One of the first things to do when visiting a new city is to check out the sites that make it famous. But are those popular tourist spots really worth the crowds?

If you're going to China, you can’t leave without visiting the Great Wall, right? And if you’re in Seattle, you must visit the famous Space Needle – it's one of the best observation points in the world. Traveling to New York City? Your visit isn’t complete without a trip to the Statue of Liberty.

There's a reason why millions of people are drawn to these big attractions each year.  They offer opportunities to learn about a different culture or explore religious sites, landmarks, museums and natural landscapes.

Not all tourist attractions live up to the hype-- but these are some of the many that do.

1. Great Wall of China, China

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Great Wall of China (iStock)

This is the largest man-made structure ever built, and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world. It stretches for more than 2,000 miles across Northern China and can be seen from space. Visitors can hike along the sections of the wall and even camp out overnight.

2. The Statue of Liberty, New York City

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Empire State Building, World Trade Center, Statue of Liberty in New York City (iStock)

Located on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty is a universal symbol of political freedom and democracy. Visitors can climb 393 stairs to the observation deck and experience stunning views of New York City. Nearly 3.5 million people visit the Statue of Liberty each year. History buffs can then take a ferry to Ellis Island to learn more about how the U.S. came to be and immigration patters over time.

3. The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France


Eiffel Tower in Paris, France (iStock)

The Eiffel Tower is one of the most visited monuments in the world, and you don't have to spend a dime to enjoy its beauty. Tourists can take a picnic to the park outside and take in the historic tower. If you do go, glass lifts will transport you up to the top for panoramic views of Paris and its iconic sites.

4. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

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"A panoramic view of the spectacular ruins of the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia. Taken in golden evening light just before sunset, the scene is reflected in the large lotus pond in front.See several more from Angkor Cambodia, plus Vietnam and Laos:" (iStock)

The temple of Angkor Wat is located inside one of the most popular archaeological sites in Southeast Asia, Angkor. It is also one of the largest religious monuments in the world spanning over 400 acres. Approximately 5 million tons of sandstone was used to build it in the 12th century.

5. Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas


Las Vegas, USA - September 24,2015 - Photo taken at Las Vegas Boulevard. Caesars Palace, The Mirage are in this picture from Las Vegas, under a night sky. Photo taken at horizontal orientation. Many cars and people on the street. (iStock)

There are tons of exciting adventures in Sin City. But one of the most crowded attractions-- and biggest tourist traps-- is the world famous Las Vegas Strip. It stretches about 4.2 miles and it's home to some of the world's top resorts and casinos. It may be filled with people but the lights, dramatic architecture and street shows make it a fun walk for tourists of different ages.

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6. Taj Mahal, India

The Taj Mahal is a must-see world heritage site. It’s known as the jewel of Muslim art in India." But if you want to take in the Taj Mahal, book a trip soon. A 2010 survey revealed the attraction is facing a major threat from pollution. Experts believe the pollution and erosion combined could cause it to collapse. Efforts have since been enacted to preserve the white marble and other precious elements.

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Taj Mahal in sunrise light, Agra, India (iStock)

7. The Acropolis, Athens

The Acropolis, also known as “Sacred Rock,” is situated on a hill that rises in the basin of Athens. Comprised of the remains from several ancient buildings with great historical significance, this playground of ruins is a must for history and classic architecture buffs. The Parthenon is arguably the sites most famous attraction but there are plenty of unique buildings to marvel.


The Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis in Sunlight. The Temple is dedicated to the Greek Goddess Athena. Athens, Greece. (iStock)