30 Most Famous Landmarks in North America


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The Grand Canyon is one of the most famous landmarks in North America
The Grand Canyon is one of the most famous landmarks in North America

One of the most visited continents in the world is North America. From the natural landmarks in Canada and Mexico to the United States' historical and architectural marvels, there is something for everyone to explore on this continent.

There are many national parks all over Canada that showcase the country's natural beauty, such as the different lakes and the pristine, undisturbed mountainous landscapes.

America is a country known for its patriotism, and the landmarks you can find here are a testament to that. From the great architectural and engineering feats with the likes of the Statue of Liberty in New York to world-famous landmarks and natural structures, America is a great place to visit and has loads of things to see.

And lastly, Mexico is a country rich in the history of the Mayan and Aztec cultures. Many of its famous North American landmarks show you how the historic civilizations lived and worked. The country is full of life and will keep pulling you back for more even once you return home.

This guide covers the most famous landmarks in North America, all of which will make you want to pack your bags, book a flight, and explore the continent till your heart is content.

  • 30 landmarks

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Landmarks Map

Using the map below, you can explore all the landmarks.

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A tall bluish-green stone monument surrounded by water with two white boats
The Statue of Liberty is a famous visual symbol of America

Statue of Liberty, New York, USA

Pretty much the symbol of America, the Statue of Liberty is one of the most famous landmarks of North America. It was gifted to the US by France in 1886, and it is situated on a small island - Liberty Island - minutes away from New York City.

The statue represents independence and is of the Roman goddess of freedom. It is a popular tourist attraction and averages about 4 million visitors each year. The statue itself is visible from New York City, and you will have to take a ferry ride to get to the island.

Once here, you can climb 374 steps to get to the top of the statue to enjoy the fantastic views of the New York City skyline, which includes the iconic Empire State Building.

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Staircase leading to a building with eight pillars and three arched gateways
The Metropolitan Museum of Art averages almost 7 million visitors a year

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA

There are many museums all around the US and North America to visit, each with its own collections and attractions, but the most famous one of them all has to be the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It is one of the major landmarks in North America and garners an average of 6.7 million visitors per year.

The museum has 17 departments featuring over 2 million works, all in permanent collections. Tourists can marvel at masterpieces from Edgar Degas, Van Gogh, and Jackson Pollock.

Several historical objects are on display, such as the world’s oldest piano, a vintage Chinese Garden Court, an ancient Egyptian Temple, and Henry VIII’s armor.

If you prefer to do non-touristy things in NYC, then check out some of the lesser-known museums, like the Morgan Library and Museum and Mmuseumm, among others.

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A grey rocky mountain with four large man faces carved into it
Mt Rushmore is located near Keystone in South Dakota

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota, USA

Another landmark that has become synonymous with America is Mt. Rushmore. Completed in 1941, it is located near Keystone in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It is one of those famous North America landmarks that should definitely be on your bucket list when visiting the USA.

Mt Rushmore is a colossal sculpture that has been carved into the side of a mountain and features the four most popular US presidents. These are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. It has been popular with visitors ever since it was first unveiled.

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Side view of rolling canyons with a blue hue and clouds at the back
The Grand Canyon covers an area of 4,926 kilometers per square

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA

The Grand Canyon is one of the top landmarks in North America and attracts many tourists and locals year-round. It is neither the largest nor the deepest canyon in the world, but it has gained enough attention to make it one of the best national parks on the West Coast.

The Grand Canyon covers an area of 4,926 kilometers per square and even has a population of about 208 people. The inhabitants reside in a small village called Supai, and they are the most remote community in the lower 48 states of America.

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A tall white monument with a pointy top reflected in a pond
The Washington Monument is dedicated to the president George Washington

Washington Monument, Washington DC, USA

Washington DC has many different landmarks that are very popular with tourists who visit, such as the Lincoln Memorial. Another is the Washington Monument, one of the most famous monuments in North America. It is dedicated to the first president, George Washington, and stands proudly in the National Mall.

The George Washington Monument is a 169-meter-tall white obelisk that was completed in 1884. It was made by Robert Mills, and it was projected to be a bigger project than what you can see now.

The whole monument was supposed to be a more cohesive project that featured Revolutionary War heroes and Washington driving a horse-drawn chariot, but due to the lack of funding, it never happened.

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Tall Redwood tree trunks and leaves on a sunny day from below
Redwood National Park has the tallest trees on Earth

Redwood National Park, California, USA

The USA has many national parks that each have their unique characteristics and warrant a visit. Redwood National Park is one of the famous natural landmarks in North America. It is located in the state of California and houses the tallest trees in the world.

