From ruins of ancient civilizations to Revolutionary War monuments, there are many attractions that celebrate the unique history of the US. The nation’s diverse landscape offers everything from deserts and canyons to massive waterfalls in different regions.
Tourists come from all over the world to see many of these sites, although there are also many under-the-radar attractions that are definitely worth a visit.
Keep reading for 25 of the best attractions in the US to add to your bucket list.
Ellis Island, New York, New York
From 1892 to 1954, Ellis Island was the US’ busiest immigration center. The island acted as a gateway to America for over one million immigrants who passed through.
Ellis Island opened to the public in 1976 and the full Ellis Island Museum was completed in 1990. Today, visitors can get an inside look into what it was like to come to Ellis Island as an immigrant. You can even look through records to check if your relatives came through the island.
The Gateway Arch, St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis’ Gateway Arch is one of the city’s most defining features. While it’s a worthwhile experience to view the arch from afar, you can also go a step further and ascend to its top — 630 feet above the ground.
The “Journey to the Top” experience includes a four-minute tram ride up to the observation deck. At the top, you’ll get incredible views up to 30 miles in every direction on a clear day.
The Grand Canyon, Arizona
The Grand Canyon is 277 miles in length, and you can get beautiful views of this natural wonder no matter where you are in the park.
Whether you participate in a treacherous hike to the bottom of the canyon or just take in its beauty from afar, you’ll be able to appreciate one of the most incredible natural wonders of the world right here in the US.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
There’s plenty to see at Yellowstone, the world’s first national park. From the Old Faithful geyser to the multi-colored Grand Prismatic Spring, the park is sure to take your breath away.
Aside from the park’s famous sites, there are 300 total active geysers in the park and 200 waterfalls, leaving you with endless opportunities for exploration.
Millennium Park, Chicago, Illinois
Chicago’s Millennium Park is full of unique architecture, landscape design, and art.
While there are many interesting installations to discover, you can’t miss one of the park’s most famous pieces, a giant reflective sculpture known as “The Bean.”
The Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, Tennessee
There’s a reason why Nashville is known as the Music City.
The Grand Ole Opry is a stage and radio show that’s been running since 1925. Given the program’s history, it only makes sense that the Opry’s slogan is “The Show that Made Country Music Famous.” In addition to attending legendary shows, visitors can also tour the Opry House and learn about Nashville’s rich music history.
Disneyland, Anaheim, California
Sure, there are Disney parks all over the world, but the original Disneyland in Anaheim, California, is an experience all its own.
Since it opened in 1955, there have been many new additions to the park, although it still maintains its original vintage charm. Classic rides like Splash Mountain and the Mad Tea Party will take you back in time in addition to providing the thrill you’d expect from any theme park.
The National Mall, Washington, DC
There’s a lot to see in Washington, DC, but the National Mall is a great place to start.
You can explore the iconic sights of the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial that the park is known for. Plus, you can also view newer additions to the park, including the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, which opened in 2011.
Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
Mesa Verde National Park is home to the remains of the Ancestral Pueblo culture, who lived in the area from AD 600 to 1,300.
These cliff dwellings are among the most well-preserved in the US, making them worth the trip to this remote Colorado national park.
Niagara Falls, New York
Niagara Falls is a quintessential US landmark. Whether you view the massive waterfalls from an observation deck or get an up-close experience on a Maid of the Mist boat tour, Niagara Falls’ beauty is undeniable.
The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California
When you think of San Francisco, an image of the Golden Gate Bridge probably comes to mind.
The massive bridge is known for its bright red color that often peeks out of the classic San Francisco fog. For the best views of the city skyline and the bridge itself, either drive, walk, or bike across it.
The Freedom Trail, Boston, Massachusetts
If you’re looking to learn more about the American Revolution and how the US was founded, the Freedom Trail in Boston is a good place to start.
The trail will take you on a 2.5 mile-long tour of historic places like Boston Common, the Bunker Hill Monument, and the Massachusetts State House.
Arches National Park, Utah
There are over 2,000 natural arches at the appropriately named Arches National Park north of Moab, Utah.
The park is known as a “red rock wonderland” where visitors can hike, rock climb, horseback ride, and even just enjoy Utah’s natural beauty.
The USS Arizona Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii
The USS Arizona Memorial honors the ship’s crew, service members, and civilians who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Visitors to the site begin at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and then reach the memorial via boat. In addition to the boat ride and poignant viewing of the sunken remains of the ship, there’s also a documentary from which visitors can learn more about the events of December 7, 1941, and those that followed.
Independence Square, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The city of Philadelphia is chock-full of early US history. Independence Square is a great place to learn about the nation’s founding, and view artifacts you’ve only seen in history books.
All in close proximity are the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and even the National Constitution Center. While exploring all these monuments, you’ll discover that there’s history around every corner in this city.
Mount Rushmore, Keystone, South Dakota
Mount Rushmore is a bucket-list item for anyone who loves monuments and national parks. The site showcases Gutzon Borglum’s giant yet finely detailed sculptures of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.
The granite sculptures are timeless, although they have been around since Borglum and his son finished the project in 1941.
The Breakers, Newport, Rhode Island
Once a playground for the rich and famous, Newport is known for its Gilded Age mansions on Bellevue Avenue, the most famous one being The Breakers, a 1895 mansion designed after a Renaissance palace that was once home to the Vanderbilt family.
It has been a designated National Historic Landmark since it was purchased by the Preservation Society of Newport County in 1972.
The Last Vegas Strip, Las Vegas, Nevada
Whether you test your luck at one of the city’s many casinos, see an iconic show from Cirque du Soleil to Celine Dion, or just wander around the strip, everyone needs to experience Sin City at least once in their lifetime.
The Space Needle, Seattle, Washington
One of the best parts about visiting a new city is taking in the skyline, and the Space Needle has been a defining feature of Seattle’s since it opened in 1962.
A visit to the observation deck will give you panoramic views of downtown Seattle all the way to Mount Rainier.
French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana
The French Quarter in New Orleans is one of the most unique neighborhoods in the country. The area is full of history, culture, and, of course, delicious food. New Orleans is famous for its beignets, although there are many local dishes worth trying.
Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska
Alaska is famous for its beautiful natural surroundings and wildlife, but the Mendenhall ice caves take the cake. The spectacular caves are not for the faint of heart though, as they’re only accessible by kayaking to the glacier, then ice climbing to the caves.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, Ohio
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a must-see for fans of the genre, or anyone interested in learning about history through music and pop culture.
From in-depth exhibitions on bands like the Rolling Stones and artists like Elvis Presley to live music events, you can’t miss this spot if you visit Cleveland.
White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
The White Sands National Monument is one of the most unique spots you’ll find in the US when it comes to natural wonders.
Located in the Tularosa Basin, the site boasts some of the purest white sand and makes up the world’s largest gypsum dunefield. If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path way to explore the desert landscape in the southwestern US, White Sands is your go-to.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon, Virginia
George and Martha Washington’s Mount Vernon estate will give you an inside look into the life of the first US president.
At the historic site, you can tour brilliantly restored rooms in the Washington’s home as well as George Washington’s own tomb.
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, Oregon
The Portland Japanese Garden is the perfect place to take in Oregon’s gorgeous surroundings. The garden has peaceful streams, walkways for strolling, and an authentic Japanese tea house. It even has amazing views of Mount Hood.