Things to Do in USA - page 3
The man whose dream changed America lives eternally in Washington DC. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial opened in October 2011, a few months after the 48th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I have a dream" speech. Set in the greater National Mall area, the memorial occupies four acres of land in West Potomac Park and looks out over Tidal Basin near the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.
The site includes both a commanding 30-foot statue of Dr. King and a 450-foot granite inscription wall, featuring 14 excerpts from King's speeches, sermons and other public addresses.
The Pacific Coast Highway—also known as PCH or, more commonly, Highway 1—runs north-south along most of the United States’ West Coast. The incredibly scenic California stretch is known for its oceanfront locales, rugged cliffs, hidden coves, and numerous beaches, making it one of the nation’s most popular road-trip routes. From San Francisco to San Diego and the many charming stops in between, it’s truly one of the most naturally beautiful places on the planet to take a drive.
The Salem Witch Trials Memorial preserves a moment in history, when 17th-century residents of colonial Massachusetts tried and executed women and men accused of witchcraft. The site, a small grassy area surrounded by stone walls and locust trees, is just one of the many witchcraft hysteria attractions in the historical town of Salem.
Smack in the middle of historic Charleston, the Charleston City Market is a central landmark for Holy City visitors. In addition to being one of the most visited historic attractions in town, the City Market—opened in 1807—is also one of the oldest continuously operating public markets in the United States.
Seattle’s Space Needle, one of the Pacific Northwest’s most distinctive icons, rises 605 feet (184 meters) above the city. What was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River at the time of its construction—built for the 1962 World’s Fair—the tower features a rotating restaurant and an observation deck at 520 feet (158 meters) with 360-degree panoramic views over Seattle and its surroundings.
Encompassing 17 million acres, the Tongass National Forest is the largest forest in the United States. Originally the Alexander Archipelago Forest Reserve, a project of Theodore Roosevelt started in 1902, the park was developed and renamed in 1908 to pay homage to the Tongass Clan of the Tlingit Indians. Visitors to Tongass National Forest have an enormous array of activities and experiences to choose from: bird-watching, trekking, fishing (there are five species of salmon here, among other fish), camping, visiting glaciers, lake canoeing, off-roading and just relishing pure fresh air and pristine natural beauty. In fact, there are 17,000 miles (27,359 kilometers) of lakes, creeks and rivers to enjoy within the forest. Wildlife is also prevalent, with chances to view otters, brown and black bears, wolves, eagles and Sitka black-tailed deer.
Those who truly want to experience the best of the Tongass National Forest can kayak on Amalga Harbor to see the famous Mendenhall, Eagle and Herbert glaciers while also keeping an eye out for whales, birds, seals, porpoises and sea lions. There are also opportunities for hiking and lake canoeing in the forest, which can be done in a Native American-style canoe. Before visiting the Tongass National Forest, you may want to visit the Tongass Historical Museum in Ketchikan to learn about the area’s geography and Native Alaskan heritage.
Named for its frequent and predictable eruptions, Old Faithful Geyser is the gold standard of geysers and the star attraction of Yellowstone National Park. The steaming, multicolored pool puts on a show every 60 to 120 minutes, when it shoots boiling water up to 180 feet (55 meters) into the air.
The U.S. Capitol dome towers above the Roman columns and manicured gardens of this iconic heart of American government. Topped by the bronze Statue of Freedom, the Capitol is the political and geographic center of Washington D.C. The building houses the legislative branch of Congress, with the Senate meeting in the north wing and the House of Representatives in the south wing. When Congress is in session, visitors can watch politicians debate all flavors of legislative issues, as they’ve done here since 1800.
Just an hour from one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States, the Napa Valley Wine Train in California distills the essence of the wine country into a single day of wining, dining, and riding through the countryside on an antique train.
Boasting a collection of more than 200 historical artifacts, a 4-D theater experience, and interactive museum exhibits, the World of Coca-Cola® in Atlanta does far more than whet your whistle for a (though it does that, too). Pay homage to the birthplace of the world’s most popular soft drink and learn how a simple beverage became a global sensation and a must-see Atlanta attraction.
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The world-famous San Diego Zoo presents a stunning variety of nature’s largest, smallest, exotic, and most endangered creatures. The epic zoo has more than 3,700 animals representing over 800 species in a beautifully landscaped 100 acres (40.5 hectares), typically in lush enclosures that replicate their natural habitat. San Diego Zoo is considered to be one of the best and well-known zoos in the world, and is a must-see attraction in sunny Southern California.
The Charles River meanders 80 miles (129 kilometers) through eastern Massachusetts, including Boston and Cambridge, before emptying into the Atlantic. The Charles, as it’s often called, plays a role in the daily lives of many Bostonians, especially walkers, joggers, cyclists, kayakers, and those who love to quietly relax by the water.
Situated just beyond the outskirts of Sitka on a 17-acre (7-hectare) reserve bordering the Tongass National Forest, lies the famous Alaska Raptor Center. This raptor rehabilitation center is world famous for its public education efforts and for its development and care for injured owls, eagles, hawks, falcons and other birds of prey.
Their permanent residents include twenty-four raptors which have come to the center through various means, though all are in need of some sort of rehabilitation. The center prides itself on returning all of the raptors it can to the wild, but every once-in-a-while, a raptor appears that will become one of these permanent residents. Volta, an American Bald Eagle, is one such resident. Over half of the existing 100,000 or so Bald Eagles live in Alaska, and Volta helps to make sure that through public awareness, they stay adequately protected. Thus, he travels a bit, but can typically be seen at the center.
