Summer in the U.S. is in its final weeks – which means it’s time to take advantage of warm, sunny days and get out and explore. Whether you’re looking for adventures in your backyard or seeking ideas for a first-time visit, TripAdvisor has you covered when it comes to discovering things to do and see.
To get started, check out this list of 12 top U.S. attractions trending this summer. It’s based on recent TripAdvisor searches by travelers like you, so we’ve included some insider tips and recommendations from the community. And remember: You can still book your visit for this summer and beyond!
- One World Observatory – World Trade Center – New York City, New York
Why you should go: Learn about the history of New York City and take in breathtaking views from the top of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, which opened to the public last May.
What travelers are saying: “Every step of the experience takes you to another level, and lets you learn about this amazing city and its resilience.” – Review by Morisj23
Insider tip: Buy tickets online ahead of time to avoid long lines on the day of your visit.
- The Magnificent Mile – Chicago, Illinois
Why you should go: With more than 460 stores, 275 restaurants, 60 hotels and all kinds of entertainment, this thirteen-block section of Chicago is one of the top avenues in the nation.
What travelers are saying: “The Magnificent Mile is a particularly good shop during the end of summer and post-Christmas sales seasons. I’ve found that the high-end stores in Chicago are less picked over than in New York and often have better sale merchandise.” – Review by Zzardvark
Insider tip: While you’re in the area, take in more of the city’s highlights with a Chicago Lakefront Neighborhoods Bicycle Tour.
- Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook – Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Why you should go: Worth seeing by day or night, this secluded car pull-off area on the Gatlinburg Bypass offers scenic views of downtown and the surrounding Smoky Mountains.
What travelers are saying: “Do not visit Gatlinburg without driving up the summit to the North Carolina/Tennessee border. The views are to die for! It’s about a 15-20 minute drive to the top of the summit but it’s an amazing and peaceful drive.” – Review by Audrey M
- Pearl District – Portland, Oregon
Why you should go: This eclectic Northwestern city has a charm all its own, and the Pearl District is the quintessential Portland neighborhood – home to boutique shops, cozy cafés and more.
What travelers are saying: “The Pearl is a great place for strolling. There are lots of small shops for browsing or shopping and everything to eat from cupcakes and doughnuts to sandwiches and pub grub to fine dining.” – Review by kapunakane
Insider tip: Explore (and drink!) like a local by booking a Portland Brewery Bike Tour.
- Mount Bonnell – Austin, Texas
Why you should go: This beautiful park is free and – if you’re able to climb its long, steep staircase – offers panoramic views of the Texas capital from nearly 800 feet above the city.
What travelers are saying: “This is a peaceful, calm and breathtaking place in Austin. Go here around dawn or dusk to enjoy the views.” – Review by BostaTourist
- Newbury Street – Boston, Massachusetts
Why you should go: Boston’s chic shopping boulevard mixes elegant boutiques with funky salons and trendy galleries. Dine al fresco to make the most of summer weather.
What travelers are saying: “Old meets new in so many different ways. The buildings are beautiful and there are lots of shops and restaurants along the way. A must see!” – Review by 739CarlaB
Insider tip: Book a Boston Duck Tour to see Newbury Street and other historic neighborhoods by land and by water.
- Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster – Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Why you should go: Board this mile-long coaster for the longest downhill ride in the U.S. Riders can control their own speed, making it perfect for both thrill-seekers and slow cruisers.
What travelers are saying: “What a rush! Get in and hold on. Don’t use your brakes at all and you will experience one of the best rides you have ever had. There are several coasters popping up in the area but this one is the best.” – Review by PeoriaAce
- The Grand Ole Opry – Nashville, Tennessee
Why you should go: After 90 years in business, this iconic concert hall is still Nashville’s top attraction. Regular live performances spotlight country music’s rising stars and legends alike.
What travelers are saying: “Excellent music followed by backstage tour! I would recommend doing the tour right before the concert – never know who might show up backstage” – Review by 535beverlyh
Insider tip: You can book your spot on the popular the Grand Ole Opry Backstage Tour right on TripAdvisor.
- Watkins Glen State Park – Watkins Glen, New York
Why you should go: Watkins Glen is known for its racetrack, but this village in the Finger Lakes offers more than high-octane thrills. Hike this state park to experience 19 waterfalls and more than 800 stone steps.
What travelers are saying: “It was a hot day but the combination of shade trees and waterfalls made this activity cool and enjoyable. Lovely and interesting hiking trails.” – Review by JulieNY111
- Jackson Square – New Orleans, Louisiana
Why you should go: Part of the historic French Quarter, Jackson Square is the bustling center of New Orleans culture. Sample local cuisine while taking in street performances from musicians, jugglers and more.
What travelers are saying: “Loved sitting in the square on a fine day and soaking up all this culture filled city has to offer. Live street jazz in the background, coffee and beignet from Cafe DuMonde in hand, sun shining down on the Mississippi.” – Review by Rachel V
Insider tip: Book a small-group French Quarter Segway Tour to discover more of New Orleans’ most famous neighborhood.
- La Jolla Shores – La Jolla, California
Why you should go: With a full mile of white sand, turquoise waters and gentle waves, this family-friendly beach is a great place for surfing, scuba diving and more.
What travelers are saying: “I’ve been to many places in my life but nothing compares to La Jolla and La Jolla Cove for sights, sounds and smells. The wildlife (and I’m not talking human) is so awesome and the fact you can get right up and swim with them is amazing to experience.” – Review by Charles S
Insider tip: Want to catch a wave, but not sure how to get started? Try booking the popular San Diego Surf Lessons.
- 360 Chicago Observation Deck – Chicago, Illinois
Why you should go: A super-fast elevator whisks you up to the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center, where you’ll take in panoramic views of downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan.
What travelers are saying: “The 360 was AWESOME! We went at dusk so we could see the city views and watch the Sunset, then to see the City light up at night. It was a must see! So happy we did it and worth every penny.” – Review by Laura W
Insider tip: Skip long lines by buying your ticket ahead of time on TripAdvisor.