Tourist places in New Mexico

Boasting one of most incredibly scenic and diverse landscapes in North America, New Mexico offers endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. With strong influences of both Native American and Hispanic culture, the state offers the visitor a multitude of unique attractions both in large cities like Santa Fe and Albuquerque, as well as the smaller hubs of UFO-focused Roswell and the artists’ colony of Tao’s. Center of the American Southwest, the “Land of Enchantment” didn’t gain statehood until 1912. Today, New Mexico offers the visitor fantastic nature experiences, distinctive cuisine, and an impressive fine arts scene.

1 Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Comprised of nearly 120 known caves, Carlsbad Caverns National Park is hidden mostly underground. Carved from limestone deposited in an ancient sea, the alien underground landscape is one of the most famous New Mexico tourist attractions. The Park Service offers self-guided audio tours and ranger-led tours. Visitors can also experience bat tours, trips to specific caves, and walks through the outlandish geological formations. Up above, visitors will find a wide range of opportunities for back-country hikes and backpacking. Be sure to bring ample water.

2 White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument is one of the most stunning landscapes in the state, located a half an hour’s drive southwest of Alamogordo in the south of New Mexico. It lies in the Tularemia Basin, a northern offshoot of the Chihuahua Desert, and is surrounded by rugged mountains. Here, gleaming white gypsum sand has built up into an extraordinary landscape of dunes up to 60 feet high, which are constantly displaced by the wind.

3 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Each autumn, Albuquerque hosts the world’s largest hot air balloon festival, drawing crowds of more than 80,000 people. The tradition, which started in a parking lot in 1973 with only 13 balloons, has grown to occupy a 365-acre park with more than 500 balloons participating. This nine-day festival is kicked off by the breathtaking “Mass Ascension” and continues with unique displays of coordinated ballooning and nighttime presentations. In addition to the brightly colored skies, the festival offers plenty of things to do, from kids’ activities and live musicians to a juries craft show and dozens of street performers among the numerous vendors. While in Albuquerque, tourists will enjoy sightseeing in the city’s old town, where the Spanish first settled, also home to the Albuquerque Museum, which contains historical artifacts and exhibits about the area.

4 Bandolier National Monument

Bandolier National Monument is a 33,677-acre preserve encompassing some of the most dramatic volcanic landscapes and archaeological ruins in the state. Former home of ancestral Pueblo people, the area was occupied from AD 1150 to 1600. Among the remains of the indigenous habitats are structures such as masonry walls and dwellings that were carved from the volcanic rock, as well as hieroglyphs that illustrate the Pueblo culture and daily life. This national park has an educational museum, hiking trails, and campsites.

5 Petroglyph National Monument

The Petroglyph National Monument is managed jointly by the city of Albuquerque and the National Park Service, which help preserve this culturally significant site while educating visitors. The area encompasses 7,244 acres consisting of a basalt escarpment, five dormant volcanoes, and an expansive mesa. The park’s most famous feature is its petroglyphs, images which were carved in the basalt by indigenous peoples and early Spanish settlers centuries ago. There are a total of approximately 20,000 petroglyphs within the park, many of which can be viewed from the hiking trails. There are three main hiking routes, the least strenuous being Bo ca Negro Canyon, which has 100 petroglyphs along one mile of trails. Those who are up for a longer hike in the desert can take the 2.2-mile Concordat Canyon trail or the 1.5-mile Madagascar Canyon Loop, each of which have around 300 petroglyphs. Hikers should be aware of local wildlife, especially rattlesnakes, and should be well prepared with water for the longer treks.

6 Tao’s Pueblo

Just outside the city of Tao’s, the Tao’s Pueblo has the oldest continuously inhabited dwellings in the United States. These adobe structures have stood for more than 1,000 years, constructed of straw-reinforced mud bricks and timber-supported roofs. These apartment-style homes are up to five stories high, and around 150 people live within the old town full-time. An additional 2,000 reside on the 95,000-acre property in a variety of traditional and modern homes. Residents welcome visitors to take a tour of the community, which has been designated both a National Historic Landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are fantastic photo opportunities, as well as regular markets. The Pueblo is closed to the public during several of its annual traditional events. Tourists visiting Tao’s can easily see the area’s top attractions on the Tao’s Highlights Small-Group Driving Tour, which visits the Pueblo as well as historic Tao Plaza, the St. Francis de Assisi Roman Catholic Church, and Gorge Bridge.

7 Cumbers-Toltec Scenic Railway

The Cumbers & Toltec Scenic Railroad is a narrow gauge heritage railroad that runs between Champ, New Mexico and Antonino, Colorado. Constructed in 1880-81, this cozy train ride traverses the 10,015-foot Cumbers Pass and heads through the dramatic Toltec Gorge. The ride offers stunning views of the surrounding land, from grassy, deer-filled, hillside meadows to stream-laced mountains. This is the highest steam-powered railroad in the nation, and the ride has thrilling moments as it crosses the Cascade Creek trestle 137 feet in the air, climbs the face of a cliff, and doubles back dramatically on the Tangle foot Curve. Passengers will see many of the Railroad’s original structures along the journey and have the chance to stop in the rustic Osier, Colorado halfway through the trip for a lunch break and some exploring.

8 Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

North of the old mining town of Silver City are the Gila cliff dwellings: 42 rooms in six caves, built into the cliff face by the Mongol Native Americans around the year 1300. Tourists can learn more about the Mongol culture and the region’s natural history at the museum in the visitor center. Among the park’s geological features are numerous natural caves, as well as hot springs, some of which can be reached by trail from the visitor center. Tours of the cliff dwellings are available, although visitors should take note that the tours start at the cliff dwellings themselves, and it takes about a half hour to walk up to them from the trailhead.

9 Tao’s Ski Valley

Northeast of Tao’s, in the Sanger de Crista Mountains, at 8,900 to 12,500 feet, is the magically beautiful and excellently equipped winter sports region of the Tao’s Ski Valley. In recent years, the ski resort has come under new ownership and undergone considerable upgrades. This hill has always been known as a skiers’ hill, with outstanding intermediate and advanced terrain. Half of the trails are for experts.

10 Pecos National Historical Park

Pecos National Historical Park encompasses what was once one of the largest Native American pueblos in the state. It was inhabited from the early 14th century until 1838, with a population over 2,000. In 1990, the park was expanded to 6,600 acres. The visitor center contains exhibits and park information and also offers an Ancestral Sites Walking tour, a guided 1.25-mile hike that explores evidence of the area’s indigenous peoples. The park is also home to the Civil War battlefield of Gloriana Pass, which can be toured via a 2.25-mile trail with or without a guide. The visitor center also offers van tours of the Civil War site, as well as tours of nearby Forked Lightning Ranch.

11 The Very Large Array

In the remote rolling hills west of Socorro lies the Karl G Jan sky Very Large Array (VELA) – a radio astronomy observatory located on the Plains of San Agustin. The array is used to observe black holes and other astronomical phenomena. There are self-guided walking routes through the site, and the VELA also hosts free, guided tours on the first Saturday of each month. Though reservations aren’t required, it is worth checking ahead for times. Tours begin from the VELA Visitor Center.

12 Chaos Culture National Historical Park

Perhaps one of the most stunning archaeological sites in all of North America, Chaos Canyon was occupied by ancestral Pueblo an peoples from about AD 800 to 1200. It was a major center, comprised of 15 massive ruins and hundreds of smaller constructions. Located in a remote area northwest of Albuquerque, the park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Park facilities and activities include camping, an excellent interpretive center, interpretive and back-country hikes, and astronomy experiences from telescopes located in the canyon.

13 Billy the Kid Museum

Out on the eastern plains of New Mexico is the small town of Fort Sumner, the resting place of the infamous Billy the Kid. The lanky youth was shot and killed at the nearby Fort Sumner State Monument by Sheriff Pat Garrett at the age of 21. The museum hosts the Kid’s rifle, horse-riding equipment and the original Wanted poster. Rumor has it they even have some of his hair. The museum also has a collection of cavalry swords, old firearms, and antique cars and trucks. Guided tours are available.

14 Wheeler Peak Wilderness

The highest point in New Mexico is the summit of Wheeler Peak, at 13,161 ft. The mountain is next to Moreno Valley near Angel Fire in the Carson National Forest, in the Sanger De Crista mountain range. The area is home to a variety of wildlife and visitors may be lucky enough to see marmots, pikas, elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and golden eagles. Hiking is one of the most popular things to do with several trails, most ranging from 4 mi to 8 mi long.

Due to the elevation, Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area enjoys moderate summer temperatures and cold winters, when temperatures regularly fall below freezing. Most visitors come here during the summer months, which are warm but also a little wet. July and August are the rainy months, so be sure to bring a rain jacket to deal with passing showers. Official site

15 International UFO Museum and Research Center

A top tourist attraction in Roswell, the international UFO Museum and Research Center was opened in 1992 as an information center inspired by the 1947 “Roswell incident.” This widely speculated event put Roswell on the map as a hub of UFO activity and curiosity. Despite this, the museum’s intention is not to convince visitors to believe in extraterrestrial life or government conspiracy theories. Exhibits take an objective look at local events, as well as numerous others around the world, inviting visitors to come to their own conclusion. The museum contains a variety of material, including documents, eyewitness accounts, and artifacts related to UFO research. Tourists interested in Roswell’s alien mystery will also enjoy one of the many local “UFO tours” that visit spots like Building 84 at the former army base where the downed craft and its occupants were allegedly brought by military personnel.

Union Territories of India

There are eight beautiful union territories in India, Administered by the Central government. These Union Territories are the fastest developing modern and beautiful belt for tourism in India as well as in terms of industry and infrastructure too.

Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli are famous for its excellent beaches, Portuguese churches and forts while on the other hand, Delhi is known for a list of old era monuments and heritage sites and islands of Andaman, Lakshadweep with pristine beaches.

How many Union Territories are there in India in 2020?

After the decisions announced by the Government of India on Aug 5, 2019 – J&K as a state will be granted special status and decided to bifurcate the state into two Union territories, Jammu and Kashmir with a legislature, and Ladakh without a legislature. A total of 8 Union territories in India.

After the merger of the union territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu in December 2019, effect on 26 January 2020. There are now eight union territories in India.

National Capital Territory of Delhi – Delhi

The official name National Capital Territory of Delhi, in 1956 Delhi was converted into Union territory. Today, Delhi is the largest metro green city of India by area and eighth in the world by population. Delhi also owns the National Capital Region (NCR) urban area in which Noida, Gurgaon, Greater Noida, Faridabad, and Ghaziabad are included.

The capital of India Delhi is located on the banks of Yamuna river one of the holy rivers in India. Delhi has many tourist attractions for the people of all around the world like Palika Bazaar, lotus temple, Red fort, Mugral era tomb, Jama Masjid and the Pride of India “The India Gate”.

Chandigarh – Chandigarh

Chandigarh is one of the best city in India to live and work, It is also known as the Green city of India. Chandigarh is the capital of both states Haryana and Punjab.

Chandigarh is considered as the first well-planned city of India, List of tourist attractions includes Rock Garden and Sukhna Lake and a bird sanctuary located in the city which is home for a variety of bird species are best places to visit in Chandigarh.

Daman and Diu/ Dadra and Nagar Haveli – Daman

Daman and Diu are located on the western coast of India, Daman city is the capital having an area of 72km. Daman and Diu is the second smallest among the other union territories in India and has a mixed culture of Indian and Portuguese

Daman and Diu are known for its untouched and explorer natural beauty. A trip to the famous beaches, Portuguese churches and forts of Daman and Diu can not be forgettable, also Daman city has one of the most famous casinos in India.

– Silvassa

Dadra and Nagar Haveli located between Maharashtra and Gujarat and a few kilometers from the city of Daman. A beautiful lake Garden Vanganga is located at the entrance of the city. Because of its scenic natural beauty and pleasant climate, Dadra & Nagar Haveli are dream tourist destinations of Indian. Silvassa capital is one of the best places to visit in Western India.

Pondicherry – Puducherry

Pondicherry is located on the eastern ghat of India, It was a former French colony. Puducherry is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South India. Beaches, Walkways, and Churches of Puducherry are must-see places in the southern belt of India.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands – Port Blair

Andaman and Nicobar are the groups of islands located in the Indian Ocean. The Andamans and Nicobars are separated by a channel. These Islands are blessed with unique tropical evergreen forest.

The British used these islands as an isolated prison knows as Kala Pani for Indian freedom fighters. Local people of Islands still maintained their separated existence, these Indian tribes are known as Jarwa and Great Andamanese. Port Blair is the largest city and the capital of Andaman Island.

Lakshadweep – Kavaratti

Lakshadweep is the smallest union territories in terms of area as well as in population. Lakshadweep located off of the coast of Kerala in the Laccadive Sea. The total area is 32 km and Kavaratti is the capital with the largest city is Andreotti.

Lakshadweep is one of the growing tourist island in India as well as India’s one of the best tourism location for Adventure sports. Though some of the Islands of Lakshadweep are still inhabited and full of natural beauty, color reef and virgin beaches hence become one of the best honeymoon destinations in India.

Jammu and Kashmir

The state of Jammu and Kashmir is now geographically divided the state into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Kashmir Valley, Srinagar, and Jammu are the most popular places to visit in J&K. Image by confused_me from Pixabay

Ladakh

Ladakh is the land of high altitude mountain passes, now a union territory of India and home to world highest motorable roads like Umling La, Marsimik La, and Khardung La. The Government of India is also promoting tourism in Ladakh as well as in the Kashmir region and Siachen Glacier. Image source.

Tourist places in Alaska

The largest state in the U.S. at nearly 600,000 square miles, Alaska offers almost countless destinations to immerse yourself in stunning natural beauty, including glistening lakes and rugged coastline, mountains, glaciers, wildlife and more. The biggest problem comes with trying to decide where to go – to help, consider these especially spectacular places in Alaska.

Denali National Park and Preserve

This breathtaking national park contains over six million acres, filled with dazzling lakes and jagged mountains, including the tallest peak in North America, Mount Denali, for which the park was named. One of its must-experiences is the 92-mile Park Road. At Mile 15, you’ll need to take a shuttle or tour bus, as private vehicles aren’t allowed past that point. Once on, you can hop off and hop back on at just about any point along the way. In addition, taking in the magnificent scenery, you’ll have the chance to spot many of the park’s iconic animals like wolves, moose, caribou, grizzly and black bears. Dall’s sheep, spotted foxes, marmots, arctic ground squirrels, and red squirrels are often seen as well.

Juneau

Sitting on a hillside overlooking the Inside Passage, Juneau’s downtown area is nestled between Mount Juneau, Mount Roberts, and Gastineau Chanel. Its labyrinth of narrow streets run past a mix of old storefronts, new structures and charming houses with early 19th-century architecture, dating from its gold mining beginnings. Popular activities include whale watching tours providing a great way to see the wide variety of marine life like humpback and killer whales as well as Steller sea lions and Dall’s porpoise.

