The most iconic places in the USA to visit in your lifetime!
Known for bustling city centers and country roads in spades, the United States is a massive conglomeration of just about everything.
You can find some of the most relaxing beachside spots in the same state as the party capital, and maybe even some rich history a town or two over.
There is so much to explore in the United States that a list of some of the greats seems appropriate.
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The Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic and recognizable landmarks in the whole country. Lady Liberty stands tall over Ellis Island, and all that surrounds (or tours) it. There are several options available for boat tours, photo ops, and so much more to commemorate such a moment. There is little else that could so capture the American spirit in one sight, and the Statue of Liberty is often cited as the place to go. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”!
Address: Liberty Island, NY
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in New York City
Champagne, shows, casinos, and so much more! The Strip is where everything comes alive in Las Vegas. There are luxury hotels, slot machines, poker games, the Fountains of Bellagio, gondola rides, and even a mini (but still considerably large) Eiffel tower. If you already have a mental picture of all the hustle and bustle that Las Vegas is, The Strip is probably what you are thinking of.
Address: Las Vegas Strip, NV
Honestly, this could be a city in itself! Times Square is the lively, eccentric, exciting, fast-paced heart of New York City. It is one of the most famous places in the US where street performers come to play, shops open their doors wide, traffic rages on, the billboards are bright, and people from all over the world come together. Times Square is one of a kind New York experience that simply can’t be missed.
Address: Broadway, New York City, NY 10036
If you’re thinking of Disney Land, that’s in Anaheim! Disney World, while yes, still Disney, is a bit different. For one, it’s actually a grouping of various parks, including Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney Springs, and more. This is the ultimate getaway for the whole family because not only is there a place for everyone: but a park! Spend your day on Space Mountain or walking the world at Epcot, and you’ll see the magical difference. It's no surprise this is one of the most famous places in the USA!
Address: 1180 Seven Seas Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Although most, if not all, of Hawaii could and should be listed on a bucket list of the United States; if there is one thing to see it is Hana. The Road to Hana is a 52-mile excursion that takes visitors through the beating heart of nature. Lush doesn’t even begin to describe the scenery. This rainforest has no shortage of incredible, ‘wow’ worthy sights. There are waterfalls, observation decks where you can see the ocean, trails, hiking, and so much more.
Address: Hana Hwy, Hawaii
The infamous first shots of the civil war took place at Fort Sumter, as well as acted as a primary military base during the ongoings of the war. This is an important historical monument of one of the most divisive moments in American history. The tours here cost upwards of $15, dependent on age, but are well worth the cost. Not only is it such an important monument to the past, but it is also a beautiful South Carolina landmark.
Address: 1214 Middle St, Charleston, SC 29482
The White House in D.C. is the official residence of the President of the United States. This came into tradition with President John Adams in 1800. Since then, it has been a long-honored tradition that the White House be the primary residence of the President, and typically, the President’s family.
It is a massive, beautiful, historical building with a gorgeous front lawn and plenty of photo opportunities. There are even free tours available to the public, although there are a few rules and people you will have to contact first. Regardless of the entrance, if you want to see one of the most famous buildings in the United States, the White House should be on that bucket list.
Address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500
When you think American beauty, Yosemite should be topping the list. Coating all magnificent 768,000 acres of national parkland is one ethereal site next to another. Yosemite is one of the famous places in America with no shortage of natural attractions.
Hiking paths here are nothing short of spectacular, with even that descriptor unable to capture the full scope of its beauty. There are slopping mountains, dense, thick forests, and some racing waterfalls around every corner here.
Yosemite is an absolute essential stop on any trip to California, and really, any trip to the United States in general. This is one of those things you’ll have to see to believe, and it is well worth it.
Address: Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
Another New York gem comes from the vivid, lush magnetic draw of its parks. Central Park has been seen through numerous shows, movies, music videos, and so much more, solely for both its prominence and beauty.
It is a massive 843 acres of lakes, trails, and places to picnic, sleep, or paddleboat at. Sometimes, Central Park even has music concerts, events, festivals, and so much more!
