8 Unique Places to Visit in the US
Posted by Aaron
If you (like the rest of us) have been spending a bit too much time indoors lately, you might be feeling the need to get out and explore. As the third-largest country in the world (just behind Russia and Canada), the United States is the perfect choice.
Experience the simple joy of a walking tour around one of the US’s many iconic cities. Discover the story of the founding fathers in Philadelphia, or perhaps uncover the resting place of Einstein’s brain. Whatever your interests, there are a few attractions you should add to your bucket list.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of our top favourite unique places to visit in the US. Be sure to check out our complete list of cities, too!
- Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco
For anyone looking for quiet places in San Francisco, the Japanese Tea Garden offers the perfect tranquil escape. Dating back to 1894, this garden is the creation of a Japanese man named Makoto Hagiwara, who tended the garden with his family for many years.
In the midst of WWII, the family was moved to an internment camp and the garden was stripped of its Japanese relics. After the family was prohibited from returning for many years, the city of San Francisco sought redemption for them, eventually reinstating the garden as it was and renaming the street after Mr. Hagiwara.
Now restored to its original state, the garden is a perfect opportunity to appreciate authentic Japanese beauty in the US.
Credit: Mike McBey
- Mütter Museum, Philadelphia
If you’re looking for a unique experience on your trip to Philadelphia, you won’t do much better than Mütter Museum. This world-renowned museum is regarded as the finest collection of medical history in America, with over 20,000 anatomical specimens.
Of its many attractions, visitors will see the removed liver of a pair of conjoined twins, along with a vast collection of human skulls. Perhaps what makes this museum one of the most unique places to visit in the US is its star attraction: Albert Einstein’s brain! Carefully preserved in glass slides, the scientist’s brain was harvested just hours after his death in 1955.
Amongst the list of famous names to join the collection is President Grover Cleveland, whose jaw tumour is also stored at the museum. The specimen is just one of many pieces of history preserved at this incredible site. Discover more about the people who built America in a walking tour of the founding fathers.
Credit: Molly Lewis
- Harvard Yard, Boston
Boston is a city of firsts. It was where the first US subway was built in 1897, it contains the country’s first public park, and it was even the site of the first chocolate factory in America. But there’s a reason this coastal capital of Massachusetts is known the world over, and it has nothing to do with chocolate.
Recognised as one of the best in the world for its academic excellence, the prestigious Harvard University is a hub of culture, science and politics. And, with a host of famous alumni, the nearly 400-year-old institute has a few stories to tell. From the myths surrounding the university to its wealth of historic buildings, Boston is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in the US.
Credit: Tony Webster
- The French Quarter, New Orleans
The French Quarter is often considered the ‘Crown Jewel’ of New Orleans and it’s not hard to see why. Between its antique stores and chic French market, this historic neighbourhood is easily one of the most unique places to visit in the US.
A walking tour of the French Quarter will make you feel like you’ve stepped out of the US. At the heart of it – and the recommended first stop on any trip to the area – is Jackson Square. Under the watchful eye of the nearby St Louis Cathedral, this square is brimming with life. From fortune-tellers to street artists, it’s impossible to get bored in this iconic corner of New Orleans.
- The Space Needle, Seattle
If you had to narrow down what makes Seattle’s skyline so recognisable, it’d have to be the Space Needle. So named for its thin, pointed design, the towering 605-foot structure was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. But it has since gone on to become an icon of the city and one of the most unique places to visit in the US.
As beautiful as it might be from the outside, nothing beats the views from the upper floors of the building. Complete with the world’s first rotating glass floor, the viewing platform allows visitors to feel as though they’re floating above the ground below.
If you’re planning a walking tour of the city’s most iconic landmarks, be sure to add the Space Needle to your bucket list to experience the best sightseeing spot in all of Seattle.
- Flatiron Building, New York
When it comes to unique places to visit in the US, New York has it covered – and then some. It would take several lifetimes to experience everything on offer in this diverse and iconic city. But unless you have that kind of time to spare, we should narrow it down. A personal favourite of ours is the Flatiron Building, which is undeniably one of NYC’s most unusual buildings.
Built in the early 1900s, the Flatiron Building was originally likened to a ship sailing up Broadway. But, after everyone else claimed it looked like an iron, the name stuck. Its peculiar shape has led to some problems in the past. Being the only tall building in the neighbourhood and having such a narrow shape caused strong winds, making it difficult to walk by it.
See if you’re up for the challenge on a walking tour of this unique building.
- Andy Warhol Bridge, Pittsburgh
Any lovers of great architecture out there? Be sure to add Pittsburgh to your bucket list of unique places to visit in the US. Even if you’ve never cared for architecture before, you might feel taken aback by the beauty of this historic city in Pennsylvania.
Of the many attractions that make Pittsburgh such a great city, its bridges are perhaps the most unique. More specifically, it’s the sheer number of bridges that make Pittsburgh unique. At a grand total of 446, the city has the most of anywhere in the world – even more than Venice, Italy!
With too many to mention, we had to pick our all-time favourite: the Andy Warhol Bridge. Named after the famous artist who grew up in the city, the 20th-century bridge is one of the best sightseeing spots in the city. With panoramic views of the surrounding area, visitors can spot many of Pittsburgh’s most iconic landmarks on a walking tour across the Allegheny River.
Credit: Brook Ward
- Fort Sumter, Charleston
Established in 1670, this coastal city in South Carolina is one of the oldest cities in the US. Despite getting its name from King Charles II of Great Britain, it was one of the first cities to get involved in the political upheaval of the American Civil War. When it comes to experiencing the history of this iconic city up close, Fort Sumter is the best place to start.
Located just off the coast, this artificial island was built to protect the city against invasions from the British. Not long after its construction, it became the very site of the battle that kicked off the American Civil War.
In the days since this historic moment, Charleston has become a favourite of those looking for a unique place to visit in the US. Begin your adventure on a walking tour of the city and discover picturesque streets brimming with history and culture.
Planning a trip any time soon? Discover the best way to explore a city on one of our city walking tours. Wander the streets at your own pace, uncover hidden gems and discover some of the most unique places to visit in the US.