The United States is filled with amazing, life-changing locations. Explore the list of 25 best places to see in the USA before you die. These are the best destinations in the USA which is ranked by TripAdvisor’s Travellers Choice Award. These are the iconic places ingrained in every American’s mind, the places, signs, and monuments that represent the best of what America is all about. Make sure you see them with your own eyes before you die!
1New York City, New York
New York City is on the top of 25 Best Places to See in the USA Before You Die. Conquering New York in one visit is impossible. Instead, hit the must-sees – the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art – and then explore off the beaten path with visits to The Cloisters or one of the city’s libraries. Indulge in the bohemian shops of the West Village or the fine dining of the Upper West Side. The bustling marketplace inside of Grand Central Station gives you a literal taste of the best the city has to offer.
2Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is in the second spot in the list of 25 Best Places to See in the USA Before You Die. Whether you’re a high roller or a low-key lounge, Las Vegas has something to suit your vacation taste. Sample fare from top chefs and cornucopian buffets, try your luck at one of the world’s premier casinos or take in a spectacular show. Just wandering the Strip is enough to get your heart pumping. Once you’ve had enough of the razzle-dazzle, wave hello to the toothy sea life at the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef, hike Red Rock Canyon, or visit the Neon Museum, where old signs take on new life.
From the Magic Kingdom to magical spa treatments, Orlando sparkles with the promise of adventure. Spend a day exploring the world-famous Disney theme parks, giggling with the dolphins at SeaWorld, or screaming your head off on a Universal Studios roller coaster. For a less adrenaline-pumping afternoon, enjoy the quiet natural beauty of the Harry P. Leu Gardens, or enjoy a seaweed scrub at a luxury day spa. Savor fresh and local ingredients at one of Orlando’s James Beard-nominated restaurants.
The windy city of Chicago is a cornucopia of modern art, fine dining, cutting edge comedy, and die-hard sports fans. Snap a photo of your reflection in the silver Cloud Gate sculpture at Millennium Park before heading to Grant Park to get hit with the refreshing spray of Buckingham Fountain. There are dozens of museums and theater companies in Chicago, so a cultural experience is never hard to find. You’re sure to laugh your head off at the Second City Theater, the professional launch pad of many famous comedians.
5San Francisco, California
Every neighborhood in San Francisco has its own personality, from the hippie chic of the Upper Haight to the hipster grit of the Mission. The Marina district boasts trendy bistros and postcard-perfect views of the Golden Gate Bridge while Noe Valley offers quaint and quiet boutiques. Wave hello to the sea lions at Pier 39, and sample local cheese and charcuterie at the Ferry Building. Sit in on a yoga session in Dolores Park or marvel at the Dutch Windmill across from Ocean Beach.
6San Diego, California
San Diego embodies laid-back California culture, complete with a Boardwalk, surfing communities, and outstanding Mexican food. Breathe in the fresh ocean air at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, then gobble down a fresh fish taco at a La Jolla seafood joint. The naval aircraft at the USS Midway Museum will have you standing at attention. A free Sunday concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion is the perfect way to unwind after a Saturday night bar-hop in the thumping Gaslamp Quarter.
The mere mention of Hawaii is enough to prompt visions of grass skirts and colorful cocktails with tiny umbrellas. While you will find some kitsch in Honolulu, you’ll also find art museums, bike paths, and some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Popular Waikiki Beach has soft sands and great surf. For majestic Oahu views scramble to the top of Diamond Head – a 350-acre volcanic crater. Historic structures like Iolani Palace and Ali’iolani Hale are worth a visit on a non-beach day.
8Washington DC, District of Columbia
Washington DC is a hub for American politics and history. Attracting as many school field trips as it does travelers the district offers a peek into the country’s democratic origin. There are plenty of free museums in Washington DC to take advantage of but the real draw here is the memorials and monuments dedicated to great American leaders. Spend some contemplative time at the Reflecting Pool within the National Mall, among the most patriotic places in the country.
9Charleston, South Carolina
Historic Charleston is also featured in the list of 25 Best Places to See in the USA Before You Die. Historic Charleston city is bursting with Southern charm and hospitality. The city feels a bit like it’s suspended in time, thanks to its antebellum architecture and surrounding plantation landscapes. Take in incredible views of the Battery and the French Quarter as you stroll the Waterfront Park, then become inspired by the cultivated beauty of the gardens at Middleton Place. At night, try a ghost tour for an introduction to the spooky side of the city.
10New Orleans, Louisiana
In New Orleans, the good times are perpetually rolling down Bourbon Street, which, thanks to the city’s annual Mardi Gras celebration, has quite a party animal reputation. Once you’ve soaked up the scenery of the historic French Quarter, tour the elegant Garden District and meet the colorful characters of Frenchmen Street. Experience the city’s supernatural vibe at the Voodoo Museum or by taking a guided ghost or vampire tour through taverns, alleyways, and cemeteries.
11Miami Beach, Florida
Miami Beach is also one of the 25 Best Places to See in the USA Before You Die. At the shore in Miami Beach, visitors can swim, surf and jet ski in the warm and crystal-clear Atlantic waters. You can also nap on the white sands, work on a tan or simply watch the beautiful people, especially at South Beach, a favorite of models and celebrities.
12Palm Springs, California
Looking to relax in the sun? Palm Springs, with 354 days of the sunshine per year, might be the place for you. Relax poolside or visit one of the many area spas or tour some fantastic examples of mid-century modern architecture.