Juneau is also home to Mendenhall Glacier, located just a short drive from downtown. Adventure enthusiasts can kayak to the 12-mile-long glacier and then ice-climb to the caves inside. As the recent rising temperatures have caused the caverns to shrink to about a third of their original size, there have been dramatic shifts of color inside.

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

Located just west of Juneau, this park is another fine example of the state’s wild, majestic beauty. By staying at Glacier Park Lodge, you’ll have access to the best of it, with the chance to hike across the land or explore the waters via kayak. It’s a popular place for fishing, with the opportunity to fish the rivers for halibut and rainbow trout, and a variety of wildlife can be seen as well, including mountain goats and black bears.

Margerie Glacier, a tidewater glacier that starts on land and stretches out to the sea, has been retreating, so you’ll want to see it before its gone. The 21-mile-long and one-mile-wide glacier can only be accessed by air or water, but your reward is a pristine glacier with jewel-like blue ice – and, if you’re lucky, you might even be able to witness calving. This incredible natural phenomenon is accompanied by the booming sound of ice cracking and crashing into the water below.

Kodiak Island

Kodiak Island is famous for its fishing and its bears. A renowned fishing destination, it offers the chance to catch trout, halibut and five species of salmon. At the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, which protects a diverse 2,812-square-mile area with everything from alpine meadows and wetlands to rugged mountains, offers the chance to view bears. There are some 3,500 bears that live here, with some of the males weighing over 1,500 pounds and standing over 10 feet tall. As there are no roads in the refuge, visitors view the bears via air charters or an excursion from one of the many wilderness lodges.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Chitina

If you’re looking for extreme remote wilderness, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is the place to go. The small town of Chitina, population 125, is the prime jumping-off point to Alaska’s largest national park at 13 million acres. It sits at the confluence of the mighty Copper River and the Chitina River, overshadowed by 16,390-foot-high Mount Blackburn. After its mine closed in the late 1930s, it was all but abandoned, but in 1980, with the creation of the park, it began serving as the main gateway for visitors who embark on McCarthy Road, which winds 60 miles east into the heart of the park. With habitats ranging from temperate rain forest to tundra, you’ll find an incredible diversity of animals as well, including moose which are often seen near willow bogs and lakes. Other species of large mammals include mountain goats, caribou, wolves, bison, black bears, and brown bears.

Truly get back to nature, with the time to admire the northern lights and discover glaciers, by staying at Ultima Thule Lodge – 100 miles from the nearest road, there is no cell service or the Internet, but you can spend your time gazing at some of the most jaw-dropping wilderness on Earth.

Ketchikan

Ketchikan is known as Alaska’s “first city” as it sits at the southern tip of the Inside Passage and is the first city cruise passengers see when heading north. If you’re a fan of the “Deadliest Catch,” you might want to take the Bering Sea Crab Boat Tour which was featured on the reality series. You’ll get a hands-on look at what it takes to haul up the crab, salmon, shrimp, and other sea creatures. Other outdoor adventures possible here include zip-lining between the soaring trees over salmon streams and wildlife, hiking to the top of Deer Mountain, flying over the Misty Fjords in a floatplane or just spending a few hours watching for whales, sea lions and other signs of sea life along the shore. In town, discover an award-winning arts scene, live music and theater, a host of shops, fantastic eateries and more

Seward

If you’re looking for a town that offers a little bit of everything Alaska has to offer, you might want to head to Seward. It’s easy to reach via a scenic drive on the Seward Highway from Anchorage, which winds through the spectacular Alaskan wilderness offering dramatic views of the shorelines of Turnagain Arm, the towering, craggy peaks of the Chugach Mountains, waterfalls, azure-colored glaciers, and glistening valley lakes. Just some of the wildlife you might spot along the way include moose, eagles, and bears. As you reach Seward, the pristine waters of Resurrection Bay, home to humpback whales, orcas, harbor seals, porpoises, otters and sea lions, come into view. And, as you look up, bald eagles can be seen soaring through the sky or perched atop a tree.

Rent a kayak or take a water taxi to check out some of the secluded coves around the bay that are ideal for beachcombing, or paddle to tidewater caves, bird rookeries, and sea lion hangouts. You can also take a mile-long walk on the beach or hike the five-mile coastal trail to Caines Head, known as one of the top hikes in the state.

Homer

As you reach Homer, an amazing panorama of snowy peaks, dramatic mountains, glaciers, and the famous Homer Spit, a long strip of land jutting into a brilliant blue bay, all await. Homer is an “artsy,” town, with a reputation as the cultural capital of Southcentral Alaska, hosting numerous art galleries and museums, as well as a live theater and music venues, along with fine restaurants and coffee bars on every corner.

Homer Spit offers beachcombing, fishing and bird watching, with more bald eagles than you can count, and just across the bay is Kachemak Bay State Wilderness Park, a 350,000-acre paradise of glaciers, mountains, protected coves for paddling and an extensive trail system to explore on foot. Kayakers, backpackers, and campers hop on water taxis and to escape the bustle of Homer to an idyllic wilderness.

Chugach State Park, Anchorage

Chugach State Park is the state’s most easily accessible wilderness area, with many of its trailheads just minutes from downtown Anchorage. The country’s third-largest state park at 9,000 square miles, with magnificent terrain that’s popular for hiking, rafting, biking, ATVing, kayaking, and fishing. Rent a yurt near the Eagle River and watch the spawning salmon in the summer. As the historic Iditarod Trail makes its way through this area, it’s a good spot for watching the famous dog-sledding race too. And, at Beluga Point, you can watch for pods of the always-grinning white whales.

Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords is located near Seward, offering 607,000 acres of snow, ice, long fjords and hundreds of tranquil bays and coves, as well as lots of wildlife, including harbor seals, Steller sea lions, sea otters, moose, black bears, wolverines, mountain goats, and coyotes. Snow and ice cover 60 percent of the park, and lining the edge is its crown jewel, the vast 936-square-mile Harding Icefield. It feeds nearly three dozen glaciers flowing out of the mountains, as a vestige of the massive ice sheet that covered much of Alaska in the Pleistocene era.

Park adventures include Activities include kayaking, camping, fishing, beachcombing, biking, hiking, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, boat tours, flightseeing, mountaineering and more.

Fairbanks

Fairbanks is renowned as one the very best places to watch the northern lights in the U.S. At the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, you can even get forecasts on aurora viewing conditions. To get a good look at the stunning light display, you’ll need to get away from city lights and into the vast wilderness. Chena Resort is considered a great place to do just that, where guests can marvel at the display from a hot spring. If you’re worried about missing it while you sleep, the resort offers alerts to guests when the lights appear via the aurora alarm service. You can also enjoy other activities, including a visit to its Aurora Ice Museum, the world’s largest year-round ice environment, as well as join dog-sledding tours or flight-seeing excursions

Talkeetna

Talkeetna sits in the shadows of Mount Denali. This small town founded at the height of a gold rush now draws visitors in the summer for its fabulous fishing on three rivers that converge here, as well as kayaking and four-wheeling. During the winter months, it’s a popular spot for snowmobiling, dog sledding, and nordic skiing. Walk around town and you can enjoy the historic buildings that stand to a testament to local craftsmanship, having endured a century of Alaskan weather. Today, they’re filled quaint shops, local breweries, restaurants and more.

Sitka

Sitka, located on Baranof Island, on the southern tail of Alaska, can only be reached by air or sea, which makes getting there an adventure of itself. It’s the only Inside Passage community that fronts the Pacific Ocean, hugging the west shore of the island in the shadow of the impressive Mount Edgecumbe, a dormant volcano with a cone reminiscent of Mount Fuji in Japan. There are 22 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places right downtown, along with plenty of restaurants, unique local shops, and art galleries.

Thanks to its incredible natural landscape, visitors can enjoy kayaking, fishing, whale watching and hiking on trails that begin in the lush rain forest that surrounds Sitka, with many ending high in the surrounding mountains.

Skagway

Once the gateway to the Klondike Gold Rush, Skagway was filled with treasure seekers out to make their millions back in the day. Today, It offers the chance to experience days gone by on the Alaskan frontier. If you want to delve into its history, taking a self-guided walking tour narrated by a Skagway local, Buckwheat Donahue, well-known for being a captivating storyteller, entertainer, historian, and adventurer, is the best way to do it.

Misty Fjords National Monument

Be sure to check out the old cemetery which holds remains of outlaws, gold miners, and local legends, and pops into one of the honky-tonk piano bars for a drink. Of course, you can enjoy plenty of outdoor adventures too. Hardcore enthusiasts can hike the Chilkoot Pass Trail, the only long trail traverse in Southeast Alaska, crossing through the Coastal Mountains from Skagway to Canada, while others can enjoy flight-seeing, kayaking, rafting, dog-sledding and more.

The Misty Fjords National Monument is located 22 miles east of Ketchikan and is the largest wilderness area in the state’s national forests, with its 2.3 million acres spread across the Tongass National Forest. It’s filled with rock walls that rise 3,000 feet from the ocean, steep fjords, and sea cliffs. Living up to its name, there is almost always precipitation in the area, which means the monument is covered with dense rain forests that grow on practically vertical slopes from sea level to the mountain peaks, while dramatic waterfalls can be seen tumbling throughout the landscape.

The best way to explore the region’s fjords is by kayak, although sightseeing flights and boat excursions are available too. However you choose to see it, you’ll have the chance to view some of the area’s wildlife, from killer whales and Dall porpoise in the water to black bear, moose, marten, wolf and mountain goats on land.

Nome

Just 190 miles from the Siberian coast, Nome is most famous as the end of the Iditarod Trail. But it’s also home to active gold mines and wonderful backcountry roads across the tundra. It’s a fabulous place that blends the state’s gold rush history with Inupiat Eskimo culture and lots of unique wildlife.

While it can only be reached by air or sea, once you’re there you’ll be able to get out on the 350 miles of roads that connect to other Seward Peninsula communities, viewing coastal plains and majestic mountains along the way. Artifacts from the gold rush can be seen at nearly every turn, from old mining claims to decaying trestles and even turn-of-the-century steam engines. Some of its resident wildlife to be on the lookout for include reindeer and musk oxen that tend to graze right off the side of the road. Moose, bears, wolves, fox, and wolverine roam the area too.

Yakutat

The small village of Yakutat which sits on beautiful Monti Bay is a popular destination for steelhead and salmon fishermen, but surprisingly, it offers a whole lot more than that, including incredible beaches with big-wave surfing and towering glaciers. In fact, this remote town made a name for itself in the late 1990s as the first Alaska town with a surf shop. If you’re into beachcombing, you’ll love the miles of unspoiled, sandy beaches abound with driftwood and occasional glass balls.

There are some gorgeous hiking trails in and around the village, including a challenging trek to Situk Lake and an easy hike to Russell Fjord. Like many other Alaska destinations, the area is teeming with wildlife, including brown bears, eagles, and moose on land, while humpback, gray, orca, beluga, and minke whales can be spotted on Yakutat Bay as well as harbor porpoises, harbor seals and sea otters.

Tourist Places in California

The Golden State gets its name for a reason. California’s diverse cultural and geographical offerings, vibrant cities and critically acclaimed culinary scenes are truly the gold standard for travelers. Whether you’re hiking the trails in one of the state’s many scenic parks, sampling some bubbly in the northern valleys, kicking back on sunny, southern shorelines or walking where stars once stood, California is truly a sight to behold. U.S. News took into account expert opinion and traveler sentiment to determine the best places to visit in California. Have a favorite? Vote below to help influence next year’s list.

Yosemite

One of California’s most formidable natural landscapes, Yosemite National Park features nearly 1,200 square miles of sheer awe: towering waterfalls, millennia-old Sequoia trees, striking, daunting cliff faces and some of the most unique rock formations in the United States. But despite its enormous size, most of the tourist activity takes place within the 8-square-mile area of Yosemite Valley. Here you’ll find the park’s most famous landmarks – Half Dome and El Capitan – as well as excellent hiking trails through the natural monuments. Even inexperienced hikers can enjoy Yosemite: Guided tours and climbing lessons are available from local adventure outfitters. Just don’t expect to experience it by yourself. Like so many other American tourist destinations, crowds are the biggest obstacles to an enjoyable Yosemite vacation – approximately 4 million people visit each year. But if you go at the right time (and start your day a little earlier than usual), Mother Nature’s wonders will reveal themselves to you in a miraculous and serene way.

San Francisco

A jumbled collage of colorful neighborhoods and beautiful views, San Francisco draws those free-spirited types who have an eye for edgy art, a taste for imaginative cuisine and a zeal for adventure. It’s really not surprising that songwriter Tony Bennett left his heart here: The city boasts jaw-dropping sights, world-class cuisine, cozy cafes and plenty of booming nightlife venues – there’s no shortage of ways to stay busy here. Spend an hour or two sunning yourself alongside sea lions on the bay, admiring the views of the city from Twin Peaks, or strolling along the Marina. And for the quintessential San Franciscan experience, enjoy a ride on a cable car or hop on a boat tour for a cruise beneath the Golden Gate Bridge.

Often described as Los Angeles’ more refined northern cousin, cool and compact San Francisco takes the big-city buzz exuded by its southern counterpart and melds it with a sense of small-town charm. Here, you’ll discover a patchwork of culture flourishing throughout San Francisco’s many vibrant quarters. Follow the crowds to the touristy Fisherman’s Wharf area (which offers spectacular views of Alcatraz) before heading along the bay to the Presidio for a glimpse of the famous Golden Gate Bridge. But don’t forget to save time for the Mission District, the Haight and the Castro for exposure to all of the different varieties of the San Francisco lifestyle. And when you’re ready for a break from the city, join one of San Francisco’s best wine tours for a relaxing day trip.

San Diego

Consistently sunny weather and 70 miles of magnificent coastline are what draw active types and sun-seekers alike to San Diego throughout the year: that and the mouthwatering Mexican cuisine, thriving nightlife and one of the country’s favorite zoos. And then there are the beaches: Retreat to Mission Beach to catch a wave, to La Jolla to soak up the sun and to Coronado for a leisurely seaside stroll. When you’re ready to ditch your flip-flops and board shorts for more formal attire, you’ll find pockets of vivacious nightlife throughout, especially near the historical Gaslamp Quarter.

Lake Tahoe

Incredible, extraordinary, mind-boggling … try as you might, you’ll have difficulty finding words that do justice to the sheer beauty of Lake Tahoe. Resting on the California-Nevada border, Lake Tahoe has long been a favorite vacation spot, welcoming upward of 2.7 million people a year. Visitors are drawn here by the steep granite cliff sides and towering mountaintops, as well as the crystal-clear waters that have earned Lake Tahoe the reputation of being one of the most beautiful bodies of water in the United States. While the stunning blue lake alone is worth a trip, the surrounding area, also known as Lake Tahoe, boasts miles of hiking trails, dozens of picture-perfect vistas and some of the best skiing in North America.

