Historic Sites in the United States

What are the best Historic Sites in the United States?

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There's a host of top Historic Sites in the United States to visit and among the very best are Independence Hall, Mesa Verde National Park and Gettysburg Battlefield. Other popular sites tend to include Historic Jamestowne, Martin Luther King Jr National Site and Alcatraz Island.

We’ve put together an experts guide to US cultural places, landmarks and monuments, with our top ten places to visit as well as a full list of Historic Sites in the United States, which shouldn’t be ignored if you have the time.

1. Independence Hall - Philadelphia

Independence Hall in Philadelphia is one of the most important landmarks in US history, being the site where the nation declared independence from Great Britain on 4 July 1776. The hall is now part of Independence National Historical Park, which also encompasses a myriad of important sites such as Congress Hall and Liberty Bell Centre sprawled over 55 acres within the City of Philadelphia.

Visitors can choose from a variety of ranger guided walking tours as well as various indoor and outdoor activities. Across the road is the Liberty Bell Centre, housing the famous Liberty Bell, one of the most significant symbols of the American Civil War and formerly hung in Independence Hall’s tower. Congress Hall is next door to Independence Hall.

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2. Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park is a breathtaking Native American site dotted with over 4,000 archaeological treasures, including 600 exceptionally well preserved cliff dwellings dating back to 600 AD. Mesa Verde National Park was once the home of the Pueblos, a Native American people who lived there for over 700 years before migrating to New Mexico and Arizona. 

Some of the sites, such as the Cliff Palace and Balcony House with its over 150 rooms can only be viewed as part of a ranger tour, for which you can buy tickets at Far View Visitor Center before attending the sites. It’s also well worth viewing the large collection of artefacts on display.

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3. Gettysburg Battlefield

Gettysburg National Military Park is brimming with approximately 1,328 monuments, markers and memorials relating to the American Civil War. The Battle of Gettysburg raged from 1 to 3 July 1863, resulting in over 51,000 casualties and victory for the Unionists. It marked a significant turning point in the war, followed twenty one months later by the surrender of the Confederacy.

Visitors can follow the route of Battle of Gettysburg, from Seminary Ridge and Culp's Hill to Cemetery Ridge and Devils Den as well as visiting David Wills' house, a museum about the town. The National Park Service Museum and Visitor Center is a good place to start as it contains a wide range of Civil War related information as well as a plethora of guided tours and exhibitions.

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4. Historic Jamestowne

It was in Historic Jamestowne in 1607 that the English established their first successful colony in America. Previous attempts, notably that of Roanoke in 1587, had been made, but the colony the English formed in Jamestowne was the root of what was to eventually become America.

Today, Jamestowne forms part of Colonial National Park, a historic site which encompasses York Town Battlefield, Colonial Parkway and the Cape Henry Memorial. Visitors can explore the history of the site and that of the country as a whole. Amongst its many attractions, it is worth seeing the Jamestown Glasshouse, a recreation of the first industrial building of the Virginia Company, the London-based company that founded the colony.

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5. Martin Luther King Jr National Site

The Martin Luther King Jr National Site in Atlanta, Georgia is dedicated to commemorating the life of the leader of the African-American civil rights movement and chronicling his campaign for racial equality.

Visitors to the Martin Luther King Jr Historic Site can visit Dr and Mr’s King’s crypt at the King Centre, view his birthplace and see exhibitions and films about Dr King’s life and the civil rights movement. There are also exhibits about Gandhi, who inspired Dr King and about Rosa Parks, whose refusal to give up her seat on a bus was an iconic event of the movement.

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6. Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island was the site of a notoriously harsh prison based off the coast of San Francisco, California, this isolated position earning it the name of “The Rock”. 

Alcatraz Island is today managed by the National Parks Service and offers tours of the old prison. An eerie yet fascinating journey into the workings of this famous site, visitors to Alcatraz Island can make use of audio guides which chronicle its history (45 minutes). The visit usually lasts 2-3 hours.

