In 2010, more than 60.8 million tourists came to the United States. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the United States is consistently one of the top international tourist destinations. Ranking is based on the number of visitors and the amount of tourism revenue. Lots of people opt to visit the United States because it has everything that a tourist desires to experience in his travels. This article is a guide to popular USA attractions and destinations.
Walt Disney World Resort is the biggest and most visited recreational resort on the planet. In 1959, when Walt Disney saw that his first theme park, Disneyland in Anaheim, California was being surrounded by other businesses, and was mostly attracting only people from the west coast of the United States he decided it was time to look into opening another park in Florida. The park was opening in October of 1971.
Disney World occupies an area of 30,080 acres and is located 21 miles southwest of Orlando, Florida. Disney World maintains four theme parks, two waterparks, 23 resort hotels, a campground, health spas & physical fitness centers, hundreds of recreational venues, entertainment centers and many innovative and fun rides catering to people of all ages. Disney World has the following four theme parks:
- Magic Kingdom
- Hollywood Studios
- Animal Kingdom
If you are planning to visit Disney World, here are some helpful tips: Consider buying add-ons for your tickets, as there are options; choose the itinerary suitable for the whole family, check height restrictions for the attractions and go over park calendars for parades, live entertainment, fireworks and special events. In planning to visit Disney World, you have to choose the best time for your trip by considering these four factors: crowd, temperature, park hours and special events.
You can visit the official Disney World website for more information.
Empire State Building
The Empire State Building (ESB) is a remarkable landmark which is located at the corners of 5th Avenue and West 34th Street in New York City. After its completion in 1931, it was the World’s Tallest Building, but after 49 years, the title was given to the World Trade Center after its construction in 1972. However, the tragedy of September 11, 2001 restored the Empire State Building to its former titles as the tallest building in New York. It was chosen as one of the Seven Wonders in the Modern World.
On March 17, 1930, the construction of the building, designed by William F. Lamb began and it was officially opened to the public on May 1, 1931. The cost of constructing the Empire State Building was $40,948,900. The full height of the ESB is 1,454 feet (443.2 meters) with its 85 stories occupied by commercial and office spaces. On the 86th floor are indoor and outdoor observation decks. The rest of the 16 stories are the Art Deco Tower with the 102nd floor observatory at its peak. On top of the tower is a 203 ft. (62m) pinnacle which is enlaced with broadcast antennae and at the highest point is a lightning rod.
World-class environmentalists, energy consultants and construction experts have magically transformed the Empire State Building into this global model for future energy-efficient projects. Visitors can view its interactive, multi-media sustainability exhibits and the state of the art lobby of the Art Deco Tower. The ESB Observatory offers an unmatched panorama of New York City and its neighboring states.
Tips for Visitors: The best time to visit the ESB is after it opens at 8:00 a.m. or between 3 – 5 p.m. Weekdays are also usually less busy than weekends. Purchase your ticket immediately upon arrival or even before arrival. The ESB tour will take around two hours. To reach the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building, you have to climb 1,860 steps.
There are websites that give more information about visiting the Empire States Building.
This awesome natural attraction and tourist destination is a river carved gorge with steep sides in northwestern Arizona. It is officially one of the seven natural wonders in the world, chosen as a World Heritage site and one of jewels of the National Park System.
The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and attains a depth of over a mile. In 1908 the Grand Canyon was made an official national monument and in1919, it became a national park. Numerous animals, even endangered California species, make this 1.2 million acre park its home. Aside from the animals, there are more than 1,500 species of plants.
There is so much to see in Grand Canyon, aside from the panoramic and breath-taking sceneries. There are many interesting places that tourists can visit like museums and art galleries, amusement parks, National and State Parks, historical places and witness sporting events & festivals.
Mild spring, summer and fall are good times to visit the Canyon as it is a safety haven from intense heat. Most old residents of Grand Canyon recommend a visit during the winter season because there are fewer tourists, parking is plentiful and you can catch a magnificent view of snowy peaks.
Do you know that you can actually pet the deer and play with them in the Grand Canyon Deer Farm Petting Zoo?
You can get more information from the Grand Canyon National Park Information.
Las Vegas is known by many as the Entertainment Capital of the World as this fabulous city is the mecca for gambling, shopping and superb dining. It is the 28th most populous city in the United States with an estimated population for 2010 of 1,951,269. The climate is wonderful.
When the Hoover Dam (in Black Canyon, just minutes outside of Las Vegas), was completed in 1936, it resulted in the growth of Las Vegas’ number of residents, and caused an increase in tourism since gambling was legalized in 1931. Famous businessman Howard Hughes arrived in Vegas in the late 1960s and purchased many casino hotels, television stations, and radio stations in the city. This encouraged many reputable corporations to follow. Casinos and hotels are the major attractions of Las Vegas. There are 1001 things you can do in Las Vegas.
Over 39 million people visit Las Vegas every year and no matter what time of year you choose to visit, the city is crowded and the weather is sunny and dry. So plan your travel outside the holidays and summer season for the city is not quite as crowded. To economize on hotels, the best time to go is the period between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, or after the celebration of Labor Day. You can get to Las Vegas by bus, car, plane or train from your place of destination. Be a smart visitor and follow some useful tips when visiting Las Vegas.
