Got an insatiable case of wanderlust, but don’t have the time and money to travel abroad? The truth is, you don’t have to travel overseas and spend a fortune to experience an epic and fantastic getaway. From Alaska’s sensational natural light show to famed architectural feats, there’s truly no shortage of incredible and breathtaking things to do in America for every kind of wanderer.
Don’t know what to do in America for a memorable vacation? Think you’ve seen all the important cultural classics and landmarks in the United States? Here are a few suggestions that you should consider, when creating a bucket list of things to do in America.
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1. Swing by Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park
From bright orange to gorgeous aquamarine shades, this extraordinary natural wonder flaunts a kaleidoscope of colors, making it one of the most visually stunning geological features in the world. To enjoy unrivaled sights, stroll along the scenic Grand Loop. And, don’t forget to check out Lower Geyser’s other must-see attractions, like Excelsior Geyser and Old Faithful.
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2. Roam around Central Park in New York City
Need a break from the frenetic energy of the Big Apple? Why not follow the locals and city-dwellers to their favorite green space – Central Park? Occupying more than 840 acres of land, Central Park offers a mishmash of activities for every visitor, from ice skating rinks in winter to splendid sculptures, gardens and fountains. Even if you’re not much of a park lover, visiting Central Park in New York is still absolutely one of the must-try things to do in America.
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3. Enjoy once-in-a-lifetime views of the Northern Lights in Alaska
Think you need to travel all the way to Iceland to see the world’s most stunning natural light show? Guess what? This scintillating natural spectacle appears quite frequently in Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska during September to April. Take a week-long getaway to increase your odds of catching them. Trust me, it is, hands down, one of the most surreal things to do in America.
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4. Cherish Washington DC's cherry blossoms in spring
Dreaming of visiting Kyoto or Tokyo to catch sight of the dazzling sakura trees? Japan isn’t the only place on earth that bursts into pink in springtime. Every year, the lovely trees surrounding Washington DC’s Tidal Basin are ripe with pink cherry blossoms, framing the city’s celebrated landmarks with a softly and dainty beautiful bloom.
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5. Soak up the vibrant Las Vegas Strip
High roller or not, exploring the notorious Las Vegas Strip should be on your list of things to do in America. Take not, it’s the best place in Sin City to take in its frenzied sights and sounds, with its nonstop entertainment, neon-lit fountains and glitzy hotels. And with a Venetian canal replica, a sphinx, a nightly fountain show and a mini Eiffel Tower, there are plenty spots to catch your attention in America’s glamorous nighttime playground.
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6. Take a classic American Road Trip
The great American road trip is usually a rite of passage and one of the top things to do in America, for many. Whether you’re an adventurer, history buff or photography junkie, road trips let you explore the diverse and wondrous landscapes, parks and cities in America. Furthermore, it’s essentially a pseudo history lesson that will enlighten yourself on stereotypes.
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7. Hike the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon in Arizona
Of course, no USA travel bucket list is complete without a trip to the world renowned Grand Canyon. Billed as one of the top things to do in America, the Grand Canyon will leave you speechless and in awe, with its jaw-dropping natural beauty and surreal sights.
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8. See Mount Rushmore in South Dakota
Finished over 70 years ago, this colossal work of art and sculpture features a quartet of presidents who have helped shape the history of America – Theodore Roosevelt, Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington. For 14 years, 400 workers and sculptor Gutzon Borglum worked on carving Mount Rushmore into perfection in Black Hills, South Dakota. Take a tour here, get an up close look, and experience one of the coolest patriotic things to do in America.
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9. Hike Zion National Park in Utah
If your US travel bucket list includes hiking scenic trails, make it a point to include Zion National Park’s otherworldly landscapes to your list things to do in America. The Narrows – a spectacular sandstone gorge wonderfully surrounded by imposing thousand-foot-high vertical canyons – brim with breathtaking vantage points as well as extraordinary geological features, like natural springs and hanging gardens. While the 16-mile hike from Chamberlain’s Ranch can be quite tough, the splendid vistas are truly unrivaled.
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10. Conquer the Appalachian Trail
Yearning for a more challenging hike? Make sure to include trekking the longest marked hiking trail in the world – the Appalachian – to your bucket list of things to in America. Crossing 14 states, this 2,160-mile-long hike requires a great deal of time, stamina and fortitude. Nevertheless, finishing the trail will give you a sense of accomplishment and a boatload of pleasant memories.
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11. Experience the French Quarter in New Orleans
With its mixture of iconic Jazz venues, rich heritage and cultural influences, experiencing the Big Easy’s French Quarter is easily one of the must-try things to do in America. Here, you may see world famous landmarks, like William Faulkner House and Cabildo. Furthermore, there are subtle French details that can unleash your inner shutterbug in this quarter, such as eye-catching balcony fixtures and courtyard gardens. To top it all off, you can watch jazz icons on celebrated venues or join the party on Bourbon Street.
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12. See Fenway Park in Boston
Visiting Fenway Park in Boston should be a shoo-in to your bucket list of things to do in America, especially if you love baseball. For decades, this American icon has been luring MLB aficionados ever since it opened its doors in 1912. As with other Beantown’s historic landmarks, this US attraction boasts extraordinary architectural features as well as a long-standing and interesting legacy.