But wait – there’s more. Lake Tahoe seems to have adopted the major traits of its neighbors. You’ll find San Francisco-style high-end shopping and dining along the lake’s north shore, while opportunities to test your luck reside in the south shore’s Reno-Esque casinos. You’ll also find plenty of activities that Lake Tahoe is proud to take credit for, including mountain gondola rides, hot air balloon adventures and scenic cruises across the mirror-like water.

Monterey

The Monterey Peninsula is different than any other part of California. Here, time slows, the architecture is humble (with the exception of the homes in Pebble Beach), and the lifestyle is the perfect synthesis of SoCal laid back and NorCal sophisticated. On the northern side of the peninsula, the town of Monterey draws most of the tourists, while farther south, Carmel-by-the-Sea lures the easygoing wealthy set. Tremendous price tags on real estate help maintain the small-community atmosphere along Monterey’s jaw-dropping coastline.

This area makes for a tremendous road-trip stop or romantic weekend stay. And did we mention the golf courses? This stretch of the California coastline boasts some of the most coveted fairways in the world. Add to that an abundance of natural wonders, luxury resorts, and seafood restaurants, and Monterey might just be the ideal destination for your next getaway.

Big Sur

Big Sur is not just a destination, it’s a state of mind. Stretching 90 miles between Monterey Bay and San Simeon on the west coast of central California, Big Sur’s remote location, peaceful nature, and incomparable beauty entice visitors to change gears, both figuratively and literally. Pacific Coast Highway, which was built less than 100 years ago, is the main road that runs through the region and becomes the most scenic in Big Sur. Sitting high above the surf, the highway clings to the edge of the area’s cliffs, providing spectacular views as it weaves in and out of the seemingly endless coastline. Driving conditions aside, Big Sur’s calming culture is contagious and has been known to attract minds of all kinds seeking inspiration, refuge or transformation. It was Jack Kerouac who took off to Big Sur in search of inner peace, as recounted in his novel “Big Sur.” Fellow writer Henry Miller called Big Sur the first place he felt at home in America, later penning the memoir “Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch.” Since then, countless musicians, artists, writers, and photographers have chronicled Big Sur’s powerful presence in their work, yet travelers say its grandeur remains indescribable.

Today, Big Sur draws millions of visitors every year, but it still hasn’t lost its sense of place. Independent art galleries dot the highway, sharing space with wellness retreats and cliffside eateries. But the diverse landscape trumps all of the area’s amenities by a landslide, with state parks and beaches reigning supreme as the main attractions. Mountains, beaches, rivers, valleys, creeks, coves, wildflowers and wildlife linger at every turn. That is if you can find them. Some of Big Sur’s natural attractions are intentionally unmarked to preserve the sense of seclusion that the region is so famous for. Some areas, believe it or not, still don’t have electricity. Big Sur, however, is meant to be an experience rather than just a typical vacation. So kick back, unwind, and open your eyes and ears to the sights and sounds of Big Sur.

Napa Valley

After a visit to Napa Valley in the 1880s, writer Robert Louis Stevenson pronounced, “Wine is bottled poetry.” You’ll see this quote as you pass the area’s landmark sign on Highway 29. Unfortunately, Stevenson was referring to French wine — what Napa vintners should aspire to. But as the film “Bottle Shock” documents, California wineries have since risen to the level of their European predecessors. Now, both connoisseurs and amateurs savor the respected vintages from Napa. Whatever your level of expertise, a guided tour can help you make the most of your time here.

With its rise in the wine industry, Napa Valley has also become a vacation hot spot. The tiered hillsides, wine caverns, and illustrious estates make for stellar scenery, and top-class hotels are taking note. Scattered between the vineyards, sumptuous resorts cater to every indulgence — golfing, spa pampering, gourmet dining, you name it. A trip to California wine country is made unforgettable by not only the life-changing cabernet but also the intoxicating natural setting. And if you can afford it, you’ll be back for more.

Sequoia National Park

Home to some of the tallest trees in the world, Sequoia National Park is a humbling place to visit. With the magnificent trees towering hundreds of feet above you, it’s easy to feel small in comparison. Located about 80 miles east of Fresno, California, in the southern Sierra Nevada mountain range, the park was established in 1890 as a measure to protect the giant trees from being logged, making it America’s second national park. The adjacent Kings Canyon National Park was formed in 1940 and eventually, both parks became linked together.

Highlights of the park are, of course, the trees, including the General Sherman Tree, the world’s largest tree, standing 275 feet tall with a base more than 36 feet in diameter. But there is plenty to see and do, from exploring caves to hiking to snowshoeing. What’s more, the park is open every day of the year and each season holds its own charms.

Santa Monica

Situated about 15 miles west of downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica easily stands alone as its own destination. This beachfront city is equipped with ample hotels, restaurants, and shops in addition to its star attractions: Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier and the beach. After a day of fun in the sand or at the popular Third Street Promenade, visit Palisades Park for an unforgettable Southern Californian sunset.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles both confirms and dismantles all of its stereotypes. Sure, it’s a sprawling metropolis with eternally congested freeways, but it also contains one of the most diverse and unique sets of neighborhoods in the United States. La-La Land is filled to the brim with the glamour of chic Hollywood name brands and movie set backdrops, yet it’s also home to renowned art galleries like the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and architectural masterpieces like the Getty Center. The world’s visual entertainment empire, LA offers tourists behind-the-scenes looks into the world of filmmaking and television broadcasting at studios like Paramount Pictures Studios and Warner Bros. Studio. What’s more, the City of Angels features some of the country’s most eclectic cuisine and dozens of highly acclaimed restaurants. Away from the revitalized downtown area, the Malibu and Santa Monica beaches provide sun, sand, and surfing, while Venice Beach offers close-ups of the city’s most unique residents. Additional outdoor pursuits like hiking can be found at Griffith Park and Angeles National Forest.

At more than 500 square miles, Los Angeles is massive and touring it can be exhausting – but that doesn’t deter visitors. The area is one of the most visited in the country, especially between June and October when thousands of travelers use their summer vacations to experience as many LA attractions as possible. But the key to a successful LA vacation is simple: Plan ahead. Pick a few areas that best suit your interests and needs, or take a guided tour if you want a little more assistance. Then all that’s left to do is explore, explore, explore.

Palm Springs

Palm Springs, centered in the Southern California desert, is far from being a dried-up destination. This city once lured the likes of heartthrob crooner Frank Sinatra and rock ‘n’ roll legend Elvis Presley. In fact, the King even took up residence here in the late 1960s, honeymooning with Priscilla and later having their daughter, Lisa Marie. In the ’60s, glamorous piano bars and retro storefronts lined the vibrant streets of the desert town, which is beautifully bookended by the San Jacinto Mountains.

When Elvis and Sinatra left, the city lost some of its spirits. But today, Palm Springs is experiencing a resurgence of sorts. After all, its desert scenery and colorful sunsets are the same as they were 50 years ago. And its pools, spas, and nightclubs are attracting a wide swath of travelers, from seniors to hipsters to LGBT couples. Plus, the surrounding Coachella Valley has blossomed with interesting things to do, from The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens to the Coachella Valley Preserve. But if you want a true Palm Springs experience, you should take it easy, whether by the pool or in a trendy bar. In short, you won’t regret a visit to this California city. If Palm Springs passed muster for the King and Ol’ Blue Eyes, then it should be a great mix of fun and relaxation for everyday travelers as well.

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach is the perfect destination if you’re looking for a small town, Southern California experience. Situated between LA and San Diego, Laguna Beach offers an array of scenic beaches both big and small, remote and central that’ll keep visitors occupied for days. Main Beach and Crescent Bay are a couple of local favorites, though travelers also highly recommend taking a trip to the wild shores of Crystal Cove State Park. For a break from the sun, pop into one of downtown’s art galleries or boutiques.

Anaheim-Disneyland

Many vacationers come to Anaheim for Disneyland Resort. A plaque at the entrance of the park reads: “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy,” and for more than 50 years, this complex of amusement parks and hotels has remained a fun fantasy world. Even if you’ve been to other Disney resorts, nothing beats the original’s unique place as a vintage landmark in the heart of Southern California. This vibrant park is still a great place for families – in fact, your kids will most likely have so much fun with Mickey and friends that they’ll never want to leave. And with plenty of thrilling rides and a bustling entertainment district, you might not want to leave either. Plus, the park’s newest themed land, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, brings a whole new dimension to the park.

But Disneyland isn’t the only thing luring visitors to this Southern California city. There are other (more affordable) theme parks like Knott’s Berry Farm and Adventure City, the picturesque Yorba Regional Park, and even an “angelic” baseball stadium. When you need a break from the crowds, simply hop in your car and drive west to the coast: the shorelines of Long Beach, Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach are all within about 25 miles of Anaheim.

Sonoma

TNCDT0215A GLEN ELLEN, OLEA HOTEL

Sonoma, a county in Northern California known for its bucolic charms and array of wineries, could also be described as Napa’s rustic, less-refined and more-relaxed sister. Its rolling hills, which rise into the Sonoma Mountains and descend to the Pacific shore, also contain a cache of small cities that are worth a visit: Try Santa Rosa for an urban escape, complete with museums and buzzy restaurants, but pop by Glen Ellen for a slice of small-town Americana. In short, if you want a laid-back introduction to stellar vintages and gorgeous properties, Sonoma – rather than Napa – should be your California wine country destination.

Huntington Beach

Nicknamed Surf City USA, this Orange County beach offers some of the country’s best waves. It is home to the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing (the world’s largest surfing competition) and has a rich surfing history and culture. After visitors learn more about the sport at the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum, they can enjoy views of the water as they walk along the Huntington Beach Pier or sip cocktails at an oceanfront lounge. Families should save time for shopping and playing at the weekly Surf City Nights Street Fair.

Santa Barbara

In the early 20th century when Flying “A” Studios opened its doors, Santa Barbara was slated to become the epicenter of America’s movie-making industry. But the movie stars moved south to Los Angeles, and today’s Santa Barbarans wouldn’t want it any other way. On the “American Riviera,” Santa Barbara aspires for casual yet fashionable elegance. Just take a look at the well-dressed pedestrians on state Street to comprehend the city’s understated indulgence. And although some of America’s budget-friendly favorites – like Motel 6 and the McDonald’s Egg McMuffin – have their origins here, Santa Barbara’s boutique shops and world-class resorts have a reputation for making a dent in your vacation savings. If you can afford the price tag, this quiet, seaside paradise might just be the ideal California retreat for you.

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park established as a national monument in 1936 and then later as a national park in 1994, sprawls across approximately 800,000 acres. Joshua Tree is a deserted wilderness, with few facilities or services, however, those very reasons draw nearly 3 million yearly visitors. Located just outside Palm Springs, California, and about 140 miles east of Los Angeles, the desert park is actually made up of two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and Colorado.

The stark and sometimes surreal landscape, shaped by fierce winds and rains, is famous for its Joshua trees. Still, a wide variety of other plants and animals call the park home, including bighorn sheep, coyotes, and jackrabbits. Joshua Tree is also a magnet for rock climbers, as there are more than 8,000 established climbing routes scattered throughout the park. In the springtime, large swaths of wildflowers become a big draw for many visitors. Plus, the incredibly clear night sky, unpolluted by artificial lights, make the park a great place to stargaze.

Venice Beach

2017 Venice Beach Neptune Festival. Photo sponsored by The Sidewalk Cafe. Photo by VenicePaparazzi.com. #VeniceBeachFun

Eclectic Venice Beach, one of LA’s most popular neighborhoods, is packed with things to do and see. The area features a vibrant local art scene, which you can get a taste of while checking out the Venice Art Walls. Plus, the beach offers top-notch conditions for surfing. But the highlight of any trip to Venice Beach is its boardwalk. Here, you can watch everyone from musicians and street performers honing their crafts to fitness buffs breaking a sweat at the outdoor workout facilities.

Sausalito

Travel north across the Golden Gate Bridge and you’ll discover Sausalito, a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of San Francisco. This small town is best known for its laid-back atmosphere and colorful houseboats, some of which were built during World War II. The Bridgeway Promenade is where you’ll find the bulk of Sausalito’s shops, restaurants, and art galleries. And just south of the town center is where educational attractions like the Bay Area Discovery Museum and Fort Baker reside.

Malibu

Everyone from celebrities like Tom Hanks and Barbra Streisand to cultural icons (think: Barbie) has called this quintessential California beach townhome – and it’s easy to see why. Malibu’s gorgeous stretches of sand, such as Zuma Beach and Surfrider Beach, appeal to both sunbathers and surfers. The Malibu Pier is a great place to grab a bite to eat and enjoy the view. Away from the shore, visitors can see ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities at the Getty Villa or sample wines during a wine hike or a wine safari.

Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes National Seashore’s 70,000-plus acres beckon to wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. This protected area off of Northern California’s coast offers ample opportunities to see hundreds of animal species, including elephant seals, gray whales and nearly 490 kinds of birds. Visitors can also explore various beaches, wander down to the Point Reyes Lighthouse and hike some of the area’s miles of trails, including the Earthquake Trail, which travels along the San Andreas Fault.

Mammoth Lakes

If you’ve never thought of California as a ski destination, Mammoth Lakes might change your mind. Nestled in the Eastern Sierra region, Mammoth Lakes is home to the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, the highest ski resort in the state. In winter, the region’s dozens of trails welcome skiers and snowboarders in droves. When the temperatures rise and the snow melts, vacationers can try other outdoor activities, such as hiking, rock climbing, and paddleboarding.

Kings Canyon National Park

Head to Kings Canyon National Park if you want to see more of California’s famous sequoias after visiting Yosemite and Sequoia national parks. The park’s most famous tree is the General Grant Tree, the second-largest tree in the world by volume. Named after former President Ulysses S. Grant in 1867, the tree has been lovingly called “the Nation’s Christmas Tree” since 1926. Aside from admiring Kings Canyon’s sequoias, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking, horseback riding, and rock climbing, among other activities

San Luis Obispo

Located about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo often serves as a stopping point during road trips between the two cities. But this small town is worth a longer stay. With art galleries, museums, parks and a central district filled with shops, SLO offers plenty to see and do. Looking to satisfy your taste buds? SLO is packed with highly regarded wineries, breweries, and restaurants and even hosts a popular farmers market every Thursday night.

Newport Beach

Newport Beach tends to conjure up images of glamour and sophistication (think: massive mansions, mega-yachts, and high-end shops). Places like Fashion Island – Newport Beach’s lavish open-air mall – and the lush Sherman Library & Gardens give you a taste of some of this luxury. But there is also a more laid-back side to this Southern California city. Quaint Balboa Island is the place to go for Newport Beach’s famous frozen bananas and offers family-friendly fun at the Balboa Fun Zone. And at the Wedge on the Balboa Peninsula, surfers and boogie boarders can catch gnarly waves.

