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Travel Guide > North America > USA

USA Sights & Attractions

  
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The United States is extraordinarily diverse in its array of attractions. You will never run out of things to see; even if you think you've exhausted what one place has to offer, the next destination is only a road trip away.

Great American Road Trip

The Great American Road Trip is the most traditional way to see a variety of sights; just hop in the car and cruise down the Interstates, stopping at the convenient roadside hotels and restaurants as necessary, and stopping at every interesting tourist trap along the way, until you reach your destination.

Indescribably beautiful scenery, history that reads like a screenplay, entertainment options that can last you for days, and some of the world's greatest architecture—no matter what your pleasure, you can find it almost anywhere you look in the United States.

Natural scenery

From the spectacular glaciers of Alaska to the wooded, weathered peaks of Appalachia; from the otherworldly desertscapes of the Southwest to the vast waters of the Great Lakes; few other countries have as wide a variety of natural scenery as the United States does.

National Parks

America's National Parks are a great place to start. Yellowstone National Park was the first true National Park in the world, and it remains one of the most famous, but there are 57 others. The Grand Canyon is possibly the world's most spectacular gorge; Sequoia National Park and Yosemite National Park are both home to the world's tallest living organisims; Glacier National Park is a great place to see huge sheets of ice; Canyonlands National Park could easily be mistaken for Mars; and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park features abundant wildlife among beautifully forested mountains. And the national parks aren't just for sightseeing, either; each has plenty of outdoors activities as well.

Still, the National Parks are just the beginning. The National Park Service also operates National Monuments, National Memorials, National Historic Sites, National Seashores, National Heritage Areas... the list goes on (and on). And each state has its own state parks that can be just as good as the federal versions. Most all of these destinations, federal or state, have an admission fee, but it all goes toward maintenance and operations of the parks, and the rewards are well worth it.

Others

Those aren't your only options, though. Many of America's natural treasures can be seen without passing through admission gates. The world-famous Niagara Falls straddle the border between Canada and the U.S.; the American side lets you get right up next to the onrush and feel the power that has shaped the Niagara gorge. The "purple majesty" of the Rocky Mountains can be seen for hundreds of miles in any direction, while the placid coastal areas of the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic have relaxed Americans for generations. And, although they are very different from each other, Hawaii and Alaska are perhaps the two most scenic states; they don't just have attractions—they are attractions.

Historical attractions

Americans often have a misconception of their country as having little history. The United States does indeed have a tremendous wealth of historical attractions—more than enough to fill months of history-centric touring.

The prehistory of the continent can indeed be a little hard to uncover, as most of the Native American tribes did not build permanent settlements. But particularly in the West, you will find magnificent cliff dwellings at sites such as Mesa Verde, as well as near-ubiquitous rock paintings. The Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. is another great place to start learning about America's culture before the arrival of European colonists.

As the first part of the country to be colonized by Europeans, the eastern states of New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the South have more than their fair share of sites from early American history. The first successful British colony on the continent was at Jamestown, Virginia, although the settlement at Plymouth, Massachusetts, may loom larger in the nation's mind.

In the eighteenth century, major centers of commerce developed in Philadelphia and Boston, and as the colonies grew in size, wealth, and self-confidence, relations with Great Britain became strained, culminating in the Boston Tea Party and the ensuing Revolutionary War.

Monuments and architecture

Americans have never shied away from heroic feats of engineering, and many of them are among the country's biggest tourist attractions.

Washington, D.C., as the nation's capital, has more monuments and statuary than you could see in a day, but do be sure to visit the Washington Monument (the world's tallest obelisk), the stately Lincoln Memorial, and the incredibly moving Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The city's architecture is also an attraction—the Capitol Building and the White House are two of the most iconic buildings in the country and often serve to represent the whole nation to the world.

Actually, a number of American cities have world-renowned skylines, perhaps none moreso than the concrete canyons of Manhattan, part of New York City. The site of the destroyed World Trade Center towers remains a gaping wound in Manhattan's vista, but the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building still stand tall, as they have for almost a century. Chicago, where the skyscraper was invented, is home to the country's single tallest building, the (former) Sears Tower, and an awful lot of other really tall buildings. Other skylines worth seeing include San Francisco (with the Golden Gate Bridge), Seattle (including the Space Needle), Miami, and (believe it or not) Pittsburgh.

Some human constructions transcend skyline, though, and become iconic symbols in their own right. The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the Statue of Liberty in Manhattan, the Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles, and even the fountains of the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas all draw visitors to their respective cities. Even the incredible Mount Rushmore, located far from any major city, still attracts two million visitors each year.

Museums and galleries

In the U.S., there's a museum for practically everything. From toys to priceless artifacts, from entertainment legends to dinosaur bones—nearly every city in the country has a museum worth visiting.

