The 5 Most Visited Cities in the United States by Foreign Travelers

by Marion T. Newman

The year-end statistics are in from the National Travel and Tourism Office on the most popular cities in the United States with international visitors. Altogether, 32 million international travelers ventured to the United States and almost all of them managed to make it to one of these 10 cities. While no city managed to change their position in the ranking, we can see from the spectacular and not-so-spectacular growth of some cities which cities are on the rise and which ones will soon be surpassed in ranking of the most visited cities in the United States.

It’s important to note that visitors from Mexico and Canada are excluded from these statistics, which is why we don’t see an abundance of border cities.

[Also see our travel article “TThe 10 Most Visited States in the United States by Foreign Travelers “]

1. Boston, Massachusetts, with 1,282,000 visitors

Boston has a healthy 500,000-visitor lead over the number 11 city, San Diego, and is sure to keep its position as the 10th most visited city in the United States. Visitors to the city can enjoy learning about the American Revolution and strolling around the beautiful campus of Harvard. Boston also has some great seafood, like lobster rolls, and some great sports teams.

2. Chicago, Illinois, with 1,378,000 visitors

[Also see our travel article “Top 10 Reasons to Visit Chicago“]

Chicago’s growth stalled, as it only received 10,000 more visitors than. It’s not like Chicago doesn’t have a lot going for it – the deep-dish pizza, storied sports teams, stunning architecture and a host of new luxury hotels – but it clearly needs to increase its international visibility.

3. Washington DC with 1,698,000 visitors

Though Washington DC is the 8th most visited city in the United States, it was also the only city in the top 10 to receive less visitors than it did– a 3% drop. Though it remains popular with American visitors, the museums of the Smithsonian can’t compete with the international draw of New York’s better known art museums and the city simply doesn’t have the international air connections of its bigger, Northeastern rival.

4. Honolulu, Hawaii, with 2,563,000 visitors

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Honolulu saw a drastic 15% increase in visitors, as Hawaii continues to exceed expectations. Despite worries in the local tourism industry that Japanese visitors are cooling on Hawaii as a destination, as Asian beach destinations like Koh Samui and

5. Las Vegas, Nevada, with 2,851,000 visitors

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If that number sounds low, it’s because overseas travelers make up just a tiny percentage of total visitors to Las Vegas. The city is incredibly popular with American travelers, who visit by the tens of millions. Its kitschy meets gambling nature doesn’t have quite the same appeal with international visitors, however, as both Europe and Asia have gambling centers of their own.

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