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Urban Tourism in the U.S. since 1800

Summary and Keywords

Prior to the railroad age, American cities generally lacked reputations as tourist travel destinations. As railroads created fast, reliable, and comfortable transportation in the 19th century, urban tourism emerged in many cities. Luxury hotels, tour companies, and guidebooks were facilitating and shaping tourists’ experience of cities by the turn of the 20th century. Many cities hosted regional or international expositions that served as significant tourist attractions from the 1870s to 1910s. Thereafter, cities competed more keenly to attract conventions. Tourism promotion, once handled chiefly by railroad companies, became increasingly professionalized with the formation of convention and visitor bureaus. The rise of the automobile spurred the emergence of motels and theme parks on the suburban periphery, but renewed interest in historic urban core areas spurred historic preservation activism and adaptive reuse of old structures for dining, shopping, and entertainment. Although a few cities, especially Las Vegas, had relied heavily on tourism almost from their inception, by the last few decades of the 20th century few cities could afford to ignore tourism development. New waterfront parks, aquariums, stadiums, and other tourist and leisure attractions facilitated the symbolic transformation of cities from places of production to sites of consumption. Long aimed at the a mass market, especially affluent and middle-class whites, tourism promotion embraced market segmentation in the closing years of the 20th century, and a number of attractions and tours appealed to African Americans or LGBTQ communities. If social commentators often complained that cities were developing “tourist bubbles” that concentrated the advantages of tourism in too-small areas and in too few hands, recent trends point to a greater willingness to disperse tourist activity more widely in cities. By the 21st century, urban tourism was indispensable to many cities even as it continued to contribute to uneven development.

Keywords: cities, leisure, tourism, conventions, expositions, hotels, railroads, historic preservation, entertainment districts

The Emergence of Urban Tourism, 1800–1870

American cities were chiefly exporters of tourists throughout most of the nineteenth century. Early in the century, no reliable, efficient, affordable means of transportation existed to facilitate travel among cities. Although the arrival of steamboat passenger service on rivers after Robert Fulton’s successful run up the Hudson River in 1807 and an expanding network of canals—notably the Erie Canal that opened in 1825—delivered considerable improvements over arduous overland travel, travel still required sufficient money and leisure time, both of which were in short supply. Few but the wealthiest Americans could realistically undertake pleasure travel until late in the century. Furthermore, when most Americans contemplated traveling, they thought of excursions to see scenic natural wonders that had been popularized by elite travel accounts or by American landscape paintings by Hudson River Valley School artists, such as Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Church, and Thomas Cole; or they thought of repairing to spas or springs resorts to “take the waters” for their health. When they thought of cities, American travelers usually looked to European cities, whose longer histories and the presence of cathedrals, castles, and ruins made them more culturally appealing. The advent of railroad travel and its spectacular rise after mid-century stimulated tourism, but through the late 19th century an expanding tourist trade focused primarily on coaxing Americans to pastoral destinations and shaping their experiences in such places.

Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to conclude that urban tourism was unknown or even rare before the late 19th century. Cities exerted an undeniable pull on restless Americans. And when well-heeled travelers escaped the city, they brought their urban habits with them. The places they visited—notably Newport, Rhode Island, and Saratoga Springs, New York, but also dozens of other seaside and springs retreats—became microcosms of elite urban society each summer in the early to mid-19th century.1 For rural dwellers, the allure of cities also encompassed a powerful social component. Historian Daniel Kilbride demonstrates that wealthy southern planters frequently found their way to Philadelphia, not simply to behold its cultural and historical attractions but also because they “looked forward to circulating in its polite society,” which promised opportunities for social advancement associated with transcending their regions. Many also longed to escape the dullness of rural life, and the potential of Philadelphia outstripped that of southern cities, such as Charleston, Savannah, Natchez, and even New Orleans.2

New York stood apart as the most exciting of all US cities. Richard Gassan argued that, like later tourists, those who visited the nation’s largest city in the early 19th century “wanted to shop, to be entertained, to experience some urban life (but not too much), and to revel in urban novelty.”3 In New York and, to a lesser degree, in a number of cities by mid-century, visitors could attend theater, visit palatial department stores, and dine in French-style restaurants. Male travelers sometimes sought prostitutes, which contributed to the emergence of commercialized sex districts such as that of New York’s Five Points in the early 19th century and, by mid-century, around Broadway above Canal Street. As Timothy J. Gilfoyle’s City of Eros details, the striptease shows and concert saloons of Broadway fit hand in glove with the nearby concentration of upscale theaters, department stores, art galleries, “cavernous” saloons, and restaurants.4

It was not only the cosmopolitan amenities of cities that drew attention. As historian John F. Sears concluded, the age of reform that marked the second quarter of the 19th century produced tremendous interest, reinforced in guidebooks, in seeing prisons, mental asylums, and institutions for the deaf, dumb, and blind, many of which were located on the pastoral fringes of American cities (Figure 1).

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Figure 1. Lithograph, c. 1855. This print depicts prominent attractions in Philadelphia in the mid-19th century, including the Custom House, Penitentiary, Alms House, US Mint, Exchange, Hospital, Independence Hall, Insane Asylum, Navy Asylum, Fair Mount, and Girard College. [Philadelphia]: Des. eng. & pub. by Jas. Queen (P.S. Duval & Co. Lith. Phila.), c. 1855. Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ppmsca-24840.

In addition to the allure of their novelty, the orderliness and air of calm of these institutions contrasted with the dizzying sense of upheaval that seemed to mark the nation’s incipient immigration and urbanization. Tourists also enjoyed visits to so-called rural cemeteries—including Boston’s Mount Auburn (1831), Philadelphia’s Laurel Hill (1836), Brooklyn’s Green-Wood (1838), and Cleveland’s Lake View (1869)—that transformed wooded knolls overlooking cities into winding lanes, monument-studded lawns, and picturesque vistas5 (Figure 2).

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Figure 2. Thomas Chambers, Mount Auburn Cemetery, mid-19th century. So-called rural cemeteries were purposely located along or outside the urban fringe, offered picturesque vistas of cities, and became favored leisure attractions for both city pleasure seekers and tourists. Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Cities and the Rise of the Tourism Industry, 1870–1930

The expansion of railroad passenger service, whose falling fares coincided with the growth of the middle class, hastened the emergence of a bona-fide tourism industry after the Civil War by offering travelers the fastest, most reliable means of transportation to date. The advent of first-class Pullman-manufactured railcars, including sleeping, dining, parlor, club, and observation cars, beginning in the late 1860s, as well as the hiring of African American freedmen as porters, lent an air of comfort, prestige, and class-crossing racial superiority that transformed rail travel from a burden to a pleasure for the white traveling public.6 Although the completion of several transcontinental railroads between the 1860s and 1880s is usually mainly credited for stimulating travel to destinations such as the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks and the pueblos of northern New Mexico, it also increased tourism in western cities, as historian J. Philip Gruen demonstrates. Travelers bound for scenic wonders often had to spend a night in Chicago or other cities for the purpose of changing trains. However, western boosters deftly affixed the requisite picturesque and historic attributes to the cities they promoted.7 In fact, it became common to refer to city streets flanked by tall skyscrapers as “canyons.” Even more tourists flocked to the nation’s largest Eastern and Midwestern cities by railroad. Through the 1920s, many cities built elaborate, expansive railroad passenger terminals, such as New York’s Pennsylvania Station (1910) and Grand Central Terminal (1912), Chicago’s second Union Station (1925), and Cleveland’s Union Terminal (1930).