Central Park is just like the city it resides in: a little bit of everything. It is also a nice change of speed from the hustle and bustle of the city itself. Central Park is situated in the heart of one of the busiest cities in the world and still manages to feel like paradise. It’s no wonder that this is one of the most iconic places in the US.
Address: 14 E 60th St, Central Park Conservancy, New York, NY 10022
Lay your towel down in these sands! South Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the nation for numerous reasons. The party season is unrivaled. The nightlife memorable, and the curfew nonexistent.
That being said, South Beach is not solely for one kind of crowd. Many families enjoy these golden banks in the summer, and couples looking for some alone time can find quiet spots along the shore.
There are also hotels, resorts, games, watersports, and so much more. South Beach is one of the famous places in the US and vacation heaven.
Address: Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Also Read: Top 10 Most Popular Beaches in Florida
Just across the street from the Independence Hall comes a true symbol of American independence. The Liberty Bell is almost as famous as the mystery that surrounds it. Or, namely: the crack in it.
Stretching from base to a little more than halfway is a sizeable crack with origins unknown but highly speculated. Even without this piece, it would still be an incredibly important American attraction.
Thousands come to the doors of the Liberty Bell Center, so if you want to get a good look: arrive early! There is no fee, but the time spent in line is costly.
Address: 6th St & Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Another one of the famous places in America to remember! The Alamo is most notably referenced regarding Texas independence. The Alamo is famous for its prominence in the Texas Revolution, where a grueling battle ensued to ensure Texas freedom.
The full story, as well as individual tales, can be found in the beautifully preserved hallways of the Alamo. Entrance here is free; however, guided tours typically fall somewhere in the $10-15 range and offer even more insight on the history of the Alamo.
Address: 300 Alamo Plaza,San Antonio, TX 78205
New York is a state worthy of its own list of some of the essentials, but a frequent number on any list of the greats is the Empire State Building. This is an incredible 1,454 feet of the New York skyline.
From here, you can see all the landmarks New York is known for, and maybe even catch a few you didn’t know about. Day or night, you will find some of the most jaw-dropping views in the country right here.
There are two observation decks: one on the 86th floor and another at the 102nd. Whichever you choose, you’ll soon realize why this is one of the most famous places in the big apple.
Address: 350 5th Ave,New York, NY 10118
Found on the banks of the famous National Mall, the Washington Monument is a towering attraction essential. This structure rises more than 555 feet to look over the national mall, the Lincoln memorial, and numerous other key attractions in D.C.
If you come in the spring, you’ll even be able to see some of those dazzling D.C. cherry blossoms in full bloom! But regardless of the season, you’ll be greeted by lush greens, still waters, and some awe-inspiring monuments. It really is one of the most iconic places in America!
Address: 2 15th St NW,Washington, DC 20007
Standing at a perfect 630 feet by 630 feet, the Gateway Arch is Missouri’s most iconic landmark. It was erected as a symbol of the westward expansion of America.
Now it is a welcoming beacon to all travelers coming from the southeast, and while it is not directly in downtown St. Louis, it is close enough to walk or take a shuttle.
There are rolling green plains at the base of this structure that is perfect for an afternoon picnic, or a couple of memorable photographs with the family.
Address: 100 Washington Ave, St. Louis, MO 63102
Stretching across the Golden Gate Strait comes one of the most famous landmarks in California. Known for the intro to “Full House” , a cameo in “Superman” , and several other popular media outlets; this is one of the most famous attractions in the US.
It is free to walk or bike across this bridge, although there is a toll heading out that starts at about $7. There are also two observation decks on either side of the bridge that are perfect for those prime vacation shots. Watch the sunlight reflect against the water and make the red shine for a view you won’t soon forget.
Address: Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA 94129
Winding and running through the heart of the city, the Chicago River comes with an accompanying Riverwalk, perfect for a good stroll. It is also ideal to stop and take a few pictures, both of the city and the river itself.
You can also have some fun on the actual water (when it isn’t frozen over), such as water taxis or kayaks. Locals and tourists alike come to wade in the wonder that is the Chicago River.
Address: Chicago, IL 60601
Hollywood Sign needs no introduction as one of the most famous places in the United States. Whether you’ve seen it in movie theatres or pictures, you’re sure to know the one. It is a 45-foot tall sign mounted on a hill overlooking some of that famous L.A. beauty. While you can’t walk up to the letters themselves, you can hang out at the observation area a few miles out. Here you can take pictures, pose, and marvel at an attraction that has been big since 1923.
Address: Los Angeles, CA 90068
Take a breath of fresh air and hike the stunning trails of Zion National Park. This is a massive expanse of all things golden, green, and beautiful. Typically, Zion’s peak months run through March to October because that is when the climate is best for adventuring.
The colors here are crisp, lush, and truly breathtaking, so be sure to bring a camera with plenty of storage! Even if you don’t come during peak season, there is still an abundance of things to explore with the wonders of Zion National Park.
Address: Springdale, UT 84767
Famous for the likes of Bourbon Street or Rue Bourbon, the French Quarter of New Orleans is an incredibly lively nightlife scene.
It is the place to go if you are looking for a night to remember, in a place as eccentric as its drinks. The French Quarter, or the “Old Square”, is named this because of the French settlers who established this city in 1718.
Since its inclusion into the United States, New Orleans has only risen in popularity--- with the French Quarter at the centerfold of it all.
Address: 600 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Have a truly magical vacation! Disneyland has been one of the top family vacation spots in the US since its creation in 1955. Here you can play, ride, watch, shop, explore, and so much more, all in the thrilling expanse of one theme park. And since it is such a target family destination, there is plenty to do for people of all ages.
Take the kids to a show they’ll never forget or join your friends on some of the adrenaline-seeking rollercoasters. There is so much to see, do, and enjoy here that you’ll never be bored with the wondrous mind of Disney.
Address: 1313 Disneyland Dr,Anaheim, CA 92802
If you like the hustle and bustle of the local community, you’re going to love Seattle’s very own Pike Place! It is essentially a farmer’s market that sits on the banks of the Elliott Bay waterfront. It features a wide array of goods, from handmade handbags to some of the freshest fruit in the area. Pike Place is the oldest farmer’s market in the nation, and it is open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for all your shopping (or perusing) needs.
Address: 85 Pike St,Seattle, WA 98101
Also Read: Top 10 Best Farmers' Markets in the USA
Take a hike! In fact, take several! Yellowstone National Park is one of the most visited national parks in America, and with good reason. It boasts of lush natural forest, babbling brooks, and shaded paths that take you deep into the heart of Mother Nature. There are even hot springs, geysers, and some truly magnificent waterfalls you just can’t find anywhere else. Yellowstone definitely deserves its place on the list of most iconic places in the USA.
Address: Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
O say can you see this American wonder? Mount Rushmore is a historic and famous sight that earns its place on any bucket list of the United States. Nestled in South Dakota, this is one of the great, wide-open space attractions that you can spend the day at.
The main feature of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial is, of course, the four historical figures carved into the mountain. These four are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. It is a wonderful mixture of natural, historical, and man-made beauty all in one place.
Address: 13000 S Dakota 244,Keystone, SD 57751
Often known primarily as a honeymoon destination comes an unforgettable vacation! Niagara Falls is arguably one of the famous places in the USA one must visit. The American side of Niagara Falls has some of the best boat tours available, with viewing platforms that get the massive centerpiece in just the right frame. While the falls on the U.S. are known as a bit ‘smaller’ than their counterpart, it is just a short ride (or walk on the rainbow bridge) to the Canadian side! Twice the beauty in one site.
Address: 24 Buffalo Avenue, Niagara Falls, NY, 14303
Final ThoughtsThere you have it! These are the 25 most famous places in the USA that every American should visit in their lifetime. The United States is truly a diverse collection of all things interesting. Try your luck at the Strip in Las Vegas, or simply surround yourself with the sounds of nature at Yosemite. From sea to shining sea you are sure to find something that's just your type!