Looking to explore some of the most famous landmarks in North America? We are here to help!
Home to thousands of years of history, super-diverse terrain, and a melting pot of cultures, North America has landmarks that tell the story of this glorious continent.
That is why we have written this post to outline 25+ of the most famous North American landmarks.
We have diveded the landmarks into three categories:
- Landmarks in the United States of America
- Landmarks in Canada
- Landmarks in Mexico
Most Iconic Landmarks In The United States of America
1. Statue of Liberty
By: Claudia of My Adventures Across The World
Visiting the Statue of Liberty is a must when in New York. Among the most iconic landmarks in the United States, contrary to what many think the statue is actually located in New Jersey state, but easily accessible from Manhattan too.
Dedicated on October 28, 1886, the statue was actually a gift from France to celebrate the United States’ 100 years’ anniversary of independence. It became a National Monument in 1924 and has for a long time been one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country.
To visit the Statue of Liberty from New York, you’ll have to hop on a ferry from Battery Park. Once there, you will have the option of visiting the Pedestal – which can be accessed on foot or via an elevator; and to get to the Crown, for which you will need an additional ticket.
You need to factor in around 4 hours for your visit if you are going on a guided tour – most will also go to Ellis Island, once the busiest immigration inspection point in the US. Tickets for the Statue of Liberty, including the ferry from Battery Park are best booked in advance.
2. Independence Hall (The Birthplace of Modern Democracy)
By: Laura & Lance of Guide to Philly
One of the most famous landmarks is Independence Hall in Philadelphia. This simple, tiered-brick building with its famous bell tower was originally built to be the Pennsylvania State House in 1753, but the structure took on a more significant purpose during the period of the American Revolution.
It was here in the Assembly Room that the Declaration of Independence was conceived, debated, and then formally adopted, separating the new colonies from Europe. Later, the Constitution of the United States would be formalized here, giving birth to the modern democracy as a form of government, including concepts like the peaceful transition of power.
The building is located in the heart of downtown Philadelphia and is really easy to get to. During much of the year, tickets are required, but free. Some same-day tickets are available, but visitors should check early in the morning. During the low season in the winter (January and February), tickets are not required.
This is one of the most important landmarks in America, preserved and protected both as a National Park and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is well worth visiting Independence Hall!
3. Old Faithful Geyser
By: James of ParksCollecting
Old Faithful is the most famous geyser in Yellowstone National Park. It earned its iconic name by consistently eruption many times a day. In fact, experts are able to predict the times of eruptions each day based on recent eruptions.
Old Faithful erupts around every 45 minutes to 120 minutes, making it a must-see on any Yellowstone itinerary. Its predicted eruption times are posted inside the various visitor centers throughout the park daily. With a height of somewhere between 106 feet to 184 feet, Old Faithful is spectacular in every way.
It is also the most accessible geyser in the park, with a huge viewing area and situated adjacent to one of the nine lodges inside Yellowstone. The viewing area has bench seats, but as one of the must-see’s to do in Yellowstone, it gets very crowded.
Visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the tour buses. For a slightly different viewing experience, it’s also possible to see the eruptions from an outdoor patio in the Old Faithful Inn. Enjoying the natural display with a cocktail in hand is an experience that’s hard to beat!
No matter how many days in Yellowstone you have, don’t miss out on one of the most iconic landmarks in the USA’s most famous national park.
4. Brooklyn Bridge
By: James of TravelCollecting
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in New York City. It was once famous as the first bridge across the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn. These days, it is probably more famous for its Instagram-worthy suspension cables and jaw-dropping views of lower Manhattan.
The bridge has two levels – vehicular traffic on the lower level and pedestrian and cycling access on the upper level. This is nice because it means that you aren’t very aware of the traffic when you walk across.
Most people walk the bridge one way from Manhattan and then take the subway back. It is better, however, to take the subway to Brooklyn, and, after walking around Dumbo and Brooklyn Bridge Park, walk back to Manhattan over the bridge. That way you have Manhattan views the whole way.
