.
Spend the day taking a Studio Backlot Tour or chasing Indiana Jones through his Epic Stunt Spectacular. At night, hunker down for the Fantasmic! Fireworks display that leaves the sky emblazoned with color.
Where to Stay: Walt Disney World Swan Hotel
It’s tough to beat the location of Walt Disney World Swan Hotel. That’s because it’s located right in the heart of Walt Disney World Resort. Onsite features include a beach, five pools and a whopping 17 restaurants.
Not only that, guests are offered perks like Disney Extra Magic Hours, FastPass+ experiences and theme park transfer services.
18. Las Vegas Strip, Nevada
Around the world in neon lights. That's exactly what the Las Vegas Strip offers. From the Sphinx to the Eiffel Tower, a canal in Venice and the skyline of New York City, the Las Vegas Strip is one of the most-visited attractions, not only in America, but also in the world. Vegas is known for its neon signs and old-world glamor, and it all began right here on the Las Vegas Strip.
Today, it has evolved into a fine dining destination, a mecca for resorts and casinos, and a 24/7 attraction that goes from poolside posh to elegant evening in just a few hours. If you're not interested in spending a ton of money and if crowds are your least favorite thing, this is not the place for you. But if you love to be at the heart of the action, you will find yourself right at home along the Neon Capital of the World.
Where to Stay: The Cromwell
When it comes to choosing a Las Vegas hotel, the results are, well, dizzying. Las Vegas definitely does hotels well, and there is something for every taste, style and budget. The Cromwell is a wonderful boutique option because it's much more intimate by Strip standards, with a small casino and a theme that swings Parisian jazz clubs.
The onsite restaurant is the creation of Food Network's Giada de Laurentiis, and the rooftop Drai's Pool is a party scene no matter the time of day or night.
17. Empire State Building, New York
This 102-story Art Deco building stands proudly in Midtown Manhattan. The Empire State Building was the tallest building in New York before the World Trade Center was built in 1970. Following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the Empire State Building stood the tallest again until 2012.
But visitors are typically more interested in the view. About 4 million tourists each year make their way to the building's 86th- and 102nd-floor observatories for a breathtaking view of the city below.
Where to Stay: Waldorf-Astoria New York
If you're looking for iconic New York, a stay at the Waldorf-Astoria is a must. After all, the original Waldorf stood in the very spot where the Empire State Building stands today. It was moved to its current Midtown location at 301 Park Avenue in 1931.
The epitome of luxury, the Waldorf has always been known as a spot where the rich and famous hobnob. Both President Herbert Hoover and Frank Sinatra lived here throughout their lifetimes. And the hotel even played a significant role in world politics when the World Peace Conference of March 1949 was held here during the Cold War.
16. Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Florida
Sprawling across 500 acres, visitors come from all over the world to safari right here in the United States. One of the four parks in Walt Disney World, there are more than 1,700 animals from 250 species, making it the largest animal-themed park in the world.
Veined with trails, this park is quite different from the others in the empire simply for the fact that it is possible to find yourself in quiet corners, some even along the water. One of the most popular attractions is Pandora – The World of Avatar, with highlights that include a boat ride through the bioluminescent rainforest and a walk through floating mountains.
Where to Stay: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
This family-friendly resort is one of the most centrally located to Disney's Animal Kingdom. It offers three restaurants, two pools, a spa and a free theme park shuttle. The 972 rooms have balconies and 24-hour room service as well as the ability to witness the exotic, wild animals while on property.
Its spa is widely recognized, which is great for adults, while the outdoor swimming pools with waterslides are perfect for families.
15. Magic Kingdom Park, Florida
One of the four theme parks within Walt Disney's empire, the Magic Kingdom is certainly the most iconic, if only for Cinderella's Castle, the signature image of all of Disney's creations. The castle is at the entrance to the park, and from there, it leads to four other areas: Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland and Frontierland. There is also Liberty Square and Main Street, USA.
The kingdom has a reputation for being the Happiest Place on Earth, which brings more than 17 million people each year. Yes, it can get crowded, and yes, you may have to wait in line for a long, long time. And it's certainly not a cheap experience. But it is one of the great American pastimes and one that is beloved by fans across the globe.
