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99 Historical Sites Every American Should See

Posted on Wednesday June 30, 2010 by Staff Writers

Although American history is short compared with countries like China and England, our story is rich and our land is full of important sites that honor where we’ve come from. If you’re interested in exploring the history of America through its landmarks, check out this list of sites to see.

Natural Wonders

These lands are both beautiful and historic.

  1. Grand Canyon: Visit Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona to overwhelm your senses.
  2. Saugatuck Dunes State Park: Saugatuck Dunes has amazing fresh water coastal dunes along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
  3. Ossabaw Island: Ossabaw is an excellently preserved barrier island in Georgia.
  4. Black Mountain: See the history of Cherokee Indians and more at Black Mountain.
  5. South Pass: South Pass was an important path for the Oregon Trail.
  6. Sweet Grass Hills: The Sweet Grass Hills share the aboriginal history of the Blackfeet people.
  7. Yellowstone: America’s first national park is a great place to see wildlife and Old Faithful.
  8. Prehistoric Serpent Mound: The Serpent Mound is an enthralling earthwork in the form of a coiling.
  9. Yosemite: Yosemite National Park will amaze you with granite glaciers, trees, and more.

Man Made Feats

You’ll see amazing works of architecture and engineering here.

  1. Golden Gate Bridge: Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most iconic bridges in the US.
  2. Bronx River Parkway: This road in the Bronx has a rich history.
  3. Fair Park Texas Centennial Buildings: The Fair Park buildings are one of the largest intact group of exposition buildings in the US.
  4. Coldwater Covered Bridge: This bridge was built by a former slave, and is one of the most visited attractions near Anniston, Alabama.
  5. TWA Terminal at JFK: This terminal has been hailed as an icon of modern design.
  6. Meridian Highway Bridge: The Meridian Highway Bridge has dual levels connecting South Dakota and Nebraska.
  7. US Capitol: This important and architecturally impressive building is worth a visit.
  8. Wentworth by the Sea: This hotel is one of only a handful of surviving Gilded Age hotels.
  9. Century Plaza Hotel: The Century Plaza Hotel is a prominent Los Angeles landmark, opened in 1966.
  10. Gold Dome Bank: This structure in Oklahoma City was designed to usher in a new age of technology.
  11. Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast: This B&B is in the same home as the famous murders of Andrew and Abby Borden.
  12. Ford’s Theatre: Ford’s Theatre shares Abraham Lincoln’s life and tragic assassination.
  13. The Vice President’s Residence: This residence has welcomed countless guests, including foreign leaders and dignitaries.
  14. Empire State Building: Visit the Empire State Building, one of the most famous buildings in New York and the United States.
  15. White House: Tour the halls of the White House to see the Presidential environment and history.
  16. Hinchliffe Stadium: Get a look into historic baseball at Hinchliffe Stadium.
  17. Stillwater Lift Bridge: This bridge is a testament to innovative engineering techniques.
  18. Merritt Parkway: Merritt Parkway offers a look into incredible scenic, cultural, and environmental assets.
  19. Montezuma Castle: This national monument is one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America.

Landmarks & Roadside Attractions

Stop off on your road trip to see these historic American attractions.

  1. Cadillac Ranch: Cadillac Ranch is an interesting offbeat attraction.
  2. Travelers Rest: This city has a colorful history as a stopover for weary travelers.
  3. Dinosaur Town with Volcano Toilets: Nearly 30 cement dinosaurs fill the town of Granger, Washington, and public toilets are encased in volcanoes.
  4. Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign: This sign welcomes travelers via Las Vegas Boulevard.
  5. Oldest Surviving McDonald’s: This restaurant is a fun example of roadside architecture.
  6. Wigwam Village Motel #6: Spend the night in a Route 66 landmark at the Wigwam Village Motel #6.

Memorials

These historic sites give reverence to those whose lives served America.

  1. USS Arizona Memorial: Learn about the sacrifice and history of Pearl Harbor in this national memorial.
  2. World War II Memorial: Visit the World War II memorial to recognize the sacrifice and victory of “the greatest generation.”
  3. Thomas Jefferson Memorial: This memorial stands as a symbol of liberty and remembrance of Thomas Jefferson.
  4. Hindenburg Crash Site: Check out this site to find a memorial of the Hindenburg crash.
  5. Vietnam Veterans Memorial: Go to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to remember their sacrifice.
  6. Washington Monument: This monument is one of the most prominent structures in Washington, DC.
  7. Mount Rushmore: Mount Rushmore is a breathtaking site to see.
  8. Congressional Cemetery: The Congressional Cemetery is a place for Presidents and residents in our American history.
  9. Lincoln Memorial: Celebrate the legacy of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial.
  10. The Survivors’ Stairway: This stairway is the only above-ground remnant of the World Trade Center in New York, and was used by hundreds to evacuate during the September 11th attacks.
  11. Korean War Veterans National Memorial: See the gratitude for Korean War veterans at this national memorial.
  12. FDR Memorial: Visit the FDR Memorial to celebrate the life and legacy of a great American President.

Watercraft

Check out these pieces of watercraft to learn about their purpose in US history.

