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A guide to its main attractions
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Selected by piero scaruffi | Back to the travel page | Suggestions
This page provides a list of the main things to see in USA. "++" identifies the top attractions.
My pictures of the USA
  • Alabama/ Mobile: Presbyterian Church on Government St, Barton Academy, Old City Hospital on Broad & St Anthony
  • Alaska: Wrangell Park (the largest park in the USA, a park with no trails), Denali Park (the most touristy park in Alaska), Gates of the Arctic Park, Tongass National Forest, Kenai Park for kayaking, Bering Land Bridge (beware of mosquitoes in all of these!)
  • Arizona: Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, etc
  • Arkansas: Moshe Safdie's Crystal Bridges Museum (2011) in Bentonville
  • California/ California mountains and parks
  • California/ San Diego
  • California/ San Francisco
  • California/ Los Angeles
  • California: California
  • Cleveland: Art Museum, First Congressional Church, Pei's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  • Colorado/ Colorado Springs: +Air Force Academy Chapel
  • Colorado/ Boulder: +Pei's Mesa Lab/National Center for Atmospheric Research
  • Colorado/ Denver: Brown Palace Hotel, Johns Manville Headquarters, Red Rocks Amphitheater, +Daniel Libeskind's Art Museum, Clyfford Still Museum
  • Colorado/ Mesa Verde
  • Colorado: Rocky Mountain Park
  • Colorado: North Vista Trail in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, a narrow 800 meter deep canyon
  • Colorado: Monument Canyon Trail in Colorado National Monument
  • Colorado: Rim Rock Drive
  • Colorado: Royal Gorge Bridge, the highest suspension bridge in the USA
  • Connecticut/ New Haven: Kahn's Yale Art Gallery Addition (1953) at 1111 Chapel, Kahn's Yale Center for British Art (1977), Art and Architecture Building (1963) at 180 York, Ingalls Hockey Rink (1958) at 73 Sachem, Kline Biology Tower (1966) at 210 Whitney, Yale Univ, Paul Rudolph's Art and Architecture Building (1963), Eero Saarinen's Stiles & Morse College (1962), Rock Ledge estate in Rowayton (former headquarters of Remington Rand), Philip Johnson's Glass House at New Canaan
  • District of Columbia/ Washington
  • Florida: Everglades Park, Ancient Spanish monastery, Keys, plantations, Epcot, Cape Kennedy, St Augustine, St Petersburg's Dali Museum, Nancy Holt's "Solar Rotary" (University of South Florida in Tampa)
  • Florida/ Miami: Rafael Vinoly's One River Point (two symmetrical towers connected by a glass skybridge)
  • Georgia/ Atlanta: Fox Theatre; 14th Ave & Peachtree, 1180 Peachtree by John Heagy, Peachtree & North Ave, Peachtree & Allen Jr, Peachtree & McGill Ave, Peachtree & North Ave, Equitable, Peachtree & Dobbs, GP, Peachtree & Gilmer, Coca Cola , Depot, State Capitol, City Hall, Courthouse, Westin Hotel, Dome, Peachtree & North Ave, Flatiron Building (1895) , Nations Bank (1901), Cyclorama of Atlanta battle, Aquarium (the world's largest aquarium in 2019), +Peachtree Plaza Hotel (210 Peach St NW)
  • Georgia: +Wormsloe Plantation in Savannah; Arabia Mountain in Lithonia; Panther Creek Falls in Clarkesville; Okefenokee Swamp at the border with Florida; Pebble Hill Plantation in Thomasville; Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins; Old Car City USA in White; Pexcho's American Dime Museum in Augusta; Tallulah Gorge in Tallulah Falls.
