Although the United States has a relatively young history compared to places like China and England, it doesn’t come up short of historic places that are sure to inspire visitors. While there are many places to travel in the US, below are some of the many bucket list destinations to visit if you’re a history buff or are just generally interested in visiting historic American landmarks.
These places, both man-made and not, are well preserved to educate spectators on certain historical landmarks and notable people. We have hand-picked 10 of these historical places that are worthwhile to visit, so get out a pad of paper, and listen up!
The USS Arizona Memorial Site
The USS Arizona Memorial Site located in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii might be mentioned in a lot of history books. Now, Pearl Harbor is mentioned in History books because of December 7, 1941, as the Second World War was happening, the Japanese killed 1,177 sailors in a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. The USS Arizona Memorial Site today is the resting place of those Marines who ended up lost or killed. One must be transported by boat to the site as it floats above the sunken hull of the battleship. This memorial site caters to 2 million visitors annually since it opened in 1980. While there, make sure to see the rest of the sites and all the great things to do in Waikiki.
Statue of Liberty
You haven’t fully experienced the United States if you haven’t paid a visit to The Statue of Liberty. This is one of the most famous landmarks in New York. Standing majestically on Liberty Island in Manhattan, New York, The Statue of Liberty is probably the most picturesque statue in all of the United States. Made of copper and was a gift from the French to the US, built by Gustave Eiffel. Soon becames the United States’ icon of freedom and a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving from abroad. The statue has a height of about 93 meters, with a robed woman representing the Roman goddess Libertas. She holds a torch above her head and is carrying tabula ansata with the date of the US Independence inscribed on it, while there is a broken chain on her feet. This grand statue receives approximately 3.2 million visitors per year.
Need another excuse other than Cherry Blossoms to visit Washington DC in the spring? This national landmark of freedom was built for the first president of the United States, George Washington. Washington is hailed as a historical icon in US history that left a rich legacy upon his death in 1799. The Washington Monument is a sky-high obelisk on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The monument is made of marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss and is the world’s tallest stone structure and obelisk. Its height of 554 feet is sure to leave anyone in awe. While in town, be sure to stop by the famous Inn at Little Washington for a delicious meal. In fact, DC has so much to do you should plan for at least a 2 day DC itinerary.
One of the most famous symbol’s of freedom in the United States, the Liberty Bell is a must-visit destination for any first-time visitors to Philadelphia. At the Liberty Bell Center, visitors can marvel at the crack and learn about the history of this American icon. The bell’s inscription, “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof” worked as a rallying cry that led abolitionists to fight for the end of slavery. The women’s suffrage movement also embraced the bell and its meaning for both inspiration and protest. Throughout history, this symbol has been an important part of historical events centered around human rights and freedoms.
Old North Church
Boston is the place to be when you want to immerse yourself in a rich historical culture. A visitor can easily tour this inspirational city solo, as there is a guided and walking tour called The Freedom Trail. You’ll never get lost! The trail is composed of many sites that were vital to the American Revolution, one of these being the Old North Church, which was built in 1723. Old North Church is the oldest surviving church in Boston and probably the most famous one too. On the evening of April 18, 1775, Robert Newman and Vestryman Capt. John Pulling Jr. climbed the steeple of this church and held high two lanterns as a signal from Paul Revere that the British were coming to Lexington by sea and not by land. Up to this day, this well-preserved church receives half a million visitors per year.
Rushmore gained its popularity as a lofty work of art carved into the granite face of a mountain in South Dakota upon being established on March 3, 1925. This monument features 60-foot sculptures of the heads of four United States presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Gutzon Borglum created the design for Mount Rushmore, with the help of his son Lincoln Borglum. Throughout the years, Mount Rushmore became an iconic symbol of the United States, telling the story of the country’s birth, growth, development, and preservation. Mount Rushmore is probably one of the most famous landmarks in the United States, appearing in literature created by both Americans and non-Americans alike. This majestic mountain is sure to inspire it’s over 2 million visitors per year. While in South Dakota, be sure to visit the Custer State Park wildlife loop.
You might have heard about how “The Cape”, as locals call it, is a popular summer destination in Massachusetts. Shores stretching out into the Atlantic Ocean are what vacationers and foreigners like most about this destination. There is no shortage of things to do on Cape Cod. Not only is it a famous coast though, America’s history began along these New England shores. This is where the Pilgrims first landed in the US and established Plymouth. This is where English settlers built their first homes. Today, the early homes built by settlers are now modern European-style homes, giving The Cape a fresh look. Nevertheless, the nearby islands remain untouched and the rich history of this destination remains intact.
9/11 Memorial Museum
The tragedy of September 11, 2011, remains an unforgettable event in American history. Because there are still a lot of questions concerning this event, a National Memorial Museum was established to serve as the country’s principal institution examining the facts and the implications of the event. It is also a place that brings people together. In the museum, lots of information can be explored. Facts telling the story of 9/11 come in different multimedia displays and many authentic artifacts can still be found in the museum. Every victim of 9/11 is commemorated here. At this museum, all visitors may leave with a sense of appreciation as they explore the story of loss turned into bravery and compassion.
United States Capitol
The Capitol Building is the home of the United States Congress. The Capitol is found on the top of Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. This edifice was built in a distinctive neoclassical style with a pristine white exterior. The original building was completed in the year 1800 and was later expanded upon, in addition to the massive dome that is impossible to miss. Visitors love the postcard view of this building, as well as the historical tour available on site. The tour explores the Capital then and now, and also explores the mystery of the Rotunda Benches found at The Capitol itself.
There are about 30 million people that visit the Smithsonian each year. The number is not surprising at all as the Smithsonian is the world’s largest museum and research center. Also, did you know that visiting the institution is free of charge! Originally called the “United States National Museum” holds 154 million artifacts in 200 different buildings established in 45 different states. No wonder the Institution inspires art, design, science, technology, history, and culture.
The Space Center Houston
The Space Center located in Houston, Texas opened in 1992 and has been the official visitor’s facility of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s center for human spaceflight activities. It should be on everyone’s Texas bucket list. The center had its design input from Walt Disney Imagineering and boasts the NASA Tram Tour as well as the Rocket Park. With the Tram Tour, visitors can enjoy a view of the control centers and several workshops. The site is sure to send about a million visitors a year away in admiration. If you have extra time on your trip, check out this Ultimate Houston One Day Itinerary.
History lovers, now it’s your turn! Which historic place are you planning on visiting? Which site represents the history of America the most for you?