15 free sightseeing adventures in the USA

Money is short, but you got the travel bug? If so, we've got great money-saving tips that will cheer you up! All you need is an ESTA application, a rental car, and a cheap plane ticket. Have fun on your free sightseeing tour across the USA!

#1 Niagara Falls

Tremendous amounts of water cascade from the three waterfalls of the legendary Niagara Falls. You can admire American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls on the United States and Canada border.

Admission to Niagara Falls State Park is free, and in addition to the majestic sight of the falls, you'll be rewarded with lush parklands, enchanting islands in the river, and plenty of biking and hiking trails. Hotels in the area are most affordable in the spring and fall.

Niagara Falls in the USA

Visit Niagara Falls
US state New York
Address Niagara Falls, NY 14303, United States
Directions Drive on Interstate 90 or fly to Buffalo Niagara International Airport
Hidden costs Parking: approx. $ 10
Boat tour: approx. $ 25
Our suggestion Admire the Niagara Falls with these boat tours

#2. 9/11 Memorial

The loose term "sightseeing" is misplaced here, as the 9/11 Memorial is the monument to one of New York City's worst traumas. Still, the former World Trade Center site memorial is a must-see and should not be missed, if only out of respect for American history.

On Monday afternoons from 3:30 to 5 pm, admission to the neighboring 9/11 Museum is also free. On all other days and at other times, you would pay $ 26 for admission.

9/11 Memorial in New York

Visit 9/11 Memorial
US state New York
Address 180 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10007, United States
Arrival by train Travel to Chambers Street, Fulton Street, Park Place, World Trade Center, Rector Street, Cortlandt Street, or WTC Cortlandt
Arrival by bus Travel to Broadway and Thames Street, Trinity Place and Rector Street, South End Avenue between Liberty Street and Albany Street, or Versey Street between North End Avenue and West Street
Hidden costs Admission to 9/11 Museum (except Monday afternoon): $ 26
Admission to One World Observatory (One World Trade Center): $ 38
Our suggestion If you don't want to wait in line, get your ticket for the 9/11 Museum here
The American Dream recommends:

ESTA gets you to the USA at a much lower cost than a traditional US visa. With the electronic travel authorization you can:

  • travel to the USA without a visa
  • stay up to 90 days
  • besides sightseeing & Co also attend business appointments
  • enter the United States only 72 hours after applying

Apply for ESTA now

#3. Mount Rushmore

In the middle of the Black Hills lies an unparalleled monument to US history: the legendary Mount Rushmore National Memorial consists of the heads of US presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt carved into the rock.

After your free tour with a ranger, you can learn about the memorial at the visitor center with its sculpture studio. A visit to the adjacent Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota Heritage Village is also free.

Mount Rushmore in South Dakota in the USA

Visit Mount Rushmore
US state South Dakota
Address 13000 SD-244, Keystone, SD 57751, United States
Directions Via car on I-90 (Rapid City exit) and the South Dakota Highway → Book a rental car
Hidden costs Parking fees: $ 11
Our suggestion Explore more of Mount Rushmore with these tours

#4. Hollywood Walk of Fame

The Walk of Fame in Hollywood, Los Angeles, is iconic! The starry walkway along Hollywood Boulevard between Vine and Brea Avenue pays homage to movie stars, musicians, and other artists. Best of all, the tour of the world's most famous sidewalk is completely free. Extra sightseeing bonus: you can even see the famous Hollywood Sign in the Hollywood Hills from some spots on the Walk of Fame!

Walk of Fame in Hollywood, Los Angeles

Visit Walk of Fame
US state California
Address Hollywood Boulevard, Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028, United States
Arrival by train Get off at Hollywood / Highland Station
Arrival by bus Take the bus to Hollywood / Sycamore, Highland & Hollywood Blvd., or Sunset / Orange
Arrival by car Via Highway 101 → Book a rental car

#5. Garden of the Gods

The Garden of the Gods is a gigantic nature park in idyllic Colorado Springs. With its towering red rocks that resemble a Martian landscape, it is one of the most popular destinations in the western United States.

Admission to the park and the visitor center, including guided hikes, is free. Due to the well-maintained trails, nature tours are also possible with wheelchairs and strollers.

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs in the USA

Visit Garden of the Gods
US state Colorado
Address 1805 N 30th St., Colorado Springs, Colorado 80904, United State
Directions Via Interstate 25 (Exit 145) or Highway 24 (Exit Manitou Ave)
Our suggestion Alternatively, look at these exciting tours to explore the Garden of the Gods

#6. The Statue of Liberty

You can visit the most famous icon of the United States for free! While docking on Liberty Island (the island of the Statue of Liberty in New York City Harbor) would cost about $ 24, the free Staten Island Ferry will get you close enough to Lady Liberty on a 50-minute boat ride to take great photos.

Plus, there are a bunch of great photo spots in New York from which you can see the green lady really well. These include the Brooklyn Bridge sidewalk and the Battery Park City Esplanade.

Statue of Liberty in New York City in the USA

Visit the Statue of Liberty
US state New York
Address New York, NY 10004, United States
How to get there Free round trip (Staten Island Ferry) from Whitehall Terminal or St. George Terminal
Hidden costs Docking with the commercial ferry (Statue City Cruises) for a walk-through cost about $ 24.
Our suggestion Look for an express tour to the Statue of Liberty

#7. The Vegas Strip & Fremont Street

Walking down the Las Vegas Strip is a sensational and cost-free experience. Amidst the nighttime carnival atmosphere, there's so much to see that you really don't need to enter any casinos or shows to have a great time in Sin City.

You can also explore the Fremont Street area of Downtown Las Vegas for free, and you'll even get to see live concerts and plenty of street performers. Breathtaking light and water shows and architectural wonders are also included in your stroll through both party districts!

Las Vegas Strip in Nevada in the USA

Visit Las Vegas Strip and Fremont Street Experience
US state Nevada
Address S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, United States
425 E Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV 89101, United States
Directions Bus line DEUCE shuttles between Las Vegas Strip and Fremont Street, the connection to McCarran Airport is bus 109.
Our suggestion Find more exciting activities at the Las Vegas Strip here

#8. Elite universities like Yale, Harvard, and Princeton

Some of the most prestigious universities in the US regularly host free campus tours for visitors! Escorted walks last between 40 and 60 minutes, and for independent tours, there are often convenient apps such as the Harvard mobile app for iOS and Android.

Yale University Campus in Connecticut in the USA

Visit elite universities in the USA
US states Connecticut (Yale), Massachusetts (Harvard), California (Stanford), New Jersey (Princeton), Pennsylvania (UPenn), New York (Columbia and Cornell), New Hampshire (Dartmouth), Rhode Island (Brown University) )
Addresses Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, United States
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, United States
Standford University, 450 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94305, United States
Princeton, NJ 08544, United States University of
Pennsylvania, Claire M. Fagin Hall, 418 Curie Blvd, PA 19104, United States
Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, United States
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States
Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, United States
Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, United States
Our suggestion Explore some of the elite universities in the USA with these tours

#9. Central Park

Central Park in Manhattan is often referred to as New York City's backyard. Yet there is so much to see in this beautiful piece of nature - and it's completely free! Central Park is one of NYC's most popular attractions for a reason.

It's home to scenic hills, meadows, playgrounds, skating rinks, sports fields, and many world-famous filming locations and attractions like Strawberry Fields, Belvedere Castle, and the Central Park Zoo.

Don't underestimate the size of the 3.4 km2 area and best get a map at the visitor center before you set off on a sunny walk through the Big Apple's backyard!

Central Park in New York City in the USA

Visit Central Park
US state New York
Address New York, NY, United States
Directions Subway lines A, B, C, D, and 1 to Columbus Cir, express trains 2 / 3 to 110th Street/Lenox Ave, lines N, Q, R to 5th Ave / 60th St. or line F to 57th St / 6th Ave. Bus lines M106, M96, M86, M79, M72, and M66 even go through the park.
Our suggestion Alternatively, explore even more of the Central Park with these unique tours and activities

#10. The White House

You can visit the White House in Washington, D.C. for free. However, you have to apply early at the US Embassy and wait for a permit.