Where to Stay: Disney’s Polynesian Resort
Disney's Polynesian Resort, one of the Disney-branded resorts near the Magic Kingdom, is a tropical getaway in the heart of Walt Disney World. The resort sits on Seven Seas Lagoon and offers direct access to the Magic Kingdom by monorail, boat and bus.
Guests can spring for the over-water bungalow-style rooms, which are a real treat. Tip: Book a dinner at Ohana restaurant for the all-you-can-eat Polynesian feast.
14. Epcot at Walt Disney World, Florida
Slower-paced and offering an educational angle, Epcot has a different edge than the rest of its Walt Disney World counterparts. There are no maximum adrenaline rides here. Instead, what you'll find is a look into the future and immersion into other cultures.
Epcot is divided into two sections: Future World and World Showcase. Future World has the park's only two thrill rides, plus beloved character greeting spots, while the main event is at World Showcase, which has 11 recreated nations that show off regional food, shopping and entertainment.
Where to Stay: Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek
Just a mile from Epcot (and the other Disney theme parks), Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek offers 500 acres of property, free transportation to the theme parks, a spa and five restaurants.
Visitors love the spa for the indoor and outdoor treatment rooms, not to mention the fitness center and lagoon pool. A golf course is next to the resort as well.
13. Disneyland Park, California
While Walt Disney World in Florida is the largest of the Disney entertainment complexes, Disneyland was actually the first. The original Disneyland vision opened in Anaheim, California, in 1955.
Today, it is just as spotless and fantasy-filled as the original plan, complete with Main Street USA, Sleeping Beauty Castle and Tomorrowland. While it is smaller than the Florida iteration, many argue that some of the rides at Disneyland are even better than those at Disney World. For example, Pirates of the Caribbean is twice as long.
Where to Stay: Hyatt House at Anaheim Resort Convention Center
Conveniently located (within walking distance) to Disneyland (without the hefty price tag of an in-park hotel), Hyatt House has wonderful suite-style accommodations that are perfect for families visiting the Anaheim parks.
Amenities include a swimming pool, spa and 24-hour fitness center.
12. Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia
American history is alive and well in Philadelphia's Independence National Historical Park. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is the very place where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were both signed in Independence Hall.
You can also visit the famous Liberty Bell, a symbol of liberty that's still used by civil rights leaders fighting for equality today.
Where to Stay: Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia
Located a mere block from Independence Hall, this 268-room property is historic in its own right. It stands in the Lafayette Building, built in 1907 to be a part of the city's Bank Row.
The boutique property is designed to incorporate the historic architecture, while also managing to exude that Kimpton personality that travelers have come to love.
11. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.
Opened in 1910, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History has long attracted visitors to explore the natural world through its 140 million-plus natural science artifacts.
Visitors will get to check out everything from the legendary Hope Diamond to dinosaur fossils and skeletons of ancient whales to a butterfly pavilion filled with living butterflies and plants. There are even opportunities to participate in interactive exhibits and educational labs.
Where to Stay: Willard InterContinental Washington
This property has a Pennsylvania Avenue address, with a lot of history to boot. Opened in 1818, the hotel has long welcomed U.S. presidents, foreign dignitaries and celebrities.
The 335-room property is just a few blocks from both the Smithsonian and the White House, making it easier for travelers to visit all of the popular sites in the nation's capital. And don't forget to grab a mint julep at its famed Round Robin Bar, nicknamed the "Oval Office of Bars."
10. Statue of Liberty National Monument, New York
This famous gift from France to the people of the United States was built by Gustave Eiffel and dedicated on Oct. 28, 1886. Like the Liberty Bell, it remains an iconic symbol of freedom. It's now a major tourist attraction, maintained and operated by the National Park Service. In addition to being a national monument, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
If you don't feel like fighting the crowds on Liberty Island, there are several boat and ferry services available for visitors to check out the statue from the water.
Where to Stay: Conrad New York Downtown
The 463-room Conrad New York Downtown features gorgeous views of the Hudson River from its Lower Manhattan location.
It's particularly known for its curated artwork, one of which is called Loopy Doopy and stands 10 stories in the hotel lobby. Other curated pieces are located within each of the hotel's suites.
9. Pike Place Market, Washington
It's not a trip to Seattle without the sights, sounds and smells that is the theatrical display of Pike Place Market. Open since 1907, this microcosm of the city is just as much of a local hotspot as it is a tourist attraction.
