Tourist places in Wyoming

In Wyoming, the Wild West comes alive. One of the most sparsely populated states in the US, Wyoming is a land of rugged landscapes, rich tribal legend, rodeos, ranches, cowboy towns, and some of the world’s great wilderness areas.

Yellowstone National Park, with its geothermal wonders, together with spectacular Grand Tetons National Park make up one of the largest intact temperate-zone ecosystems on the planet. Both parks are home to an astounding diversity of wildlife, from grizzlies and golden eagles to wolves, elk, moose, bison, and black bears.

Further afield, you can explore red-walled gorges, hot springs, historic prairie towns, pioneer museums, and the historical attractions of Wyoming’s capital, Cheyenne. With all this wilderness and wide-open space, outdoor adventures abound. Wyoming boasts excellent hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, climbing, and fishing, as well as some of the best skiing in North America.

Discover the best places to visit in this rugged Western state with our list of the top tourist attractions in Wyoming.

1. Yellowstone National Park

The world’s first and oldest national park, Yellowstone is one of the most awe-inspiring wilderness areas on the planet. Huge herds of bison still roam free in the valleys, and the abundant wildlife includes grizzly and black bears, gray wolves, elk, antelope, trumpeter swans, and majestic bald eagles.

Established in 1872, the park is a geothermal wonderland. Hissing geysers, bubbling mud pots, and steaming hot springs betray the forces that formed this staggering landscape millions of years ago. Waterfalls gush down steep ravines, and glittering lakes and rivers stretch for miles.

You can drive through the park, but the huge network of hiking trails is the best way to appreciate the park’s diverse ecosystems, and you can extend your wilderness experience by staying in one of the park’s scenic campgrounds. Top tourist attractions here include the famous Old Faithful geyser, Yellowstone Lake, and the jaw-dropping cascades of Lower Falls.

The park is one of the best places to visit in Wyoming. Sightseeing is excellent year-round, with each season painting the landscape in different hues, but most tourists visit in the summer.

2. Grand Tetons National Park Editor’s Pick

Crowned by the craggy peaks of the mighty Tetons Mountain Range, Grand Tetons National Park is one of the jewels of Wyoming. These mountains, in the state’s northwest, were formed millions of years ago, when a fault in the Earth’s crust buckled, creating 12 peaks reaching heights of more than 12,000 feet. The highest of these, Grand Tetons, soars 13,770 feet above sea level.

Wildlife is abundant. More than 300 species of birds, 60 species of mammals, and many freshwater fish live within the park. Not surprisingly, the park is a paradise for wildlife lovers, photographers, climbers, haymakers, and hikers.

The best way to explore the spectacular scenery is by hiking the many trails and staying overnight in the campgrounds. Some of the roads and access points close during winter months.

3. Jackson

Tucked in a sprawling valley at the foot of the spectacular Tetons Mountains, Jackson, Wyoming exudes the spirit of the Wild West. Rustic wooden buildings and boardwalks, quaint shops, galleries, and restaurants, and a town square framed by elk-horn arches add to the charm of this charismatic town.

Jackson is also the gateway to beautiful Grand Tetons National Park and a popular stop on the way to Yellowstone. Bordering town, the National Elk Refuge protects the largest herd of wintering elk in the world. In season, you can ride horse-drawn sleighs into the refuge to view these gentle creatures up close.

Camouflaged in a rocky hillside just south of town, the National Museum of Wildlife Art is another top attraction, with more than 4,000 paintings and many rotating exhibits.

Other highlights include scenic float trips down the Snake River, chuck wagon cookouts, the popular summer rodeo, and downhill skiing on Snow King Mountain. Jackson Hole is also one of the top fly fishing destinations in Wyoming.

A 20-minute drive from Jackson, the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort at Teton Village offers some of the best skiing in North America, as well as a diverse lineup of summer mountain sports and outdoor concerts.

4. Hot Springs State Park, Thermoplastic

Built around the world’s largest single mineral hot spring, Hot Springs State Park is a great place to stop for a relaxing soak. The steamy mineral water gushing from Big Spring is channeled into bathhouses and kept at a constant 104 degrees Fahrenheit. You can soak in the warm waters indoors at the State Bath House or in the two outdoor pools.

Also in the area are hiking trails; petroglyphs; summer flower gardens; and the Rainbow Terrace, where water from another stream tumbles into the Bighorn River. Look for the herd of bison grazing in the hills.

5. Bridger-Tetons National Forest

In the beautiful Bridger Tetons National Forest, outdoor enthusiasts can explore more than 3.4 million acres of western Wyoming’s rugged mountain wilderness.

Within the forest’s boundaries lie three Wilderness Areas: The Bridger Wilderness in the Wind River Mountains is home to the headwaters of the Green River, some of the world’s largest glaciers, and Wyoming’s highest point, Gannet Peak. The Tetons Wilderness provides critical habitat for wildlife such as grizzlies, wolves, and bison, and the Gross Venture Wilderness encompasses fascinating geological features.

In 1925, the Gross Venture Slide carved down a mountainside, creating Lower Slide Lake. You can still see evidence of the slide today.

Crisscrossed by miles of trails, the entire region is excellent for hiking, hunting, fishing, ski touring, and mountaineering.

6. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody

The Buffalo Bill Center of the West retraces an important chapter of American history in a complex of five fascinating museums. In the Buffalo Bill Museum, you can view artifacts from the life of Buffalo Bill Cody, the legendary American soldier and showman.

