Travel + Leisure published its list of the most visited tourist attractions in the world.
The list included such divergent locales as the Sacré-Coeur in Paris (10.5 million visitors), Beijing’s Forbidden City (12.83 million visitors), New York City’s Times Square (39 million visitors) and Disney World in Orlando (17 million visitors).
I looked through the list of 50 tourist traps and, surprisingly, I had been to a lot of them, namely The Strip in Las Vegas, Navy Pier in Chicago, Disneyland in Anaheim, the Louvre Museum in Paris, the British Museum in London, Pike Place Market in Seattle and, of course, the Eiffel Tower in Paris. (Hawaii attractions didn’t make the list.)
But I was more disappointed at all the places I hadn’t been to, including the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., Niagra Falls, the Great Wall of China, the Sydney Opera House in Australia and Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
I mean, there are tourist attractions, the kind of places we like to avoid on vacation. Yet, it’s almost shameful to have never been there. Like flying all the way to Paris and not visiting the Eiffel Tower. I mean, what’s the point?
It made me think about all the places I still haven’t been to — and I decided to start a list. I jotted a few places down I really want to visit in the next five years.
And I’d better get on it.
Here are a few:
• Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy
• Machu Picchu in Peru
• Yosemite National Park
• Yellowstone National Park
• Rome, particularly to visit the Colosseum
• Northern Lights in Alaska
• Malibu, Calif. (Yes, I actually want to see the famous surf break.)
• The White House in Washington D.C.
• Smithsonian in Washington D.C.
There are more, of course, but it’s a start.
Got any must-see places on your list?
I’d love to see the running of the bulls at Pamplona, fish in the deep blue seas in Cabo San Lucas, walk along the rugged steps on the Great Wall of China.
I used to go to Yosemite every year right before summer. The park is not as crowded then and the waterfalls are full of late spring water. One day I’ll make it there during this time of year, early fall. The colors are just now beginning to change and the air is crisp with early frost.
Hi Jaydee, I’ve been to Yosemite in both the spring and fall and winter… definitely the times you’ve been in the spring are in my opinion the best time to go.
@max: My Bro-in-law used to hike there in the winter time with a full pack. He sadi it was one of the best hikes he ever did. I do like that early summer/late spring season though. It’s right before the kids let out of school so the park is a lot quieter and not crowded at all. If you go mid-summer you’re going to be sorely disappointed….it’s a zoo!
Winters in Yosemite can be great too. One of my best Yosemite memories was when we spent a day cross-country skiing on the valley floor. It was perfect for novice skiers.
hmmm…I’ve been to all the NYC ones, TST and Victoria Peak in HK (but not the two amusement parks on the list in that city), Navy Pier, the two SF ones (obv, since I live here now), Disneyland in SoCal, Universal in SoCal, Pikes Place Market, Faneuil Hall, LV Strip Zocalo in MX city…I think that’s it.
haven’t been to europe or DC so all of those attractions aren’t checked off. not a big amusement park fan so, although I’ve been to Orlando a couple of times, none of those made it (I had dinner at downtown disney once and stayed down the street from universal, so maybe partial credit?)
my list of places i want to go is mostly comprised of places I want to go back to. Saigon, Tokyo, NYC (going back in two months to take my son to see snow/rockafeller center, etc!!), Chicago (there’s a particular italian beef sandwich shop in Arlington Heights that’s calling my name), San Diego’s Mission Bay (to fish) and home, of course.
of places I want to go for the first time…Alaska (to fish), Puget Sound (to fish), Montauk, NY (for the fall striped bass run…sense a theme yet?).
of places on the list that I want to visit…maybe Sydney Opera House, Smokey Mountains (fishing again), the Smithsonian, a couple of the Europe places (but not the various disneys). maybe the Tokyo Disney (but only because that would mean I was in Tokyo, and any excuse to go works for me).
number one for me, though (besides Hawaii, of course) is a little yakitori/bar place in Omoide Yokocho in Shinjuku. it gets, maybe, two tourist visitors a year (but only in the years that my wife and I go to tokyo). the beer and sake flow freely, the fuud is super ono and fast and my cousin (who lives there) knows the owner. can’t beat that.