  • Hawaii: Maui, Big Island, etc
  • idaho: Craters of the Moon, Kootenai Wildlife Refuge,
  • Illinois: Chicago
  • Illinois/ Aurora: Paramount Theater (23 East Galena Blvd), Pickwick Theater (5 South Prospect)
  • Indiana/ Indianapolis: College Life Insurance Building (3500 Depauw Blvd), Coca-Cola Bottling Company (801 North Carrollton Ave), Bottleworks Hotel (nearby), art deco entrance and interior of Circle Tower (5 East Market St),
  • Iowa: Maharishi Vedic City, George Koetsch's Butler Mansion (2633 Fleur Dr)
  • Kansas City: ++Nelson Gallery, Gateway Arch, Wainwright Building at 709 Chestnut, Old St Louis Post Office on Olive & 8th, Union Station on Market & 18th, Shaw's Garden (including Climatron, +Public Library, Moshe Safdie's Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts), Power & Light Building (1330 Baltimore Ave)
  • Kentucky/ Louisville: Humana Headquarters (1982)
  • Kentucky: Mammoth Cave
  • Nebraska/ Lincoln: State capitol
  • Nebraska/ Omaha: art deco Union Station (801 South 10th St)
  • Nevada: Las Vegas, etc
  • Louisiana/ New Orleans: Ursuline Convent at 1114 Chartres, US Mint at 400 Esplanade, Madame John's Legacy at 632 Dumaine, US Custom House at 423 Canal, Old City Hall at 545 St Charles, San Francisco plantation house (outside city), Houmas House (outside city), Oak Alley (outside city), Madewood (outside city), Charles Moore's Piazza d'Italia
  • Louisiana/ Baton Rouge: State capitol (art deco relief of the entrance)
  • Maine: Acadia Park, Deer Isle (Edward Larrabee Barnes's Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, 1961)
  • Maryland/ Baltimore: Basilica (1821), Mount Clare, Homewood
  • Massachusetts: Boston and vicinity
  • Michigan/Detroit: +Diego Rivera's murals at Detroit Institute of Arts, Noguchi's Dodge Fountain in Detroit's Hart Plaza, +art deco entrance and interior of Union Trust (500 Griswald St), Educational Memorial (100 Farnsworth St)
  • Michigan/ East Lansing: Hadid's Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University in East Lansing
  • Michigan/ Paulding: Bond Falls
  • Michigan/ Grand Rapids: Alexander Calder's La Grande Vitesse (1969), Liberman's "Aria" in Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park
  • Michigan/ Royal Oak: art deco tower of Shrine of the Little Flower (1929) at 2100 West Twelve Mile Road
  • Michigan/ Dearborn: Ford-Wyoming Theater
  • Minnesota/ Minneapolis: IDS at Marquelle Ave & 7th, Walker Art Center at 725 Vineland, Oldenburg's "Spoonbridge and Cherry" at Walker Art Center and Whitney pedestrian bridge by Siah Armajani (1988), St John's University Church (in St John's University, outside city), Federal Reserve Bank (1974), Univ of Minnesota's James Ford Bell Library (wall maps of Ricci and of Waldseemuller), Frederick Weisman Art Museum, Leon Eugene Arnal's Foshay Tower (1929), +Gehry's Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
  • Minnesota/ St Paul: State Capitol, art deco Ramsey County Courthouse (15 West Kellogg Blvd)
  • Minnesota: Voyageurs Parks, +Marcel Breuer's St John's Abbey near St Cloud
  • Minnesota/Owatonna: Louis Sullivan's National Farmer's Bank (1908)
  • Mississippi/ Natchez: Rosalie, Stanton Hall, Dunleith, Auburn, Melrose, D'Evereux (outside city), Longwood (outside city),
  • Missouri: Ozark Riverways
  • Missouri/St Louis: +Louis Sullivan's Wainwright Building (1890, 709 Chestnut Street), Liberman's "The Way" in Laumeier Sculpture Park, +Eero Saarinen's Jefferson Memorial Arch (1967) aka "Gateway Arch", Citygarden (between Eighth and Tenth and Chestnut and Market Streets)
  • Montana: Glacier Park, Medicine Lake
  • Idaho: Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls
  • New Hampshire/ Portsmouth: Moffatt-Ladd House (1764), Macphaesdris-Warner House (1723), Wentworth-Gardner House (1760)
  • New Hampshire/ Andover: Louis Kahn's Phillips Exeter Academy library (interior)
  • New Jersey: Cape May Point
  • New Mexico: New Mexico
  • New York/ Buffalo: Lloyd Wright's Larking Building, Saarinen's Klainhaus Music Hall, art deco City Hall
  • New York/Catskills: Devil's Path
  • New York/ Utica: Munson-Williams-Proctor Museum (Philip Johnson, 1957)