The Cody Firearms Museum contains a large collection of firearms from around the world. Wyoming wildlife and geology are the main themes of the Draper Museum of Natural History, and you can learn about the culture of the prairies’ first inhabitants at the Plains Indian Museum through exhibits and a multimedia show.

In addition to all these historical exhibits and artifacts, the center offers a treat for art lovers. At the Whitney Gallery of Western Art, works by Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, and George Catlin continue the Wild West theme.

Near the center are the rodeo grounds, where some of the best cowboys in the Wild West perform in the summer.

7. Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area

Named for the area’s striking red sandstone cliffs, Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area stretches from Green River, Wyoming, south and into Utah.

Fed by the waters of the Green River, Flaming Gorge Reservoir is a popular spot for boating, fishing, swimming, camping, and kayaking. Adventure seekers can also raft the area of the Green River downstream from Flaming Gorge Dam.

Perched above the canyon, the Red Canyon Vista and Visitor Center offers impressive views of the gorge. From the visitor center, the Canyon Rim Trail threads along the lip of the canyon, with lookouts along the way.

In addition to the colorful rock formations, some of the rock walls display petroglyphs, and prehistoric fossils are often found in the area.

8. The Wind River Range

Looking for the spectacular alpine scenery of Grand Tetons National Park or Yellowstone without the crowds? Head to the Wind River Range in Western Wyoming. Its 2.25 million acres encompass seven of the largest glaciers in the Lower 48 states; lush meadows dappled with wildflowers; glacier-carved valleys; snow capped peaks; and thousands of sparkling trout-filled waterways, including the headwaters for the Green River. No wonder it’s a haven for hiking, hunting, fishing, camping, and climbing.

Hikers, in particular, will be in heaven here. More than 600 miles of trails radiate through the region, including part of the Continental Divide Scenic National Trail, which runs from Canada to Mexico. The 80-mile stretch though this region ascends to an elevation of 11,000 feet and is best hiked during August and September, when the trails are most likely to be free of snow. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. This is grizzly country, but you can also see moose, mountain lions, deer, elk, wolves, and hundreds of different species of birds.

The Wind River Range is also one of the best fly fishing interdenominational. Anglers can catch many species of trout, as well as graying and mackinaw, in the crystal-clear streams and rivers.

Rock-climbers come here to scale the granite peaks, including the famous Cirque of the Towers in the southern region of the range.

Looking for a dose of culture and history? You’ll find that here, too. At the Wind River Indian Reservation, you can participate in a powwow, visit museums, or explore the area on a 70-kilometer scenic drive along the Wind River Indian Reservation Trail. Pick up a self-guided Wyoming tourism map at local chambers of commerce.

The rustic town of Pine dale is the gateway to this remote section of the Bridger Wilderness, and it makes a great base to stock up on supplies. From here, you can don your backpack, lace up your boots, pack your fly rod, and head into one of the most breathtakingly beautiful wilderness areas in the country – minus the crowds.

9. Grand Tar ghee Ski Resort

If you hate standing in lines and paying exorbitant prices for lift tickets, Grand Tar ghee Ski Resort is a hot pick for your next Wyoming ski vacation. About a 90-minute drive from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, this family-friendly resort on the western slopes of the Tetons is a much cheaper option than its famous sister resort, with way fewer people.

Snowfall here averages an impressive 500-plus inches of light, fluffy powder, with 2,270 feet of vertical accessed by five lifts. You’ll find trails for all abilities here, but intermediate skiers are especially well served, with more than 70 percent of the terrain classified as suitable for them. Other amenities include two terrain parks, snowshoeing, and Nordic trails. Back country skiers and snowboarders can also sign up for Wyoming’s only cat skiing, and private snow cat skiing is also available.

Sure, visibility can sometimes be an issue here, but you can ski the trees during foggy days, and the promise of pristine powder pockets helps compensate – Grand Tar ghee offers one of the lowest ratios of skiers to untracked powder acres in the country. Relatively affordable slope-side accommodation is another perk of a vacation here.

Summers are also packed with activities. Take a scenic ride on the chairlift, attend a music concert, bike the trails, and sample the restaurants and shops in this charming small town. No matter what the season, Grand Tar ghee makes a wonderful mountain getaway for everyone in the family.

10. National Historic Trails Interpretive Center, Casper

The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center is more than a museum, it’s an interactive experience recreating the old pioneer trails and their important role in American history. One of the top things to do in Casper, Wyoming, the museum is well worth a couple of hours of your time.

Full-scale dioramas and multimedia presentations tell the story of Wyoming’s first settlers, the mountain men and fur trappers, the Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail, the California Trail, and the Pony Express route. All the exhibits are in chronological order, which makes visiting this museum feel like a journey through time.

This is one of the best Wyoming attractions for families who want to learn about the country’s history. Kids can climb in the back of a covered wagon, experience a simulated river crossing, and watch movies that highlight personal stories of the pioneers. Best of all, admission is free!

Before you leave, take time to admire the sweeping views of Casper from the overlook.

11. Fort Laramie National Historic Site

Once a private fur-trading post, Fort Laramie, the first garrisoned post in Wyoming, became an important outpost serving pioneers emigrating west on the Mormon, Oregon, and California Trails. The area was also an important military post during the Plains Indian Wars. In 1938, President Roosevelt proclaimed the 214 acres of military reservation land a national monument. Today, the National Park Service manages the site.