Be careful to stay in the pedestrian lane. Cyclists do NOT like pedestrians venturing into their lane and native New Yorkers do not hold back!
5. Grand Central Terminal
By: Samantha Opp of Find Love & Travel
Located on 42nd and Park Ave., Grand Central Terminal is one of the most famous landmarks in New York, if not the world. Built by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1913, Grand Central Terminal marked a pivotal time in history in the way people traveled.
It was the largest construction New York had ever seen for its time and took 10 years to build.
Decked in Marble, the famous clock, and the constellation ceiling, Grand Central Terminal is still as important as ever for the way people travel around New York City. It is said the station sees around 750,000 people a day.
Besides being a famous transportation hub, Grand Central is also a popular place for dining, shopping and people watching.
You will find 5 restaurants and cocktail lounges, 20 casual eateries, and 50 specialty shops.
Grand Central Station has provided the backdrop of many famous movies and will always be one of the most iconic places to visit in New York.
6. Delicate Arch
By: Melissa of Parenthood and Passports
Delicate Arch is one of the most recognizable geological landmarks in the US, if not the entire world. Gracing the Utah license plate, the towering sandstone arch located in Arches National Park is accessible with moderate hiking.
Although listed as a moderately difficult trail, the hike to Delicate Arch is easy to do even with children, so if visiting Arches National Park and nearby Moab with kids, the 3 mile round trip hike to this iconic landmark is well worth the effort it takes to get there.
Delicate Arch is one of more than 2,000 natural arches in the Utah park. The freestanding 52-foot natural arch is the tallest arch in Arches National Park. The trail to this landmark offers little to no shade to protect visitors from the heat and desert sun.
So, it’s a good idea to start your hike to Delicate Arch early in the morning and bring plenty of water to avoid overheating, particularly if visiting Utah during the summer months.
As the most popular hike in the park, the trail is also heavily trafficked, so the earlier you can get there, the fewer crowds you can expect.
7. Las Vegas Strip
By: Pamela of The Directionally Challenged Traveler
One of the most iconic landmarks in North America is the skyline of the Las Vegas Strip. The 4.2-mile stretch is home to many resorts, shows, casinos, and restaurants.
Many people do not know that the first major development along what would eventually become the Strip occurred during World War II. Military personnel built temporary housing units called WACO camps. After the war ended, the camps became permanent residences for returning veterans.
The first casino built on the Strip was El Rancho Vegas in 1941. Fast forward 65 years, there are now 30 casinos in the Las Vegas Strip with an additional 21 in the immediate area around the strip. Don’t be afraid to try your luck at any of the casinos From an outdoor roller coaster at NY NY, to a miniature Eiffel Tower, to the Stratosphere – there are plenty of non-gambling things to do in Las Vegas.
One of the best views of the entire strip can be found at the top of the Stratosphere. If you prefer to be in the heart of the Strip, head to the top of the Eiffel Tower. You can get a great aerial view of the Bellagio fountains if you time it right.
8. The Bean (Cloud Gate)
The Bean (officially titled the Cloud Gate) is the most iconic landmark in Chicago, Illinois. Known for its unique shape, The Bean stands proudly in the AT&T Plaza at Millennium Park.
Inspired by mercury, the Indian-born British artist Sir Anish Kapoor designed this famous US art sculpture to reflect all of Millennium Park in one single structure. By looking at The Bean, it is experiencing all of the Millennium Park at once.
Currently, at 33 feet high, 42 feet wide, and 66 feet long, The Bean weighs around 110 tons. It is also one of the most famous landmarks in the US where there is no entrance fee to visit. Just don’t forget a nice camera to capture the wonderful effects of this sculpture!
9. Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most familiar landmarks in the US for everyone in the world. That is because everyone has at least seen it once in a movie (e.g. Rise of The Planet of The Apes, Godzilla, X-Men).
Located in San Francisco California, the Golden Gate Bridge was constructed from 1933 to 1937. Its span of 4200 feet between the two towers of the suspension bridge was the longest until 1981, and its 746-towers made it the tallest bridge until 1993.
