Let’s give Mother Nature a break once in a while. Summers are crowded enough without us clogging the national park system. Man made attractions are meant to draw you in. Here are a few:
Graceland, Memphis, TN No other musical icon has a tribute like this, not Sinatra, nor Michael, nor the Beatles. Yes, it is a little tacky, but think about the great Elvis’ staying power through the decades. Most people who visit were not even born when he died!
Biosphere 2, Arizona This is/was a remarkable social experiment that probably failed, cost too much, and only proved that many people living in a small space cannot agree on much. But it breaks up the trip between Tucson and Phoenix almost perfectly.
Knott’s Berry Farm, Buena Park, CA Forget the rides and theme park, you must go for the original fried chicken dinner. They even serve jello with whipped cream for dessert.
Crystal Cathedral, Garden Grove, CA This is the largest glass building in the world. Check it out, even if you don’t attend church! It has a huge organ, musical instrument, of course! And it is now a Catholic Church, designated by the bingo sign out front.
Alcatraz Island, San Francisco While the island itself is not man-made, the former Federal prison there was. It is a great way to spend half a day in our fabulous city, and get the same view that Al Capone once had of San Francisco.
Sundial Bridge, Redding, CA Most of us just pass by Redding on our way to Mount Shasta or Oregon. But plan to stop at the famous bridge, visible from above on a flight north. Designed in 2004 by Santiago Calatrava, it cost a whopping #23,500,000 but it put Redding on the map. My friends, the Johnsons live there.
Aloha Tower, Honolulu Just about every movie made in or about Hawaii through the Seventies had Aloha Tower as a background scene. You can almost see “From Here to Eternity” or “Blue Hawaii” when you stand there.
Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas Still a Vegas icon, a great place to stay or visit, great water fountain show, as well as their annual Christmas display. My friend Doug was just here, entertaining visitors from Italy.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, DC Nearly 58,000 Americans were killed or missing in this ill-fated war. Just remember, in Vietnam, they call it the “American” war!!
The Space Needle, Seattle, WA Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the needle still functions as a restaurant and observation deck. At 520 feet high, I still enjoy looking at it. It means I am in one of my favorite cities in the world.
Mall of America, Bloomington, MN Though not as tacky as I imagined, it is a great place for a long walk. It has over 500 stores, and over 4 million square feet of space, including an amusement park, and movie theater.
Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV This is the only roadside attraction or freak show that is not permanent on this list. The 2014 theme is Caravansary. It will be held from August 25 to September 1 this year. I would like to go one of these years.