Your first stop should be the visitor center, where a short audio-visual presentation tells the story of the fort’s history. Artifacts such as uniforms and weapons are also on display here.

After the visitor center, a walking tour of the restored buildings brings the fort’s fascinating history to life. See how the troops lived and ate by touring the barracks, and you can also visit the officers’ quarters, post office, general store, and medical quarters, among other restored buildings. As you wander around the site, friendly volunteers in period costume help recreate the scene.

Most visitors take a self-guided tour, but interpretive talks are offered during the summer months. If you’re looking for a way to keep the kids entertained, they can sign up for an educational scavenger hunt.

12. Devils Tower National Monument

Rising more than 1,200 feet above Wyoming’s eastern plains and the Belle Fourscore River, Devils Tower National Monument is a geological gem. If you’re looking for northeast Wyoming attractions, this is the big hitter. The Devils Tower Visitor Center details the geology of this flat-topped volcanic marvel and depicts the history and culture of the area through photos and exhibits.

After exploring the monument, you can hike along eight miles of nature trails, which circumnavigate the rock and thread through the surrounding forest and meadows. During the spring and early summer, abundant wildflowers create fantastic photo opportunities. Look out for the prairie dog colonies as you enter the site as well.

Other popular things to do here include rock climbing during certain months and fishing for black bullhead, catfish, and walleye in the Belle Fourche. Ranger-led tours of the area are also available.

Accommodation: Where to Stay near Devil’s Tower National Monument

13. Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area

Red cliffs rise more than 1,000 feet above a twisting ribbon of water at the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area on the Wyoming/Montana border.

Photographers love the panoramic views from Devil’s Canyon Overlook, and the area offers a busy lineup of outdoor activities: Cast a line in the Bighorn River’s world-class trout fishery, go boating or swimming at Bighorn Lake, camp in the wilderness, visit historic ranches, and hike more than 27 miles of scenic trails.

Animal lovers can see some of the largest herds of wild horses in the United States, as well as golden eagles, bears, and the namesake bighorn sheep. Stop by the visitor center in Lovell for details.

14. Cheyenne

Cheyenne, the capital of Wyoming, offers a host of rewarding things to do in southern Wyoming. Named after the Cheyenne Indians, it was once the largest outpost of the United States Cavalry. Today, the town’s museums and historic sites tell the story of Cheyenne’s beginnings in 1867 as a station on the Union Pacific Railroad.

One of the town’s top attractions is the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. Held annually since 1919, the late-July rodeo, featuring 10 days of fun-filled festivities, is one of the best in the country. For a taste of the Wild West at other times of the year, head to the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum, with rodeo exhibits and antique horse-drawn wagons.

Cheyenne’s other top things to see and do include the Wyoming State Capitol Building, a National Historic Landmark; the Wyoming State Museum, with interactive child-friendly exhibits; and the historical railroad displays at the Cheyenne Depot Museum. Near the depot, in Holiday Park, look for the Big Boy locomotive, one of the largest steam engines ever built.

Tourist places in Washington

Written by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers

The District of Columbia, on the Potomac River between Maryland and Virginia, was set aside as the nation’s capital, so that the federal government would not be located in any single state. Pierre-Charles L’Enfant was commissioned by George Washington to plan the city, and you can clearly see L’Enfant layout of a street grid intersected by broad avenues. The most important of these is Pennsylvania Avenue, connecting two iconic buildings: the White House and the impressive domed Capitol Building. Alongside and maintaining L’Enfant vision of an open and spacious city stretches the wide National Mall with its museums and monuments.

National symbols such as the Capitol and the White House are accessible to visitors, along with dozens of other tourist attractions, which include world-class museums and important monuments. Many of the most important things to see and do are in the northwestern quadrant along the National Mall and are best seen on foot. Summer can be unpleasantly hot and humid, so the best times to visit Washington are spring and autumn.

Plan your trip to the nation’s capital with our list of the top attractions in Washington, D.C.

1. United States Capitol and Capitol Hill

Recognized around the world as a symbol of the United States, the Capitol is the seat of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The huge dome, based on the dome of St. Peter’s in Rome, stands out above all other Washington buildings.

Like Washington itself, the building has grown over the years since the central portion was built between 1793 and 1812. The last addition, in 1958-62, enlarged the main facade where presidents take the oath. On the other side, a marble terrace offers beautiful views over the mall and the city.

The interior is resplendent with frescoes, reliefs, and paintings, especially the rotunda under the great cast-iron dome with a ceiling painting by Constantino Rubidium and huge paintings of scenes from American history on the walls. Beside it is the former Chamber of the House of Representatives, with statues of leading historical figures. The small Senate Rotunda leads into the beautifully restored Old Senate Chamber, where the Senate met until 1859, and the Supreme Court until 1935.

Free tours, which can be reserved online, begin at the visitor center on the lower floor, where there is an interesting exhibition on the building’s history. Free tours on weekday afternoons explore the ornate paintings on the walls and ceilings of the corridors in the Senate wing, designed by Rubidium between 1857 and 1859. To visit the Senate or House in session, you need to contact your Senator or Representative for a pass; foreign visitors can arrange visits through the visitor center.

