Special Report

America’s Most Popular Tourist Attractions, According to Data

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The United States is home to an estimated 35,000 museums, as well as thousands of state parks, hundreds of national park sites, and more than 600 amusement parks. With so many destinations and attractions to choose from, it may be hard to decide which ones are essential to visit. (But here are 30 experiences that should be on every American’s bucket list.)

Certain attractions, however, are undeniably more popular than others. To determine the most beloved American tourist attractions, 24/7 Tempo reviewed The Most Popular Tourist Attractions, a 2023 study by YouGov, an international market and data analytics website. The study ranked various tourist attractions based on fame and popularity – the latter defined as the percentage of survey participants who have a positive opinion of the attraction.

Click here to see America’s most popular tourist attractions, according to data

Some renowned attractions on the list are theme parks, monuments, and museums, including the Smithsonian Institution – the largest museum complex in the world – which encompasses 21 individual museums plus the National Zoo. The Smithsonian is one of many beloved sites in Washington, D.C, which dominates the list along with California and New York. (Disneyland and some other Disney theme parks score well on fame but surprisingly, for whatever reason, are all below 60% in popularity, so are not included here.)

A few architectural masterpieces like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Empire State Building see millions of visitors every year. But natural wonders also draw the crowds. Of the most popular attractions, ten are national parks, including the Grand Canyon and Yosemite, Glacier, and Yellowstone, all of which also attract millions of visitors annually. (These are the most-visited national parks in the U.S.)

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26. Grand Teton National Park
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 61%
> Location: Wyoming, Idaho, Montana

Grand Teton National Park is renowned for its stunning mountain landscapes, diverse wildlife, and recreational opportunities. Its significance lies in its preservation of natural beauty and its contribution to ecological research.

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25. Universal Studios Hollywood
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 61%
> Location: California

Universal Studios Hollywood is a renowned film studio and theme park in Los Angeles. It’s known for immersing visitors in the magic of filmmaking, and offering rides and other attractions based on popular films and TV shows.

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24. San Diego Zoo
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 61%
> Location: California

San Diego Zoo is globally recognized for its commitment to animal conservation and research. Its extensive variety of species, groundbreaking exhibits, and robust breeding programs make it a leading institution in wildlife preservation.

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23. Universal Studios Florida
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 62%
> Location: Florida

The iconic theme park in Orlando is known for its film-themed rides and attractions. It significantly contributes to Florida’s tourism industry and global pop culture.

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22. Everglades National Park
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 62%
> Location: Florida

Everglades National Park, located is a unique ecosystem known for its biodiversity. It’s a critical habitat for numerous endangered species and plays a vital role in global climate regulation.

21. The White House
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 63%
> Location: District of Columbia

The official residence and workplace of the U.S. president is a symbol of executive power. Its historical significance and architectural beauty make it a national landmark.

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20. Central Park
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 63%
> Location: New York

This verdant oasis in bustling New York City, serves as a vital communal space for recreation, culture, and nature appreciation. Its iconic status and history deeply influence urban park design worldwide.

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19. The Capitol Building
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 63%
> Location: District of Columbia

Serving as the meeting place for the U.S. Congress, the Capitol Building is a symbol of American democracy. It plays a pivotal role in legislative processes and national ceremonies.

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18. American Museum of Natural History
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 65%
> Location: New York

The American Museum of Natural History is a renowned institution dedicated to exploring and interpreting human cultures, the natural world, and the cosmos. It’s significant for its vast collections, groundbreaking research, and educational programs.

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17. Redwood National and State Parks
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 66%
> Location: California

These parks are prized for their ancient, towering redwood trees, some of the tallest and oldest living organisms on Earth. In addition, the parks’ diverse ecosystems, which include prairies, rivers, and coastline, support a wide range of plant and animal species, making them invaluable for conservation and ecological study.

