United States of America things to see and do

Tourist offices

Brand USA

15 Bedford Street, London, WC2E 9HE, United Kingdom
Tel: 020 7240 4071.
Opening Hours: Not open to the public.
www.discoveramerica.com

Visit USA

US Embassy, 24 Grosvenor Square, London, W1A 1AE, United Kingdom
Tel: 0870 777 2213.
www.visitusa.org.uk

Things to see and do

Graceland

The sprawling estate of Elvis Presley, also known as the king of rock-n-roll, has been open to the public since 1982 and receives more than half a million visitors every year. Presley and many members of his family are also buried here, and many fans make annual pilgrimages to pay their respects on the anniversary of his death.

Grand Canyon National Park

With more than 5 million visitors each year, the Grand Canyon is one of the most popular national parks in the US. It's also one of the most visually impressive; its sheer size overwhelms, up to 1.6km (1 mile) deep, 29km (18 miles) wide at some points, and 446km (277 miles) long. Most visitors see the canyon from their vehicles by driving along the South Rim; the North Rim is more rugged. It is also possible to go into the canyon by mule, foot, or non-motorised watercraft, and many tour groups offer guided excursions for the fit traveller.

Independence National Historical Park - Liberty Bell Center

The expansion of this national park, which celebrates many aspects of the country's founding, was completed in late 2010. One of the most significant aspects of this expansion was the creation of a new exhibit that highlights slavery and the abolition movement in Philadelphia's and the country's history. The famed cracked Liberty Bell is also on display here.

National September 11 Memorial and Museum

Dedicated on the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center's twin towers, this memorial and museum sit on the site of those buildings, which were completely destroyed during the attacks. The memorial is a tribute to the lives of nearly 3,000 people who were killed in both the 2001 attack and the earlier attack on the centre that occurred in 1993. The names of victims are etched into panels surrounding two reflecting pools.

Niagara Falls

The 12,000 year old falls straddle the Canada-US border and are accessible by both sides. Various look-out points offer birds-eye views of the falls, though tour operators are also available to provide closer access by boat or helicopter.

The Gateway Arch

Arcing to 192m (630ft), this is the nation's tallest monument, standing as a tribute to Thomas Jefferson's role in the westward expansion of the United States, as well as the geographical significance of St. Louis in that expansionary period. The Arch is operated by the National Parks Service.

The Mall of America

America's largest mall, the Mall of American Bloomington, Minnesota, has more than 400 stores, 20+ restaurants, an aquarium, 14 theatres, 12,000 employees; it's a place that's easy to get lost in. It has been a tourist attraction in its own right, both for domestic and international travellers, since opening in 1992.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site

Not to be confused with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial that opened in Washington, D.C. in 2011, the National Historic Site, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is where visitors can see the civil rights leader's birth home and his tomb, as well as a museum.

The Vegas Strip

Vegas isn't for everyone, but touring its iconic “Strip,” the main street running through Sin City, is a memorable experience. With flashing neon lights, casinos built to look like Egyptian pyramids and Parisian and New York landscapes, the Strip offers plenty to keep visitors busy.

The White House

Though it's not easy to visit the White House, which serves as the President's official residence, citizens of foreign countries can submit a request for a free, guided visit through their embassy in Washington, D.C. Tours are offered daily, except for Sundays and Mondays. Once a tour has been secured, all foreign visitors must present their passport on the day of the tour to be admitted.

Disneyland

The 50-year-old theme park is still the world's most famous and new attractions are always appearing in the 'Magic Kingdom'. The park is divided into themed 'lands' (Main Street USA, Tomorrowland, Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland and Toontown) each with a variety of rides and entertainment. Favourite attractions include the Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Star Tours and Indiana Jones Adventure. The fabulous Electrical Parade and night-time laser light show alone are worth the trip.

Located next to Disneyland, Disneyland California Adventure has four theme areas that represent California: pass under the Golden Gate Bridge at Sunshine Plaza, then visit Paradise Pier hyping the glories of seaside piers, Hollywood Pictures Backlot, A bug's land - life from a bug's point of view, and Golden State which celebrates the history and beauty of California. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, plunges riders down a 43m (141ft) elevator shaft.

Newsletter