As the name suggests, the types of trees you will find in this park are Coast Redwoods. They are beautiful trees with an imposing presence that make you appreciate the resilience and beauty of mother nature.

The lifespan of Redwood trees is anywhere from 500 to 700 years, with some exceeding 2000 years. The trees can grow to be very tall, and the highest Redwood tree you will find here is called the Hyperion. It is 115 meters tall.

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An expansive, red suspension bridge connecting two land sides over a river
The Golden Gate Bridge connects San Francisco to Marin County

Golden Gate Bridge, California, USA

Even if you’ve never been to the USA, you have probably heard of the Golden Gate Bridge. It is one of the most well-known bridges in the world and a very famous landmark in California. The bridge connects San Francisco to Marin County and was completed in 1937. It is a must on your San Francisco itinerary!

The Golden Gate Bridge is 2.7 km long and was the longest main suspension bridge in America until it was overtaken by the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge in New York City in 1964.

It is most recognized for its burnt red hue that adds a touch of color on top of the green and blue landscape surrounding it. The bridge was supposed to be yellow and blue when the project first started, but the architect decided against that once the steel arrived, already painted red.

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A vast mountain region enveloped in autumn colored foilage
The Great Smoky Mountains is full of different kinds of flora and fauna

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina, USA

Perched on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with all its various flora and fauna, is one of the most popular East Coast national parks.

You can find wildflowers that bloom throughout the year within the park, along with streams, rivers, and waterfalls as you hike along the trails. Some noteworthy attractions in this national park include:

  • A segment of the Appalachian Trail.
  • The Walker Sisters’ Cabin, which is where six sisters lived even after everyone was asked to relocate.
  • The Newfound Gap, the lowest part of the entire park.
  • Elkmont, once a logging community but now houses two resorts for guests.
  • Clingmans Dome, where you can find an observation tower that will allow you to catch views of the whole Smoky Mountain Range and its highest peak.

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A red bricked building with windows and a clock tower protruding from the top
The Independence Hall is the place where the Declaration of Independence was signed

Independence Hall, Pennsylvania, USA

Whenever you’re in America, and you want to understand the roots of the country, the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a landmark that you should add to your list.

The Independence Hall is located within the Independence National Historical Park and is one of the most famous landmarks in America. It is, after all, the place where the country was founded when the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1778.

This landmark is also the place where George Washington was appointed the commander in chief of the Continental Army and has a lot of historical significance in the history of America as an independent state.

Once you are done visiting the Independence Hall, you can venture out further into the park to visit the museums dotted around it and marvel at the Liberty Bell that has been ringing every hour since its completion in 1876 for the 100th day of independence.

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Aerial view of a large dam sandwiched between rocky canyons
The Hoover Dam is one of the engineering marvels of the modern world

Hoover Dam, Nevada, USA

Another one of the engineering marvels of the modern world, the Hoover Dam in Nevada, is one of the most popular landmarks of America.

It is known for its massive size and the fact that it provides hydroelectric power and water to seven different states across the US and a portion of Mexico as well.

The Hoover Dam was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985 and was added to America's Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders in 1994.

As the Hoover Dam is only about a 45-minute drive outside of Las Vegas, you should consider adding it to your Las Vegas itinerary. Moreover, it is free, so it won't cost you a thing to visit!

The Dam can irrigate 2 million acres of land with its 17 turbines generating enough electricity to power 1.3 million homes. It also holds back the Colorado River. The plan to build the Dam was made in 1922, and the construction was completed in 1933.

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Water crashing into a blue river with autumn colored trees in the background
Witness the majestic Niagara Falls during the day or at night

Niagara Falls, Ontario/New York, Canada/USA

A list of the most important landmarks in North America would not be complete without mentioning Niagara Falls. This is one landmark that is shared between Canada and America as it is situated on the border of Ontario and New York.

Niagara Falls is known all over the world, with 3 million people visiting it every year. The American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and the Canadian (Horseshoe) Falls are the three falls that are collectively known as Niagara Falls.

It is a majestic scene to witness in the daytime and at night when you can enjoy the fireworks and a light show that really makes all the falls pop.

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A gigantic tower with a pointy top surrounded by buildings and trees
The CN Tower is 553 meters tall and serves as a central navigation spot

CN Tower, Ontario, Canada

There are always a few landmarks that are synonymous with a country, and for Canada, one of those landmarks is the CN Tower in Toronto. It has quickly become one of the country's symbols and is one of the most popular landmarks in North America.

