Sunday, May 19, 2013
The Top Ten Tourist Attractions in the US
The following are the top ten tourist attractions in the United States. How many have you visited?
1. Times Square, New York City: 37.6 million visitors
This Manhattan crossroads of commerce retains the top spot on our list, thanks to increased visitation to the Big Apple in 2008 despite the economic turn down. According to the Times Square Alliance, "80% of visitors to NYC make it a point to visit Times Square." Total NYC visit last year was 47 million, giving us an estimate of 37.6 million travelers through the "Crossroads of the World." Sources: Forbes Traveler estimate based on figures from The Times Square Alliance and NYC & Company.
2. The Las Vegas Strip, Nevada: 30 Million visitors
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 "archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities." Hard to say which of these qualities best describes Vegas, but we can disqualify "natural." Last year, total visitors to Las Vegas numbered 37.5 million; a poll by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority found that an average of 80% of visitors had either stayed overnight or gambled on the Strip, giving us our visitor estimate of 30 million. Source: Forbes Traveler estimate based on figures from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
3. National Mall and Memorial Parks, Washington, D.C.: 25 million visitors
Many of the nation's iconic public landmarks are found in the 1,000-plus acres of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, including the Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson Memorials, and the Korean and Vietnam War Veterans Memorials. The Smithsonian Institution's 19 museums are also adjacent to The Mall; last year, the network of free museums drew more than 25 million visits. Source: U.S. Department of the Interior, The Trust for the National Mall, Press room of the Smithsonian Institution
4. Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston: 20 Million visitors
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 shopping-only malls (like Minnesota's Mall of America) from this list, Faneuil's historic significance vaults it to the status of cultural attraction. Source: Faneuil Hall Marketplace
5. Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.: 17.1 million visitors
The Magic Kingdom is the most popular of Disney's Florida attractions, followed by Epcot, Disney Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, and we've used it as a watermark for traffic to Disney Florida's multiple theme-park complex. Magic Kingdom Park includes beloved rides like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Country Bear Jamboree. Source: TEA/ERA Theme Park Attendance Report 2007
6. Disneyland Park, Anaheim, Calif.: 14.9 million visitors
With nearly 15 million visitors in 2007, the original Disney Park in Anaheim, California has been a stalwart American tourist attraction since its opening in 1955.Its well-known rides range from Space Mountain to the Pirates of the Caribbean. Source: TEA/ERA Theme Park Attendance Report 2007
7. Fisherman's Wharf/Golden Gate Recreation Area,San Francisco:14.1 million visitors
The city by the Bay received approximately 16.1 million visitors in 2007 (the latest data available), and Fisherman's Wharf is its top visitor attraction (visitor estimates for Fisherman's Wharf range from 12 million to 15 million). The Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which includes the famous gold bridge along with numerous other spaces throughout the Bay Area, drew 14.6 million visitors in 2008. It's hard to know the overlap between tourists at the wharf, nearby bridge and other areas in the National Recreation Area. We've averaged the figures to arrive at our 14million estimate. Sources: National Park Service 2008 Annual Recreation Visits Report, Fisherman's Wharf Merchants Association, City and County of San Francisco, San Francisco Chronicle.
8. Niagara Falls, N.Y.: 12 million visitors
The Falls, which straddle the U.S.-Canada border, have been a tourist mecca since the mid-19th century. 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 Bridge Commission, visitors are approximated at 12 million a year. Source: Niagara Falls Tourism (Visitor and Convention Bureau) and Niagara Falls Bridge Commission
9. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tenn./N.C.: 9.04 million visitors
America's most visited national park is neither the Grand Canyon nor Yosemite. With more than 800 miles of protected trails, this natural wonder hosted approximately 9 million hikers, birders and drivers last year. Source: National Park Service 2008 Annual Recreation Visits Report
10. Navy Pier, Chicago: 8.6 million visitors
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. Source: Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority
Personal Note: Macrine and I had visited all the 10 spots. We have been to Disneyland Park, Anaheim three times, two times at the Niagara Falls, Times Square and Navy Pier. We have visited the National Mall Washington, DC more than 30 times since we have resided in Maryland for 12 years. Oh yes, we have been to Fisherman's Wharf and Golden Gate Recreation Area perhaps as many as 25 times. Last, but least the Las Vegas Strip, we visited it more than 10 times since 1960.
If I have to choose only one of the spots, which one would I visit today? I love all of the ten spots, but Niagara Falls will be my number one choice! Although not listed in the top ten tourist attractions, I highly recommend, the Grand Canyon National Park as another place to visit and enjoy during your summer vacation.