Hotels in cities also changed in the later decades of the 19th century. Although Boston claimed a luxury hotel—the Tremont House—as early as 1829, the phenomenon became more pronounced after 1870 in a period of rapid wealth accumulation and growing public willingness to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles at a time. Hotels became part of a national, integrated hospitality system that offered wayfarers predictable, dependable accommodations.8 Along with department stores, first-class “fireproof” hotels became fixtures along emerging downtown retail streets and offered luxurious lobbies, parlors, dining rooms on the “European plan,” cafes, barber shops, boutiques, and hundreds of rooms featuring private baths with steam-heated water (Figure 3).

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Figure 3. Postcard of St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans, c. 1920. After fires claimed its two predecessors on the same site in 1851 and 1894, the third St. Charles became the first fireproof hotel in New Orleans. The hotel’s grand lobby, replete with palms and plush furniture, suggested the air of opulence that luxury hotels projected by the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Postcard from author’s personal collection.

They were, as historian Catherine Cocks points out, places that “provid[ed] many Americans with their first encounter with the material expression of gentility.” As demand grew, new hotels opened that were larger and more elegant. In 1897, the newly conjoined Waldorf-Astoria in New York became the first American hotel to exceed one thousand rooms.9 Chicago reached that threshold when the LaSalle Hotel opened in the Loop in 1909, and Chicago’s original Palmer House, which was rebuilt as a seven-story hotel soon after being destroyed in 1871 in the Great Chicago Fire, was replaced in 1925 by a twenty-five-story Palmer House with 2,268 rooms and a grand lobby with ornate plaster work.10

Railroad companies helped to fill these ever-larger hotels by promoting travel to cities through their passenger divisions. They offered special excursion rates to northern cities in the summer season and to southern ones in winter. Railroads also played a prominent role in enticing visitors by the thousands to a series of world’s expositions, beginning with the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876. None achieved greater success than Chicago’s World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, which became a template for subsequent fairs in Buffalo (1901), St. Louis (1904), and San Francisco (1915), among other places. The Chicago exposition also inspired much thought about how actual cities might borrow from the orderly aesthetics of the so-called “White City,” as the fair was known for its ornately sculpted plaster building exteriors. Daniel Burnham, the Columbian Exposition’s lead designer, justified his coauthored Plan of Chicago (1909) in part by arguing that, once it was implemented, “the stranger will seek our gates.”11 While much of the Burnham Plan never was adopted, its influence was felt in the impressive overlaying of Grant Park atop railroad tracks along Lake Michigan, in 1919, and the subsequent additions of the Field Museum of Natural History, Buckingham Fountain, Soldier Field, Shedd Aquarium, and Adler Planetarium over the next decade12 (Figure 4).

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Figure 4. WPA poster of Buckingham Fountain in Chicago, 1939. John Buczak, Federal Art Project, Works Progress Administration Poster Collection, Library of Congress, LC-USZC4-5158.

Even if expositions rarely produced the “City Beautiful,” they recast American cities as sights to behold, and Chicago’s lakefront became the prime model shaping other cities’ aspirations for waterfront transformations of their own. Although the fairs themselves may have been the initial draw, those who attended them also felt a powerful tug to see the city. As historian Chad Heap shows, Chicago’s Levee district, which lay between the exposition grounds and the hotels of the Loop and very near two major railroad stations, was “uniquely situated for tourists’ late-night ramblings.”13

In addition to the promotional activities of railroad passenger divisions, tourist guidebooks prepared by chambers of commerce, newspapers, hotels, or merchant associations carefully simplified cities into selections of destinations deemed worthy of tourists’ attention14 (Figure 5).

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Figure 5. Postcard of New Orleans attractions, c. 1905. Like guidebooks, some postcards simplified cities into a series of must-see sights. This whimsical card, sketched by Z. A. Hendrick for the St. Charles Hotel, offered a dose of humor with its prescriptive itinerary. Postcard from author’s personal collection.

By 1900, tour companies were chartering electric streetcars or operating “seeing-the-city cars” that shuttled “rubberneckers” on carefully considered paths that maximized the efficiency of touring, freeing visitors from the unpredictability associated with public transit (Figure 6).

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Figure 6. Tourists aboard a “Seeing New York” car, c. 1904. Detroit Publishing Company, Library of Congress, LC-DIG-det-4a11803.

The scarcely veiled boosterism that infused tourist guidebooks and sightseeing tours steered tourists toward attractions that might produce a positive impression of the distinctiveness and progressiveness of cities. Such attractions included historic sites, harbors, bridges, skyscrapers, museums, parks, and wealthy residential sections. Downtown business districts figured prominently.15

Some of these publications acknowledged the presence of less respectable attractions. “Exotic” immigrant “ghettos,” minority neighborhoods, and red-light districts were highlighted; advice was offered on how to see them.16 Off-duty policemen and tour guides could easily be hired if one felt uneasy about peering beyond the veil where “the other half” resided (Figure 7).

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Figure 7. “New York City—‘Doing the Slums’—A Scene in the Five Points,” 1885. Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, December 5, 1885, Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-122660.