In other words, the Golden Gate Bridge was an incredible feat in engineering and construction. Unlike the name suggest, the Golden Gate Bridge is not gold in color, but rather a vibrant orange and red mix.
As the most photographed bridge in the world, Golden Gate Bridge is a must-see on any San Francisco trip. However, seeing it isn’t the only thing you can do. Visitors can walk or bike across the 1.7-mile long bridge and enjoy sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay, including the famed Alcatraz Island.
If you want more wicked views, we highly recommend a San Francisco Bay cruise tour!
10. Washington Monument
The Washington Monument is an obelisk located within the National Mall (which is actually not a mall, but a park) of Washington D.C., the capital of the United States.
Constructed in 1848, the 169-meter tall national monument was built to honor George Washington, the first president of the United States and the commander-in-chief- during the Revolutionary War.
Visitors can go ride the elevator to the 500-ft-high observation deck, but tickets must be reserved online and in advance. Fortunately, tickets are completely free, but they do require a $1 reservation fee.
Along with the nearby Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument are two of the greatest monuments in the United State and some of the best things to do in Washington D.C.
Find out how you can reserve your Washington Monument ticket here!
11. The White House
The White House is probably one of the least-known landmarks in the United States. Not a single movie or series has taken place there and there is definitely no one important living there. (Sarcasm!)
For those that have lived inside a well for the past 250 years, the White House is the most important building in the United States. It is the official residence and workplace of the President of the United States.
Despite the white appearance, the White House wasn’t officially called the White House until 1901, when Roosevelt gave it its present-day name. Before then, it was called the Presidential Palace, the President’s House, or the Executive Mansion.
Surprisingly, the White House is open for public visits. However, they must be made through your Member of Congress (aka through the state in which you reside). It is, however, a little bit more difficult to do so if you are an international visitor.
Find out more information about visiting the White House here.
12. Mount Rushmore National Memorial
The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a legendary sculpture carved into Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. The ~60-ft-tall sculpture features the faces of four presidents of the United States:
- George Washington
- Thomas Jefferson
- Theodore Roosevelt
- Abraham Lincoln
Once just a barren mountain, Gutzon Borglum and his son Lincoln transformed it into one of the most exciting National Parks in America. It took a total of 14 years of hard work, from 1927 to 1941, to complete this immaculate sculpture.
Visiting the Mount Rushmore National Memorial is easy, as visitors can easily fly into Rapid City Regional Airport, which is less than 30 miles. However, some visitors like to do a small road trip and include a visit to the glorious Yellowstone National Park as well.
13. Hoover Dam
The Hoover Dam is one of the most iconic engineering feats in the United States of America. Located in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, the concrete arch-gravity dam was the world’s tallest dam when it was built in the 1930.
Though it is no longer the tallest dam in the world (or the USA) now, the Hoover Dam is still incredible to look at. When you look at it, you will wonder how it was possible to build this magnificent piece of structure.
Currently, the damn’s generators provide power to Arizona, Nevada and California.
Built during the years of the Great Depression, the Hoover Dam took 5 years to build and symbol for many.
14. Empire State Building
There are plenty of significant landmarks in NYC but none is as iconic as the Empire State Building. This skyscraper in midtown Manhattan derived its name from the nickname of New York State, which is “Empire State”.
Since its construction in 1931, the Empire State Building was the highest building in the world until 1972, when the North Tower of the original World Trade Center surpassed it. Nonetheless, the Empire State Building is an iconic building in NY and dominates the landscape.
There is a total of 102 floors to this North American landmark, and public visits are permitted on the 86th floor and the 102nd floor. The main observatory on the 86th floor is open-air and features 360-degrees views of the surrounding area.
On the contrary, the 102nd-floor observatory is indoor and very tiny, thanks to the narrowing of the building at the top.
We highly recommend you to purchase your Empire State Building skip-the-line tickets beforehand to skip the queue!
Before visiting, also check the regulation of what you can bring onto these observation desks.