  • New York/Annandale-on-Hudson: Eliasson's "The Parliament of Reality" at Bard College
  • New York/ Syracuse: Niagara Hudson Building (300 Erie Blvd West)
  • New York: New York
  • North Carolina/ Asheville: Richard Morris Hunt's Biltmore estate (1895)
  • Ohio/Hamilton: Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum
  • Ohio/Newark: Basket Building
  • Ohio/Columbus: State Capitol (1861), +The Octagon in the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks (south of Columbus)
  • Ohio/Cincinnati: Alice Aycock's "Super Twister" (2013) at Univ of Cincinnati Medical Center, art deco Cincinnati Bell (36 East 7th st), Carew Tower Complex (35 West 5th St), Union Station and interior murales (1301 Western Ave), Times-Star Building (800 Broadway), +Buddhist Bronze Mirror at Cincinnati Art Museum
  • Oklahoma: Wichita Mountains
  • Oklahoma/ Tulsa: Boston Avenue Methodist Church
  • Oklahoma/ Oklahoma City: Union Depot (3 South Boston Ave)
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania/ Columbia: National Watch & Clock Museum
  • Pennsylvania/ Falling Water: +Frank Lloyd Wright's house (1937)
  • Pennsylvania/ Philadelphia
  • Pennsylvania/ Pittsburgh: Carnegie Museums (Jules Verreaux's diorama of 1867)
  • Rhode Island/ Newport: Brick Market (1762), Touro Synagogue (1763), Redwood Library (1748), Breakers (1895), Henry Hobson Richardson's Watts Sherman House (1876), Belluschi's Portsmouth Abbey Chapel (1961)
  • Rhode Island/ Providence: Thomas Teft's Union Station (1848)
  • South Carolina/ Charleston: Fireproof Building, St Mark's, Nathaniel Russell House, Miles Brewton House, Heyward-Washington House, St Philip's, Manigault House, Drayton Hall (outside city)
  • South Dakota: Mount Rushmore
  • Tennessee/ Nashville: Parthenon, State Capitol, Belle Meade on 5025 Harting, Grand Ole Opry, Opera House, Gaylord Center, Ryman Auditorium, Old Presbyterian Church, Bicentennial Plaza, Custom House, Union Station, Frist Center for the Visual Arts,
  • Tennessee: Pigeon Forge's Wonderworks, Great Smoky Mountains,
  • Texas: Dallas, Huston, Fort Worth, Austin, Big Bend, etc
  • Utah
  • Virginia: Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, University of Virginia at Charlottesville, Cascade Falls, Nancy Holt's "Dark Star Park" in Arlington (1655 N. Ft. Myer Drive)
  • West Virginia: Blackwater Falls
  • Virginia/ Richmond: Thomas Jefferson's State Capitol
  • Virginia/ Williamsburg: Capitol, Governor's Palace, Wren Building, Carter's Grove, Rosewell (outside city)
  • Virginia: Shenandoah Park
  • Washington State/ Seattle: Needle, underground tour, +Central Library, +Trimpin's "If VI was IX: Roots and Branches" in the lobby of Seattle's Experience Music Project Museum, Pacific Science Center (1962), Olympic National Park (hike Dosewallips to Lake Quinault), Nancy Holt's "Rock Rings" (1978, Bellingham), Seattle Asian Art Museum
  • Washington State/ Tacoma: Blown Glass Museum
  • Wisconsin: Alexander Liberman's Argo in the south lawn of the Milwaukee Art Museum, Lloyd's First Unitarian Society Meeting House in Madison, Potato River Falls in Gurney, Milwaukee Public Museum for Carl Akeley's muskrat dioramas
  • Wyoming: ++ Yellowstone and Grand Teton , boulder in Lusk
Photos
Warning: people are allowed to own and carry guns. If you are from Europe: would you visit a country if they told you that you are 40 times more likely to be killed in that country than at home? The murder rate in the USA is 40 times the murder rate in Europe. If you are from East Asia, the gap is even bigger. In some towns virtually every household has a gun and has the right to use it. Check before you travel. The USA is one of the most dangerous countries to visit. More people are murdered yearly in the USA than in all wars fought by the USA since the Vietnam war. If you are a foreign student applying to a US university, check whether guns are allowed on the campus of the university that you plan to join: it was legal in 8 states as of 2015. Florida is a particularly dangerous state: they can shoot you just for fun and get away with it, thanks to its "Stand Your Ground" law.
