15 Best Tourist Places To Visit In America

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The United States, a country of vast landscapes and diverse cultures, is brimming with awe-inspiring landmarks and attractions. From the Pearl Harbor National Memorial in Hawaii to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota’s Black Hills, every corner of this nation has something unique to offer. But with so many options, how does one decide which places are worth visiting?

This guide, based on a YouGov survey, ranks 15 landmarks that Americans strongly recommend. Join us on this journey through America’s most beloved tourist spots.

Pearl Harbor National Memorial

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Recommended by 70% of visitors

The Pearl Harbor National Memorial, Oahu, Hawaii, commemorates the 1941 attack that led the US into World War II. The 21.3-acre site includes the USS Arizona, Utah, and Oklahoma Memorials and a visitor center with World War II exhibits. Nearby are the USS Missouri Memorial, the USS Bowfin Museum, and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum—a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

Arlington National Cemetery

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Recommended by 70% of visitors

Arlington National Cemetery, a significant American landmark, is a tribute to national figures and military heroes. Established during the Civil War, it spans over 624 acres and is the final resting place for more than 400,000 servicemen. The Kennedy gravesites, The Arlington House, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are key attractions. The cemetery also houses numerous memorials, such as the Coast Guard Memorial and the Space Shuttle Challenger Memorial. A visit promises a profound experience of reflection and respect.

Lincoln Memorial

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Recommended by 67% of visitors

The Lincoln Memorial, a tribute to President Abraham Lincoln, is an iconic landmark in Washington, DC. Since its opening in 1922, it has been the backdrop for historic events, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Designed by Henry Bacon in a style akin to a Greek temple, it features a 19-foot marble statue of Lincoln and inscriptions of his Gettysburg Address and Second Inaugural Address. This neoclassical monument, symbolizing Lincoln’s fight to preserve the nation during the Civil War, is a must-visit for its historical significance and architectural grandeur.

Statue of Liberty

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Recommended by 65% of visitors

The Statue of Liberty, a symbol of freedom and democracy, stands majestically in New York Harbor. Designed by Frederic Bartholdi and Alexandre Eiffel, it was dedicated in 1886 after overcoming numerous challenges. Visitors can admire it from various city points or opt for a closer look with grounds, pedestal, or crown tickets. A sightseeing tour offers a comprehensive experience, including a visit to Ellis Island.

Washington Monument

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Recommended by 61% of visitors

The Washington Monument, a tribute to the first US President George Washington, is the world’s tallest stone structure on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Constructed from marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss, it offers panoramic views of the city from its observation deck. Visitors can see landmarks like the US Capitol Building and the White House. Renovated in 2019, its elevator can accommodate numerous visitors, making it a must-visit for its historical significance and breathtaking views.

The National Mall

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Recommended by 61% of visitors

The National Mall, a symbol of the nation’s democratic values, is a must-visit in Washington, DC. This expansive green space, stretching from the US Capitol to the Potomac River, houses iconic monuments, memorials, and over ten Smithsonian museums. It’s a hub for sightseeing, picnics, festivals, and rallies, offering a unique blend of history, architecture, and natural beauty. Top attractions include the US Capitol Building, the Washington Monument, National Monuments and Memorials, the National Gallery of Art, and the US Botanic Garden. Experience the heart of the nation at the National Mall.

The White House

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Recommended by 60% of visitors

The White House, the US President’s residence and office, is a historic landmark in Washington, DC. Chosen by George Washington and designed by James Hoban, The White House is one of the oldest public buildings in the capital. It houses 132 rooms filled with fine arts and serves as a museum of American history. Public tours on specific days offer a glimpse into this iconic structure. The White House Garden, featuring the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden and Rose Garden, opens to the public occasionally, adding to the allure of this must-visit destination.

World Trade Center Memorial

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Recommended by 58% of visitors

The 9/11 Memorial in New York City is a poignant tribute to the 3,000 people killed in the terror attacks of 2001. Its focal points are two large pools, representing the footprints of the Twin Towers, featuring North America’s largest artificial waterfalls. The Memorial Plaza is home to over 400 swamp white oak trees and the Survivor Tree, a symbol of resilience. The 9/11 Memorial Glade honors those affected by exposure to toxins post-9/11. It features a pathway lined with monoliths inlaid with World Trade Center steel, symbolizing strength through adversity.

Mount Rushmore

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Recommended by 58% of visitors

Mount Rushmore, an iconic American landmark in South Dakota’s Black Hills, is a national memorial that attracts two million visitors annually. Carved into a rock face in the early 20th century, it features the imposing visages of four esteemed American presidents: Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. The Presidential Trail offers an enhanced viewing experience of this monumental sculpture. The project was designed and supervised by Gutzon Borglum and completed under the stewardship of his son.

Ellis Island

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Recommended by 57% of visitors

From 1892 to 1954, Ellis Island welcomed over 12 million immigrants. Today, it stands as a museum, reflecting the diverse immigrant history of New York City. It is located in New York Harbor and is accessible by ferry from Battery Park City or New Jersey. The museum offers various tours, including self-paced audio tours in multiple languages, ranger-guided tours, and a free Ferry Building tour. These tours provide a glimpse into the experiences of those who journeyed to America, making Ellis Island a significant landmark in the nation’s history.

Independence Hall

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Recommended by 56% of visitors

Situated in Philadelphia’s Old City district, Independence Hall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-see for history buffs. It’s famously known as the birthplace of America, where the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were signed. Visitors can embark on guided tours, exploring the historic courtroom and immersing themselves in the rich history of this iconic landmark. It showcases George Washington’s “sunburst” chair and the original inkstand that was used to sign the Declaration of Independence. The original draft of the US Constitution is also on display, making Independence Hall a vivid window into the Revolutionary era.

Alcatraz

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Recommended by 56% of visitors

Alcatraz, once a federal penitentiary housing notorious convicts, is now a popular attraction in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Visitors can tour the cell house, view exhibits, and participate in interpretive programs. The island, accessible by ferry, offers self-guided tours with the option to stay as long as desired. The evening tour offers a guided experience and a different perspective of Alcatraz. Whether you prefer to explore independently or seek a more guided experience, Alcatraz promises a unique glimpse into history.

Liberty Bell

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Recommended by 55% of visitors

The Liberty Bell, an emblem of American freedom, is a famous historical site in the United States. Housed in the Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia, it offers visitors a glimpse into its rich history through various exhibits, including original artifacts, photos, and x-rays of the crack. Cast in 1752 by the Whitechapel Foundry in London, the Liberty Bell has been a silent witness to significant events, including the signing of the Declaration of Independence and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. A visit to the Liberty Bell is a journey into the heart of American history, symbolizing the nation’s enduring quest for freedom and equality.

The Alamo

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Recommended by 54% of visitors

The Alamo, an iconic landmark in San Antonio, Texas, is a symbol of courage and Texas’ struggle for independence. Known for the 1836 Battle of the Alamo, it offers a rich historical experience. Visitors can explore the grounds, filled with statues and monuments, take a guided or self-guided tour, and even attend a reenactment of the battle. The Alamo Cenotaph stands as a tribute to the fallen defenders. This must-visit site provides an unforgettable journey into Texas’ history.

NASA Space Center

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Recommended by 54% of visitors

The Kennedy Space Center, a must-visit for space enthusiasts, offers an engaging journey through NASA’s history and spacecrafts. This popular Florida attraction captivates visitors of all ages with exhibits like the rocket garden, the real Space Shuttle Atlantis, the Heroes and Legends exhibit, and the Journey to Mars exposition. Contrary to expectations of a quick visit, many find themselves immersed for the entire day, making it a memorable experience.