An underground passage with historical exhibits leads from the Capitol to one of Washington’s little known places to visit, the Library of Congress. It’s the world’s largest library, modeled on the Opera House in Paris. You can visit portions on your own, but free tours disclose even more of its beautiful interior. Displayed here are one of the three surviving complete Gutenberg Bibles, an earlier hand-printed Bible, Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson’s personal library, and galleries filled with exhibits focusing on topics as varied as the musical careers of the Gershwin brothers and the work of editorial cartoonists and graphic artists.

2. The White House

The White House is the official residence of the President of the United States. The home of every president except George Washington, it was originally built by James Hogan in 1792, and after being burned down by British forces in 1814 was rebuilt in 1818. Although tours of the interior that include the East, Blue, Green, and Red Rooms; the Ballroom; and the State Dining Room must be reserved well in advance through your Congressional office or embassy, every tourist to Washington will want to see this iconic building, at least from the outside.

The free White House Visitor Center, a short distance away, has excellent interactive exhibits, which show details about the White House and the presidential families. It includes furniture of past presidents, a model of the residence, historical changes, and videos with insights from presidents about their time living there.

The Ellipse, a 54-acre stretch of lawn stretching to Constitution Avenue, hosts summer concerts by the US Army Band. Next door to the White House are the elaborate 1833 Greek Revival Treasury Building and the 1871 Executive Office Building, one of the most striking old government buildings in Washington. From Lafayette Square, one of the city’s best-known, statues of Andrew Jackson, Lafayette, and others overlook the White House.

3. The Lincoln Memorial

The best-loved of all Washington’s memorials, the Lincoln Memorial stands at the far end of the mall, separated from the Washington Monument by the Reflecting Pool. At its center is a 19-foot marble statue of a seated and pensive President Abraham Lincoln surrounded by 36 columns, one for each of the states that existed at the time of Lincoln’s death. This is the most famous work designed by noted sculptor Daniel Chester French. Jules Guerin painted the murals on the inside walls, showing important events in Lincoln’s life.

Since its completion in 1922, the Lincoln Memorial has been the scene of a number of historic events. 1n 1939, when the all-white Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) refused to let celebrated African American singer Marian Anderson perform at a concert in nearby Constitution Hall, President Franklin Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt arranged for her to give an open-air concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, attended by 75,000 people and broadcast to millions of radio listeners. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I have a dream…” speech from the memorial steps in 1963, again making history here.

Visiting this and other Mall monuments is one of the favorite things to do in Washington, D.C. at night. The monuments are all lighted, and many, like the Lincoln Memorial, are open 24 hours. The statue of Lincoln is especially powerful lighted at night inside the darkened interior of the temple and framed by the floodlit white columns.

4. The Washington Monument

The 555-foot white shaft of the Washington Monument is a familiar icon of the National Mall, and a beautiful sight, especially when mirrored in the long Reflecting Pool at its foot. Construction of the obelisk to honor the nation’s first president did not proceed smoothly. The plan was approved by Congress in 1783, but ground wasn’t broken until 1848. When the tower reached 156 feet in height in 1854, political wrangling and lack of funds stopped the project for several years, and the Civil War caused further interruption so that the tower was not capped until 1885, when it was finally completed by the Army Corps of Engineers.

You can still see the separate stages of its building by three changes in the color of its facing stones; inside are engraved stones from various states, cities, foreign countries, individuals, and civic groups, many of them donors who helped in its private funding stages. You can take an elevator to the very top for aerial views over the mall and much of Washington. The base of the monument is surrounded by a circle of 50 American Flags.

5. National Mall and Veterans Memorials

The spacious swath of lawns and pools that forms a wide greenbelt from the Capitol Building to the Lincoln Memorial is also the site of many of Washington’s landmark buildings and monuments. Most prominent at its center point is the Washington Monument, and war memorials include those to veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a poignant wall inscribed with the names of all American servicemen and women who lost their lives or are missing, is one of Washington’s most visited memorials. The nearby Vietnam Women’s Memorial has a bronze sculpture of three servicewomen helping a wounded soldier. The Korean War Veterans Memorial contains 19 steel sculptures of soldiers. The newest, American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial was dedicated in 2014.

If you look at a Washington, D.C. attractions map, you’ll notice that many of them line the National Mall, so you’re likely to spend a lot of time here. Along with providing a park for walking, running, and picnicking, the Mall is a place for celebrations and festivals. Best known of these is the annual Independence Day celebration with fireworks around the Washington Monument. Also in July, the Smithsonian American Folk Life Festival fills the Mall with music, crafts, performances, storytelling, cultural programs, and food from various regions around the country. The Smithsonian Kite Festival is held here in late March or early April.

On summer evenings, you can often find military bands performing at venues along the Mall. The US Navy Band has concerts at the Capitol steps overlooking the Mall on Mondays and on Tuesdays at Navy Memorial. The US Air Force Band performs on the capitol steps on Tuesdays and at the Air Force Memorial on Fridays.

6. National Air and Space Museum

The National Air and Space Museum is one of the world’s most popular museums, with a collection of history-making air and spacecraft that includes the original 1903 Wright Brothers Flyer and Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the first plane to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

More recent flight history is represented here by the Apollo 11 command module, part of the first manned lunar landing mission. Permanent and changing exhibitions illustrate the science, history, and technology of aviation and space flight, covering topics like the use of air power in both world wars, the space race, flight pioneers, and up-to-the-minute flight and space technology. Many of the exhibits are interactive, and all contain actual historical objects, such as a moon rock you can touch. Not only do permanent exhibits illustrate history, they show the how and why of flight and space science, explaining how things fly, how jet engines work, and what keeps the International Space Station in orbit.

