Amazing Places

Most Americans Haven't Visited the Famous Landmarks Next Door

Are you a New Yorker who's never visited the Statue of Liberty? Or a Chicagoan who's never been to the top of Sears — er, Willis Tower? How about an Arizonan who has yet to see the Grand Canyon? You're not alone. A new survey shows that only a fraction of Americans has visited the biggest attraction in their immediate area — but it's not because they don't want to.

There's No Place Like Home

In an April 2018 survey commissioned by OnePoll and Zipcar, nearly a quarter (23 percent) of all respondents across the country said they haven't been to a single iconic landmark in the U.S. It turns out that very few Americans have actually made it to national treasures like the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, and the National Mall in Washington, D.C. — to the tune of 28 percent, 33 percent, and 22 percent, respectively.

But it's not just destination locations that aren't getting seen: 55 percent of Americans said they want to visit a local landmark, but they haven't. Only one in four Americans have visited "the biggest attraction with 30 miles of their doorstep," but that's not all: More than half of participants haven't even checked out their local library.

People aren't just missing out on places supported by American tax dollars, though. Even local cuisines are getting overlooked. A full 80 percent have their sights on a local restaurant that they haven't gotten around to checking off their bucket list, for starters. Have you tried a Maine lobster as a resident in the Northeast? If so, you're in the minority, as 59 percent of respondents haven't. And it breaks our hearts at Curiosity to say this, but nearly half of Midwesterners (49 percent) haven't tried a Chicago pizza. Now that's where we draw the line!

Get Up, Get Out

The survey found that more than half of Americans claim they want more spontaneity in their lives and that they want to travel more. But the same proportion also said they don't have enough money to explore more, and a lack of free time and reliable transportation make it even harder for them to go where they want to go. It doesn't help that American workers get fewer vacation days than workers in most other developed countries, with the U.S. being the only advanced economy in the world that doesn't guarantee workers paid vacation time.

Still, there's hope for the future. Millennials are almost twice as likely to try new things as Americans aged 55 and older, at 60 percent versus 32 percent. And that means the country's younger generation should be able to reap some of the many benefits that come from traveling. That means that the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, and the Statue of Liberty — which happen to be the top three sites Americans want to visit — might get more love from future generations.

But the main takeaway is that if you're looking for inspiration for your next travel destination, then just look in your backyard! The average American only tries new places every four months. In fact, you're likely to check out a new coffee shop, library, or park every five months, and a new beach, museum, landmark, or state fair every six months. We know you can do better than that. Go on, get out and enjoy what America has to offer.

Follow Curiosity Travel on Instagram for more travel ideas. And for a virtual travel trip across America, check out "Travels with Charley in Search of America" by John Steinbeck. Get the audiobook free with your Audible trial, and if you make a purchase using this link, then Curiosity gets a share of the sale.

Written by Cody Gough June 25, 2018

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