20 Best Places to Visit in the United States

From the American Revolution to the Tech Revolution, the United States has shaped world history since its inception in 1776.

This vast and diverse country stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the mighty Pacific and borders the Arctic Circle and the Gulf of Mexico to the north and south.

Within its borders, you’ll discover some of the world’s most famous cities and enjoy breathtaking landscapes you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

This is the United States of America, and with something unique to offer at every turn, you could spend a lifetime exploring this diverse country. 

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From incredible natural wonders to culturally rich cities, you’ll find something worth visiting as we tour the 20 best places to visit in the United States.

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So come along as we discover the 20 best places to visit in the United States.

1. Chicago

Our first stop is Chicago, an exciting and vibrant city on the shores of Lake Michigan. Chicago is famous for its great food, incredible architecture, and diverse culture. 

Take a stroll along the Chicago Riverwalk as you take in the city’s impressive architecture, unique artwork, and incredible outdoor dining along the banks of the Chicago River.

And for great shopping, there’s no better spot than the Magnificent Mile with its trendy boutiques and eclectic upscale restaurants. 

Here you’ll find the famous Chicago Water Tower, one of the few buildings that survived the Great Fire of 1871.

Millennium Park is your destination for arts, culture, and outdoor music.

At Navy Pier, you’ll find fun for the whole family. This kilometer-long pier features family fun attractions, great dining options, and even a 200-foot tall Ferris wheel. 

And for the best views of the city and Lake Michigan, head to the Skydeck Chicago Observation deck.

2. Yellowstone National Park

From Chicago, we’re heading to the great outdoors. Located on the border of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho in the Western United States, Yellowstone National Park has the world’s largest collection of geysers and hot springs.

The park is famous for world-class hikes and diverse wildlife. From the over 900 miles of trails, you can spot grizzly bears, wolves, and bison. 

The best drive through the park is on the north end, where you’ll spot numerous bison herds. Yellowstone is also called the Land of the Roaming Bison for the large number of buffalo that move freely throughout the park.

Yellowstone is home to Steamboat Geyser, the tallest geyser in the world that can send water 300 feet into the air.

And world-famous Old Faithful is a must-see and regularly erupts every 45 to 90 minutes.

The most photographed feature in the park is Old Prismatic Spring.

And no tour of Yellowstone would be complete without a visit to the Grand Canyon and Falls. 

3. Sedona

After Yellowstone, we’re off to Sedona. Two hours north of Phoenix, Sedona is famous for its incredible red rock formations and outdoor activities.

A great way to experience the area’s beauty is to drive the Red Rock Scenic Byway, which goes right through Sedona.

And just 15 miles south, you’ll find Montezuma Castle, a National Monument protecting a Native American cliff dwelling dating to 1100 AD. 

Don’t miss the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a popular stop for its unique architecture and incredible views.

Sedona offers great hikes, like the popular Cathedral Rock, Soldier’s Pass, and Devil’s Bridge trails. 

And at Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village in downtown Sedona, you’ll discover unique shops featuring work by the more than 500 artists that call Sedona home. 

With over 300 sunny days and a temperate climate, Sedona is a year-round destination you shouldn’t miss.

4. San Francisco

Next up, San Francisco. San Francisco is located in Central California on the Pacific Coast and is known for its iconic hills, diverse culture, and great food. 

You’ll discover world-class museums, great shopping, incredible theaters, and modern art galleries. 

Tour the famous prison at Alcatraz Island and learn all about its dark history and infamous inhabitants. 

The 1.7-mile-long Golden Gate Bridge is a San Francisco landmark. The bridge is 65 stories high and connects the city to Marin County.

And no visit to San Francisco would be complete without a ride on one of its world-famous cable cars.

Visit Lombard Street, billed as the “crookedest” street in the world, for incredible views and Victorian mansions.

At Fisherman’s Wharf, you’ll find eclectic shops, great restaurants, and fun family entertainment. 

San Francisco makes a great base to tour the world-famous Sonoma and Napa Valley wineries. Or walk among the towering redwoods.

You’ll never run out of great things to do in this City by the Bay.

5. Joshua Tree National Park

After San Francisco, we’re heading to Joshua Tree. This 750,000-acre national park in the Mojave Desert is famous for its excellent hiking, incredible rock formations, and Joshua tree forests.

Joshua Tree offers incredible hiking for all levels.

Hidden Valley is an easy one-mile loop that tours a rock-enclosed valley once home to cattle rustlers.

