10 Most Haunted Places to Visit in America

Can you brave these sites?

It's Friday the 13th and it's Halloween season, so this is the perfect time to plan your visit to these haunted spots and test out your ghost hunting skills! Even if you're not an up-an-coming paranormal investigator, but enjoy history and getting the heebie jeebies, then you're guaranteed to love each of these spooktacular locales. For those of you that do brave any of these haunted hotspots, be sure to tag us in photos of your adventure and let us know in the comments how creeped out you got during your visit!

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1) Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum - Weston, West Virginia

trans-alleghenylunaticasylum.com

The Asylum opened its doors in 1864 and was designed to house 250 patients. However, by the 1950s, it was holding 2,400 patients in crowded and often squalid conditions. Additionally, the facility practiced rather barbaric forms of "treatment" including lobotomies and electro-shock therapy. The Asylum finally closed in 1994, but while it was open, hundreds of patients died inside the facility. Since closing, visitors and ghost hunters alike have reported apparitions and shadowy figures being sighted roaming the halls of the former mental hospital.

How to Visit: In October, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum offers ghost tours, ghost hunts, and flashlight tours. You can even attend the costumed Asylum Ball this month. Otherwise, the Asylum offers historical day tours throughout the week, Tuesdays through Sundays.

2) Eastern State Penitentiary - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

easternstate.org

The prison first opened in 1829, and is considered one of the most haunted places in the world. The gothic style prison was the first in America to implement solitary confinement: prisoners faces were covered when they were being moved, and they even had them wear specific masks for work duty that were so heavy prisoners couldn't communicate with each other while wearing them. The solitude drove many to madness and led to high numbers of suicide within the prison. Throughout the years, the prison experimented with different varieties of "reform" on their captives, most of which involved bizarre forms of punishment and torture.

After finally closing its doors in 1971, the prison is believed to be haunted by many of the tortured souls that were trapped within its walls - with numerous accounts of apparitions skulking the corridors and voices whispering behind cell blocks having been reported throughout the years.

How to Visit: Eastern State Penitentiary is open for tours 7 days a week, throughout the year. ALSO, in the fall, they transform in the evenings into a terrifying haunted house inside the prison called Terror Behind the Wall and you can get your extra spooks by purchasing your tickets for that adventure!

3) The Stanley Hotel - Estes Park, Colorado

stanleyhotel.com

Oh, yes, the very hotel that inspired and was filmed in for Stephen King's The Shining can check you in as a guest! The beautiful hotel, which is rather isolated in mountains and wilderness of, was opened in 1909 by the couple Flora and F.O. Stanley. According to guest, staff, ghost hunter accounts, and lore - the couple still remain at the hotel. Numerous reports have been made of guests waking up to having their bags unpacked, hearing children's laughter, and lights going off and on. Apparently, F.O. Stanley will make an appearance in photographs taken by guests in the hotel, while Flora Stanley can sometimes be heard playing the piano in the music room at night.

How to Visit: The hotel offers daytime tours as well as ghost tours for those looking for chills. For the especially daring, you can book a stay at the Stanley. And for the month of October, there are special events such as a Murder Mystery Dinner, The Shining Ball, and Halloween Masquerade Party!

4) Villisca Axe Murder House - Villisca, Iowa

villiscaiowa.com

On this quiet street, an entire family of eight was brutally slain in the night while in their house in 1912. The murderer or murderers were never caught, and it is believed that the Moore family (as well as the two Stillinger girls who were spending the night), who justice was never found for, haven't left their home. Psychics and ghost hunters alike have have reported strong paranormal presences within the house, as well as reports of moving objects, furniture breaking, and children's voices being heard. Find out for yourself!

How to Visit: Daytime tours are available daily Tuesdays through Sundays. Or for those seeking thrills and chills, overnight tours are available for groups. After being given the walk-through, you and your group are left with the key to the house and to stay the night at your own peril!

