Are you a hopeless romantic who dreams of strolling hand-in-hand with your significant other down the cobblestone streets of Venice? Perhaps you’re the history buff who craves a little architectural splendor or maybe you’re the shopper who drools over every boutique within a five-mile radius. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer to sit back and relax or party the night away, because these amazing cities have a little bit of something to please everyone. From the sandy beaches of San Diego to the cliff-side villas in Santorini, Greece, these are the top fifty cities that you absolutely have to see in your lifetime.
1. Bruges, Belgium
Bruges is the largest city of the province of West Flanders, and is widely known for its production of lace and grand assortment of medieval and early modern art, including the world-renowned collection of French Primitives. This beautiful canal-based city is often referred to as “The Venice of the North”.
2. Cape Town, South Africa
It doesn’t matter whether you’re taking in the view from the heights of Table Mountain or sunbathing on its secluded beaches, Cape Town offers a little bit of something for everyone, including the magnificent sapphire blue Table Bay, which is famous for its great white sharks and vast seal population.
3. Vancouver, Canada
This bustling metropolis is known as both a lavish resort town and also a busy industrial port. If you’re seeking a diverse mixture of cultures, then Vancouver is the place to be. Traditional Natives and European nationalities intermingle here with Japanese, Indian, and Chinese communities, which can be found far and wide.
4. Chicago, Illinois
From watching a Cubs baseball game at Wrigley Field to visiting the Chicago Art Institute, this vibrant city is rich in its assortment of tourist attractions. Take a cruise along the Chicago River and get a glimpse of the Windy City skyline, which includes the John Hancock Center and the Sears Tower.
5. Cambridge, England
Cambridge might be best known for its university, but it also boasts a wonderful array of contemporary restaurants, pubs, cafes, and a historic market place. Immerse yourself in the arts or see a play at the theater. Take in a magnificent view of the city from the tower of Great St. Mary’s Church.
6. Washington DC
Besides taking in a view of the White House, you can also visit such popular tourist attractions as the Lincoln Monument, the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, the Washington Monument, or visit one (or all) of the city’s seventeen Smithsonian Museums. This vibrant city is steeped in history and a sight to behold.
7. St. Petersburg, Russia
This busy city in Russia is known most often for its more than 200 museums, including the famous State Hermitage Museum. There are also magnificent cathedrals, such as the St. Mary’s Cathedral and St. Paul Cathedral, and artistic fanatics will rejoice with some of the world’s most well known and best ballet and art events taking place here.
8. Barcelona, Spain
If you’re an architecture enthusiast, then you will fall in love with Barcelona. The streets are lined with amazing works of architecture, from Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia temple, Casa Batllo, and Park Guell, to the vast array of Gothic style churches. There are also more contemporary sights, such as the Maremagnum Mall.
9. Hong Kong, China
Longtime residents and frequent tourists boast of such unforgettable attractions as riding the Star ferry from Central to Tsim Sha Tsui to view the glorious skyline to betting on the horse races at Happy Valley. If this doesn’t suit your fancy, then take a stroll down Central’s Hollywood Road and rifle through some antique treasures.
10. Seattle, Washington
Nestled between the beautiful Cascade Mountains to the east and the Olympic Mountains to the west, travelers here can view such renowned attractions as The Space Needle, Pioneer Square, and the Olympic Sculpture Park. Sports fanatics will love heart-pumping activities, like hiking Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helen’s National Parks.
11. Boston, Massachusetts
Historians will love touring the grounds of Harvard University and the Boston Tea Party Museum while avid shoppers can head on over to Newbury Street where they will find over seven blocks of boutiques. You can’t miss the live street performances and all tourists should check out the famous Quincy Market.
12. Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles is home to many landmarks, including the Griffith Observatory, the Kodak Theatre, the Staples Center, and Dodger Stadium. If touring museums is your thing, then you’ll love visiting this bustling city, which has more museums per capita than other city in the world with its 841 museums and art galleries.
13. Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is known far and wide as one of the world’s most renowned gambling hotspots, but did you know that it’s also home to the Cirque de Soleil production and a host of various other unique attractions, such as the Bellagio Fountains? Check out the Fremont Street Experience while you’re there and don’t miss out on walking the Strip.
14. Baltimore, Maryland
This beautiful city is full of tourist attractions and activities, including shopping, cafes, museums, nightclubs, and parks, just to name a few. Get your stroll on by touring the Baltimore Museum of Art and the American Visionary Art Museum. Both are steeped in history and sure to delight any history buff in your family.
15. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
From the 9th Street Italian Market, the nation’s oldest outdoor food market, to the Franklin Institute, everyone is sure to find something they enjoy. Snag a piece of history by taking your photo beside the Liberty Bell, or visit Village Whiskey, owned by popular Iron Chef winner Jose Garces.
16. Venice, Italy
Beauty like you’ve never witnessed before is yours when you travel to this popular tourist destination. Canals and bridges crisscross the city and everyone from art lovers to architecture addicts will find something they admire. Whether you’ve been to Venice three times or thirty times, there’s always something new and different to see.
17. Sao Paulo, Brazil
Brimming with different cultures, Sao Paulo measures 800 square miles and is home to many nationalities, including Italians, Germans, Africans, and the largest Japanese community outside of Japan. Sao Paulo is a fast-paced city where fashion is revered, and if you crave the nightlife, then you’ll love what this vibrant city has to offer.
18. Recife, Brazil
What began as a collection of inns, warehouses, and tiny fishing shacks has become Brazil’s fifth largest metropolitan area and home to almost four million people. Recife’s many tourist attractions range from historical monuments, churches, and markets originating from the 17th and 18th centuries and constructed by Portuguese and Dutch colonizers.
19. Florence, Italy
Art enthusiasts galore flock to Florence, which is home to more than one million famous works of Renaissance art. Some of the most notable include Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Michelangelo’s David. Other popular tourist attractions range from the magnificent Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore to the Ponte Vecchio.
20. Sofia, Bulgaria
Sofia is teaming with beautiful architecture from the numerous cathedrals to museums and theaters. Some of the more popular tourist attractions include the National Historical Museum, which is among the largest museums in Eastern Europe and houses more than 600,000 historical artifacts, and the National Opera and Ballet, which opened in 1953.
21. Madrid, Spain
This capital city of Spain is a constant flurry of activity and the locals are all very fond of their art, their cuisines, and their royal family. If you ever have the opportunity to travel to Madrid, make sure you catch a glimpse of the remarkable skyline atop one of the hundreds of rooftop terraces located around the city.
22. Varna, Bulgaria
Varna is the third-largest city in Bulgaria and a major tourist attraction with its many museums, like the popular Naval Museum and the Varna Archeological Museum. The Sea Garden is the oldest and largest park and a national monument of landscape architecture. It also features a zoo and terrarium.
23. Paris, France
Who doesn’t love Paris? From the Eiffel Tower to the rustic charm of the neighborhood bistros, there is always something to do in this world-renowned travel destination. Enjoy listening to jazz, crunching on baguettes, or pass your time reading in one of the many peaceful churchyards. Paris has something for everyone.
24. Honolulu, Hawaii
Come ready to party in March, as Honolulu residents and tourists spend three consecutive days celebrating the city’s rich history with the Honolulu Festival, which features a parade, arts and crafts fairs, notable musicians, art exhibitions, fireworks, and delicacies that are sure to please everyone from kids to adults alike.
25. Madison, Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin is at the heart of this college town, which is full of cafes, pubs, bookstores, numerous restaurants, and many historical attractions. At the end of State Street, the Roman Renaissance-style Capital fills the skyline and offers a great observation platform for visitors wanting to view the city and lakes.
26. San Diego, California
Located in Southern California, and also known as “America’s Finest City”, San Diego has many popular attractions for vacationers, including the world-famous San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, Sea World San Diego, LEGOLAND, and numerous historic parks and museums. San Diego has miles and miles of white-sand beaches and beautiful weather.
27. San Antonio, Texas
With its mixture of old and new, San Antonio is sure to please everyone from young children to the young-at-heart. Famous attractions include The Alamo, The Riverwalk, The King William District, and the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Visitors in April can enjoy the Fiesta, one of the biggest parties of the year.
28. Jackson, Wyoming
Jackson is a busy gateway for millions of travelers who are visiting nearby Yellowstone National Park, National Elk Refuge, and the Grand Teton National Park. Jackson is also within driving distance of several popular ski resorts, including Snow King (Jackson’s original ski hill), the Grand Targhee, and the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
29. Natchez, Mississippi
Steeped in history, Natchez is home to several antebellum homes built during the pre-Civil War era, including Longwood, Stanton Hall, Rosalie, and Monmouth Plantation. For history buffs, touring the numerous historic homes, churches, and buildings, as tour guides dressed in period costumes explain their history, will be a dream come true.
30. New Orleans, Louisiana
From the annual Mardi Gras parades to jazz to the much loved tourist attractions as the Audubon Zoo, the Aquarium of the Americas, and the Audubon Insectarium, New Orleans has a little bit of something for the whole family. While you’re there, be sure to grab some beignets from the world-famous Café du Monde for a little piece of sugary heaven.
31. Savannah, Georgia
Rich in southern history, Savannah’s downtown area is home to the Savannah Historic District, the Savannah Victorian Historic District and over twenty parks/squares, making it one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the United States. From beautiful architectural delights as churches and synagogues to historic homes and cemeteries, Savannah is truly a sight to behold.
32. Denver, Colorado
If skiing is your thing, then chances are you’ve already visited Denver, with it’s many popular ski resorts and perfect slopes. But Denver has more to boast about besides the Rocky Mountains, like the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Red Rock Amphitheater, and the History Colorado Center.
33. Charleston, South Carolina
If you’re in the mood for a little southern charm and hospitality, then you’ve come to the right place. Enjoy the history of Savannah as you tour the Middleton Place Plantation and The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. The city has much more to offer too, in the way of delicious southern cuisine and five beaches, including Folly Beach.
34. Orlando, Florida
With such tourist attractions as the Walt Disney World Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, and Universal Orlando Resort, you’ll never run out of things to do and see while in this bustling city. But don’t just stop by the House of Mouse while you’re visiting. Get a taste of the nightlife too!
35. Memphis, Tennessee
Known far and wide as the home of Elvis Presley, Memphis is host to several well-known tourist sites, such as Graceland, the National Civil Rights Museum, and the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Many musicians, including Aretha Franklin, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Otis Redding, and Isaac Hayes got their start in Memphis during the 1950’s and 1960’s.
36. Burlington, Vermont
Burlington is the perfect blend of old New England charm, culture, nature, and arts. From the festivals during the summer months to the beautiful color of autumn leaves, you can’t help but fall in love with this city. While you’re there, be sure to stop by the famous Lake Champlain Chocolates for a tour and taste.
37. Anchorage, Alaska
If you don’t mind the cold, then Anchorage is your place to be with its polar ice caps and frozen tundra. During the winter months, take in fun activities like skiing or dog sledding, and with the temperature around 65 degrees during the summer, take to the streets for a little sightseeing, biking, and touring the Prince William Sound.
38. Ann Arbor, Michigan
Home to the University of Michigan, you’ll find many students with backpacks strolling the streets, but it’s also a great place for family time too. Several child-friendly museums await you, along with ethic restaurants, numerous shops, vibrant nightlife, and more than thirty independent bookstores. Most all tourist attractions are also located in one convenient area!
39. Sydney, Australia
G’day, mate! Come visit Sydney and take in some world-famous attractions, like the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Coogee Beach, Hyde Park, and the Parramatta. Wildlife includes such creatures as alligators, snakes, koala bears, kangaroos, and great white sharks, just to name a few.
40. Shanghai, China
You will love the futuristic feel of Shanghai as you admire the Pudong district skyline, with the Oriental Pearl TV and Radio Tower as your view. Shanghai’s other district, Puxi, is a riverside town where you’ll get to experience what’s known as “old Shanghai”, while you tour the Grand Theatre and the Shanghai Museum.
41. Santorini, Greece
You can’t miss this beautiful city’s candy-colored houses nestled into the cliffs beside the Aegean Sea. The water is crystal clear, and the numerous white buildings topped with half-spheres gleam in the sunlight. You’ll enjoy strolling the black sand beaches or take in the charm of a quaint little village like Imerovigli.
42. Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Magnificent lagoons, white sands, and beautiful sunsets make this romantic destination a favorite among honeymooners and other travelers. Indulge in a myriad of activities, including visiting Coral Gardens or watch the shark feedings while touring the Lagoonarium. Dinner at one of the many luxurious French restaurants will top off a perfect day.
43. Brisbane, Australia
Visitors will love touring the historic Windmill and Old Commissariat Store, which were built by convicts in 1828. Want something more modern? Then you’ll enjoy the new Gallery of Modern Art. Cruise the Brisbane River and don’t forget to play a little bit by visiting the adorable koalas and kangaroos at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
44. Stockholm, Sweden
The capital city of Sweden is home to many tourist attractions, including the Royal Palace Drottningholm, the majestic Skogskyrkogarden, the 19th-century Skansen, Old Town, the Stockholm City Hall, and the Woodland Cemetery. Or relax as you stroll over the charming bridges and cobblestone streets surrounding the city’s canals.
45. Zurich, Switzerland
The largest city in Switzerland is a premiere art and shopping destination. Art fanatics will love touring the multitude of art displays located in the Kunthaus and Rietberg Museums, while visitors who crave shopping can get their thrills at Bahnhofstrasse and Niederdorf. If you love the nightlife, then you’ll feel right at home while partying at some of Zurich’s 500 clubs.
46. Bergen, Norway
Whether your visiting the outdoor fish market or touring the Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf, you’ll love Bergen’s colorful buildings and old world charm. For exercise lovers, get your heart pumping while hiking Mount Ulriken. Want some culture? Then be sure to visit the Troldhaugen Edvard Grieg Museum and VilVite Bergen Science Center.
47. Edinburgh, Scotland
If you’re a history enthusiast, then you’ll love Edinburgh Castle and its cathedrals rich in medieval and Celtic history. If you’re the partying type, then get ready to kick up your heels at one of several annual celebrations of music, theater, art, and comedy. A favorite among tourists is the Scotch Whiskey tour; so make sure to add that to your list!
48. Atlanta, Georgia
Escape to the south and enjoy a wide range of activities from visiting Zoo Atlanta to touring the Coca-Cola museum. The whole family will find something they enjoy with such popular destinations as the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, the Georgia Aquarium, and the Centennial Olympic Park. Whether you choose southern pleasures or more modern fun, Atlanta is sure to make you smile.
49. Rome, Italy
From the heaping plate of pasta to the popular and succulent oxtail stew, your taste buds will thank you as you indulge in some of Rome’s most famous delicacies. Rome has many attractions, and the delicious cuisine is merely the tip of the iceberg. Fall in love with this favorite tourist destination by visiting the Colosseum and the Pantheon, the Campo de’Fiori or Via Veneto.
50. New York City, New York
If you decide to visit this busy city, make sure you plan to stay several days, because there’s no way to see it all in one day. Take in the sights at the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Grand Central Station. The best in fashion, music, and art are all on display, and you’ll delight in everything New York City has to offer.