9 Important U.S. National Monuments You Should Visit

Everyone goes to Mount Rushmore, but there are plenty more monuments that should be on your bucket list

In the United States, there are currently 117 national monuments. Monuments are designated by the president and represent an diverse collection of mountains, buildings, architecture structures and other places. These are often designated due to a historical event, but can also commemorate past cultures or iconic American landmarks.

1. National September 11 Memorial and Musuem — New York City

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Ground Zero of the attack on 9/11 was designated a national monument to honor the lives lost in the attack. Now, the foundations of the two towers are water fountains and have the names of all the lives lost carved into metal surrounding them. The museum features exhibits telling what happened that day in 2001 and discusses policies and actions taken in response.

2. The Stonewall Inn — New York

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The Stonewall Inn was the site of the first biggest protest against anti-LGBT laws in New York in 1969. This event was a major milestone in the LGBT rights movement and helped provide momentum for the cause.

3. Independence National Historical Park — Philadelphia

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This is the site of the debate, drafting, and signing of both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Nearby, the Liberty Bell is housed — an international symbol of liberty. Independence National Historical Park celebrates the founding of our country.

4. USS Arizona Memorial — Honolulu

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This monument commemorates the attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States's subsequent entry into World War II. The USS Arizona Memorial preserves and interprets stories of the Pacific War, including internment of Japanese Americans to the battles in the Aleutians.

5. Abraham Lincoln Birthplace — Kentucky

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Abraham Lincoln has a monument in Washington, D.C. but his birthplace is also commemorated in Kentucky. Learn about Lincoln's upbringing in rural central Kentucky and how they shaped him into the man who led the nation through the Civil War. This was America's first memorial to Lincoln and enshrines his symbolic birthplace cabin.

6. National Mall — Washington, D.C.

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While the National Mall itself is not a monument, it hosts several on its land. This includes the famous Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and more.

7. Fort McHenry — Baltimore

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Fort McHenry is known for its role during the Battle of Baltimore in 1814. The defense of the fort was the inspiration for Francis Scott Key's poem “The Star-Spangled Banner" — which later became our national anthem.

8. The Gateway Arch — St. Louis

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The Gateway Arch reflects St. Louis's role in the westward expansion of the United States during the nineteenth century. The park is a memorial to Thomas Jefferson's role in opening the West, to the pioneers who settled the land, and to Dred Scott who sued for his freedom in the Old Courthouse.

9. Montezuma Castle — Camp Verde, Arizona

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Montezuma Castle is one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. It is essentially a 20-room high-rise apartment nestled into a towering limestone cliff. It represents a story of ingenuity, survival, and prosperity in an unforgiving desert landscape.


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