Top 10 Landmarks In America
For travelers thinking about anchoring their trips with a visit to iconic U.S. landmarks, there’s no better starting point than the list of Travelers’ Choice award winners. With historical sites, poignant memorials and breathtaking examples of architectural innovation, there’s a wide variety of options to inspire those looking for culturally enriching experiences.
If you’re planning a visit to one of America’s most famous landmarks, make sure you’re prepared. In our list below, we’ve also featured some of the most highly-rated tours, according to our traveler community. Pre-book a viewing experience (right on TripAdvisor!) and you won’t need to worry about it once you’re in your destination. Or if you are on the trip, you can easily book cool experiences and tours using TripAdvisor’s mobile app.
Each of these top U.S. landmark tours comes highly recommended—just like the attractions themselves!
1. Alcatraz Island
A little over a mile offshore in San Francisco Bay, “The Rock” operated as a federal prison from 1934-1963, housed infamous inmates such as Al Capone and Whitey Bulger and inspired numerous novels and films. Today, travelers can take remarkable tours offering historical insights including a first-hand look at the prison cells and grounds. “A visit to Alcatraz is a must when visiting San Francisco. For the history of the prison and famous escapes, of course, but also for the island itself and its beautiful gardens and view on the city,” noted a TripAdvisor reviewer. It’s no surprise Alcatraz topped the list of best U.S. landmarks in this year’s awards.
Alcatraz Tour & Twilight Bay Cruise
Alcatraz tickets often sell out months ahead of time—an unpleasant surprise for visitors who didn’t book their tickets well in advance. Luckily, booking a guided tour is a good loophole for seeing Alcatraz in style, even if you’re only a few days away. The highly rated Jail and Sail: Alcatraz Tour and Twilight Bay Cruise also throws some romantic sightseeing on the San Francisco Bay into the mix, starting at $108 per person.
Alcatraz, Muir Woods & Sausalito 3-In-1 Tour
If time is not on your side, booking this tour to Alcatraz, Muir Woods, and Sausalito helps you accomplish your San Francisco sightseeing goals in just one day. An efficient itinerary packs in hassle-free transportation to top San Francisco attractions—including a picture-perfect drive across the Golden Gate Bridge—while still allowing plenty of free time for you to explore at each attraction on your own. Tickets start at $124 and include your ferry ride and Muir Woods admission.
Beat-The-Crowds Early Access Alcatraz Tour
You can also beat the crowds with an early-access tour to Alcatraz that brings you to the iconic U.S. landmark on the very first ferry of the day. Then, continue sightseeing on a converted cable car that brings you past the Palace of Fine Arts, Fort Point, and more, all with the added benefit of guided commentary that helps you learn more about the city. This VIP experience starts at $192 per person.
2. Golden Gate Bridge
Spanning 4,200 feet, this famous suspension bridge connecting San Francisco and Marin County is one of the most stunning landmarks in the world. Travelers can take in the breathtaking views of the bridge and bay with a leisurely walk across or on one of numerous popular bike tours. “Make sure you walk or ride a bike over it for the full experience! There are several look outs and each gives a different perspective of the bridge and city,” commented one TripAdvisor reviewer.
Bike Tour Across The Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is nice to look at, but it’s much more fun to cross. Book this 3-Hour Bike Tour from San Francisco to Sausalito via the Golden Gate Bridge to get the whole experience of riding across the Golden Gate Bridge with unobstructed views, no traffic, and the wind in your hair. Then, arrive in Sausalito for a leisurely afternoon browsing shops and restaurants before pedaling back or taking a ferry to the city. At $35 per person, this is a great value for a city tour and a bike rental in one.
See The Bridge From The Water On A Catamaran Cruise
For a different perspective on the Golden Gate Bridge, opt for this highly-rated San Francisco Bay Sunset Catamaran Cruise, starting at $60 per person. Make it a romantic night out as you sail beneath the Golden Gate Bridge and past Alcatraz—a two-for-one of the best U.S. landmarks—munching on hors d’oeuvres and sipping drinks as you go. Details like extra time to take photos near the bridge and included jackets (the wind can get chilly) make this tour well worth the price.