Do you know that Las Vegas weddings average 315 a day? However, there are no statistics provided for divorce.
You can refer to some websites for additional information and assistance.
Mt Rushmore, located in the Black Hills near Keystone, South Dakota, is the locale of the Mt. Rushmore National Memorial where colossal sculptures are carved into the granite face of the Mountain. They were carved by the ingenious Gutzon Borglum and later continued by his son, Lincoln Borglum. The Memorial features the 60-foot (18 m) sculptures of the heads of four former US Presidents – from left to right – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
The coverage of the memorial is 1,278.45 acres (5.17 km) and is 5,725 feet (1,745 m) above sea level. The purpose of carving the memorial was to increase the influx of tourists along the area. The project started 1927 and ended in 1941; the entire project cost $989,992.32.
On October 15, 1966, Mount Rushmore was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1991, President George H. W. Bush officially dedicated Mount Rushmore. The second largest industry in South Dakota is tourism with Mount Rushmore as its leading attraction. There were two millions visitors recorded in 2004.
There are many things visitors can do and enjoy such as the concerts put on by the Rushmore Music Camp, the Avenue of Flags, events in the amphitheater, guided walks, children’s activities and lots more.
Tourist’s season begins on Memorial Day and runs until Labor Day. June is not a crowded month, but the months of July and August tend to be busy. May and September are also good months to visit the Memorial. Get a map and drive your way to Mount Rushmore or you can fly to Rapid City which offers a non-stop flight to South Dakota. It is easy to find good accommodations for your visit.
More information about Mount Rushmore tour is available on several reliable websites.
The cascading waters of Niagara Falls are sights to behold, making it a perfect tourist attraction. Niagara Falls contains some of the most powerful waterfalls in North America. These gigantic falls are from the Niagara River which is situated in the international border between the Canadian Province of Ontario and New York. The falls are 17 miles (27 km) north-northwest of Buffalo, New York and 75 miles (121 km) south-southeast of Toronto, Ontario.
Since the 18th century, Niagara Falls has been a popular tourist attraction. In 1961, it was also a source of hydroelectric power and considered the biggest power source in the world. But during the tourist season, power is reduced to accommodate the visitors and safeguard its attraction.
The Niagara region receives more than 22 million visitors every year. Travel to Niagara Falls USA can be by car, train, bus, or airplane. The nearest airport is Buffalo Niagara International Airport in NY. There are bus services running from the airport to Niagara Falls. The best time to travel is from May to September where you will be able to view the blue skies and the display of rainbows.
Niagara Falls has many attractions which include: museums like the Herschell Carousel Factory Museum, free concerts, and historical and cultural sites at the Old Fort Niagara. If you just want to relax amidst the beauty of nature, you can take an Erie Canal Cruise, Maid of the Mist or Whirlpool Jet Tour. Niagara Falls is a wonderful place to visit.
Do you know that Marilyn Monroe starred in the film Niagara in 1953? Because of her immense popularity during this period, her role in the film sparked an increase in tourism to the area.
There are websites which supply you all the information you need to make your visit to the Falls an experience to last a lifetime.
Statue of Liberty
As you enter the harbor of New York, you will behold a colossal neoclassical sculpture of a stately lady holding a torch – this is the Statue of Liberty which symbolizes liberty enlightening the world. Designed by Frederic Bartholdi, this statue was a gift from the people of France to Americans which was dedicated on October 28, 1886. This robed lady represents Libertas, the Roman Goddess of Freedom who is bearing a torch in her right hand and in her left is the tabula ansata ( a tablet evoking the law) upon which was inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence. A broken chain at her feet signifies breaking the shackles from slavery. The total weight of the Statue of Liberty is 450,000 pounds (204, 100 kilograms).
You can tour the monument in several ways: (1) Start from the pedestal and take the Observatory Tour. Watch the awesome views of the New York Harbor and New York City and then learn the history of the statue by visiting the history museum. Then go to the next floor of the statue’s pedestal and see the Statue of Liberty exhibit containing photos, videos, museum objects and illustrated history and symbolism related to the icon. Exhibits were opened to the public in 1986 and have become a crowd favorite. (2) Guided by a park ranger, you can take the Promenade Tour by going to the second floor balcony that overlooks the authentic 1986 torch. In the torch exhibit, the guide will explain the different alterations done to the torch. You will pass by Ft. Wood at the base of the monument and gaze at the spectacular Manhattan Skyline and New York Harbor. The last place you visit is the area where you can read the poem New Colossus, written by Emma Lazarus in 1883. This poem is inscribed on the bronze plaque hanging on the inner wall of the pedestal. This plaque symbolizes the message of hope, and freedom for all people across the globe.
It will take 2- 3 hours to visit the Statue if you join a tour. Since you have to take a ferry, be there hours before schedule. Make your visit during a weekday and arrive early and catch the 1st ferry to avoid unnecessary waiting. You can take a picnic basket and enjoy lunch on Liberty Island. Tours are free and no reservations are required.