In turn-of-the-century New York, the Lower East Side, with its many eastern and central European immigrants crowded into tenement houses, provoked a combination of curiosity and revulsion, as did Chinatown with its “oriental” air of mystery. By the 1920s, tourists might also take a tour car up the Manhattan Island to see Harlem, fast becoming a mecca of the “New Negro.”17 In San Francisco, white tour operators and guidebook writers concocted a mythic Chinatown that was inscrutable, exotic, and potentially dangerous—except on their tours. They became “theatrically adept” at staging ostensibly daring descents into “underground Chinatown,” hiring Chinatown residents to stage the kinds of scenes tourists expected to encounter based on their reading of popular literature. The 1906 earthquake provided an opportunity for Chinese merchants in Chinatown, long disturbed by the racist nature of outside operators, to take the reins and to shift Chinatown’s image from opium dens, gambling halls, and labyrinths to temples, restaurants, and shops.18

Guidebooks also created what historian William R. Taylor called a “moral geography” of the city, helping tourists navigate city streets knowingly in ways that enabled them to preserve their respectability. The demimonde, however, moved fluidly in and out of the bright and dark areas in ways that made it all but impossible to create such a tidy division of the respectable from the disreputable.19 Elsewhere, red-light districts were carefully delineated and regulated realms that, though designed with the hope of containing vice, actually spotlighted risqué districts as destinations. New Orleans’s Storyville, located next to the Southern Railroad passenger depot, the Canal Street shopping district, and the French Quarter, functioned in this manner from 1897 to 1917. Although it earned little more than passing mention in mainstream guidebooks, Storyville generated its own guide to brothels and cribs, the Blue Book, which was widely sold at railroad stations, saloons, and cafés.20 Even after the district disappeared, “Storyville” became a widely used name that served businesses seeking to conjure one of New Orleans’s most powerfully evocative images.

Just as guidebooks packaged cities as collections of attractions, a growing number of companies worked with merchants and other downtown interests by the early 20th century to produce picture postcards, which featured a myriad of idealized depictions of cities as collections of tourist attractions. As historian Alison Isenberg reveals, postcard artists embellished photographs of street scenes, removing with paintbrushes overhead electrical lines, sidewalk clutter, cobblestone pavers, and even pedestrian crowds, and also applied a simplified color palette and the “American Art” sky, which transitioned from blue with fluffy clouds to peach at the horizon (Figure 8).

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Figure 8. Postcard of Chinatown in New York, c. 1910. The artist’s influence is seen in this early postcard, notably in the careful use of color on the buildings, simplification of awnings, tidying of the street and sidewalks, and the “American art sky.” Postcard from author’s personal collection.

Many postcard producers took advantage of tourist guides’ characterization of emerging downtown skylines as novel, distinctively American counterparts to majestic western landscapes by offering scenes of realistic or embellished bird’s-eye views of skyscraper “canyons” soaring above busy streets.21 Seeing such vistas in print surely intensified the longing to behold them in person, and the rise of downtown skylines brought opportunities to satisfy the urge. Long before the Empire State Building’s observation deck became a sensation, some proprietors of tall office buildings opened up new vistas from their roofs or upper floors. Notable among these were the seventeenth-floor observatory in Chicago’s Auditorium Building (1889) and New York’s twenty-story World Building (1890), which opened its iconic crowning dome to tourists.22

Regardless of boosters’ efforts to simplify and unify the image of cities, visitors did not always encounter cities in such prescriptive ways. As Gruen has observed, tourists often continued to seek out what might be seen today as more mundane attractions: sanitariums, hospitals, asylums, waterworks, factories, and other utilitarian structures. The multiplicity of more mundane sites featured on colorful postcards created sightseeing itineraries that defied boosters’ efforts to simplify them. At a time when industrial processes were novelties, some tourists in western cities chose to “follow the process of mineral extraction in the wilderness to the finished product,” which took them to many sites near the urban edges. A similar desire to see the new methods of meat processing for themselves sent many tourists to Chicago’s Union Stock Yards.23 In all, these tourist pursuits reflected a desire to see the drama of modernity at close hand.

In response to the meteoric increase in fraternal, hereditary, and professional associations and the concurrent rise of railroads after the Civil War, cities vied with each other to attract their share of a rapidly growing number of conventions. Detroit created the nation’s first convention and visitors bureau in 1896. Many other cities quickly followed, facilitating the growth of an emerging “industry” that in 1911, sent nearly 400,000 people to Chicago alone. Prior to World War I, conventions had usually been hold in auditoriums or civic centers. In the two decades that followed the war, many cities, including New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Boston, built their own dedicated convention and exhibition halls, although as historian Aaron Cowan notes, they filled the spaces between conventions with the civic and social events that other types of facilities had long hosted. When Cleveland completed its Public Auditorium in 1922, it was the nation’s largest convention hall.24

Cities in the Age of Mass Tourism, 1930–1970

The hardships of the Great Depression provided an impetus for many American cities to invest more in tourism promotion as a way to stimulate business and entice investment. In the 1930s, Chicago, San Diego, Dallas, Cleveland, San Francisco, and New York revived the older tactic of hosting major expositions (Figure 9).

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Figure 9. Great Lakes Exposition souvenir guide, 1936. Like a handful of other cities during the Great Depression, Cleveland hosted a major exposition on its lakefront in the hopes of bolstering the city’s lagging economy. From author’s personal collection.

Chicago’s choice to tag its 1933 exposition “A Century of Progress” was only the most explicit expression of that era’s hope of “salvation from the depression.”25 The Depression years also saw significant federal investment in cities’ literal and figurative infrastructures of tourism. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) public works projects went well beyond building or improving roads and bridges. WPA workers built the stone bridges, stairs, terraces, and walkways that became San Antonio’s River Walk, and they made improvements to New Orleans’s French Market and other historic buildings surrounding Jackson Square at a time when interest in historic preservation and tourism converged. The WPA also sponsored the Federal Writers’ Project, whose workers produced more than two dozen highly detailed city guides that commented in great detail on the social, cultural, and physical attributes of cities.26

Very few new hotels opened in cities in the 1930s and World War II years. Existing hotels and exhibition halls generally saw a significant decline in patronage during the Depression years. The war brought a surge in hotel occupancy from soldiers en route to overseas deployment, but as Cowan argues, downtown hotels were ill-prepared to grapple with what followed. After the war, many hotels dealt with decaying surroundings and a reinforcement of the pre-Depression trend of suburban motel development, including along an emerging network of freeways.27 In an attempt to revive the central city’s place in the tourist trade in the middle decades of the century, more and more cities formed dedicated convention and tourist bureaus. By 1956, eight of the nation’s eleven cities with populations of more than 500,000 had dedicated tourism promotion organizations.28 The postwar decades also brought a second, larger wave of convention-center development in response to the professionalization of the convention industry, corporate expansion, and the emergence of commercial jet travel.29 Among the notable additions to the nation’s roster of meeting facilities were the New York Coliseum (1956), Miami Beach Convention Center (1958), Las Vegas Convention Center (1959), Cobo Center in Detroit (1960), and McCormick Place in Chicago (1960).30