3. Lincoln Memorial
The majestic Lincoln statue in the National Mall is an enduring symbol of American values. Visitors can read moving excerpts from the Gettysburg Address and Lincoln’s inaugural address. “The location and size of this Memorial are so impressive but it is the texts from Lincoln’s addresses that are most inspiring,” said one TripAdvisor reviewer.
DC After Dark Tour
See the Lincoln Memorial all lit up when you visit on this DC After Dark tour, starting at $45 per person. Other tour highlights include the White House and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, plus a photo stop in front of the U.S. Capitol building. The early evening light is perfect for taking good pictures of this famous American landmark.
Washington Monuments Bike Tour
Thanks to its flat layout, a bike tour is another great way to see the Lincoln Memorial and Washington, DC. This Washington Monuments Bike Tour takes you past numerous monuments including the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, and more via comfortable and easy-to-ride cruisers—a ride that flies by as your guide shares fun facts about DC and stops to take your picture in front of the famous landmarks. Tours start at $44 per person and include a bike rental and helmet.
4. Grand Central Terminal
A busy commuter railroad station in the heart of Manhattan that’s also renowned as an architectural wonder, Grand Central is a popular tourist draw for its striking interior design and variety of shops and restaurants. A TripAdvisor reviewer stated, “Grand Central is the most glamorous train terminal ever. Full of restaurants, shops. The ceiling is magical, painted with mythical figures, wonderful.”
Grand Central Indoor Food Tour
More than just a place to wait for a train, Grand Central Terminal is also a great place to grab a bite to eat. Discover the breadth of the terminal’s offerings on this Grand Central Indoor Food Tour: an $89 ticket gets you plenty of food tastings like coffee, cheeses, cakes, sandwiches, and other goods, along with heaps of insight into the station’s eclectic history.
Underground New York Subway History Tour
Delve into New York City history on this Underground New York Subway tour, a private tour that takes you underground for a look at the massive subway system. After roughly two hours of touring the everyday beauty found in subway station artwork and hearing the stories behind the tracks, end with a tour of Grand Central Terminal and insight into the iconic station. Tickets start at $150.
Self-Guided Audio Tour
Do-it-yourself types will love this self-guided audio tour of Grand Central Terminal, which lets you visit the famous landmark on your own timetable and learn about its history from an audio guide. Listen all the way through for a super informative Grand Central Terminal tour, or skip ahead to the parts that interest you the most. With tickets starting at just $9, it’s also a great value for learning about the terminal without a big investment.
5. USS Arizona Memorial
A solemn and respectful tribute to the lives lost in the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, this memorial is situated above the sunken hull of the USS Arizona. “Learning about the history from a book and actually standing over the sunken ship containing our fallen soldiers are totally different things. This is sobering, thought-provoking, and memorable,” offered a TripAdvisor reviewer.
Deluxe Memorial & Historical City Tour
See the USS Arizona in the broader context of Hawaii when you visit as part of this Deluxe Arizona Memorial and Historical City Tour. Transportation is all included, so you can see top Honolulu sights like the USS Arizona, Iolani Palace, Punchbowl National Cemetery, and the King Kamehameha statue without spending time on logistics. A guide keeps the tour informative and entertaining as you drive around. Tickets start at $47 per person.
Go Oahu Card For All Top Attractions
With a Go Oahu card, you can visit top Oahu attractions like the USS Arizona, Diamond Head Crater, the Honolulu Museum of Art, and much more on your own schedule. This card is great for first-time visitors wanting to make the most of every moment on Oahu without missing a single sight, and it provides unbeatable value for tours and excursions. It’s especially a good idea for those who have their own form of transportation, which is not included in the pass. Each pass costs $74.