5) Myrtles Plantation - St. Francisville, Louisiana

myrtlesplantation.com

Heralded as one of America's most haunted homes, the Myrtles Plantation is a centuries old home with mayhem, murder, and mystery under its roof. Thought to be built on an ancient Native American burial ground, that's already going to build on some bad juju...literally. While it is said that there are at least twelve ghosts that haunt Myrtles Plantation, perhaps the most well known spirit is that of Chloe - a young former slave. As the story goes, Chloe was caught eavesdropping by her master so he cut off her ear. Seeking revenge, she poisoned a cake which killed two of her master's daughters. Chloe was later hung, but apparently she still spends her time roaming around the plantation….

How to Visit: The Myrtles Plantation offers Daily Mystery Tours to explore the plantation and learn more about some of its history and intrigue. For those who are looking for some extra spook, Evening Mystery Tours are also available after sunset - but definitely make your reservation ahead of time!

6) Whaley House - San Diego, California

whaleyhouse.org

Continuing with the theme of building property on land with negative energy: the house the built on the site of one of San Diego's most famous public executions. That didn't stop Thomas Whaley from purchasing the land in 1855 and moving his family into the home he built by 1857. Not long after, misfortune hit the family: their 18 month old son, Thomas, passed away. Years later, their daughter Violet took her own life in the house. Over time, most of the Whaley family that lived in the house, died there, as well. The house was eventually converted and preserved into a historical site and museum - but there have been frequent experiences by staff, visitors, and paranormal experts in the house including sightings of Thomas Whaley, Violet, Anna, as well as baby Thomas!

How to Visit: The Whaley House offers both daytime tours as well as private after-hours tours that start after 10pm - good luck!

7) Bachelor's Grove Cemetery - Midlothian, Illinois

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One of the most notorious cemeteries in the country, Bachelor's Grove may only have 82 plots, but it's seen countless deaths. Established in 1840, the cemetery and surrounding area were soon abandoned and many of the plots were left unused. The area became infamous, however, when it was used as a popular dumping ground for Chicago's crime families in the 1920s and 30s. While there have been many specter sightings, the mascot of the cemetery, so to speak, is the Madonna of Bachelor's Grove. This lady in white has been spotted by many visitors over the years, and is often seen sitting atop a tombstone staring out towards the forest.

How to Visit: The cemetery is accessible to the public during the daytime, but guarded at night, so trespassers beware!

8) Bird Cage Theater - Tombstone, Arizona

tombstonebirdcage.com

After opening its doors in 1877, this once gambling hall, saloon, and brothel encapsulated the true Wild, Wild West. Even the New York Times lauded the Bird Cage as "the roughest, bawdiest, and most wicked night spot between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast." While the Bird Cage may no longer be the rough and tumble saloon it once was, it is now infamous as being one of the most haunted spots in the United States. More than twenty-six people died by either knife or gun fight here, and the walls are literally still riddled with bullet holes - over 140 to be exact.

Apparently, the party hasn't ever died at the Bird Cage Theater, with employees and visitors reporting experiences with being touched or pushed, and ghostly sightings of both cowboys and prostitutes. Additionally, there have been numerous accounts of people hearing music, shouting, and laughter coming from the Theater late at night -- some spirits know how to have a good time, even in the afterlife!

How to Visit: The Bird Cage Theater is open for daily self-guided tours. They also offer Ghost Tours nightly, including a complete lights out portion of the tour for our amateur paranormal investigators!

9) Florida Theatre - Jacksonville, Florida

floridatheatre.com

The theatre first opened in 1927 as a movie theatre, and its stunning art-deco architecture and decor transports you back into the beauty of the 20's in one of Florida's first theater "palaces." While there have been many reports of patrons and employees seeing ghosts or hearing humming sounds, the most notorious figure of the Florida Theatre is the man in the balcony. Thought to have been a former employee from when the Theater first opened, this man continues to keep watch over his beloved theater and has even been spotted waving. Look for him in his favorite seat in the balcony -- section 500, seat E2!

How to Visit: The Florida Theatre is open to the public, so you can visit year round! Check the events section of their website for occasional paranormal tours, or just visit yourself and if you're brave, see you can venture onto the balcony and perhaps you'll get a visit from the theater's most famous ghost!

10) RMS Queen Mary - Long Beach, California

queenmary.com

The RMS Queen Mary was built and served as a luxury ocean liner from 1936-1967, and she hosted plenty of celebrity guests of the day including Clark Gable and Winston Churchill. Once WWII broke, she served a stint as a war ship and was transformed from her luxury garb to be painted grey and nicknamed the "Grey Ghost" while she helped ferry soldiers to the frontlines of battle. At war's end, the ship was changed once again to a luxury liner and later purchased by the city of Long Beach, where the Queen Mary is now docked and serves as a hotel.

