Where to go for your American History fix
There’s no shortage of options when you vacation in America. Beaches, mountains, small towns, big cities… we’ve got it allllll in the vast Land of the Free. And if you’re a fan of U.S. history, you’re especially in luck! No need to keep our nation’s fascinating past locked in a high school textbook when you can visit the top historical U.S. cities and see it all in person.
Not sure where to go on your history vacay? Check out one of these cities!
Beantown is possibly the most popular of all the historical U.S. cities, location of some of the nation’s most iconic sites in the battle for its independence. You’ll also find plenty of American firsts: the first college (Harvard), first public school, and first public park.
While you can easily find your way around Boston, we recommend heading over to the Freedom Trail. You can choose a guided tour or DIY your way over a 2.5 mile walk. Along the way, you’ll get to see 16 of Boston’s top historical sites.
And if you visit during baseball season, check out a bit of sports history at iconic Fenway Park, the oldest active MLB ballpark.
Can’t-Miss History: One if by land, two if by sea! Head over to Old North Church, where the lights set off Paul Revere’s famous ride.
If you’re a history buff, we gotta tell you: you absolutely cannot skip Philly! Because (fun fact) Philadelphia actually served as the nation’s capital for 10 years, before it moved to DC.
Start your tour in the heart of Philly’s Old City, at Independence National Historical Park. You’ll have access to cool sites including Independence Hall (where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed), the cracked Liberty Bell, and the Betsy Ross House.
Make sure to build in some “wandering” time so you can get lost amongst quaint townhouses lining the cobblestone streets. The colonial-era buildings are supremely Insta-worthy!
Can’t-Miss History: Visit the Benjamin Franklin Museum to learn all about Philly’s most famous Revolutionary resident.
St. Augustine, FL
Florida may be known for its beautiful beaches, but it has its share of historical U.S. cities, too. Believe it or not, this charming Florida seaside town is America’s oldest inhabited city. It’s also the rumored site of Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth…
Established by the Spanish, St. Augustine retains that cultural flair to this day, with pedestrian-only cobblestone streets and colonial architecture. All of downtown is a National Historical Landmark District, with “first” and “oldest” buildings nestled in between pubs, art galleries, and shops featuring local artisans.
Can’t-Miss History: Explore Castillo San Marcos, the fort that once protected the city from invaders.
What true history buff wouldn’t visit the nation’s capital? The world-famous monuments and landmarks are teeming with American history: the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Capitol Building, and (of course!) the White House.
But you may be surprised to learn that some of the city’s top historical artifacts are actually up for free viewing, housed in the Smithsonian Museums. And they’re not centered on any one era. You’re just as likely to come across one of Edison’s lamps or Abraham Lincoln’s top hat as you are Archie Bunker’s recliner or the Apollo 11 capsule.
Can’t-Miss History: Roam around DC’s charming neighborhoods. The Neighborhood Guided Trails will take you to the top out-of-the-way museums.
No, you aren’t time traveling. You’re in Williamsburg, the once-capital of Virginia… and over three hundred years later, it’s still a bustling colonial village. Yes, colonial! Williamsburg’s been dubbed the world’s largest living history museum, earning it an undeniable spot on the list of the top historical U.S. cities.
With its hundreds of refurbished buildings to the historically accurate costumes and reenactments of daily life, you could easily think you’d landed in the 1700s. Even the taverns and restaurants join in the colonial fun, serving up 18th-century eats.
Can’t-Miss History: Stop by nearby Jamestown and Yorktown, each with plenty to contribute to the colonial conversation.
You might love the past, but you definitely want to keep your travels in the modern era. We’ve got you! Skip the luggage hassles by shipping your bags to your Airbnb or hotel with LugLess. You can get straight to sightseeing; no need to wait at baggage claim or drop stuff off when history is calling your name!