Your quest for the Fountain of Youth is over once you’ve visited this park in St. Augustine, Florida. This site where Spanish explorer Ponce de León came in search of the elusive fountain in the 16th century, founding the oldest European settlement in the US. Sip the legendary waters while you learn about the area’s indigenous history.
This site served as Savannah’s main cemetery for more than a century following its establishment in 1750. With three subsequent expansions, six acres and over 9,000 graves, burials were cut off in 1853, and the site is now recognized as the oldest intact municipal cemetery in the city.
When the site first opened, it was intended to serve as the burial ground for Christ Church Parish, but after its expansion, the cemetery was opened to all denominations. Since interments were closed prior to the start of the Civil War, no Confederate soldiers were buried here. There are, however, some burials of note; over 700 victims of the 1820 Yellow Fever epidemic are here, along with many victims of Savannah’s dueling era. Declaration of Independence signer Button Gwinnett is buried here, as well as Archibald Bulloch, the first president of Georgia, and James Habersham, an 18th-century acting royal Governor of the Province.
Not surprisingly, Colonial Park Cemetery is home to a number of interesting ghost stories and legends. Paranormal enthusiasts have dubbed it “Paranormal Central,” with one of the most famous ghost stories involving Rene Asche Rondolier, a disfigured orphan who was accused of murdering girls. It is said that he was dragged to the swamp and lynched, and some locals believe he still haunts the cemetery, calling it Rene’s playground. Some local paranormal experts dispute the validity of this ghost story due to a lack of historical records.
Other ghost stories revolve around Savannah’s voodoo culture. Although many have moved out of the city, years ago it was not uncommon for morning visitors to find remnants from a previous night’s ceremony. Soil was used from the graves, and some were actually robbed for use in these rituals. The small park adjacent to the cemetery is the location believed to be the site of Savannah’s dueling grounds.
Made up of several historic sites and memorials, Pearl Harbor honors and educates the public about the Japanese attack on the United States on December 7, 1941 that propelled the country into World War II. It’s one of Hawaii’s most-visited attractions, and one of the country’s most significant WWII memorial sites.
The French Quarter, with its vibrant atmosphere and unique blend of architectural styles, is easily New Orleans’ most famous and most popular area to visit. It's also the city's oldest neighborhood, and its elegant streets are lined with an appealing mix of lively bars—especially along the legendary Bourbon Street—historic monuments, delicious restaurants, and inviting jazz clubs.
This historic section of Albuquerque sits at the heart of town, its Pueblo-style patios beckoning to be explored. What was once a simple grassy plaza has expanded into more than 150 unique shops, restaurants, and galleries. Many feature authentic crafts produced by local Native American tribes.
With original adobe buildings and Spanish colonial architecture, the area is undeniably beautiful and rich in Southwestern culture. Grounded in history (it was first settled by Spanish settlers in 1706,) there are also five museums in this part of town which tell the city’s story. The main plaza is centered around the San Felipe de Neri, an old church that has remained since 1793. You can plan your day around specific sights, or explore the brick paths and alleys that lead through the historic area. When in need of a break, you’ll find open-air patios and gardens dotted with intricate iron benches that are perfect for relaxing in the shade.
Just a short drive from downtown Tampa, The Florida Aquarium houses more than 20,000 aquatic plants and animals within a 200,000-square-foot (18,500-square-meter) facility in Tampa Bay. The entire family will enjoy this aquarium, which offers specialty tours, dolphin cruises, an outside water adventure zone, and on-site bar and grill.
Milwaukee’s waterfront got a recent upgrade when the new, ultra-modern addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum. The soaring white structure of the Quadracci Pavilion looks like the prow of a ship setting to sea, with its masts and sails flowing out behind it. Inside, the museum is equally impressive, a world-class art museum that got its start in the late 1800s, and today boasts 30,000 works of art ranging from antiquity all the way to the modern era—notable names include Monet, Picasso and Warhol. The exhibits are constantly rotating through 40 galleries across four stories. Visitors should especially make time to explore the museum’s collection of works from Wisconsin native Georgia O’Keeffe, one of the largest in the world.
The road that winds 16 miles (26 kilometers) through leafy Oak Creek Canyon is the most scenic route between Sedona and Flagstaff or the Grand Canyon. With dramatic red rock formations to either side, the gorge is an outdoor playground for camping, fishing, hiking, picnicking, and swimming.
At the aptly named Emerald Pools, a verdant stream connects a series of three fresh water pools—a picturesque contrast to the earthy red cliffs that dominate Zion National Park. Three hiking trails access the pools, ranging from a short paved route to a more strenuous loop. Flowing waterfalls and crystal-clear pools make this a must-visit spot.
Music City’s lively downtown doesn’t disappoint. Nashville’s entertainment hub is home to a who’s who of restaurants, hotels, and cultural hot spots, including the Frist Art Museum, Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium, and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. After dark, live music takes over the bars of Honky Tonk Highway.
Founded in 1848, the Boston Public Library contains over 23 million items, making it the second largest public library in the U.S., after the Library of Congress. Of those millions, about 1.7 million are rare books and works, including medieval manuscripts and incunabula (a book or pamphlet printed prior to 1501 in Europe). Among the rare books are also the personal library of John Adams, early editions of works by William Shakespeare, drawings from Thomas Rowlandson and musical archives from the Handel and Haydn Society.
The McKim Building, with its vast research collection, and the Johnson Building, where you can find the circulating collection, are two of the most important parts of the library. The McKim Building is even a National Historic Landmark. And while the library system technically includes a whopping 24 branches, the original Copley Square location offers plenty to see, including Bates Hall, the Chavannes Gallery, the Abbey Room and the Sargent Gallery.
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