Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right Check out the most famous buildings and monuments in the USA

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Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Blake Lewis

Check out the most famous buildings and monuments in the USA

Discover the most famous buildings and monuments in the USA, including amazing skyscrapers, historical sites and more

By Lauren Rothman and Tim Lowery

Who’s ready for an amazing cross-country trek? Think of our rundown of the most famous buildings and moments in the United States as a way to tick off those essentials from your bucket-list and take in our country’s incredible historical sites, towering skyscrapers, iconic bridges and more. We’re talking must-visit locations like Mount Rushmore, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Alamo, the Washington Monument, Trinity Church, Fort Sumter and so much more. And since we have your attention, don’t forget to consult our expert guides to the very best US road trips, beaches and places to visit in the USA right now. Happy travels! 

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Famous buildings and monuments

Fort McHenry in Baltimore
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/mc01229

Fort McHenry in Baltimore

Baltimore’s Fort McHenry was built in 1798 and played a key role in the War of 1812, when, in 1814, U.S. armed forces successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from an attack by the British Navy. Later, during the Civil War, it served as a prison for captured Confederate soldiers and sympathizers. The fort is the one referenced in the Star Spangled Banner and receives hundreds of thousands of tourists each year.

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/mc01229

Photograph: Jena Cumbo

Statue of Liberty in New York

Attractions Monuments and memorials Liberty Island

Originally conceived of as a gift from France to the U.S., this 151-foot copper lady was, perhaps, the world’s first crowdfunded campaign: when the French government couldn’t afford to complete and ship the statue stateside, an 1885 drive started by New York World publisher Joseph Pulitzer attracted more than 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a dollar. Lady Liberty arrived in pieces shortly thereafter and was assembled on the since-renamed Liberty Island, where she still welcomes visitors to the New York Harbor.


Willis Tower in Chicago

Things to do Loop

Formerly known as the Sears Tower, Chicago’s tallest skyscraper was built in 1970 by Sears, Roebuck & Co., then the largest retailer in the world. The black-banded building dominates the Windy City’s skyline and, at 108 stories, is the U.S.’s second-tallest building, surpassed only by NYC’s One World Trade Center.

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Lincoln Memorial
Photograph: Elan Fleisher

Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Attractions Sightseeing National Mall

In a city crowded with some of the most recognizable monuments in the world, the Lincoln Memorial stands out for its graceful elegance that evokes a Greek temple. Located on the western edge of the National Mall, architect Henry Bacon’s masterpiece features a larger-than-life, seated Abraham Lincoln exuding calm and steadfastness. Consistently D.C.’s most-visited monument with an average of six million visitors per year, the site looks even more special at night—and you can stop by 24 hours a day.

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Delano, Hotels and accommodation, Miami
Photograph: Courtesy Delano

Delano South Beach in Miami

Hotels South Beach

This white, four-winged Art Deco masterpiece designed by architect Robert Swartburg is a whimsical addition to South Beach that was constructed in 1947. Updated in 1994 by French designer Philippe Starck, the hotel’s sleek interior has long been a favored hangout spot for celebrities frolicking in Miami. 

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Fort Sumter in Charleston
Photograph: Shutterstock

Fort Sumter in Charleston

Two battles of the American Civil War took place at this seaside fort in Charleston: one in 1861 and one in 1863, when the Union tried (and failed) to wrest it from Confederate control. Completely leveled at the end of the war, the fort was later restored by the U.S. Army and today welcomes visitors at an education center and museum.

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Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Blake Lewis

Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC

Built at the height of the Gilded Age by a Vanderbilt, this expansive estate located outside Asheville mimics France’s Versailles Palace, with its steeply pitched, slate-tiled roof. Inside, 250 rooms divided between four floors include 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and three kitchens, as well as 65 fireplaces and a formerly men-only “Bachelors’ Wing.” Today, visitors to the 8,000-acre estate can gawk at original art by Renoir and Singer Sargent, magnificent 16th century tapestries and a library that houses 10,000 volumes.

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Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles

Music Music venues Downtown

Downtown L.A.’s most recognizable building is a masterpiece designed by Frank Gehry, a distinctively rippled, stainless-steel coated structure that houses the L.A. Philharmonic as well as the L.A. Master Chorale. Walt Disney’s widow Lillian donated the initial $50 million needed to get the project off the ground, and the concert hall was completed in 1996. Its renowned acoustics come courtesy of a fir- and oak-paneled interior.

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