Top 10 Most Popular Vacation Spots
US travelers love to visit these cities on 2019’s Most Popular Travel Destinations list for good reason. These places are worth the journey, no matter how far. Some we love for their amazing Pad Thai, others for the spectacular shows and nightlife (looking at you, Las Vegas).
And many of them are popular jumping-off points for exploring nearby attractions. We ran our data from millions of bookings in 2019 to share where US travelers are heading to most often, along with our best insider knowledge on these popular vacation spots.
Check out the 10 Most Popular Travel Destinations for US Travelers:
|2019 Top Destinations||2018 Top Destinations||Change in Rank|
|1st||London||New York||↑ 1|
|2nd||New York||London||↓ 1|
|3rd||Las Vegas||Los Angeles||↑ 1|
|4th||Paris||Las Vegas||↑ 1|
|5th||Los Angeles||Paris||↓ 2|
|10th||Chicago||Fort Lauderdale||↓ 4|
Don’t worry. If you’re concerned about the crowds in the most popular travel destinations, we have the best tips on how to avoid the masses. We will also let you in on the best time to visit to save money or to ensure sunshiney skies.
Visitors can’t get enough of London’s stonewalled pubs and quaint tea rooms. Our mates across the pond have a lot of appealing sites to see, from Tower Bridge to Buckingham Palace. You’ll find English history and architecture at their finest in London. Whether you’re having fish and chips by the River Thames or popping into a pub for Sunday Roast, London lets you enjoy the best of British comfort foods. In the mood for a curry? Dishoom is a must-visit. (It’s worth the wait, we promise!).
Hopping across the pond has long been a popular travel trend with US travelers and in 2019, London has reclaimed the number one spot as USA’s most popular travel destination. Only ~7 hours from the East Coast of the US, England offers a perfect blend of travel ease (no language barrier!) and culture.
Big Ben, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Shoreditch’s trendy bars and eateries, Tower Bridge, The London Eye, Borough Market, St. Paul’s Cathedral, V&A Museum, Royal Albert Hall, The West End, Shakespeare’s Globe, Houses of Parliament
Most popular: Summer in London (June-August) is your best chance at a bit of sun in this notoriously rainy, chilly city.
Most affordable: You’ll find cheap flights and affordable hotels in London, outside of the holidays and summer season.
Least crowded: Typically cold and rainy January and February are the least crowded once the Christmas and New Years’ excitement dies down.
Want to visit one of the oldest pubs in London? Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, frequented by the likes of Mark Twain and Charles Dickens, has been open since 1666.
–Go for a leisurely walk along the Regent’s Canal
–Explore the trendy bars and restaurants of Peckham
–See what’s on at the Royal Albert Hall (Between July and September check out the BBC Proms!)
Fun Fact: The Shard is the tallest building in the EU. Head to the top and enjoy a specialty cocktail from the bar with some of the best views in London.
#2 New York
Over 800 languages spoken. 8+ million people. If you think New York City’s numbers are crazy, wait until you visit. These numbers add up to an energy unparalleled by anywhere else in the world. The bright lights of Times Square, the towering Empire State Building, Broadway’s pizzazz… New York City is the second most popular travel destination for all these reasons. Whether you’re looking for three Michellin Stars or dollar slices of pizza, you’ll find mouthwatering cuisine to fit every budget in The Big Apple.
In a city that is constantly moving and evolving, it can feel like no amount of time you spend in NYC is ever enough. From Coney Island to Yankee Stadium, New York City is home to endless entertainment options. Find an off-the-beaten-track comedy club on the Lower East Side or checkout a speakeasy in Chelsea (Bathtub Gin is a favorite!).
And for the best views, the Top of the Rock beats out The Empire State Building.
The Empire State Building, The Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, The World Trade Center Memorial, Central Park, Broadway, Little Italy, Chinatown, Ellis Island, Williamsburg’s trendy cafes and eateries, fine dining, shopping in Soho, Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park, Madison Square Garden
Most popular: Many families head to New York during the summer vacation months, as do many international visitors. July and August are big months for out-of-towners, though the residential areas of NYC tend to be empty on the weekends in the summer months, as resident New Yorkers escape to the beach.
Most affordable: ‘New York City’ and ‘affordable’ aren’t frequently found in the same sentence but January and February will be your best chance to find cheap(er) flights and hotels.
Least crowded: You’ll never escape the crowds completely in New York City, but if you don’t mind the cold, January and February are the least crowded months to visit.
At the Williamsburg Hotel you can grab an artisanal cocktail at The Water Tower. Enjoy sweeping views of the Manhattan Skyline from a real converted water tower on the roof of this riverfront hotel.
