The United States is filled with incredible history, but if you really want to experience the past, you need to visit these 10 historic places.

 

  1. Monticello

 

The architectural masterpiece of Thomas Jefferson stands among the mountains of Virginia as a symbol of his ingenuity and strength. He was an inventor, writer, statesman, and architect and Monticello (which means “little mountain” in Italian) was his greatest achievement. The house was completed in 1782 and was originally 10 rooms – he then expanded it to 21 rooms between 1796-1809. It remains one of the most well-known homes in America and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The National Park Service restored many rooms in the house back to their original glory during the 20th century.

 

  1. Alcatraz Island

 

Alcatraz Island is located 1.5 miles off the coast of San Francisco and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in California. Alcatraz served as a lighthouse, military fortification, military prison, and federal prison from 1846 until 1963. The prison housed some of America's most notorious criminals such as Al Capone and Robert Franklin Stroud – otherwise known as The Birdman of Alcatraz. In its 29 years as a federal prison, there were 14 attempts

 

  1. Ellis Island, New York

 

Ellis Island is one of the most popular historic landmarks in the United States. Between 1892 and 1954, 12 million immigrants entered through this port when it was the main entry point for newcomers to the country. Today, visitors can tour several museum exhibits as well as an 18-minute documentary about the island's history. The American Immigrant Wall of Honor contains more than 600,000 names.

 

  1. Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

 

The Lincoln Memorial is one of the most recognizable monuments in Washington, D.C., and it has been a popular destination for both tourists and locals since 1920. The memorial contains a statue of Abraham Lincoln sitting on a throne with two inscriptions — the Gettysburg Address on one side and his second inaugural address on the other — behind him. It's open to visitors 24/7 year-round.

 

  1. Salem Witch Trials Memorial, Salem, Massachusetts

 

The Salem Witch Trials Memorial commemorates those who were wrongly accused of witchcraft during the trials of 1692 and 1693 in Salem. The memorial includes 20 granite benches engraved with those who were executed for their supposed crimes, which mainly consisted of older women whom people considered to be witches at the time (including Tituba).

 

  1. Monticello, Virginia: Home of Thomas Jefferson

 

Monticello was the home of Thomas Jefferson, one of America's founding fathers and the third president of the United States. Monticello is a UNESCO World Heritage site and houses one of the best collections of artifacts from early America. This is where you will find furniture from the 18th century made by Jefferson himself as well as his personal library with more than 6,500 books on a variety of subjects such as law, history, science, architecture and more.

 

  1. The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas

 

This mission was originally built as a Catholic mission and fortress in 1744. Although it was converted into a military fort in 1793, the Alamo is most famous for being one of the most significant battles during the Texas Revolution. It's where Colonel William B. Travis, James Bowie and Davy Crockett made their last stand against the Mexican army for 13 days in 1836. The 20-minute guided tour at the Alamo is free and covers more than 300 years of history.

 

  1. Jamestown Settlement in Jamestown, Virginia

 

Jamestown was one of the first permanent English settlements in North America, founded by the Virginia Company of London in 1607. Today, visitors can visit the Jamestown Settlement to learn about this community through reenactments and multimedia exhibits (there's an admission fee to enter).

 

  1. The Great Wall at Gila Bend, Arizona

 

If we told you that you could visit a piece of the Great Wall in America, would you believe us? What if we told you it was only a short drive from Phoenix? Well, you can. The Great Wall at Gila Bend may not be as popular or as big as the original, but it's certainly worth a visit.

 

Construction on the wall began in 2006 and ended in 2008. It was built to protect the town of Gila Bend from illegal migrants coming across the border. Several years later, it fell into disrepair until 2015 when it was refurbished as a tourist attraction.

 

While there's no way to get up on top of the wall — yet — there are plans to make it even bigger so that tourists can walk across it and enjoy beautiful views of the desert.

 

  1. Old Norfolk City Jail, Virginia

 

The Old Norfolk City Jail is one of the most haunted places in the United States; it's also one of the oldest jails in Virginia and one of the best-preserved jails in America. Built between 1797 and 1800, the jail was designed to hold up to 60 prisoners, but at its height, nearly 300 inmates were crammed into its rooms. The jail was built with prisoner comfort in mind: The cells had fireplaces and benches attached to their walls for beds. Visitors can take guided tours through this ominous building, which is said to be haunted by several former inmates who were executed inside its walls.

 

  1. Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas National Park

 

Fort Jefferson was built in the 19th century to protect shipping lanes from pirates and smugglers, but it’s known for being the prison where Dr. Samuel Mudd was held after he was accused of conspiring to kill President Abraham Lincoln (he was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson and went on to practice medicine once again). Visitors can take a seaplane or boat to the remote island, where they can tour the fort and explore attractions like bird watching and snorkeling.

 

  1. St. Augustine Lighthouse in St. Augustine, Florida

 

The St. Augustine Lighthouse is a historic site that is every bit as creepy as it is fascinating. This lighthouse, which was built in the 1800s, sits on Anastasia Island and has a history of hauntings and other paranormal activities.

 

While you’re exploring the grounds, you might hear voices of former workers who lived there or the sounds of children playing by the water. Many visitors have also reported seeing apparitions at the lighthouse.

 

The lighthouse offers many different types of tours, including a family-friendly tour that takes place during daylight hours and several nighttime ghost tours for adults.

 

There are plenty of historic places across the United States that transport you back in time. Just by taking a tour or participating in an event for one of these older buildings, districts, and parks allows you to escape from the modern world into another era.

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