Things to Do in USA - page 2
Thanks to more than 23 miles (37 kilometers) of pristine sand, visitors to the Fort Lauderdale beachfront are spoiled for choice when it comes to water sports and sunbathing spots. Spend the day swimming, windsurfing, deep-sea fishing, or more—or stay on land playing volleyball, jogging, or just kicking back in a lounge chair.
When sweltering summer temperatures hit the city, New Yorkers flock to this kitschy seaside resort. As well as a boardwalk and almost 3 miles (5 kilometers) of sandy beach, Coney Island is home to roller coasters and amusements, New York Aquarium, and Nathan’s Famous, a landmark hot dog joint that started out as a stand in 1916.
The tallest peak in North America at 20,310 feet (6,190 meters), Denali, formerly known as Mt. McKinley, is the centerpiece of Denali National Park and Preserve in south-central Alaska, an enormous area covering 6 million acres (2.5 million hectares). Founded in 1917, the park protects the native animals who roam free in its remote alpine tundra wilderness.
Navy Pier is one of Chicago’s most popular tourist destinations—and with good reason. The 3,300-foot (1,010-meter) pier jutting into the waters of Lake Michigan, originally constructed in 1916 as a freight dock and public space, encompasses almost 50 acres (20 hectares) of exhibits, rides, parks, and family attractions.
Simple but profoundly moving, the John F. Kennedy Memorial in Dallas comprises a granite slab bearing the assassinated president’s name etched in gold. The slab is surrounded by soaring concrete walls that appear to be free-floating, capturing the feeling of loss felt around the world following Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963.
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.
Visiting the Mauna Kea Summit and Observatories gives you the feeling of being on top of the world for good reason: You’re actually pretty close. Standing at 13,796 feet (4,138 meters), the mountain is Hawaii's tallest and the highlight of many visitors' trips to the Big Island of Hawaii. The Mauna Kea Observatories (MKO) feature some of the world's largest telescopes, including equipment from Canada, France, and the University of Hawaii, due to its designation as an unparalleled destination for stargazing.
Guarding the entrance to New York Harbor on Liberty Island, the 305-foot (93-meter) Statue of Liberty came to the United States as a gift from France to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Lady Liberty has been a symbol of democracy and hope for NYC and the US since 1886. Together with neighboring Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty National Monument is administered by the National Park Service.
Space Center Houston, the official visitor center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, offers visitors some out-of-this-world experiences. Watch astronauts train for missions, touch a real moon rock, and tour NASA’s control center. Anyone with an interest in aeronautics and space will appreciate Space Center Houston’s interactive exhibits, presentations, and attractions that dive into the past, present, and future of our universe.
Everything is bigger in Texas, and the Texas Capitol building in Austin follows suit. It’s the largest by square footage of any state capitol, and is 15 feet (4.6 meters) taller than the US Capitol. Its rosy hue, stunning at sunset, comes from the red granite exterior. Texas Hill Country limestone and granite were used in the building’s construction.
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Alcatraz, the former federal prison that once held notorious criminals Scarface Al Capone and George 'Machine Gun' Kelly, is today a national historic landmark and one of the most sought-out (and sold-out) attractions in the San Francisco Bay Area. Tour the remains of the maximum-security facility on small and windy Alcatraz Island, aptly nicknamed 'The Rock,' to scope out the grounds and cellhouse; hear stories from former inmates; and pass by the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, and Angel Island on your 1.25-mile (2-km) ferry rides in and out.
Get your helmets and life vests ready—this family-friendly rafting river serves up class I, II and III rapids as it winds through Colorado shrub land and downtown Durango. Calmer than its wild upper reaches in the San Juan mountains surrounding Silverton 48 miles north, Durango’s stretch boasts calm bends as well as several named rapids including “Smelter,” “Pinball,” and “Santa Rita Hole,” as it passes the fairgrounds and the buildings of downtown. Though it still can be a wild ride, most guided tours will take kids as young as five years old. Rafting adventures run from May to September.
In the height of summer when the river is warmest and lowest, tubing is also a popular past time. The city runs shuttles from the parking and take-out at 9th Street at Schneider Park to the put-in near the Recreation Center where there’s free air fills for tubes. South of town a four-mile stretch of river has achieved notoriety as an excellent fly-fishing spot for rainbow and brown trout.
If you’re in Durango in the off-season, you can still enjoy the river and its downtown views via the Durango River Trail. The walking path has pedestrian bridges and sculpture installations and follows the course of the river through the city.
One of LA's most distinguishing icons, the famous Hollywood Sign proudly stands on Mt. Lee (Mount Lee) in the Hollywood Hills, overlooking Los Angeles and the California movie industry it has come to symbolize. This LA landmark first appeared on its hillside perch in 1923 as an advertising gimmick for a real-estate development called Hollywoodland. Each letter stands 50 feet (15 meters) tall and is made of sheet metal painted white.
Cannery Row is a proudly tourist-friendly strip running along the atmospheric Monterey waterfront. Once home to a series of bustling commercial sardine canneries, the famous waterfront street changed its name of Ocean View Avenue to its longtime nickname, Cannery Row, in 1958 to honor the 1945 John Steinbeck novel of the same name.
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.
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.
Baltimore’s revitalized Inner Harbor features a scenic waterfront promenade and pedestrian district replete with shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Heralded by urban developers as a model for post-industrial waterfront land use, the area sits along the Patapsco River at the mouth of Jones Falls.
The largest of the glacial lakes in Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Lake sets the scene for some of the park’s best sailing, windsurfing, fishing, and paddling opportunities, all against the backdrop of the towering Teton Range. The Jackson Lake Lodge, a National Historic Landmark, stands on the lake’s eastern shore.
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park commemorates the life, work, and legacy of the Civil Rights Movement leader. The center—which takes up several blocks in Sweet Auburn, the center of black Atlanta—includes King’s birth home and the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where both King’s father and grandfather served as ministers.
Walk in the footsteps of the Native American tribes who built their pueblos in the deserts of the American Southwest at Wupatki National Monument. For thousands of years, tribes like the Anasazi and Sinagua lived in these rugged deserts, and among the myriad pueblos left behind is Wupatki Ruin, one of the largest and most elaborate in the region. It was three stories tall and had almost 100 rooms when the Sinagua people built it about 800 years ago. Along with exploring the ruins of a dozen pueblo villages, visitors can also hike the easy Doney Mountain Trail to the top of a volcanic cinder cone, and the visitor center has exhibits describing the culture and history of the people that lived here.
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.
The first British colonists to land in America didn’t arrive on the Mayflower or land on Plymouth Rock. It was at Jamestown where colonists from the Virginia Company first settled in 1607. And the spot where they landed is now First Landing State Park, a National Natural Landmark that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. There are no manmade vestiges of this history to see here, but visitors can explore the same beaches, waterways and cypress swamps that early colonists encountered on their arrival. Aside from the history, First Landing State Park is also a great spot to enjoy nature, with 1.5 miles of beach, campground, cabins, and nine hiking and biking trails that run for 19 miles through the park’s lagoons, dunes and beachfront.
Completed in 1874, the neoclassical California State Capitol building houses both a museum and the seat of California’s government. It is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and features artwork and monuments and artifacts from California’s history, both inside and on the surrounding grounds.
Taking you on a journey from a mountain stream to the sea, the Tennessee Aquarium is spread across two buildings—one focused on rivers and the other on oceans. In both, you can discover an array of exhibits highlighting habitats, native creatures, threats, and conservation strategies.
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