Come to see the fishermen sling their daily catches to waiting patrons, walk the cobblestone streets and take a selfie in front of the Public Market neon sign, which dates back to 1927. The 9-acre farmers market is heralded for its local products, handmade wares and fresh, quality ingredients.
Where to Stay: Hotel Andra
A chic and cozy option in downtown Seattle, Hotel Andra is within walking distance of Pike Place Market and overlooks Lake Union. All rooms are Scandinavian in style (think dark fabrics, modern furniture, wood and leather).
Onsite Lola Restaurant serves Greek and Pacific Northwest cuisine, while the Assaggio Ristorante serves Northern Italian fare. An onsite fitness center is available, but the hotel also offers discounts at nearby fitness clubs.
8. Grand Central Terminal, New York
One of the most-visited attractions in New York (not only by tourists but by thousands of commuters, too), Grand Central Terminal is also an architectural gem. Completed in 1913, this is one of New York's most beautiful examples of beaux-art design, decked with marble floors, marble counters and its main event — the starry ceiling that depicts the constellations.
Not only is it a train terminal, it is also a shopping and dining mecca in New York, where 10,000 people come to grab food from the many outlets on the lower level. There is also the Grand Central Oyster Bar, which is a popular business lunch destination in the neighborhood.
Where to Stay: Park Terrace Hotel on Bryant Park
New York is another destination that doesn't need help in the hotel space. There are so many to choose from, especially in the Grand Central Terminal area since it's such an important hub. If you're looking for sleek, minimalist, clean and modern, it has to be the Park Terrace Hotel on Bryant Park.
All guest rooms are soundproofed and have TVs equipped with Netflix. There is also a sauna, fitness center with Peloton bikes, 24-hour front desk and a business center. The onsite Terrazzo Terrace & Lounge has small plates, cocktails and an international buffet.
7. Mackinac Bridge, Michigan
Connecting the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan, the Mackinac Bridge is a nearly 5-mile-long bridge that covers one of the windiest divides in the world. Nicknamed the Mighty Mac, this is certainly a bucket list item for people traveling across America.
That said, it is not for the faint of heart. High winds are no joke when crossing this bridge — so much so that the bridge offers escort drivers who are available to help people drive from one side to the other. The suspension bridge is an architectural marvel, as well, with each of the main towers reaching 552 feet.
Where to Stay: The Murray Hotel
Delightfully quirky, with an undeniable “Main Street” vibe, the Murray Hotel on Mackinac Island is known for its historic charm, swimming pool and fabulous breakfast buffet.
Ask about which rooms offer lake views. The location is perfect. Guests particularly like the outdoor deck as well as the onsite Amigo Burrito Cafe.
6. National Mall, Washington, D.C.
Washington D.C.'s National Mall stretches more than 2 miles and includes iconic national monuments like the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument as well as the U.S. Capitol Building. It's here where famous protests and speeches — including Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" — occurred throughout U.S. history.
While, yes, there are several walking tours available daily, an evening jog along its pathways gives you a more personal experience with fewer crowds. Come here in the spring to check out the blossoming cherry trees surrounding Tidal Basin reservoir.
Where to Stay: JW Marriott Washington, D.C.
Another luxe property with a Pennsylvania Avenue address is the JW Marriott Washington, D.C., located within walking distance of the National Mall. Several of the property's guest rooms tout views of the Washington Memorial and other historic attractions.
Grab a garden-to-glass cocktail at the property's 1331 Lounge or feast on steak and seafood entrees in its Avenue Grill.
5. Golden Gate Park, California
Golden Gate Park takes the term “urban oasis” and runs with it. From redwood trees to roaming buffalo, brilliantly colored flowers and free music festivals, Golden Gate Park is pretty much San Francisco in a nutshell. Inside the park you'll also find the de Young Museum, the California Academy of Sciences, the San Francisco Botanical Garden, Stow Lake and even a nine-hole golf course.
Wander more than 150 years of history along its winding paths. The park's southeastern end has the city's largest playground, which has been there since 1887. No matter your interest, Golden Gate Park offers 1,017 acres to explore.