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13. Feel the cold mists of Niagara Falls in New York
Want to see something really spectacular? With its 173-foot drops and over 3 million cubic feet of water, it’s easy to see why a lot of people put this US attraction on top of their bucket list of things to in America.
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14. Channel your inner child at Walt Disney World in Florida
Wondering where to go in America for a euphoric and magical trip? They don’t call Walt Disney World as the happiest place on earth for nothing. Labeled fondly as one of the most magical things to do in America, Walt Disney World offers a plethora of exciting diversions and experiences for kids and those who are young at heart, including elaborate parades, character meet and greets, dazzling firework displays.
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15. Cruising in Alaska
Into relaxing cruise rides? Then, put cruising in Alaska at the top of your bucket list things to do in America. With a labyrinth of spectacular fjords, mountains and islands, it’s no wonder Alaska is rated as one of the world’s top and popular cruise destinations.
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16. Tour the Smithsonian Institution Museums in nation’s capital
Not only is the national capital’s home to iconic memorials and high-profile politicians, but it also has a chock-full of artistic and cultural features, like the 19 Smithsonian museums. With a zero-dollar admission fee, it’s hard to resist the standout educational and cultural institutions of the district, such as the National Air and Space Museum, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
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17. Swing by Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Are you a music lover who’s looking for cool things to do in America? There’s no place in America (or the whole world) that captures Nashville’s musical history better than the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. As you visit this treasure trove, you’ll find a wide collection of music exhibits and artifacts, including plaques and platinum records honoring the likes of Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash.
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18. Do your best Rocky impression in Philadelphia
The symbolic sprint of Rocky Balboa up the 72 steps that lead to the Philadelphia Museum of Art has become iconic in American pop culture. So, do your best Sly impersonation by taking these steps.
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19. Indulge on a real New York slice
For foodies looking for tasty things to do in America, head to New York, and savor the country’s best tasting pizza slices. Characterized by humongous slices and crisp cuts, New York pizza promises to treat your taste buds and fill your stomach.
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20. Watch NASCAR
Just like playing Hot Wheels or Macthbox for grown-ups, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) combines a handful of American interests – competition, fast cars and the occasional explosion.
21. Go to a sporting event in America
Baseball, basketball or football – just take your pick. From NBA finals to the Superbowl, every sporting event in America has common features – a sing-a-long national anthem and outrageous mascots – that make them unlike any game in the world.
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22. Go to Nevada’s Burning Man
Want to experience one of the wonderfully weird things to do in America? Not for the physical contact-averse or the faint of heart, the Burning Man is a yearly festival transforming the Black Rock Desert in Nevada into a temporary metropolis where practically anything goes. Affectionate strangers, art installations and themed camps populate the whole area around the eponymous main attraction of the event – an effigy of a gigantic man that’s set on fire.
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23. Visit Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio
Go on a rocking one-of-a-kind music tour, and experience the magic and beauty of rock and roll music. Spend at least 4 hours in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, going through the areas and gazing on striking displays that are a fine mix of things to read and see.
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24. Walk across Golden Gate Bridge
Walking across San Francisco’s bridge is a must, and should on every traveler’s bucket list of things to do in America. Fittingly dubbed as one of the world’s gorgeous bridges, this iconic US landmark will sweep you away with its magnificent views and outstanding design.
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25. Explore Hollywood
Representing the entertainment business, Hollywood is arguably the country’s most recognizable symbol, and one of the top things to do in America, for those who love celebrities. For years, Hollywood has beckoned tourists with its unique landmarks and attractions, such as the Dolby Theatre, Hollywood Bowl, Paramount Pictures and Hollywood Walk of Fame.
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26. Be a part of the kaleidoscopic Mardi Gras in New Orleans
It's the country's biggest annual party, making it one of the can't-miss things to do in America. As you experience this Mardi Gras, you'll get to see energetic dancers adorned with bright and colorful costumes.
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27. Venture into Badlands National Park in South Dakota
With its fossil-rich landscapes, graceful spires and ochre-tinted buttes, Badlands National Park enchants spectators with its ethereal views. Known as a paradise for outdoor aficionados, hitting this US national park is by far one of the top things to do in America for bona fide adventure junkies.
28. Sample Napa Valley’s delightful wines
Explore the sunny and soothing Californian vineyard scenery, while getting a little tipsy savoring Napa Valley’s extremely delightful wines.
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29. Cross Brooklyn Bridge in New York
Although not as popular and grand as the Golden Gate Bridge, crossing the Brooklyn Bridge is still fun and something that you should put on your list of things to do in America. Designated in 1964 as a National Historic Landmark, this bridge has a lot of history, and offers breathtaking skyline views in New York, especially during sunset.
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30. Discover Balboa Park in San Diego
Balboa Park, with its sprawling 1,200-acre ground, is like a mini-city with a load of attractions for everyone, including 15 accredited museums, tennis courts, golf course, lawn blowing, a miniature railroad and 9 performing arts groups. Not to mention, it iss home to the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ and the enticing San Diego Zoo, making it one of must-try things to do in America.