The CN tower is 553 meters tall and proudly serves as a central navigation point in the city, making it easier to travel around Toronto for all. The tower was completed and unveiled in 1976 and has attracted a lot of visitors since then.

It is also one of the most photographed places in Toronto. The CN Tower was designated a Wonder of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1995, and it is a must on your Toronto itinerary.

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A narrow canal with many gates flowing between buildings and trees
The Rideau Canal is right in the center of Ottawa

Rideau Canal, Ontario, Canada

RIght in the center of Ottawa, you will find the historic Rideau Canal. It is one of the historic landmarks in North America and one of the top things to do in Ottawa.

It was constructed between 1826 and 1832, and it was initially a route that was used for supply and communication between Montreal, Quebec, and Kingston, Ontario. The Canal is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a beloved landmark of the city.

You can take a boat on the canal by yourself, or join a cruise in the summer. The cruise goes for 90 minutes and takes you around to the other city landmarks. In the winter, the canal transforms into an ice skating rink once the temperatures drop.

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A parliament building with a clock tower, benches, bare trees and street lamps
Parliament Hill is home to Canada's federal government

Parliament Hill, Ontario, Canada

One of the most important landmarks in Canada and a famous landmark in North America, Parliament Hill in Ottawa is a must-visit for anyone exploring the country.

It is home to Canada's federal government and is located right next to the Rideau Canal. The first buildings were constructed under King Edward VII in 1860 and were finished in 1867 when the first-ever session of parliament was held here.

Visitors can walk around the area and take tours of the different parliament buildings found on Parliament Hill. There is the Centre Block, which has the central Peace Tower, and the East and West Blocks.

The Centre Block showcases stunning gothic revival architecture with pointed arches and contrasting stonework. You can also visit the ornaments on display at the Hall of Honour and the Grand Library of Parliament.

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A pathway and a traditional wooden bridge surrounded by greenery
Walk or bike around Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC

Stanley Park, British Columbia, Canada

One of the most famous landmarks in North America, Stanley Park in Vancouver, Canada, is the city's main park covering an area of 405 hectares. Stanley Park houses centuries-old Red Cedar and Douglas Fir trees, which add to the beauty of this landmark-filled park.

You can walk or bike along the historic Seawall route, which will take you around the whole park and offers some fantastic views of Vancouver. Along the way, you can see Coal Harbor, Brockton Point, Lions Gates Bridge, Third Beach, Second Beach, and Siwash Rock - some noteworthy attractions for your Vancouver itinerary.

Within the park, you can also find the following attractions:

  • The Brockton Point Totem Poles, which represent the First Nations' cultures throughout the province of British Columbia.
  • Several popular and stunning beaches offering a great way to spend a day with your date, relaxing along the sand and water.
  • The Lost Lagoon, which is full of different species of birds that roam around freely.

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A variety of colorful plants and lush green trees
The Butchart Gardens receives more than a million visitors each year

The Butchart Gardens, British Columbia, Canada

Located in Brentwood Bay, Victoria, the historic Butchart Gardens are a collection of floral gardens. The gardens showcase hundreds of varieties of flowers and are more than 100 years old. It is a great place to visit when on Vancouver Island on a weekend getaway from Vancouver.

In 2004, the Butchart Gardens became a National Historic Site of Canada. It receives more than a million visitors each year. The Butchart family that started the gardens still owns them, with the great-granddaughter acting as the managing director right now.

Many different sculptures can be found all over the gardens, with the Wild Boar sculpture being cast in France in 1973. There are a total of six gardens that you can walk around in.

There is also ice-skating in the wintertime, and every night, local talent lights up the massive concert lawn. Consider grabbing some tasty brunch in Victoria before heading to the Gardens.

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An ancient château-style hotel surrounded by green trees and blue sky
Le Chateau Frontenac was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company in 1892

Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, Quebec, Canada

Old Quebec City is known as the hub of historic buildings in Canada. It has several different famous buildings in North America that date back to various periods of Canada's history, and some of them are awe-inspiring.

One of the most historic buildings, however, is Le Chateau Frontenac. The building was the center of governance when the French were in power over North America and played an important part when the British took over.

The name comes from one of the governors of the French colony, Comte de Frontenac, and the Canadian Pacific Railway Company built the building in 1892. It has been named a National Historic Site by the Canadian government as it has been the seat of many important historical events.

From marveling at the exterior to experiencing the history of the interior, Le Chateau Frontenac is a great place to spend some time. The hotel inside is also worth spending a night in.

