Published on: Sep 21, 2020, Last Edited: Sep 21, 2020
The United States has many renowned landmarks that offer visitors insight into the history and culture of the country. Here are the 10 landmarks travelers should consider when visiting the United States. As always, international travelers are advised to regularly check travel restrictions on their local U.S. embassy website for the latest information.
The White House is the home of the U.S. President and is in Washington DC. The White House was designed by James Hoban and finished in 1800. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, it is possible for anyone to visit the building and see it from the outside. However, if you wish to take a tour, you need to apply through your Member of Congress (for U.S. residents). If you are a foreign visitor, contact your country's embassy in Washington to apply. These measures are taken for security purposes, and a background check will be carried out on all potential visitors.
The Capitol Building in Washington DC is the home of the United States Congress. Like the White House, it was completed in 1800, and was designed by William Thornton. Tours of the Capitol are free, but they are popular and should be booked in advance. It is possible to watch Congress when it is in session, however these passes aren't included in the tour and need to be arranged separately. Other highlights on the tour include the Botanical Garden and the Library of Congress.
Located on the National Mall in Washington DC, the Lincoln Memorial is a 19ft statue of the former president Abraham Lincoln sitting down and gazing out across the Mall. It was completed in 1922 by Henry Bacon and Daniel Chester French. The 36 columns surrounding the statue represent the number of states in the union when Lincoln died. It is open 24 hours a day, and can be visited by anyone, although it will clearly get extremely busy. It's said that visiting the statue at night, or early in the morning, are more tranquil times.
The Statue of Liberty is one of the most famous landmarks in the U.S., and a recognized symbol of America worldwide. Lady Liberty was gifted to America from France in 1886. She is located on Liberty Island, and there are regular ferries that will transport visitors from Battery Park to see the statue. It is possible to go to the top of the statue, inside the crown, but tickets for this must be purchased in advance. In peak travel seasons, tickets should be purchased 6 months in advance. Tours are limited to just 240 people a day. The walk itself can be physically challenging as it consists walking up 354 steps. Visitors not wishing to take the steps can still visit the pedestal, which is at the base of the statue. There is a lift to help visitors to get to the pedestal, but these tickets must also be reserved in advance.
One World Trade Center, in New York City, is located on the site of the former Twin Towers, and is now the tallest building in the United States. The building is also currently the seventh tallest building in the world. It was designed by David Childs and completed in 2013. The One World Observatory, at the top of the building, will provide stunning views of New York, and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum provide a touching tribute to all those that lost their lives in 2001. You can also experience the Sky Portal, which is a glass floor in the Observatory, that looks down onto the streets of New York.
Measuring 277 miles in length, the Grand Canyon is a naturally formed landmark that has existed for around 5-6 million years. There are several places for tourists to view the Canyon, including Lipan Point on the South Rim and Guano Point on the West Rim. Helicopter tours are a popular way of viewing the Canyon, and some will even land on the bottom of the Canyon. On the West Rim there is also the Skywalk, which is a glass walkway that protrudes out into the Canyon.
Located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, this infamous monument stands at 60 feet high. It contains the faces of former presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson, which are carved into a granite cliff. It was mainly created by the sculptor Gutzon Borglum and took 14 years to complete from 1927 to 1941. The Avenue of Flags leads up to the monument, and features the flags of all the states and territories in America. This leads up to the Grand View Terrace, where you can stand to get your clear view of Mount Rushmore.
Established in March 1872, Yellowstone National Park is located in the states of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. With over two million acres to explore, the park offers visitors many areas to explore. One of its most famous attractions is the Old Faithful geyser. The geyser erupts approximately every 90 minutes. Yellowstone also has its own Grand Canyon, lakes and the Mammoth Hot Springs. Yellowstone offers visitors a number of outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, rafting and fishing. Visiting Yellowstone is more than just a day trip, and it's thought you need to stay there for at least three days.
Yosemite National Park is located in California, and was founded in 1890. It covers an area of 748,436 acres, which contains several natural sights, including the highest waterfall in North America, Yosemite Falls. Hiking is a popular activity, and there are many trails to choose from, including Mist Trail, Panorama Trail, and Four Mile Trail. In the winter months, Yosemite offers visitors winter sports activities such as sledding, skating and skiing.
Located in Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park covers 265,461 acres and was established in 1915. One of the Park's unique attractions is The Continental Divide. The Divide is a split in the continent, and you can see the water flowing in two different directions. Camping is a popular activity, and you can choose between the easy Moraine Park Campground, or Long’s Peak Campground, which is located at the top of a mountain.
Foreign nationals entering the United States will require an ESTA or a visa to enter by air or sea. An ESTA can be used for tourism or business journeys of up to 90 days per visit. A B1/B2 visitor visa can be used for tourism or business purposes as well but usually allows visitors to stay up to 180 days per visit. There are also several other different types of visas that may be relevant to travelers depending on their purpose of visiting the United States. Travelers should aim to apply for an ESTA no later than 72 hours before their intended departure to the United States, or, apply earlier if possible.
The above ten landmarks are just some of the many attractions and places to visit in the United States. If you are not a Canadian or U.S. citizen, you will need an ESTA or visa to enter the United States. Travel restrictions may inhibit your ability to visit America or access any of the above landmarks so travelers should be aware of advisories affecting their journey.