Tourist places in New York

One of the greatest cities in the world, New York is always a whirlwind of activity, with famous sites at every turn and never enough time to see them all. Some people come here to enjoy the Broadway shows; others come specifically to shop and dine; and many come simply to see the sites: the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, historic neighborhoods, and numerous world famous museums. Many of the best places to visit in New York are within walking distance of each other, or just a short ride away, making this city a delight for sightseeing.

Some of the newer tourist attractions that have opened in New York in recent years, like the High Line and One World Observatory, offer unique perspectives of the city. Any time of year and any time of day or night there are an endless array of things to see and do in New York.

1. Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty was France’s gift to America. Built in 1886, it remains a famous world symbol of freedom and one of the greatest American icons. It is one of the world’s largest statues, standing just under 152 feet tall from the base to the torch, and weighing approximately 450,000 pounds.

You can see the statue from land, with particularly good views from Battery Park, on the southern tip of Manhattan. However, to truly appreciate the Statue of Liberty, the best thing to do is to take a short boat trip to Liberty Island and see it up close. You can walk around the base, enter the pedestal, or, with advance reservations, go right up to the crown.

On a tour to the Statue of Liberty, you have the option to stop at Ellis Island and explore the Immigration Museum. This fantastic museum is located in the historic immigration station complex, where thousands of immigrants were processed before entering the United States. Displays focus on the process, the experiences, and the stories of the people who came through here on their journey to the United States. You can even search the on-site computer database to see a record of immigrants who came through here.

Tickets to go inside the statue sell out. Pr-purchasing tickets is a must during the high season and a good idea at any time of year. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Guided Tour is a four-hour trip that takes you to both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. This tour allows early reserve line access to board the ferry, and includes access to the Pedestal Museum and the Museum at Ellis Island.

Note: Buying tickets at the ferry can be tricky, with hawkers claiming to be “official representatives” trying to sell you more expensive tickets before you can find the ticket booth.

2. Central Park

A walk, peddle, or carriage ride through the crisscrossing pathways of Central Park is a must-do on anyone’s New York City itinerary. In winter, you can even lace up your skates and glide across Wollman Rink. This huge park in the city center, a half-mile wide and 2.5 miles long, is one of the things that makes New York such a beautiful and livable city.

Besides being a great place to experience a little nature, Central Park has many attractions within its borders, and most of them are free, making it one of the few cheap things to do in NYC. Some of the most popular places to visit include the Belvedere Castle, Strawberry Fields, the Central Park Zoo, and the Lake. If you are exploring the park on your own, start by picking up a map at one of the visitor centers and plot your routing.

3. Rockefeller Center & Top of the Rock Observation Deck

When it comes to New York attractions, Rockefeller Center is on almost all tourist’s itineraries. This vast entertainment and shopping complex in the middle of Manhattan is home to NBC-TV and other media, but the centerpiece is the 70-story 30 Rockefeller Plaza, an Art De co skyscraper that offers awesome views over Manhattan from the famous Top of the Rock Observation Deck.

The “deck,” as it’s known, includes three floors, located on the 67th, 69th, and 70th floors. Indoor and outdoor viewing spaces offer spectacular views by day or night. You can buy a Top of the Rock Observation Deck Ticket in advance. These tickets come with a flexible voucher redemption policy, so you can change the date if your plans change or the weather doesn’t cooperate.

Skating on the outdoor skating rink at the base of the tower is one of the most popular things to do in winter in New York City and a fun activity for families and couples. The rink is typically open from October to April.

4. Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Met, as it is commonly known, was founded in 1870, and is one of the most famous museums in the United States. The permanent collection of The Met contains more than two million works of art, spanning a period of 5,000 years.

Although the museum has three sites, the centerpiece is The Met Fifth Avenue. Highlights of the collection include American decorative arts, arms and armor, costumes, Egyptian art, musical instruments, photographs, and much more. Exhibitions bring some of the world’s most famous works to the public. If you are serious about your visit to the Met, consider a VIP: Empty Met Tour at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and see this incredible museum with just 25 people before it opens to the general public in the morning.

The Met Cloisters, located in Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan, is another extremely popular New York museum. This branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, housed in an outstanding structure, built around medieval cloisters, chapels, and halls, focuses on the medieval art and architecture of Europe.

5. Broadway and the Theater District

Attending a Broadway show is one of the top things to do in New York City. Considered the pinnacle of American theater, this is the place to see the latest shows and the long-running classics. Broadway usually refers simply to Broadway theater, which encompasses a large number of theater venues in the Theater District and along the street of Broadway. For the most popular shows, tickets should be purchased well in advance.

Schubert Alley is a famous pedestrian-only alley in the Theater District and home to two well-known playhouses: the Schubert on 221 West 44th Street and the Booth at 22 West 45th Street. Historically, aspiring actors would frequent Schubert Alley looking for opportunities to perform in a play sponsored by theater baron, Sam S. Schubert.

A Chorus Line played at The Schubert for a record 6,137 shows. The musical Oklahoma debuted in 1941 at the St. James playhouse just down the street. Other legendary places include Sandi’s restaurant, where many famous actors met, and the Music Box Theater, where Irving Berlin staged The Music Box Revue in 1921.

6. Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is one of New York’s most famous landmark buildings and key tourist attractions. The 381-meter-tall, 102-storey building was the tallest in the world until the 1 World Trade Center tower rose higher, 41 years later. Topped with a mooring mast for airships, the Empire State Building immediately became a landmark and a symbol for NYC when it opened in 1931.

There are actually two observatories atop the Empire State Building, but both offer astounding views. On clear days, you can see up to 80 miles, looking into the neighboring states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

The 86th Floor Observatory (1,050 feet) is the city’s highest open-air observation deck, and what most people are expecting to find when they go up the Empire State Building. If it feels familiar, it’s because this area has been featured in countless movies and TV shows. Reached by high-speed, automatic elevators, it has both a glass-enclosed area, which is heated in winter and cooled in summer, and spacious outdoor promenades on all four sides of the building. Views are incredible.

The Top Deck on the 102nd Floor stands 1,250 feet above the bustling streets below. While you are 16 store’s higher, the viewing area here is enclosed.

The line to go up the Empire State Building is almost always long, and during peak times, it can be ridiculous, making the whole experience more frustrating than it needs to be. It’s well worth buying the Empire State Building Ticket – Observatory and Optional Skip the Line Ticket that lets you bypass the lines. This is a flexible ticket, good for up to a year, so if the weather is bad, you can save the ticket and use it another day.

7. 9/11 Memorial and Museum

The World Trade Center’s twin 110-story towers once dominated the Manhattan skyline but were destroyed by suicide-piloted jetliners on September 11, 2001, with a tragic loss of life. Where the two towers of the World Trade Center once stood, now stand two square reflecting pools, each one acre in size. Known as the National September 11 Memorial, the area is a moving tribute to the almost 3,000 people killed as a result of attacks on September 11, 2001 and also the six people killed in the earlier World Trade Center bombing in February, 1993.

Surrounded by trees and grass, the pools are recessed, with water cascading over the sides and flowing into a seemingly bottomless square. These are the largest man made waterfalls in North America. Around the pools are bronze panels with the names of all those who were killed in the attacks.

The 9/11 Memorial Museum is located in an awesome, curving glass building, between the two pools. It features displays that include artifacts, photos, and videos, presenting the story of 9/11, as well as the aftermath and impacts. The building is constructed around the remnants of the World Trade Center and incorporates the old structures within the extraordinary new museum building.

The memorial and the museum are located on the south side of One World Trade Center, on Greenwich Street. Also worth seeing in this area, on the opposite side of Greenwich Street, is the eye-catching West field World Trade Center, which contains Locus Plaza. You can’t miss this building with its white fins and spaceship-like appearance. This is a public building with shops and high-end stores, but it’s worth popping in for a quick look at the architecture.

8. High Line

An exciting new attraction in New York City, the High Line is a former rail line that has been transformed into an urban walking trail above the city streets. This unique linear public park has been planted with a variety of plants and trees, many of which are native species. In spring many of these come into bloom. The park is lined with glass railings in most areas, giving it a natural feel, while still offering outstanding views of the city.

This oasis on Manhattan’s West Side runs from Gansevoort Street at the south end (just south of West 13th Street) to West 34th Street at the north end, running parallel to 10th Ave most of the way. You can access it at various points along the route, some of which offer stair access only, and others with elevator access.

Although the High Line is only about two to three stories above street level, the views of the city’s architecture and the lookouts over the streets offer a whole new perspective. Along the route are art installations, benches, and near the south end is a sitting area with bleacher-style seating and a glass wall looking out onto the city. The trail is heavily used, and on weekends it can be extremely busy, but without the surrounding traffic, it’s still a peaceful retreat.

You’ll find other interesting places to visit just off the High Line. The south section runs through the Meatpacking District, with plenty of trendy restaurants and fine dining. The southernmost access point is adjacent to the Whitney Museum of American Art, which is also worth a visit. If you hop off the High Line at the 16th Street access (elevator access), it’s just a short stroll to the popular Chelsea Market, located in a former Nabisco factory, where you’ll find restaurants and unique shops.

9. Times Square

Lined with huge, brilliantly lit billboards and screens, Times Square is the place to go in New York in the evening, but still exciting at any time of day. This is the location of New York’s New Year’s Eve Celebrations and the famous “ball drop” at midnight, when the square and surrounding streets are filled with people. Times Square is busy and perpetually crowded but has its own unique appeal. Bleachers set up at one end are a great place to take a break and appreciate the scene.

Formerly Longacre Square, Times Square was named in 1904 after the New York Times tower. The newspaper first posted current headlines along its moving sign, the first of its kind in the world, in 1928.

Address: Broadway and 7th Avenue, New York, New York

10. Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge, with its Gothic-shaped arches and suspension cables, is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks and has inspired generations of poets, songwriters, and painters. This historic bridge, spanning the East River from Manhattan to Brooklyn, was completed in 1883 and was the world’s first steel suspension bridge. You can see it from many of the ferries, or the east side of Manhattan, but the best way to experience this icon is to take an hour and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

A wood plank walkway, only open to pedestrians and cyclists, runs above the lanes of traffic. If you are not up for walking the whole distance, at least go as far as the first pillar, where there is a viewing platform, and you can see one of the granite towers up close.

From the bridge are beautiful views over Manhattan, the East River, and beyond to the Statue of Liberty. Biking over the bridge is another option, but pedestrian traffic is often very heavy, and cycling can be slow and challenging on busy days. Be aware that the access to the bridge begins well back from the water’s edge.

11. Fifth Avenue

One of the most famous shopping streets in America, Fifth Avenue is New York’s premier shopping area, where many top designers have their flagship stores. Cartier, Tiffany, Berger-Goodman, the famous Apple Store Fifth Avenue, and of course Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as many others line this posh avenue. Even non-shoppers can enjoy a walk along Fifth Avenue. The best area runs from approximately the south end of Central Park to the New York Public Library, or more specifically, between 60th Street and 40th Street.

12. Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal, often called Grand Central Station, is a fantastic Beaux Arts building, and it’s definitely worth popping in to take a look at this famous landmark. The building first opened in 1913 as a terminal for the subway and train stations.

Outside, the 42nd Street colonnaded faces and the statuary on top are some of the key highlights. Inside, you can’t miss the Grand Staircase, where you can stop to gaze out over the concourse. The beautifully restored ceiling here shows a celestial scene. You’ll also find an extensive selection of retail shops and restaurants inside.

13. One World Observatory

At the top of the newly constructed One World Trade Center building, One World Observatory is an observation deck offering outstanding views from floors 100, 101, and 102, 1,776 feet above the city. The elevator to the top is part of the attraction. As you ascend, the surrounding panels show New York as it transformed over the years, from a rural landscape to the metropolis you see today.

This glass building, which can be seen from all over the city, is a unique structure on the Manhattan skyline, with angles that give it a very distinct appearance. If you stand near the base and look straight up, the tower appears pyramidal.

If you want to go up and see the view, you can buy a NYC One World Observatory Skip-the-Line Ticket to save you some time, but note, you will still need to clear security.

14. The Prick Collection

For ambience, the Prick Collection tops the list when it comes to New York City museums. Housed in an early 1900s mansion, the building and the original collection were donated by Henry Clay Rick, who had the mansion built to display his art collection.

The artwork, which includes a mix of paintings, porcelain, and furniture, is beautifully laid out in sixteen galleries. On display are works by Monet, Rembrandt, Bellini, El Greece, and many other famous artists. The collections are not laid out according to period, artist, or country, but in a more random fashion designed for enjoyment. Rooms surround a beautiful covered Garden Court, with tropical plants and a central pond.

15. New York Public Library

The New York Public Library’s main branch was designed by architects, Carr ere & Hastings, in the Beaux Arts style. The library, with its impressive rooms, is a prominent city attraction that has been featured in many movies and TV shows over the years.

Although colloquially known as the main branch, the proper name is actually the Stephen A. Schwarz man building. It opened in 1911 to immediate acclaim. An enormous library, the Main Reading Room alone stretches two city blocks, and the Periodicals Room holds 10,000 current magazines. The collection at this location is vast, to say the least.

Location: Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York, New York

16. Wall Street

Stretching for eight city blocks from Broadway to South Street is the world famous Wall Street. This street and the surrounding area are home to some of the most important exchanges in the world, including the New York Stock Exchange, the NASDAQ, and the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Also located nearby are the impressive Trinity Church and Federal Hall. Look for the bronze statue of Charging Bull at Bowling Green, on Broadway. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Financial District and a popular photo opportunity for visitors.

17. Radio City Music Hall

Lying in the shadow of Rockefeller Center is Radio City Music Hall, a famous entertainment venue and a designated city landmark. This 1932 Art Dec theater offers musical extravaganzas and films and is the home of the dance company, The Retrorocket.

The building was built and financed by the Rockefeller during the 1930s and contained the largest indoor theater in the world at the time. Today, the venue frequently hosts major events, including the Grammy Awards and Tony Awards. Its prominent marquee is hard to miss as it curves around the building and stretches down the block.

Address: 1260 6th Avenue, New York, New York

18. St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is one of New York’s finest examples of Gothic Revival, with its massive bronze doors, white marble facade, 330-foot spires, the Great Organ, rose window, bronze brainchild, 2,400 seating capacity, and the statue of Peta at the side of the Lady Chapel. With millions of visitors annually, the cathedral is a major destination for believers and tourists alike.

The building was erected in 1879 and has been carefully restored and maintained throughout its existence, including a $200-million renovation that was completed in 2016.

19. Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall opened in 1891 as New York’s first great concert hall. Musicians from Tchaikovsky, who conducted on opening night, to Leonard Bernstein and The Beatles have filled the hall. It is said to have some of the best acoustics in the world.

While the best way to enjoy the hall is to take in a performance, one of the best ways to learn about it is on a guided tour. The tour offers a comprehensive look at the hall, insight into the construction, and discusses some of the artists who have taken to the stage. Tours end at the Rose Museum.

20. Bryant Park

On a summer’s day, it’s hard to beat a leisurely afternoon at Bryant Park. The grounds feature monuments and gardens, and “Le Carrousel,” a popular carousel. A games area makes available chess boards, checkers, and backgammon boards for a small fee.

Bryant Park was a seedy area known for crime and a hangout for undesirables until 1989, when the city reclaimed it and turned it into a beautiful urban oasis. Locals have embraced this park, and today, it’s a pleasure to walk through. If you don’t want to play a game, it is still interesting to watch others playing. The park is located adjacent to the New York Public Library.

Tourist places in Oklahoma

Oklahoma is an authentic gateway to the west – a land of red dirt, where buffalo roam the plains and oil rigs pump riches. But the largest cities, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, also have a distinctly refined air, having been built on the proceeds of an early-1900s oil boom. Modern museums, galleries of international art, and lavish gardens all give the state a more cosmopolitan edge, but many tourists choose to experience Oklahoma with the simple pleasures of a road trip, and no highway is more iconic than the state’s stretch of Route 66.

1. Route 66

The full stretch of Route 66 runs from Chicago to Los Angeles, but the longest run of miles cuts diagonally through the state of Oklahoma. This OK length begins in the northeastern corner of the state and travels through Tulsa and Oklahoma City before crossing the border into Texas. Roadside attractions range from the historical, such as Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton and National Route 66 and Transportation Museum in Elk City, to the odd, like the Blue Whale of Tuscaloosa or Golden Driller in Tulsa. The Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton is a great way to learn about the road’s history, with immersive experiences like a 1950s diner and changing exhibits that celebrate the Route 66 experience. Generally, sightseeing draws on Route 66 have a motor-head bent, such as drive-ins, motorcycle museums, and old-time filling stations, meaning that it’s avid road-trippers who most enjoy the journey.

2. Phil brook Museum of Art

Collections at the Phil brook Museum of Art include works from Africa, Asia, and Europe in a variety of media, as well as the work of American artists and craftspeople. This Italian Renaissance-style villa turned art museum sits on 23 acres of picturesque formal and informal gardens along Crow Creek. It has the elegance and wealth of oil-rich Tulsa in the 1920s, while the art collection has a decidedly international scope. When visiting the gardens, keep an eye out for the cats on rodent patrol and the bees who both pollinate and produce local honey which is sold in the gift shop seasonally. There is a second branch of the art museum located in downtown Tulsa.

3. Oklahoma City Zoo

Ambling pathways take visitors through many ecosystems at the Oklahoma City Zoo, from African plains to tropical jungles. The zoo and botanical gardens were established more than a century ago and have since nurtured 500 species of animals, including some endangered, as well as a grand garden landscape. Demonstrations and educational sessions are a highlight for families, whether it’s a giraffe feeding or elephant show. Other fun things to do include exploring the stingray touch tank, hopping on a train ride, or boating on the zoo’s lake.

4. University of Oklahoma

In Norman, on the southern fringes of Oklahoma City, the University of Oklahoma is home to many tourist attractions as well as strong sports programs. The school was established in 1890 and has since grown into a 3,000-acre campus. Draws include contemporary exhibits at the Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art and artifacts from worldwide civilizations (plus dinosaur bones) at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. For bibliophiles, the Belize Memorial Library is a lovely landmark structure dating to 1929.

5. Marland Estate Mansion

Marland Estate Mansion

Near the Kansas border to the north, Ponce City is another Oklahoma oil-boom town. The grand Marland Estate Mansion dates to 1928, ordered as a second home for millionaire oilman and 10th governor of Oklahoma, E. W. Marland. The palatial home has 55 rooms, including three kitchens, plus expansive grounds with a swimming pool, artist studio, and boathouse. Other historic museums within the estate include the Bryant Baker Gallery dedicated to the namesake sculptor and the Marland Oil Museum. For a look at the Marland’s earlier home, visit his smaller city residence (also in Ponce City) known as Marland’s Grand Home.

6. Museum of the Great Plains, Lawton

The Museum of the Great Plains in Lawton features hands-on and interactive natural history exhibits that unveil life in the west for Native Americans and pioneers. Venture outdoors to see a number of historic buildings, including a train depot, trading post, and schoolhouse. Also in Lawton, tourists can discover local culture at the Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center, or tour The Holy City – an unusual collection of buildings constructed to look like Israel during the Biblical period.

7. Gil crease Museum

The Gil crease Museum in Tulsa presents an extensive art and history collection from the American West, exploring both frontier settlement and Native American cultures. Collections include art, historical manuscripts, and anthropological artifacts. The museum is set on 460 acres in the Osage Hills. Stunningly lush gardens cultivate 23 of those acres with thematic gardening styles, including pretty Victorian, colonial, per-Columbia, and pioneer landscapes.

8. Oklahoma City National Memorial

The 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murray Federal Building is poignantly remembered at this outdoor memorial and museum in Oklahoma City. Victims, survivors, and rescuers are honored within the grounds, which include a reflection pool, gardens, and symbolic sculptures. It’s become a landmark of the state capital. The nearby Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum recounts the tragic events felt across the nation.

9. Oklahoma Aquarium

Located in Jinks, just south of Tulsa, the Oklahoma Aquarium is renown for having the world’s largest collection of bullhead sharks. You can see them in the Shark Adventure exhibit, where you can watch these beautiful creatures glide gracefully from the walk-through glass tunnel. Other interesting exhibits include Extreme Fishes, Sea Turtle Island, Eco Zone, and Polynesian Reef, all of which showcase colorful and fascinating sea creatures from around the world. In addition to exotic species, the aquarium presents local marine life in the engaging Aquatic Oklahoma exhibit, where you can see a 120-year-old alligator snapping turtle.

10. Wroclaw Museum & Wildlife Preserve

Wroclaw Ranch covers 3,700 acres where American bison, longhorn cattle, and elk roam free on the wide-reaching landscape. Visitors can safely see and photograph these magnificent beasts from their vehicles. Also on the ranch grounds are a western-focused museum (exhibiting art and artifacts) and a rustic lodge. The preserve is a 20-minute drive southwest of Cartersville, which is also worth a visit to see Price Tower Arts Center – the only skyscraper constructed from renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs.

11. National Weather Center

Oklahoma State has some of the most severe weather occurrences of anywhere in the world, with powerful tornadoes, sky-splitting lightning, and searing heat. These extreme conditions are what makes a tour of the National Weather Center in Norman (south of the capital) so interesting. The guided session visits Oklahoma University’s School of Meteorology, as well as the Storm Prediction Center. Advance reservations are required. There is also an on-site café open to the public, and there is no admission charge to visit the weather center.

12. Cherokee Heritage Center

Harlequin has been the capital of the Cherokee Indian Nation since 1839, but the living history displays at the Cherokee Heritage Center explore even earlier times. Outdoor exhibits at Diligent recreate a 1710 Cherokee Village while the historic wooden buildings of Adams Corner Rural Village revive Cherokee life in the 1890s. Both are worth visiting to discover an unusual perspective on Native American history. Harlequin is located southeast of Tulsa, midway between Muskogee and the Arkansas border.

13. JM Davis Arms & Historical Museum

The collections at the Jim Davis Arms & Historical Museum in Oklahoma City include 50,000 items. The main exhibit is Davis’ massive private collection of more than 12,000 firearms that date as far back as the 14th century. Additional displays include Native American artifacts, authentic riding saddles, and spurs from the “Wild West” historic items. The museum also features a re-creation of the lobby from JM Davis’ Mason Hotel, as well as World War II memorabilia and information on local history. Outside, visitors can admire the collection’s largest piece, a U.S. Army M41 Walker Bulldog tank, circa 1950.

14. Myriad Botanical Gardens

Myriad Botanical Gardens provides an oasis in Oklahoma City’s downtown for residents, families, and tourists. The space and facilities are free to use, covering 15 acres with walking paths, a large lawn, and small lake. There is also a playground, an off-leash dog park, and a visitor center. The gardens include a children’s garden, ornamental gardens, and the impressive Crystal Bridge Conservatory. Here, visitors can explore the plants of two climates, the Tropical Wet Zone and the Tropical Dry Zone, and the desert plant area. Together, more than 750 species of plants are represented in lovely surroundings that include a waterfall and a bridge over the tropical forest from which visitors can get a bird’s-eye view.

15. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City began in 1955 as a “Hall of Fame” dedicated to American cowboys, and has grown to be the country’s foremost archives of Western art, artifacts, and cultural history. Galleries display a variety of Western art that includes painting and sculpture, as well as interactive exhibits about the people and culture of the Old West. Areas of focus include military and firearms, the tradition of rodeos and Western performers, and Native American culture. The museum also includes a replica of a western town, and hosts regular educational events. Parents can relax in the garden while the kids play and learn outdoors in a kid-sized Wild West that includes the Children’s Cowboy Corral.

Tourist places in Tennessee

If you’re one of the many travelers who believe the most visited of the United State’s national parks is either the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, or Yosemite, you’ve probably not visited Tennessee. You may be surprised to learn that the number one most visited US national park is the Great Smoky Mountains (or “Smokies”), an area of outstanding natural beauty, which attracts twice as many visitors each year than its nearest rival, the Grand Canyon. Much of the state’s popularity is due to its accessibility, sandwiched as it is between eight other states. It also has much to do with its astonishing natural beauty, rich history, and numerous first-rate attractions. Then, of course, there’s the music. From the rock ‘n’ roll of Elvis to country greats like Johnny Cash, Tennessee was the starting place for many of the country’s greatest artists and musical genres. Discover the best things to do in the state with our list of the top-rated tourist attractions in Tennessee.

1 The Smokes: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

There’s no better place to begin your Great Smoky Mountains National Park adventure than in the small town of Gatling with its many big-ticket attractions, such as the excellent Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokes. From here, you can easily drive to the park’s most popular areas, or simply jump on the chairlift and head for the hills and the fun Obed Gatling, a ski resort and amusement park offering year-round activities. Park highlights include a variety of flora and fauna, more than 900 miles of hiking trails, and the 6,643-foot-high Cling mans Dome, with its Observation Tower perched atop the mountain’s summit and offering 360-degree views. Popular day trips include Sugar lands, a beautiful valley and favorite destination for hikers, and the lovely Sades Cove, once home to settlers and now attracting tourists eager to see its picturesque meadows, pioneer homesteads, mountain views, and wildlife. For the truly adventurous, look into an overnight camping trip or a fun stay in a rustic cabin deep in the woods.

2 Graceland and the Elvis Presley Memphis Complex

As popular as the White House in Washington D.C., Graceland and the Elvis Presley Memphis Complex is considered the top attraction in Memphis. Undoubtedly the most famous rock ‘n’ roll residence in the world, Graceland Mansion remains a place of pilgrimage to fans from far and wide, and tours of this fine, stately home provide a unique glimpse into the King’s life (nothing has been changed since he passed away there in 1977). The complex is also home to Elvis Presley’s Memphis, a vast warehouse-like structure that includes exhibits and displays of the star’s many outfits, his influences, and his rise to fame. Also worth checking out are the family tomb, an impressive collection of cars, aircraft, and memorabilia, and tours of his living quarters, including the music room, TV room, and Jungle Den. A variety of tour packages are offered, including accommodations at the luxurious Guest House at Graceland

3 Birth of the Music Biz: Memphis and Nashville

No US state can claim the rich musical tapestry that is evident everywhere in Tennessee. The center of the nation’s country music scene, Nashville is home to the Country Music Hall of Fame in the city’s famous Music Row, as well as the Grand Ole O pry, a name synonymous with the country-music-themed Gaylord Maryland Resort and the radio shows of the same name, broadcast from locations such as the Roman Auditorium.

Then, of course, there’s Memphis, the home of gospel and blues, and famous for Beale Street, where the greats like Elvis got his big break. Highlights include: the Memphis Music Hall of Fame; WC Handy’s House, where the “Father of the Blues” lived and worked; the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, highlighting musical pioneers from the 1930s through to the 1970s; the STAX Museum of American Soul, with its replica of the original S tax Records studio; and Sun Studio, where stars such as Jerry Lee Lewis, BB King, and Roy Orbison began their careers.

4 Hello, Dolly wood

Named after country singer Dolly Patton, Dolly wood has long been Tennessee’s most popular ticketed attraction, luring more than three million visitors per year. Located in the small town of Pigeon Forge, this always busy theme park provides family fun with its mix of folksy Smoky Mountains traditions and crafts, thrilling rides, and entertainment. All told, the site boasts more than 40 rides – including the Tennessee Tornado roller coaster – spread across 10 themed areas such as Timber Canyon and Jukebox Junction. Other highlights include live concerts and festivals, as well as an old steam railway, the Dolly-wood Express, which circles the park. Other Dolly-related attractions in this 290-acre site include Splash Country water park and the Dolly-wood Dream-more Resort.

5 Tennessee’s Civil War Heritage

Tennessee, perhaps more than any other state, has been shaped by war. Not only did this state provide more soldiers for the Southern cause than any other, it also contributed more troops for the North than any other Confederate state. As one of the most northerly of the Confederate states, Tennessee witnessed numerous battles during the deadly conflict, many of them commemorated by visitor centers, museums, and memorials. One of the best is Fort Do nelson National Battlefield, site of the first major Union victory and home to a cemetery, visitor center, fort, and a much-loved pair of breeding eagles. A visit to Shiloh National Military Park is a sobering experience: it was the location of the first significant Civil War battle in the west and contains more than 3,500 Union graves. Chickasaw-Chattanooga National Military Park, the country’s largest military park, is also of great historical significance, as is nearby Point Park Battlefield, where the infamous “Battle Above the Clouds” took place. All these sites, as well as Stones River National Cemetery, are part of the Tennessee Civil War Trails program.

6 The Hermitage: President Jackson’s Home

Just a few miles east of Nashville is The Hermitage, the plantation home of the seventh US President, Andrew Jackson, from 1804-1845. The current home was built in 1819, not long after Jackson was elected president, and is well worth the couple of hours needed to explore it. Highlights include the park-like gardens and woods, as well as the tomb where both Jackson and his wife were laid to rest. The mansion opened as a museum in 1889, and after a great deal of restoration, looks exactly as it would have in Jackson’s time, complete with numerous artifacts and documents relating to his presidency.

7 The Parthenon

No visit to Nashville would be complete without visiting one of Tennessee’s most remarkable attractions, the huge Parthenon. Built in Centennial Park, just a short walk from the city’s downtown core, this life-size replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, Greece, was built to commemorate the state’s centenary in 1897. Made entirely of cement, the Parthenon doesn’t fail to impress with its vast dimensions, both inside and out. The building houses the city’s permanent art gallery, a collection of works by 19th- and 20th-century American painters, as well as a spectacular 42-foot-high gold-covered statue of the goddess Athena Parthenon

8 Oak Ridge: American Museum of Science and Energy

The American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge offers a fascinating insight into the history of nuclear energy. Highlights include the story of Oak Ridge’s role in the development of the nuclear bomb and the Manhattan Project, including videos, photos, artifacts, and documents that help paint a picture of this once vast facility. Other displays focus on national defense and include models of weaponry, tools, and the protective clothing used at the site. There’s also useful information and exhibits delving into other energy sources, including fun hands-on displays of static electricity and robotics.

9 Chattanooga and the Tennessee Valley Railroad

Tennessee has had a lengthy love affair with the railroad. Along with the mighty Mississippi, railways were of vital importance for the shipping of wood and cotton during peacetime and military supplies during war (the state was a vital link in the Confederate supply chain during the Civil War). Fortunately, much of this rich heritage has been preserved, from the original terminal and an engine from the famous Chattanooga Coho Coho to heritage trolleys and fancy Pullman cars restored as luxury accommodation. Perhaps the most ambitious project has been the Tennessee Valley Railroad, which offers hour-long steam trips as well as main line excursions, dinner packages, and the popular Tennessee Rail-fest. Finally, there’s even Casey Jones Village in Jackson, a museum dedicated to the legendary railroad engineer, John Luther “Casey” Jones.

10 Downtown Knoxville

The seat of the University of Tennessee (founded 1794), Knoxville is a good base from which to explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The first capital of the state, its most noticeable landmark is the Sun sphere Tower with its observation decks and views over the downtown core. The city also played an important role in the Civil War, as evidenced in the Confederate Memorial Hall (also known as Bleak House after the Dickens novel), which recalls the siege of the city in 1863 and was used as the headquarters of Confederate General James Longstreet. Other downtown highlights include the Museum of East Tennessee History with its displays that tell of the region’s history and culture through artifacts and documents. Nestled in the heart of downtown, Market Square has been Knoxville’s favorite gathering place since 1854. Today, it’s home to a busy farmers market and numerous events and festivals, as well as unique shopping and dining opportunities.

11 Lookout Mountain

Overlooking Chattanooga and offering some of Tennessee’s best views, Lookout Mountain makes for an excellent day or half-day outing. Getting there is half the fun, especially aboard the wonderful Lookout Mountain Incline Railway, a mile-long journey on trolley-style cars at an incline of 73 percent. Once at the top, you’ve got a number of excellent natural attractions to choose from, including Rock City with its dramatic cliffs and great views, and Ruby Falls, the deepest cave and largest underground waterfall in the US. Be sure to visit the excellent Battles for Chattanooga Electric Map and Museum with its displays regarding the epic Battle Above The Clouds, fought in and around Chattanooga during the Civil War, as well as Point Park, part of the Chickasaw-Chattanooga National Military Park.

12 The Titanic Museum

Despite the fact that Tennessee’s connection to the RMS Titanic is perhaps a little tenuous at best, it shouldn’t stop you from visiting the world’s largest Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge. Just a stone’s throw from Dolly wood, the building itself is spectacular, built in the shape of the ship and half the scale of the original. Highlights include more than 400 Titanic related artifacts in 20 unique galleries designed to create the illusion that you’re actually on the ship. Self-guided tours take approximately two hours, and its time well spent.

13 The Museum of Appalachia

This large open-air museum focuses on the people who settled the Appalachian Mountains, dealing with such important aspects as their culture, livelihoods, and customs. One of the best heritage villages in the US, it’s a great way to spend a day as you explore the past through hands-on activities such as weaving and farming. The focal point is the museum itself with more than 250,000 artifacts in its collection. Also of interest is the annual Tennessee Fall Homecoming, a three-day event held in October, as well as events including antique shows.

14 The Lost Sea Adventure

The Lost Sea Adventure Share:

In Sweet-water, 46 miles from Knoxville, is the spectacular Lost Sea, a huge cave system with the largest underwater lake in the US. A variety of guided tour options are available, including fun boat trips along this wonderful underground waterway with its many large caverns and tunnels. The attraction has a Civil War history of its own: Confederate soldiers mined the Lost Sea caverns for saltpeter, an ingredient of gunpowder. After the war, locals created a party room, called the Cavern Tavern. When you’re done exploring the Lost Sea, be sure to wander around quaint Old Sweet-water Village with its shops and authentic log cabins.

Tourist places in Tasmania

For those who haven’t visited Australia’s smallest state, Tasmania or “Tessie,” seems shrouded in mystique. Perhaps it’s the state’s far-flung location some 300 kilometers south of the Australian mainland across stormy Bass Strait. Maybe it’s the vast expanses of windswept wilderness — almost half of Tasmania’s land mass lies in national parks and World Heritage Areas, with sparkling alpine lakes, wild rivers, and mist-cloaked peaks. Perhaps it’s the bizarre wildlife — from real life Tasmanian devils to the extinct hyacinth, the Tasmanian tiger. Or is it the haunting convict history and beautifully preserved heritage towns, which seem frozen in time? Today, this mystique lures more and more tourists who are discovering the island’s many jewels.

Shaped appropriately like a heart, Tasmania is also a foodie’s delight. Gloriously creamy cheeses, crisp fruits, and succulent seafood are just some of the mouthwatering local treats on offer, and hanging out at a waterfront cafe or restaurant is one of the top things to do in the port city of Hobart. Explore the state with our list of the top attractions in Tasmania.

1. Explore Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park

In the north of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park is the jewel in the crown of the state’s many natural wonders. Glacier-carved crags; glittering lakes; beech forests; alpine heath land; and jagged dole rite peaks, including 1,616-meter-high Mount Ossa (the highest point on the island), are some of its most breathtaking features. Hiking here is legendary. Favorite day walks include the Lake Dove Walk, with magnificent views of Cradle Mountain (1,545 meters), and the Windsurfer Walk, a six-kilometer circuit through dense forests.

The northern part of Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park, is particularly beautiful. From the summit of Cradle Mountain, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the central highlands. The famous 80-kilometer Overland Track runs south from Cradle Valley to stunning Lake St. Clair, the deepest lake in Australia.

If you’re based in Hobart and want to explore this magnificent national park, as well as some of the state’s other top natural attractions, the budget-priced five-day Best of Tasmania tour from Hobart takes care of all the details. As well as Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park, you’ll experience the wonders of Wineglass Bay, the Tar kine rain forest, Boron Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Bay of Fires, with optional add-ons, like a cruise on the Gordon River.

2. Hobart

In a beautiful setting between the sea and the soaring peak of unanimity/Mount Wellington, Tasmania’s capital has transformed itself from a sleepy backwater with a turbulent convict history to a hub of cutting-edge culture. Opened in 2011, MONA: Museum of Old and New Art pushes the art world envelope with its provocative and confronting exhibits, while the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery takes a more traditional look at the country’s art, as well as its natural history. Foodies will also find plenty to smile about. The city’s waterfront precinct buzzes with hip cafes and restaurants, and you can eat around the world on the restaurant strip in North Hobart.

For a glimpse at the city’s convict history, visit the Hobart Convict Penitentiary and explore the historic sandstone warehouses at Casablanca Place, now filled with shops, cafes, and antique dealers. From here, you can also follow the Battery Point Sculpture Trail to see elegant convict-built architecture.

Natural attractions are also never far away from the city buzz. Climb kunanyi/Mount Wellington to really appreciate Hobart’s picturesque setting and gaze out at the World Heritage wilderness in the distance.

3. Port Arthur Historic Site

The old convict settlement of Port Arthur, about an hour’s drive southeast of Hobart offers a sobering look at Tasmania’s turbulent past. The ruins are part of the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property. Here, in 1830, Governor Sir George Arthur established a brutal penal settlement where convicts were forced to hew coal in the mines and fell timber.

In spite of a devastating fire in 1897, the remains of many buildings still stand, including the guard tower, church, model prison, and hospital. You can also browse fascinating documents and relics of the penal settlement in the museum, visit the nearby Coal Mines Historic Site, or join an evening lantern-lit “ghost tour” of the ruins. After touring Port Arthur, take a drive along the coast to explore the soaring sea cliffs and sheltered coves of the spectacular Tasman peninsula.

4. Frenetic National Park

World Heritage-listed Frenetic National Park, on Tasmania’s relatively sunny east coast, is one of Australia’s oldest nature reserves and one of its most beautiful. The star of this picturesque peninsula is the perfect curve of powder-white sand and azure sea at Wineglass Bay — one of the top beaches in Australia. A lookout provides the best views. Take the 20-minute walk from the lookout to the southern end of Wineglass Bay to admire beautiful views of the Hazards, three striking pink granite crags rising out of the sea. The peaks are best photographed at sunrise and sunset when their color deepens in the golden light.

Throughout the park, hiking trails wind through pristine bush land to secluded bays and lookouts, and birding is fantastic — black cockatoos, kookaburras, and sea birds are just some of the resident species. At the entrance to Frenetic National Park, the little beach resort of Coles Bay is a good base for walks and climbs in the surrounding hills, and you can also explore the entire region on the East Coast Escape scenic drive.

5. See the Views from kunanyi/Mount Wellington

Undulating to the west of Hobart, the comforting presence of 1,270-meter-high unanimity/Mount Wellington is a constant reminder of the unspoiled wilderness that lies on the doorstep of this waterfront capital. Follow a winding 21-kilometer mountain road to the Pinnacle, often sprinkled with snow, for breathtaking views over Hobart, the Der went Valley, and the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. At the summit, boardwalks lead to panoramic viewpoints, and a pavilion displays old photographs of Hobart and Mount Wellington.

The mountain is a popular spot for biking and hiking through the temperate rain forests, and the distinctive Organ Pipes, a dole rite cliff, is renowned for its excellent rock climbing. Standing atop the summit and admiring the sweeping views is one of the best free things to do in Tasmania, but dress warmly as the weather here is notoriously fickle.

6. Tasman National Park

On the wind-lashed Tasman Peninsula, 56 kilometers east of Hobart, Tasman National Park protects some of Australia’s most spectacular coastal scenery. If you look at a map of Tasmania, this park cloaks the far southeast tip of the state, with nothing but ocean between here and Antarctica. It’s a place of raw beauty. Towering dole rite cliffs plunge 300 meters to the sea, islands shimmer just offshore, waterfalls tumble to the sea, and contorted rock formations bear witness to the relentless forces of wind and water.

The Blowhole and Tasman Arch are two of the park’s most famous features. Other top sites include Remarkable Cave, Waterfall Bay, and the Devil’s Kitchen — a collapsed rock arch.

Wildlife also scores top billing here. Apart from many species of rare birds, the area plays host to Australian fur seals, dolphins, whales, fairy penguins, and possums. A popular way to explore this stunning national park is by hiking the Three Capes Track (see below).

You can also explore some of the top attractions by car or hop aboard a boat to glimpse the soaring cliffs from sea level, or cast a line — fishing can be excellent here. In the southern end of the park, climbers scale the dolerite cliffs, and Pirate’s Bay is popular with hang-gliders. Nearby lies the World Heritage-listed Port Arthur, one of Australia’s most poignant historic sites.

7. Hike the Three Capes Track

Starting and ending in World Heritage-listed Port Arthur, the stunningly scenic Three Capes Track slices through more than 48 kilometers of awe-inspiring wilderness in Tasman National Park. A boat delivers you to the trailhead from Port Arthur, where you’ll walk along the edge of the continent, with breathtaking views of the Tasman Sea from the cliff-top trail.

Along the way, you’ll walk through pristine eucalyptus forests and windswept heath land; see spectacular dole rite columns rising from the sea; encounter wildlife like wombats, wallabies, and echidna; and stay in comfy Eco-friendly cabins.

Every hiker receives a guidebook with maps and notes about the journey, as well as stories to read as they sit on strategically placed benches along the track. This four-day, three-night hike is suitable for all levels of hikers — even children — and is one of the best things to do in Tasmania in spring, fall, or summer, although hardy hikers could also tackle it in winter if they dress appropriately.

8. Cataract Gorge, Launce

A mere 15-minute stroll along the river from Launceston’s city center, the wild and romantic Cataract Gorge is a deep chasm carved over many centuries by the South Esk River. Precipitous walking paths, first built in the 1890s, cut into the cliff face on both sides of the gorge, offering heart-stopping views of the river far below.

The less adventurous can hop aboard the world’s longest single-span chairlift, while the Kings Bridge and Gorge Restaurant also afford fine views. On the south side, you can relax at a café and paddle in the bush-fringed swimming pool. At Cliff Grounds on the northern side, lies a beautiful Victorian garden replete with ferns, strutting peacocks, and wallabies. River cruises offer another perspective of this popular attraction.

9. Casablanca Place

Casablanca Place, with its lovingly restored sandstone buildings, is a tourist hub in the heart of Hobart’s historic waterfront. Built by convicts between 1835 and 1860, these beautiful Georgian buildings were once warehouses along the commercial center of old Hobart. Today, they house art galleries, cafés, restaurants, and shops.

You can dine alfresco along this cobblestone strip; shop for antiques and souvenirs; or visit the galleries, performing arts venues, and ateliers of the Casablanca Arts Center. Every Saturday, tourists and locals alike flock to the Casablanca Markets, where more than 300 vendors sell everything from handcrafted jewelry and woodwork to fresh produce.

Nearby Constitution Dock is a favorite spot to buy fresh seafood, and one of the most popular things to do in December here is watch the yachts cruise in after the iconic Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. From Casablanca Place, you can also descend Kelly Steps to Battery Point, a picturesque seaside suburb with heritage houses.

10. Bruny Island

About 55 minutes from Hobart by car and ferry, Bruny Island is a popular day trip from the city for foodies and nature buffs. The island lies across the D’Entrecasteaux Channel from the seaside town of Kettering. It’s famous for its delectable gastronomic treats, such as handmade chocolates, local berries, artisan cheeses, and succulent seafood, which you can sample on island tasting tours. South Bruny National Park, on the island’s southern tip, offers beautiful coastal scenery with soaring green sea cliffs, sheltered beaches, and challenging surf breaks.

You can explore the park on an Eco-cruise or hike the many nature trails. Keep an eye out for wildlife. Fur seals and fairy penguins swim offshore, and wombats, wallabies, and echidna are some of the more charismatic land animals. Built by convicts between 1836 and 1838, Cape Bruny Lighthouse offers beautiful views of the surging Southern Ocean.

11. Mona Museum and Art Gallery

Cutting edge and controversial, the MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) in Hobart has made a splash on the Aussie art scene since it opened in 2011. Its Tasmanian owner, David Walsh, described the thought-provoking collection of art and antiquities as a “subversive adult Disneyland.”

After entering the museum’s foyer at ground level, art lovers descend a spiral staircase to a subterranean gallery, where exhibits range from Sidney Nolan’s Snake to an Egyptian sarcophagus and a machine that turns food into brown sludge. Portable touch screen devices provide commentary on the works.

Also on-site are entertainment venues, a trendy restaurant, library, cinema, and accommodation pavilions. The most popular way to travel to MONA is a 30-minute ferry ride along the Der went River, which drops you off directly at the museum’s steps.

12. Mount Field National Park

About 80 kilometers from Hobart, Mount Field is one of Australia’s oldest national parks, with magnificent rain forests, tall swamp gums, alpine moorland, and stunning waterfalls. Beautiful walking trails wind throughout the park, which is often dusted with snow in the high moorlands until summer. The short Russell Falls Nature Walk to these triple-tiered cascades is suitable even for wheelchair-users. You can also hike around Lake Dob-son, and experienced bush walkers have a choice of more challenging routes.

One of the popular things to do in winter in Tasmania is cross-country skiing, and this is an ideal place to indulge, only a 90-minute drive from Hobart. In the fall, the park ignites with yellow, orange, and red-leafed trees. This is also the site where the last Tasmanian tiger was captured in 1930.

13. Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the spectacular Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park has become a symbol of one of Australia’s most famous conservation victories. In the 1970s and 80s, this majestic mountain region of primeval rain forest, steep gorges, and wild rivers was the subject of bitter controversy over a proposal to dam the Franklin River. The opponents of the scheme, with their battle cry “No dams!” were victorious, and the wild beauty of the Franklin River and its surrounding wilderness remains.

Today, the national park is the nucleus of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, which also includes the rocky 1,443-meter peak of Frenchman’s Cap. Its aboriginal sites are evidence of a rich indigenous heritage stretching back more than 36,000 years. White-water rafting enthusiasts come here to tackle the tumultuous Franklin River, one of the top outdoor adventures in Australia, while hikers enjoy the short walks. A highlight is Donaldson Lookout Walk. You can also explore the park by car on the Lyell Highway. Better still, hop aboard a river cruise from the west coast village of Saharan. Official s

14. Richmond

About 25 kilometers northeast of Hobart, Richmond is a kind of living open-air museum. Of all the early settlements in Tasmania, it presents the most complete and homogeneous picture of a Georgian colonial town. It was founded soon after the landing of the first settlers in Orison Cove in 1803 and soon developed into the commercial center of a very fertile grain-growing district. Richmond was also an important military post, and inmates from the town’s penal colony constructed many of the buildings, as well as the Richmond Bridge, which dates from 1825 and is the oldest bridge in Australia.

Often seen in the background of bridge photos is the timber-topped St. Luke’s Church with beautiful stained-glass windows. It was so well constructed that the convict carpenter responsible was pardoned. A short distance to the north, the Neo-Gothic St. John’s Church, dating from 1837-59 is the oldest Roman Catholic Church in Australia.

Other historic highlights include Richmond Gaol and the well-preserved heritage buildings of Bridge Street. A favorite family attraction, the Old Hobart Town model village recreates life in the 1820s. Many day trips to Richmond from Hobart also include a visit to Boron Wildlife Park in Brighton, where you can get up close to favorite Aussie animals like kangaroos, koalas, wombats, and Tasmanian devils.

15. Climb The Nut

On Tasmania’s northwest coast, the Nut is a 143-meter-high volcanic plug, which looms over the picturesque heritage town of Stanley. Matthew Flanders, who viewed it in 1798, thought it was reminiscent of a Christmas cake with its steep, rounded sides and flat top. You can climb the steep path to the Pinnacle, which takes about 15 minutes, or hop aboard a chairlift for fantastic photo opportunities. At the top, trails of varying lengths lead visitors through fern-fringed forests and to scenic lookouts with 360-degree views of the curving coastline, the quaint hamlet of Stanley, and surrounding farmland. Look for watermelons and wallabies along the trails, and take a jacket as the top can be quite windy.

Tourist places in Victoria

Vibrant, elegant, and multicultural, Australia’s second largest metropolis frequently tops the list of the world’s most livable cities. With its tangle of hidden lane ways, tree-lined promenades, and grand Victorian buildings funded by the 1850s Gold Rush, the city has a distinctly European feel. Foodies will also find plenty to love. Famous Aussie chefs flaunt their talents here, and you can feast on everything, from Greek, Italian, and Indian cuisine to Spanish and Vietnamese fare.

But perhaps Melbourne’s biggest claim to fame is sports. The famous Melbourne Cup horse race, held on the first Tuesday in November, brings the entire nation to a standstill, and Australian Rules football elicits an almost religious reverence here. Catch a game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground; explore the city’s diverse galleries, chic cafes, and shops; stroll through beautiful botanic gardens; cruise along the Yarra River; or hop aboard a heritage tram to discover Melbourne’s magic. On top of all these exciting things to do, rewarding day trip adventures lie a short drive from the city buzz.

1 Federation Square

When Federation Square opened in 2002 to commemorate 100 years of federation, it divided Mauritanians. There were those who loved it and those who hated it. Either way, it has become an integral part of the city and a great place for tourists to start their sightseeing. Located opposite Flinders Street Station, a major public transport hub, the building’s ultra-modern design of open and closed spaces contrasts with the surrounding Victorian architecture. With more than 2,000 events annually, you can always find entertainment in the central outdoor performance space and intimate indoor venues. Federation Square also houses the Ian Potter Center: NGV Australia, dedicated to Australian art, and the Australian Cent re for the Moving Image (AC MI). More commonly called “Fed Square,” it is also one of the largest free WI-Fi sites in Australia.

2 Royal Botanic Gardens

In the heart of green parkland extending south of the Yarrow River, about two kilometers from the CBD, the Royal Botanic Gardens are among the finest of their kind in the world. Established in 1846, the gardens encompass two locations: Melbourne and Cranberry. The Melbourne Gardens cover an area of 38 hectares with more than 8,500 species of plants, including many rare specimens. The Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden is designed to encourage the next generation of gardeners, and the Aboriginal Heritage Walk is a popular tour that looks into the rich heritage of indigenous Australians. Visiting the gardens is one of the best free things to do in Melbourne. In summer, live theater is a highlight of the gardens, and a moonlight cinema is set up under the stars. This is also a popular spot for a picnic by the lake or a traditional high tea at The Terrace cafe.

3 Melbourne Cricket Ground and the National Sports Museum

Melbourne is the sporting capital of Australia, so it’s no surprise that a sports stadium numbers among the city’s top tourist attractions. With a capacity of 100,000 and a history dating back to 1853, the MCG is considered one of the world’s greatest stadiums. As the main stadium for the 1956 Olympic Games and 2006 Commonwealth Games, the birthplace of Test Cricket, and the home of Australian Rules Football, “the ‘G” is woven into the fabric of Melbourne. Daily 75-minute tours take visitors for a trip down a memory lane of great moments in sporting history and incorporate the National Sports Museum, including the Australian Gallery of Sport and Olympic Museum. You can also catch a game of cricket in summer or football during winter.

Directly opposite the MCG is Melbourne Park, home of the Australian Open tennis tournament, held every January. You can hire a tennis court, and many concerts are held here during the year.

4 South bank and Arts Center Melbourne

On the banks of the Yarrow River, a short stroll from Flanders Street Station, this area is packed with cultural attractions. South bank promenade is filled with indoor/outdoor cafés, restaurants, and live entertainment. An excellent arts and crafts market is held every Sunday, and the area is also home to many festivals throughout the year. Easily recognizable by its spire, the Arts Center incorporates a range of theaters and spaces, including the State Theater, Playhouse, Fairfax Theater, and Homer Hall, the premier performance space for the revered Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

5 National Gallery of Victoria

The oldest public art gallery in Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria holds more than 70,000 works of art in two city locations. The international collection is housed in the St. Kilda Road building, originally opened in 1968 and extensively renovated in 2003. The building is renowned for The Great Hall, where visitors are encouraged to lie on the floor and gaze at the colorful stained glass ceiling. The extensive Australian collection is held in the Ian Potter Gallery in Federation Square, featuring the history of Australian art from Aboriginal works through to the Heidelberg School, and contemporary mixed media. One of the highlights is the large triptych format, The Pioneer by Frederick Clubbing.

6 Eureka Tower

Named in recognition of The Eureka Stockade, the 1854 rebellion of prospectors in the Victorian goldfields, the Eureka Tower stands 91 stories above ground in the heart of South bank. The skyscraper’s gold crown and gold-plated windows add to the theme and literally sparkle when the sun catches the top of the building. Sky deck, on the 88th floor, affords the highest public view in any building in the Southern Hemisphere. Adding to the experience is The Edge, a glass cube that slides out three meters from the building for vertigo-free visitors.

7 Arcades and Lane ways

Wandering the labyrinth of lanes and alleyways around Flanders, Collins, and Bourke Streets reveals elegant, interesting, and quirky Melbourne at its best. The jewel in the crown is the magnificent Block Arcade in Collins Street. With its mosaic floor, period details, and unique shops, this is the place where late 19th-century gentry promenaded, coining the phrase, “doing the block.” It’s worth lining up for a morning or afternoon tea at the Housetop Tearooms. This Melbourne icon dates back to 1892 and is the only original shop still in the arcade today. The opulent Royal Arcade is Melbourne’s oldest arcade, and Blinders and De graves Lanes are also well worth exploring. Several companies run guided walking tours of the lanes and alleyways.

8 Melbourne Museum and Royal Exhibition Building

A short tram ride from the CBD, the Melbourne Museum is surrounded by beautiful gardens and parkland. This modern purpose-built museum houses a diverse collection depicting society and cultures. Highlights include Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Center; the Paar Lap exhibit, about Australia’s greatest racehorse; and the Children’s Gallery, a series of hands-on activities designed to stimulate and engage youngsters.

Adjacent to the Melbourne Museum is the elaborate Royal Exhibition Building. Built in 1880 to host Melbourne’s International Exhibition, the building also held the first Commonwealth Parliament of Australia in 1901. Regular tours are available, and the building is still used for exhibitions and special events.

9 City Circle Tram Tour

Trams are a big part of Melbourne’s public transport system, and the City Circle Tram offers tourists a free and easy way of seeing the CBD. Accompanied by a commentary, the hop-on, hop-off heritage tram passes many of the grand historic buildings, including Parliament House, the Old Treasury Building, Princess Theater, and the Windsor Hotel. The trams run every 12 minutes and take about 50 minutes to complete the entire loop.

10 Melbourne Zoo

Although the 22-hectare Melbourne Zoo dates back to 1862, the 320-plus species of animals have the best of modern facilities in state-of-the-art enclosures. The award-winning Trail of the Elephants is an insight into the lives of the resident Asian elephants in a traditional village-garden setting. Another highlight is the O rang-u tan Sanctuary, where the animals live in their treetop home. With many wild encounters, including “roar and snore,” twilight music concerts, and behind-the-scene tours of some enclosures, Melbourne Zoo offers animal-lovers a fun-packed experience.

11 Captain Cook’s Cottage, Fitzroy Gardens

Captain Cook’s Cottage was brought to Melbourne from Captain James Cook’s native home in Yorkshire, England and erected in Fitzroy Gardens. The quaint cottage is an insight into the life and times of Cook’s seafaring adventures and exploration of Australia and other parts of the world.

Also in the beautiful Fitzroy Gardens is the magnificent Spanish-mission style conservatory that is always filled with a vibrant floral display. Children will love the tiny Tudor village and Fairy Tree.

12 Yarrow River Cruise

A river boat cruise is not only the perfect way to see the sights, it’s also an insight into the history of the Array River. Many cruise companies can be found along South bank, and it’s a relaxing and fun way to get your bearings before you set out to explore the city on foot. While you’re gliding down the river, keep an eye out for Birdbrain Marr, originally called “Birrarung,” meaning “river of mists and shadows,” a waterfront parkland celebrating Aboriginal ties with the Yarrow River. If you’re short on time, the one-hour River Gardens Melbourne Sightseeing Cruise gives you a relaxing tour past top city sights, like the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne Cricket Ground, and National Tennis Center.

13 Shrine of Remembrance

Sitting majestically in Kings Domain gardens, the Shrine was built after the First World War to commemorate Victorians involved in the Great War, either abroad or at home. Today, it serves as a poignant reminder for all servicemen and women and is the central focus for ceremonies on ANZAC Day, held on 25 April, and Remembrance Day, held on 11 November each year. Guided or self-guided tours are available daily, and lighting on the building is particularly beautiful at night.

14 Docklands

Docklands is Melbourne’s newest waterfront entertainment precinct. With the highest concentration of green-star rated buildings in the Southern Hemisphere, the satellite village is filled with cafés, restaurants, tourist attractions, and parkland. The view from the giant observation wheel, Melbourne Star, is spectacular, and the area is also home to Jihad Stadium; the Junior Wonderland amusement park; and the Ice house, a world-class ice sports venue. An art and vintage market is also held along the waterfront every Sunday.

15 Queen Victoria Market

A popular place with locals and tourists, this historic icon has been at the center of fresh produce shopping since 1878. In addition to the magnificent food halls, market stalls sell everything from clothing, art, and toys to that hard-to-find unique souvenir, five days a week. Tours are available, and special events such as night markets, music concerts, and other functions are often held during summer.

16 Parliament House

Open to the public, even when parliament is in session, Parliament House is one of Melbourne’s best kept tourist secrets. It was built during the Gold Rush, and its interior is lavishly decorated with gold leaf, chandeliers, and a superb mosaic floor. Free, informative tours are held Monday to Friday on days when parliament is not in session.

17 Immigration Museum

Located in the elegant Old Customs House, the Immigration Museum tells real stories of people from all over the world who now call Melbourne home. The permanent collection is interactive and engaging, and special exhibitions add to the museum’s appeal. A visit here provides a different perspective of early European settlement, as every person arriving had to pass through customs here.

Tourist places in Queensland

Queensland, “the Sunshine State,” is Australia’s most popular vacation destination. Golden beaches, idyllic tropical islands, fantastic surf breaks, World Heritage-listed rain forests, rivers, reefs, and waterfalls are just some of the state’s natural jewels. And all of these sun-soaked settings offer exhilarating outdoor adventures. The dazzling Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef offer superb diving and snorkeling. Fraser Island is a favorite four-wheel-driving adventure, and the wilderness areas along the Queensland coast are excellent for hiking, biking, boating, and fishing.

For a change of pace, Queensland’s capital, Brisbane, delivers big-city attractions with a small-town feel. South of Brisbane lies the glitzy Gold Coast with its hedonism and high rises. Traveling north along the coast from the capital, you can explore a string of holiday resorts, from sleepy beach towns and rain forest villages, to picturesque Port Douglas, and the tropical tourist-magnet of Cairns. Find the best places to visit in this sunny state with our list of top attractions in Queensland.

1. Great Barrier Reef

It’s difficult to overstate the beauty and ecological importance of this World Heritage-listed natural wonder. This is the planet’s largest living structure, and it’s so vast, you can see it from space. Much of the reef lies within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which extends off the northern coast of Queensland, from McKay to the northeastern corner of Australia. The park itself is about half the size of Texas and protects more than 3,000 coral reefs, 600 continental islands, 300 coral cays, and a patchwork of mangrove islands.

The reef’s astounding diversity of marine life lures divers and snorkelers from around the world. More than 1,600 species of tropical fish inhabit the reef, as well as sharks, gongs, dolphins, turtles, giant clams, and kaleidoscopic soft and hard corals. Underwater viewing stations and glass bottom boats also offer a window into this underwater wonderland.

On the mainland, Cairns, Port Douglas, and Arlie Beach are the main launching points for tours. Alternatively, you can stay at one of the resort islands within the marine park. The Whitsunday Islands offer many popular attractions and accommodation options and make a great base to explore the reef. Remote Lizard Island, the park’s most northerly island, is famous for its exclusive resort, and Lady Elliot Island, the reef’s southernmost coral cay, is home to a popular Eco-resort.

2. Cairns

In a superb location, between the Great Barrier Reef and the dark hills of the Atherton Tableland, Cairns is one of the most popular tourist towns in Far North Queensland and makes a great base to explore the best of Queensland. It’s a friendly, laid-back town, with palm-fringed streets, large parks, and colorful gardens. Beautiful beaches radiate out along the coast from Trinity Bay and Palm Cove to Port Douglas, and the five-kilometer-long Cairns Esplanade runs along the bay, with a saltwater swimming lagoon and free water-themed playground for young children.

Cairns is an excellent base for day trips. It’s one of the most popular launching points for excursions to the Great Barrier Reef, as well as tropical islands such as Green Island and Fitzroy Island. The Atherton Tableland to the southwest is another popular day trip destination, where you can explore rain forest reserves, waterfalls, and the charming attractions in the mountain village of Randa. The Randa Scenic Railway or the Sky rail cable-way offers spectacular views over the surrounding countryside and the World Heritage-listed rain forests of Barron Gorge National Park.

Other top things to do in Cairns include visiting the Flecker Botanic Gardens, with more than 100 species of palms, and learning about the region’s history at Cairns Museum.

3. Take a Safari through Daintiness National Park and Cape Tribulation

A Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, Daintiness National Park is the planet’s oldest surviving rain forest and harbors one of the world’s highest concentrations of threatened and endangered species. Located in Far North Queensland, the two main sections of the park include the crystal-clear waters and lush forests of Moss man Gorge, as well as Cape Tribulation, where tropical rain forest fringes the reef-splotched shores of the Coral Sea. More than 18,000 plant species as well as a fascinating array of wildlife live within the park, including the flightless southern cassowaries (ostrich-sized birds); crocodiles; Boyd’s rain-forest dragons; brightly hued azure kingfishers; spotted caucuses; and musky rat-kangaroos.

The best way to explore this area is on a guided safari. Many companies offer tours on amphibious vehicles and include rain forest hikes and tropical fruit tastings. However, you can also take a self-drive tour. Other popular things to do include zip lining through the rain forest, horseback riding, swimming at Moss man Gorge, looking for cassowaries along the Malinda Boardwalk, and hiking the many other rain forest trails.

Just south of the park, the resort town of Port Douglas is a popular base for arranging rain forest wilderness safaris. This area is one of the best places to visit in Queensland in winter, during the dry season.

4. Go Four-Wheel-Driving on Fraser Island

Between Abundance and Brisbane, World Heritage-listed Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world. Four-wheel drive adventures here explore wide windswept beaches, crystal-clear lakes and streams, dingoes, dense forests, sacred aboriginal sites, and multi-hued rock formations. Seventy Five Mile Beach is the island’s main thoroughfare and provides access to attractions such as the rusted hull of the Menorah shipwreck, the bubbling rock pools of Champagne Pools, Eli Creek, and the colored sandstone cliffs of The Pinnacles. Tiger sharks, dolphins, and whales swim in the wind-whipped waters, and the island’s fauna includes Australia’s purest strain of dingo and more than 300 species of birds.

Top things to do inland include swimming in the aquamarine Lake McKenzie; exploring the rain forest trails of Central Station; and visiting Lake Abby, backed by a towering sand dune.

The most popular access point for tours to Fraser Island is Hervey Bay, where car and passenger ferries, as well as organized 4WD Fraser Island Tours, depart daily. Hervey Bay is also one of Australia’s best fishing destinations, and it’s a fantastic place for whale watching cruises during the winter months, when humpback whales come here to give birth and nurse their young.

5. Whitsunday Islands

Off the coast of central Queensland, the Whitsunday group encompasses 74 stunning islands strung along the Great Barrier Reef. The Whitsundays are continental islands, the summits of a coastal range emerging from the sea. All but five of them have been declared national parks, and about eight are home to popular resorts.

The most famous resorts include luxurious Hyman Island; tiny Daydream Resort & Spa; Palm Bay Resort on beautiful Long Island, with access to 13 kilometers of walking tracks; and well-developed Hamilton, the largest of the island resorts. In 2019, both Daydream Resort and Hyman Island will re-open after massive renovations following Cyclone Debbie in 2017.

On uninhabited Whitsunday Island, White haven Beach, with its powdery white sands and turquoise water, is one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia. Arlie Beach and Chute Harbor are the main launching points for island excursions.

6. Editor’s Pick Port Douglas

Dotted with palms and mango trees, the once-sleepy village of Port Douglas is now a charming holiday resort and a popular base for wilderness safaris and reef trips. This picturesque town lies about an hour’s drive north of Cairns, along a scenic coastal road, which winds between beaches and rain-forest-cloaked hills. It’s the closest mainland town to the Great Barrier Reef.

Skirting the beautiful blond sweep of Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas has a relaxed tropical vibe, with cute cafes, shops, and art galleries. From the Flagstaff Hill Lookout enjoy breathtaking views of the palm-fringed beach merging with the turquoise Coral Sea.

Top tourist attractions include the Wildlife Habitat and the Bally Hooley Sugar Train, an old steam engine chugging through the cane fields to the sugar mill at Moss man. Other adventures on offer include safaris in all-terrain vehicles to Daintiness National Park and Cape Tribulation, fishing trips, northbound expeditions through the rugged landscape of the Cape York Peninsula, and boat trips to Cook town and the Great Barrier Reef.

7. Randa

A trip to Randa, a charming rain forest village on the Atherton Tableland, is as much about the journey as the destination. From just outside of Cairns, you can take the Sky rail Rain forest Cable way and fly over World Heritage-listed rain forests and the beautiful Barron River and Gorge. Alternatively, the Randa Scenic Railway chugs through the rain forest past rugged peaks and waterfalls. The journey ends in the little station at Randa, about 25 kilometers northwest of Cairns, which is almost hidden by tropical plants and palms.

Karaganda’s main attractions are its artsy shops and colorful market selling souvenirs and local crafts, as well as several nature parks and animal sanctuaries, including the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, Bird world, Randa Koala Gardens, and Rain forestation Nature Park.

Walks can be arranged on request from Randa to the wildly romantic Barron Gorge National Park. At Japura Aboriginal Cultural Park by the Carnivora Lakes, you can learn about Aboriginal culture and enjoy frequent native dance performances. Travelers wishing to take the scenic self-drive route to Randa will also enjoy the journey.

8. Noose Heads and the Sunshine Coast

Stretching from Campground to Noose Heads, the Sunshine Coast is one of the most popular places to visit on vacation in Southeast Queensland. It’s also a popular holiday spot for Aussies, only about two hours north of the glittery Gold Coast but seemingly a world away. The scenery here ranges from peaceful, cliff-fringed bays and quiet coastal rivers to beautiful bush land laced with hiking trails.

Noose Heads is one of the most popular resort areas, with plenty of attractions for the whole family. Make sure you save time to bask on Main Beach and hike the trails of Noose National Park, where sleepy koalas slouch in the eucalyptus trees. Surfing is also one of the most popular things to do in Southeast Queensland, and almost all of the Sunshine Coast beach towns have their own excellent surf breaks.

A short drive from Noose, you can shop at the popular Saturday Edmund Markets, and south of Noose lie the smaller beach resorts of Cool um Beach, Peregrine Beach, and Sunshine Beach, all with fantastic swimming and surfing. In the hinterland, you can explore Glass House Mountains National Park, a cluster of volcanic plugs rising out of the coastal plain, as well as the charming mountain villages of Monticello and Manley. Hydrochloride is the region’s bustling commercial center and the location of the Sunshine Coast airport.

9. The Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is one of Australia’s best-known holiday regions. During the last few decades, a building boom transformed the coast into a kind of tropical Las Vegas, with skyscrapers and shopping malls stretching from South port in the north to Coolant in the south. Packed with attractions and high-rise hotels, Surfers Paradise — “Surfers” for short — is a tourist magnet, legendary for its alliterative assets: sun, surf, and sand. But it’s easy to escape the crowds in the surrounding wilderness areas or on the outlying beaches.

Despite Surfers Paradise’s reputation for hedonism, you’ll find plenty of Queensland attractions for families in the region. South of Surfers Paradise, kids love Curriculum Wildlife Sanctuary, and Movie World, where old film sets have been recreated by Warner Bros. To the north, in South port, you can see your favorite marine creatures at Sea World. Not surprisingly, swimming, sunbathing, and surfing are popular things to do on Queensland’s Gold Coast, and nature lovers will find plenty of attractions to explore.

Excellent networks of roads lead to scenic lookouts in the hinterland, where many wilderness areas are within easy reach, including popular Laming ton National Park. To visit the Gold Coast, you can fly into Coolant airport, near the Queensland-New South Wales border.

10. Laming ton National Park

About a two-hour drive south of Brisbane, Laming ton National Park is a World Heritage Area and one of the state’s most popular national parks. Located on the Laming ton Plateau of the McPherson Range, amid the remnants of an ancient volcano, the park contains spectacular scenery, with steep gorges, more than 500 waterfalls, tropical and subtropical rain-forests, and beech forests in the higher elevations.

Nature buffs will be in heaven here. More than 190 species of birds live in the park, including bower birds and colorful flocks of parrots. Red-necked watermelons, a small kangaroo-like marsupial, frolic at the rain forest fringes, and the shy platypus swims in the park’s river rock pools. Laming ton National Park is also a haven for hikers with more than 150 kilometers of walking trails.

11. Townsville and Magnetic Island

Brownsville, the largest tropical town in Australia, is an excellent base for excursions and tours, particularly to beautiful Magnetic Island and the Great Barrier Reef. The town lies on Cleveland Bay at the foot of Castle Hill, a 300-meter-high granite crag. Walking tracks lead to its peak with panoramic views over the town and sea. But perhaps the best place to start exploring the city is the Strand. Strolling along this scenic waterfront promenade, you can take a dip at one of the swimming areas, soak up some of the region’s history at Muezzin Barracks, enjoy a picnic in a park, or dine at a nearby cafe.

Apart from the picturesque waterfront, Brownsville owes much of its charm to its many parks and private gardens filled with luxuriant tropical flowers. While you’re here, be sure to take a stroll through the Queen’s Gardens, Brownsville’s oldest botanical garden, and Brownsville Palmetto, with the world’s largest collection of palms. Families will find plenty of kid-friendly attractions. Pack a picnic and head to River way, with its pretty riverfront parkland, walking and biking trails, art exhibits, and free swimming pools, and if you’re interested in the local aquatic life, Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium features an underwater tunnel where you can view the coral reef and marine life up close. Other popular things to do include visiting the Museum of Tropical Queensland and diving the SS Yon gala wreck.

12. Brisbane

Brisbane

Brisbane, Australia’s third largest city and the capital of Queensland, offers a more relaxed pace than the larger capitals in the country’s southeast and makes a great base to explore Queensland. The city straddles the Brisbane River and is bounded on the east by the sea and on the west by the Great Dividing Range. Visitors love the city’s sunny climate and its luxuriant parks and gardens. Top things to do in Brisbane include strolling around the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-they, with more than 2,000 species of plants, and visiting Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, one of the few places where you can touch and feed koalas.

Family-friendly South Bank Park lands features riverside walking and biking trails, lush gardens, shops, and restaurants. River cruises are also popular. One of Brisbane’s best known tourist attractions is the Kookaburra Queen, an old paddle steamer, which cruises down the Brisbane River, and the River Life Adventure Center offers Adrenalin-fueled water sports on the river. Other things to see and do include shopping at the Queen Street Mall, climbing the Story Bridge, exploring the exhibits at the kid-friendly Queensland Museum, browsing the Gallery of Modern Art, and enjoying beautiful city views from Mt Coot-they Lookout.

Brisbane is also a great jumping-off point for a range of rewarding day trips that showcase the best of Queensland, from island getaways to wildlife-rich national parks, the famous Australia Zoo, and family-friendly theme parks.

13. Australia Zoo

Made famous by the late Steve Irwin, the charismatic crock-loving Aussie conservationist, Australia Zoo is one of Queensland’s best loved family attractions. An easy day trip from Brisbane, the zoo has a strong focus on education and conservation. As well as Aussie favorites like kangaroos, koalas, emus, dingoes, and, yes, crocus, you can also see exotic animal species, including Sumatran tigers, rhinos, marketeers, zebras, giraffes, cheetahs, and elephants.

Colosseum performances are a great way to learn more about some of the fascinating creatures that call the zoo home, including birds of prey, snakes, and the venue’s namesake crocodiles. You can also ride a camel, feed a kangaroo or red panda, and cuddle a koala. The zoo is spread out over 110 acres, so make sure you wear your walking shoes.

14. Explore the Cape York Peninsula & the Torres Strait Islands

Remote, rugged, and rich in aboriginal history, the “trip to the tip” of Cape York Peninsula is one of Australia’s epic road-trips. You can reach some of the top Cape York destinations on a day trip from Cairns, including the historic settlement of Cook town and the wildlife-rich wetlands of Lakefield National Park, but to hit the northernmost tip of Australia, excellent planning and an off-road vehicle are essential. River crossings are part of the adventure, and in the far north, wet season deluges wash out the rudimentary roads, so travel must be tackled during the dry season, from May to October. Along the way, you’ll see jingly rain forests, wild mangrove-fringed beaches, sprawling Savannah, pre-filled rivers, ancient rock art, and fascinating aboriginal communities. North of Wei pa, it’s usually necessary to camp, and satellite phones are highly recommended.

If you’re not up for the planning and logistics of a self-drive tour of this wild, relatively unspoiled region, you can always take an organized tour or fly directly into one of the 274 Torres Strait Islands north of Cape York’s tip. Thursday Island is the main administrative center and a great place to learn about the culture of the Torres Strait islanders, while Horn Island reveals a fascinating military history. Private Rocco Island offers a unique glamping experience, and you can tour a pearl farm here and on Friday Island. Fishing charters off Wei pa are another popular way to explore this untamed coast.