–The Met Cloisters
–Gotham Comedy Club
–Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company (order the jalapeño cream cheese on an everything bagel and thank us later)
Fun Fact: The New York Public Library has over 50 Million Books. And it’s well worth a visit, even without a library card.
#3 Las Vegas
The rowdy nightlife of Las Vegas has been drawing crowds of revelers to Sin City for decades. Bachelor parties, ‘girls’ trips’, 21st birthdays, you-name-it. If you’re looking to let loose and celebrate, Las Vegas is the ultimate place to do it. Big-name DJs play day and night at the resorts along the Strip; pool parties in Vegas are unlike anywhere else on Earth. No wonder Las Vegas made it into our list of the most popular vacation spots!
But there’s another side to this city that makes it just as fun for families with young kids or folks that appreciate a hangover-less morning. There are enough world-class museums, exhibits, performances, and attractions to keep visitors entertained for weeks on end. Our favorites? The Neon Museum, Bodies: The Exhibition, and Cirque du Soleil.
Foodwise, it doesn’t get much better than Vegas. Yardbird, Zuma, and Delmonico should all be on your radar.
Most popular: Any major holidays are a popular time to take a long weekend vacation to Las Vegas. Memorial Day, Labor Day, July 4th, and Spring Break weeks during March and April.
Most affordable: January and February are the cheapest months. Grab a great hotel deal and save your cash for the slot machines.
Least crowded: Christmas and Thanksgiving are less popular times to visit.
The Laundry Room Speakeasy. We’ll let you find your own way there so we don’t ruin all the fun.
–Rolling Smoke BBQ (off the strip)
— Eggslut (Cosmo) for one of the best breakfast sandwiches you’ll ever eat
–Rent a car and head outside of the city to Red Rock Canyon
Fun Fact: It would take 288 years for one person to spend one night in every hotel room in Las Vegas. Better get started!
Parisians have their work-life balance figured out. And it lends itself to a city that oozes joie de vivre. Corner cafes are frequently filled with locals sipping coffee or wine and socializing with friends. The outdoor cafe tables are a people-watchers dream in Paris.
The Louvre is home to everyone’s favorite smirk, The Mona Lisa, and Musee d’Orsay’s art collection will teleport you back to the 19th century.
Do like the Parisians do and gather by the water. On the banks of the Seine, you’ll find plenty of bars and restaurants, or pack a picnic and head to Canal St. Martin where young Parisians gather to enjoy the sun.
The incredible architecture like Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur, and the ability to have a crepe in your hand whenever you want? That’s why Paris is the 4th most popular travel destination for US travelers.
The Louvre, d’Orsay Museum, Pompidou Centre, The Eiffel Tower, The Arc de Triomphe, Montmartre, Moulin Rouge, Notre Dame Cathedral, Versailles, Champs-Élysées, All the Creperies, Paris Opera House
Most popular: Paris in the summer is beautiful, and it’s the favorite time for most visitors. July and August are peak tourist months.
Most affordable: Cheap flights can be found from the US to Paris year-round, but you’re likely to score the best deal visiting between October and March.
Least crowded: January and February are the least crowded months in Paris. The weather is chilly but the city has plenty of cute cafes and interesting museums to enjoy your time indoors.
La REcyclerie was converted from an abandoned train station into a unique café. Sit by the grass-covered tracks and sip an espresso or order food made from
La REcyclerie’s homegrown fruits and veggies.
–Picnic by Canal St. Martin
–Have a wander through Buttes Chaumont park
–Try all the food in Paris’ Station F
–Visit the Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore
Fun Fact: Paris isn’t called the City of Light because of the shimmering Eiffel Tower. It refers to the high concentration of intellectuals, writers, and artists that are drawn to Paris.💡
#5 Los Angeles
As number 5 on our list of popular vacation spots, this sprawling Southern California city has a little something for everyone. Head to Venice Beach if you enjoy good people watching. If you’re looking to get a workout in, don’t skip the Runyon Canyon Hike for views of the Hollywood sign. For views over the Pacific and across downtown L.A., check out the Griffith Observatory. Take a tour through Beverly Hills and find your favorite Hollywood icons on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Oh, and there’s always that little place called Disneyland that we hear is the Happiest Place on Earth. Check out neighboring California Adventure for faster coasters and “Soarin’ Over California,” a ride that’ll take you to all the best destinations in the state.
Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Universal Studios, Runyon Canyon Hike, Hollywood Home Tours, Paramount Studios tours, Griffith Observatory, Disneyland, California Science Center, Getty Center, Hollywood sign, Venice Beach, Zuma Beach for a beach day, Third Street Promenade, Sunset Boulevard, LA County Museum of Art, Rodeo Drive, Hollywood Bowl
Most popular: Los Angeles has a moderate climate which makes it a year-round destination, though the most popular months are definitely the summer. July and August will see the biggest crowds in L.A.
