In the summer of 2016, China opened the world’s highest and longest glass bottom bridge, stretching 1,000 feet over the lush Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon. Within the first few days, thousands of tourists swarmed the bridge, eager to capture the mind-bending photos for their social media posts. After just 13 days, the bridge was forced to close due to overcrowding.
That’s Instagram for you. The new travel influencer of the 21st century.
Social media-savvy travellers are increasingly drawing their destination inspiration from Instagram. Instagram has more than 800 million active users sharing an average of 80 million photos a day. Clearly, we have an appetite for imagery, and it’s influencing our travel decisions. But enough about that. Let’s take a look at the ten most instagrammed places across the world and see what makes them so instagrammable.
1. Disneyland (Anaheim, USA)
This is the real deal: Disneyland – the original one in Anaheim, California – the so called ‘happiest place on earth’. It is the only theme park designed and built under the direct supervision of Walt Disney, and is a carefully orchestrated symphony of every kind of magical instagramable moment.
Firstly, it has fireworks about 250 times a year - and they’re some of the best you’ll see anywhere. Launched using low-smoke, low-pollution and quieter technology, they’re not just pretty, they tell a story, too. The amazing projection effects that go with them are also quite unparalleled.
Don’t forget to take in a parade, at Disneyland (you can watch two or three in a single day). Mickey’s Soundsational Parade is one of their best. Even more spectacular, is Disneyland’s Night parade. Disneyland also has some great live shows, incredible rides and picturesque vistas. Once you’ve had your fill of thrills, you could have a meal with a side-helping of Disney characters at the Disney hotels, and inside the theme parks. Last, but not the least, souvenir shopping, hard to resist getting a pair of the ever popular and iconic Mouse Ears hat.
2. Times Square (New York, USA)
An immediately recognisable location, Times Square has been featured countless times in literature, on television, in films, in video games, and in music videos. With its raucous noise and selfie stick-wielding tourists, love it or hate it, you can’t ignore it. We’ve got plenty to shout about this big draw of the big apple. It is one of the world’s busiest pedestrian areas - over 460,000 pedestrians walk through Times Square on its busiest days. It is also, famously, the site of the annual New Year’s Eve ball drop. About one million revellers crowd there for the New Year’s Eve celebrations, more than twice the usual number of visitors the area usually receives daily.
3. Central Park (New York, USA)
Found in the midst of Manhattan Island, Central Park covers around 3.5 square miles and stretches across 843 acres of land. That makes the park six times larger than Monaco. The tree-filled urban oasis holds the title of most filmed public park in the world – having featured in over 350 films and counting over the years. It was also the venue for the largest concerts ever in terms of estimated attendance. The park accommodated around 980,000 attendees during Garth Brooks’ concert in 1997.
So, what does one see while in Central Park?
The picturesque setting of The Lake with San Remo apartments in the background, The Mall & Literary Walk, Strawberry Fields with the Dakota behind, the park’s bridges (no two are alike), the Bethesda Fountain with the Loeb Boathouse in background, the Wollman Skating Rink, The Belvedere Castle and its vistas from the lawn, Shakespeare Garden, Sheep Meadow, Cleopatra’s Needle and the Ramble to name a few.
Lastly, there’s a total of 29 amazing and unique sculptures. Most of the popular ones are that of Alice in Wonderland and Hans Christian Andersen. Oh, and Central Park’s elegant, 57-horse carousel is one of the USA’s largest, and oldest merry-go-rounds.
4. Eiffel Tower (Paris, France)
No building better symbolises Paris than the Eiffel Tower - a wrought iron lattice tower on the Champ de Mars. The ever-iconic tower came in as the most instagrammed attraction in Europe with over 7.3 million tags. Providing heart-stopping views over Paris, it is visible from most vantage points across the city. The new glass floor installed in 2014 is a great draw for social pics; there’s also a panoramic champagne bar on the third floor, a brasserie, and the Michelin-starred Jules Verne restaurant. At night, the tower sparkles like fairy lights on a Christmas tree (every hour, on the hour). If you’re in Paris on New Year’s Eve, the city puts out a beyond-spectacular fireworks display around the tower.