As downtowns reconfigured themselves to handle ever larger conventions, leisure travelers flocked in greater numbers to motor inns in the suburbs. Motels and tourist courts grew out of auto camping, originally a quirky hobby of the rather few automobile owners in the early years of the 20th century. With the advent of the Ford Model T, which drove down car prices, Americans took to the roads, availing themselves of an exponential expansion of national highways in the 1920s. Most likely more motels than hotels existed by the end of the 1930s, although hotels continued to have more total rooms through the next decade.31 The soaring popularity of highway motels accompanied the continuing expansion of automobile ownership, especially after World War II. Car culture flourished at the expense of central cities, where business and municipal leaders raced to tear down old buildings to create parking lots and garages to accommodate cars, not understanding that the very forces that drove car culture were about to free downtown streets from the congestion they so feared. Although downtowns held their own into mid-century, the suburbs beckoned, and not simply as bedroom communities. Although its first casinos appeared along Fremont Street in downtown during the 1930s, Las Vegas reoriented its gambling-based tourism preponderantly toward “The Strip,” a suburban stretch of US 91 to the south of the city, beginning in 1941 with the opening of El Rancho Vegas and accelerating with the opening of the Desert Inn, Sands, Sahara, Tropicana, and other casino resorts in the 1950s. Similarly, driving was a must to reach Disneyland, which sprang up on a former orange grove in the Los Angeles suburb of Anaheim in 1955.32 After the opening of the much more expansive Walt Disney World in central Florida in 1971, Orlando evolved into an uneasy role as a service-sector city serving the gigantic theme park complex that came to dominate the region.33

As more and more attractions located outside cities, suburbia’s tourism inroads exerted tremendous pressure on cities to find ways to accentuate their attractiveness to suburbanites and tourists. A handful of cities turned to their historic resources to attract visitors, setting the stage for what gradually became a widely adopted urban revitalization strategy. In the 1930s, Charleston, South Carolina, and New Orleans consolidated a decade’s worth of historic preservation efforts by creating stringent standards to safeguard their distinctive cityscapes. By the 1950s, a handful of cities such as Savannah, Georgia, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Alexandria, Virginia, boasted historic districts as tourist attractions. A growing backlash against urban renewal and concerns about suburban decentralization, combined with a heightened awareness of the potential of tourism, prompted a tremendous increase in preservation in the 1960s. An unprecedented proliferation of historic districts ensued in the decade following the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.34

A similar unease accompanied the postwar dismantling of street railways and plans for elevated freeways slicing through city centers. Under the right conditions, tourism provided a rationale for opposing such developments. In 1947, a group of San Francisco women organized to ensure that the city’s famed cable cars would not entirely vanish amid transit modernization efforts that favored modern buses. Situating cable cars alongside other cities’ icons like the French Quarter, Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, and Big Ben, the group used cable cars as “rolling ambassadors of goodwill” to advertise San Francisco as a tourist destination.35 Likewise, learning from the failure of activists to prevent the construction of San Francisco’s Embarcadero Freeway along its waterfront in the 1950s, a concerned band of New Orleanians waged a successful ten-year “freeway revolt” to halt a riverfront expressway that threatened to block views between historic Jackson Square and the Mississippi River, citing the tourism industry as a likely casualty of the road project.36

Likewise, the postwar years saw the establishment of shopping and entertainment districts in historic central-city storefronts and former industrial buildings. After World War II, New Orleans’s Bourbon Street emerged as a rare example of largely unplanned coalescence of nightlife establishments that, despite their lack of coordination, inspired concerted efforts to stimulate similar excitement in other cities, some of which became models in their own right. Notable among these efforts were St. Louis’s Gaslight Square, the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego, Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, Larimer Square in Denver, and Underground Atlanta.37

Continuity and Change: Urban Tourism since 1970

The marshaling of historic resources to build the tourism sector took on heightened importance in the 1970s and 1980s as the impacts of deindustrialization and suburbanization were felt more acutely in many American cities. An increasing number of cities sought to foreground what Sharon Zukin has labeled the “symbolic economy,” in which cities themselves become products.38 Mayors such as Kevin White of Boston, William Donald Schaefer of Baltimore, and Moon Landrieu of New Orleans pursued tourism-centered agendas in the 1970s that produced iconic spaces conducive to maximizing this symbolic economy. Kevin White’s administration cooperated with the James Rouse Company to transform the historic Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market into the enormously popular Faneuil Hall Marketplace, whose Boston-themed specialty shops, kiosks, and eateries now shared space with traditional public market stalls. Although less national attention was accorded to it, Landrieu’s tourism-focused recasting of some of the central spaces of the French Quarter were no less impactful for New Orleans. The mayor oversaw the closure of three streets around Jackson Square to form a flagstone-paved pedestrian mall filled with artists, musicians, and fortune tellers, created a multi-terraced viewing platform and promenade along the Mississippi River levee. The French Market was transformed into what amounted to a festival marketplace in 1975, one year before Rouse’s Faneuil Hall Marketplace opened. Schaefer laid the groundwork for a similar transformation of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to be realized in the 1980s, although as Aaron Cowan has argued, the mayor initially envisioned it also as a draw for locals.39

Such downtown transformations were only the beginning. New York’s mayor Ed Koch oversaw the reinvention of seedy Times Square into a glitzy extravaganza of outsize signage, revived Broadway theaters, and eventually national-brand superstores. In Chicago, Mayor Richard M. Daley reopened State Street to vehicular traffic after nearly two decades of decline as a pedestrian mall, contributing to the revival of the street as a major retailing destination. Daley also facilitated the creation of a new driver of tourism in Chicago by spearheading the development of Millennium Park above a rail yard and parking garages along Michigan Avenue.40 Place-making efforts to stimulate tourists and suburbanites to visit the central city were not confined to large metropolises. Some smaller cities managed to mix the same ingredients that had produced tourism-led resurgences in New York, Boston, Chicago, and Baltimore. For example, Chattanooga, Tennessee, retained the same firm that designed the National Aquarium in Baltimore to plan its Tennessee Aquarium, which opened in 1992, catalyzing the revitalization of the downtown riverfront and brightening Chattanooga’s sagging image.41 However, not all smaller cities mustered the same public enthusiasm. The AutoWorld indoor theme park and Water Street Pavilion festival marketplace promised to reinvigorate beleaguered Flint, Michigan, but both closed only a couple of years after their respective openings in 1984 and 1985. Perhaps most tourism-oriented downtown revitalization projects fell somewhere between the spectacular successes and failures. Typical of these was Augusta, Georgia’s Riverwalk, which opened in 1988. After more than a decade of challenges to build upon the initial excitement that the riverfront project stirred, local officials were left to wonder if the plan had been unrealistically ambitious. Clearly there were limits to what tourism could offer cities, especially with so many of them competing for visitors.42

For all the hope of using downtown redevelopment to rebuild the thinning crowd, many commentators pointed to the ways in which such initiatives often segregated those they attracted by race and class. This was a new chapter in the long history of social distance as both a repelling and attracting force in tourism. In the 1990s, Dennis Judd identified what he called the “tourist bubble,” an effectively cordoned-off zone in which most tourist activity was concentrated, robbing areas outside the so-called bubble from sharing in the profits and renewal generated by that activity. As Bryant Simon and others have argued, the nature of development such as that of casino hotels in Atlantic City, with their interceptor lots and garages connected to gaming venues by enclosed elevated “skywalks,” effectively separated visitors from locals at street level.43 More recently, however, Cowan called attention to the ways in which suburban and inner-city Baltimoreans appropriated space around Harborplace on the Inner Harbor in ways that challenge the simplistic notion of a tourist bubble.44 In addition, many cities built light-rail loops in their downtowns, often with an eye to facilitating tourism. Some, like Dallas, Little Rock, New Orleans, San Diego, and Tampa, even stocked the new lines with replicas of heritage streetcars, while Philadelphia and San Francisco restored vintage mid-century streetcars to lines that ceased operation but had been dismantled (Figure 10).