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31. See the world’s tallest trees at Redwood National Park
With trees as tall as skyscrapers, it’s easy to see why people include Redwood National Park to their list of places to visit and things to do in America.
32. South Beach experiences in Miami
For beach lovers looking for memorable things to do in America, don’t forget to include South Beach to your USA travel bucket list. From a sea of pastel hues to trendy clubs and neon lights, the art deco buildings along Ocean Drive, South Beach are simply hard to resist. Once you’ve finished admiring its architecture, enjoy the typical South Beach experiences, like partying and sunbathing along its palm-fringed, 10-mile beach.
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33. Tour the White House
More than just the official home of the POTUS, the White House is a symbol the whole nation as well. Totally gripping an oozing with cultural, social and political history, the White is a pleasurable experience for both Americans and foreign visitors.
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34. Head to the Great Smoky Mountains
With its majestic old-growth forests and sublime scenery, visiting Great Smoky Mountains is, hands down, one of the best things to do in America for the outdoorsy travelers.
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35. Take a boat ride in the Everglades
Already ticked off Walt Disney World on your bucket list of things to in America? Then, use your next vacation to the sunshine state to visit one of the country’s extraordinary wonders – the Everglades. Nicknamed as the “River of Grass”, this unique ecosystem is a wetland of mangrove forests and cypress forests, and is home to fauna and flora that can’t be found anywhere else in the country.
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36. See Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
The smell of sulfur and the molten lava spilling down a mountain – the special effects in this US National Park can outdo any in the blockbuster flicks.
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37. Take a tour around the National Mall
There’s no place in America that has so much cultural, political, social and historical bang in one place than Washington DC’s National Mall. From state buildings and museums to memorials and monuments, the National Mall is the embodiment of USA’s history and culture, making it one of the top things to do in America for history buffs.
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38. Check out the Historic District in Charleston
Charleston, with its mesmerizing antebellum mansions, coastal scenery, historic architecture and Spanish moss, oozes a pleasant Southern feel. And, there’s definitely no better place to get a sense of Charleston’s surroundings than its historic district, wherein storied buildings, horse-drawn carriages, and lamp-lined streets reflect an array of architectural periods, from Italianate to art deco.
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39. Experience Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico
Itching to see something that will blow you away? Every October, over 400 hot-air balloons ascend over Albuquerque, for the yearly balloon festival. Aside from the enthralling colorful balloons, the festival also offers fireworks, concessions and live entertainment.
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40. Drop by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York
If you can visit one museum in the USA in your lifetime, make it the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Deemed as one of the best things to do in America for art lovers, the museum has galleries teeming with masterpieces of legends like Degas, Cezanne, Goya, Van Gogh and Renoir.
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41. Whitewater rafting in Oregon
The impressive mountain scenery and rushing rivers of Oregon make it the ultimate destination in the US for multi-day whitewater rafting escapades.
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42. Walk Boston’s Freedom Trail
Not fond of history? Even if you’ve repeatedly fallen asleep in history class, walking this fascinating 2.5-mile trail, passing by 16 historic landmarks, is an absolute must for Americans.
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43. Pay a visit to Griffith Park in Los Angeles
When building a list of things to do in America, be sure to include a stopover to the Griffith Park in Los Angeles. Here, you’ll have an incredible perch and vantage point for taking in the urban sprawl and LA basin. As an added bonus, the park offers a smorgasbord of attractions for the outdoorsy types, like hiking trails and horseback riding.
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44. Visit the Alamo in San Antonio
Even though it’s not as dazzling as some of today’s architectural innovations, the Alamo is still worth a visit, especially to history buffs who are looking for great things to do in America. Remember, it has a pivotal part to the history of Texas and America.
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45. Find your summer bliss in Cape Cod
Cycling, sandy beaches, buckets and spades, sailing or doing nothing at all – Cape Cod has all the hallmarks of a relaxing summer getaway in America.
46. Stroll Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach
From watching street performers to sampling mouthwatering treats, there are so many treats and fabulous sights in this incredibly scenic stroll in LA.
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47. Snowboarding and skiing
Are you an ice adventurist who’s looking for zero cool and mind-blowing things to do in America? There are so many great spots to snowboard and ski in the US. The best places, however, can be found at the heart of the country – Park City in Utah, Aspen in Colorado and Jackson Hole in Wyoming.
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48. Hit Millennium Park in Chicago
Headed to Chi-Town? You can’t leave Chicago without snapping a photo of the famous Beach or exploring the wondrous architecture and art across Millennium Park.
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49. See New England’s autumn foliage
Historic and charming at any time of the year, New England takes on an otherworldly beauty in fall, when countless of leaves turn from green intro every shade of yellow, purple, orange and red. It’s quite a sight, and totally one of the most captivating things to do in America.
50. See the Empire State Building
From Sleepless in Seattle to King Kong, the towering 1,454-feet skyscraper has starred in a galore of movies. Whether you’re enjoying the views from the observatory or listening to the romantic tunes of the saxophonist, the Empire State is a bucket-list worthy experience that will give you tons of pleasant memories.
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