From coast to coast the United States is brimming with unique, popular and touching landmarks. Whether they are man built, natural or even an entire city; there is no shortage of diversity in this country. From the highest mountain peak in the country to the launch of every US human space mission; here are the top landmarks that represent each state:
Alabama: Edmund Pettus Bridge
This bridge is located in Selma, Alabama and named after a former Confederate brigadier general who also led the Alabama Ku Klux Klan. The bridge was also the site of the famous Selma to Montgomery marches as well as ‘Bloody Sunday’, an incident where armed police officers attacked peaceful protesters with Billy clubs and tear gas. There is currently a campaign to change the name of the bridge.
Alaska: Mt. McKinley
It is the highest mountain peak in the United States and very well recognized around the world. 58% of climbers who attempt the summit make it to the top, but the mountain has claimed the lives of over 100 people in its history.
Arizona: Grand Canyon
This steep sided canyon that was carved from the Colorado River is visited by over five million tourists every year. It is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, one of the most photographed places in the US and boasts incredible sunsets that turn the red rocks into brilliant displays of color.
Arkansas: Hot Springs National Park
Nicknamed ‘The American Spa’ this national park surrounds the north end of the city of Hot Springs. History tells us that a town was built up around the hot springs to provide services for health seekers. It also happens to be the smallest national park in the US by area but one of the most easily available to visitors.
California: Golden Gate Bridge
This bridge is often referred to as the most beautiful bridge in the entire world. The bridge isn’t golden in color like you may expect but is actually bright orange, a color used to stick out during the foggy days. It opened in 1937 and spans the Golden Gate strait; the three mile long channel between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
Colorado: Rocky Mountain National Park
This park features awe-inspiring mountain views, varied climates and environments, mountain lakes and a plethora of wildlife. Visitors discovered this over 11,000 years ago and while the weather has wreaked havoc on the park, it remains ever popular and just as beautiful.
Connecticut: Mystic Seaport
Located 10 miles east of New London in the Mystic County Region of Connecticut is one of America’s first and largest living history museums. The museum consists of a village with more than 60 historic buildings, ships and 17 acres of exhibits depicting coastal life in New England in the 19th century.
Delaware: Caesar Rodney Statue
Delaware’s most cherished patriot stands tall in downtown Wilmington atop his horse. Rodney is famous for riding his horse to Philadelphia in order to cast a crucial vote that eventually paved the way for the Declaration of Independence.
Florida: Kennedy Space Center
Located just between Jacksonville and Miami is the launch site for every single human US space flight since 1968. The visitors center here offers a look behind the scenes into the life of an astronaut, let’s visitors feel the thrill of a takeoff and perhaps even meet an astronaut.
Georgia: Ebenezer Baptist Church
Before Martin Luther King became America’s civil rights leader he was baptized right here in the Ebenezer Baptist Church. This is also the church where King began preaching alongside his father after being ordained at the age of 19. The church is located in the city of Atlanta.
Hawaii: USS Arizona Memorial
This memorial is situated in Pearl Harbor and pays tribute to the 1,102 soldiers who lost their lives during the fatal attack in World War II. The memorial includes a powerful film, a narrated boat ride out to the site of the attack and a guided tour of the USS Bowfin Submarine.
Idaho: Middle Fork of the Salmon River
Every year approximately 10,000 people float down this 104 mile free flowing river in what is thought to be one of the most scenic and best places to white water raft in the US. It is located 20 miles Northwest of Stanley and includes over 300 rapids and 6 natural hot springs.
Illinois: Willis Tower
Downtown Chicago is the home of the Willis Tower, the world’s tallest tower when it was built in 1973. Although taller towers have now surpassed it, the Willis Tower remains one of the tallest in America and thousands flock to its observation decks and glass boxes that hang off the side of the building each year to get a view of the Windy City.
Indiana: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Located in Speedway, Indiana, only 6 miles from downtown, this landmark is home to the famous Indianapolis 500 race. Originally constructed in 1909 it is the highest capacity sports venue in the world, seating up to 400,000 fans. NASCAR fans also come here to watch the annual 400-mile Sprint Cup point race.
Iowa: Iowa State Fair
This internationally acclaimed state fair draws up to a million visitors each year. It is held in Des Moines and runs for a total of eleven days. Popular attractions include the double Ferris wheel, the butter cow sculpture and one the largest livestock shows in the world.
Kansas: Dodge City
The city is famous for being a wild frontier town of the Old West with a violent history (ever heard the phrase “get the hell outta Dodge”?). It had more famous gun fighters than any other city, including Wyatt Earp, one of the most notorious and deadliest gunmen of the time. Today visitors can ride in a stagecoach, watch a re-created gun fight and see interesting artifacts.
Kentucky: Churchill Downs
The city of Louisville comes alive with excitement the first Saturday in May each year as the city plays host to the most exciting two minutes in sports. The Kentucky Derby was started back in 1875 and is now attended by over 170,000 people. This annual stake race for 3-year old thoroughbred horses takes place at Churchill Downs race track and is known throughout the world.
Louisiana: The French Quarter
This is the oldest and most famous neighborhood in New Orleans that is host to the famous Mardi Gras celebration. Many of the architectural gems here were built before New Orleans became a part of the United States. This cultural hub is responsible for much of the city’s tourism.
Maine: Portland Headlight
This historic lighthouse is located in Cape Elizabeth and was completed in 1971, making it the oldest of its kind in the state. George Washington ordered the construction of the lighthouse after a tragedy claimed two lives due to the lack of lighthouses along the rocky coast.
Maryland: Fort McHenry
This star shaped fort was the inspiration for Francis Scott Key to write “The Star Spangled Banner”. It was built to defend the port of Baltimore and in 1814 it did just that when the British bombed the fort for 25 hours. The American’s defended the fort and the “The Star Spangled Banner” was created.
Massachusetts: Fenway Park
This state is brimming with famous landmarks but Fenway Park may just be the most recognizable. It is the oldest stadium in the MLB, having been built in 1912 and has undergone many renovations since. Known for its quirky features such as ‘Pesky’s Pole and The Green Monster’, fans fly from all over the world just to experience this historic stadium.
Michigan: The Henry Ford Museum
This large history museum is unique in the design, which feature exhibits both inside and out. Located in metro Detroit this museum features an expansive range of machinery, vehicles and exhibits including John F. Kennedy’s presidential limousine and the Rosa Parks bus.
Minnesota: Mall of America
Located in the suburbs of Bloomington lies the Mall of America; a mall that is home to 40 million visitors annually, the most in the world. Along with over 400 stores the mall is also home to Nickelodeon Universe, a theme park complete with roller coasters and mini-golf. A sizable aquarium is also located inside.
Mississippi: Mississippi River
This river is one of the world’s most major river systems in terms of size, habitat diversity and biological productivity. Native Americans formed communities along the river and as time passed the River was everything from a barrier to a route for travel and trade.
Missouri: Gateway Arch
The Gateway Arch stands 630 feet tall, making it the tallest man-made monument in the United States. Located in St Louis the arch has become the centerpiece for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. The arch draws over four million visitors each year with about a million making their way to the top.
Montana: Glacier National Park
This National Park is partly in Canada and partly in the United States. It encompasses over a million acres and in Montana visitors will be treated to spectacular lakes and rugged mountains. Native Americans were the first to arrive in this area and the park puts forth a big effort in teaching visitors about their ancestors.
Nebraska: Chimney Rock
This unique rock formation in Morrill Country can be seen for miles. It rises nearly 300 feet above the surrounding river valley and during the mid 19th century it served as a landmark along the Oregon Trail. The rock has been designated a National Historic Site and even had its place on a quarter that was released in 2006.
Nevada: Las Vegas Strip
This 4.2 mile stretch of Vegas is famous for its infinite number of casinos, hotels and world famous resorts. At night the strip is lit up like no other place on this planet. The ever evolving skyline and modernization of the hotels and casinos makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
New Hampshire: Mount Washington
It is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States and famous for dangerous, erratic weather. The Mount Washington Cog Railway takes visitors to the top in a picturesque climb, aboard the second steepest track railway in the world. The observatory at the top doubles as the weather station and can be accessed by car, train or hiking trails.
New Jersey: Atlantic City Boardwalk
This boardwalk was the first boardwalk to ever open in America in 1870 and was constructed to help keep sand out of the hotel lobbies. It has served as the inspiration behind the board game ‘Monopoly’ and now serves as a home to many casinos along the beach.
New Mexico: Carlsbad Caverns
This enormous site houses the world’s largest collection of caves, including the Big Room which is the largest natural limestone chamber in the site and features eerie glowing colors. The unique stalactites featured throughout the caves attract visitors from all over the world.
New York: Statue of Liberty
One of the most well-known landmarks across the world, the Statue of Liberty is located on Liberty Island in the New York Harbor. The statue represents freedom and was a gift from France. It was this iconic landmark that many immigrants saw first as they entered the United States to start their new lives.
North Carolina: Wright Brothers Memorial
This 60 foot memorial that commemorates the Wright’s first flight in 1903 sits atop Kill Devil Hill in the town of Kill Devil Hills. The visitor’s center is home to a museum featuring actual tools the Wright Brothers used as well as a full scale model of their 1902 glider.
