Searching for the top 10 historical places to visit to inspire your next getaway? Look no further than our list of fascinating historical sites in the US. Whether you’re in the mood for famous must-see historical sites or some lesser known gems, these monuments, museums, and more will surely satisfy your craving for a visit to a historical place.
Liberty Bell, Philadelphia, PA
Undoubtedly one of the top historical places in the US, the Liberty Bell is a true American icon. The large copper bell was built in 1752, and it is often thought to have rung in celebration of Congress’ vote for independence on July 4, 1776. Although there’s no concrete evidence to show that it did, the bell became a symbol of freedom as it hung in the Pennsylvania State House. Between 1885 and 1915, the bell went on a whirlwind tour of the country, further developing its fame. Over centuries of use, the bell developed its signature crack, and today it sits in Philly’s Independence National Historical Park.
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Fenway Park, Boston, MA
Sports fans and history buffs alike will enjoy a visit to one of the country’s oldest ballparks: Fenway Park. As the home of the Boston Red Sox, Fenway has hosted 11 World Series championships since it opened in 1912 and became one of the most famous sports venues in the world. However, if you’re visiting Boston, Fenway isn’t the only historical site worth seeing. Arguably the most historical city in the US, Boston is packed with landmarks, such as the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, the Paul Revere House, and the Bunker Hill Monument.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Well, this is just about as historic as you can get. One of the most famous natural wonders on the planet, the Grand Canyon is older than time itself. Prepare to be dazzled by the beauty and enormity of the canyon, which stretches nearly 300 miles and plunges one mile deep. There are a myriad of ways to explore and admire the park: peer down from above on a helicopter tour, test your fear of heights from a lookout point, or lace up your hiking boots and set out on one of the park’s many trails.
French Quarter, New Orleans, LA
Have you ever wondered what a 18th-century American city looked like? If you ignore the cars and cell phones, you might think that time has stopped in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Founded in 1718, the French Quarter actually predates the United States, and the city’s original inhabitants came from a mix of French, Spanish, and Caribbean origins. Today, the French Quarter has an atmosphere that’s unlike anywhere else in the country, with distinctive cuisine, music, and architecture. It’s one of the best historical places to visit in the US for anyone interested in food, nightlife, and the arts.
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Castillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine, FL
Historical landmarks might not be the first thing to come to mind when you think about the Sunshine State, but Florida is home to the oldest fort in the country. Castillo de San Marcos was built at the end of the 1600s, when what is now Florida was under Spanish rule. The fort was then handed off to the British for a few years, then back to Spain, and finally passing into US possession in 1821. Since 1933, though, it’s had no military use, and the fort remains a fascinating addition to St. Augustine’s historic attractions.
National Mall, Washington, D.C.
How about hitting several of the best historic sites in America all in one outing? Spend a day on the National Mall and visit many of the country’s most iconic monuments. Some of the landmarks on the National Mall honor former presidents, like the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, while others honor fallen heroes, like the World War II Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
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Ellis Island, New York City, NY
Big Apple landmarks like the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center may steal the spotlight, but if you’re searching for historical places to visit near NYC, you can’t beat Ellis Island. Between 1892 and 1952, 12 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island, and their descendants make up nearly half of the current US population. Today, it’s no longer an immigration station, but instead a museum where visitors can learn about the history of immigration to the United States. Ellis Island is accessible by ferry from New York City and Jersey City.
Pearl Harbor National Memorial, Honolulu, HI
Although it’s one of the most far-flung US historical places to visit, this special monument is definitely worth the trip. The Pearl Harbor National Memorial honors the soldiers and sailors who perished during the surprise attack, which claimed over 1,000 lives on December 7, 1941. The memorial itself is only accessible by boat and is located above the U.S.S. Arizona battleship, which sank on that day.
Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, CA
Set about a mile off the coast of San Francisco, Alcatraz Island has been used for various purposes since the 1850s, but it’s biggest claim to fame is the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. The high-security prison was open from 1934 to 1963 and housed many infamous inmates, such as Al Capone and Whitey Bulger. Alcatraz Island is best seen by boat, and visitors can catch a tour from Fisherman’s Wharf. From the water, you’ll also enjoy incredible views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
The Alamo, San Antonio, TX
Looking for historical places to visit in Texas? The Lone Star State certainly has its fair share of landmarks, but the most famous is The Alamo. Made up of several buildings, it’s set in the San Antonio Missions World Heritage Site and offers exceptional examples of colonial Spanish architecture. The Alamo was originally built as a Roman Catholic mission, but quickly became a fortress and was used during the Texas Revolution.
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Consider your introduction to US history complete! With these top 10 historical places to visit in the United States, you can turn your next vacation into a real-life documentary.