America's most visited cities

1. East coast cities - Boston to Miami

You are here :  ›  Places   cities

A learner's guide to discovering the United States
Most big cities in the USA  have plenty to offer the visitor, but some have more than others. As of 2022, there were thirty-seven cities in the USA with a population of over half a million inhabitants. This page presents a selection of eleven of these biggest cities in the USA, plus one that is slightly smaller, but is renowned in the USA as a city-break destination on account of its history and its differences, New Orleans.
    The list comprises 5 eastern cities, 3 western cities, and 3 cities in between.
    It does not contain any of the more interesting smaller cities in the USA with a historic heritage, such as Savannah, Georgia or charleston South Carolina, which may be very suitable for a weekend break, but which, on acount of their size, have less to offer overall.
    Of the twelve cities listed, all except Memphis have direct international flights to and from Europe and / or Asia, making them easily accessible for  visitors from other parts of the world

1. Five cities in the east


Old state house
The oldest of America's big cities, Boston has a lot to offer visitors. One of the great advantages is that the downtown areat is just a ten-minute taxi ride from the city's Logan Airport, or 30 minutes by subway, making it one of the most easily accessible of downtown areas. Among the great attractions in Boston is the city's Museum of Fine Arts, the 14th biggest in the world, which has huge collections of art and artefacts including a remarkable Japanese collection, and the largest collection of paintings by Claude Monet anywhere outside of Paris. The other great art museum is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, with a small but top quality art collection.
Hôtels throughout the USA
A great selection at best rates from  Booking.com

 New York
    Boston however is not just art museums. There are attractions for everyone, including the city's Science Museum, the Harvard Natural History Museum, and a number of historic ships and quaysides to visit, including the Boston Tea Party museum. Visitors may also like to cross the river to Cambridge, and visit the nearby historic campus of Harvard University.
    In many ways, being a historic east coast port, Boston is similar to New York, but much smaller. For anyone wanting to visit a US city but put off by the size of New York and of its airports, Boston offers an alternative destination on a more human scale.

New York

It is said that the "city that never sleeps" has enough attractions and points of interest to keep its residents occupied for a lifetime; in other words, those visiting the city have more than enough to choose from, and a one week stay in the city will barely give time to scratch the surface. Click here for more about ►►► visiting New York.


Old state house
The federal capital of the United States has a number of landmarks that are familiar to people all over the world. The White House (which can only be viewed from the outside, or limited pre-arranged tours), the Capitol (parts of which can be visited) and the Lincoln Memorial are just some of the iconic buildings that visitors come to see.
    Washington is one of the great examples of a neo-classical eighteeenth-century "new town", planned from scratch by the Paris-born engineer Pierre-Charles L'Enfant. Indeed  memories of Paris were in L'Enfant's mind, when he first imagined the new city, with its wide tree-lined boulevards and monumental features. The finest place to view the city is from the viewing deck at the top of the 169 meter tall Washington Monument, the obelisk that stands overlooking the National Mall at the opposite end from the Lincoln Memorial.
    In addition to its government buildings and other familiar landmarks, Washington is a city rich in history, culture and museums. The National Gallery, which is free to visit,  has one of the world's greatest art collections. Washington also hosts several more major  federal museums, known as the Smithsonian museums. These museums, which are free to visit, include the Natural History Museum, the Air and Space Museum, and the Naional Museum of Afro-American culture. Among the U.S. capital city's other free visitor attractions are the zoo, the botanical gardens and the National Arboretum.
    As the nation's capital, Washington also comprises many historic memorials, including the Vietnam War memorial, and Arlington National Cemetry


Independence hall
The original capital of the United States, the city of Philadelphia, founded in 1682, was the birthplace of the nation. It was here, in the State House, now known as Independence Hall (photo right), that the American Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, and the Constitution was drawn up 11 years later, in 1787.
    Today Philadelphia is the seventh largest city in the USA, and the capital of the state of Pennsylvania..
    The most famous sight in Philadelphia is the Liberty Bell, which once hung in the tower of the State House, but is now housed in the Liberty Bell Center nearby. In 2015 the historic area of Philadelphia became the first UNESCO World Heritage City in the USA.
    Art lovers visiting Philadelphia have at least three major museums to visit. the Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the largest art galleries in the USA, with a world-class collection including a medieval altarpiece by Rogier van der Weyden to works by Picasso and contemporary US artists. Two other major galleries are the Barnes Collection, famous for its French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art, and the Rodin Museum, which has the larrgest collection of Rodin's work outside of Paris.


Old state house
Very different from the other cities listed above, Miami is one of the most popular city destinations in the USA all year round. The one thing to be wary of is hurricanes, that can batter the Florida coast at any time of year, most particularly between November and May. However it's important not to exaggerate the risk. Hurricanes are rare, and the likelihood of a major hurricane striking a particular location is even rarer. Statistically hurricanes actually strike Miami only about once in five years on average.
    While Miami is not short on museums and cultural attractions, the Science Museum, the Perez Art Museum and the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) being the most noted of these, the city's cultural attractions are not usually the main reason that attracts visitors to this the most southerly major city in the continental USA.
    Located on the Atlantic coast at latitude 25.7° north, less than 3° above the Tropic of Cancer, Miami has a climate that contrasts markedly with that of much of the USA.  During the long winter months, when large parts of the USA can lie under snow for weeks on end and temperatures stick resolutely below freezing  for days in a row,  Miami – where winter daytime highs are rarely below 68°F (20°C) – has a natural drawing power. The main attractions here are the sunshine, the beaches, the water, and the leisure activities that go with them. Water sports, boat tours and just soaking in the sun.
    Miami is an extensive city, and many of the attractions lie between five and ten miles from the downtown area. Miami Beach, with its famous Art Deco historic district, is seven miles from downtown, while the National Tropical Botanical Gardens, an interesting open air attraction, are ten miles ot the south.

More cities. 
Cities of the American Heartland from Chicago to New Orleans
Cities in the west: from Seattle to Las Vegas

About-the-usa.com   Home page 

Discover America 
 its past, its present, its future.
Read about some of the icons that have helped make the United States the place it is today... Elvis Presley, Route 66, the Skyscraper, Martin Luther King, Las Vegas.... and seventeen more articles in advanced level English

Partner websites

Institutions, life and tourism
  • About France - a thematic guide to France. Over 200 pages of information for visitors and students.
  • About Britain - a thematic introduction to Britain covering institutions, life and tourism
  • Angleterre.org.uk - Le guide de l'Angleterre, en français

Travel and tourism
Text © About-the-usa.com

About :  About-the-usa.com is a Travel-Webs site

To contact this website please use the form provided.

Photo credits.
Top of page. Venti Views.
Boston. Photo by T Ball
Washington by 12019
Liberty Hall by Jennabee 25
Miami by Barion McQueen

About-the-usa.com respects your privacy and does not collect data from users. Cookies are used solely to log anonymous audience statistics and to enable essential page functions. To remove this message, click   or otherwise learn more about setting cookie preferences