America’s most-visited tourist attractions — and where to go instead

Niagara Falls gets crowded. Here's where to go instead.

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Niagara Falls gets crowded. Here’s where to go instead.
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Shutterstock, ronnybas/Shutterstock

  • Atlantic City, New Jersey, is cheaper than the Vegas Strip, plus it has a boardwalk and beach.
  • Niagara Falls gets 30 million visitors a year, so Havasu Falls, Arizona, is a more secluded option.
  • Chicago’s Millennium Park has one famous sculpture – Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle has nine acres of them.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

Famous tourist attractions can be pricey and crowded. Many of them are still worth the trip, but there’s also value in exploring similar destinations that have remained more under-the-radar.

Keep reading for low-key alternatives to the most visited tourist spots in the US.


Times Square is visited by about 50 million tourists every year.

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New York, New York.
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Andrew F Kazmierski/iStock

Times Square is a well-known tourist trap with high prices and even bigger crowds. Its main attractions include M&M’S World, Gulliver’s Gate, and the Naked Cowboy, as well as dozens of flashing billboards.

Read more: I’m a born and bred New Yorker and went to Times Square to learn why 50 million people visit every year. I still don’t get it.


Instead of Times Square’s overcrowded streets, head to The District in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Nashville, Tennessee.
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f11photo/Shutterstock

Trade Time Square’s Naked Cowboy for the epicenter of country music with pulsing nightlife throughout what’s known as “The District.” It’s much cheaper than New York prices, too.


Over 42 million people visit the Las Vegas Strip every year.

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Las Vegas, Nevada.
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Kobby Dagan/Shutterstock

It’s home to famous sites such as Bellagio fountains and Adventuredome, as well as endless entertainment and casino options. And, of course, the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.


Atlantic City, New Jersey, is a better, cheaper option for those seeking a gambling-focused getaway.

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Atlantic City, New Jersey.
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ESB Professional/Shutterstock

Atlantic City is also home to famous casinos like Caesars Atlantic City Hotel, Tropicana, and Hard Rock, plus it has an iconic boardwalk overlooking a beach.


Niagara Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in the world, with about 30 million visitors a year.

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Niagara, New York.
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Shutterstock

About 3,160 tons of water tumble down Niagara Falls every second. It’s actually made up of three different waterfalls: Horseshoe, American, and Bridal Veil.


Havasu Falls, Arizona, is a more secluded option in the Grand Canyon.

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Havasu Falls, Arizona.
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ronnybas/Shutterstock

Havasu Falls is difficult to visit (it requires a 10-mile hike and a permit to visit the Havasupai Indian Reservation), but worth the trek for its signature turquoise water and seclusion.


Chicago’s Millennium Park is the most popular tourist attraction in Illinois with 13 million visitors every year.

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Chicago, Illinois.
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Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Cloud Gate sculpture by Anish Kapoor is affectionately known as “The Bean.” It provides plenty of fun photo opportunities, but it’s tough to get a picture without other people in it.


Why see one sculpture when you can see nine acres of them at Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle?

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Seattle, Washington.
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Checubus/Shutterstock

Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park is right near the Seattle Art Museum for art enthusiasts, and right on the waterfront for travelers who want to kick back in Seattle’s biggest downtown green space.


Over 10 million people visit the Golden Gate Bridge every year.

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San Francisco, California.
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Travel Stock/Shutterstock

At 1.7 miles long with its characteristic Art Deco architecture, the Golden Gate Bridge is thought to be one of the most photographed bridges in the world.


Michigan’s Mackinac Bridge is also scenic, minus the crowds.

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Mackinaw City, Michigan.
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KyleHohler/Shutterstock

The suspension bridge is a whopping five miles long, linking Michigan’s lower and upper peninsulas. It’s the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere.