Think of US landmarks and what immediately comes to mind? The White House? Empire State Building? Hollywood? The Grand Canyon? You’d be hard-pushed to find many people who haven’t heard of them. For a country with such a short history, the US has certainly racked up a lot of impressive and interesting things to see. And those things go well beyond just the undeniably beautiful natural landscapes.
I know what it’s like to live amongst famous landmarks. I’m from the UK, land of the Queen and Buckingham Palace and Stonehenge and so on and so forth. The house I grew up in is older than the USA. But that doesn’t mean that I’m any less fascinated by the wonder held within those 50 unique and thoroughly different states.
So, let’s get stuck into some of the US landmarks I’ve visited over the last few years that have stayed with me for one reason or another. Depending on where you’re from, you might well have seen some or all. Maybe you’ll find some ideas for your next trip. Let me know in the comments at the end!
Golden gate bridge, San francisco, california
Glorious views abound from and across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Without doubt one of the most iconic US landmarks and a must-see if you’re on the west coast. If you haven’t got a car and are staying in the central city, it’s not completely straightforward to get to. But buses do run regularly and will get you up close enough. Just make sure you have the right change if you get the bus or the driver might get impatient with you! Check with someone before you leave (usually in the $2.50 area depending on the route). Once you get up there, take a look in the Visitor’s Centre to learn a bit more about the construction and history of the bridge. Then stroll out and along the bridge for your photo opp. Do keep an eye out for cyclists, they’ll come from nowhere!
Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas
One for the conspiracy theorists. No trip to Dallas is complete without heading up to Dealey Plaza. The place where on that fateful November day in 1963, the young president JFK was assassinated. “Allegedly” by Lee Harvey Oswald. Straight ahead in the red building, on the top (6th) floor, is the infamous book depository. Now it holds the JFK museum which you can look round with an individual audio guide. If you take the road just in front of the red building to the left, you’ll find the equally infamous “grassy knoll”. A somber visit, but one of the most rewarding US landmarks to see and learn about if you’re into your history.
John Hancock Tower, Chicago, Illinois
There are a number of great landmarks to see in Chicago, but when the weather’s good, you can’t beat a 360 view to get your bearings. Up on the 94th floor of the John Hancock building, 360 Chicago observation deck gives panoramic views across the city, 1000 ft up from the ground. Whilst you’re up there, make sure to enjoy Tilt and get partially lowered forward over the side of the building. If you enjoy theme parks, you’ll enjoy a good Tilt.
The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas
The scene of one of the most famous battles in US – and certainly Texan – history, the mission of the Alamo is lovingly maintained slap bang in the middle of San Antonio city. It’s free to get in, though you can book cheapish tours if you want a guide. Explore the full grounds and read up on all the key events and players. Through the back you’ll find a re-enactment using a canon from the battle (it does go off, do be prepared for the noise, I was not!). You’ll also find lovely grounds, a museum, gift shop and light refreshments. And bathrooms for those of you who like to check these things.
Plenty more awesome places in the USA to visit coming soon. What do you think? Any of these on your wish list or too touristy for your liking and not fussed?