CAT: I really want to see a bullfight in Spain before it is totally banned. Visit the Galapagos and Australia.
don’t have my list, but i found it interesting how everything disney touches turns to gold. i think every single one of their theme parks is on this list.
Hello Cat, I haven’t been to most places on that list. So many places to go and so little time.
You’ve never been to Smithsonian?! I’ve been to DC twice & never was able to see it all (work got in the way, Gosh Darn it, heheh).
If ever in Japan, Kamikochi in Nagano-ken. A pain to get to but very rewarding–google it.
Actually anywhere rural in Tohoku or the Japan Alps can’t lose.
There’s a place on the Pac. Ocean side of Vancouver Island, BC–Tofino. Went with the Missus, romantic with forever beaches, not to many visitors & a lot of nature. I don’t surf, but there were quite a number of surfers with body suits. Water is cold. Hiking, surfing, stroll beaches in a small fishing village, sounds like it could be for you.
I’m with you re: Malibu. I visit Southern California every year. Been to Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach,and San Diego to check out all the surf breaks, but never quite made it to Malibu. Seen pics of the waves at Malibu and they look really fun.
I must be losing it… thought I’d commented on this before. Anyway, here are three worth the trip. 1) Li River, Guilen, China 2) Iguazu Falls, Argentina 3) The Grand Canyon. There is a theme here of course; rivers. There is something to be said for rivers. Of course you need to do a little work to see the Colorado. It is a great hike donw to it. the bridge walk across it is worthwhile. Which reminds me, walking over the Golden Gate is a neat experience. But skip it if you are feeling suicidal 🙂
Greece. Corfu. Crete.
Cat, skip the leaning tower and Pisa altogether, and go to Lucca instead. Pisa airport is still reasonably close to Lucca, a magical place.
My grandfather used his army pay when he was discharged in 1912 to buy a lemon grove on the island of his birth. The land is no longer in the family, and there is a hotel on that land now that caters to German beachgoers. However, I want to see the place one day. He lived another 52 years, but never again saw the place of his birth or his lemon grove. I have been to the island, but never to the little town where he and my grandmother were born and raised.
WildeOscar, I agree with your assessment. Lucca was magical and was a whole day’s worth of exploration. Pisa was basically a quick in-and-out. It was like, “Oh, there’s the tower, OK… I guess we should go back now,” LOL!
I recently visited Angkor Wat, the Great Wall of China, and the Potala Palace. Yes, there were a lot of tourists, but the experience makes me want to go back and visit more remote parts of those countries (and continent). Bagan, Bhutan, and Hunan are on my short list now.
Nice list Cat! In particular of the place you listed, I’d say you should go to Yosemite Valley. MAKE SURE TO GO IN THE SPRING OR EARLY SUMMER–the water in all of the falls get “turned off,” LOL! In my opinion it is the most beautiful place on Earth. If you start at 4 or 5am, you can hike to the top of Half Dome (20 mile hike). It’s like the drive to Hana… it’s the journey and not the destination–well, it’s also the destination too because standing at the edge of the top of Half Dome is breathtaking.
The rest of the list is great, but I would say that the leaning tower of Pisa was the only disappointment on that list. It’s a long train ride from Firenze (Florence) and really is the only sight to see in town.
@max: Yeah, I did the Half Dome hike one year with a couple of buddies and one of my friends 9 year old son. I was concerned about the 9 year old but he made it all the way to the top and never once complained. Like you said, we started out at 5am, made the top around 1pm then “double-timed” it back down in two hours. Hey, it’s all down-hill going back!
Next time though, I’m hiking to the campgrounds half-way up, camping overnight, then continue up in the morning. It was a killer hike. I wasn’t prepared. I got bad cramps going up, plus slight altitude sickness (since the top is at 8700 feet). I remember going up the cables cramping so bad that I could only go 10-20 feet at a time. And you know of ALL the places NOT to be stuck, THAT is it, haha. Luckily someone came along and offered me potassium tablets. I took one and in 15 minutes was a new man and basically jetted to the top!
Coming down was an event as well. My hiking partner and I both had bad knees. We took the mist trail down at one point and it was torture! We didn’t beat the night either and had to navigate down in the dark. Luckily a hiker had a spare flashlight and gave it to us!
I’ve seen kids doing it as well… that is scary!
I meant, “the water in all of the falls get “turned off,” …in the fall and early winter months.