The United States is home to some of the most breathtaking scenery on Earth. From the dazzling sights of New York City to the nation’s top national parks, here are seven spectacular American attractions.
1. Niagara Falls
Located on America’s border with Canada, Niagara is one of the world’s most famous waterfalls, where colossal amounts of water flow from Lake Erie into Lake Ontario.
Niagara actually consists of three separate falls. The largest section, Horseshoe Falls, has a 187-foot drop. The second section on the American side of the river is called American Falls; it incorporates an 89-foot drop. Finally, the Bridal Veil Falls section has a drop of 78 feet.
Summer is the most popular time to visit Niagara Falls, as the warm weather and blooming gardens enhance the experience. However, some visitors come during the depths of winter, when the falls transform into a winter wonderland of snow-covered shores and ice-covered trees, railings, and street signs.
2. Times Square
Located in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, Times Square is visited by more than 39 million people each year. It is situated at the intersection of Seventh Avenue and Broadway, covering the area from W. 42nd to W. 47th Streets. One of the most visited tourist locations on Earth, it is a must-see for any visitor to New York.
Many types of shows and events are hosted in Times Square each year, including the famous ball drop on New Year’s Eve.
3. Union Station
Renovations to the tune of $160 million were undertaken to Washington DC’s Union Station in the 1980s following decades of dilapidation. Since reopening in 1988, it has emerged as a must-see location for tourists visiting the nation’s capital, enchanting and enthralling them with its imposing architecture while offering plenty of shopping opportunities and world-class restaurants. In addition to being one of the largest transport hubs in the country, Union Station is steeped in history.
The building, completed in 1908, was designed by architect Daniel Burnham, who is also responsible for the jaw-dropping Main Hall that continues to dazzle visitors to this day. The Main Hall underwent further restoration after an earthquake in 2011 and reopened in the fall of 2016, showcasing its original Beaux Arts splendor.
4. Mount Rushmore
One of the most famous landmarks in the world, Mount Rushmore is a national memorial situated in South Dakota. Depicting the faces of four former American presidents, Mount Rushmore was constructed in the early 1900s. Each face was created by blasting and carving the side of a rock face.
Visitors continue to admire the colossal representations of Presidents Jefferson, Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt at the site to this day. At the base of the monument, the short Presidential Trail offers visitors better views, as well as an interesting perspective on the landmark.
5. Grand Canyon
Located in Arizona, the Grand Canyon was carved by the Colorado River over millions of years. One of the most visited locations in the whole of the United States, if not the world, the Grand Canyon is 277 miles long with a width of 18 miles and a depth of over 1 mile.
This expansive attraction draws more than 5 million visitors annually, 83 percent of whom are US citizens. The South Rim is popular among tourists, as it offers ample hiking opportunities and the thrill of white water rafting and helicopter rides.
6. Florida Keys
Lying just off Florida’s southern coast, the Florida Keys are a chain of islands coveted by tourists seeking a tropical vacation. In addition to the picture-perfect, white sandy beaches, the region also offers a variety of marine activities, including sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving.
The southernmost point in the continental United States, Key West was popular with literary giants like Tennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway. It was also home to US President Harry S. Truman’s Little White House winter retreat.
7. New Orleans
New Orleans showcases the amalgamation of the diverse cultures that have shaped the region’s culture, with strong French and Spanish influences still visible in its architecture, history, and art. Visitors can also enjoy classic Caribbean and Cajun cuisines while listening to soulful, soothing jazz.
Highlights include Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, the French Quarter, and the Garden District. Steamer boat cruises down the Mississippi River are also a fun, relaxing way of seeing more of the city.
With convoys of colorful floats and hundreds of dancers flooding the streets, Mardi Gras is the ideal time to visit New Orleans.