Who says you have to break your bank to visit new places and attractions within the US?
While the world is still in a pandemic, most people want to delay their international travels, so what’s better than a little domestic vacation within the states, and better yet, full of free attractions and exciting adventures?
Here are the 8 top free places everyone should visit while traveling the United States.
1. Washington, DC
Among the Smithsonian Museums, you can visit The National Zoo, National Museum of Natural History, and National Air and Space Museum, among the city’s most popular attractions. And don’t forget about all the monuments located around the city commemorating our founding fathers, war veterans, and more. Learn about some of our favorite attractions including great hikes that are easily accessible, yet outside the hustle and bustle of the city.
2. New York City, NY
Despite being America’s most expensive city, you can still find great free places to visit and enjoy. Ride the Staten Island Ferry free 24/7 to enjoy amazing views of the Statue of Liberty, downtown Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Jersey City. Another great attraction in NYC is the High Bridge, the oldest bridge in New York City. It originally opened as part of the Croton Aqueduct in 1848 and reopened as a pedestrian walkway in 2015 after being closed for over 45 years.
No visit to New York City would be complete without a visit to the National September 11 Memorial. Located at the former twin World Trade Centers, you can visit the September 11 memorial and pay your respects to everyone who died during the tragedies of September 11, 2001, and February 26, 1993. Keep in mind that admission is free, but you need to book an in-advance reservation.
3. Chicago, IL
No visit to Chicago would be complete without a visit to Millennium Park. Over 25 acres, the park boasts an outdoor collection of architecture, landscape design, and art. Of course, you have to take a selfie in front of Cloud Gate, the official name for the massive, stainless steel structure that’s become Chicago’s signature landmark. It is affectionately known as “the Bean.”
Another popular free attraction in Chicago is the Lincoln Park Zoo for everyone, including children and adults. From play days at the farm to the seal training event, you won’t be bored for a second.
4. Atlanta, GA
No visit to Atlanta would be complete without a stop at the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Park. Tour the home of his birth and hear his voice in the church where he moved hearts and minds. From there, you can walk or bike the trail that leads to the Carter Center. While there is an $8 fee for adult admission to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum, you can always take a free stroll through the grounds to see the Circle of Flags from all 50 states, a rose garden, Japanese garden and koi pond.
Being married to a scientist, I think a visit to the David J. Sencer CDC Museum is a must-do when in Atlanta. You’ll learn about the history of the Centers for Disease Control and how scientists work to crack the cases of mystery diseases. Admission and parking are free on weekdays.
5. Birmingham, AL
Over 12,000 different plants, 25 themed gardens, and 30 outdoor sculptures are spread out over 67.5 acres at the , Birmingham Botanical Gardens. While your kids can enjoy the free science activities, you can visit the traditional Japanese teahouse and a vegetable garden where you can test your gardening knowledge a learn a thing or two along the way.
Be sure to walk the Birmingham Civil Rights Heritage Trail. This is a free, self-guided tour through downtown Birmingham. Learn about significant locations along the Civil Rights march route which are marked with informative signs and maps. Top it off with a visit to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Admission is FREE from 1 PM to 5 PM every Sunday.
6. San Antonio, TX
A popular stroll in San Antonio is along the city’s famed River Walk. A 15-mile urban waterway, the River Walk, or Paseo del Rio, is the largest urban ecosystem in the nation. Tucked quietly below street level and only steps from the Alamo, it provides a serene and pleasant way to navigate the city.
Another great outdoor activity is at the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park where you can see the largest concentration of Spanish colonial missions in North America. Explore the Missions the eight-mile stretch of recreational trails, pedestrian bridges, pavilions, and portals to four Spanish colonial missions—Concepción, San José, San Juan, and Espada.
7. Los Angles, CA
There are many free attractions to enjoy in Los Angeles beginning with one of our favorites, the Griffith Observatory. Visitors may look through telescopes, explore exhibits, see live shows in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, and enjoy spectacular views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Sign.
Of course, one of America’s most iconic attractions, and not to mention the hub of tourists, is the Hollywood Walk of Fame. You can’t really visit LA without strolling along the sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard.
Finally, stop by the Getty Center to see an impressive European and American art collection, including Vincent van Gogh’s famous Irises. Among other exhibitions, you can also ride the tram from the main parking area to the top of the hill, and enjoy the amazing view.
8. San Fransisco, CA
Probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of San Francisco is the Golden Gate Bridge. Join one of the twice-weekly free walking tours or explore on your own. Be sure to wander through the Plaza just outside the Welcome Center and follow the pathway into an old bunker that houses some of the exhibits. This is where you can learn about the history, science, and engineering of the Bridge’s construction.
San Francisco’s Cable Car Museum teaches you all about this marvel of transportation. From its inception in 1873 until the present day, you can learn about the inventor, the technology, the builders, the quick expansion, the near-loss, and the ongoing efforts to save and repair San Francisco’s cable cars.
To travel across states, you don’t have to save for years and tap into your money. Traveling by RV allows you to visit so many fabulous destinations that will satisfy your adventurous spirit while also saving you money.
Who knows, maybe you’ll fall in love with the place so much that you’ll want to hire a moving truck and relocate to the city altogether. You can visit Mybekins.com to get answers to all your moving questions.