Landmarks in the United States. 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 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.
But I don’t like to start in an entirely obvious place. A little obvious maybe, but not “Hi Mr President” obvious. And let’s not even get started on him…
No, let’s get stuck into some of the (in my personal opinion) interesting places 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!
Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, Tennessee
It doesn’t matter if you’re not familiar with the acts who are playing. It doesn’t matter if you can only get seats in the nosebleeds. It doesn’t even matter if you don’t like country music. The atmosphere inside the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville Tennessee is one not to be missed. Playing live shows nearly every night, the show still goes out across radio so you’ll even get the pleasure of the announcer reading sponsors and adverts live on air! Image of the outside of the building found in the header of this page.
Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas
One for the conspiracy theorists. There’s something undeniably morbid about visiting a famous place of death as a leisure activity. But 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, who was himself later killed before his trial, by nightclub owner Jack Ruby. Straight ahead in the red building, on the top (6th) floor, is the infamous book depository from where it was officially determined that the fatal shots were fired. Now it holds the JFK museum which you can look round with an individual audio guide. There’s a whole heap of education on the background of JFK’s presidency, his family, a step by step through November 22nd and an in depth look at the aftermath, the arrests, the theories and the reactions of the world. 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 but important landmark to see and learn about if you’re into your US 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 will give unparalleled and (funnily enough) 360 degree 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?