  1. CA Thayer: This schooner is an excellent example of the historic Pacific Coast fleet.
  2. USS Albacore: USS Albacore sank 8 Japanese ships in her ten war patrols.
  3. USS Constellation: The USS Constellation is one of the greatest warships to serve in the Navy from Vietnam to Iraq.
  4. USS Constitution: Old Ironsides offers a look into the world’s oldest commissioned warship still afloat and US naval heritage.

Facilities

These facilities take a look into how things have worked throughout history.

  1. Great Bowdoin Mill: This village exists as a symbol of the paper industry in Maine.
  2. Alcatraz Island: You’ll get an inside look at the first lighthouse and US fort on the West Coast as well as the infamous federal penitentiary.
  3. Rosenwald Schools: These schools were a part of a program to improve education for blacks in the South.
  4. Hackensack Water Works: This water facility is a time capsule of 19th and 20th century technology.
  5. The Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse: This schoolhouse shares insights into North American building construction in the 1700s.
  6. Knight Foundry: Knight Foundry served the needs of the mining and lumber industries for more than 120 years.
  7. DeTour Reef Lighthouse: The DeTour is an outstanding offshore lighthouse experience on Lake Huron.
  8. Industrial Arts Building: The Industrial Arts Building showcases Lincoln, Nebraska’s most important export-agricultural products.
  9. Yuengling: Yuengling Brewery is America’s oldest operating brewery.
  10. The Monocacy Aqueduct: This aqueduct is one of the finest canal features in the US.
  11. Library of Congress: Spend time in the Library of Congress, one of the most impressive libraries in the world.
  12. Eleutherian College: Eleutherian College was founded in an antislavery stronghold.
  13. Space Center Houston: See space engineering and history at work at Space Center Houston.
  14. Hoover Dam: Take the Hoover Dam tour to learn about water management.
  15. Kennedy Space Center: Visit the Kennedy Space Center to take a journey through space and time.

Military

Battlegrounds, cemeteries, and museums tell the story of America’s military.

  1. Arlington National Cemetery: Walk among the headstones of American history at Arlington National Cemetery.
  2. Cedar Creek & Belle Grove: Visit this national historical park to see historical sites and events related to the American Civil War.
  3. Fort Jefferson: Fort Jefferson is America’s largest coastal fort, built in the mid-1800s with over 16 million bricks.
  4. Battle of Brandy Station: Visit Brandy Station, the site of the largest cavalry battle ever fought in North America.
  5. National Infantry Museum: At this museum, you’ll be able to honor and remember soldiers.
  6. Battle of Wilderness National Military Park: You’ll learn about the beginning of the Overland Campaign at the site of this Battle, fought in 1864.
  7. Gettysburg: Study the Battle of Gettysburg at Gettysburg National Military Park.
  8. Antietam National Battlefield: Visit Antietam to explore the bloodiest one day battle in American history.

Heritage

Explore America’s heritage at these sites.

  1. Colonial Williamsburg: Learn about America’s beginnings in Colonial Williamsburg.
  2. Pagat: Pagat showcases the early northeastern coastal villages of Guam.
  3. The Old North Church: This church played an important part in the American Revolution.
  4. Old Kaskasia Village: This village is the best-documented historic Indian site in the Illinois River Valley.
  5. Liberty Bell: See the old cracked Liberty Bell in Independence National Historical Park.
  6. Declaration of Independence: You’ll see one of the most important documents in US history in the Declaration of Independence.
  7. US Constitution: Visit the US Constitution in Independence National Historical Park.
  8. Ellis Island: See where so many American ancestors arrived at Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
  9. Cape Cod: Cape Cod isn’t just a hot tourism spot, it’s where the Pilgrims first landed in America.
  10. Historic Jamestowne: Explore America’s beginnings in Historic Jamestowne.
  11. Deerfield: Deerfield, Massachusetts has been restored to its colonial appearance.
  12. Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation: Angel Island will give you a glimpse into Pacific Coast immigration.

Homes

Focus on the lives of important Americans in their very own homes.

  1. The Paul Revere House: You can learn about the life of Paul Revere in his home.
  2. Carter G. Woodson Home: This site was the home of Carter G. Woodson and served as the national headquarters of the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History.
  3. President Lincoln’s Cottage: This cottage is an incredibly significant historic site from Lincoln’s presidency.
  4. Juana Briones Heritage: Juana Briones’ house tells the stories of a Latina businesswoman, humanitarian, and landowner.
  5. Montpelier: You will see the style of James and Dolley Madison at Montpelier.
  6. Mount Vernon: Explore the historic Mount Vernon estate and gardens, the home of George Washington.
  7. Daniel Webster Farm: See this farm to learn about Daniel Webster’s lie as one of America’s foremost statesmen.

Museums

These museums will help you study various important places, events, and items in US history.

  1. Pony Express Museum: You can learn about the legacy of the Pony Express in this museum.
  2. National Museum of Patriotism: Visit this museum for memories and patriotic inspiration.
  3. Folsom Prison Museum: You’ve heard about it in the Johnny Cash song, now learn about it in this museum.
  4. US Holocaust Memorial Museum: Study the history of the Holocaust at this museum.
  5. Newseum: This incredibly interactive museum will take you through the history of the news and beyond.
  6. National Underground Railroad Freedom Center: You will learn about the Underground Railroad at the Freedom Center.
  7. Museum of Death: See the history of death and more at the Museum of Death.