The highest concentrations of these museums are found in the largest cities, of course, but none compare to Washington, D.C., home to the Smithsonian Institution. With almost twenty independent museums, most of them located on the National Mall, the Smithsonian is the foremost curator of American history and achievement. The most popular of the Smithsonian museums are the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of American History, and the National Museum of Natural History, but any of the Smithsonian museums would be a great way to spend an afternoon—and they're all 100% free.

New York City also has an outstanding array of world-class museums, including the Guggenheim Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.

You could spend weeks exploring the cultural institutions just in D.C. and the Big Apple, but here's a small fraction of the other great museums you'd be missing:

  • Basketball Hall of Fame - Springfield, Massachusetts
  • Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Children's Museum of Indianapolis - Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Exploratorium - San Francisco, California
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame - Los Angeles, California
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium - Monterey, California
  • Museum of Science & Industry - Chicago, Illinois
  • National Aquarium in Baltimore - Baltimore, Maryland
  • National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum - Cooperstown, New York
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame - Canton, Ohio
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum - Cleveland, Ohio
  • San Diego Zoo - San Diego, California
  • Strong National Museum of Play - Rochester, New York

Others

These are some of the largest and most famous destinations outside of major cities.

  • Denali National Park, Alaska - a remote national park featuring North America's highest peak
  • Grand Canyon, Arizona - the world's longest and most visited canyon
  • Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado - well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings
  • Mount Rushmore, South Dakota - the iconic memorial of 4 former presidents carved into a cliff face
  • Niagara Falls, New York - the massive waterfalls straddling the border with Canada
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina - national park in the southern Appalachians
  • Walt Disney World, Florida - the most popular vacation resort destination in the world
  • Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming - the first national park in the US, and home of the Old Faithful geyser
  • Yosemite National Park, California - home of El Capitan and the famous Giant Sequoia trees

Things to See in USA

Museum The Heritage Museum Of The Texas Hill Country
Once known as Dinosaur Flats, this site is a hot spot for various eras of New Braunfels area history. It features trails of dinosaur tracks that intersects as they ran through the terrain. More trails are found here than i... more
 1 Fans, adults $4.00, children ages 5-12 pay $3.00, in New Braunfels
Gallery Venice Arts Gallery
Exhibitions and educational programs at Venice Arts serve as a catalyst for people of all ages, living in low–income or underrepresented neighborhoods, to create and display personal and community stories through pho... more
 1 Fans, in Venice
 
Museum Railroad Museum
Built in 1907 and restored in 1986, this historic train depot is now home to the New Braunfels Railroad Museum. The museum features a yard stocked with train cards from up to a century ago. The Boxcar Surf and Sportwe... more
 1 Fans, $6 Adults (18 & Older) $2 Teens (13-17 Yrs. Old) $1 Child (5-12 Yrs. Old), in New Braunfels
Museum New Braunfels Historic Outdoor Art Museum
The city of New Braunfels has organized their outdoor murals into a convenient self-tour for visitors to the city.  The first mural on the tour is titled Spass and Gemutlichkeit, worked on by Brent McCarthy and is loc... more
 1 Fans, in New Braunfels
 
Nature/Wildlife Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
You don't have to go on an African Safari to feed zebras, ostriches and giraffes. At Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch they will walk right up to your car window, just asking for their picture to be taken and to revive the childlike wonder you once felt about the wo... more
 1 Fans, Adults $16.50; Children (3-11) $8.50; Seniors $15.50; Animal Feed $1/bag., in New Braunfels
Gallery New Braunfels Art League Gallery
The New Braunfels Art League shows off their masterpieces in three galleries: the Main Gallery, the Prince Carl Gallery and the Elaine Felder Gallery. Local artists are the main attraction here. Their admirable watercolor,... more
 1 Fans, in New Braunfels
 
Exhibition Center For Land Use Interpretation
To the street passerby, the entrance appears as a tattered, abandoned insurance office. In fact, this diminutive space is occupied by a research and education organization focused on understanding the nature and extent of ... more
 1 Fans, FREE, in Culver City
Monument/Building Lindheimer House
The Lindheimer House was once home to the legendary botanist Ferdinand Jakob Lindheimer. Lindheimer spent years in Texas identifying new species of plants, including numerous species which are at least partially ... more
 1 Fans, in New Braunfels
 
Museum Sophienburg Museum And Archives
The Sophienburg Museum and Archives was originally intended to be the castle awaiting Princess Sofia upon her arrival to Texas with Prince Carl of Solms. The problem was, she decided not to come. More than a century later,... more
 1 Fans, in New Braunfels
Museum Bishop Museum
DirectionsBus  from  Waikiki or Ala Moana Center ( mountain side street level) to Kalihi/Palama .  Get on the #2 or City Express B ‘School St./Middle St.’ bus. Get off the bus at the intersection of School and Kapalama Streets. Cross S... more
approx. $15 to $18, in Kalihi
 
These are just 10 of 194 Things to See in USA. Show more.




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