The Essential, Must-Do Activity In Each Of America’s 10 Largest Cities

From coast to coast, the United States is full of world-class cities, with experiences and attractions as varied as their respective cities. In this list below, we’ve provided a unique experience in each of these cities—in order to give travelers a sense for what each place is all about. From a river cruise in Chicago to a desert ballon ride in Phoenix, these are the must-do experiences in each of the 10 largest cities in the US!

And when it’s time to book your getaway, TripAdvisor can help plan your whole itinerary. We check up to 200 booking sites to bring you the lowest price on hotels, plus we have thousands of bookable tours, excursions, attraction tickets, and more directly on our site. Our new 24-hour cancellation policy (for in-destination experiences) means you can pre-book before arriving, but still have the flexibility to cancel if your itinerary changes.

New York City, New York

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Guided Tour

Enjoy a seamless visit to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York Harbor. This tour benefits from early reserve-line access for a round-trip ferry trip, as well as an optional early morning departure time that puts you ahead of many sightseers. Your guide takes you through Lady Liberty’s pedestal and to its observation decks, as well as through the Great Hall exhibits at Ellis Island.

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Los Angeles, California

Full-Day Iconic Sights of LA, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, the beaches and more!

From the Hollywood sign to the celebrity mansions of Beverly Hills, Los Angles is so full of iconic sights it can be tricky to see them all. This guided tour seamlessly transports you by coach to all of the city’s top attractions — from Santa Monica Pier to the Sunset Strip — so that you don’t need to worry about missing a thing.

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Chicago, Illinois

Chicago Architecture River Cruise

Get views of Chicago’s most famous buildings, as well as insider info from an expert guide, on this architecture-focused cruise. You’ll see all the most important buildings on one tour, a hard-to-accomplish task by foot. View the skyline from the Chicago River while listening to live commentary. Snap photos of the Willis (Sears) Tower, Old Post Office, 360 Chicago Observation Deck, Wrigley Building, and Aon Center.

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Houston, Texas

NASA’s Space Center Houston and City Sightseeing Tour

Discover the history of American space travel with tickets to NASA’s Space Center Houston, where you can see everything from full-sized rockets to rocks brought back from NASA missions. Plus since this combination package includes round-trip transport and a sightseeing tour of Houston on a double-decker bus, it’s a great way to get your bearings in a vibrant city.

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Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix Hot Air Balloon Morning Ride

A drive through the Sonoran Desert just doesn’t do it justice—the desert expands over 100,000 square miles (260,000 square kilometers) total. One of the best ways to get the views you’re hoping for is a hot-air balloon ride, and this morning tour from Phoenix gets you up in the air with an FAA-licensed pilot to catch sight of the sunrise. Plus, afterward, you can enjoy a Champagne breakfast by your landing spot.

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Founding Fathers Tour of Philadelphia

Philadelphia was the first capital of the United States, and is home to many major historical monuments and landmarks. On this intimate walking tour, you’ll see most of Philadelphia’s essential sights, all while learning about the City of Brotherly Love’s history from your guide. In the company of a small group, visit Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Franklin Court, and more, and wind down with a cold beverage in Old City.

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San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio River Walk Cruise and Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

San-Antonio-Texas-Summer-Southern-Cities

Combine two great tours for a comprehensive look at the city of San Antonio. First, enjoy a relaxing, 35-minute River Walk boat cruise along the San Antonio River. Then explore the most popular sites in San Antonio on a scenic hop-on hop-off, double-decker bus tour. Visit popular sites like the Alamo, Pearl Brewery, the San Antonio Museum of Art, Market Square and many more. Select a pass, then board at any of the 19 stops to get to know the city in custom fashion, with live, onboard narration.

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San Diego, California

Skip the Line: USS Midway Museum

Take a trip through American naval history with admission to the USS Midway Museum in San Diego. This enormous ship, known as the longest-serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century, now offers a range of interactive exhibits, a self-guided audio tour and numerous restored aircraft across its 4-acre (1.6-hectare) flight deck and sections below. It’s an essential piece of San Diego’s, and America’s, military history.

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Dallas, Texas

Admission to Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

Discover the intriguing history of John F. Kennedy on a guided audio tour of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas. Explore the exhibits at your own pace with a pre-recorded audio guide and delve into the life, times, legacy and political achievements of one of America’s most popular presidents. See personal photographs of the Kennedy family; watch fascinating documentary footage to gain further insight into the political figure’s assassination; and learn about the influential actions of a man that shaped the USA profoundly.

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San Jose, California

San Jose Scavenger Hunt Adventure

Attention problem solvers, gamers, and geocache fans: this scavenger hunt tour is for you. Explore San Jose at your own pace using your smartphone as your guide. Combining a walking tour with the challenge aspect of The Amazing Race, the tour leads you to some of the city’s overlooked spots and local treasures. Solve clues, complete challenges, and sign up with other teams to compete against each other. Definitely a clever a way to see the city.

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