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Figure 10. Canal Street streetcar line, 2016. Forty years after streetcars disappeared from the principal retail street in New Orleans, the Canal Street line began offering service between the city’s historic riverfront and its famed above-ground cemeteries in 2004. Photograph by author.

If these tended to reinforce the tourist bubble by further delineating a geography of sightseeing, at least they did so without the physical separation of skywalks.

The tendency to channel visitors ever more efficiently to their destination, however, always existed in tension with many tourists’ desire to get off the beaten path to experience a more “authentic” understanding of the places they visit. The same curiosity that sent “slummers” clambering through narrow alleys with police escorts in the late 19th century also drove more adventurous tourists in recent decades to find their own way through cities, often with the aid of alternative tourist guides or smartphone apps. Even convention and visitors bureaus began to warm to the idea of rethinking their longtime complicity in reserving most tourist activity inside the “tourist bubble.” In 2012, in a city whose River Walk framed the extent of most tourists’ experience, the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau unveiled a tourism campaign that relied on social media campaigns to get people to submit their own photos and stories for possible inclusion in tourism marketing, thereby re-centering the production of the city’s tourist image (Figure 11).

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Figure 11. San Antonio River Walk, 2014. The River Walk eclipsed the Alamo as San Antonio’s leading attraction. Photograph by Nan Palmero on Flickr, Creative Commons CC BY 2.0.

In 2014, Destination DC launched a similar campaign designed to get tourists off the National Mall and into the city’s varied neighborhoods, which also invited visitors and locals to join the conversation about places and events worth a visit.45

In addition, longtime attempts by promoters to appeal to a mass market gradually relented as the nation’s demographics moved toward greater diversity. No longer could they ignore the growing demand to package experiences tailored for African American or gay and lesbian audiences, to name only a couple. Black tourists, of course, had visited cities for decades, often with the aid of guides like the Green Book, but most had moved warily in mainstream tourist spaces.46 Into the 1970s, black entrepreneurs carved out notable entertainment destinations on the margins of areas frequented by whites. For example, Louis C. Mason Jr. operated “Mason’s Las Vegas Strip,” a branded row of storefronts along New Orleans’s South Claiborne Avenue, while Winston E. Willis ran a block-long strip of entertainment venues in Cleveland’s Euclid-105th area.47 New Orleans and Philadelphia were national leaders in packaging tourism for black travelers in ways that pierced the tourist bubble. In 1986 the Greater New Orleans Black Tourism Center formed, followed in 1990 by the Greater New Orleans Black Tourism Network, developments that yielded new opportunities for black representation even as they failed to overturn the predominant, white-centered tourist narrative and exploitive nature of black labor in the tourism industry.48 In 1988 the city of Philadelphia established the Multicultural Affairs Congress (MAC), which offered heritage tours, festivals, and other draws for African Americans. MAC worked to reinterpret Center City, the central tourist district in Philadelphia, more inclusively by overlaying black points of interest but also tried, with less success, to propel some of the tourist activity out to majority-black North Philadelphia.49 The tendency of urban revitalization to occur either in areas with few African Americans or to displace them represented a continuing challenge in many cities.

The emergence of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) tourism promotion in cities in the late 20th and early twenty-first centuries represented a clear departure from the past even as it built upon potentials created by the social fluidity inherent in tourist spaces. In the early and mid-20th century, gay tourism was largely underground and remained relatively guarded even in more permissive places such as New Orleans’s French Quarter and San Francisco’s North Beach. As historian Nan Alamilla Boyd argues, in the 1930s–50s, “as sexualized entertainments became part of San Francisco’s allure, tourist industry dollars cast a thin veneer of protection around the city’s queer entertainments,” nurturing gay bars that in later years would “shape a nascent gay movement.”50 The grassroots origins of the Southern Decadence celebration in New Orleans in the early 1970s mirrored a similar transformation in the potential for open LGBTQ tourism in San Francisco by unfolding in protective embrace of the French Quarter, where tourism had helped smooth the transgressive edge of queer life (Figure 12).

Urban Tourism in the U.S. since 1800Click to view larger

Figure 12. Southern Decadence, 2016. This colorful festival grew in popularity concurrently with the rise of the gay rights movement and eventually became a major event on the New Orleans tourist calendar. Photo by Infrogmation of New Orleans, Creative Commons License CC BY-SA 4.0.

Following the shutdown of many gay bathhouses and clubs in the face of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, a number of cities’ tourism bureaus embraced an LGBTQ tourism that transcended the genre of sex tourism. By the early twenty-first century, urban tourism promoters were moving “beyond images of rainbow flags and shirtless men.” A wide range of special events, festivals, family activities, and even LGBTQ heritage tours reflected the growing embrace of the idea that this segment of the tourism market shared as diverse a set of interests as any other.51

As the end of second decade of the twenty-first century approached, it became increasingly clear that terrorism, climate change, and “culture wars” would shape the expectations and habits of those who visited cities in the future. The terror attacks of September 11, 2001, destroyed the World Trade Center, one of New York City’s leading tourist destinations, and subjected travelers to new fears and inconveniences even as it infused Ground Zero with new symbolic value.52 In the ensuing years, periodic terrorist acts that involved bombs and weaponized vehicles threatened to reframe visitors’ attitudes about visiting iconic urban places and spaces. Although not demonstrably a direct result of climate change, Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans in 2005 inspired a spate of “disaster tourism” much like that which lured thousands to San Francisco following that city’s 1906 earthquake and fire. The event, however, also introduced a new term—“voluntourism”—into common usage as countless visitors rationalized their pilgrimages to the sodden Ninth Ward by lending a hand in rebuilding the city. This trend may have seemed novel, but it reprised an old theme so well described by historian Cindy Aron—that of infusing travel with a sense of higher purpose.53 Nonetheless, growing public awareness of the vulnerability of America’s highly popular coastal cities to sea-level rise and hurricanes suggested that tourism might remain inseparable from advocacy for policies and efforts that might preserve many of the nation’s threatened cultural and historical treasures. Finally, as they did for centuries, urban public spaces also became flashpoints in long-building tensions between rich and poor, white and black, and rural and urban Americans. In 2017, New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu, whose father had built a tourist-friendly pedestrian mall four decades earlier around the park whose centerpiece was a triumphal Andrew Jackson on horseback, presided over removing four monuments to the Confederacy and the “Lost Cause.” In his defense of his decision, Landrieu did not omit the significance of their removal to the city’s image: “If presented with the opportunity to build monuments that told our story or to curate these particular spaces, would these monuments be what we want the world to see? Is this really our story?”54 It remained to seen how a spate of revisions to the commemorative landscape might shape the ever-shifting contours of how cities appeal to tourists.

