Why the Biggest Cities of the World Attract Legions of Tourists

According to the MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index, London ranked as the top-ranked international travel destination for the fifth time in seven years. As mass tourism and airfare deals make it easier than ever to travel, tourists flock to some of the biggest metropolitan cities of the world for the culture, food and trendy nightlife. Take a look at some of the world’s most visited and favorite cities, whether you’re looking for a vacation full of historical wonder or to tour hop your way through area attractions.



Known for its international appeal, London boasts a fashion scene, 43 universities, an influx of business travelers, Olympic events and world-class attractions. Despite being a cosmopolitan city, London’s history is extensive and features attractions like the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben clock tower. London’s Broadway shows and tours are second only to New York while still giving nod to the greats like The Globe Theater with an open-air, oak-and-thatch replica presenting Shakespearean plays.

Los Angeles

Despite a long-held belief that Los Angeles is sprawling city, new research in the Urban Affairs Reviews says otherwise. Census tracts and data were compared with 150 metropolitan areas and determined Los Angeles is actually one of the least sprawling cities.

LA is known for its thriving entertainment, real estate and hospitality industries that help usher in young professionals hoping to make it big. Fortunately it has a wide variety of condos, apartments and accommodations ranging from high-end to comfortable.



As one of the oldest nations in the world, Tokyo is more than just a booming economic and business hub of Japan. Visitors come for the historical and cultural attractions like the Tsukiji Fish Market where local restaurants and sushi chefs come to make fierce bids on the best cuts of fish. The endless sushi options uncover some of the freshest fish in the world. Religious shrines are important parts of Japan’s history with intricate meal rituals. Meanwhile, the Golden Pavilion is the most popular tourist attraction and was built during the 14th century as a retirement villa for Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu.

New York City

New York City may have the reputation of being a concrete jungle, but 29 acres of the city is actually parkland with 14 miles of beaches. There’s plenty to do in New York City besides take in a Broadway show, see Wall Street and walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. Tourists can rent a bike through the affordable and widespread Citi Bike to cycle down Riverside Park or head over to the Frying Pan. The historic ship-turned-pub attracts locals and visitors alike looking for a cold beer on a sunny day.



Bangkok was the first Asian city to top the list of the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index and even beat out London one year as world’s most visited city. Dubbed the “Venice of the East,” Bangkok’s canals unfurl throughout the city with boat tours stopping at riverside attractions. The ornate temples like Wat Po draw crowds along with open-air markets, shopping bargains and tower top bars.