Every year, more and more families are climbing into their vehicles and hitting the road for the iconic family road trip. As the popularity of traveling America's highways increases, it's easy to see where they're headed and what they want to experience. Here's a list of the ten most visited cities in 2014, and some of their most popular attractions as listed by rating on Roadtrippers.
1. San Francisco
San Francisco tops the list of most visited cities in 2014, and it's no surprise. It's got the gorgeous views, incredible food, and stellar attractions that make it a must-visit destination that suits the vaction needs of just about every demographic. Here's where travelers to San Francisco are going:
The Exploratorium can turn any adult into a kid again. With over 1000 participatory exhibits for you to explore, this science and art museum is an absolute must-stop for anyone visiting the San Fran area.
Since 1937 the Golden Gate Bridge has easily become one of the most iconic bridges in America. That’s partly thanks to the classic orange Art Deco design, and the 746-foot tall towers that have made it one of the most recognizable structures in the world. The Golden Gate Bridge draws over 10 million visitors a year.
Alcatraz Island aka “The Rock” is home to a huge collection of photos, documents, and handmade artwork created by some of the inmates. It’s become one of the most visited jails in America, with tourists coming from all over the world just to get the chance to take a peek inside.
The San Francisco Chinatown is the oldest in Northern America, and is also the largest Chinese community residing outside of Asia. Since 1848 it’s been home to many herbal shops, parades, and temples, and its number of yearly visitors has surpassed the Golden Gate Bridge.
One of the most recognizable buildings in San Francisco, the The De Young Museum's copper facade has been drawing visitors since it was founded in 1895.
2. Los Angeles
It doesn’t matter the age, lovers of art and all things creative are flocking to Los Angeles to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art. It has one of the country's most renowned collections, and with over 6,800 permanent works, the museum shows no sign of slowing visitation. Travellers are taking in a show at the iconic Hollywood Bowl, but not before spending an afternoon at the Guinness World Records Museum where they'll see some of the most wonderfully weird things people have attempted in order to become famous. They can’t seem to leave LA without grabbing lunch at Pink's Hot Dogs, one of the most well-known hot dog restaurants in the world. Other popular attractions include spending a day at the Los Angeles Zoo & Gardens where visitors can explore 113 acres and learn about animal conservation.
3. Las Vegas
Of course Sin City is in the top five. With a nightlife that never ends and enough entertainment to last a lifetime, Las Vegas is the ultimate adult playground.
Coming in at the top of Vegas' most popular attractions is a surpringly family-friendly locale, The Hoover Dam. Also highly rated is the much more adult-oriented Zombie Apocalypse Store where you can try your luck at filling the undead with lead, Frankies Tiki Room, rated one of the best Tiki Bars in the country, the National Atomic Testing Museum, and the Pinball Hall of Fame, where a handful of quarters can buy you hours of fun on pinball machines that date all the way back to the 60s and up to today.
When people think of Seattle, their minds generally wander to rain, coffee, and the time that guy slapped a chick on MTV's Real World. But clearly, the Emerald City has plenty more to offer the world than caffeine-fueled reality rage, because more and more travellers are choosing to spend their time in Seattle.
Some of the highest rated attractions the Pacific Northwest's most popular city are the Olympic National Park, the Hoh Rainforest, and the The Museum of Flight. Unsurprisingly, the Space Needle remains an iconic classic, while the Woodland Park Zoo has crept into the top five, attracting over a million visitors a year.
Denver, the second most-populated city in Colorado and the fastest-growing in America, is known for John Denver, expansive mountain ranges, and some pretty strong national sports teams. With some of the best views, incredible hiking, and world-class skiing, it's no surprise that Denver is one of America's top visited cities.
What are people looking to check out while they're in town? Visitors love the amazing sights and sounds of the Rocky Mountain National Park, catching a movie or a live show under the stars at the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, or scheduling a unique tour of an abandoned missile silo at Missile Silo Park. Other top-rated highlights include taking the kids to the excellent Denver Zoo or spending a few hours taking in some fine art at the Denver Art Museum.
6. New Orleans
There’s no better city to get in touch with your spooky side than New Orleans, and travellers are doing it at one of their gorgeous and unique above-ground cemeteries like St. Louis Cemetery #1— the final resting place of infamous voodoo queen Marie Laveau. If they need a stiff drink after poking around the graveyard, they tend to head right to Bourbon Street to grab a drink at one of the many bars (bonus: there’s no open container laws). Afterwards, they're soaking up the booze with a beignet from Cafe du Monde or some authentic Cajun cookin’ from Antoine’s.
More and more, visitors are showing they can hang with the hipsters by stopping at the coolest hot spots Portland has to offer, like Powell's City of Books and Things From Another World. They're grabbing a craft beer at a local brewery (like Migration Brewing, Rogue Ales Public House or Full Sail Brewing Company), catching a show at the Doug Fir Lounge, or hitting up the pinball machines at Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade.
Whether you have dreams of country music stardom or just want to line dance to it, Nashville’s the best town for it, and that's why it's one of the top road trip destinations in America! Travellers stop by the Grand Ole Opry House or the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum to memorialize the greats and then catch the next big act at Bluebird Café or BB King's Blues Club. Afterwards they grab some good home cookin’ from the Loveless Cafe, explore one of the nearby plantations like the The Hermitage, and, of course, no trip to Tennessee is complete without sampling the wares at Jack Daniels Distillery or Popcorn Sutton's Whiskey Distillery.
Between exploring all that Chicago has to offer, from Wrigley Field and Millennium Park to the The Willis Tower (Sears Tower) and Museum Campus, definitely definitely work up an appetite for a Chicago-style dog from Hot Doug’s, a slice of deep dish from Gino's East and an Italian beef sandwich from Mr. Beef. Afterwards, they tend to grab a drinks at the historic Green Mill Jazz Club — where if you’re lucky, you can sit in Al Capone’s booth!
10. San Diego
Travellers are staying classy when visiting San Diego by hitting up the world-famous San Diego Zoo, booking a room at the swanky Hotel del Coronado, taking time to stop and smell the roses while strolling through Balboa Park, or going for a long walk on the beach at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park and getting a taste for the local flavor at the The Gaslamp Quarter. After all that exploring, visitors like to grab a drink at the highly-rated Blind Lady Ale House or The Silver Fox Lounge and unwind!