6. Empire State Building
An iconic part of New York City’s skyline since 1931 and standing 1,200 feet high, this Art Deco building and award-winning U.S. landmark allows travelers to take in sensational views of Manhattan from its observation areas on the 86th and 102nd floors, day or night. “We had VIP tickets pre-booked and skipped all the lines, well worth the extra cost. Staff were friendly and knowledgeable. Great views of New York, really enjoyed our visit,” said one TripAdvisor reviewer.
Skip-The-Line Empire State Building Experience With Observatory Viewing
This Empire State Building Experience not only lets you skip the line for fast admission to the ever-popular Empire State Building, but also includes access to the 102nd Floor Observatory for incredible views over Manhattan—up to 80 miles of visibility on a clear day. A three-course dinner in a well-regarded restaurant inside the Empire State Building is also included for a classy end to your tour (or start to your evening). Tickets start at $149 per person.
Multi-Attraction NYC-In-A-Day Sightseeing Tour
An efficient sightseeing itinerary doesn’t leave any top spots behind on the New York in One Day Guided Sightseeing Tour. In just a few hours, the tour drives through Times Square, past Rockefeller Center, down to the Empire State Building, and onward to a seasonal New York Harbor cruise for views of the Manhattan skyline. Visiting the Empire State Building as part of a guided New York City sightseeing tour lets you see the iconic sight without dedicating too much time to just a single attraction, ideal for first-time visitors wanting to make the most of every minute. Tickets start at $84.
Empire State Building Sunrise Experience
For truly unforgettable views of the Big Apple’s cityscape, book the Sunrise Experience Tour and get first access of the day to the Observation Deck—before it’s open to the public. Watch the sun illuminate the sky from 86 floors up, taking as many photos as you wish. Whether you’re coming in on a red-eye and want to jump start your day or you’re just an early riser, this experience is not to be missed—with tickets starting at $100. Or splurge on the $125 ticket and you’ll also get a pre-fixe breakfast at STATE Grill and Bar, located in the lobby of the Empire State Building.
7. Statue of Liberty
Proudly standing 151 feet high, Lady Liberty remains the most recognizable symbol of American freedom—and unsurprisingly one of the best U.S. landmarks to visit, according to our travelers. A TripAdvisor reviewer commented, “As beautiful as the statue is when driving by during the day or viewing from the lower Manhattan area, the statue is really impressive when sailing by after dark, on a cruise departing from New York. Even native New Yorkers were impressed.”
Afternoon Statue Of Liberty Tour
The Afternoon Statue of Liberty Tour with Pedestal Access is a no-fuss Statue of Liberty tour done right. Ferry tickets and entrance fees are included in the price, and a guide fills you in on the history and fun facts about the Statue of Liberty that you might miss if visiting on your own. Free time is included at the end of the tour so you can even go back to your favorite spots to explore on your own. Tickets start at $57 per person.
Priority Access Tour To Beat The Crowds
Because the Statue of Liberty is such an iconic attraction, waiting times to visit can be long. This Early-Access Statue of Liberty Tour with Ellis Island makes the most of your time in Manhattan by including early-morning priority boarding for the ferry to Liberty Island, letting you arrive before most of the crowds. After a tour of the Statue of Liberty with a guide, ride to Ellis Island for a deeper look into this history of immigration in the United States. At $57 for pedestal entrance and all ferry tickets (plus a guide), this tour is a great value option.
8. Brooklyn Bridge
Opened in 1883 and spanning nearly 6,000 feet, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the world’s most recognizable suspension bridges and a classic New York sight. “Visiting the Brooklyn Bridge, which is the bridge between Manhattan and Brooklyn, is a must see spot for those in the city. Walking over from DUMBO into Manhattan is your best bet, as you walk towards the incredible skyline of New York City. It’s a truly marvelous experience,” exclaimed a TripAdvisor reviewer.
