Summer is (unofficially) here, and tons of travelers will be heading coast to coast to visit some of the most iconic city spots in the country. From the Brooklyn Bridge to the Golden Gate Bridge, from the Santa Monica Pier to the Atlantic City Boardwalk, we’ll give you the dish on our favorite landmarks (and hotels!) along the way. So grab your cameras and fill up on gas, we’ve got plenty of great photo-ops ahead!
Visit: The Brooklyn Bridge in New York City
New York is filled with plenty of must-see attractions, but this year it’s all about the Brooklyn Bridge. The iconic structure has appeared in countless movies, TV shows, and books, and this May it celebrated its 130th birthday. Once the longest suspension bridges in the world, this National Historic Landmark stands as a modern wonder of engineering and architecture.
While most Manhattanites snicker at the thought of tourists staying in Brooklyn, this spacious Marriott is conveniently located a few blocks from the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as within walking distance of nine subway lines that lead right through the heart of the city.
Visit: The Atlantic City Boardwalk
If you’ve ever played Monopoly or tasted the sweet goodness that is salt water taffy, then you’re familiar with this Jersey shore getaway. Atlantic City may have seen its heyday during the 1920s-era Prohibition when hotels sprang up along the now-famed boardwalk, but the city is still a popular East Coast destination. Thanks to a 1970s law that legalized gambling, Atlantic City has become the “Las Vegas of the East,” with the Boardwalk acting as the “Strip” — complete with entertainment and numerous activities lining the walkway.
Boasting he first casino in Atlantic City, Resorts emphasizes the city’s “Roaring 20s” past with Art Deco style and an active location right on the boardwalk.
Visit: The National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Choosing just one stop in the nation’s capital is a difficult task, but luckily the National Mall covers several top spots. The park is capped by the Lincoln Memorial on one end and the Capitol building on the other, with the Washington Monument, U.S. Botanical Gardens, and multiple Smithsonian museums along the way. Even if you can’t hit all the locales, you won’t leave disappointed no matter which sight you make the time for.
Hotel Monaco is just north of the National Mall, and is housed in a National Historic Landmark itself: The building was once the Greek Revival General Post Office, and was designed by Washington Monument architect Robert Mills.
Visit: The Willis Tower in Chicago
Chicago’s Willis Tower – formerly known as the Sears Tower – sits across from the Chicago River; while it was once the tallest building in the world, it is currently ranked the eighth tallest. At 108 stories, the building’s observation deck on the 103rd floor is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, and boasts views of Lake Michigan, and, on a clear day, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan.
Stay: Omni Chicago Hotel
Located in Chicago’s Magnificent Mile neighborhood, the Omni is just a few blocks from the Willis Tower, with stunning views of the building from higher-level rooms. Guests can also take a peak of the famous Second City skyline from one of two outdoor sundecks, or the hotel’s 676 Restaurant.
Visit: The Gateway Arch in St. Louis
Known as the “Gateway to the West,” St. Louis sits along the Mississippi River, a landmark in Western expansion. The city’s famed Arch was built in the 1960s as a monument to the city’s expansion-era history, and — at 630 feet — is the tallest monument in the U.S. Visitors can even ride to the top the arch and look miles into the West.
This Hilton hotel looks out over the majestic national monument, as well as the St. Louis Cardinal’s home field at Busch Stadium, making it one of the most scenic stays in the city.
Visit: The Alamo in San Antonio
One of Texas’ most honored attractions, the Alamo is the site of Davy Crocket’s last stand in the fight for Texas’ independence against Mexico. The mission church is filled with relics and memorabilia from throughout the buildings near 300-year history, including the famed battle.
This luxurious Marriott in Downtown San Antonio is a popular option for families. It’s just a 10-minute walk from the Alamo, as well as the popular Riverwalk area with restaurants and shops.
Visit: The Space Needle in Seattle
Seattle’s Space Needle observation tower is a one of the most symbolic structures in the Pacific Northwest, soaring over the Queen Anne area of the city. The landmark even houses a rotating restaurant known as SkyCity, providing incredible panoramic views of Seattle and the Puget Sound from 605 feet up in the air.
Stay: The Maxwell Hotel
The Maxwell Hotel, also in Queen Anne, looks out over the gorgeous Seattle skyline, characterized by rolling hilltops and the futuristic Space Needle.
Visit: The Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles
Once a seedy beach neighborhood, Santa Monica now is a bustling, sunny SoCal destination for all ages, thanks in part to the Santa Monica Pier. The boardwalk pier has great views of the bay and beach, and is home to shops, restaurants, a roller coaster, a 1920s carousel, a Ferris wheel, an aquarium, and tons more.
Stay: Hotel Casa Del Mar
Just like the pier, this Santa Monica hotel has a little something for everyone: a great seafood restaurant, a spa, and a great rooftop pool with ocean views. Best of all is Casa Del Mar’s beachfront location mere steps from the pier.
Visit: The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
Hailed as “the most photographed bridge in the world,” the Golden Gate Bridge is undoubtedly San Francisco’s most symbolic sight, towering across almost two miles of the bay. The bridge is also holds a distinct honor as a Wonder of the Modern World, attracting about 10 million visitors each year.
A classic Bay Area stay in Ghirardelli Square, this Fairmont hotel is luxurious and steeped in San Francisco history: The hotel was built on the site of the former Ghirardelli chocolate factory from 1893. The hotel is also about four miles from the Golden Gate Bridge.