5. Tokyo Disney Resort (Tokyo, Japan)
Tokyo Disney Resort, was the first Disney theme park resort to open outside of the United States. It is the second most annually-visited theme park complex in the world, behind only Disney World. Arguably among the finest Disney properties around the world, Tokyo Disney Sea was voted the world’s best theme park by Theme Park Insider readers. In America, Disney may be more for kids, but in Japan, it’s truly for all ages. Even teens and twenty-something boys wave to Mickey and sing and clap along, during live stage shows.
Food-wise, popcorn is the popular choice and is available in many intriguing flavours (soy sauce and butter, anyone?). Disney Sea’s shows are more extravagant, including a Big Band show with 1940’s swing jazz. Mystic Rhythms, a Cirque du Soleil-type show features water, fire and acrobats suspended by wires.
6. Disney’s Magic Kingdom (Orlando, USA)
The Magic Kingdom is Walt Disney World’s flagship park. There are tonnes of fun things to do for adults at the Magic Kingdom. Check out the classic rides, well-themed restaurants, and all of the fun photo spots. Fantasyland at night is a mystical experience. The crowds will have cleared, and the land takes on an almost mystical glow. Catch the Wishes fireworks from a bench near the Carrousel. The location is fantastic. The walk-through Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse is especially pretty at night, and offers a jungle overlook that is quite beautiful. Tomorrowland Transit Authority provides a great aerial view of Tomorrowland and is a great place to take a breather from the crowds. As the heart of the iconic park, Cinderella’s Castle is breathtaking, and especially beautiful by night.
7. Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
The Louvre is the world’s largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris. In 2016, the Louvre was the world’s most visited museum, receiving 7.3 million visitors. The Musée du Louvre contains more than 380,000 objects and displays 35,000 works of art. The painting collection alone covers more than 7,500 pieces. It is, of course, home to Mona Lisa - the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about and the most parodied work of art in the world. The Mona Lisa also happens to be one of the most valuable paintings in the world. It holds the Guinness World Record for the highest known insurance valuation in history.
8. Brooklyn Bridge (New York, USA)
The Brooklyn Bridge is unlike any other bridge in the world. Visitors make a point of walking across the bridge — both to take pictures of it and of that oh-so-fabulous New York City skyline. For a classic capture of the Brooklyn Bridge, head to Pebble Beach in the riverside Brooklyn neighbourhood of Dumbo, which gives you an uninterrupted view of the length of the bridge with the Manhattan skyline as its backdrop. Sunset is the best time to snap your photo, with the glow of twilight behind the city. For the more artistically-inclined, walk up onto the bridge itself for a picture of its magnificent cabled arches.
9. Disney California Adventure Park (Anaheim, USA)
This is the place where the stories of Disney, Pixar and beyond come to life; a place both beloved characters from Cars and super heroes like Spider-Man & Captain America call home. Here, you can explore seven exciting lands with timeless entertainment showcases throughout the year. Shrink down to the size of an insect and become an honorary bug at A Bug’s Land, a whimsical hideaway inspired by A Bug’s Life. At Hollywood Land, the magic and romance of the golden age of Hollywood comes alive with superstar attractions. Journey beneath the waves on Little Mermaid Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, zoom above the pier on California Screamin’, and learn to fly at Goofy’s Sky School. After the sun sets, Paradise Bay springs to life with music, light and magic at the World of Color nighttime water spectacular.
10. Las Vegas Strip (Las Vegas, USA)
Lined with upscale casino hotels, the neon-soaked Strip is quintessential Las Vegas. Funnily enough, gambling has become less of a mainstay in recent years with only 4 per cent of visitors in 2016 saying they came to Las Vegas to gamble. There are fantastic free attractions visible from the Strip: the water fountains at Bellagio, the volcano at The Mirage, and the Fall of Atlantis and Festival Fountain at Caesars Palace. Don’t miss the stunning Cirque du Soleil shows, such as Kà at the MGM Grand, O at Bellagio, Mystère at Treasure Island, Zumanity at New York-New York, Criss Angel Mindfreak at the Luxor, and Michael Jackson: One at Mandalay Bay.
Many notable artists have performed here, including Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. In more recent years – Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Cher, Elton John, Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey have had residencies in the various resorts on the Strip. Of course, what happens in Vegas doesn’t just stay in Vegas, with the advent of social media.
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