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16. Sequoia National Park
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 66%
> Location: California

Known for its giant sequoia trees, this national park is home to the General Sherman Tree, the world’s largest by volume, standing 275 feet tall with a diameter of 36 feet at its base. The park plays a crucial role in protecting diverse ecosystems and promoting conservation education.

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15. National Museum of Natural History
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 67%
> Location: District of Columbia

The National Museum of Natural History – part of the Smithsonian Institution – is a pivotal institution in America, preserving millions of artifacts and specimens. Its exhibits and research promote understanding of the natural world and human culture.

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14. Glacier National Park
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 67%
> Location: Montana

Glacier National Park is a crucial ecological habitat. It is home to diverse wildlife and plant species and features over a million acres of mountains, forests, and lakes, offering an invaluable insight into pristine natural environments.

13. National Air and Space Museum
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 68%
> Location: District of Columbia

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum is dedicated to the history and science of aviation and space exploration. It houses an unparalleled collection of artifacts, inspiring generations through exhibits showcasing human achievements in these fields.

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12. The Empire State Building
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 68%
> Location: New York

The Empire State Building is an iconic Art Deco skyscraper. Its completion in 1931 symbolized American resilience during the Great Depression, and it has since become a symbol of the city’s architectural and cultural heritage.

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11. Mount Rushmore National Memorial
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 69%
> Location: South Dakota

Mount Rushmore is a massive sculpture carved into the Black Hills, symbolizing American history and ingenuity. It features the faces of four influential U.S. presidents: George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln.

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10. Smithsonian Institution
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 70%
> Location: District of Columbia

Showing a higher popularity rating overall than some of its constituent parts, the Smithsonian Institution is an American icon, dedicated to public education, research, and national service in various scientific and cultural fields. It maintains a vast network of museums, research centers, and a zoo, making it a vital resource for knowledge and learning.

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9. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 70%
> Location: North Carolina and Tennessee

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is famous for its diverse plant and animal life. Its ancient mountains and Southern Appalachian culture offer a unique blend of natural and historical richness.

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8. Rocky Mountain National Park
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 70%
> Location: Colorado

Spanning Colorado’s Front Range, Rocky Mountain National Park is a vital American natural treasure. Its biodiversity, stunning geologic features, and recreational opportunities make it a key destination for nature enthusiasts and scientists alike.

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7. Lincoln Memorial
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 70%
> Location: District of Columbia

The Lincoln Memorial is a national symbol of unity and equality in the U.S. Recognized globally, it honors Abraham Lincoln, the 16th American resident, who steered the nation through the Civil War and abolished slavery.

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6. The Golden Gate Bridge
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 73%
> Location: California

The Golden Gate Bridge, an iconic symbol of San Francisco, is renowned globally for its distinctive color and soaring architecture. Its completion in 1937 signified a significant engineering feat, revolutionizing transportation and connecting communities.

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5. Yosemite National Park
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 75%
> Location: California

Yosemite National Park is renowned for its natural beauty, diverse wildlife, and iconic geological features like El Capitan and Half Dome.

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4. Yellowstone National Park
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 80%
> Location: Wyoming, Idaho, Montana

Yellowstone National Park was the first national park in the U.S. and is widely accepted as the first in the world. It boasts diverse wildlife and geothermal features, acting as a crucial conservation site and a popular destination for tourists.

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3. Grand Canyon National Park
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 80%
> Location: Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is renowned for its remarkable geology, housing rock layers revealing billions of years of Earth’s history. Its vast, rugged beauty draws almost five million visitors annually, contributing significantly to the local economy.

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2. Statue of Liberty
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 80%
> Location: New York / New Jersey

The Statue of Liberty is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. Gifted by France to the United States in 1886, it stands in New York Harbor as a beacon of hope and welcome for immigrants arriving in America.

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1. Niagara Falls
> People who have a positive opinion of it: 81%
> Location: New York / Toronto

Niagara Falls, a natural wonder located on the border of the United States and Canada, is known for its remarkable beauty and immense power. It plays a crucial role in hydroelectric power production and tourism.

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