However, the history of the RMS Queen Mary isn't perfect, there are records of nearly fifty deaths aboard the ship. Those who've visited the ship, from employees and guests to paranormal investigators and psychics, have reported plenty of paranormal activity throughout the years. Many have experienced slamming doors, knocking, lights going out, hearing children, and feeling the temperature suddenly drop. While others have also seen and had encounters with some of the ship's many ghostly guests, the most notorious being a former crew member who was crushed to death by a watertight door, children who allegedly drowned in the pool, and a woman in white who stays in one of the luxury suites and likes to dance!

How to Visit: Since the RMS Queen Mary is now a hotel, you can book your stay aboard the ship and have your own spirited adventure! Have a special event coming up? You can reserve the Queen Mary all to yourself, if you please. The ship also offers Daytime Tours that you can book, and for our thrill seekers: Evening Haunted Tours are also available! Additionally, during Halloween season, the Queen Mary transforms into the Dark Harbor offering the ship as a haunted house of sorts with terrifying mazes and scares around every corner designed specifically to test even the bravest of ghost hunters!

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It's no secret that the restaurant scene in New York City is one of the most impressive in the world.

Whatever you could want to eat, you can find it in New York—meaning that even if you have a slightly restrictive diet, like veganism, there's plenty of options for you. Local fast-casual chains like By Chloe and Superiority Burger are making New York one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the world, but the deliciousness doesn't stop there.


Between Manhattan and Brooklyn, there's been a boom of vegan restaurants that'll satisfy any craving. Here are just a few of our favorites.

Blossom(Upper West Side + Greenwich Village)

vegan restaurant

With two locations serving both Uptown and Downtown, Blossom is a go-to for local and tourist vegans alike. They offer an elevated dining experience (and a wide-spanning takeout radius) that puts a cruelty-free spin on classic main dishes like chicken piccata, rigatoni, and grilled salmon. Complete your dinner with a fresh, fruity cocktail and tiramisu—but reservations are strongly recommended beforehand.

Jajaja (West Village + Lower East Side)

vegan Jajaja

Jajaja is the ultimate heaven for Mexican food addicts. Get your fix of south of the border staples like burritos, street tacos, and enchiladas that'll make you second guess whether or not it's actually vegan (pro tip: The nacho portion is large enough to be a meal for one person). They also have a small but mighty menu of tequila and mezcal cocktails to kick off a night of LES bar-hopping. It gets crowded here quickly, though, so try to schedule your dinner early.

Urban Vegan Kitchen(West Village)

Urban Vegan Kitchen

We get it—eating vegan can get kind of bland sometimes. But that's not an issue at Urban Vegan Kitchen, the type of restaurant that'll have you wanting to order one of everything on the menu (but we recommend the "chicken" and waffles). Co-owned by the founder of Blossom, they boast a menu that's just as edgy and exciting as their decor. Their space is large too, making it a crowd-pleasing option for a slightly larger group.

Champs Diner (Williamsburg)

Champs Diner vegan

Located near the border of hip neighborhoods Williamsburg and Bushwick, Champs is a favorite of many young Brooklynites. Their menu is full of vegan alternatives to classic diner fare like breakfast plates, cheeseburgers, and even milkshakes that taste mysteriously like the real deal, while the decor puts a quintessential Brooklyn edge on '50s digs. Who said going plant-based had to be healthy all the time, anyway?

Peacefood (Greenwich Village)

vegan Peacefood

Conveniently located just a stone's throw from Union Square—near both NYU and the New School—Peacefood is a hotspot for college students, but vegans of any age are guaranteed to enjoy their menu. They specialize in comfort food items like quiche, chicken parmesan, and chili with corn bread—all plant-based, of course. While their "chicken" tender basket is to die for, make sure to save room for dessert here, too; Peacefood's lengthy pastry menu is a dream come true.