15. Southernmost Point of the Continental US
By: Lori of Naples Florida Travel Guide
If you’re planning on visiting the tropical island of Key West, Florida you’ll have the chance to visit one of North America’s most iconic man-made landmarks — the Southernmost Point in the USA.
Key West is the last Key in the string of Florida Keys, or mangrove islands, that stretch from Miami in southeast Florida to southwest Florida, lying just 90 miles from both Marco Island to the north and the island country of Cuba to the south.
The landmark itself is a giant colorful buoy painted red, black and yellow, and is located on the south side of the Conch Republic, which is the southernmost city in the USA.
There is no entrance fee, but lines to snap a pic can be long during certain times of the day. Go early in the day or later around sunset and you’ll have the landmark all to yourself. But don’t stay too long — you’ll want to get back to Mallory Square on the other end of Duval Street for the famous evening sunset celebration!
16. Horseshoe Bend
By: Karen of Outdoor Adventure Sampler
Arizona is famous for its epic desert landscape and surreal geological formations, but perhaps none is as famous as the Horseshoe Bend. It is an iconic Instagram-worthy view of the curve of the Colorado River near Page, Arizona.
Visitors can hike the .6 mile ADA compliant trail to the rim of Glen Canyon to see the spectacular blue-green water of the river cutting through the red rock canyon 1000 feet below. A fence protects visitors from falling, but there are areas where visitors can climb out on the sandstone to view the horseshoe-shaped bend without a fence.
Admission to the site is $10 per car (at the time of writing). In the summer, the hike is quite hot with no shade so bring lots of water and sun protection.
Another way to see Horseshoe Bend is from river level by kayak. It’s a 15-mile paddle from Glen Canyon Dam to Lee’s Ferry. Horseshoe Bend is found about halfway through the trip.
You need to hire an outfitter to backhaul you and the kayak upriver to the put-in. The paddle can be done as a 10-mile day trip or a 15-mile overnight camping trip.
You can camp right on the river shore of Horseshoe Bend and look up to see the hordes of people on the rim!
17. Bonneville Salt Flats
By: Megan of Megan Starr
One of the most iconic natural landmarks to visit in North America is the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. They are the largest salt flats in the country and are a perfect day trip from Salt Lake City (or a weekend getaway).
The flats were formed when Lake Bonneville dried up and today, you can head west of the Great Salt Lake to experience them yourself. Located right on the border of Nevada near Wendover, they span over 30,000 acres along I-80 and are renowned for creating an optical illusion and the Bonneville Speedway.
While the flats are dangerous to drive on when wet or if it has recently been raining, they are fantastic during the summer and fall and the Bonneville Speedway also hosts several events throughout the season.
In August, you can attend Bonneville Speed Week and the World of Speed takes place during September. While there is not a lot to do at the Bonneville Salt Flats, it is definitely worth seeing them with your own eyes if you’re visiting Utah or are close by in Nevada.
18. Diamond Head
By: Megan of Next Is Hawaii
An extremely iconic natural landmark in Hawaii is Diamond Head, a volcanic cone located on Oahu right on the edge of Honolulu that is known to locals as Leʻahi.
Estimated to be around 400,000-500,000 years old, this volcano has become the symbol of the capital city and is one of the best things to do in Honolulu.
The best way to visit Diamond Head is by hiking the Diamond Head Crater Trail that leads to it. The 1.6-mile (round trip) trail takes around 2 hours to complete and is a moderate-level hike that offers astoundingly beautiful views once at the summit.
A credit card fee of $5 (at the time of writing) is required from non-Hawaiian residents and the trail is closed on Wednesdays. You can reach Diamond Head on foot from the famous Waikiki Beach and it is a must-visit when you’re on Oahu!
Alternatively, if you want to see the crater from above, there are plenty of helicopter tours that will grant you unforgettable views!
19. Grand Canyon
By: Sam of My Flying Leap
If you were to ask almost anyone in the world about the top places to visit in the US, the Grand Canyon will probably rise towards the top of the list. After all, one of the top tourist attractions in the country.