Most affordable: You’ll find deals on flights and accommodation in the early months of the year (January through Spring Break, typically early March)
Least crowded: The least crowded months here tend to be just after the summer season dies down in October and November.
Head up to Santa Barbara, just 2 hours outside L.A. and visit their stunning wine country nestled in the hills.
–The Bungalow in Santa Monica for cocktails
–Hit up the Farmer’s Market at The Grove
Fun Fact: Los Angeles frequently tops the list of Worst Traffic in the World. (Probably not a “fun” fact to Angelenos).
We all associate Orlando with the likes of Mickey Mouse, Epcot, and more recently, Hogwarts. And these are certainly the biggest draw for Floridians, residents across the US, and guests from all over the world. In fact, Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is the most visited theme park on the planet.
But there’s much more to explore in this Florida city.
The food scene is top-notch, and there are many world-class spas and high-end shopping. The city also has an abundance of natural springs and hiking and biking trails, to fully enjoy the Florida sunshine.
Orlando is a great city for exploring and discovering for yourself why it’s one of the most popular travel destinations.
Disney World, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal, Downtown Disney, Legoland, SeaWorld, International Drive
Most popular: Especially if you’re coming for Disney World, avoid any of the major holidays for your Orlando trip. During Easter, Christmas, New Years, etc. flights and hotels will be much more expensive.
Most affordable: As far outside the holiday and Summer Break season you can get would be best to visit. February and October and good shoulder months.
Least crowded: Same as above–the off-season is the least crowded here.
The Heavy WP is essentially a flower coffee bar. And it doubles as an Instagram dreamland.
Stroll among the succulents, flowers, and potted plants of all shapes and sizes, latte-in-hand and make sure you don’t forget your camera.
–Leu Gardens for a nice walk among 200-year-old oaks and calm lakes
–Wekiwa Springs and rent a canoe
–Orlando Museum of Art
Fun Fact: Orlando is home to more than 100 lakes!
Outdoorsy travelers have long known that Colorado is the US mecca for outdoor activities. Rock climbing, snowboarding, hiking in the Rockies–if you can imagine it, Colorado probably offers the chance to do it.
But don’t think that Colorado is lacking on indoor options. During the snowy winters, visitors can head to The Ballpark Museum and check out old ballgame memorabilia or the Forney Museum of Transportation that will take you back in time with steam locomotives and cool antique cars.
For modern-day sports fun, head to Coors Field for a Rockies Game or Mile High Stadium to watch the Broncos.
Just 30 minutes from Denver, in the foothills of the Rockies, is Boulder, Colorado which has been previously named one of the happiest cities in the US Boulder has a creative energy pulsing through it, fueled undoubtedly by the stunning nature and University-town vibes. As you can tell, Colorado has something for everyone, making it one of the most popular places to travel.
Larimer Square, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, Washington Park, 16th St. Mall, Denver Zoo, Mount Evans scenic byway, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver Botanic Gardens,
Coors Field, Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Coors Brewery, Union Station,
Denver Art Museum, United States Mint,
Molly Brown House Museum,
Stranahan‘s Colorado Whiskey Tour,
Most popular: Denver is both a big winter ski destination and a summer outdoors spot, a huge part of why it’s the #7 Most Popular Travel Destination.
Most affordable: Spring and Fall will be more affordable than the summer and winter months.
Least crowded: May and October are the least crowded months to check out Denver.
Try the ice cream from both Little Man and Sweet Cow, so you can decide for yourself which is better between these two Denver rivals.
–William and Graham Speakeasy for craft cocktails and delicious food
–Find your perfect meal in the Denver Central Market
–Brunch at Snooze (don’t think twice–get the pancakes!)
–Hike to Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
Fun Fact: Golf fanatics will need to show some restraint when hitting the links in Denver. Golf balls go 10 percent farther in the mountain air here.
The Philippines are rapidly becoming the new favorite island vacation destination for US Travelers. Manila moved into the top 10 Most Popular Travel Destinations for the first time this year.
The white sand and clear waters are most appealing to beach-lovers, SCUBA fanatics, and honeymooners, but these 7,641 islands have something for everyone.
Manila is the capital of the Philippines and while there are many things to see, like the beautiful Spanish colonial architecture, undoubtedly Manila serves more as a starting point to exploring the popular islands of Cebu, Boracay, Palawan, and more.
Filipino street food is a meat lovers dream, especially for the adventurous eater. Here, you’ll find everything from skewered chicken feet to duck egg embryos (a delicacy!).
The most popular spots in the Philippines are Cebu, Siargao, El Nido on Palawan, Boracay, SCUBA diving, swimming with whale sharks, Puerto Princessa, Coron, Bohol’s Chocolate Hills, and Siquijor’s waterfalls.