In addition to the exhibits, there is the Albert Einstein Planetarium, an I MAX theater, and the Public Observatory on the east terrace, where you can examine lunar craters and see planets and other astronomical features through telescopes. Flight simulators (fee charged) allow kids and adults to fly combat missions with aerial maneuvers like 360-degree barrel rolls or experience naval aviation in an F-18 Super Hornet.

In addition to the museum on the Mall, the Edvard-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, adjacent to Dulles Airport, has even more historic aircraft and space exploration artifacts, including a Concorde and the space shuttle Discovery. You can watch from observation walkways through the hangars where experts are restoring historic aircraft.

The Air and Space Museum is currently undergoing a seven-year makeover that will transform not only the arrangement of 23 galleries, but the way it interprets the history and science of flight. During renovations, a number of the exhibits will be closed, beginning with the popular Apollo to the Moon, World War II Aviation, Jet Aviation, and World War I exhibits, which closed in January, 2019. If particular exhibits are of special interest, you can consult the museum’s website to find out if they are open.

7. National Gallery of Art

Housed in two separate buildings connected by a tunnel, the National Gallery of Art is one of the world’s premier art museums and one of the most popular in the U.S. Based on the sizable collection of financier and later Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, its large and diverse collection includes masterpieces of European and American paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts.

Frequent temporary exhibitions add to this outstanding permanent collection to highlight arts from cultures around the world. Among the highlights is Ginevra de Bench, the only DA Vince painting in any American museum. Others include works by major French Impressionists — Monet, Degas, and Renoir — and other masterpieces by Rembrandt, El Greece, and Vermeer. The newer East Wing features sculptures by Henry Moore, a mobile by Alexander Calder, and other modern works. Free concerts are held at the National Gallery on Sunday evenings from fall through spring.

Also part of the Smithsonian Institution and located on the mall are several other art museums. The Freer Gallery of Art houses nearly 30,000 pieces of Asian artworks, including Buddhist sculptures and Persian manuscripts, one of the most extensive collections in the world. The Freer also features 19th-century and early 20th-century American art, most notably a large collection of work by James McNeil Whistler. Connected to it, the Arthur M. Tackler Gallery houses more than 1,000 pieces, principally Chinese jade and bronze, Chinese paintings and lacquer ware, and ancient Near Eastern ceramics and metal ware.

The drum-shaped Shorthorn Museum and Sculpture Garden traces the history of modern art from the mid-1800s, through more than 12,000 pieces of art and sculpture. One of the highlights of the garden is Rodin’s Burghers of Calais. The National Museum of African Art displays thousands of objects representing the diverse artistic styles throughout the African continent, including sculptures, masks, costumes, household objects, and ceramics. All of these Smithsonian museums are among the many free things to do in Washington, D.C.

8. National Museum of Natural History

One of the most popular things to do with children in Washington, the Museum of Natural History explores the natural world with permanent and changing exhibits to interest all ages. Favorite exhibits include the renowned Hope Diamond and the dazzling collection of gems and minerals around it; Ocean Hall with its stunning underwater photography and replica of a 45-foot North Atlantic Right Whale; and the Hall of Human Origins, which follows human evolution over six million years in response to a changing world. Children will especially like the dinosaur exhibits and the interactive Discovery Room where they can touch and play with various artifacts.

9. National Zoological Park

The National Zoo is another part of the Smithsonian, where nearly 2,000 different animals, birds, and reptiles live in habitats replicating as closely as possible their natural environments. Of the several hundred species represented here, about a quarter are endangered. This is one of the world’s best zoos, not only for the quality of the visitor experience, but for its leadership in areas of animal care and sustainability.

By far the most popular animals here are the giant pandas, part of a major initiative that began in 1972 with the arrival of H sing Sing from the People’s Republic of China. Other zoo highlights are red pandas, Sumatran tigers, western lowland gorillas, Asian elephants, cheetahs, white-napes cranes, and North Island brown kiwis. In the Amazonian exhibit, you can glimpse the colorful underwater life of the Amazon, where one of the world’s largest freshwater fish swims beneath a living tropical forest.

Along with the cheetahs at the Cheetah Conservation Station, you can see Grey’s zebras, dams gazelles, vultures, and red river hogs, and at the highly popular Elephant Trails, you can see the multi generational herd and learn about the elephants’ life at the zoo and in the wild. Check the day’s schedule for feeding times, demonstrations, educational games, and talks. As you might expect, this is one of Washington’s favorite places to visit for children.

10. National Museum of American History

One of the most popular of the Smithsonian’s many museums that line the mall, The National Museum of American History traces the political, cultural, scientific, and technological history of the U.S. since the Revolution. It displays important pieces of Americana, including Thomas Jefferson’s desk, one of Edison’s light bulbs, and the original flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words to The Star Spangled Banner.

But beyond these treasured national artifacts, exhibits also examine how people lived, what they ate, where they worked, how they played, what they wore, how they traveled, how they worshiped, and how they governed themselves. Illustrating these multiple themes are artifacts that include everything from gowns, work by First Ladies, and Julia Child’s complete kitchen to the Muppet and the actual ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in the film Wizard of Oz. With all the historical things to do in Washington D.C., you might think your family has had enough history. But this engaging museum houses some fascinating exhibits and artifacts of our collective past that will appeal to all ages.

11. Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin

The design for the domed white memorial to Thomas Jefferson, the third US president, is based on the Roman Pantheon, its low dome supported by 54 Ionic columns. Inside, appearing in a dramatic silhouette through the columns, is a 19-foot statue of a standing Jefferson, and around are engraved excerpts of the Declaration of Independence and other writings. The monument stands alone at the far end of the Tidal Pool, which reflects the monument in its surface, and all around the edge of the water are cherry trees, a gift from Japan. These are one of Washington’s greatest attractions when they bloom each spring, surrounding the basin with a cloud of pink flowers and celebrated with the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Along the Cherry Tree Walk around the Tidal Basin, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial reflects twelve years of American History through four outdoor rooms. Each one is devoted to one of FDR’s terms of office as he guided the country through the Great Depression and World War II.

12. Arlington National Cemetery

On a hillside overlooking the city from across the Potomac River, Arlington National Cemetery is filled with memorials to American history and the men and women who were part of it. Its best-known landmarks are the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, President John F. Kennedy’s gravesite, and the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial depicting the raising of the flag on Iwo Jami in World War II. The Welcome Center has maps, information (including the locations of specific graves), exhibits telling the story of Arlington National Cemetery and its monuments.

Among these are memorials to nurses, Iran Rescue Mission casualties, and various battles and groups, including one at the graves of Lt. Cmdr. Roger B. Chaffed and Lt. Col. Virgil I. “Gus” Kissogram, who were killed in a fire aboard their Apollo spacecraft. Another commemorates the seven Challenger astronauts.

In a solemn and impressive ceremony, the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is changed every hour on the hour October 1 to March 31, and every half hour April 1 through September 30. Although the cemetery is not right in the city, both the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Metro rail system and Metro bus have stops close to the gate.

13. NeWSes

At NeWSes, you can take a walk through modern American history, reliving iconic events as they happened and were reported in various forms of media. Going far beyond a history of journalism, the NeWSes combines films, interactive exhibits, and static displays to show how the public learns of breaking events. You’ll see sections of the Berlin Wall and hear the first news reports of its fall, follow the reports of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and read newspaper accounts from President Lincoln’s assassination a century earlier.

A film retrospective covers the events of 9/11, and an entire collection of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs shows some of the most compelling and dramatic images of the past century. The news literally comes to life here, and most visitors find themselves spending a lot more time engrossed in the experience than they expect. Be sure to step out onto the terrace for the splendid view of the Capitol Building.

14. International Spy Museum

The place for 007 wannabes, the museum covers the techniques, technology, history, and contemporary role of espionage. Many of the exhibits are interactive, and throughout the building are actual examples of real espionage equipment (including a poison dart umbrella designed by the KGB), from declassified hardware and captured equipment to movie props used in the James Bond series.

Photographs, audio visual programs, and special effects combine to give a picture of strategies and methods behind secret espionage missions. The collections include historic spy artifacts from the Revolution and Civil War, along with a wealth of ingeniously concealed and disguised cameras and weapons, even the famous Enigma cipher machine that broke the Nazi codes in World War II.

The top floor is dedicated to real life spies Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanson, and John Walker, detailing the actual methods and tools they used to spy on the United States, with videos describing how spies were caught. The lower floor moves from fact to fiction, filled with information and actual props used in James Bond movies. Highlighting these is the Aston Martin DB5 that first appeared in the 1964 film Gold finger, equipped with machine guns, oil jets, a dashboard radar screen, ejector seat, tire slashers, bulletproof shield, and rotating license plate. The car actually inspired intelligence agencies to add similar features to their own vehicles.

15. National Museum of African American History and Culture

Focusing on themes of history, culture, and community, the newest of the Smithsonian museums explores changing definitions of American citizenship and equality, at the same time highlighting African American culture and that of the entire African diaspora. Various themes are covered in changing exhibits, which center on themes such as African American food traditions and chefs, the influence of African American sports stars on the breakdown of segregation, and African craftsmanship.

Historic artifacts on display include a section of the original Woolworth lunch counter that was the scene of the Greensboro, N.C. sit-in in 1960, and the aircraft known as the “Spirit of Tuskegee.” In World War II, it was used to train African American airmen in the Army Air Forces, men whose work helped trigger the desegregation of the military.

16. Washington National Cathedral

The English-style, Neo-Gothic National Cathedral, one of the world’s largest cathedrals, took 83 years to build, from 1907 to 1990. It follows the Gothic building style and techniques, with flying buttresses and solid masonry construction of Indiana limestone. Throughout the cathedral are artistic details to see, from its stained glass windows to the hand-embroidered kneels that commemorate war heroes and historic events.

Special tours, reserved in advance, explore hidden parts of the building and its art; families should ask for the brochure Explore the Cathedral with Children for a scavenger hunt to find wrought iron animals, tiny carvings, and gargoyles. Be sure to look for the gargoyle of Darth Vader high up on the northwest tower. The cathedral is the burial place of President Woodrow Wilson and Helen Keller, and state funerals for Presidents Eisenhower, Reagan, and Ford took place here. The top of the 300-foot central tower is the highest point in Washington.

The Bishop’s Garden, on the south side of the cathedral, includes plants found in medieval gardens, plants mentioned in the Bible, and others native to the area, along with a fish pond. The 59-acre Cathedral Close, designed by the eminent landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr in the early 20th century, is an urban oasis modeled on the walled grounds of medieval cathedrals.

Carillon recitals are held each Saturday at 12:30pm, and the peal bells are rung on Tuesday evenings from 7 to 9pm and after Sunday services. On Mondays and Wednesdays at 12:30pm, a cathedral organist discusses the Great Organ here, followed by a mini-recital.

17. Georgetown Historic District

The neighborhood from 27th to 37th Streets, between Rock Creek Park and K Street NW, is the city’s oldest, with origins in the early 1700s, before Washington itself. Georgetown University, the nation’s oldest Roman Catholic and Jesuit College, is located here. Today, Georgetown’s tidy streets of historic homes and its boutique shops, cafés, restaurants, and small museums make it a popular respite from lines at the mall attractions. The C&O Canal, the 184-mile waterway paralleling the Potomac River, begins here, and its towpath is a favorite place for walking and cycling.

Adumbration Oaks is a 16-acre estate with formal gardens and a valuable Byzantine and Christian art collection. Federal period Adumbration House features Federal-style furniture, paintings, textiles, silver, and ceramics, and is home to one of five original known copies of the Articles of Confederation. Tudor Place is an early 19th-century mansion built by Martha Washington’s granddaughter, Martha Curtis Peter, and her husband. Items from George and Martha Washington’s Mount Vernon home are shown here, and the Federal-period gardens contain plants and trees from the early 19th century. The Kedgeree Museum displays a wide collection of art from the 1850s to the 1970s including paintings by Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Chagall, Gauguin, and Picasso.

If you’re looking for places to eat in Washington or things to do at night, this is one of the places to visit. The neighborhood is filled with restaurants and cafes, along with live music venues.

Tourist places in Wisconsin

Bordered by Lakes Michigan and Superior, Wisconsin offers diverse landscapes, which are a delight to explore. To the north and west are large expanses of hills that are perfect for hiking and mountain biking, and areas of lowlands to the south and east have proven excellent for dairy farming. While many of Wisconsin’s top cultural attractions are in its two largest cities, Madison and Milwaukee, smaller communities such as Spring Green, home to architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Taliesin, are worth exploring. The state also offers many exceptional cultural activities and events, too, from the huge Oshkosh Airshow to Milwaukee’s popular Summer fest. Outdoor enthusiasts can choose from great fishing and boating, as well as some of the best hiking and biking trails to be found anywhere in the country. Learn about these and other interesting things to do with our list of the top attractions in Wisconsin.

1. Editor’s Pick Oshkosh

Oshkosh Airshow

The small town of Oshkosh on Lake Winnebago, northwest of Milwaukee, is famous for two things: the popular line of kids’ clothing and its place on the world’s airshow circuit. The world’s largest meeting of aviators, EAA Air Venture Oshkosh has been held here every summer since 1970. During the week long event, the Oshkosh control tower becomes the busiest on the planet as up to 15,000 aircraft of all shapes and sizes descend upon the airport, along with an estimated half a million visitors, all here to catch thrilling aerobatic displays, as well as flybys from vintage and contemporary military aircraft. Also fun to experience are the nighttime flying displays; evening movie shows and theatrical performances; educational workshops; and, for those with the budget, a variety of aircraft rides, including a huge B-17 bomber. Also of note is the superb EAA Air Venture Museum with its collection of 200-plus aircraft.

2. Taliesin East: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Perfect Country Home

One of the most influential individuals to have called Wisconsin home was Frank Lloyd Wright. Numerous examples of the great architect’s designs can still be seen across the state in which he was born and where he lived for much of his life, including the spectacular Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center on Madison’s lake shore (it was actually built long after his death but was based on his original plans), and Milwaukee’s Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. But it’s to Taliesin East in Spring Green that most people flock. Set amid 600 acres of beautiful rolling countryside, this spectacular home was started in 1911 and was a work in progress right up to Wright’s death in 1959. Wright spent his summers here and then packed up and headed to Taliesin West, one of the top attractions in Scottsdale, Arizona in winter. Students at The School of Architecture at Taliesin still do this each year. Guided tours are available taking in the home, theater, studio, gallery, and school. Other highlights include an informative visitor center with a restaurant.

3. Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison

Wisconsin State Capitol

Madison has numerous great reasons to visit, with many of its top points of interest to be found in the downtown core. One of the most attractive is the Wisconsin State Capitol, completed in 1917 and decorated with a 284-foot-high dome that’s just three feet shy of Washington’s Capitol building. Free hour-long tours are available daily and take in many of the building’s best interior features, including its large murals, exquisite marble work, and elegant rotunda with its states and monuments. There’s also an interesting museum about the building’s history located on the sixth floor, which is well worth a look. One of the best views of the capitol is from the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center — it’s simply stunning.

4. The Harley-Davidson Museum, Milwaukee

Nothing says “freedom” quite like a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a fact that is not lost on visitors to Milwaukee, the birthplace of the famous “Hog.” The best place to find out more about this iconic machine is the city’s Harley-Davidson Museum, home to more than 450 classic motorcycles. This fun family attraction also has excellent displays of the brand’s famous teardrop tanks, as well as exhibits telling the story of the people and places behind the machines. There’s also a fun Harley-themed restaurant. If you can, try to time your visit to coincide with one of the museum’s busy “bike nights,” when fans and owners arrive in their drives to show off and admire these classic machines.

5. Circus World Museum

Located in the small town of Barabbas, Circus World Museum is an excellent attraction for kids of all ages to learn about the day-to-day activities of a working circus. With its focus on the country’s rich circus history — it was once upon a time one of the nation’s leading entertainment industries — the museum features numerous fascinating displays, including displays and exhibits, and is reputedly home to the world’s largest collection of circus-related artifacts, from posters to parade wagons. In summer, there’s a Big Top with regular shows including traditional circus acts (check their website for scheduled performances). Barabbas is well qualified to host this museum given its former role as the headquarters of the huge Ringling Brothers Circus.

6. The Dells of the Wisconsin River

Sometimes called the Wisconsin Dells — though this is often confused with the touristy town of the same name — the Dells of the Wisconsin River is a spectacular five-mile gorge on the state’s largest river. This area of outstanding natural beauty, much of it located in the state park of the same name, boasts many unique sandstone rock formations, canyons, and cliffs, some as high as 100 feet. The Dells area is also home to an abundance of unique flora and fauna, such as cliff cud weed, found in only one other location on the planet, and six species of dragonfly. Given its fragile ecological state, it’s not the easiest place to access, and those wanting to experience its beauty must do so by boat. A variety of regular boat tours and excursions are available, taking in both the upper and lower areas of this spectacularly beautiful region.

7. The Great Outdoors: Door County

Lighthouse at Sturgeon Bay

One of the prettiest corners of Wisconsin is Door County. Located some 46 miles northeast of Green Bay, this area of outstanding natural beauty lies on a peninsula overlooking Lake Michigan and has become a popular vacation spot for its many charming hotels, as well as its plentiful campsites. This pleasant rural countryside draws numerous visitors each year for its many outdoor activities, including fun things to do such as trout fishing, sailing, diving, and swimming, as well as hiking and biking. Small towns of note include picturesque Sturgeon Bay, with its lovely old lighthouse (one of numerous such buildings sprinkled across the state), and Ephraim, with is old harbor and historic buildings. Washington Island is also worth visiting and has the country’s oldest Icelandic settlement.

8. The Green Bay Packers: Lam beau Field and the Walk of Legends

The story of the Green Bay Packers is a remarkable tale of a small town’s ability to host a major league professional sports team. Take the team’s stadium: nearly large enough to house the city’s entire population of 72,000, Lam beau Field was opened in 1957 and is the longest continuously occupied stadium in the league. Formed in 1919, the team is the third oldest in the NFL, and the league’s only non-profit team (it’s owned by the city of Green Bay). Whether you’re a sports fan or not, you’ll enjoy a tour of the stadium with its behind-the-scenes look at how a major league team operates. Two superb self-guided tours of Packers-related landmarks are also worth checking out: the Walk of Legends is an art walkway of 24 statues celebrating the history of football in Green Bay between 1895 and the present (and fun to explore at night), and the Packers Heritage Trail is a walking tour taking in city landmarks associated with the team.

9. Exploring the Land O’ Lakes

The lovely Land o’ Lakes region is tucked away between Boulder Junction, Eagle River, and Rhine lander in the northern part of Wisconsin. Hugely popular with water sports enthusiasts, it boasts more than 200 unspoiled lakes of various sizes. Campers and backpackers are particularly fond of the region, which is wonderful to explore by canoe or kayak. Highlights are its abundant flora and fauna, with good fishing and bird-watching, including an opportunity to catch a glimpse of some of the few remaining white-tailed eagles in the area. The town of Eagle River is a good place to begin exploring the region and offers a variety of things to do, from fishing, boating, hiking, biking, and swimming in summer, to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter.

10. All Steamed Up at the National Railroad Museum

There’s no better family outing than the excellent National Railroad Museum in Green Bay. Home to more than 20 steam and diesel engines, plus numerous items of rolling stock, the museum houses a variety of railroad artifacts and memorabilia. A highlight is the Eisenhower collection, which includes the Dwight D. Eisenhower, a streamlined vintage British engine used to pull the leader’s military train across Europe during WWII. Fun events include excursions aboard a train decked out like the famous Thomas the Tank Engine, and haunted train rides at Halloween. An 80-foot-tall observation tower offers great views of the museum’s collection and the surrounding area.

11. Take a Hike: Wisconsin’s Wonderful Trails

One of the best ways to explore wonderful Wisconsin is to hike or bike across the state’s extensive trail networks, an activity that’s becoming increasingly popular with backpackers looking for an exciting outdoor adventure. Many of the trails that cross the state provide a look at how landscapes have been shaped by glaciation, including the Ice Age Trail, an epic 1,000-mile-long National Scenic Trail stretching from Pottawatomie State Park to St. Delacroix Dalles. Then there’s the North Country National Scenic Trail encompassing states from North Dakota to New York, 117 miles of it passing right through the heart of Wisconsin. A gentler and extremely pleasant hike is the Geneva Lake Shore Path, a 21-mile walking trail that crosses many of the state’s classiest country estates (allow at least a full day if you’re planning to walk the entire route).

12. The House on the Rock

The curious House on the Rock is one of Wisconsin’s most unusual tourist attractions. High atop Deer Shelter Rock in Spring Green, it’s a fascinating mix of oddities and antiques housed in a sprawling complex of structures built to mimic the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, whose famous Taliesin East home is nearby. A highlight of a visit is the 218-foot-long Infinity Room, which seems to disappear into the distance when you stand in it. This fun attraction is also part of a larger complex that includes a resort and an inn.