Buddha Bodai (Chinatown)

Buddha Bodai vegan

Dim sum restaurants in Chinatown are a dime a dozen, but Buddha Bodai takes the cake for the best veggie-friendly experience in one of New York's most bustling neighborhoods. Bring your family or friends along with you to enjoy this massive menu of buns and dumplings stuffed with any type of mock meat you could want. This is also a great option for gluten-free vegans, too, as much of their menu accommodates a gluten-free diet.

Greedi Kitchen (Crown Heights)

Greedi Kitchen vegan

Crown Heights might not be the first neighborhood people think of when it comes to dining in Brooklyn, but Greedi Kitchen is making the case for delicious restaurants in the area. Inspired by its founder's many years of travel, Greedi Kitchen combines the comforting flavors of southern soul food with the added pizazz of global influences. Try one of their po'boys or the crab cake sliders. Trust us.

Screamer’s Pizzeria (Greenpoint + Crown Heights)

Screamer's Pizza vegan

We know what you're thinking: Pizza without real cheese? Call us crazy, but Screamer's does vegan pizza to perfection. If you're into classic pies like a simple margherita or pepperoni, or you want to branch out with unexpected topping combinations, Screamer's is delicious enough to impress carnivores, too (pro tip: the Greenpoint location is small and serves most pies by the slice, while the Crown Heights location is larger for sitting down).


Learning a second language is one of the coolest and most rewarding things you can do in your spare time.

However, if hopping on a one-way ticket to your country of choice isn't an option for you, it can be difficult to find an immersive experience to learn, especially past high school or college.

The next best thing is language-learning apps.

We wanted to look at the top two: DuoLingo and Rosetta Stone. Duolingo is the new kid on the block; one of the top downloaded, this free app is a favorite. Then, there's the legacy option: Rosetta Stone. For over 20 years, they've been developing their language-learning software, and their app is the most recent innovation.

They're both great options, but keep reading to figure out which one is the best for you.

Key Similarities

  • Both claim you'll expand your vocabulary
  • Both are available as an app for iOS and Android users
  • Both have a clean user interface with appealing graphics
  • Both have offline capabilities (if you pay)

Key Differences

  • DuoLingo has a popular free version along with its paid version, whereas Rosetta Stone only has a paid version
  • DuoLingo offers 35+ languages, and Rosetta Stone offers 24 languages
  • Rosetta Stone has an advanced TruAccent feature to detect and correct your accent
  • DuoLingo offers a breadth of similar vocab-recognizing features, and Rosetta Stone offers a wider variety of learning methods, like Stories

DuoLingo Overview

DuoLingo's app and its iconic owl have definitely found a place in pop culture. One of the most popular free language-learning apps, it offers 35 different languages, including Klingon, that can be learned through a series of vocabulary-matching games.

DuoLingo offers a free version and a version for $9.99 a month without ads and with offline access.

Rosetta Stone Overview

The Rosetta Stone app is a beast. There are 24 different languages to choose from, but more importantly, you get a huge variety of methods for learning. Not only are there simple games, but there are stories where you get to listen, the Seek and Speak feature, where you go on a treasure hunt to photograph images and get the translations, and the TruAccent feature, which will help you refine your accent. Whenever you speak into the app, you'll get a red/yellow/green rating on your pronunciation, so you can fine-tune it to really sound like you have a firm grasp of the language.

Rosetta Stone costs just $5.99 a month for a 24-month subscription, which gives you access to all of their 24 languages!

Final Notes

Overall, these are both excellent apps for increasing your proficiency in a new language! They both feel quite modern and have a fun experience.

When it comes to really committing words to memory and understanding them, Rosetta Stone is king.

DuoLingo definitely will help you learn new words, and the app can be addicting, but users report it as more of a game than a means to an end.

With Rosetta Stone's variety of features, you'll never get bored; there are more passive elements and more active elements to help you activate different parts of your brain, so you're learning in a more dynamic and efficient way.

The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers only: Up To 45% Off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Languages & Free Tutoring Sessions!

Travel

So You Want to Try Workaway

Want to travel cheap, meet locals and kindred spirits, live off the land, and possibly change your life? It might be time to try Workaway.

Sitting in a house on a hill in Tuscany, Italy, watching the sun set and listening to the sound of music coming from the house in which I was staying almost rent-free, I wondered how I had gotten this lucky.