The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and it’s worthy of the honor. If it’s not already on your bucket list, this Arizona landmark should be! It’s massive and located in a remote part of northern Arizona.
One of the best ways of appreciating how massive this canyon is is by hiking it. Spend a few hours or a day hiking one of the trails, or hike down to the Colorado River and stay at Phantom Ranch.
Most of the hikes are considered difficult but if you’re up for it, there’s nothing like it to see how the sun lights up the colors of the canyon. If you’re not up for hiking, you can enjoy incredible views from the 13-mile rim trail on the South Rim.
The Grand Canyon is a great overnight trip from Phoenix or Las Vegas, and it’s one of the top road trips in Arizona. This awe-inspiring canyon was carved by the Colorado River over millions of years and it will be enjoyed by people from all over the world for many more.
Most Iconic Landmarks In Canada, North America
1. Niagara Falls
By: Samantha of Continuous Roamer
Niagara Falls is a collection of waterfalls in North America, made up of Horseshoe Falls, American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. What makes Niagara Falls so famous is the amount of water that flows over the falls. During peak season, 2,832 tonnes of water flow over the falls per second.
You will find the iconic Niagara Falls on the border of Ontario, Canada and New York State, USA, which means you can visit this impressive landmark from either country. However, most people find that the view of the falls is better from the Canadian side.
There are plenty of ways to see Niagara Falls, such as the viewpoint from Table Rock Centre, up the Skylon Tower, or on a boat trip deep into the falls (Maiden of the Mist in the US or Voyage to the Falls in Canada).
If you want to stay in a hotel with a great falls view, opt for a room on a higher floor on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Alternatively, you can stay in Niagara-on-the-Lake, a quaint Canadian town known for its many wineries.
2. CN Tower
By: Mayuri from Canada Crossroads
CN Tower is one of the iconic landmarks in Canada, North America. Located in the heart of the city of Toronto, in the province of Ontario, the CN Tower is 553.3-meter communication and observation tower.
It was built and completed by Canadian National – a railways company in 1976. CN Tower was the tallest building, tower, and freestanding structure for over three decades since its completion, and till today remains the tallest in the Western Hemisphere.
When you visit this Canadian landmark today you can enjoy panoramic views of the city of Toronto at the observation decks which also feature a glass floor, a revolving restaurant (at 1,151 feet), and an entertainment complex with a popular EdgeWalk (which is one of its kind in North America!)
To visit the CN Tower and head to the observation deck, entry fees are $40 CAD for adults (at the time of writing). If you reserve a dinner table at the revolving restaurant, the ride to the top is included plus pay for the food meal.
EdgeWalk is a thrilling experience where you can walk outside of the CN tower for 30 minutes (full experience is 1.50 hours). EdgeWalk tickets start at $195 CAD per person plus tax (at the time of timing) and include a keepsake video, printed photos, and certificate of achievement. Don’t miss out on this attraction when you visit Toronto!
3. Moraine Lake
By: Bailey from Destinationless Travel
Moraine Lake is easily one of the most beautiful natural landmarks in Canada. In fact, it is so beautiful that it’s one of the most photographed places in all of Canada and you’ve probably seen it in magazines or on postcards.
Photographers from all over the world visit at sunrise to capture breathtaking photos as the sun hits the lake and mountains.
Moraine Lake is a beautiful turquoise color. Behind it, you’ll see the stunning 10 Peaks and pine trees that create remarkable scenery. You can walk the lake’s edge to take in the views, or for something even more special, head out onto the water in a canoe.
Moraine Lake is located within Banff National Park near Lake Louise. It is only open during the summer months (typically May to October) when the access road is clear of snow.
Parking can be a challenge at Moraine Lake, so be sure to arrive very early to get a spot, otherwise, you can jump on the Parks Canada shuttles.
4. Fairmont Le Château Frontenac
The Fairmont Le Château Frontenac (or Château Frontenac) is one of the most signature five-star hotels in North America. Built in 1893, the Château Frontenac sits proudly in Old Quebec, overlooking the Saint Lawrence River.
