Crowded can mean different things to different people. For small town folks, it means running into multiple friends at the mall. For city residents, it means packing into a subway car to get to your next destination. And while some people find crowds stressful, others relish in them. If being around more people gets you energized, then you’ll want to travel to the most crowded places on earth, where you can be sure you’ll bump into people, wait in long lines, and see some pretty amazing sites.
Keep scrolling to see some of the most crowded places on earth.
Mong Kok District — Hong Kong, China
Sales draw crowds to the shops in this district, but Mong Kok doesn’t need 50% off signs to attract the masses.
Reuters reports that the Mong Kok District has the highest population density in the world with 130,000 people in one square kilometer. Mong Kok is known for its vibrant shops that sell everything from toy collectibles and sneakers to birds and goldfish, according to The Guardian.
Qingdao Huiquan Beach — Qingdao, China
The crowds at a US beach is nothing compared to Qingdao Huiquan Beach.
According to Business Insider, about 130,000 people visit the popular beach in Qingdao City, China daily. The Daily Mail reports that people are drawn to the spot due to its proximity to the city and free admission.
Oxford Street — London, UK
On TripAdvisor, more than 400 reviews mentioned London’s Oxford Street as being extremely crowded.
“Get ready for crowds, that’s the only drawback to shopping/walking here,” one person commented. “If you can cope with battling your way through crowds, though, it’s a great street for shopping and probably the one most people will recommend going to if you’re visiting London for the first time,” another person wrote.
With that in mind, it makes sense that the mayor of London announced that by 2020 Oxford Street will be entirely pedestrian, with no buses, taxis, or vehicle traffic, according to the BBC.
Shibuya Crossing — Tokyo, Japan
A crosswalk doesn’t seem like a place people “visit,” but as many as 2,500 people cross the street every single time the light changes at Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, Japan, City Clock reports.
The cool part, however, is that traffic completely stops to allow people pedestrians to cross from all sides of the intersection, according to Time. One Japanese website went as far as to call the crossing Tokyo’s best attraction because of its proximity to shopping and the amazing photos people take of the area.
Musée du Louvre — Paris, France
The Louvre in Paris, France houses some of the most well know art pieces, including Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Mona Lisa” and Eugène Delacroix’s “Liberty Leading the People.”
What is most surprising, however, is how many people come to the museum. According to the website for the museum, 7.4 million people visited in 2016.
The Grand Bazaar — Istanbul, Turkey
People love collecting souvenirs when they travel, which may be why shopping areas keep popping up on this list.Travel + Leisure reported that Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, which has more than 3,000 stores, attracts 15 million visitors, making it Europe’s most visited tourist attraction.
The Daily Mail reports that the Grand Bazaar, which sells everything from rugs and fabrics to jewelry and gold, has been a place for trading since 1461.
Times Square — New York, New York
New York’s Times Square is always crowded, no matter the time of day or time of year. According to Times Square’s official website, more than 300,000 pedestrians enter “the heart of Times Square” every day.
Though the New Year’s Eve ball-drop draws hundreds of thousands, Broadway shows and brand-name stores attract tourists year-round. But it’s not just tourist contributing to the crowds. Locals who work in midtown pass through the square during their commute.
Forbidden City — Beijing, China
The Forbidden City in Beijing is a, “maze of traditional buildings” that contains “some of the world’s finest artifacts,” according to Business Insider.
People flock to this palace, which China Highlights reports is one of the country’s three ancient palaces, to see collections of artifacts spanning the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The site also notes that 14 million people visit the palace annually which was the home to more than 24 Chinese emperors.
Central Park — New York, New York
Central Park takes up about 843 acres, or 6%, of Manhattan’s total acreage, according to the park’s official website.
The New York Times reports that many of New York’s parks have been attracting even more people. Central Park specifically saw 35 million more visitors than back in 2011. Events like Summer Stage and the Global Citizen Festival are just a few reasons people love to visit this park.
St. Peter’s Square — Vatican City, Italy
In St. Peter’s Square, you can find St. Peter’s Basilica, the Swiss Guard, and the famous statues of both Peter and Paul, among tons of different vendors, according to EpicPew.