25 Best Places to See in the USA Before You Die
13Los Angeles, California
Hollywood beckons to tourists who long for a brush with Tinseltown glamor. Tour movie studios, slip your hands into the famous prints at the TCL Chinese Theatre or indulge in a celeb sighting at one of LA’s white-hot nightspots. Spot your favorite star while shopping at The Grove, or forget all about the famous eye candy as you take in the iconic artwork at The Getty Center. For a different type of star-gazing, peek through the telescopes at the Griffith Observatory.
Walk the Freedom Trail the first time you visit Boston, and you’ll quickly get a sense of this coastal city’s revolutionary spirit and history. But make sure you also explore some of Boston’s fine museums like Gardner, featuring art masterpieces displayed in their collector’s mansion and old neighborhoods like the North End, Boston’s Little Italy. You can’t claim to have experienced real Boston culture, though, unless you’ve watched a Red Sox baseball game from the bleachers.
Sedona is a true oasis, a vacationer’s paradise in the middle of the Arizona desert. Here, you’ll find resorts and spas, canyons and red rock formations. Bell Rock and Oak Creek Canyon are great hiking spots, and the dramatic architecture of the Chapel of the Holy Cross is a religious experience itself. When the sun dips down below the horizon it introduces the best show in Sedona: the night sky.
In Seattle, you simply can’t skip the Central Public Library – a modern architectural marvel of glass grids, unusual shapes, and a “book spiral” that climbs four stories. Stroll over to Pike Place Market to visit the original Starbucks and play catch with a fishmonger. In the heart of the city lies Chihuly Garden and Glass, which will dazzle you with its colorful and delicate works. Glide to the top of the Space Needle for panoramic views of the surrounding mountain ranges and Puget Sound.
Charming Savannah is the picture of antebellum hospitality, thanks to period architecture and oak-lined streets. It’s tempting to spend your trip just relaxing on vast verandas and sipping mint juleps, but there are plenty of historical sites and museums to explore. Haunting Bonaventure Cemetery is one of the hallmarks of the city, featuring beautiful obelisks, masses of flowers, and ivy-covered crypts. Dine on fresh seafood and creamy grits for a taste of Savannah home cooking.
Branson has limitless possibilities for a memorable vacation. While visiting you can: attend star-studded performances at Branson’s many live shows; enjoy Silver Dollar City, one of the world’s top theme parks; take in the beauty and adventure of the Ozark Mountains and three pristine lakes; play some of the best golf in the Midwest; visit museums highlighting the area’s rich history and culture; relax at spas and resorts; and shop at Branson’s many boutiques, galleries and outlets.
Put on your boots! Nashville is the heart and soul of the country music industry, and people here are proud of it. Get in the down-home spirit by visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame and stomping your feet at the Grand Ole Opry. Tennessee gets some ancient influence in Centennial Park, where the inside of the full-scale model of the Parthenon you’ll be awestruck by the gigantic statue of Athena.
20Saint Louis, Missouri
The next on the list of 25 Best Places to See in the USA Before You Die comes Saint Louis. The history of Saint Louis has been heavily influenced by Westward expansion and blues music. The big “must-see” in this region is the Gateway Arch while other important sites include the Museum of Westward Expansion, the Saint Louis Cathedral, and the Anheuser-Busch factory tour. The city offers plenty for the whole family. Children will enjoy the local zoo and the Magic House while family members will also want to unwind at Forest Park, home to the World’s Fair almost a century ago.
21Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle beach is also on the list of 25 Best Places to See in the USA Before You Die. Myrtle Beach is all at once a spring break destination, golfing destination, retirement community, and family vacation spot. Take in a foot-stomping show at the Carolina Opry, or cheer on your favorite knight at Medieval Times. Mingle with the fishermen of Springmaid Pier, then stops for ice cream along the boardwalk. Shop and dine at one of the area’s many outdoor entertainment complexes, or simply explore the many beaches of the Grand Strand – all with a personality of their own.
Lahaina, the former Hawaiian capital, was the center of the global whaling trade, and its Historic District is a National Historic Landmark. Traditional Hawaiian luaus, surf lessons, and tours on horseback are fun, but let’s be realistic—you wouldn’t be in Hawaii if you didn’t want to go to the beach. Try Ka’anapali Beach, one of Maui’s best.
23Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Lauderdale’s canals and charm have earned it the nickname “The Venice of America.” The beaches offer 23 miles of golden sand, lively with the spirited antics of happy vacationers. Sail the blue-green waters on a chartered catamaran, or dive beneath the surface to meet-and-greet the local sea life. Shopping and dining al fresco on Las Olas Boulevard is one of Fort Lauderdale’s greatest pleasures, thanks to adorable shops and prime people-watching.
The next in the list of 25 Best Places to See in the USA Before You Die comes to the Austin. Every year thousands of hipsters, groupies, and die-hard fans flock to Austin for the annual South by Southwest festival, which has catapulted the Texas city up the must-visit charts for many travelers. The sandstone Capitol building is symbolic of the Lone Star State’s “bigger is better” mentality, featuring a gorgeous whispering gallery rotunda and 22 acres of grounds. Cool off with a dip in Barton Springs, a huge natural limestone pool that’s fed by underground sources.
25Saint Augustine, Texas
The last in the list of 25 Best Places to See in the USA Before You Die is Saint Augustine. Saint Augustine is a luxurious, romantic vacation spot—you’ll find classic hotels and intimate restaurants. Those can be a dime a dozen, though. What sets Saint Augustine apart is its history—it’s the oldest European settlement in the U.S. And nowhere else in the world can you taste the waters of the Fountain of Youth Archeological Park.