Discover Joshua tree forests on the moderate Hi-View trail. 

More advanced hikers will enjoy the 6.6-mile Panorama loop with its spectacular lookouts.

But for the best view in the park, hike to the top of Ryan Mountain.

And throughout the park are numerous abandoned mines you can explore. Two of the most popular are Lost Horse Mine and Desert Queen Mine.

And don’t miss Joshua Tree’s famous rock formations – Skull Rock, Heart Rock, Split Cap, Cap Rock, and Penguin Rock.

The best time to visit Joshua Tree is in winter and early spring before temperatures get too hot. 

6. Twin Cities

Next, we’re heading to Minnesota to visit the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-Saint Paul. This popular US destination draws more than 18 million visitors a year.

You’ll discover great museums, outdoor fun, incredible culture, and delicious cuisine here.

Greenbelts connect the various neighborhoods and lakes and wind throughout the cities. 

For great shopping, head over to Grand Avenue. This 30-block stretch has beautiful turn-of-the-century homes, boutiques, incredible restaurants, and relaxing spas.

Halfway between the two cities, you’ll find Minnehaha Falls Park. This beautiful green space is home to limestone cliffs and scenic overlooks. Catch an outdoor summer concert and enjoy a picnic overlooking the picturesque waterfalls.

Another must-see stop is the Minneapolis Institute of Art. This museum has more than 80,000 works dating back over 5000 years.

And no visit would be complete without visiting the Mall of America, the biggest mall in the US. The mall is perfect for the whole family and even features an indoor amusement park and aquarium.

7. Lake Tahoe

Next up is beautiful Lake Tahoe. This lake, located on the California-Nevada border, is considered one of the prettiest lakes in the US.

Lake Tahoe is known for its crystal blue waters and stunning rock formations. With a depth of over 1600 feet, it is the 2nd deepest lake in the US. 

A great place to visit is Sand Harbor Beach. The clear waters and smooth rocks make it the perfect place to enjoy a sunny afternoon at the lake.

And if you’re looking for great hiking, head to Emerald Bay State Park, famous for its abundant hiking trails and incredible vistas.

Just north of Lake Tahoe is the historic mountain town of Truckee. This town is definitely worth the visit. Here you’ll find art galleries, charming boutiques, and great restaurants. Also, catch a free outdoor summer concert at the Truckee River outdoor theater.

If you’re looking for outdoor adventure, Lake Tahoe is a perfect spot.

8. Grand Canyon National Park

From beautiful Lake Tahoe to one of the world’s seven natural wonders, we’re off to the Grand Canyon.

This impressive canyon is 227 miles long and features some of the most stunning scenery in the United States.

The two most popular destinations in the park are the South Rim and West Rim.

The South Rim is perfect for first-time visitors and families with small children. This side of the canyon is more developed, with numerous hotels, restaurants, and incredible hiking and biking trails. 

The South Rim is home to over two dozen lookouts, including Mather Point and Yaki Point.

You can even take a mule ride down to the canyon floor.

The West Rim is quieter and less developed than the South Rim but is home to the incredible Grand Canyon Skywalk. 

The views are awe-inspiring from this horseshoe-shaped skywalk that juts out 70 feet from the sheer canyon walls.

The Grand Canyon is an incredible destination the whole family will love.

9. New York City

Next, we’re off to the Big Apple – New York City. This world-famous city is known for tall skyscrapers, diverse neighborhoods, grand theaters, and incredible restaurants.

Times Square is a must-see stop. This lively square draws over 50 million visitors a year and is full of great restaurants and New York attractions.

Another top destination is the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York’s most visited attraction. 

From the top of the iconic Empire State Building, you’ll experience breathtaking 360-degree views of the entire city.

And one of the most famous parks in the world, Central Park has numerous paths and walkways and is home to the Central Park Zoo. 

The majestic Statue of Liberty has been a beacon of hope to new arrivals since its dedication in 1886.

And no visit to New York would be complete without a stop on Broadway, the most famous theater district in the world.

No matter the adventure, you’ll find it in New York City.

10. Florida Keys

Next, we’re heading south to the Florida Keys. 

The Florida Keys are a chain of islands off the southern coast of Florida known for their beautiful beaches, crystal clear water, and laid-back Caribbean vibe.

All the islands are connected by the Overseas Highway, one of the world’s longest over-water roadways.

Key West is a colorful and diverse city with a tranquil vibe at the southernmost point of the United States. 