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Aerial view of colorful French-style building rooftops
Do some shopping in the quaint Petit-Champlain neighborhood

Quartier Petit Champlain, Quebec, Canada

If you love to relive the glory of the past, you will love this quaint little neighborhood in Quebec City. Petit-Champlain will transport you back to the olden days with its historical architecture, narrow cobblestone streets, and mural paintings that can be found all over the neighborhood.

The shopping district in Petit-Champlain is the oldest in North America, and the Breakneck Stairs are the oldest in Quebec, having been built in 1635.

Once at the top of these stairs, you are greeted with beautiful panoramic views of the whole city, which are decorated with thousands of lights in the wintertime. There are also many boutique cafes and shops that are sure to keep you happy as well.

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Hotel de Glace, Quebec, Canada

One of the unique landmarks in Canada is the Hotel de Glace. It is located in Quebec and is one of the most beautiful ice hotels in the world. The ice all around the hotel is clear, giving it a glass-like appearance. The hotel is also full of sculptures and has attracted over 1 million visitors since its opening in 2001.

The whole hotel is made of ice, and if you think the bed isn't made of ice too, you’re wrong! You’ll be given warm sleeping bags, which will ensure you have a cozy stay at Hotel de Glace (that is, after you are greeted with a drink served in an ice glass upon your arrival!).

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Bare trees and rocky mountains with a lake and a partly cloudy sky
Marvel at the picturesque attractions Banff National Park has to offer

Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

One of the most famous natural landmarks of Canada is Banff National Park. It is an idyllic place full of lush green areas, towns that have been long abandoned but are perfectly preserved, and sheer natural beauty.

Moraine Lake, located here, is a glacially-fed lake that starts to thaw in the summer months. When it is full, it turns a stunning shade of turquoise.

The town of Banff is part of the national park and is surrounded by mountains that add to the picturesque beauty of the small area. You can walk down Banff Avenue and enjoy the historic architecture, shops, museums, and restaurants.

Calgary is also only a 1.5-hour drive away from Banff, which is a great city to experience some Canadian nightlife in.

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An ancient, stone pyramid with staircases and greenery around
Chichen Itza is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World

Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico

Chichen Itza served as the center of pilgrimage for the ancient Mayan civilization for more than a thousand years. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 and is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

The archaeological site features several different Mayan ruins, but the most famous one is the Chichen Itza Pyramid, which is known as El Castillo. There is also a Temple of the Warriors and an Observatory that you can visit while here.

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A stone sculpture in the middle of a lawn with a grand building at the back
Castillo Chapultepec is where the movie Romeo and Juliet was filmed

Chapultepec Castle, Mexico City, Mexico

The only castle to serve as an actual home for royalty on the continent, Castillo Chapultepec, is a very famous landmark in North America. It is located in Mexico City.

Construction began in 1785, and after a transition period of a few architects and owners, the building was purchased by the municipal government of Mexico City in 1806.

Castillo Chapultepec served as the home of the Mexican Emperor Maximilian I and his wife, Empress Carlota, from 1864 to 1867 when he was executed. Since then, the building has been an observatory, a military college, and an official guest house for state dignitaries.

It now houses the Museum of National History, a top attraction to visit in Mexico City. Castillo Chapultepec has also been the filming location for the famous Romeo and Juliet film, and it is believed to be haunted, which adds to its allure.

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Ancient ruins with staircases and buildings in the background
Templo Mayor is situated on the outskirts of Mexico City

Templo Mayor Museum, Mexico City, Mexico

Another landmark that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Templo Mayor, is situated on the outskirts of Mexico City. It served as the main temple for the Mexican people that lived in the then capital city of Tenochtitlan.

Templo Mayor has a pyramid with two temples, one for Huitzilopochtli, the Sun God, and one for the God of Agriculture, Tlaloc. It has many levels and is a very tall structure that shows how highly the people regarded their gods.

Several different statues and carvings depicting more Gods and symbols that the Aztec people worshipped and looked up to can be seen around. The temple was destroyed in the Spanish conquest, but the ruins remain there today, and they are a sight to be seen.

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Metropolitan Cathedral, Mexico City, Mexico

One of the most recognized landmarks in Mexico is the Catedral de Metropolitana de la Asunción. The cathedral is 220 feet high and has a large dome on the top. The cathedral's construction started in 1573 AD and incorporates Gothic, Baroque, Neoclassical, and Plateresque architectural styles.

The cathedral was completed in 1813 and features statues of Saint Peter, Paul the Apostle, Saint Andrew, and James the Just on the main facade. There are 16 different chapels inside the cathedral, and each of these is dedicated to various saints.

