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Best Historic Destinations in the USA

U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

Plan your next getaway at one of the historical 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

#1 in Best Historic Destinations in the USA

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 »

Boston Harbor
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#2 Washington, D.C.

#2 in Best Historic Destinations in the USA

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 »

Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool
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#3 Philadelphia

#3 in Best Historic Destinations in the USA

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 »

Ben Franklin in the Park
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#4 Williamsburg

#4 in Best Historic Destinations in the USA

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 »

Colonial Williamsburg
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#5 Charleston

#5 in Best Historic Destinations in the USA

Why go: Walking around The Battery with Fort Sumter in the distance, you may feel like you're in a beautiful antebellum world. Should you wish to catch a glimpse of the former 19th-century Southern high society, tour the Calhoun Mansion or the Nathaniel Russell House. Read More »

Pineapple Fountain
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#6 New Orleans

#6 in Best Historic Destinations in the USA

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. Should you desire a quieter place, try the Garden District or Chalmette Battlefield. Read More »

Jazz in the French Quarter
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#7 Savannah

#7 in Best Historic Destinations in the USA

Why go: Not so long ago, Savannah stood as the epicenter of Georgia's 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 »

Forsyth park
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#8 Richmond

#8 in Best Historic Destinations in the USA

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 »

Houdon's George Washington
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#9 New York City

#9 in Best Historic Destinations in the USA

Why Go: NYC 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 »

Buzzing Times Square
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#10 San Francisco

#10 in Best Historic Destinations in the USA

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 »

Golden Gate Bridge
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#11 San Antonio

#11 in Best Historic Destinations in the USA

Why go: Remember the Alamo? You'll learn about Texas state history as you explore this historic site, where Texans died fighting for independence. Those looking for more remnants of the past should also hit up the historic sites lining San Antonio Missions National Historical Park Read More »

San Antonio River Walk
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#12 Yellowstone

#12 in Best Historic Destinations in the USA

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 attractions, including Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs. Read More »

Inspiration Point
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