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7. Bunker Hill Monument

The Bunker Hill Monument is a memorial of the Battle of Bunker Hill, which took place on 17 June 1775 between the British army and the militias of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island early in the American Revolution.

Bunker Hill Monument is an obelisk standing 221 feet high which visitors can enter and even climb to the top for stunning views from its observation deck. The only thing is, there are around 270 steps and no lift/elevator. The nearby Bunker Hill Museum offers a detailed insight into the war, the history of Charlestown and the monument itself, with numerous exhibits and artefacts.

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8. Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is an iconic copper and steel statue in the entrance to New York Habour and an enduring symbol of freedom and independence. The Statue of Liberty’s total height from ground to torch is a staggering 92.99 metres. Originally built in France in 1884, it arrived in New York in June 1885 and was dedicated on 28 October 1886.

Situated on Liberty Island, there are numerous exhibits and tours available both inside and outside the Statue of Liberty. Upon reaching Liberty Island, visitors can go to the information station to watch a short film about the statue’s history and check the schedule of events for one of 45 minute long ranger tours, which start at the Liberty Island Flagpole.

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9. Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial is a Greek style monument in Washington DC’s West Potomac Park. The Lincoln Memorial was designed by the architect, Henry Bacon, who also sculpted the statue of Lincoln which visitors can see within its walls. 

As the site of many important political speeches and events, Lincoln Memorial has a history of its own, independent from its original purpose. In particular, it was the site where Martin Luther King delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech on 28 August 1963.

The memorial stands majestically in National Mall and Memorial Parks, overseen by the National Parks Service and surrounded by other important historical sites. Visitors are free to enter the memorial at all times and it can often become quite crowded.

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10. Ellis Island

Ellis Island was the entry point into the United States of America for over twelve million immigrants between 1892 and 1954.

The Ellis Island Immigration Museum offers a detailed insight into the island’s history, its role in the country’s immigration procedures and the stories of the immigrants. It is a celebration of immigration, including a wall of honour and many exhibits and artefacts.

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Full list of Historic Sites in the United States

Beyond the most famous US cultural places, landmarks and monuments there’s many similar places to visit, including Bunker Hill Monument, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island to name but a few. We’re constantly expanding this list of Historic Sites in the United States and you can view the current selection below.

African American Museum - Philadelphia

The African American Museum in Philadelphia explores African American history and heritage.

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Andersonville Prison

Andersonville Prison in Georgia is a National Historic Site dedicated to all American prisoners of war.

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Andrew Johnson National Historic Site

The Andrew Johnson National Historic Site commemorates the life of the seventeenth president of America.

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Antietam Battlefield

Antietam Battlefield was the scene of the culmination of the Maryland campaign and single bloodiest day’s battle in American History.

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Appomattox County Court

Appomattox was the village where General Robert E. Lee surrendered in 1865, ending the American Civil War.

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Arkansas State University Museum

Arkansas State University Museum offers a range of exhibits looking at the natural history and cultural heritage of Northeast Arkansas.

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Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia is an iconic burial site and a national monument.

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Averasboro Battlefield

The Battle of Averasborough was part of the Carolinas Campaign during the American Civil War.

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Aztec Ruins National Monument

Aztec Ruins National Monument is actually the home of an impressive set of ancestral Puebloan ruins.

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Bacon’s Castle

Not only is Bacon’s Castle Virginia’s oldest brick house, this 17th century Jacobean creation is also said to be the last of its kind anywhere in North America.

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Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial

The Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial commemorates the biggest historic naval battle of World War II.

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Bay of Pigs Museum

The Bay of Pigs Museum in Miami relates to the failed 1961 attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro.

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Bethel Baptist Church

Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham Alabama was the headquarters of local civil rights activists and played a crucial role in the US Civil Rights movement. It was attacked on three separate occasions by extremists.