Discussion of the Literature

Historians came rather late to the study of tourism. Anthropologists and other social scientists set the stage for a generation of scholars of tourism by affirming long-standing societal assumptions that tourism brought negative cultural and social impacts. Although historians John Kasson, Kathy Peiss, David Nasaw, and others examined the rise of commercialized leisure in the 1970s to 1990s, a direct focus on urban tourism history lagged a decade or more behind historical scholarship on seaside resorts and tourist encounters with natural scenery.55 Notable exceptions included an essay on tourism in the 1890s in New York City by Neil Harris and Eugene P. Moehring’s book on Las Vegas.56 Even as historians turned toward the city as a locus for the study of tourism, social scientists continued to dominate urban tourism studies. In the 1990s, political scientist Dennis R. Judd coined the persuasive term “tourist bubble” to denote heavily scripted urban places that embody and often contain the tourist experience of cities.57 Judd’s term built upon earlier assumptions that tourism creates spatial and social chasms in cities, concentrating the economic benefits of the tourist trade and effectively cordoning off central urban spaces in ways that transformed their social and cultural attributes. Similar concerns about urban tourism as a contested spatial practice pervade the work of sociologist Sharon Zukin.58 Although Hal K. Rothman was not the first historian to study urban tourism, he proved influential by affixing a provocative vocabulary to the idea of tourism as a corrosive force in Devil’s Bargains (1998), a book with which historians of tourism continue to grapple.59

Like Rothman, Catherine Cocks’s Doing the Town (2001), focuses on the production of the tourist experience, but it does so by explaining the development of an infrastructure of tourism (railroads, hotels, guidebooks, and organized tours) that built and shaped interest in visiting cities.60 Since 2000, most historical scholarship on urban tourism, notably the work of Harvey K. Newman, J. Mark Souther, and Alicia Barber, focuses on case studies of single cities and examines how urban businessmen and municipal officials pursued tourism for profit or economic development. Souther’s New Orleans on Parade (2006) was among the first books to push back against Rothman’s “devil’s bargain” thesis.61

Recent developments in the historiography of urban tourism defy generalization, except perhaps that the subfield appears to have moved past the question of whether tourism is a positive or negative force in cities. J. Philip Gruen, Reiko Hillyer, and Aaron Cowan have produced welcome and long overdue comparative studies of tourism in western cities in the 19th century, southern cities in the aftermath of Reconstruction, and Rustbelt cities in the post-1945 period, respectively. Gruen’s Manifest Destinations (2014) also offers a model for balancing the producer and consumer sides of urban tourism by attempting to understand how the tourist experience often strayed from promoters’ scripted constructions of place.62 Apart from individual articles and essays, African American agency in urban tourism remains understudied, but Lynnell Thomas’s Desire and Disaster (2014) offers an important exception.63

Primary Sources

Historical materials to support the study of urban tourism exist primarily on the local level. Public or university libraries (especially local history collections) and historical societies are good places to start one’s search. For larger cities, such institutions increasingly provide online finding aids. Useful materials include tourist guidebooks, picture postcards, travel accounts, oral histories, promotional materials such as brochures and maps, newspaper clipping files, mayoral papers, chamber of commerce or visitor bureau records, and other government or nonprofit organization records.

Extensive collections of stereograph cards and picture postcards are available online. Examples include the Library of Congress Stereograph Cards; New York Public Library’s Detroit Publishing Company Postcards, which has several thousand digitized postcards from the early 20th century; and the Tichnor Brothers Postcard Collection at Boston Public Library, which offers more than 23,000 color “linen” postcards from the 1930s and 1940s.64 The unparalleled Curt Teich Postcard Archives Collection in the Newberry Library in Chicago contains hundreds of thousands of production files that document how the company made its cards, as well as hundreds of thousands of postcard images. Although most of the collection is not accessible electronically, some 18,000 images are online.65 Google Books offers a wide array of fully digitized travel accounts and tourist guidebooks from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Tourist guides, maps, brochures, promotional films, and other ephemera sometimes also exist in specific library collections. Notable examples include the Anthony J. Stanonis Collection at Loyola University New Orleans and the Florida Broadsides and Ephemera Collection at the State Library and Archives of Florida.66

Digital page images from hundreds of newspapers from large cities to small towns are available through Chronicling America (Library of Congress), library subscription-based collections such as America’s Historical Newspapers (Readex), commercial services such as, or via individual newspapers’ fee-based archives. However, with few exceptions, these collections cover only the period before 1930. Some major cities now have full runs of their daily newspapers digitized and keyword searchable but often require one to access them in a library or with a library card.

Manuscript collections often provide the deepest insights into tourism development, but pertinent collections are widely scattered, some cities having preserved and made extensive local government papers and records available and others having saved little. Collections pertaining specifically to convention and visitor bureaus are sometimes available. Examples include Austin, Texas; Los Angeles; San Diego; and Savannah, Georgia.67

Further Reading

Barber, Alicia. Reno’s Big Gamble: Image and Reputation in the Biggest Little City. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2008.Find this resource:

    Berger, Molly W. Hotel Dreams: Luxury, Technology, and Urban Ambition in America, 1829–1929. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011.Find this resource:

      Blake, Angela M. How New York Became American, 1890–1924. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006.Find this resource:

        Cocks, Catherine. Doing the Town: The Rise of Urban Tourism in the United States, 1850–1915. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.Find this resource:

          Cowan, Aaron. A Nice Place to Visit: Tourism and Urban Revitalization in the Postwar Rustbelt. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2016.Find this resource:

            Culver, Lawrence. The Frontier of Leisure: Southern California and the Shaping of Modern America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.Find this resource:

              Grant, Elizabeth. “Race, Place, and Memory: African American Tourism in the Postindustrial City.” In African American Urban History since World War II. Edited by Kenneth L. Kusmer and Joe W. Trotter, 404–424. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.Find this resource:

