Every year, people plan their vacations to include a stop at notable U.S. landmarks. This summer, travelers vacationing in the San Francisco area will make a point to visit the city’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge, which celebrates its 80th anniversary on May 27.
In honor of the Golden Gate Bridge’s upcoming milestone, here’s a look at how much it cost to build some of the most recognizable U.S. landmarks — as well as how much they would cost if built today. If your summer vacation plans aren’t yet set, why not add these recognizable structures to your travel itinerary?
Golden Gate Bridge
When it opened in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world. Built to close the gap between San Francisco and California’s northern counties, the structure welcomes more than 10 million visitors annually.
One of the most famous American landmarks, the bridge cost $35 million to build. It was largely financed by Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District bonds purchased by local residents, who used their homes, farms and businesses as collateral. If the Golden Gate Bridge was built today, the total price tag would reach $594.3 million.
Cloud Gate (The Bean)
Created by artist Anish Kapoor, Cloud Gate put Chicago’s Millennium Park on the map. Popularly known simply as “The Bean,” the 66-foot-long stainless steel sculpture stands 33 feet high and 42 feet wide.
At its inception in 1999, the 110-ton Cloud Gate had an estimated price tag of $6 million. By the time it was formally dedicated in 2006, however, total costs for the donor-funded sculpture amounted to $23 million. If it was built today, construction costs would amount to nearly $27.8 million.
Famed artist Jeff Koons was originally supposed to create another sculpture for Millennium Park. However, plans for his piece were eliminated so Cloud Gate could be the sole focus.
Empire State Building
Still one of the most famous American landmarks, when the Empire State Building opened in 1931, it was the tallest office building in the world. Rising 1,250 feet into the air, the design of the 102-story steel structure changed 16 times during planning and construction.
The Empire State Building held court as the tallest building in the world until 1972, when it was surpassed by the World Trade Center. Despite losing this distinction, it continues to welcome millions of visitors annually.
The iconic New York City landmark cost $41 million to build in 1931. Construction expenses would be monumentally higher in 2017, hovering around $655.3 million.
Towering above St. Louis since 1965, the Gateway Arch is a 63-story wonder. The 630-foot structure cost $13 million to build then, but if constructed today, costs would total nearly $100.3 million.
Serving as a gateway to the West, the arch symbolizes the role St. Louis played in the westward expansion of the country in the 19th century. It sits on the 91-acre Jefferson National Expansion Memorial site. In 1987, 62 acres of the park — including the Gateway Arch — were designated a National Historic Landmark.
As many as 160 visitors at a time can take the tram to the top of the Gateway Arch, which offers views of up to 30 miles on a clear day. The busy summer season can draw crowds of roughly 6,400 people daily.
Head to Hollywood this summer to spot your favorite celebrities and get a glimpse of the famed Hollywood sign. Built in 1923, the Hollywood sign is one of the most well-known U.S. landmarks, but the original version cost just $21,000. In today’s cash, that’s $305,655, which is pretty moderate for such a famous structure.
Originally an advertisement for the exclusive real estate development “Hollywoodland,” the City of Los Angeles took control of it in the mid-1940s. At this time, the “land” part of the sign was removed.
In 1973, the Hollywood sign was declared a historical landmark. Five years later, community leaders and celebrities like Hugh Hefner banded together to raise money to completely rebuild the sign for $250,000 — roughly $907,000 in 2017 funds.
Completed in 1936, the Hoover Dam took 8,000 workers five years to construct. Built to tame the Colorado River, construction costs totaled $165 million. In 2017 dollars, this equates to more than $2.9 billion.
Located just less than 40 miles from the Las Vegas strip, the Hoover Dam spans both the Arizona and Nevada borders. This curved-gravity dam is the second-highest dam in the U.S. and the 18th-highest in the world. It generates roughly four billion kilowatt-hours of hydroelectric power annually, serving 1.3 million people in Nevada, Arizona and California.
Roughly seven million people visit the Hoover Dam each year. Guided tours are available, including one of the power plant.
Situated in South Dakota’s Black Hills National Forest, Mount Rushmore took 400 workers 14 years to build. Constructed during the Great Depression, the monument famously features 60-foot-tall facial depictions of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
More than 90 percent of the monument was carved with dynamite. Despite the dangerous nature of the project, no one died during construction.
One of the most breathtaking sights in the world, roughly three million people visit Mount Rushmore annually. Completed in 1941, the landmark cost $989,992 to build. Today, this cost would rise exponentially to more than $15.8 million.
Las Vegas Sign
Sin City is filled with famous structures, but few are as recognizable as the Las Vegas sign. Emblazoned with “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada” on the front and both “Drive Carefully” and “Come Back Soon” on the back, it has become a tourist attraction in its own right.
Many of the Strip’s other sites cost millions to build, but the Las Vegas sign was created and installed for just $4,000 in 1959. Still modest in 2017 dollars, this equates to less than $34,000.
Located near Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, a few improvements have been made to the sign over the years. It’s now solar powered and features a 12-car parking lot for safe and easy access.
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Formerly known as the State House bell, the Liberty Bell once rang loud in the Pennsylvania State House, known today as Independence Hall. Crafted in the early 1750s, the bell became a symbol of liberty in the 1830s.
Characterized by a crack in its structure that has likely been there since the 1840s, the city of Philadelphia attempted a repair in 1846. However, the repair didn’t work and another crack developed, which silenced the free ringing of the bell.
The Liberty Bell is currently housed in downtown Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell Center. The building opened in 2003 at a cost of $12.6 million– approximately $16.7 million in 2017 funds. There’s no admission cost to see the Liberty Bell, so you can enjoy this historic landmark for free.
Soaring 605 feet into the air, Seattle’s iconic Space Needle was constructed in just 400 days. Finished in 1962, it had an initial price tag of $4.5 million, which equates to $36.4 million today.
In 2000, the structure underwent a $20 million renovation, which is equivalent to nearly $29 million in 2017 dollars. Many improvements were made during the renovation, including the addition of the SkyCity restaurant.
If the Space Needle is on your list of American landmarks to visit, feel secure in knowing its concrete foundation extends 30 feet into the ground. It’s two high-speed elevators travel top-to-bottom in just 43 seconds — that’s 10 miles per hour.
Statue of Liberty
New York is among the most expensive tourist destinations in the U.S., but many would argue that the price you pay for food and lodging is well worth the opportunity to see one of the most recognizable American landmarks. Gifted to the U.S. from France to commemorate the alliance the countries formed during the Revolutionary War, the Statue of Liberty stands tall on Liberty Island in the New York Harbor.
It took crews nine years of nonstop work to build the statue in Paris. The statue was then disassembled into 350 pieces and shipped to New York City in 1885, where it took four months to reassemble.
The U.S. and France joined forces to raise the $250,000 needed to build the Statue of Liberty, which was declared a National Monument in 1924.
One of the oldest U.S. landmarks, the Alamo was likely built in the 1700s. The San Antonio monument was pivotal in Texas’ independence from Mexico, serving as the site of the 1836 Battle of the Alamo, in which famed folk hero Davy Crockett fought.
Since the Alamo was built centuries ago, construction costs remain unknown. However, in 2015, $31.5 million in funding was set aside to preserve and develop this Texas landmark.
The Alamo is open to visitors year-round and admission is free. More than 2.5 million people visit the historic 4.2-acre site annually, which is still home to some of the original structures.
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Standing just more than 555 feet tall, the Washington Monument is 55 feet wide at its base and comprises more than 36,000 stones. Construction of the monument began in 1854, but the project was later halted when the Washington National Monument Society ran out of funding.
More than two decades later, the U.S. Government stepped in to complete the project. When it finally opened in 1888, the cost of the monument was estimated at nearly $1.2 million.
The Washington Monument is closed to visitors for construction until 2019, but you can still admire it from a distance.
Currently home to President Donald Trump, the White House was built in the 1790s for $232,000. It’s hard to put a price on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but Zillow estimates the current value of the six-story, 16-bedroom, 35-bathroom home at approximately $400 million.
George Washington chose the site of the now 132-room Washington, D.C., mansion in 1791. After eight years of construction, John and Abigail Adams took residence in 1800. Since then, every president has called the White House home.
The White House is open to visitors who submit a request to their local member of Congress and are approved for a free tour.
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Methodology: GOBankingRates found construction costs today using the CPI Inflation calculator. As the calculator only dates back to 1913, estimates for structures that were built prior to this year have been excluded. If the exact month of completed construction or unveiling is not known for a particular landmark, GOBankingRates used January as the default month to find construction costs.