Bucket List November 09, 2021
History Comes Alive At These 20 Iconic Landmarks Across America
If you want to get a true taste of American history, ditch the books in favor of a real-life historical adventure. All across the country, there are sites, attractions, and destinations that invite visitors to come and
experience history. From places of groundbreaking historical significance to massive, man-made monoliths that speak to the power of the human imagination, the course of U.S. history comes alive at these 20 iconic landmarks across America.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
Sequoia National Park - California
Sequoia National Park, California, USA
There are some things in nature that man will never be able to replicate; the giant sequoias of California are one of them. This ancient forest is one of the most incredible places on the planet, it's home to trees up to 2,700 years old. Within this wondrous expanse,
Sequoia National Park
is a 1.1 million-acre forest with 34 distinct groves; the highlight, of course, is General Sherman, the largest known living single-stem tree on Earth. This is a place to lose yourself in nature's glory and reawaken your sense of wonder.
Golden Gate Bridge - San Francisco, California
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA, USA
Stretching 1.7 miles above the mysterious, foggy waters of the San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge is an American icon. The painted suspension bridge (the color of which is officially known as "International Orange" -- not, in fact, red) is as striking today as it was when it was completed back in 1937. One of the most recognizable places in America, the Golden Gate Bridge is an undeniable symbol of hope and promise, making it the perfect capstone, as it were, to the
American Discovery Trail
. This Bay Area bridge is also one of the Wonders of the Modern World, and it has a fascinating history that continues to amaze tourists and locals alike. There are many places in San Francisco where visitors can view this stunning structure, but we recommend going the extra mile (or, in this case,
) and taking the pedestrian walkway across this world-famous bridge.
Space Needle - Seattle, Washington
Space Needle Loop, Seattle, WA 98109, USA
A Pacific Northwest icon, the Space Needle is a testament to the imagination. Construction for this
began in 1961 as Seattle prepared to host the 1962 World's Fair, which had a theme of space, science, and technology. Seattle had already been recognized as an “aerospace city” thanks to Boeing, so the location made sense. Three men were largely responsible for the needle: local architect John Graham Jr., who had designed the Northgate Mall, Edward E. Charlson, chairman of the 1962 World's Fair, and Victor Steinbrueck, a Washington architect who designed the distinct shape of the Space Needle. Today, the 605-foot-tall spire is an inextricable part of the Seattle skyline, an architectural marvel that's wholly wondrous and unique.
Hoover Dam - Arizona and Nevada
Hoover Dam Bypass, United States
There is little that captures the power and prowess of America more grandly than the
. Holding back the mighty Colorado River along the border of Arizona and Nevada, this extraordinary feat of engineering creates hydroelectric power and helps provide water for seven states and a portion of Mexico. In 2010, the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge opened to allow for faster travel through the area; however, this is a place that's best enjoyed in an intentional and deliberate way. Today, visitors can stop to admire the Hoover Dam's beautiful Art Deco features and tour the awe-inspiring facilities, something we recommend doing at least once in your lifetime.
Taos Pueblo - Taos, New Mexico
Set at the base of the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico, this striking adobe village is one of the country’s best-preserved Pueblo Indian settlements. A place where
time stands still
, the Taos Pueblo has been occupied for nearly a millennium, and rumors abound about it being haunted. Whether you believe that or not, the Taos Pueblo is a striking place to visit; it's estimated that the pueblo was built between 1000 and 1450 A.D., and is considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the country, making it a must-visit on any history buff's bucket list.
The Alamo - San Antonio, Texas
The Alamo, 300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205, USA
one-time Franciscan mission
stands as a monument to the nearly 200 Texan volunteers who fought and died during the 13-day siege in 1836 by Mexican general Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. The Texans had the odds stacked against them in this now-legendary battle, which pit less than 200 Lone Star State soldiers against over 1,000 Mexicans. The Texans lost the battle, but they ultimately won their bid for independence; however, not without sacrifice and bloodshed. As a result, The Alamo is known as one of the most notoriously haunted places in Texas, and we guarantee that once you visit, you will undoubtedly
remember The Alamo
Mount Rushmore National Memorial - Keystone, South Dakota
Mount Rushmore National Memorial, 13000 SD-244, Keystone, SD 57751, USA
Majestic and mighty, full of pomp and circumstance,
is an American treasure and is definitely one of South Dakota's proudest claims to fame. Featuring George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, Mount Rushmore is the world's largest sculpture, with each granite-carved bust roughly 60 feet tall. Originally created to entice tourists out to South Dakota; today, the iconic attraction attracts three million visitors annually and is a magnificent, modern-day wonder.