Brooklyn Bridge Guided Walking Tour
Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge is a New York City rite of passage, and this Brooklyn Bridge Guided Walking Tour makes the most of every step. Learn the interesting history behind the bridge’s construction, which went hand-in-hand with the growth of New York City from a sleepy town to one of the most influential cities in the world. Get in touch with history from the American Revolution to today as you cross the bridge with your guide—tickets start at $26 per person.
Brooklyn Bridge Bicycle Tour
A bicycle lets you cover more ground in less time and is an active way to explore New York City. This Brooklyn Bridge Bicycle Tour includes all the equipment you need for a safe and fun ride across this famous U.S. landmark, plus operates with a guide to help you navigate New York City streets without having to pull out a map. After riding across the bridge, keep exploring Lower Manhattan attractions like Wall Street and Battery Park with your guide. Tours start at $30.
Manhattan Island Cruise For Below-Bridge Views
If crossing the bridge doesn’t do it for you, give sailing under it a try. This Manhattan Island Cruise goes right under the Brooklyn Bridge, past the Statue of Liberty, and up the East River toward the Upper East Side. Though tickets start at $43, upgrades like premium seating and VIP packages with extra amenities give you the option of choosing just how luxe you want your cruise to be.
9. Biltmore Estate
Once the home of George Washington Vanderbilt II, the 135,280 square foot estate on 6,950 acres is the largest privately owned house in the U.S. and gives visitors a feel for life in America’s Gilded Age. “I loved the library of George Vanderbilt and the banquet hall was amazing. Outside the house, the gardens would take up quite a time, especially during springs as azaleas were in full bloom. A must-do for anyone interested in the historical high-end lifestyle of the U.S.,” commented a TripAdvisor reviewer.
Self-Guided Audio Tour With Lunch
Though the Biltmore Estate is impressive to look at, it’s even more remarkable when you take a tour through its massive grounds and mansion. This package for Biltmore Admission with Self-Guided Audio Tour & Lunch is a popular choice at this famous U.S. landmark, because it lets you explore at your own pace without missing a single thing. After your tour, linger on the grounds for an included lunch and a stroll through the gardens. Tickets start at $109 per person.
Biltmore Visit Day Trip From Charlotte
If Asheville didn’t make it onto your North Carolina itinerary, you can still squeeze in a trip to the Biltmore Estate by joining this guided day trip to the Biltmore from Charlotte. In addition to including all transportation and a self-guided tour of the home and gardens, this outing also includes an on-site wine tasting, giving the tour a more high-end feel. Tickets start at $375.
10. Cloud Gate
This popular stainless steel structure in Millennium Park, affectionately known as “the Bean,” has become a Chicago icon. “It’s one of the most recognizable pieces of public art. Something about this huge silver bean just makes you feel like a kid. It’s fun not only to look at, but to touch, take pictures and people watch,” noted a TripAdvisor reviewer.
Chicago Greatest Hits Bicycle Tour
A classic Chicago city sightseeing tour takes on a playful twist with the Chicago Greatest Hits Bicycle Tour, a 2.5-hour morning or evening spin around the Windy City. Cruise by Chicago’s must-see sights like the Bean, Buckingham Fountain, and the lakefront, stopping to snap photos at the landmarks that catch your attention. Joining a guide for the bike tour eliminates the hassle of trying to navigate unknown territory by bicycle, leaving you free to to just enjoy the ride.
Chicago Segway Tour
First-time Segway users love this Chicago Segway tour for its flat terrain and intriguing commentary. In just a couple hours, you cover most major Chicago attractions (including Cloud Gate), and learn all about the city from your guide, who also makes sure to take plenty of photos during the tour. Tickets start from $70.
Chicago Loop Food Walking Tour
Your tour of the Windy City is downright delicious with this Chicago Loop Food Walking Tour. Between bites of deep dish pizza, classic dipped Italian sandwiches, and Chicago-style hot dogs, follow your guide to the Chicago Art Institute and through Millennium Park for a chance to see Cloud Gate with a full stomach.