North Dakota: Painted Canyon
This overlook in the North Dakota Badlands gives visitors the opportunity to take in the myriad of color of flat desert land mixed with petrified wood and rock formations. In 1883 future US president Theodore Roosevelt visited this spot to hunt Bison and immediately fell in love with the west.
Ohio: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum
In the heart of Cleveland lies a tribute to rock and roll’s most legendary artists and producers. The exhibits span a total of five floors with some of the most iconic and impressive artifacts, including a wall with every inductee’s signature. In addition there are an on-going slew of temporary and ever changing exhibits to discover.
Oklahoma: Oklahoma City National Memorial
The Oklahoma bombing in 1995 is never far from the minds of residents in this state. This significant landmark honors those who suffered and who were affected by the bombing. The memorial includes a survivor’s wall and tree, reflecting pool and field of empty chairs.
Oregon: Crater Lake
The deep blue color, the clarity of the water and depth of the water all make Crater Lake an amazing natural landmark in this state. Located in Klamath county the lake was formed about 7,700 years ago when the volcano Mount Mazama collapsed. An interesting fact is that there are no rivers flowing in or out of the lake, it gets all of its water from the rain and snow.
Pennsylvania: The Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell is located in Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell Center right downtown. This iconic symbol of freedom was thought to be rung during the public reading of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Rhode Island: The Breakers
Located in Newport, this stunning 70-room mansion was built in 1883 by American millionaire Cornelius Vanderbilt. The mansion overlooks the Atlantic Ocean on 13 acres of land and is now rumored to be worth over $50 million USD.
South Carolina: Fort Sumter
Located in the Charleston Harbor, Fort Sumter is a sea fort that was the birthplace of the American Civil War. Visitors will start their tour at Liberty Square in downtown Charleston and then take a guided boat tour out to the fort. Relive the history of the start of the Civil War by a land tour as well.
South Dakota: Mount Rushmore
This national memorial is a gigantic sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore. The 60 foot sculptures are the four heads of the US Presidents; Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln. It took 14 years and over 400 people to complete the sculptures and today it remains one of the top tourist draws in the state.
Tennessee: Ryman Auditorium
Originally opened as a church, this 2,362-seat live performance venue is where the Grand Ole Opery was born. The auditorium is located right in the heart of downtown Nashville and is known for hosting extremely talented artists who perform here including Dolly Parton, Neil Young and Johnny Cash.
Texas: The Alamo
Visitors can relive the battle between Mexican forces and American folk heroes such as Davy Crockett at the grounds of this former church. Located in San Antonio the Alamo is truly a symbol of Texas independence as the battle cry ‘Remember the Alamo’ was used in other battles to reach victory.
Utah: Arches National Park
This park located in Eastern Utah houses over 2,000 natural sandstone arches including the most famous one, the “Delicate Arch”. The park is located on the Colorado River and visitors are encouraged to hike, camp and bike throughout. Since 1977 forty-three arches are known to have collapsed.
Vermont: Covered Bridges
There are more covered bridges in this state per square mile than anywhere else in the world, a whopping 107 of them to be exact. Northfield Falls is the best area to check out numerous bridges within a short distance of one another. The bridges were all covered as a practical measure of dealing with the weather and are all protected by the state’s board of historic sites.
The home of America’s third president, Thomas Jefferson is located just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. Visitors can step inside and explore the home of the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson started building Monticello when he was just 26 years old and owned the house right up until his death.
Washington: The Space Needle
In downtown Seattle the Space Needle offers the best views of the city either from the 520 foot high observation deck or the rotating restaurant. The Space Needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair and continues to attract visitors that enjoy amazing views of Mount Rainier, Lake Union and the city.
West Virginia: New River Gorge Bridge
For many years this bridge was the world’s longest steel single-span arch bridge and is crossed by an average of 16,200 motorists each day. It also plays host to the annual ‘Bridge Day’ where base jumpers and abseilers come to jump off the side of the bridge legally for one day only. A visitor’s center and staircase provides scenic outlooks for visitors.
Wisconsin: Wisconsin Dells
The entire city of Wisconsin Dells is in fact the landmark in this state. Hailed as ‘the waterpark capital of the world’, there is no shortage of fun here. Indoor waterparks, outdoor waterparks, amusement parks, museums and scenic tours are just a slice of what awaits visitors to this gorgeous city.
Wyoming: Old Faithful
In Yellowstone National Park, Old Faithful has been around since 1870. It is a cone geyser that erupts every 63 minutes, making it one of the most predictable geographical features on earth. It was the first geyser to ever have a name in the national park and shares the park with 2/3rds of the geysers in the world.