Today is the Fourth of July, and in honor of America’s birthday, let’s look at some of the most iconic landmarks and famous sites across the country.
Mount Rushmore, North Dakota
In the middle of the country are the Black Hills Mountains, named for their black appearance caused by the dark evergreen trees covering the mountainsides.
In the 1920s, local and federal leaders proposed a unique idea to increase tourism: Carve the faces of four influential presidents into the side of the mountain. And so it happened. The faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt were carved in the mountain.
These days, more than two million people stop by to check out the “Shrine of Democracy” every year, especially during the summer months, when families make cross-country vacations to see America’s sites.
Las Vegas, Nevada
In the middle of the desert is an oasis of fun, entertainment, and gambling in Las Vegas, Nevada. Founded as getaway for California’s rich and famous, “Sin City” is one of the country’s most exciting places to visit.
And there’s plenty to do for everyone, with gambling, amazing dining and drinking, shows for people of all ages, and more. Whatever you choose, it’s guaranteed to be over the top, fun, and memorable. The Strip, the heart of the city, beats all day and all night; there’s always something going on in Las Vegas.
Times Square, New York City, New York
On the other side of the country is Times Square, called the “Crossroads of the World” because people from around the world gather here for the full New York experience. The iconic intersection gained a global reputation for entertainment. It has dozens of theaters and venues for plays, musicals, and other entertainment.
But by the 1980s, it was a seedy, crime-ridden area. After a concerted effort by the city, the area was cleaned up, and the center of the world was back in business.
These days, the digital billboards, flashing advertisements, and all-night stores are an all-American site, one you absolutely must check out if you can.
Statue of Liberty, New York City, New York
Just down the way is one of America’s most heartfelt symbols: the Statue of Liberty. A gift from France in 1886, the 151-foot statue was once a shiny copper beauty, but exposure to air has turned Lady Liberty a light green beacon to the world.
Standing watch over the harbor where millions of immigrants sailed to their new home, Lady Liberty has been a welcome site to many seeking freedom, safety, and a new life in a new country. Inscribed in her base are the words “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. She does indeed represent all that is good about America.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
One of the most breathtaking land features in the world, the Grand Canyon is a marvel millions of years in the making. Carved by the Colorado River, the spectacular canyon spans nearly 300 miles. Two billion years of history are on display in the walls of the canyon, where the water has cut out the mountainside, revealing colorful rainbows of soil.
This American landmark is visited by more than five million people each year. You can hike into the canyon, check out hidden caves in the sides, or just enjoy the view from a rim. Be sure to bring a jacket; the high elevations means that even on the hottest days, the nights can get quite cold.
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California
The Golden Gate Bridge often seems to rise from the mist of the bay, making it seem like a scene from another world more than a man-made marvel. Considered one of, if not the, most beautiful bridge in the world, the suspension bridge certainly holds a special place as an American icon.
One mile long, the bridge made of steel was completed in 1937. These days, more than 100,000 cars use the bridge a day, in addition to pedestrians and bicycles.
Because the San Francisco Bay is often taken over by fog and low clouds, the image of the bridge in the skyline is quite striking. Over the years, it has become a beautiful symbol of American ingenuity, daring, and design.
From coast to coast, the United States is filled with countless sites, cities, and landmarks that make it unique, and memorable. Happy Birthday, America!