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Brice’s Crossroads Battlefield

Brice’s Crossroads Battlefield was the site of a Confederate victory on 10 June 1864.

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California African American Museum

The California African American Museum is dedicated to African American history and culture.

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Castillo de San Marcos

The Castillo de San Marcos is a 17th century fortification and the oldest of its type in the continental United States.

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Chancellorsville Battlefield

Chancellorsville Battlefield was the site of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s “greatest victory” in 1863 during the American Civil War.

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Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center

The Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center chronicles the history of this area including its famous land run.

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Chickamauga Battlefield

The Chickamauga Battlefield was the scene of the Confederates’ last major victory in the American Civil War.

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Cliveden House

Cliveden House is an eighteenth century historic home in Philadelphia and the site of a Revolutionary War battle.

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Cold Harbor

Cold Harbor was the site of one of General Robert E. Lee’s final victories in the American Civil War.

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College Park Aviation Museum

College Park Aviation Museum in Maryland is a museum which charts America’s history of aviation.

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Colonial National Park

English Colonial America started and ended in the area now known as Colonial National Park.

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Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg is the recreation of the 18th century capital of Virginia.

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Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum

The Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum focuses on the history of the Pikes Peak region.

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Congress Hall

Congress Hall was the seat of the USA’s Congress between 1790 and 1800.

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Daniel Boone Homestead

The Daniel Boone Homestead is an historic reserve containing a number of sites relating to the early life of legendary American frontiersman Daniel Boone.

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Dealey Plaza

Dealey Plaza in Texas was the site of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

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DuSable Museum of African American History

The DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago looks at the history of Africans and Americans of African descent.

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Eastern State Penitentiary

The stunning Gothic Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia set a new standard in prison design and ideology when it opened in 1829, leaning on the principles of reform over punishment. Today the National Historic Landmark is a museum with year-round guided tours (and an audio guide narrated by Steve Buscemi!)

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Ellwood Plantation

The Ellwood Plantation is the site of General Stonewall Jackson’s arm which was buried there after he was wounded in the Battle of Chancellorsville.

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Emerald Mound

The Emerald Mound site is a Mississippian culture period ancient mound built between 1250 and 1600AD and used as a ceremonial site and political center.

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Faneuil Hall

Faneuil Hall, known as the Cradle of Liberty, was the scene of protests leading up to the American War of Independence.

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Federal Hall

Federal Hall was the site of George Washington’s inauguration as president and the ratification of the Bill of Rights.

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Ford Theatre

Ford Theatre was the site where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865.

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Fort Caroline

Fort Caroline was a short-lived sixteenth century French colony in Jacksonville, Florida.

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Fort Clinch

Fort Clinch in Florida is a nineteenth century Third System fort.

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Fort Donelson Battlefield

Fort Donelson Battlefield was the scene of a major Union victory in the American Civil War.

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Fort Frederica

Fort Frederica was an 18th century British fortification.

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Fort Gaines

Fort Gaines was a fortification used in the American Civil War.

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Fort Hamilton

Fort Hamilton is a Third System Fort, a US military base and home to the Harbor Defense Museum.

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Fort Macon

Fort Macon is a nineteenth century fort which was captured by the Union in 1862 during the American Civil War.

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Fort McHenry

Fort McHenry was the site of a siege during the War of 1812 and the inspiration for the American National Anthem.

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Fort Pickens

Fort Pickens is an historic US military fort in Pensacola, Florida, named after Revolutionary War hero Andrew Pickens. It forms part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, a site overseen by the National Park Service.

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Fort Pulaski

Fort Pulaski is a nineteenth century fortification and the site of an important military test during the American Civil War.

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Fort Raleigh

Fort Raleigh in North Carolina was the site of the famous English “lost colony” of Roanoke.

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Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter was the site where the American Civil War officially began on 12 April 1861.

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Fort Taylor

Fort Taylor in Key West, Florida is a nineteenth century Third System fortification.

