Times Square in New York City, "The Cross-Roads of the World." (©Mihai/Shutterstock)
From historic monuments scattered throughout the nation's East Coast, to the famed forward-design bridges and structures out West, these are the sights that define trips to the United States.
#1: New York City
Enter dynamic New York City, the fast-paced, exhilarating center of finance, the performing arts, famed haunts and restaurant hot-spots. Bustling streets connect at Times Square (pictured above), lined with neon jumbotrons and home of the famed Broadway theater district.
#2: Las Vegas
Head west, to the desert state of Nevada, where a glowing marquee beckons with incandescent lights and the words “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas,” a greeting to visitors since 1959.
The iconic Hollywood sign, located in Southern California’s Santa Monica Mountains, is another famous cultural marker. With letters at 45 feet high, the sign pinpoints the center of America’s prolific film industry, the Hollywood district of Los Angeles.
Some of America’s welcoming sights offer a moving experience—literally. Take the grand Ferris wheel located in Chicago’s Navy Pier. Created by engineer George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. and unveiled at the 1893 World’s Fair, it was the very first ride of its kind. The city and the attraction were so entwined in the public’s mind that the Ferris wheel was referred to as “The Chicago Wheel” for years after the exposition. Although it is not the original structure that families enjoy today, this 150-foot high attraction is modeled after that very first Chicago Wheel.
One of America’s oldest cities, Boston is home to another fun-filled American attraction: Boston Common. Dedicated in 1634, the oldest city park in the United States has been a site for cattle grazing, a camp for the British during America’s Revolutionary War and even a spot for public hangings. Today, however, there’s fun to be had at the park's softball fields, by its gorgeous Brewer Fountain, at the Frog Pond (an ice skating rink or splash pool, depending on the season) and elsewhere across the park’s 50 acres.
#6: Washington, D.C.
Although his presidency was marked by the South’s secession from the Union, which led to the Civil War, and ended in his assassination, Abraham Lincoln is widely recognized as one of the greatest presidents in American history. Today, millions visit the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., to view the seated figure of the president, carved out of 30 feet of beautiful white marble.
#7: San Francisco
No San Franciscan experience is complete without a view of or, even better, a trip across the majestic Golden Gate Bridge. Considered one of the Wonders of the Modern World, the 4,200-foot suspension bridge links the land on either side of San Francisco Bay where it opens into the Pacific Ocean. Until 1964, the Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world, and although it has lost that status today, the bridge still attracts millions of visitors each year.