Gateway Arch - St. Louis, Missouri
Gateway Drive, Gateway Dr, St. Louis, MO 63106, USA
With its epic children's museum, world-famous cuisine, and iconic attractions, St. Louis is a Midwest town that belongs on your bucket list. And the
St. Louis; the glorious gateway to the West. The title attraction in the city's Gateway Arch National Park, this iconic structure symbolizes the importance of St. Louis as the "Gateway to the West." Shimmering against the city skyline, the arch attracts visitors from all over Missouri and beyond, making it one of the most-photographed landmarks in the country. The Arch has been a permanent part of the St. Louis skyline since it opened in 1965, welcoming more than 135 million visitors from around the world. At 630 feet tall, the Arch has the distinction as the U.S.'s tallest manmade landmark, coming in ahead of The Washington Monument and The Statue of Liberty, and riding up to the top is a rite of passage sure to fill you with a newfound appreciation for the Midwest.
The Belle of Louisville - Louisville, Kentucky
Belle of Louisville Riverboats, 401 W River Rd, Louisville, KY 40202, USA
Built in 1914, the beautiful Belle of Louisville stands as a testament to the country's roots with steamboat travel and commerce. The only remaining riverboat of its kind, she is a beautiful sight to behold. This historic riverboat was known as the "Idlewild" and "Avalon" before it was purchased through an auction in 1962 and grandly renamed the
Belle of Louisville
. This name change was key; can you imagine the Belle being called by anything else? Although she was originally launched in Pittsburgh and traveled all over, the Belle has spent the bulk of her time in Louisville and is a big point of pride in the Bluegrass. In the early 1900s, these behemoth boats chugged up and down major rivers through the country to transport travelers to and from new destinations; today, The Belle of Louisville proudly sails along the Ohio River during lunch and dinner cruises, offering guests the unique opportunity to
literally float back through time
French Quarter - New Orleans, Louisiana
French Quarter, New Orleans, LA, USA
New Orleans is an exuberant celebration of America; it's a melting pot of cultures and cuisine that's pure
joie de vivre
. The town's oldest neighborhood has attracted visitors from all across the world for over 300 years, with folks flocking to its 78 square blocks full of restaurants, historic buildings, and iconic attractions. The best way to experience the French Quarter is the old-fashioned way, via a
that allows for a slow savor of dazzling New Orleans. Royal Carriages has been carrying guests through this historic city since 1941; its French Quarter & Marigny Tour is an unforgettable journey through this wholly unforgettable place.
Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park - Florida Keys, Florida
Fort Jefferson, Key West, FL 33040, USA
Just 70 miles west of Key West, Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the most unique and intriguing places in the country. This island is accessible by plane or boat, making it one of the more remote national parks in the United States. Pristine blue waters and white sandy shores surround the island, which is actually a collection of seven remote isles that's home to the commanding Fort Jefferson. Built between 1846 and 1875, Fort Jefferson is the largest all-masonry fort in the United States; it was originally intended as a barricade from the Gulf of Mexico, but was left unfinished due to a lack of supplies during the Civil War, when it was used as a makeshift prison. Come and see why Teddy Roosevelt declared Dry Tortugas a National Monument, and why we think it's one of the most
hauntingly beautiful sites in the country
Fort Sumter - Charleston, South Carolina
Fort Sumter Ferry Terminal, Charleston, SC 29412, USA
History was made in Fort Sumter, the site where the first shots of the Civil War were fired on April 12, 1861, at this fort on a man-made island in Charleston’s harbor. The 34-hour battle that ensued would ultimately result in a defeat for the Union and turn Fort Sumter into a
stalwart of Southern resistance
. Today the National Park Service oversees Fort Sumter, with rangers giving interpretive talks and conducting guided tours at this bucket-list-worthy destination.
Grand Ole Opry - Nashville, Tennessee
Grand Ole Opry, 2804 Opryland Dr, Nashville, TN 37214, USA
Country music is one of America's proudest cultural contributions, and Nashville is the epicenter of it all. In 1925, Tennessee radio station WSM and its launch of its Grand Ole Opry broadcast further secured Nashville's reputation as a musical hub, and ultimately led to its "Music City" moniker. As the longest-running radio show in the U.S., the little country show that could has certainly made its mark on American history. The Grand Ole Opry radio show has run consistently since Nov. 28, 1925; it's a weekly country music stage concert at the eponymous building located at 2804 Opryland Drive. Add it all up, and the
Grand Old Opry
is an American music icon that's truly one of the country's must-visit attractions.
