You may not be able to cross all of these off in one trip, but the US is home to many bucket list attractions that may just inspire a cross-country road trip. Museums, national parks, natural wonders, markets, historical landmarks, there's a must see in every state from Alaska to Hawaii. Here are some of our favorites.
Upper East Side, New York City, United States
Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the "Met", has more than 2 million works of art in its enormous building on 5th Avenue. As it would be impossible to see everything in one visit, you should plan carefully, and make use of the detailed maps available at the Visitors center in the main lobby. Must-see exhibits include the Temple of Dendur, the Greek and Roman galleries, and the European sculptures in the Petrie court.
Presidio, San Francisco, United States
A truly stunning structure, the Golden Gate Bridge has been named one of the seven wonders of the modern world, and it's art-deco design is a triumph of form and function. The bridge connects the northern tip of the San Francisco peninsula with the Marin headlands, and sees about 10 million visitors per year, not including the motorists who commute across it every day. Walking over it, which is 1.7-mile trip, is perhaps the top attraction for tourists, and as long as you're not too afraid of heights it's a sublime experience.
About four hours from San Francisco is Yosemite National Park, set in the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains and home to some of the best waterfalls in North America. The granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome are a big draw for mountain climbers, but there's just about any attraction you can think of here, including a village with restaurants, stores, and a museum. It's impossible to overstate the beauty of this place, so try to make some time in your itinerary to reach it. There are many campgrounds with varying degrees of comfort, and you can also rent cabins.
West Village, New York City, United States
Perhaps the most famous gay bar in America, The Stonewall Inn was the site of the 1969 riots that ushered in a new era for gay rights in America. Though it's changed management a few times over the years, it remains a cozy, friendly local watering hole.
Florida City, Miami, United States
Covering 1.5 million acres (over 6,000 square kilometers), Everglades National Park is a World Heritage Site and home to the American crocodile, the West Indian manatee, the Florida panther, 350 species of birds and 50 species of reptiles. Recreational activities include biking, hiking, bird watching, boating, camping, canoeing & kayaking, fishing, geocaching and slough slogging. Park rangers offer a variety of guided tours, particularly during the dry season, December through March. Stop at the visitors' center near the park's main entrance near Homestead, FL for maps. There is also an entrance at Shark Valley, 30 miles west of Miami on Tamiami Trail. Fees good for seven consecutive days: $10 per vehicle, $5 for each pedestrian or cyclist. Bring water, sunscreen, insect repellant, hat and sturdy shoes.
Anaheim, Los Angeles, United States
You may have visited Disney theme parks in Paris, Florida, Japan or Hong Kong, but there's nothing like the mother ship, the only park that Walt personally designed back in 1955. The Magic Kingdom is just a little more magical here. If you want to avoid the throngs, pick some other time than summers, holiday or afternoons - or at least buy your tickets in advance.
Riverside County, Palm Springs, United States
Joshua Tree National Park - where two deserts meet - is a 800,000-acre (over 3,000 sq. km) wilderness where the two distinct ecosystems of "high" desert (Mojave) and "low" desert (Colorado) intersect. Its name comes from the Joshua trees in the Mojave section in the western half of the park. Mormon pioneers, crossing western deserts in search of the promised land, thought the stark trees looked like the upstretched arms of the Biblical Joshua. The park's flora and wildlife can be explored through horse and hiking trails. The mildest temperatures are in early spring when the desert wildflowers bloom or late fall. The Joshua Tree Music Festival takes place each May and October.
Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, United States
Perhaps the most infamous prison in America, Alcatraz Island--or "The Rock"--is a must-see for any San Francisco tourist. Your visit is audio-guided, narrated in part by former guards, and gives historical background about the penitentiary and its famous former inmates, including Al Capone. The island itself isn't the only enjoyable aspect of the tour, as the ferry ride over will give you magnificent views of the city. Be sure to buy your tickets in advance, and bring a sweater or windbreaker, as the island can get cold.
Midtown West, New York City, United States
Times Square, "The Great White Way" of neon and LED bill boards, is not a square at all but more like two triangles stretching north and south of West 45th Street as Broadway and Seventh Avenue come together. A regular on movie and TV screens and in video games, it is the hub of Broadway theater and some say the heart of the world. The world's busiest intersection tallies 360,000 pedestrians a day. Its annual New Year's Eve ball drop is one giant party.
The Grand Canyon, one of the world's natural wonders and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a mile (1.6 km) deep, 18 miles wide (29km) and 277 river miles (446km) long. Up close, the canyon walls are marked by beautiful patterns of color and erosion, while the immensity of the gorge can be appreciated from any number of stunning viewpoints along the North and South Rims. The park receives over six million visitors a year and can be toured by helicopter, guided hike, ground tour or raft trip down the Colorado River. Park headquarters are at Grand Canyon Village, near the south entrance.