Do you know that Lady Liberty’s crown has 25 windows and her crown has seven spikes which represent either the seven oceans or the seven continents?
There are hundreds of web sites of the Statue of Liberty which can help you plan your visit to this robed lady.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Colloquially called The Met, the Metropolitan Museum of Arts is a museum of arts, located on the eastern side of Central Park in New York City. It has more than 2 million works of art cared for in its 19 curatorial departments. Its main building, called The Met, has the world’s biggest art galleries. The edifice is a gigantic structure measuring almost a quarter of a mile and occupying around 2,000,000 square feet. The Cloisters, its second smaller gallery, is located in Upper Manhattan which houses the medieval art.
In 1870, a group of American art lovers founded this magnificent Museum. This group is a conglomeration of businessmen, financier, leading artists and philosophers of that time who believed that a museum is the best way to bring art closer to the people. It was opened to the public in February 20, 1872 and since then has become the matrix for arts in America.
The Met has more than 2 million works of arts cared for by 19 curatorial departments. Its art collection covers extensively the period of antiquity to the modern times. There are paintings and sculptures from well-known masters, American arts in varied medium, and a massive collection of African, Asian, Byzantine, Islamic and Oceanic articles and masterpieces. Musical instruments, costumes & accessories, and antique weapons & armor from around the world are on display. The Museum’s educational programs are attended annually by approximately 350,000 visitors, students and teachers.
The Museum is open 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday to Thursday; it is open 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It is closed on Sunday and legal holidays. Admission is $20.00 for adults; special discounts are available for those connected with the academe and free for children below 12.
Do you know that the Water Lilies (or Nympheas), a series of approximately 250 oil paintings by French Impressionist Claude Monet contains pieces which are among the Met’s art collections?
The Visitors’ Guide will be a good source of information for visitors. Weekdays are the best times to visit.
The Liberty Bell
The ringing of the Liberty Bell on July 8, 1776 from the Independence Tower, transformed the world for it summoned citizens of Philadelphia to listen to the 1st public reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon. American Independence is symbolized by the Liberty Bell which is now housed at the light-filled Liberty Bell Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In 1752, Lester and Pack, (now the White Chapel Bell Foundry) a London firm, was commissioned to forge the bell with inscriptions from part of Leviticus 25.10 – Proclaim LIBERTY throughout the land unto all the inhabitants. When it was first rung in Philadelphia, it cracked and was twice casted by local blacksmiths who placed their last names (Pass and Stow) on the bell. The Liberty Bell was then used to call lawmakers to attend a session or to summon citizens to attend meetings and hear proclamations. The Bell gained its iconic status after the abolitionists used it as a symbol of the Anti-Slavery movement in 1837.
In October, 2003, the Liberty Bell Center was opened to the public and every 4th of July, thereof, at 2 pm, young descendants of the signers of the Declaration would tap the Bell 13 times. Every year, approximately 350,000 tourists visit the Center. No entrance tickets are required to visit the Center at any time. Located on Market Street between 5th and 6th Streets, the Liberty Bell Center welcomes visitors all year, though schedules are changed with the season, and do not require any ticket for entry.
The Liberty Bell is displayed inside a magnificent glass chamber with the Independence Hall at the background. The Center has exhibits and video presentations of the bell’s origin and its modern day role as icon of international freedom. Tapes are available in various languages for the convenience of foreign visitors.
Do you know that the cost of Liberty Bell, including insurance and shipping from London, was 150 pounds 13 shillings 8 pence? This is equal to around $36,400.
Washington, D.C. was founded and declared capital of the United States on July 16, 1790. It is named in honor of the 1st US President George Washington. The site of this magnificent city is at the north bank of the Potomac River with the state of Virginia on the southwest and that of Maryland on the other. The resident population of the City is 601,723 but increases to a million on weekdays for workers who are coming from the suburbs.
The three branches of the Federal government – executive, legislative and judicial – are seated in the District. It is also the home of 176 foreign embassies and headquarters to important groups such as: World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Development Bank, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and lots of others. Other institutions found here are: trade unions, lobbying groups and professional associations.
In Washington, you should visit these places:
- Lincoln Memorial – is an imposing statue of Abraham Lincoln, immortalizing him as the 16th President of the United States. Located in the National Mall, it showed a serious- looking Abraham Lincoln.
- Capitol Building – is the meeting arena of statesmen for both Senate and House of Representatives. Located at the opposite end of the National Mall, it is the 5th tallest building in the city and a good example of architecture in the neoclassical period.
- The White House – is the official residence and workplace of the President which is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Designed by architect James Hoban and constructed between 1792-1800, it is made of white Aquia sandstone constructed in the neoclassical style.
You can arrange a Capitol Hill tour by securing your ticket from the Visitor Center located in the U.S. Capitol. Visitors are offered educational tours so they will learn more about the workings in the House and Senate, as well as follow the legislative process. The Resources for Visitors website is rich in information regarding Washington DC tours.