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Fort Warren

Fort Warren on George’s Island in Boston was a fortification built during the American Civil War.

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Fortress Rosecrans

Fortress Rosecrans was built by Unionist solders in 1863 following the Battle of Stones River.

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Fraunces Tavern

Fraunces Tavern is a museum of colonial, revolutionary and early Republic US history.

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Fredericksburg Battlefield

Fredericksburg Battlefield is an important site of the American Civil War, where the Confederates defeated the Unionists in a fierce battle in 1862.

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General Grant National Memorial

The General Grant National Memorial in New York is the tomb of Ulysses S. Grant.

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Getty Villa

The Getty Villa is a museum dedicated to the ancient world.

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Granary Burial Ground

Granary Burial Ground is a graveyard founded in the 17th century and where many famous Americans are buried.

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Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum

As well as being the one-time home of Ernest Hemingway, this was the studio where the author worked on many of his famed tomes, among them A Farewell to Arms. Now known as The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, it is restored and open to the public.

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Historic Speedwell

Speedwell Ironworks is an historic site in New Jersey most noted for being the location of the first public demonstration of the telegraph.

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Historic St Mary’s City

The historic St Mary's City in Maryland was once a thriving colonial capital before religious dissention saw it slowly decline. Today, a living history recreation and museum tell the story of these early settlers.

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Hovenweep National Monument

Hovenweep National Monument is a Native American historic site featuring five villages dating back to the Puebloan-era.

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Hyde Hall

Hyde Hall is a restored neoclassical nineteenth century house in New York and a museum of its own past.

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Independence National Historical Park

Independence Hall is the site where the The Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Constitution of the United States (1787) were both signed.

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Jackson Shrine

Guinea Station, the lone white building where General Thomas ’Stonewall’ Jackson died.

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Japanese American National Museum

The Japanese American National Museum is a museum of the history, culture and heritage of Japanese Americans.

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Jefferson Memorial

Thomas Jefferson Memorial is a Roman style memorial structure in honour of one of America’s Founding Fathers.

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Klondike Gold Rush Museum

The Klondike Gold Rush Museum explores the history of Seattle as it relates to this 19th century gold rush.

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Lakeport Plantation

The Lakeport Plantation in Arkansas is a 19th century historic house which has recently been restored and opened to visitors.

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Lincoln Tomb

Lincoln Tomb is the burial place of President Abraham Lincoln.

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Little Bighorn Battlefield

Little Bighorn Battlefield was the site of “Custer’s Last Stand” in June 1876.

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Lookout Mountain Battlefield

Lookout Mountain Battlefield was the scene of a pivotal battle in the Chattanooga campaign in the American Civil War.

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Lower East Side Tenement Museum

The Lower East Side Tenement Museum tells the story of the building at 97 Orchard Street and the thousands of immigrants who lived there.

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Minute Man National Historical Park

Minute Man National Historical Park is the home of the first battle of the American Revolution.

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Minuteman Missile Silo

The Minuteman Missile Silo complex is a Cold War missile site containing a control center and missile launch site.

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Montezuma Castle

Montezuma Castle is a 12th century cliff dwelling in Arizona.

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Monticello

Monticello was the creation and long-time home of Thomas Jefferson.

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Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore in South Dakota is an iconic monument to four of the Presidents of the United States of America.

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Museum of the Confederacy

The Museum of the Confederacy chronicles the history of the seceded states under the Confederate government.

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Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez in Mississippi contains a number of historic sites and places of note including a native Indian village and historic houses and churches.

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National Civil Rights Museum

The site where the father of the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr, was gunned down.

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National Constitution Center

The National Constitution Center is a museum dedicated to the history, development and modern meaning of the US Constitution.

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National Mall and Memorial Parks

National Mall and Memorial Parks house many of the most iconic historical sites in the United States of America.