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A hill and trees against an old, stone pyramid with steps
The Great Pyramid was constructed in 4 stages and took over a century to complete

Great Pyramid of Cholula, Puebla, Mexico

Who wouldn’t want to visit the largest pyramid in the world? Well, the Great Pyramid of Cholula is the largest pyramid on Earth, standing at 180 feet high. It attracts loads of people throughout the year and is one of the most well-known landmarks in North America.

The construction was done in 4 stages and took over a hundred years to complete. The pyramid served as a religious center for the people residing in the area and held a lot of significance for them.

There are three main buildings in the Pyramid of Cholula, along with other smaller ones. There is also the main courtyard, altars, burial sites, and stunning mural paintings. It is a site that you should definitely visit when in Puebla.

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Aerial view of majestic ruins and a pyramid surrounded by greenery
Palenque is an ancient Mayan city-state and is full of stunning excavations

Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico

Located in the heart of Chiapas, Palenque is an ancient Mayan city-state and one of the most famous landmarks of North America. The city is thought to have first been inhabited around 100 BC, with many excavations uncovering scriptures and writings that talk about kings ruling it since the fifth century AD.

The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, owing to the history of the Palenque people and their political inclinations. There is a Temple of Inscriptions that contains the second-longest Maya glyphic text and has records of over 180 years of Mayan history. El Palacio is at the center of this site and was the home of ruling parties when the city was in its prime.

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Truncated pyramids and large staircases surrounded by greenery and people
Visit Monte Alban and marvel at the architecture

Monte Alban Archaeological Zone, Oaxaca, Mexico

Mexico is a country full of archaeological landmarks due to its rich history and traditions, many of which you can still see in practice when in Mexico. Monte Alban is a historic site that houses the ruins of an ancient center of the Zapotec and Mixtec cultures.

The area was first inhabited in 500 BC and stayed that way till 750 AD. When here, you can head to the Main Plaza to marvel at the architecture or explore the truncated pyramids around the site. You can also visit the court where an ancient ball game called Tlachtli used to be played.

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The exterior of a giant, stone pyramid in the middle of greenery
The Pyramid of the Niches is 65 feet tall and has 7 sets of stairs

Pyramid of the Niches, Veracruz, Mexico

Located in the city of El Tajin, in the state of Veracruz, you will find the Pyramid of the Niches. The city of El Tajin was active between 800 and 1200 AD and was once the most important center in the northeast of Mesoamerica.

The Pyramid of the Niches is 65 feet high and has seven sets of stairs that will lead you to the top of the landmark. The pyramid is made of blocks of stones, and it has 365 steps, which suggests that it was used as a calendar in historic times. It might be located in the middle of a humid jungle, but it is a landmark you shouldn't miss.

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Two colossal pyramids surrounded by greenery, more ruins and hills from far away
The ancient city of Teotihuacan has two grand pyramids along the Avenue of the Dead

Teotihuacan Pyramids, Teotihuacan, Mexico

In the ancient city of Teotihuacan lies two grand pyramids, the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. The town was a flourishing hub between 100 BC and 550 BC and was once one of the most populated cities in Mesoamerica, with nearly 200,000 inhabitants.

The two pyramids sit along a 2.5-mile stretch called the Avenue of the Dead. The Pyramid of the Moon was built sometime between 200 to 450 AD and has a few pyramids layered on top of one another. It was made as a tribute to the Goddesses they believed in. The rooms inside are now used for burying the dead.

The Pyramid of the Sun, on the other hand, is believed to have been used for rituals related to magic. The view from the top of the pyramid of the area is striking. It was built in 100 AD and stands at 216 feet tall, making it one of the largest structures of its kind in North America.

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Old Mayan ruins atop a rocky cliff overlooking vast blue water
Enjoy stunning views and delicious food in Tulum

Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Tulum is a Mexican city that contains some of the most historical landmarks in North America. When here, you can see the ancient Mayan ruins in the Tulum Archaeological Site and walk along the area where one of the oldest civilizations in the world lived.

You can also dine at the top of the Tulum Tower and enjoy a stunning view while eating delicious traditional food. There are many natural sites that you can hike and swim in as well.

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Conclusion

North America is a continent full of natural beauty, historic sites, and ancient archaeological ruins. Whether you love to learn about history or want to get lost in an ice hotel, we hope this North America famous landmarks list helped you see the best spots in America, Mexico, and Canada.

Happy travels!

This article was edited by Loredana Elena.


Written by Nawaal R. Khan

Nawaal_RK WRITER Currently based in Pakistan and working as a content specialist, I have travelled all across the globe and enjoy learning about cultures, discovering hidden gems, and roaming around the streets of beautiful cities in the world.


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