Almost 4 million Catholics visited the area in 2016, according to the Catholic Herald. Non-religious people also travel to this spot to look at the work of Renaissance artists such as Raphael, Bernini, and Michelangelo, Travel + Leisure reports.
Sydney Opera House — Sydney, Australia
The Sydney Opera House is arguably one of the most recognizable landmarks in Australia. That’s probably why it attracts 8.2 million visitors per year, according to the Opera House’s official annual report. It took 16 years for it to be constructed by 1973 and it holds more than 3,000 events per year, the Australian Government reports.
Taj Mahal — Agra, India
The history, architecture, and love story behind this UNESCO World Heritage Site draws huge crowds — 7 million each year, according to The Telegraph. The Taj Mahal’s official website says that it’s open from sunrise to sunset, leaving visitors lots of time to explore and take mesmerizing photos.
Buckingham Palace —London, England
Whether it’s hand-holding or baby news, the royal family is always in the spotlight — as is their home, Buckingham Palace, which attracted more than 560,000 people in 2013, according to CNN. It’s one of only a few working royal palaces, Visit London reports.
According to the Evening Standard, a recent study found the palace to be at the top of many Americans’ bucket lists. They might be attracted to the tradition of changing the guard or the 39-acre garden.
Victoria Peak — Hong Kong, China
You have to ride the Peak Tram to get the best view of Hong Kong, which is why it’s one of the world’s most-visited tourist attractions, Business Insider reports. The highest mountain is also located near famous restaurants and beautiful gardens — maybe that’s why 7,000,000 visitors visit annually.
Hong Kong Disneyland — Hong Kong, China
There are 11 Disneyland parks in the world, and the Hong Kong location is one of the most crowded ones. Travel + Leisure reports that the theme park has more than 7.4 million annual visitors and has increased its size over the last three years by 25% in order to meet the demand. Not only does the park have its own stop on Hong Kong’s metro, but it was designed according to the Chinese rules of Feng shui.
Santa Cruz del Islote — Colombia
Even an island can be crowded, and the people of Santa Cruz del Islote in Colombia know this is true. The New York Times reports that the island is the most densely populated place on earth, which is one reason it attracts many tourists.
“Everyone wants to see what it’s like for 1,200 people to live on a patch of land four times as dense as Manhattan, with no services – no running water, sewer system, police, hospital, trash pickup,” according to the New York Times.
Machu Picchu — Machu Picchu, Peru
The city of Machu Picchu is one of the seven wonders of the world and is the most-visited destination in Peru, according to its official website. The site also said that the energy of the Incan Gods, called the Apus, are said to be present at the ruins.
Energy aside, Machu Picchu is so popular that Travel + Leisure reports tourism has been limited to 2,500 people per day and 912,500 per year.
Travel sites abound with tips and tricks, like visiting early in the morning or after the afternoon rush to avoid the crowds and get the full experience of this ancient site.
The Mall of America — Bloomington, Minnesota
The Mall of America may be located in the Midwest, but it draws visitors from far and wide. According to its official website, 40 million people visit annually with one-third traveling from outside of the US. It has more than 520 shops that attract more visitors than Disneyland, the Grand Canyon, and Graceland combined, according to the website. Now, just imagine this place on Black Friday.
Meiji Jingu Shrine — Tokyo, Japan
In the middle of the hustle and bustle of Tokyo is the Meiji Jingu Shrine. Opened throughout the year, the shrine’s park and foliage is only part of its attraction. Historically, it was created to enshrine the Emperor and Empress Meiji, according to Japan National Tourism Organization. Travel + Leisure reports that 30 million people visit the site annually for everything from sacred food offering and prayers to cultural exhibitions and festivals.
Grand Central Terminal — New York, New York
Grand Central Terminal is not your average train station. More than 750,000 people pass through the terminal every day, The Telegraph reports. This includes both tourists and commuters, many of which are trying to catch one of the trains that arrive every 58 seconds, visit one of the 65 shops, or, simply to get a bite to eat like 10,000 people do every day, according to Gothamist.
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