Actually, it was really all thanks to one website—Workaway.info.

Workaway Workaway


Workaway is a site that sets travelers up with hosts, who provide visitors with room and board in exchange for roughly five hours of work each weekday. The arrangement varies from host to host—some offer money, others require it—but typically, the Workaway experience is a rare bird: a largely anti-capitalist exchange.

I did four Workaways the summer I traveled in Europe, and then one at a monastery near my home in New York the summer after. Each experience, though they lasted around two weeks each, was among the most enriching times of my life—and I'd argue I learned almost as much through those experiences as I did in four years of college.

There's something extremely special about the Workaway experience, though it's certainly not for everyone.

Workaway Isn't for Everyone: What to Know Before You Go

I loved all the Workaways I went on, but the best advice I can give to anyone considering going is: Enter with an open mind. If you're someone who doesn't do well with the unexpected, if you're not willing to be flexible, if you're a picky eater or easily freaked out, then it's likely that you won't have a good experience at a Workaway.

There are exceptions to all of this. At the Workaway I stayed at in Italy, one of the travelers was suffering from stomach bloating, and the host helped cure her with a diet of miso. (I'm not saying you should go Workawaying if you're ill—this traveler's mother also came to oversee everything—but still, you never know what you'll find).

Workaway WoIsango.com

You should also probably be willing and able to actually work at your Workaway. These aren't vacations, and some hosts will be stricter and less forgiving than others regarding your work ethic. If you're someone who has no experience with difficult farm work, for example, it might not be a good idea to do a Workaway on a farm.

How to Choose a Host

The Workaway website boasts a truly overwhelming number of hosts. You can narrow your search down by location, but you can also search key terms that can help guide you in the right direction. You might search "music," for example—that's how I found the Italy location. You'll find hosts in busy cities and in the most remote mountains of India; you'll find opportunities to tutor and explore. You'll find shadiness, too, so trust your instincts.

Take time to actually read the host's entire bio before reaching out. Read all the comments, too, and if you're nervous or a first-timer, only reach out to hosts who have exclusively glowing reviews. I had the best experiences with hosts that had left extremely detailed bios—that showed me they were likely going to be dedicated hosts.

I also chose hosts whose bios gave me a good feeling, something like a spark of electricity or recognition. This instinctual method might not work for everyone, but it certainly led me in the right direction in all of my Workaway experiences. My Workaways gave me some of the best memories and deepest relationships of my life, and that was partly thanks to the fact that I chose places that were good fits for me.

For example, I chose to stay alone with a wizened academic in France. Something about his bio and descriptions resonated with me enough to trust him. (I also read some of his many thousand-page-long treatises on peace and compassion and decided that if someone could write this and be a psychopath, this wasn't a world I wanted to live in anyway). It was the right decision—and the two weeks I spent there were some of the most enlightening of my entire life.

When you reach out to a host, particularly if it's someone you really want to stay with, it's a good idea to frame your initial contact email as a cover letter of sorts—make sure you explain who you are and personalize your letter to fit each host.

Ixcanaan A Workaway painting experienceWorkaway


Travel Safely

Especially if you're traveling alone, it's always a good idea to choose a host whose page has tons of good reviews. Aside from that, a quick Google search and a scan of any social media pages related to your potential host can't hurt.

Ultimately, Workawaying requires a certain amount of trust and faith on both the host and the traveler's parts—you're either trusting someone to stay in your home or trusting a stranger to host and feed you.

But that trust, in my experience, also results in rapid and deep connections unlike anything I've experienced in the "real world." When you go and share a home with someone, you're also sharing yourself with them, and in that exchange there are the seeds of a powerful bond.

Participate Fully

Wherever you go, you'll want to open your mind and participate fully. Adjust yourself to your host's lifestyle, not the other way around, and take time to get to know your host and the others around you.

You might find that you become someone you never knew you were. As a lifelong introvert, I somehow managed to develop close relationships with many of the people I was staying with.

This might be because most people who are at Workaways are seeking something for one reason or another. In my experience, you find lots of people who are at junctures in their lives, seeking connection and meaning. With the right Workaway, you might just find it.

Workaway The Broke Backpacker - WorkawayThe Broke Backpacker