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The 18 Most Beautiful U.S. Landmarks To Visit This Fourth Of July

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For Architectural Digest, by Hannah Huber.

The Fourth of July holiday is rapidly approaching, promising crowded beaches, sunburns, and lots of travel traffic. Take your free weekend in a new direction and visit some of the most American landmarks this great country has to offer on the anniversary of its birth. From St. John’s Church (the site of Patrick Henry’s famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech) to the Alamo, this list of 18 historic landmarks proves America has much more to offer.

The Grand Canyon, Arizona

Hike or raft through one of America’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders. The photos really don’t do its magnificence justice.

St. John’s Church, Richmond, Virginia

In this historic building, Patrick Henry gave a speech that would spark the revolution leading to the United States’ independence from Great Britain. To really feel the power of “Give me liberty or give me death,” reserve a seat in the church on July 4th for a full reenactment of Henry’s inspiring words.

Independence Hall, Philadelphia

Take a guided tour through the footsteps of our forefathers at the site where they penned the birth certificate of this nation, the Declaration of Independence.

The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas

Visit the site of the infamous battle that led to Texas’s independence from Mexico.

1 World Trade Center and 9/11 Museum, New York City

Standing a significant 1,776 feet tall and housing Condé Nast (and AD), 1 World Trade Center is the crown jewel of the New York City skyline and a beacon of resilience to Americans after the tragedies of 9/11. Visit the moving 9/11 Museum and the reflecting pools that stand in the footprints of the original Twin Towers, encircled by the names of those who lost their lives in the attacks.

The Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

Though the Lincoln Memorial is a popular site for politically driven television shows and movies, its dramatic impact cannot be realized on film. After taking in the monument, check out the museum housed below Honest Abe.

Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.

There is a sweet spot on a beautiful stretch of green between the Washington Monument and the Capitol building that is the perfect place for a Fourth of July picnic. Admire the Capitol’s neoclassical design from afar while enjoying some all-American cuisine.

Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia

Little-known fact: Arlington National Cemetery was originally Robert E. Lee’s front yard. Now the cemetery is the final resting place for thousands of American heroes.

The Intrepid, New York City

Serving in World War II, surviving kamikaze and torpedo attacks and the Vietnam War, and later used as a NASA recovery vessel, the Intrepid was decommissioned in 1974 and turned into a museum. This maritime miracle is located on the West Side of Manhattan at Pier 86.

The Freedom Trail, Boston

Stroll through history on this 2.5-mile stretch of 16 historical landmarks from Boston Common to the USS Constitution (affectionately known as Old Ironsides).

The Hoover Dam, Nevada

Built during the Great Depression, giving thousands of jobs to out-of-work Americans, the Hoover Dam is a revolutionary structure spanning 1,244 feet across Black Canyon to control flooding of the Colorado River.

The Hollywood Sign, L.A.

Gaze upon this icon of American dreamers — erected at the height of Hollywood glamour in 1923 — with starry eyes.

Alcatraz Island, San Francisco

Visit the grim conditions of America’s first maximum-security prison, known as “the Rock.” The views from the island are spectacular.

Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown, Virginia

Explore recreations of the ships Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery, which carried the original settlers of America to Jamestown in 1607. Afterward, take a walk back in time to Colonial Williamsburg, where you will find enthusiastic re-enactors ready to tell you all about this original colony.

Ellis Island, New York City

Few spots ring more American than Ellis Island. Greeted by Lady Liberty herself, immigrants used this entryway to the land of the free for more than 60 years.

Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida

One small step for man, one giant leap for America! Take the day to explore the nation’s pioneering advancements into space. While you’re there, grab some astronaut ice cream to get the full space experience.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Marvel at the beauty of one of America’s most visited national parks. The 3,500-square-foot park encompasses a number of canyons, natural hot springs, lush forests, and diverse wildlife.

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

Visit the larger-than-life renderings of four American presidents. If you are lucky, perhaps you will stumble into their heads and discover the hidden secret within Mount Rushmore.

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