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Travel Rankings & Advice

Best Historic Destinations in the USA

Plan your next historical getaway at one of the destinations on this list, compiled based on your favorite picks and top recommendations among industry experts. To determine the best stateside spots for history buffsU.S News considered the storied pasts, preserved landmarks, notable monuments and tourist-friendly services offered in each city. Share your top picks for history lovers below to help us determine next year's list.

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#1
Boston
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515 58

Why go: Boston is a city of American firsts. The country's first public library, first subway system, first public school and first public park belong to Boston. Here, you can stroll the same cobblestone streets as the puritans and revolutionaries. Kick off your city tour on the Freedom Trail. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Boston

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565 104

Why go: America's capital brims with things to do. The Washington Monument, the Capitol Building, the White House and the Lincoln Memorial anchor the National Mall, which boasts a variety of other attractions. Plus, exploring the Smithsonian museums won't cost you a dime. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Washington D.C.

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466 105

Why go: Part historical town, part theatrical stage, Williamsburg hosts numerous refurbished buildings and a legion of period actors. While some consider Colonial Williamsburg to be the Disneyland of the Revolutionary War, others find the recreation educational and enjoyable. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Williamsburg

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457 101

Why go: You'll see Ben Franklin's name and influence across this city. Visit Independence Hall, where Ben and company signed the Declaration of Independence. Then, pay homage to the famously cracked Liberty Bell. Afterward, dig into a classic Philly cheesesteak in South Philly. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Philadelphia

Belongs on list?
411 93

Why go: Walking around The Battery and spotting Fort Sumter in the distance, you may believe that you've stepped back into a gorgeous antebellum world. Should you wish to glimpse the lifestyle of the 19th-century Southern high society, tour the Calhoun Mansion or the Nathaniel Russell House. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Charleston

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339 107

Why go: Many come to New Orleans to party hard on Bourbon Street, but history lovers will take delight in admiring sights like the French Quarter, the Cabildo and St. Louis Cathedral that mark this district. Should you desire a quieter place, try the Garden District or Chalmette Battlefield. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in New Orleans

Belongs on list?
358 104

Why go: Not so long ago, Savannah stood as the epicenter of Georgia's sophisticated elite. The upper class built upscale townhouses around quaint squares. While some things have changed, much of Savannah has stayed the same. Explore Forsyth Park to catch sight of the antebellum world. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Savannah

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299 115

Why go: The former capital of the Confederacy is just a two-hour drive south of Washington, D.C. The Virginia State Capitol Building reminds you of Jefferson's Monticello, and the Virginia Historical Society boasts an exhaustive collection of Civil War paraphernalia.  Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Richmond

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274 127

Why go: San Francisco is a treat for history buffs. The myths of Alcatraz draw conspiracy theorists and school children; the architectural achievement of Golden Gate Bridge attracts gawkers and giddy engineers; and the vibrant Mission District brings in social progressives. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in San Francisco

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305 136

Why go: Remember the Alamo? You'll learn about the Texas state history as you explore this historic site, where 189 Texans died fighting for their independence. Those looking for more remnants of the past should not pass up a trip to the historic sites lining San Antonio Missions National Historic Park Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in San Antonio

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481 212

Why Go: "The City" offers history at high speeds and high altitudes. Scale the Empire State Building; stroll across the monumental Brooklyn Bridge; or hop the ferry to Ellis Island. Also, don't forget the city's most recent historical footprint — the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in New York City

Belongs on list?
338 166

Why Go: A visit to Charlottesville is a glimpse into our nation's history. First, take a stroll through the University of Virginia, which Thomas Jefferson established in 1819. Then, explore Monticello, Jefferson's grandiose home, guided tours provide a brief lesson on plantation life and the Revolutionary War.  Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Charlottesville

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