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20 Most Popular Cities in America

Do you think you know which U.S. cities are the most popular? Get ready for a dose of wanderlust as you fact-check your answers.

Ranking Popularity

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Yahoo! Finance analyzed pre-pandemic numbers by Euromonitor and Mastercard in their quest to determine which American cities tourists visit the most.

On top of that, they figured out which U.S. cities received the greatest number of visitors in 2021 that didn’t make the top cities in the world in 2018. They then multiplied the number of visitors by three to offer a fairer post-pandemic comparison.

1: New York City, New York

New York City skyline.
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New York is the most popular city in the U.S., with a massive 13.6 million visitors per year. With world-renowned sites like Times Square and Central Park, it’s easy to understand why.

2: Miami, Florida

A stretch of sand at Miami Beach.
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It takes 8.1 million tourists to be America’s second most visited city. Miami is famous for South Beach, the Art Deco district, and Cuban delicacies.

3: Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada.
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Sin City receives more than 6.6 million tourists annually. It’s safe to say that many visitors make a beeline to the Strip, hoping to hit it big at its many casinos.

4: Los Angeles, California

Hollywood Walk of Fame.
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Los Angeles receives over 6.5 million tourists per year, many seeking a glimpse of what life is like in Hollywood.

5: Orlando, Florida

Mickey Mouse waiving.
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The Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort help Orlando rack up more than 5.5 million visitors annually.

6: San Francisco, California

Traditional San Francisco houses.
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San Francisco ranks as the sixth-most popular city in the U.S., although the cities of Toronto, Vancouver, and Mexico City rank above it when analyzing the most popular cities in North America. The Golden City receives just shy of three million visitors each year, with the Golden Gate Bridge and Alamo Square Park being iconic attractions.

7: Honolulu, Hawaii

Hawaii coastline.
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Over 2.7 million tourists each year get their fill of aloha by visiting Honolulu. From surfing to lounging at Waikīkī Beach and visiting Pearl Harbor, there are plenty of activities there to fill a vacation.

8: Washington DC

American flag at Capitol Hill.
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The capital of the U.S. receives just shy of 2.2 million tourists annually. While iconic government sites like the White House and National Mall often steal the show, tourists can stroll historic neighborhoods between visiting some of the best museums in the country.

9: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago skyline.
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Chicago attracts over two million visitors each year, proving that tourists are willing to overlook its bad safety reputation to experience a historic city. Dining on deep-dish pizza is a must in the Windy City.

10: Boston, Massachusetts

Fall in Boston.
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Boston breaks below the two million mark, but the 1.74 million annual tourists that visit it undoubtedly help the local economy. Walking the Freedom Trail is a must, leading you by Faneuil Hall and the Paul Revere House.

11: San Jose, California

San Jose, California.
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San Jose may not be the first California city many tourists think of, but it doesn’t go unnoticed by its over 1.6 million annual visitors. Perhaps many of them are visiting loved ones who relocated to Silicon Valley for work.

12: Houston, Texas

Houston, Texas skyline.
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Houston receives 1.5 million visitors annually, making it the most popular Texas city to visit. The Space Center Houston is a major attraction, as is Discovery Green Park.

13: Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia.
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Atlanta proudly receives just over one million tourists each year. It’s home to one of the largest aquariums in the world, delicious Southern dishes, and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.

14: Dallas, Texas

Dallas, Texas.
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Dallas is the first city on this list to drop below the coveted one million annual tourist mark, but its 780,000 visitor number is still impressive. Barbecue joint hopping is a must while there, along with getting a view of the city from the Reunion Tower.

15: Tampa, Florida

Tampa skyline.
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Tampa receives 570,000 visitors per year who seek a combination of city life and beaches within a short driving distance. The district of Ybor City is where the nightlife is at, and the Tampa Riverwalk takes tourists by some of the most iconic sites in downtown Tampa.

16: San Diego, California

San Diego skyline.
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Sunny San Diego has just over 350,000 tourists who grace its shores. Visitors can spend a day or more exploring Balboa Park, including the world-famous San Diego Zoo. And La Jolla, with its adorable wild sea lions, leaves tourists fantasizing about becoming San Diego residents.

17: Naples, Florida

Areal view of Naples, Florida.
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Naples welcomes over 250,000 tourists annually, and it’s safe to say that many are northerners trying to escape the winter. Although America’s Naples might have trouble competing with the cuisine in Italy’s Naples, the U.S. version still has a rich culinary scene.

18: Austin, Texas

Austin skyline.
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With more than 220,000 people visiting Austin each year, the city’s “Keep Austin Weird” slogan seems to be a bigger tourist attraction than a deterrent. Its live music scene is among the best in the country, and there are many activities for outdoor lovers.

19: Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida.
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Jacksonville may not be Miami, but it still has a respectable 210,000 annual visitors. The historic Riverside and Avondale neighborhoods are eye candy for cameras, and the beaches in Jacksonville are a great place to unwind.

20: Santa Ana, California

Santa Ana train station.
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Santa Ana rounds out the top 20 most popular cities in the U.S., with just over 200,000 visitors each year. Not only does downtown offer an excellent selection of restaurants and shops, but the city is a short drive from Orange County’s stunning beaches.

Most Popular City in North America

Aerial view of the Cancun Hotel Zone.
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Cancun is the most popular non-U.S. city in North America. When factoring in U.S. cities, Cancun is the fifth-most visited city on the continent.

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New York City and Los Angeles, be gone. These are the most forgotten U.S. cities that Americans want fellow citizens and foreigners to visit.

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15 Most Charming Small Southern Towns

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From beautiful architecture to beach getaways and mom-and-pop shops serving local food, these small southern towns give Americans a refreshing break from their busy routines.

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17 Embarrassing American Tourist Stereotypes

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Let’s face it: American travelers can be embarrassing. Find out if you’re guilty of falling into these embarrassing American tourist stereotypes.

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12 Most Underrated American Cities

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Are you looking to visit a unique city that isn’t on many people’s itineraries? These are some of the most underrated American cities.

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22 Myths About the US

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From firearms to waistlines, these are the frustrating misconceptions foreigners have about Americans.

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