Wright Brothers National Memorial - Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
Wright Brothers National Memorial, 1000 N Croatan Hwy, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948, USA
America is responsible for some of the world's most ubiquitous inventions, but there's perhaps no contribution more incredible than that of
. Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, is home to Wilbur and Orville Wright's groundbreaking first flight;
the eponymous Wright Brothers National Memorial
here is an inspiring testament to the power of the imagination. This must-visit memorial commemorates the spot where, on Dec. 17, 1903, history was made and dreams came true.
The National Mall - Washington D.C.
National Mall, Washington, DC, USA
Washington D.C. is a place every American absolutely needs to visit, period. Washington’s iconic Mall is surrounded by a collection of magnificent American landmarks, with the Capitol at one end, the Washington Monument at the other, and the Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam Memorial (among many others) nestled nearby. There are also nearly a dozen museums bordering this D.C. hub, making the photo-perfect
a wondrous place offering visitors a full lesson in U.S. history.
Independence Hall - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Independence Hall, 520 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA
In this commanding building in Pennsylvania, the Declaration of Independence was signed, George Washington was appointed commander in chief of the Continental Army, and the Constitution was ratified. Independence Hall is a place that represents a clear break between the old and new; a line in the sand that set the course of our country's great history. Truly, there’s no other structure in the U.S. that’s loaded with more historical significance. It's part of Independence National Historical Park, where you’ll also find the Liberty Bell and numerous other
Statue of Liberty - New York City, New York
Statue of Liberty National Monument, New York, NY 10004, USA
There's perhaps nothing that symbolizes the United States of America more than the Statue of Liberty. Gifted to the U.S. in 1886 from France, the
Statue of Liberty
is an all-American landmark; a universal and ubiquitous symbol of freedom and democracy. Standing 305.5 feet high on Liberty Island, Lady Liberty is accessible via a scenic ferry ride from Battery Park. As you approach this commanding colossus, you can't help but swell with pride at being part of the incredible, indefatigable United States of America.
Brooklyn Bridge - New York City, New York
Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn, NY, USA
When completed in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge stood as the world’s longest suspension bridge. Though it no longer holds that title, the Brooklyn Bridge continues to be one of the country's most marvelous engineering marvels. This six-lane bridge is an icon of New York City, carrying more than 100,000 cars across the East River each day. Its two Gothic arched towers are an instantly recognizable symbol of New York and all its innovation, and a
must-visit New York -- and American -- landmark
Freedom Trail - Boston, Massachusetts
Freedom Trail, Boston, MA, USA
Only in Boston can you put yourself in the shoes of America's forefathers. The
leads past places that played key roles in the American Revolution, from Faneuil Hall to the Old North Church to the site of the Boston Massacre. Walking along the cobblestone streets on this self-guided tour, it's incredible to imagine that there was once a time when these Boston buildings, businesses, and homes, were anything but legendary American landmarks.
Portland Head Light - Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Portland Head Light, 12 Captain Strout Cir, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107, USA
most photographed lighthouse in the country
, the Portland Head Light is a beautiful beacon located on one of the most remote corners of the country. Illuminated for the first time in 1791 by whale-oil lamps, this lighthouse sits within the beautifully landscaped grounds of Cape Elizabeth’s Fort Williams Park. This 92-foot-tall beacon captures the rugged coastal beauty of Maine; from its location on a commanding point at the southwestern entrance to the harbor, you can take in crisp salt air along with endless views of the choppy sea and cragged coastline for which the state is known.
Are you ready for a real-life history lesson? To experience the past in a wholly new and immersive way? Then set forth and explore America like never before. These are the unique and amazing places that form the fabric of the United States of America, and they’re all destinations for your very own
American bucket list. Address: Belle of Louisville Riverboats, 401 W River Rd, Louisville, KY 40202, USA Address: Portland Head Light, 12 Captain Strout Cir, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107, USA Address: Space Needle Loop, Seattle, WA 98109, USA Address: The Alamo, 300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205, USA Address: Statue of Liberty National Monument, New York, NY 10004, USA Address: Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn, NY, USA Address: Independence Hall, 520 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA Address: Wright Brothers National Memorial, 1000 N Croatan Hwy, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948, USA Address: Freedom Trail, Boston, MA, USA Address: Mount Rushmore National Memorial, 13000 SD-244, Keystone, SD 57751, USA Address: Hoover Dam Bypass, United States Address: Fort Sumter Ferry Terminal, Charleston, SC 29412, USA Address: Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA, USA Address: National Mall, Washington, DC, USA Address: Fort Jefferson, Key West, FL 33040, USA Address: Gateway Drive, Gateway Dr, St. Louis, MO 63106, USA Address: Grand Ole Opry, 2804 Opryland Dr, Nashville, TN 37214, USA Address: Sequoia National Park, California, USA Address: French Quarter, New Orleans, LA, USA Address: Taos Pueblo, NM, USA