Here you can visit the Ernest Hemingway House and Museum.  

Or watch the sunset at Mallory Square, a popular spot with great restaurants, fun shops, and cultural activities. 

Head to Fort Zachary Taylor Historic Park for one of the best beaches in the Keys.

And for a unique and memorable experience, go swimming with the dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center.

For their diverse culture, delicious fresh seafood, and laid-back vibe, the Florida Keys are a destination you shouldn’t miss.

11. Austin

Next on our list is the friendly city of Austin. The state capital of Texas, Austin is known for amazing restaurants, an eclectic live music scene, exciting nightlife, and outdoor activities.

The many parks and lakes throughout the city are popular for hiking, biking, boating, and swimming. 

The Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail is a scenic trail that winds through lush gardens and quiet lakes and is a great place to enjoy the beautiful Texas weather.

And the 19th-century State Capital Building is the tallest state capital building in the US.

At Bullock Texas State History Museum, you can discover the rich history of the Republic of Texas, the only state that was also once a country.  

The iconic Driskill Hotel is an excellent example of Romanesque architecture from the 1800s.

And the SoCo District is the place to go to experience that authentic Austin vibe. This trendy area of South Congress Street offers funky shops, eclectic restaurants, and great live music. 

12. Miami

From Austin, we’re off to sunny Miami, Florida. 

Miami is one of Florida’s top tourist destinations. It is known for its Art Deco architecture, upscale shopping, diverse culture, and exciting nightlife.

And of course, its beautiful beaches. 

From the beaches, we’re heading inland for a tour of the Florida Everglades. One of the most extensive wetlands in the world. The Everglades are home to many unique and endangered species, including the American crocodile and West Indian manatee.

Explore the Latin vibe of Little Havana, the most prominent Cuban neighborhood outside of Cuba. This colorful neighborhood was created by Cuban immigrants over 50 years ago and features excellent restaurants and unique shops.

The Metromover is a great way to tour the city. This free train hits all the top Miami destinations.

And for an experience you’ll never forget, grab a sunset cruise touring the beautiful Biscayne Islands.

So if you’re looking for great beaches, beautiful weather, and diverse culture, put Miami at the top of your list.

13. Denali National Park

Next up, we’re off to the wilds of Alaska and Denali National Park. 

The park was established in 1917 as a wildlife preserve. It is famous for its diverse landscapes, incredible scenery, and towering mountains so high that their peaks are often lost in the clouds.

Named for Denali, the tallest mountain in North America, it’s three times the size of Yellowstone.

The best time to visit is from mid-May to early September.

A great way to experience the park is to drive the 90-mile Park Road that winds through the park and features awe-inspiring vistas.

Or hike Mt. Healy Overlook Trail for magnificent views of the Nenana Valley.

You’ll find informative videos and discussions by park rangers at one of the four visitor centers located throughout the park.

For a once in a lifetime experience, take an aerial tour of the park offered by various tour operators. There’s no better way to experience Denali National Park’s majesty.

14. Boston

Next on our tour is one of the oldest cities in America –  Boston, Massachusetts.

Founded in 1630, Boston has played an important role in American history since before the Revolutionary War.

Now a thriving and vibrant city, Boston is home to both Harvard and MIT.

Founded in 1634, Boston Common is the oldest city park in the country. From here, you can walk the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail and tour historic sites from the American Revolution. 

Catch a Red Sox game at Fenway Park and see the most famous left-field wall in major league baseball, the Green Monster.

And for the best Italian food on this side of the Atlantic, head to the North End. Stroll the cobblestone streets as you admire the architecture of Boston’s oldest neighborhood. 

While in the area, visit the Old North Church, where Paul Revere began his legendary ride.

And to relive the event that changed the course of American history, visit the floating Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.

15. Blue Ridge Parkway & Great Smoky Mountains

Next, we’re off to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains for exciting outdoor adventure.

The 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway borders the Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah National Park and has been called America’s favorite drive. 

The Parkway offers great historical sites where you’ll discover the rich history of the people that called these mountains home.

Two popular spots are Mountain Farm and Johnson Farm.

Another great destination is Flat Top Manor, a historical mansion now open to the public.

You could spend weeks hiking the trails around the Blue Ridge Parkway. In addition, the area boasts excellent rafting and friendly campsites.

Gatlinburg has a great small-town feel and features boutique shops and restaurants.

While over at Pigeon Forge, you’ll find lots of family fun attractions and its most popular destination, Dollywood, the famous theme park named for its owner, Dolly Parton.