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National Museum of American History

The National Museum of American History offers a diverse exploration of the nation’s history.

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National Museum of American Jewish Military History

The National Museum of American Jewish Military History is dedicated to exploring the roles of Jewish Americans in US military history.

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National Museum of the American Indian - New York

The National Museum of the American Indian is dedicated to exploring the history and culture of Native Americans.

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National Museum of the American Indian - Washington

The National Museum of the American Indian explores the history and culture of Native Americans.

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National Museum of the Civil War Soldier

The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier explores the experiences of those who fought in the American Civil War.

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National World War I Museum

The US National World War I Museum is a comprehensive museum of the history and legacy of this global conflict.

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New York African Burial Ground

The New York African Burial Ground is a memorial to the tens of thousands of Africans once buried there.

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New York City Hall

New York City Hall is the oldest city hall in the US still in continuous use.

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Ohio State Reformatory

Best known as the prison where The Shawshank Redemption was shot, the tale of Ohio State Reformatory is one of America’s most gruesome prison stories yet one of its most beautiful buildings.

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Old North Church - Boston

Old North Church played a vital role in igniting the American Revolution and is part of the Freedom Trail.

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Old South Meeting House - Boston

Old South Meeting House was an important 18th century meeting place and the site where the Boston Tea Party began.

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Old State House - Boston

The Old State House in Boston played an important role in the American Revolution and was where the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed.

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Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park

Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park was the site of an American Civil War battle on 20 February 1864 won by the Confederates.

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Palo Alto Battlefield

Palo Alto Battlefield was the site of the first major clash of the Mexican-American War on 8 May 1846.

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Paul Revere House

Paul Revere House was the Boston home of Paul Revere, a silversmith who played a vital role in the American Revolution.

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Petersen House

Petersen House was the site where President Abraham Lincoln died in 1865 after being shot across the street at Ford Theatre.

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Plimoth Plantation

The Plimoth Plantation is a living museum which includes a recreated 1627 English village and a Wampanoag homesite.

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Port Hudson

Port Hudson was the site of a lengthy siege during the American Civil War.

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Richmond National Battlefield Park

Richmond National Battlefield Park in Virginia was a focal point of the American Civil War and the capital of the Confederacy.

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Seattle Underground Streets

An incredible set of nineteenth century underground ruins buried after a devastating fire in 1889. Today visitors can explore the storefronts, streets and houses of nineteenth-century Seattle.

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Shiloh Battlefield

Shiloh Battlefield was the site of the Battle of Pittsburgh Landing which took place in April 1862.

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Sitka National Historical Park

Sitka National Historical Park in Alaska commemorates the Battle of Sitka and Russian American colonial history.

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Stones River Battlefield

Stones River Battlefield was the site of a fierce clash during the American Civil War which proved vital for the Union.

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Stonewall Jackson Grave

Grave of Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson.

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Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo is a beautiful thousand year old Native American settlement in New Mexico.

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The Abbe Museum

The Abbe Museum in Maine focuses on Native American history and heritage, particularly that of the Wabanaki.

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The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum explores the life of the 16th US president and his legacy, all in the context of wider US history.

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The Alamo

The Alamo in San Antonio is an iconic historic site which saw the famous siege and battle in March 1836.

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The Anasazi Heritage Center

The Anasazi Heritage Center explores the history and culture of the Anasazi Native Americans.

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The Arab American National Museum

The Arab American National Museum in Michigan is dedicated to the history, culture and national heritage of Arab Americans.

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The Atomic Testing Museum

The Atomic Testing Museum tells the story of the atomic age and of the more local National Testing Site.

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The Autry Museum

The Autry Museum explores the history and culture of the American west.

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The California State Mining and Mineral Museum

This museum is dedicated to exploring the history of the famous California Gold Rush and the legacy that it left on the state of California.

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The Charleston Museum

The Charleston Museum chronicles the history of Charleston and the coastal region of South Carolina.

