As the summer travel season heats up, millions of Americans are planning on hitting the road in search of a great vacation. Some will go abroad, and some will stay stateside, exploring the endless holiday opportunities that the U.S. offers.
One thing most people plan their vacations around are tourist attractions, and luckily there are more than enough throughout America to keep travelers happy.
As part of their annual Travelers Choice Awards, TripAdvisor has unveiled the top tourist attractions across the country.
These Best of the Best awards are especially prestigious because, from the over 8 million listings on the site, fewer than 1% receive this designation.
The honors are based on a variety of factors, awarded to attractions and experiences with an exceptionally high amount of above-and-beyond reviews and opinions from the TripAdvisor community members based on travel and reviews from May 2022- April 2023.
Here’s Why Tripadvisor Named These 8 Attractions The Best In The U.S.
1. Empire State Building, New York
The winner of TripAdvisor’s top spot for best attraction in the U.S. for the second year in a row is the iconic Empire State Building, which placed 5th among the best attractions in the world. After recently undergoing a full-scale rehab to the tune of $165 million, the Empire State Building now has an immersive museum and totally revamped 102nd Floor Observatory with breaking 360-degree views reaching 80 miles and spanning over five states.
Of course, this award-winning attraction gets busy quickly, with over 4 million visitors a year, and tickets should be purchased online ahead of time. The good news is there is no time limit when you visit.
To avoid crowds, you can go right at opening or near closing or consider booking a sunrise ticket for one of the best you will ever see.
For those who are planning on visiting New York City this summer, remember that the new City Borough Pass is now available and allows visitors to explore all the best neighborhoods the city has to offer.
@empirestatebldg WE’RE NUMBER ONE ????#newyorkcity #nyc #empirestatebuilding #newyork #tripadvisor ♬ original sound – Empire State Building
2. Central Park, New York
With over 800 acres to explore, New York City’s famous Central Park is clearly a huge draw for tourists and locals alike. Over 150 years old, open every day, and with free entry (it’s a park after all), there really is no reason not to include a wander around Central Park on your visit to New York City.
Don’t forget to download a map before you go, and to really maximize your time there, rent a bike to pedal about. Central Park is stunning in every season, each one offering a new way to see iconic sights such as Bethesda Terrace, The Mall, The Great Lawn, The Carousel, and more.
3. Iolani Palace, Hawaii
The official residence of Hawaii’s monarch, Iolani Palace, draws in visitors with the memories of a time past when King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani lived in this grand palace and ruled the Hawaiian Kingdom.
After falling into ruin and then being restored to its former glory, the palace is now one of the best-preserved depictions of real-life Polynesian history. Tickets must be purchased online, and prices run around $20-$30.
If you are lucky enough to find yourself in Hawaii this summer, remember to be prepared for potential delays at the airports, and check current conditions to avoid any problems.
4. The National 9/11 Memorial and Museum, New York
A visit to this site is an eye-opening and emotional experience and definitely should not be missed by anyone who is interested in the events of 9/11.
The memorial lies outside the museum, with the main focal point being the two pools which are the largest man-made waterfalls in North America; their large size is a result of sitting in the footprints of the former North and South Towers.
The museum itself is mostly underground and houses more than 70,000 artifacts in its well-designed space of over 111,000 square feet. It’s strongly advised to purchase your tickets early online, as the museum sells out often, especially in the summer.
One tip: when outside, do not walk on the grass in the area around the pools. Stick to the paths to avoid offending anybody.
@officerglick National 9/11 Memorial & Museum. A must see when visiting NYC. Never forget! #september11 #september11footage #september11th #911 #september11memorial #nodayshalleraseyoufromthememoryoftime #artwork #nyc #newyorkcity #neverforget ♬ original sound – OfficerGlick
5. The National WWII Museum, Louisiana
Featuring immersive and educational exhibits, New Orleans’s best tourist attraction is one not to miss. Telling visitors the story of World War II, the exhibits seek to answer all the questions, why it was fought, how it was fought, the human stories behind the front lines, and the lasting impacts that the war had on the world.
The National WWII Museum considers its main purpose to help all generations understand the price of freedom and to feel inspired by all that they learn during their visit.
6. Brooklyn Bridge, New York
Up next is another iconic New York City landmark, the Brooklyn Bridge. This stunning masterpiece connects the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan, spanning the East River.
Some tips for visiting this majorly popular landmark include arriving really early to beat the crowds and the midday heat and being mindful of the always busy bike lane. As tempting as it is, please do not stop too long for photos, and try your best to get your shots while walking (an average walk should take about 30 minutes); trust us, you won’t want to hold people up as you strike a pose.
The best idea for visiting the Brooklyn Bridge is to start in Manhattan and head towards Brooklyn, stopping in DUMBO to explore this trendy area. Afterward, take the NYC ferry back to midtown and enjoy the sights on the way.
Fun Fact: The Brooklyn Bridge was the first bridge in the world to use steel for the cable wire.
7. Garden of the Gods, Colorado
As one of the most popular attractions in the U.S., it’s not a surprise to see Colorado’s famous Garden of the Gods on this list of best attractions in America. Located outside Colorado Springs, this amazing landscape can be visited for free, and once there, you can enjoy the 21 miles of trails that wind around the rock formations scattered throughout the park.
Some of the more famous shapes include Balanced Rock and Cathedral Spires Steamboat Rock, so be preferred to wait a bit for those iconic snaps.
8. Stetson Mansion, Florida
Florida’s only gilded-age mansion and the biggest and grandest home ever to be built in the state, Stetson Mansion, is the most historic home in Florida.
Just between Orlando and Daytona, you can find the city of DeLand Florida, home to Stetson University and Stetson Mansion, both namesakes of the famous hat maker and philanthropist John B. Stetson.
A visit to Stetson costs between $20-$30, and tickets can be purchased with cash upon entry.
@sunilgovind_ Stetson Mansion in Deland Florida #deland #delandflorida #stetson #mansion #mondaymotivation #monday #mondaymood #mondayvibes #motivation #money #travel ♬ The Future (Instrumental) – BLVKSHP
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com