For incredible hikes, fantastic wildlife, beautiful vistas, and scenic waterfalls, be sure to visit the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains.

16. Monument Valley

Next on our list is Monument Valley, known for its towering sandstone buttes and stunning scenery. 

You can experience the most famous sites in the valley from the winding 17-mile Valley Drive that starts and ends at the Monument Valley Visitor Center, including the gorgeous Three Sisters butte. 

Also at the visitor center, you can take one of the many tours and excursions offered in the park.

A popular hike is Wildcat Trail, the only self-guided hike permitted in the park. The trail takes you out and around the West Mitten butte.

Monument Valley has been featured in many popular movies, including Forest Gump, Vacation, Mission Impossible II, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the popular HBO series Westworld.

And at Goulding’s Trading Post Museum, you’ll discover the rich history of the valley and tour film sets used in many of the popular Westerns filmed here.

Monument Valley is a must-see stop for anyone wanting to explore the beautiful American Southwest.

17. Los Angeles

Next, we’re off to Los Angeles, the City of Angels.

Los Angeles offers beautiful sunny beaches, great restaurants, exciting nightlife, and luxury shopping and is the center of the country’s movie and television industry.

On a Hollywood tour, you’ll see some of the most famous sites in Los Angeles – Beverly Hills mansions, the Chinese Theater, Sunset Strip, Rodeo Drive, and dozens of movie and TV filming locations.

And for the best views of the iconic Hollywood sign, visit the Griffith Observatory overlooking the city.

Enjoy the famous California sunshine at one of the many beautiful beaches found in the area. 

Disneyland, Knots Berry Farm, and Universal Studios Hollywood offer fun for the whole family.

You’ll discover mammoths and saber-tooth tigers at La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, the world’s only active Ice Age excavation.

Visit the Grove for great shopping and dining options. Star sightings are frequent in this popular outdoor mall.

Or go window shopping on the most expensive street in the world – Rodeo Drive.

18. Zion National Park

Zion National Park is a nature preserve in southwest Utah famous for its steep red rock cliffs and incredible views.

You can drive the 54-mile Zion Canyon Scenic Drive or take the Zion Shuttle to see the most popular attractions in the park.

The park features excellent hiking. One of the most popular trails is Angel’s Landing, famous for its steep switchbacks and stunning 1000-foot sheer drops with incredible views of the entire canyon.

The historic Zion Lodge is a great place to stay during your visit to this amazing valley. 

Or pitch your tent at one of the over 300 campsites available in the park.

During your visit, see if you can spot some of the park’s most famous residents – bighorn sheep. 

One of the best places to spot them is the Canyon Overlook trailhead.

While the Watchman is the park’s most famous photo spot.

19. Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is the next stop on our tour, located on the rugged Atlantic coast of Maine. The park is centered on Maine’s Mount Desert Island and is famous for dense forests, rocky beaches, and stunning granite peaks. 

The 27-mile park loop road is a great way to explore the park. 

While cycling enthusiasts will love the old Carriage Roads, 47 miles of car-free cycling that wind through the park.

When you’re ready for a break, stop at the Jordan Pond House, the only restaurant in the park.

A popular destination is Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain on the East coast.

On Mount Desert Island, you’ll discover the picturesque New England town of Bay Harbor, where you can spend the day exploring this charming seaside village’s unique shops and great restaurants.

20. Phoenix / Scottsdale

For our final stop, we’re heading to the southwestern cities of Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona.  

Phoenix is an exciting and modern city known for its year-round sun and warm temperatures. 

While Scottsdale is famous for high-end resorts, world-class golf courses, and upscale boutiques. 

A great way to take in the beauty of the area is a morning hot air balloon ride for a birds-eye view of the entire valley.

The Phoenix Zoo is a popular destination in Papago Park, featuring over 3000 animal exhibits, outdoor cafes, lush gardens, and up-close animal adventures.

Visit Old Town Scottsdale for great shopping, dining, and exciting nightlife. The area is easily walkable, or grab a ride on the Old Town Trolley. It’s free to use and hits all the popular area attractions, including the Rusty Spur Saloon, the Little Red Schoolhouse, and Cavalliere’s Blacksmith Shop.

Discover the best-known Southwestern artists at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our tour of the 20 best places in the United States. From sea to shining sea, the United States is a diverse country with incredible scenery and vibrant, modern cities.

We’d love to hear from you. Let us know your favorite place to visit in the United States in the comment section below.

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