Things that may annoy you:
  • Tipping will drive you crazy. Tipping is almost mandatory, and it's spreading to all professions. Waiters expect at least 15% of the bill in tip. You're asked to tip even in self-service restaurants where there is no waiter. Taxi drivers, coiffeurs, pizza delivery boys... they all expect tips. Ironically, some workers are never tipped, like the humble cashier in a grocery store or the men who pick up garbage or the mailman. Tipping can get truly frustrating and stressful, especially if nobody ever tips you for your work.
  • Incidentally, Northamericans are spreading bad habits around the world, and tipping is one of them. They tip also when they are outside the USA, causing people around the world to expect tips from tourists. For example, there is no need to tip a waiter in Italy because the "servizio", "coperto", etc are included in the bill. Just by sitting at a table, you are already being charged several euros. If you tip the waiter, you'll look really silly.
  • The USA is the only country left on the planet that still uses the ancient Roman imperial system for measurements (miles, feet, gallons) instead of the metric system
  • Prices are never the real prices (they never include the "taxes")
  • The USA has very few trains and they are terribly slow and antiquated. This forces the traveler to continuously use airports with all the inconvenience (limited and sometimes lost luggage, security checks, lenghty boarding and disembarking, can't bring your own drinks, limited use of electronic devices, bumpy rides, sardine-like seats, impossible workspace, store things away for take off and landing, etc) and obsolence (airports are usually very far from your destination and transportation to town is expensive and/or slow).
  • Colossal amount of plastic and colossal waste in general
  • Lots of homeless people, more than in any other developed country
  • Obese people have the same rights as normal people... and they are really obese (airlines will charge you if you have an extra kg of luggage but will not charge someone whose butt takes two seats)
  • Huge gas-sucking cars (their "compact" car is everybody else's "full size" car) and very cheap gasoline, a combination which results in a colossal waste of gasoline
  • People do not wash their hands before eating and often suck their fingers when finished eating (when you use the utensils at an all-you-can-eat buffet, those utensils have been used by countless people who did not wash their hands), a puzzling behavior by people who are obsessed with deodorants and showers and flossing
  • Air-conditioned buildings (they make you freeze even in the summer)
  • Waiters are hysterical about cleaning up your table even before you finished eating
  • The USA writes the date as month/day/year instead of day/month/year or year/month/day (a very irrational compromise between the two most widespread formats)
  • Anywhere in the USA avoid taxis and shuttles. The drivers can be arrogant and aggressive. They routinely demand a tip, often cheat customers, and are prone to accidents. If you make reservations online, they might ask you to pay the tip even before they show up!
  • For mysterious reasons people cannot write the number "9". They write it with a straight vertical line, despite the fact that all their computers and phones show the correct vertical curve (curve, not line).
  • Murder rates by state: