- Historical sites in the US don’t always live up to the hype.
- The Liberty Bell and Mount Rushmore look smaller than expected in person.
- Plymouth Rock is just a rock.
- Crowds in the Capitol rotunda, Independence Hall, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty can make the experience less enjoyable.
Historical buildings and monuments across America are important testaments to the people and events that helped bring the country into existence and build it into what it is today.
But that doesn’t mean that they’re perfect tourist attractions – some iconic sites might look less impressive in person or be more crowded than is comfortable.
Here’s what 10 historical sites in the US really look like in life.
Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., the White House in Washington, DC, is America’s most famous address.
The White House is where the President of the United States lives and works. It has 132 rooms, including 16 family and guest rooms, three kitchens, and 35 bathrooms, and has been redecorated over different presidencies.
With all of the fencing and security barriers, it can be hard to get a good look.
The White House has been increasing fencing and security barriers after a slew of fence-jumping incidents.
The Capitol rotunda is full of sculptures, busts, and historical paintings commissioned by Congress.
The Capitol rotunda room has a diameter of 96 feet and a height of 180 feet.
It can get pretty packed.
Between 3 and 5 million people visit the Capitol every year.
The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, served as a symbol of freedom for abolitionists and suffragists.
The Liberty Bell used to ring from the Pennsylvania State House. It’s also known for its characteristic crack, which likely happened in the 1840s.
It’s smaller than it looks.
The Liberty Bell weighs 2,080 pounds. While its symbolism looms large in American history, it’s really not that big in person.
Inside Independence Hall, the Assembly Room is where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed.
The building was constructed in 1732. It was originally supposed to be the Pennsylvania State House for the state’s colonial government.
Tours of the Assembly Room confine visitors to a small side area.
Independence Hall is only accessible by ticketed tours, with a few exceptions.
The Battle of Gettysburg comes to life with Civil War reenactments in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the Civil War when southern Confederate troops were defeated by the Union army in July of 1863. President Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address in November that same year at the dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg where the battle was fought.
When there aren’t reenactments happening, the land where the battle took place is just a field with the trappings of modern life.
There have been efforts to bury power lines at the Civil War battlefield to restore it to the way it looked in 1863.
The Paul Revere House appears preserved in its Colonial setting.
Paul Revere bought the home in 1770 and left from there to take his famous midnight ride to warn patriots of approaching British troops in 1775.
From another angle, it looks just like any other house on a busy Boston street.
Admission to Paul Revere House is five dollars for adults.
The Statue of Liberty is an iconic part of New York City’s skyline.
The monument was a gift of friendship from France, dedicated in 1886.
The viewing experience isn’t as majestic as one might hope on a crowded boat tour.
Not to mention that visiting Liberty Island doesn’t actually afford the best view of the statue.
Ellis Island is a fantastic museum chronicling the building’s history as an immigration center.
Over one million immigrants passed through Ellis Island from 1892 to 1954. It opened to the public in 1976 and the full Ellis Island Museum was completed in 1990. INSIDER named it one of the 25 best US attractions to see in your lifetime.
The wait to get off Ellis Island, however, is not as fantastic.
The last ferries leave Ellis Island around 5:15 PM, resulting in a long line of tourists rushing to catch the last boat of the day.
Pilgrim Memorial State Park in Massachusetts marks the spot where pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620.
The pilgrims had to stop at Plymouth Rock because they were running out of beer, their main source of hydration.
At the end of the day, it’s just a rock.
The park draws 1 million visitors every year even though the main attraction is just a rock like any other.
Mount Rushmore in South Dakota features George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln carved into the Black Hills.
Mount Rushmore was sculpted from 1927 to 1941. Nearly 2.5 million people visited Mount Rushmore in 2016, according to the National Park Service.
In person, it looks much smaller and farther away.
Mount Rushmore looks bigger and more stately in photos. In person, it doesn’t loom as large from the observation deck.
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