Most popular: The Filipino people love Christmas and infamously have one of the longest Christmas seasons in the world. The dry season lasts (and it’s not too hot) from Nov-Feb which is the most popular time to visit.
Most affordable: March and April are typically too-hot-to-handle in the Philippines but if you can handle them, you’ll find great deals.
Least crowded: March and April, as well as the rainy months from May to October, will be much less crowded than the dry season.
Bantayan. This cute little island off the big island of Cebu offers the perfect combination of inexpensive, beachfront accommodation, palm-tree dotted nature, local towns, and great restaurants. Don’t skip the Filipino street food!
–Visit the 2,000-year-old Banaue Rice Terraces
–Explore the active Mayon Volcano on the island of Luzon
–Dive with whale sharks in Oslob
Fun Fact: Only about 2,000 of those previously mentioned 7,641 islands are inhabited.
One of the most vibrant cities on Earth, Bangkok has always been a favorite Asian destination for US travelers. Whether you plan to head north to Chiang Mai and backpacker-haven Pai, or south to the infamous Thai islands, Bangkok is both the first and last stop for most travelers to Thailand.
And there’s plenty to keep visitors busy in Bangkok. The architecture of the temples and the nature in the parks are worth the views. Khao San Road and Soi Cowboy are must-visits at night for a nightlife scene that needs to be seen to be believed.
In weird and wonderful Bangkok you’ll find everything from Corgi Cafes (yes, there are a dozen corgis on hand to cuddle with) to Unicorn Cafes where your food comes in rainbow hues, topped with unicorn horns.
Soi Cowboy, Khao San Road, Sky Train, the temples of Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho and Wat Arun, reclining Buddha, floating markets, Muay Thai matches, rooftop bars, Thai massage, the Thai Islands, Chiang Mai, Loy Krathong
Most popular: Bangkok is crowded year-round but the most popular times to visit are for the Thai New Year (Songkran) in mid-April and Christmas/early January.
Most affordable: July and August is the monsoon season which means fewer tourists and cheaper flights and accommodation.
Least crowded: The off-season, April through June. These are Bangkok’s hottest months. April, in particular, can be sweltering, but you will be skipping the crowds!
A day-trip to Ayutthaya
–The Michelin Star restaurants where you can get amazing meals for relatively inexpensive prices (especially Jay Fai’s crab omelette!)
–Grab a taxi boat for a different view of Bangkok from the narrow canals
–Take a cooking class and learn how to recreate your favorite Thai meals when you get home
Fun Fact: The real name of Bangkok is: Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahinthara Yutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udom Ratchaniwet Mahasathan Amonphiman Awatansathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukamprasit
…luckily you don’t have to type that into your flight search.
Chicago is a city that dances to the beat of its own drum. In the summertime, that drum is to the tune of over 150 different festivals. During the summer months, the sunny streets and parks of Chicago are filled with festival-goers celebrating music, beer, food, dance, heritage, and more. We highly suggest looking into upcoming festivals if you’re planning to visit the Windy City during the summer months.
If the weather is less cooperative during your visit, Chicago is filled with indoor alternatives, from cozy pubs to world-class art museums. The Adler Planetarium, The Logan Theatre for old movies, and eating an entire deep-dish pizza are our favorite winter activities in Chicago.
If you’re into a bit of a thrill with your skyline views, head to Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and walk out over The Ledge, a glass balcony 103 floors above ground.
Adler Planetarium, Brookfield Zoo
Frederick C. Robie House, 360 Chicago, LEGOLAND Discovery Center, Lincoln Park Zoo, Navy Pier, SkyDeck Chicago, Willis Tower, The Shedd Aquarium, Art Institute of Chicago, Wrigley Field, The Bean, Magnificent Mile
Most popular: Visitors (and locals!) love summertime in Chicago. July and August tend to be the busiest months. Travelers also head to Chicago in December for the Lincoln Park Zoo Lights
Most affordable: Fall is the most affordable time to travel to Chicago. And you can still get nice weather in September/October.
Least crowded: If you’re looking to escape the crowds, try visiting Chicago in November or January, before and after the business of the Christmas season tends to be calmer.
The Japanese Gardens in Jackson Park. Spend a sunny day venturing over wooden arch bridges amid lush nature that feels straight out of Kyoto. (Also known as the Garden of the Phoenix or the Osaka Garden).
–Watch a Cubs game at Wrigley Field
–Visit the Shedd Aquarium
–Catch a comedy show at The Second City
Fun Fact: On a clear day from the Willis Tower Skydeck you can see four different states: Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
Did you like our piece on popular vacation spots? You may also be interested in: