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Miami, popular US cities

6 of the Most Popular US Cities to Visit in 2023

In a country as large as the United States of America, it is hard for a tourist to know where they should go for their vacation which can make itinerary planning around popular US cities a lengthy task. In this post, we’ll cover six of the most popular places to visit in the US.


Whether you’re looking for a city adventure or a charming small town one, these are some of the popular US cities you can visit that cover just about all travel styles and groups. 

popular US cities

6 of the Most Popular US cities to Visit in 2023

If you’re looking for popular US cities to explore this upcoming year then this is a good place to start. There are many things that one can do, from visiting places of great historical or cultural significance to enjoying the many natural landmarks of the country.


There are places for all kinds of tourists, from the ones looking to dive headfirst into a booming metropolitan life to those looking to escape into a small-town environment. While it is impossible to create an exhaustive list of all the worthwhile popular US cities to visit, here are some experiences that no one should miss.

first trip to NYC, popular US cities

New York City

First on our short list of popular US cities to explore is rightfully NYC. It’s an iconic destination as no other city is more closely associated in popular culture with the United States than New York.


As one of the most cosmopolitan spaces to have ever existed, it is something that one needs to experience to understand. One could spend their entire life there and still have things left to explore.


Our NYC recommendations include watching a Broadway show, visiting Times Square, enjoying the natural beauty of Central Park, and trying the best food in the world, like a famous New York-styled pizza from John’s of Bleeker Street or a lox bagel from Russ & Daughters.


For people interested in exploring the artistic and cultural side of things, museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History are must-visit destinations.

popular US cities, places to visit in the US, Gatlinburg


Next up for your itinerary of popular US cities is Gatlinburg. This big little charming mountain town is famously called the gateway to the Smoky Mountains, a national park built on one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world.


The city offers tourists the opportunity to live in a resort while interacting with nature. Entertainment options include taking a cable car from downtown Gatlinburg to the top of Mt. Harrison, with captivating views throughout your journey.


You can also follow one of the many trails to the mountain range that begin in Gatlinburg, like the Gatlinburg Trail trailhead.


If you prefer nature from a distance, Gatlinburg provides the opportunity to do so through the Gatlinburg Space Needle, an observation tower 400 feet high, which offers a 360-degree view of the Smoky Mountains and the city.


Outside of sightseeing and hiking, other Gatlinburg top attractions include outdoor activities that change with the season, with skiing being popular during the winter and alpine coasters and water rides in the summer making it one of the most popular places to visit in the US.

places to visit in the US, popular US cities, Chicago


While not the most viable location for a vacation during winter, Chicago is still one of the most popular US cities as it offers the glamor of a big city like New York, while also having factors that make it different from any other place in the United States.


It is a city with a rich musical history, famous for contributing to the development of the blues and jazz scene in America. Many bars that housed these performances are also famous for their interactions with the mob during the Prohibition Era which is just another reason why it’s among the most popular US cities.


Chicago had the country’s most famous gangsters, and bars like the Green Mill were famous for being a regular spot of Al Capone. Only in a city like Chicago can one claim to have seen a live performance at the same place where Louis Armstrong once performed for Al Capone.


Alongside music, the food of Chicago is also world-famous. The city’s the birthplace of the deep-dish pizza alongside perhaps the longest food rivalry between Giordano and Lou Malnati over who makes the best one.

popular US cities, the grand canyon

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is enormous, larger than the state of Rhode Island. For its 277 miles, its average depth is 4,000 meters.


While these numbers themself sound impressive, the true vastness of the Grand Canyon is something that can only be experienced by witnessing it in person. It is for this reason that UNESCO declared it a world heritage site.


Apart from sightseeing, there is much to do at the Grand Canyon. Hiking through many famous trails, such as the Bright Angel Trailhead, which takes you through over 2 billion years of geological formation ending at the Havasupai Gardens, an oasis with lush gardens, flowing water, and shade.


There are also multiple rafting opportunities, giving you a new way to appreciate the vast canyon. You can also stay overnight at one of the many campgrounds of the Grand Canyon, one of the great places to star gaze, with the canyon designated as a Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Sky Association.


Away from the lights of big cities and large populations, one can almost observe all of the countless stars in the night sky.

Miami, popular US cities


Miami is one of the few cities in the United States of America that offers subtropical climates, with warm winters and sunshine all year round making it one of the most popular US cities for tourism. Tourist-friendly weather and miles of beautiful white and golden sand beaches make this city a dream destination.


There is South Beach which is famous for its nightlife alongside the Art Deco Architecture that surrounds it. It is great for the youth, housing the city’s most well-renowned restaurants, hotels, and nightclubs.


Surfside offers a more family-oriented beach experience, part of a small town spanning just one mile. Instead of large crowds, one might have the impression that they have entered a private beach, making it the perfect place for family picnics or just a peaceful and meditative day by the sea.


Any beach you choose to go to will likely have multiple activities ranging from water sports like snorkeling or windsurfing, beach volleyball, gyming, and a running track. They are also the perfect place to enjoy Miami’s one-of-a-kind sunset, with the sky turning a deep purple with splashes of orange, a truly captivating experience.

Washington DC, popular US cities

Washington DC

The Nation’s capital is the best place to explore American history and heritage making it one of the most popular US cities. Within Washington DC, you can find over a hundred sights, from government buildings like the White House, The Supreme Court, and the United States Capitol, to monuments like the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.


A great way of exploring these sights is taking a local trolley tour with a guide whose insights into the history of these places can help give them life.


Washington DC is also famous for its many museums that are free for the public. The 19 Smithsonian Museums alone would take months to explore, offering something for anyone, ranging from people interested in history, art, aviation, culture, and animals.



The USA has plenty to offer for every type of traveler and has far beyond just six popular US cities to explore.


For city life, nothing is comparable to New York and Chicago. For a comfortable small-town experience full of natural beauty, Gatlinburg is unsurpassed.


If you’re looking to immerse yourself in natural wonders, the Grand Canyon is in a league of its own. For active nightlife, Miami is your go-to city. And for history and culture enthusiasts, Washington is your dream destination.


So, decide your destination and plan your trip now ito one of the above popular US cities.

Christa Thompson

Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

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