If you’re like me, your recollection of high school history class is a little fuzzy – but I do remember places I visited as a kid (even if I complained at the time). Learning about American history by visiting the places where events happened not only solidified what I was learning at school but created unforgettable family memories.
From coast to coast, the United States is full of fascinating places, from the site where pilgrims landed near Boston to San Francisco, birthplace of hippie counterculture in the 1960s. If you’re a history lover and want to experience some of the country’s most notable historic destinations, read on. This summer, indulge your curiosity in our nation’s past, pack up the fam, and visit these significant destinations – all of which have a Kimpton boutique hotel right in the heart of it all.
Boston today is known for its enthusiastically supported sports teams and its mouth-watering seafood, but it dates back to the 1630s, when Puritans settled the Massachusetts Colony (you can visit the final resting place of many of them at King’s Chapel Burying Ground). Boston’s role as the cradle of the American Revolution makes it a top destination for history buffs, who will want to see Faneuil Hall, the Paul Revere House and the Old North Church (side note: Kimpton Nine Zero is mere steps from the Old South Meeting House and the Boston Tea Party). Take a walking tour with a docent dressed in 18th century garb on The Freedom Trail, get shucked at Union Oyster House, the city’s oldest restaurant; and don’t miss the USS Constitution, one of the oldest frigates still afloat.
Where to Stay: Kimpton Nine Zero
Our nation’s capital is so steeped in history that museums, monuments, landmarks, and points of interest are at every turn. The National Mall is a must (spoiler alert–you’re not there to shop and sunrise is a special time). It’s home to the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and literally 150 more iconic stops, including Ford’s Theater. The U.S. Capitol tour sheds light on how our government works and you can see our Commander in Chief’s residence, the White House, too. The Smithsonian is the world’s largest group of museums, containing a cache of millions of artifacts, ranging from popular culture to dinosaur bones.
Where to Stay: Kimpton Hotel Monaco D.C.
In San Francisco, there’s a delight from every era: the original Mission Dolores is at the heart of its eponymous hip, artsy district; the oldest and largest Chinatown districts in country demands a food tour, the Victorian ‘painted ladies’ row houses are a marvel, and jumping on and off a cable car through San Francisco’s topsy-turvy streets. Have a drink at the Old Ship Saloon, an 1850s shipwreck turned bar before taking a tour of Alcatraz. Haight Ashbury is the birthplace of hippie culture; the houses of Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, and Janis Joplin stand amid vintage shops and funky cafes. San Francisco is the cradle of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, centered in the Castro neighborhood, the Rainbow Honor Walk is worth visiting, and there are a concentration of LGBTQ+ landmarks.
Where to Stay: Kimpton Alton Hotel
Savannah is famous for its genteel Southern charm, thanks to its manicured parks, horse-drawn carriages and elegant antebellum architecture. The Kimpton Brice is central to Savannah’s Historic District, steps away from cobblestone-lined River Street. The city was a pivotal port in the American Revolution and was spared by Sherman’s Civil War campaigns. Take a tour, whether by foot, by trolley, or by riverboat (ghost tours add a dose of the paranormal and food tours let you sample history with your taste buds). Visit picturesque Forsyth Park and explore the decades through the architecture of the area. Scenic Bonaventure Cemetery is the final resting place of many of Savannah’s notables (you can even get an app that guides you through). Savannah is also rich in historic religious sites like the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Congregation Mickve Israel, and the First African Baptist Church are all nearby. The Old Sorrel-Weed House, the Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters, and the Wormsloe Historic Site all offer a lens into Savannah’s past.
Where to Stay: Kimpton Brice Hotel
The City of Brotherly Love is full of the history of the American Revolution and beyond–and you can’t get closer than staying at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco – it literally has a view of the Liberty Bell. Also nearby: Independence Hall, the Museum of the American Revolution and the Benjamin Franklin Museum. Step back to colonial New England at the Dolley Todd House and the Bishop White House, even learn about one of the country’s most ambitious incarceration projects at the Eastern State Penitentiary.