                Gruen, J. Philip. Manifest Destinations: Cities and Tourists in the Nineteenth-Century American West. Oklahoma City: University of Oklahoma Press, 2014.Find this resource:

                  Harris, Neil. “Urban Tourism and the Commercial City.” In Inventing Times Square: Commerce and Culture at the Crossroads of the World. Edited by William R. Taylor, 66–82. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991. ).Find this resource:

                    Heap, Chad. Slumming: Sexual and Racial Encounters in American Nightlife, 1885–1940. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.Find this resource:

                      Hillyer, Reiko. Designing Dixie: Tourism, Memory, and Urban Space in the New South. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2014.Find this resource:

                        Judd, Dennis R., and Susan S. Feinstein, eds. The Tourist City. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999.Find this resource:

                          Kilbride, Daniel. An American Aristocracy: Southern Planters in Antebellum Philadelphia. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2006.Find this resource:

                            Moehring, Eugene P. Resort City in the Sunbelt: Las Vegas, 1930–2000. 2d ed. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2000.Find this resource:

                              Rothman, Hal K. Devil’s Bargains: Tourism in the Twentieth-Century American West. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1998.Find this resource:

                                Sandoval-Strausz, Andrew K. Hotel: An American History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007.Find this resource:

                                  Simon, Bryant. Boardwalk of Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.Find this resource:

                                    Souther, J. Mark. New Orleans on Parade: Tourism and the Transformation of the Crescent City. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2006.Find this resource:

                                      Souther, J. Mark, and Nicholas Dagen Bloom, eds. American Tourism: Constructing a National Tradition. Chicago: Center for American Places, 2012.Find this resource:

                                        Spirou, Costas, and Dennis R. Judd. Building the City of Spectacle: Mayor Richard M. Daley and the Remaking of Chicago. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2016.Find this resource:

                                          Stanonis, Anthony J. Creating the Big Easy: New Orleans and the Emergence of Modern Tourism, 1918–1945. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2006.Find this resource:

                                            Thomas, Lynnell L. Desire and Disaster in New Orleans: Tourism, Race, and Historical Memory. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014.Find this resource:

                                              Yuhl, Stephanie E. A Golden Haze of Memory: The Making of Historic Charleston. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005.Find this resource:


                                                (1.) Jon Sterngass, First Resorts: Pursuing Pleasure at Saratoga Springs, Newport, and Coney Island (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001), 112, 118–122.

                                                (2.) Daniel Kilbride, An American Aristocracy: Southern Planters in Antebellum Philadelphia (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2006), 128–130.

                                                (3.) Richard H. Gassan, “Fear, Commercialism, Reform, and Antebellum Tourism to New York City,” Journal of Urban History 41.6 (2015): 1079.

                                                (4.) Gassan, “Fear, Commercialism, Reform, and Antebellum Tourism,” 1081; Timothy J. Gilfoyle, City of Eros: New York City, Prostitution, and the Commercialization of Sex, 1790–1920 (New York: W. W. Norton, 1994), 119–122.

                                                (5.) John F. Sears, Sacred Places: American Tourist Attractions in the Nineteenth Century (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1989), 89, 92, 100.

                                                (6.) Catherine Cocks, Doing the Town: The Rise of Urban Tourism in the United States, 1850–1915 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), 52–60.

                                                (7.) J. Philip Gruen, Manifest Destinations: Cities and Tourists in the Nineteenth-Century American West (Oklahoma City: University of Oklahoma Press, 2014), 33–35, 45–69.

                                                (8.) Molly W. Berger, Hotel Dreams: Luxury, Technology, and Urban Ambition in America, 1829–1929 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011), 29; A. K. Sandoval-Strausz, Hotel: An American History (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007), 80, 99.

                                                (9.) Cocks, Doing the Town, 72, 84.

                                                (10.) Berger, Hotel Dreams, 177, 236.

                                                (11.) Neil Harris, “Urban Tourism and the Commercial City,” in Inventing Times Square: Commerce and Culture at the Crossroads of the World, ed. William R. Taylor (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), 69.

                                                (12.) Timothy J. Gilfoyle, “Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois,” in American Tourism: Constructing a National Tradition, ed. J. Mark Souther and Nicholas Dagen Bloom (Chicago: Center for American Places, 2012), 130.

                                                (13.) Chad Heap, Slumming: Sexual and Racial Encounters in American Nightlife, 1885–1940 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009), 39.

                                                (14.) Cocks, Doing the Town, 156, 161.

                                                (15.) Cocks, 167–169.

                                                (16.) Cocks, 192.

                                                (17.) Angela M. Blake, How New York Became American, 1890–1924 (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), 115–120, 127–132.

                                                (18.) Raymond W. Rast, “The Cultural Politics of Tourism in San Francisco’s Chinatown, 1882–1917,” Pacific Historical Review 76.1 (2007): 45–47, 53–54.

                                                (19.) David Nasaw, Going Out: The Rise and Fall of Public Amusements (New York: Basic Books, 1993), 65; Gilfoyle, City of Eros, 223.

                                                (20.) Emily Epstein Landau, Spectacular Wickedness: Sex, Race, and Memory in Storyville, New Orleans (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2013), 1, 111–113.

                                                (21.) Alison Isenberg, Downtown America: A History of the Place and the People Who Made It (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), 51–55, 61–62, 67–75; Harris, “Urban Tourism and the Commercial City,” 71.

                                                (22.) Gruen, Manifest Destinations, 125–126; Blake, How New York Became American, 52–54, 99–105.

                                                (23.) Gruen, Manifest Destinations, 75, 102–103; Dominic A. Pacyga, Slaughterhouse: Chicago’s Union Stock Yard and the World It Made (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), 1–2, 5–23, 100–106.

                                                (24.) Aaron Cowan, A Nice Place to Visit: Tourism and Urban Revitalization in the Postwar Rustbelt (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2016), 37–38; Harris, “Urban Tourism and the Commercial City,” 77–78; Eric Johannesen, A Cleveland Legacy: The Architecture of Walker and Weeks (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1999), 72.

                                                (25.) Robert W. Rydell, World of Fairs: The Century-of-Progress Expositions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), 1, 6.

                                                (26.) Char Miller, “River Walk, San Antonio, Texas,” in Souther and Bloom, American Tourism, 223; J. Mark Souther, New Orleans on Parade: Tourism and the Transformation of the Crescent City (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2006), 166; Wendy Griswold, American Guides: The Federal Writers’ Project and the Casting of American Culture (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016).

                                                (27.) Cowan, Nice Place to Visit, 46–47.

                                                (28.) Souther, New Orleans on Parade, 33.

