Travel Rankings & Advice

Best Historic Destinations in the USA

Plan your next historical getaway at one of the destinations on this list, compiled using your votes and the opinions of travel experts. When ranking our top picks for best stateside spots for history buffs, U.S News considered the storied pasts, preserved landmarks, notable monuments and tourist-friendly services offered in each city. Please contribute below with your vote for the best historic destination in the United States.

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526 97

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, you can explore the Smithsonian museums, free of charge. Read More»

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

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435 97

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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385 92

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 wealthy 19th-century Southern gentry, tour the Calhoun Mansion or the Nathaniel Russell House. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Charleston

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422 98

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

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473 55

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. Better yet, the city makes this walk through history really easy with the Freedom Trail. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Boston

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329 104

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

Read On: Top Things to Do in Savannah

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284 109

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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312 105

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

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201 188

Why go: Founded in 1610, Santa Fe boasts a colorful past. The Palace of the Governors has been around since the city’s formation. Also on Santa Fe Plaza, the St. Francis Cathedral evinces the region's Catholic heritage. Lastly, the Georgia O'Keefe Museum and the galleries along Canyon Road epitomize Santa Fe's storied artistic tradition. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Santa Fe

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251 122

Why go: While Silicon Valley builds modern marvels, 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 Castro and the Mission District bring in social progressives. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in San Francisco

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288 128

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 missions lining San Antonio Missions National Historic Park Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in San Antonio

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256 168

Why go: Ulysses S. Grant made history when he established Yellowstone National Park as the first national park in the world. Yellowstone hosts some of America's most remarkable natural sites, including Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Yellowstone

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