Where to Stay: The Stanyan Park Hotel
The Stanyan Park Hotel is, in a word, elegant. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Victorian-style property is just steps from Golden Gate Park. Guests love the wine and cheese hour that is offered every weekend evening as well as the tea service in the afternoons.
The hotel is also within walking distance to Haight Street, which is packed with restaurants, parks and cultural history.
4. Golden Gate Bridge, California
The Golden Gate Bridge is recognized the world over and is probably the signature landmark of San Francisco. It's magical to behold the red-hued towers peeking out over the bay fog. The 1937 bridge has inspired filmmakers, photographers and travelers alike to take a trip just to be in its presence.
To see both sides of the bridge, hike or bike across its 1.7 miles to get every vantage point. Insider tip: Head to Baker Beach for expansive views with the beach in the foreground, or drive to the Marin Headlands to get a bird’s-eye view with the city in the backdrop.
Where to Stay: Casa Madrona Hotel and Spa
A quick trip north across the majestic Golden Gate Bridge takes travelers to Sausalito, one of the most charming spots in the Bay Area. Casa Madrona Hotel and Spa is an elegant, luxurious and approachable hotel down on the waterfront with gorgeous views of the San Francisco skyline.
Within walking distance of the hotel, guests can take the Golden Gate Ferry to downtown San Francisco. Plus, the hotel is close to the area's shops, restaurants and attractions.
3. Balboa Park, California
San Diego is much more than great surf and superb fish tacos. It's also home to one of the most celebrated urban cultural parks in America. The 1,200-acre park is a mini city in its own right, with natural vegetation, gardens, walking paths, museums, nine theaters, tennis courts, lawn bowling, a gym and the San Diego Zoo.
It is also one of the oldest sites in the United States, having been placed in reserve in 1835. The park plans to unveil renovated and new museums, including global folk art at Mingei International Museum and Comic-Con Museum.
Where to Stay: Carte Hotel San Diego Downtown
Modern and cosmopolitan Carte Hotel San Diego Downtown is a member of Hilton's Curio Collection and has upscale amenities all in a central location.
Guests are entitled to a daily continental breakfast, while other amenities include a restaurant, private parking, an outdoor swimming pool and sleek bar.
2. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina
Straddling state lines across North Carolina and Tennessee, this visual masterpiece is the second most popular U.S. tourist attraction for a reason. It is simply stunning. Picture purple peaks popping up among the mist, plunging waterfalls and emerald greens that blanket as far as the eye can see. Across any season, be prepared for a kaleidoscope of colors, from the burnt-orange hues in autumn to the wildflowers of spring.
The Smoky Mountains are part of the Appalachian mountain range system, which makes them among the oldest mountains on the planet with more than 200 million years of history. The park is replete with wildlife from elk and black bears to more than 17,000 other species. For some of the best views, visit Cades Cove as well as the backcountry hiking trails that are part of the famous Appalachian Trail.
Where to Stay: Dancing Bear Lodge
Rustic, yet wonderfully cozy and comfortable, the Dancing Bear Lodge is everything you'd want from a national park hotel. Each room features wood-burning fireplaces, a full kitchen and private hot tub.
Many of the units have their own living rooms as well. The 36-acre property has access to biking and hiking trails as well as a fitness center.
1. Central Park, New York
One of the most famous green spaces in the world, Central Park holds the coveted No. 1 attraction spot in America. The 843-acre park is made up of expansive meadows, rocky lookouts, beautifully manicured gardens, a lake and reservoir, and snapshot-ready corners that visitors and locals recognize from film and television throughout the ages. There's even an outdoor theater and a dreamy Alice in Wonderland Statue. You can even peer out from a 19th-century castle for a different perspective over the park.
Unbeknownst to many, the park is entirely manmade and is a tribute to what designers and architects can do with a plot of land in the heart of one of the most exciting cities in the world.
Where to Stay: 1 Hotel Central Park
Because Central Park has one of the world’s most coveted addresses, you can imagine that hotels surrounding it are among the most expensive in the world. Still, it is possible to find close and comfortable hotels that don't carry the five-star price tag.
1 Hotel Central Park is an intimate, design-forward hotel, covered in ivy and decorated with wood accents and exposed brick. Rooms are beautifully and eclectically designed, with plenty of plants, earth tones, funky furniture and natural light. The hotel has a restaurant, fitness center and a bar area.