Updated July 20, 2020.
Everyone loves a list—oh, is that just me?! Grocery lists, to do lists, travel lists… No matter what kind of list, I love to check things off and feel that elated confidence that I accomplished something! If you’ve ever wanted to visit the USA (or if you live in the USA and need a little inspiration), here is your ultimate USA bucket list! In no particular order:
1. Explore the Freedom Trail in Boston
The United States and its history are full of legend. But what makes legends legendary? An element of truth. Boston’s best legends are that of the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill, the Boston Massacre, and of course, the “midnight ride of Paul Revere!” You’ll find them all in Boston, mostly on the Freedom Trail. To get a real feel for America, this one’s not to be missed.
2. Walk the Monuments in Washington, D.C.
Few things make an American feel more patriotic, or gives a visitor more insight into the people we value in our history, more than a walk around D.C.’s iconic monuments and memorials. Washington, D.C., should definitely be on your list for a great many reasons, but if you don’t do anything else while you’re in town, please do walk the monuments!
Read On: D.C.’s Monuments and Memorials
3. Visit a National Park
Which national park? Any of them! Some people have made it their goal to visit them all, but if you can check just one off your list, you’re doing just fine. Some of the most famous include Glacier National Park in Montana; Yellowstone National Park across Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho; Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona; and Arches National Park in Utah. Find your park here!
Read On: Unforgettable Lava Boat Tour
4. Go to a Baseball Game
It’s America’s favorite pastime, you know! If you’re in the States between April and September, you will certainly be able to catch a game just about anywhere in the country. Major League or Minor League, it doesn’t matter much. Just get some peanuts and Cracker Jacks while you’re there, and maybe a hot dog, too! Want something a little historical? Check out a Vintage League!
5. Eat Apple Pie
Ever heard the saying, “As American as apple pie”? It’s a saying because it’s true! Apple pie has a reputation as an all-American dessert, and it is. You’ll find it on many a menu across the country. The best one will be home made.
Read On: What to Eat in the USA
6. Visit Mount Rushmore
Admittedly, I have not been to Mount Rushmore—yet! But it is certainly am American icon worth visiting, and it’s on my personal list of places to go. Situated in the Black Hills of Keystone, South Dakota, the busts of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln loom larger than life. It’s an American icon if there ever could be one!
Read On: Mount Rushmore National Memorial
7. Go to a Concert in Nashville
Why Nashville? Because it’s Music City! You’ll hear some of the best musicians busking on the streets in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. You’ll also hear exceptional artists playing live at any number of bars, restaurants, and even the arrivals hall at the airport! But for a full-on, unforgettable experience, go to a concert the Ryman Auditorium, Nissan Stadium, or one of the many other venues Nashville has to offer. Think it’s all country and twang? Think again! Music City earned that nickname for a reason. Find a concert here!
Read On: Music City for Music Lovers
8. Experience Times Square
People everywhere in the world recognize a scene from Times Square, New York! The lights, the ads, the energy, the noise—it’s all over-the-top and totally typical New York!
9. Go to a Show on Broadway
Speaking of Times Square and New York City, make the effort to see a show on (or off!) Broadway! There are tons of shows to choose from, and new ones come up all the time as well. When I was 10 my older brother, dad, and I went to New York for a big school trip and saw Beauty and the Beast! Just a few years ago I took my younger brother to see Wicked when he was working in New Jersey for the summer. A show on Broadway will never disappoint!
10. View the Statue of Liberty
And while you’re at it, take in a view of the Statue of Liberty. Getting tickets can be challenging, but if you can score one, go for it! If not, take a little ride on the FREE Staten Island Ferry! You’ll have a view of Lady Liberty crossing both directions.
11. Take a Picture with the Golden Gate Bridge
Or walk across it. Or drive across it. View it from a ferry on the water. Or all of the above! No matter how you marvel at it, the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most recognizeable icons on either American coast. If you find yourself in San Francisco, you really can’t miss it!
Read On: 10 Reasons to Visit San Francisco
12. Tour the White House
It’s the most famous address in the country, and one of the most sought-after tours as well. If you can catch it at Christmastime, it’s magical! If you catch it any other time of year, it’s fabulous! But this one will take some far-advanced planning, so request your tour up to four months before you trip!
Read On: D.C. Tours to Request in Advance
13. Visit Pearl Harbor
I recommend everyone visit Hawaii at least once in their life. It’s world-wide bucket list-worthy. At the very top of my bucket list on my first trip to Hawaii was visiting Pearl Harbor, on the island of O’ahu. Not only is this location significant in American History, it changed the course of our history.
Read On: 10 Reasons to Visit O’ahu
14. Visit Williamsburg, Virginia
You read about the Freedom Trail above, but what about before Independence? Williamsburg, and the adjacent Jamestown Historic Site, are well worth a spot on your American bucket list because this is where it all started! The first successful English colony started at Jamestown, and shortly thereafter Williamsburg became the Colonial capitol of Virginia. Every day is a revolution in Williamsburg!
Read On: 1 Day in Williamsburg
15. Go on a Road Trip
There is almost nothing more “American” than a road trip! Because the USA is so large, it’s essential to have a car for most trips lasting more than a few days. Whether you want to drive coast to coast, explore the scenic Pacific Coast Highway, drive the length of the iconic Route 66, or you simply want to get from one state to another, your full guide to road tripping the USA is on the blog!
16. Visit Every State
For the very dedicated bucket lister, put all 50 States on your list! Keep track with an app like Been, or create your own map with MapLoco! Here’s mine as of November 2018, with more to come!
Read On: United States
Bonus: Visit U.S. Territories!
What are the U.S. Territories? Here’s a quick checklist:
What’s on YOUR U.S.A. bucket list? Get more inspiration on my United States Page!
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