The Châteauesque-styled Canadian landmark has a lot of 18 floors, and it was designated as a Historic Site of Canada in 1981. Nevertheless, guests that wish to experience the history of this place can do so by staying in one of its luxurious rooms.
For those that don’t ish to spend close to $500 USD (at the time of writing) for one night in the hotel, the Château Frontenac is open to the public for visiting. To learn more about the landmark’s history, we recommend taking a guided tour of Château Frontenac.
Most Iconic Landmarks In Mexico, North America
1. Chichen Itza
By: Allison of Viva La Travelista
Located on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, Chichen Itza is one of the largest Mayan ruins and one of the most visited archaeological sites in North America. It is even considered one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Chichen Itza is located about 2.5 hours from the touristic region of Riviera Maya, which makes it an excellent day trip from Riviera Maya.
The easiest way to visit Chichen Itza is on a guided tour, which normally includes round-trip transportation, a visit to a nearby cenote, and a leisurely stop in the quaint colonial town of Valladolid.
During the tour, you’ll get to see and learn about the many different structures that remain, most notably the main Kukulcán pyramid, the Temple of Warriors, the Observatory, and the Ball Court.
While visiting Chichen Itza, be prepared for many persistent vendors on the site, and bring a hat and water bottle to stay cool as temperatures are very hot all year round and there is little shade on site.
It can be a long day, but as one of the best things to do in the Yucatan Peninsula, it is definitely worth the trip to learn about the ancient history of the region and to experience some really impressive Mayan ruins.
By: Soumya from Stories by Soumya
The Pre-Hispanic City of Teotihuacan in Mexico is one of North America’s most famous landmarks and a must on any Mexico City itinerary. Located in the Valley of Mexico, Teotihuacan is an ancient city that is home to 3 iconic pyramids – of the Sun, the Moon, and the Feathered Serpent.
At 216 ft, the Pyramid of the Sun is the second tallest in the Americas and one of the largest in the world.
The origins of Teotihuacan are still a big mystery. In the absence of a written script, it is hard to say who built this sprawling city and why. But there is evidence that suggests that Teotihuacan rose to great power between 200 – 700 AD.
It was during this time that the city saw great progress, built massive temples, and grew to be an international trading hub for obsidian.
Today, Teotihuacan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visiting Teotihuacan from Mexico City is easy because the two are just 30 miles apart. Be sure to get here early in the morning to avoid the crowds, beat the heat, and get some stunning pictures of the pyramids.
3. El Arco of Cabo San Lucas
By: Shelley of Travel Mexico Solo
El Arco (The Arch) is a natural rock formation in Cabo San Lucas. Visiting is a true Mexico bucket list item for anyone who’s headed to the Baja California Peninsula.
This iconic Mexico landmark is in an area called Land’s End. This is where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean, on the southern tip of Baja California Sur state. There is a small beach here, called Playa del Amor (Lover’s Beach).
To visit the Cabo Arch, you’ll want to join a tour — as it’s easiest to access by the water. For those who just want to kick back, you can take a boat tour to El Arco from Cabo San Lucas, which is often combined with some snorkel time in the water.
More adventurous visitors will opt for a jet ski tour, stand-up paddleboard (SUP) tour, or kayak tour. From the shore, it’s about a 30-minute kayak or SUP trip on this relatively short and relaxing trip that’s not too strenuous.
With the kayak or SUP tours, you’ll often stop at the Playa del Amor beach. This is an uninhabited beach where you can sunbathe, swim, snorkel and relax before returning to lively Cabo San Lucas.
Famous North America Landmarks Map
Above is a map encompassing all the famous landmarks in North America. As you can see, there is something amazing in every corner of North America.
For those wondering why we have included Mexico in North America, that is because Mexico is geographically part of North America. The Caribbean Islands are also geographically North American, but we have decided to opt them out of this post.
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This concludes our post on the 25+ most iconic landmarks in North America. We hope you have found something that interests you!
Any questions? Leave a comment below!
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