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The Dickson Mounds Museum

The Dickson Mounds Museum explores the history and culture of Native Americans.

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The Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail is a tour through Boston’s historical sites relating to the American Revolution.

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The Gilcrease Museum

The Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa exhibits a comprehensive collection relating to the history of the American West.

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The James Madison Museum

The James Madison Museum in Orange, Virginia explores the life and legacy of the fourth US president.

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The Journey Museum

The Journey Museum in South Dakota chronicles the history of the Black Hills region and the cultures that have existed there.

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The King Centre

The King Centre in Atlanta is the final resting place of Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

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The Korean War Veterans Memorial

The Korean War Veterans Memorial is dedicated to those who fought in the Korean War.

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The Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell is one of the most important symbols of freedom and liberty in the US.

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The Liberty Memorial

The Liberty Memorial is a US national World War I monument in Kansas City in Missouri.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a world renowned museum exhibiting works spanning eight thousand years.

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The National World War II Memorial

The National World War II Memorial in Washington DC is a civilian and military memorial.

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The Pacific Aviation Museum

The Pacific Aviation Museum tells the story of US aviation in this region during World War II.

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The Steamboat Arabia Museum

The Steamboat Arabia Museum exhibits the cargo of a nineteenth century ship, offering an insight into her past and the world in which she operated.

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The Texas Civil War Museum

The Texas Civil War Museum in Fort Worth holds an array of exhibits relating to the American Civil War.

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The US Capitol

The US Capitol is the seat of the United States Congress and an iconic building in its own right.

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The Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC commemorates the soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War.

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The Washington Monument

The Washington Monument is an obelisk built in honour of President George Washington.

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The White House

The White House is the seat of the federal government of the United States of America and home of the President.

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The Women’s Museum

The Women’s Museum in Dallas is a national museum dedicated to women’s history.

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The Wounded Knee Museum

The Wounded Knee Museum is dedicated to exploring the events of the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890.

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Titan Missile Museum

The Titan Missile Museum is a former ICBM missile site that now offers tours to the public. It contains a genuine Titan II missile in its original silo.

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US National Museum of the Marine Corps

The US National Museum of the Marine Corps chronicles the history of the Marines and their roles in various world conflicts.

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US National Museum of the Pacific War

The US National Museum of the Pacific War is a World War II museum focusing on the story of the Pacific theatre.

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US National World War II Museum

The US National World War II Museum in New Orleans tells the story of the war, focusing particularly on amphibious attacks.

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USS Arizona Memorial

The USS Arizona Memorial is a monument to the American service people who died during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

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USS Missouri Memorial

The USS Missouri Memorial was a World War II battleship and the site where Japan officially surrendered to the Allies.

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United States Holocaust Museum

The United States Holocaust Museum commemorates the Holocaust and explores the issue of genocide as a whole.

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Vicksburg Battlefield

Vicksburg Battlefield in Mississippi was the site of a pivotal Union victory during the American Civil War.

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War in the Pacific National Park

The War in the Pacific National Park in Guam commemorates the efforts of this region in World War II.

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Washington National Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral is a site where national events, such as state funerals and Presidential inaugurations, are marked.

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Washita Battlefield

Washita Battlefield was the site of a surprise US cavalry attack on a Native American settlement in 1868 during the American-Indian Wars.

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Wilson’s Creek Battlefield

Wilson’s Creek Battlefield was the site of a major battle which defined Missouri’s role in the American Civil War.

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World Trade Centre

The World Trade Centre site was a location of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

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World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument

The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument is home to the USS Arizona Memorial and a host of other sites related to the battle in the Pacific.

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Yorktown Battlefield

Yorktown Battlefield is the site of the final major battle of the American Revolution.

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Our database of Historic Sites in the United States is growing all the time, but we may not cover them all. So, if you know of other US cultural places, landmarks and monuments, you can always add them to Trip Historic now by contacting us today.