You can also get a free garden tour around the White House and President's Park. Applications must be made in writing to the National Park Service: National Park Service, National Mall and Memorial Parks, Office of Permits Management, 900 Ohio Drive, SW, Washington, DC 20242, phone: +1 202-245-4715.

If you don't feel like going through these bureaucratic procedures, don’t worry: the sight of the US powerhouse is a great experience, even from a distance!

The White House in Washington DC in the USA

Visit the White House
US state Washington, D.C.
Address 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500, United States
Directions Subway to Federal Triangle (Blue Line, Red Line)
Our suggestion Get more out of Washington D.C. with these tours

#11. Route 66

Affectionately known as the "Mother Road," Route 66 is a sensational 3,800 km long in its original form. The "Main Street of America" was the first continuously paved road between Chicago and Los Angeles, but today it can no longer be driven without interruptions.

Nevertheless, Route 66 is a sight you have to experience as a true USA fan. Numerous "roadside attractions" make every stage of your road trip through the USA an (often bizarre) adventure.

Route 66 in the USA

Visit Route 66
US states Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California
Hidden costs Road tolls may apply for bypasses along Route 66 (e.g., due to heavy traffic).
Vehicle Rent a car

Our suggestion Alternatively, book an exciting tour along Route 66 here

#12. Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the USA and a tremendous experience both from a distance and on a walk or drive!

The walk of about 2.1 km is often windy, sometimes foggy, and quite noisy due to the traffic, but the view over the San Francisco Bay from one of the viewing platforms is worth it - especially at dawn. You can also walk the nearby trails and historic Fort Point for free.

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in the USA

Visit Golden Gate Bridge
US state California
Address Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA, United States
Directions By car via Highway 101 or by Golden Gate Transit Bus
Hidden costs Parking: $ 1 - 2 per hour
Road toll: $ 8 - 10
Bus ticket: $ 5
Busticket: 5 $
Our suggestion More exciting activities around the Golden Gate Bridge

#13. Times Square

If you're in New York City, be sure to stop by Times Square and treat yourself to a dip in the neon lights! The epicenter of the US metropolis is not only the venue for legendary events like the New York New Year's Eve party but also the home of world-famous museums and Broadway shows, as well as the location of breathtaking skyscrapers and their observation decks.

Times Square in New York City

Visit Times Square
US state New York
Address Manhattan, NY 10036, United States
Directions Subway lines N, Q, R, S, W, 1, 2, 3, and 7 to Times Square
Our suggestion If you want to explore even more at Times Square, you can find some activities here

#14. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Admission to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park - the most popular national park in the USA - is free! You can thank a US federal law for this fact, as it prevents the National Park Service from charging entrance fees.

The humid mountain landscapes of the Great Smoky Mountains are a feast for the eyes any time of the year! As you hike through dense forests and along rushing streams, you'll experience all sorts of great views and wildlife encounters.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the USA

Visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park
US states North Carolina and Tennessee
Directions Drive via I-40 or I-75
Hidden costs Camping: $ 14 - $ 23 per night
Our suggestion Alternatively, you can find more adventurous tours through Great Smoky Mountains National Park here

#15. Florida Keys

The Florida Keys islands are located at the southern tip of the US state of Florida and are easily accessible by highway. The things you'll see on your drive, especially after arriving on the final main island, Key West, are unforgettable!

The lively, colorful party zone, with its fascinating mix of cultures, subcultures, shapes, and the stunning tropical panorama, offers you what might be the most beautiful (and craziest) views of the southern American states.

Florida Keys in the USA

Visit Florida Keys
US state Florida
Directions Drive via US Highway 1 or take a domestic flight to Key West
Hidden costs Road toll: approx. $ 1 - $ 3
Domestic flight from Miami Airport: $ 188
Our suggestion Find some exciting tours and activities on the Florida Keys here

Are you ready for your low-budget trip across the USA? Then grab a rental car, book the cheapest flight you can find, and let's go!

ESTA – visa-free to the USA

With an ESTA, you can stay 90 days visa-free in the USA. Apply online now!