                                                (29.) Cowan, Nice Place to Visit, 38–39.

                                                (30.) On the Las Vegas Convention Center’s origins, see Eugene P. Moehring, Resort City in the Sunbelt: Las Vegas, 1930–2000, 2d ed. (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2000), 93–96. On McCormick Place, see Roger Biles, Richard J. Daley: Politics, Race, and the Governing of Chicago (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1995), 49–50.

                                                (31.) Warren James Belasco, Americans on the Road: From Autocamp to Motel, 1910–1945 (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979); Sandoval-Strausz, Hotel, 133–134.

                                                (32.) Moehring, Resort City in the Sunbelt, 45, 256; John M. Findlay, Magic Lands: Western Cityscapes and American Culture after 1940 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), 54.

                                                (33.) Richard E. Foglesong, Married to the Mouse: Walt Disney World and Orlando (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001).

                                                (34.) Andrew Hurley, Beyond Preservation: Using Public History to Revitalize Inner Cities (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2010), 4–8.

                                                (35.) Damon Scott, “When the Motorman Mayor Met the Cable Car Ladies: Engendering Transit in the City That Knows How,” Journal of Urban History 40.1 (2014): 66–67, 73, 77.

                                                (36.) Souther, New Orleans on Parade, 64–72.

                                                (37.) Richard Campanella, Bourbon Street: A History (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2014), 163–164; Isenberg, Downtown America, 283–292; Judy Mattivi Morley, Historic Preservation and the Imagined West: Albuquerque, Denver, and Seattle (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2006), 50; Harvey K. Newman, “Race and the Tourist Bubble in Downtown Atlanta,” Urban Affairs Review 37.3 (2002): 309.

                                                (38.) Sharon Zukin, The Cultures of Cities (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1995), 3–11.

                                                (39.) Nicholas Dagen Bloom, Merchant of Illusion: James Rouse, America’s Salesman of the Businessman’s Utopia (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2004), 152–158; Souther, New Orleans on Parade, 166–169; Cowan, Nice Place to Visit, 133–144.

                                                (40.) Alexander J. Reichl, Reconstructing Times Square: Politics and Culture in Urban Development (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1999), 16–17; Timothy J. Gilfoyle, Millennium Park: Creating a Chicago Landmark (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006), 93–95.

                                                (41.) Eric Allison and Lauren Peters, Historic Preservation and the Livable City (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley, 2011), 112–115.

                                                (42.) Andrew R. Highsmith, Demolition Means Progress: Flint, Michigan, and the Fate of the American Metropolis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), 259–262; Meg Mirshak, “Vision for Riverwalk Is Different from Reality,” Augusta Chronicle, July 28, 2013.

                                                (43.) Dennis R. Judd, “Constructing the Tourist Bubble,” in The Tourist City, ed. Dennis R. Judd and Susan S. Fainstein (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999), 38; Bryant Simon, Boardwalk of Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 203–205.

                                                (44.) Cowan, Nice Place to Visit, 141–147.

                                                (45.) Sara Gruber, “San Antonio Launches New Marketing Campaign to Promote Tourism,” Visit San Antonio, March 28, 2012;Washington, DC Launches Yearlong Marketing Campaign with ‘DC Cool’,” DC Press, December 3, 2013.

                                                (46.) New York Public Library Digital Collections, The Green Book; Souther, New Orleans on Parade, 75–76.

                                                (47.) Souther, New Orleans on Parade, 172; Adonees Sarrouh and J. Mark Souther, “Cleveland’s Second Downtown,” Cleveland Historical. published on Sept 19, 2010. Last updated on May 17, 2017.

                                                (48.) Lynnell L. Thomas, Desire and Disaster in New Orleans: Tourism, Race, and Historical Memory (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014), 12–14.

                                                (49.) Elizabeth Grant, “Race and Tourism in America’s First City,” Journal of Urban History 31.6 (2005): 859–860, 863, 867–868.

                                                (50.) Nan Alamilla Boyd, Wide-Open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), 15–16, 61–62.

                                                (51.) Scott S. Ellis, Madame Vieux Carré: The French Quarter in the Twentieth Century (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2010), 142–144; Josh Sides, “Excavating the Postwar Sex District in San Francisco,” Journal of Urban History 32.3 (2006): 368–375; Stephanie Rosenbloom, “The Evolving World of Gay Travel,” New York Times, May 30, 2014.

                                                (52.) Marita Sturken, Tourists of History: Memory, Kitsch, and Consumerism from Oklahoma City to Ground Zero (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007), 165–218.

                                                (53.) Kevin Fox Gotham and Miriam Greenberg, Crisis Cities: Disaster and Redevelopment in New York and New Orleans (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014) is just one of many works that examines disaster tourism and voluntourism; Cindy S. Aron, Working at Play: A History of Vacations in the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).

                                                (55.) John F. Kasson, Amusing the Million: Coney Island at the Turn of the Century (New York: Hill and Wang, 1978); Kathy Peiss, Cheap Amusements: Working Women and Leisure in Turn-of-the-Century New York (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986); Nasaw, Going Out.

                                                (56.) Harris, “Urban Tourism and the Commercial City,” 66–82; Eugene P. Moehring, Resort City in the Sunbelt: Las Vegas, 1930–1970 (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1989).

                                                (57.) Judd, “Constructing the Tourist Bubble.”

                                                (58.) Sharon Zukin, Landscapes of Power: From Detroit to Disney World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993).

                                                (59.) Hal K. Rothman, Devil’s Bargains: Tourism in the Twentieth-Century American West (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1998).

                                                (60.) Cocks, Doing the Town.

                                                (61.) Harvey K. Newman, Southern Hospitality: Tourism and the Growth of Atlanta (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1999); Souther, New Orleans on Parade; Alicia Barber, Reno’s Big Gamble: Image and Reputation in the Biggest Little City (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2008).

                                                (62.) Gruen, Manifest Destinations; Reiko Hillyer, Designing Dixie: Tourism, Memory, and Urban Space in the New South (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2014); Cowan, Nice Place to Visit.

                                                (63.) Thomas, Desire and Disaster in New Orleans.

                                                (64.) Stereograph Cards, Library of Congress; Detroit Publishing Company Photographs, Library of Congress; Tichnor Brothers Postcard Collection, Boston Public Library.

                                                (66.) Anthony J. Stanonis Collection, Loyola University New Orleans; Florida Broadsides and Ephemera Collection at the State Library and Archives of Florida.

                                                (67.) Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau Records, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Austin; Greater Los Angeles Visitors and Convention Bureau (All-Year Club of Southern California) Collection, 1900–1980, Special Collections, Oviatt Library, California State University, Northridge, Los Angeles; San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, San Diego State University, San Diego; Savannah Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Records, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah.