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Best Historic Destinations in the USA

U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

Use this list to plan your next getaway to one of the most historic places in the United States. To determine the best spots in America for history buffs, U.S. News considered the storied pasts, preserved landmarks, notable monuments and tourist-friendly services in each city – as well as votes from users. Vote on your top picks for history lovers to help us determine next year's list. 

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#1 Washington, D.C.

#1 in Best Historic Destinations in the USA

America's capital is brimming with free things to do. The Washington Monument, the Capitol Building, the White House and the historic Lincoln Memorial anchor the National Mall, while the Tidal Basin boasts three of its own memorials dedicated to history-making figures. What's more, exploring the Smithsonian museums won't cost you a dime. Read More »

Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool View 46 photos
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#2 Boston

#2 in Best Historic Destinations in the USA

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, which guides visitors past 16 of the city's most historic sites. Read More »

Boston Harbor View 43 photos
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#3 Gettysburg

#3 in Best Historic Destinations in the USA

Gettysburg Battlefield, the 6,000-acre Civil War military park that witnessed the momentous clash of Union and Confederate forces in 1863, is the star of any visit to this Pennsylvania town. Gettysburg also played a part in the Cold War, which you'll learn about at the Eisenhower National Historic Site that sits adjacent to the famous battlefield.

Gettysburg
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#4 Philadelphia

#4 in Best Historic Destinations in the USA

You'll see Ben Franklin's name and influence across the United States' first capital city. Visit Independence Hall, where Ben and company signed the Declaration of Independence. Then, pay homage to the famously cracked Liberty Bell. And for a bit of cinematic history, head to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to snap a picture of the notorious "Rocky Steps." Read More »

View 40 photos
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#5 Savannah

#5 in Best Historic Destinations in the USA

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 or sign up for a ghost tour to hear about the historic figures that still haunt the city. Read More »

Forsyth park View 39 photos
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#6 Williamsburg

#6 in Best Historic Destinations in the USA

With its preserved colonial sites and costumed interpreters, Williamsburg is the definition of a living history museum. Your first stop should be Colonial Williamsburg, where you'll be greeted by the "residents" who once called this Revolutionary city home. Next up: Jamestown, home to the original 1607 settlement. Read More »

Colonial Williamsburg View 29 photos
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#7 Plymouth

#7 in Best Historic Destinations in the USA

This coastal town south of Boston boasts its fair share of historic homes, museums and monuments dedicated to the men and women who founded the first New England colony, as well as the Wampanoag American Indians. But Plymouth is also home to a bit of 21st-century history: Visitors will find the town's 9/11 Memorial just north of Plymouth Rock.

Plymouth
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#8 Charleston

#8 in Best Historic Destinations in the USA

Walking around The Battery with Fort Sumter in the distance, you may feel like you're in a beautiful antebellum postcard. Should you wish to catch a glimpse of the former 19th-century Southern high society, tour Middleton Place or the Nathaniel Russell House Museum. Or, simply relax on the wraparound porch of your historic bed-and-breakfast. Read More »

Pineapple Fountain View 51 photos
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#9 New Orleans

#9 in Best Historic Destinations in the USA

Many come to New Orleans to party hard on Bourbon Street, but history lovers will delight in admiring sights like the French Quarter, the Cabildo and St. Louis Cathedral. If you need a break from the crowds, try the Garden District or Chalmette Battlefield, or escape the heat at the popular National WWII Museum. Read More »

Jazz in the French Quarter View 45 photos
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#10 Charlottesville

#10 in Best Historic Destinations in the USA

After you've admired the grandeur of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, visit the farmhouse that once belonged to Jefferson's neighbor and the fifth president of the United States, James Monroe. Continue your history lesson at the school Jefferson founded, the University of Virginia, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Read More »

Spring at Monticello View 21 photos
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New York City

Buzzing Times Square

New York City

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St. Augustine

City Hall

St. Augustine

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Salem

Salem

Salem

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San Antonio

San Antonio River Walk

San Antonio

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