From an outsider’s perspective the United States can seem a bit monolithic. In fact, even from the perspective of an average American, the United States can seem a bit all the same, through and through. However, the truth is really otherwise. The United States is a land of incredible diversity, not just in terms of the people who inhabit it, but also in terms of its terrain and its cultural landmarks.
When you have the opportunity to travel across the United States, you really begin to get an appreciation for this. That’s why we thought this list would be fun to put together! On it, we’re going to share 20 things you just have to see in the United States before you die.
The things on this list run the gamut. We’ve got roadside attractions you won’t believe, monuments, parks, and even a few other surprises. So, if you think you have a full appreciation of the United States and all that it has to offer, perhaps you should think again. Take a look at the list we’ve pulled together, and be sure to add the ones that you haven’t seen in real life to your bucket list!
1. Mount Rushmore (Keystone, South Dakota)
What might strike you about seeing Mount Rushmore in person is that it’s much smaller than it appears in pictures.
2. The Grand Ole Opry (Nashville, TN)
You don’t have to have a deep appreciation of Country Music in order to understand the importance of this landmark in music history.
3. The Sunset Strip (Los Angeles, CA)
Country not your thing? Well, why don’t you check out one of the most famous locations for rock and roll music in the country and its various landmark establishments.
4. Arches National Park (Utah)
Utah is home to some of the most beautiful and undisturbed landscape in the United States, and you can see it on full display here.
5. Mendenhall Glacier (Juneau, Alaska)
If you’ve got that stamina to reach them, then checking out this glacier’s famous ice caves is almost like travelling to another planet.
6. The Grand Canyon (Arizona)
Simply put, pictures cannot do the Grand Canyon justice. It’s one of those things that can only be fully appreciated in person.
7. Niagara Falls (New York)
This landmark falls in the same category, as it’s impossible to appreciate the power of the falls until you seem them up close.
8. Muir Woods National Monument (California)
The great redwood trees of California are an incredible thing to behold. Their size can astound even the most jaded.
9. The Space Needle (Seattle, Washington)
Taking the ride all the way up to the top of the Space Needle provides one of the most astounding views in the entire country.
10. White Sands National Monument (New Mexico)
Visiting this destination and walking across the dunes must be the closest non-astronauts can come to walking on the moon.
11. The Gateway Arch (St. Louis, MO)
Impressive from the ground, what’s really cool is going to the top, where the horizon seems to stretch out endlessly.
12. The French Quarter (New Orleans)
The jazz! The food! The culture! There really is no place else in America that’s like New Orleans’ French Quarter.
13. The Breakers (Newport, RI)
How did the great monopolists around the turn of the century live? Pretty well, if the Vanderbilt’s summer home is any indication…
14. The National Mall (Washington, D.C.)
If you really want to get an appreciation for the rich, if short, history of these United States, there’s no place better than the National Mall.
15. Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado)
Of course, the country’s history stretches back centuries, something that this park can truly help you to appreciate.
16. Independence Square (Philadelphia, PA)
Where did the great American experiment begin? Why, it began here at the former capital of these United States.
17. Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)
Home to countless waterfalls and geysers – including the world-famous Old Faithful – there’s much and more to see at this national treasure.
18. The USS Arizona Memorial (Honolulu, HI)
The bombing of Pearl Harbor is one of the most important days in U.S. History, and here you can see that history in person.
19. The Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco, CA)
Perhaps the most famous bridge in the world, the landscape surrounding is also something to behold too!
20. Disneyland (Anaheim, California)
Disney World may be bigger, but there’s only one original. Disneyland is a must visit for every American.