Guide to Sightseeing in the U.S.
Traveling to the United States can be intimidating. Because of its size, the U.S. offers a dizzying array of destinations. This vastness means the country offers a wide variety in terms of climate, culture, history, foods, and fun. From big cities to open spaces to museums and tours exploring U.S. history, sightseeing in the U.S. provides something for every visitor.
Some of the world’s most recognizable cityscapes belong to the U.S. Frank Sinatra sang about New York and Chicago, while the 1937 movie Hollywood Hotel made famous, “Hurray for Hollywood.”
New York City, New York: Also called “The Big Apple,” New York City is the United States’ largest and best-known city. Among the skyscrapers and bright lights, New York earns the title of the heart of American city life. Not only is New York home to Broadway, where hundreds of famous plays and musicals have been produced, but it is also host to many off-Broadway theatres creating new and sometimes experimental work. Times Square might be the most recognizable aspect of the city, with its bustle and numerous theatres and storefronts.
Chicago, Illinois: Chicago is praised for its hot dogs and deep-dish pizza, but there is more to the city than its food. The Windy City is the home of many world-class museums, including The Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, and Shedd Aquarium, all within walking distance from one another, and all highly regarded institutions. Further along the shore is the Chicago beach, as well as the ever popular and free-of-charge Lincoln Park Zoo. Michigan Avenue offers one of the best shopping experiences in the country.
Los Angeles, California: Characterized by warm temperatures and palm trees, Los Angeles is unlike any other city in the U.S. Many American film studios and actors call Los Angeles and its surroundings home, with Hollywood – due in part to its iconic sign – the most famous. For celebrity-crazed individuals and film buffs alike, Los Angeles is a major hot spot in the western U.S.
U.S. Natural Landmarks
With such an incredible amount of space, the U.S. features truly awe-inspiring natural landmarks. To get up close and personal to nature, the following are landmarks you can’t miss during a trip to the U.S.
Grand Canyon, Arizona: This is the largest canyon in the world, cut out by a river over the course of millions of years. The Grand Canyon stretches 277 miles and has a width of up to 18 miles. For hundreds of years, the Canyon has been the site of Native American settlements. Many visitors come to the Grand Canyon to experience the vast openness as well as for camping, rafting, hiking, helicopter tours, and more.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming: Probably most known for Old Faithful, its giant natural geyser, Yellowstone National Park is one of the best places to hike and camp in the whole country. The park is notable for its wildlife, gorgeous lakes and waterfalls, rivers, canyons, mountain ranges, and the largest volcano on the entire North American continent.
Looking at U.S. History
European explorers and settlers pushed Native Americans from their lands to establish colonies, and there are many sites in New England and along the East Coast that offer insight into this time in history and beyond. You can learn more by exploring museums, participating in various tours of historic areas and buildings, and speaking with historical interpreters. The cities below offer history in abundance as well as fine dining, nightlife, and shopping.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Philadelphia is host to a great deal of Revolutionary-era historical sites and attractions. The Continental Congress first met at Carpenter’s Hall and then moved to Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence and, later, the U.S. Constitution were drafted and completed. Both buildings are still open to the public and offer tours and events. You can also visit the U.S. Mint, to see actual coins being made, and the National Constitution Center, a museum exploring the U.S. Constitution and how it has influenced history.
Washington, D.C.: As the national capitol, Washington, D.C. is the seat of the U.S. government. Visit the White House, home to the president; the U.S. Capitol Building; the Supreme Court Building; and the many free Smithsonian museums. Washington is also full of monuments and memorials, such as the iconic Lincoln Memorial and the moving Vietnam Memorial. To get a view into the country’s current and past government, Washington, D.C., is one city you do not want to miss.
Though this guide has outlined just some of the amazing cities, incredible landmarks, and rich history of the U.S., you are guaranteed to discover plenty of ideas for your own sightseeing itinerary. Identify your interests, do your research, and enjoy your visit.