Most structures exist to serve a functional purpose, but some define the area in which they stand. Take the Eiffel Tower, for example. One look at the towering wrought-iron structure and you know exactly what city you’re seeing.
At least one instantly recognizable building or otherwise touristy location stands proud in each U.S. state. Here’s a roundup of the most distinguishable structures in each state and what it costs you to visit these popular tourist attractions.
Alabama: The Alabama State Capitol
Completed in 1851, the Alabama State Capitol is a National Historic Landmark that stands proud in Montgomery. After all these years, the Capitol building is still functional, used by the governor and executive branch officers.
Built to replace the original Capitol building that burned down in 1849, the initial structure cost $60,000. Since then, several rounds of updates have been made, including $150,000 to build a south wing in 1905 and $100,000 for a north wing in 1911. The building underwent a major restoration in 1992.
Alaska: The Trans Alaska Pipeline System
Built in 1977, the Trans Alaska Pipeline System was the largest privately funded construction project at the time, with a price tag of $8 billion. Totaling 800 miles in length, it’s one of the most extensive pipeline systems in the world. More than 124,000 heat pipes work together to transfer ground heat into the air, making sure the soil is stable and able to support the pipeline.
Arizona: The Grand Canyon Skywalk
The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a glass platform that allows you to look 4,000 feet into one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. The 10-foot-wide bridge projects 70 feet over the Canyon rim and is strong enough to support the weight of 70 747 passenger jets.
Located on Grand Canyon West, the $30 million structure was built by the Hualapai Tribe in 2007. If you want to experience this wonder for yourself, tickets start at $82.37.
Arkansas: Little Rock Central School
Built in 1927 for $1.5 million, Little Rock Central School is a National Historic Site. Made famous by the Little Rock Nine — nine African American students who exercised their right to attend the then-segregated school on Sept. 25, 1957 — this educational institution is rich with history.
Still functioning, approximately 2,500 students walk through its halls on a daily basis. Free tours of the high school are available with a reservation.
California: The Hollywood Sign
It’s one of the most famous landmarks in the world, but the original Hollywood Sign only cost $21,000 to build. Constructed in 1923, it was initially an advertisement for Hollywoodland, a ritzy real estate development. The City of Los Angeles took ownership of it in the mid-1940s, removing the “land” portion of the sign for roughly $4,000.
Declared a historical landmark in 1973, the sign was completely rebuilt for $250,000 in 1978. To bankroll the rebuild, community leaders and celebrities like Hugh Hefner threw fundraisers, while Alice Cooper, Andy Williams and Gene Autry sponsored individual letters for $27,500 each.
Colorado: Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Located 15 miles west of Denver, Red Rocks Amphitheatre is more than just a gorgeous concert venue. The National Historic Landmark is 6,450 feet above sea level and surrounded by 738 acres of wildlife and geological sensations.
Owned by the City of Denver since 1927, Red Rocks was purchased for $54,133. In 2008, the site’s redwood benches were replaced, and the old pieces were auctioned off for more than $250 each. The cost to rent Red Rocks starts at $7,500, and the fee for supplemental expenses including lights, sound and security can be more than $100,000.
Connecticut: Harkness Tower
Yale University’s Harkness Tower stands tall over the Ivy League campus. Donated in 1917 by Anna M. Harkness in memory of her Yale alumnus son, she followed this gift with the tower’s original 10-bell chime in 1921. The 200-foot-high tower cost $2.5 million to build.
In 1966, Floren S. Marcy Grofut gifted the additional 44 bells in memory of her parents. The university spent more than $1 million renovating Harkness Tower in 1982.
Delaware: Grand Opera House
The lavish, stunningly beautiful Grand Opera House in Wilmington has been standing proud since 1871. Built as a Grand Lodge of the Masons, construction cost just $100,000. Since then, the venue has hosted thousands of luminaries, including John Philip Sousa.
Restored in 1973, the Grand hosts more than 300 events per year, welcoming upwards of 120,000 people annually.
Florida: Raymond James Stadium
Built in 1998 for a whopping $168.5 million, Raymond James Stadium is home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Funded entirely with public money, a 30-year, half-cent sales tax was imposed on Tampa’s Hillsborough County to build the 65,908-seat stadium. While the cost to build the stadium was high, the cost to see the Buccaneers play is highly affordable.
A two-time Super Bowl host, it’s also the site of the annual New Year’s Day Outback Bowl. The initial phase of a more than $140 million stadium overhaul was completed in 2016.
Georgia: Centennial Olympic Park
Centennial Olympic Park was built in 1996 when Atlanta hosted the Summer Olympics. Previously a cluster of dilapidated warehouses, the 21-acre park was built with $75 million in private funds. Part of the funding came from the sale of thousands of bricks purchased by individuals for $35 each, each of which is engraved with a brief message and laid throughout the park.
The park is home to many popular attractions, including the College Football Hall of Fame and the World of Coca-Cola. It also features hotels, nightlife, restaurants and residential development.
Hawaii: Aloha Tower
Located on Pier 9, the 10-story Aloha Tower has been a focal point for ships arriving in Honolulu since 1926. The iconic tower took five years to build, with a price tag of $160,000 — which equates to more than $2 million today.
The tallest building in Hawaii for roughly 40 years, the Aloha Tower was painted in camouflage after the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack, so it would be difficult for enemies to see at night. Largely considered one of the state’s most endearing landmarks, the tower is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Idaho: Idaho Potato Museum
The Idaho Potato Museum honors the state vegetable. Head to downtown Blackfoot’s Oregon Short Line Railroad Depot to learn about potato history, growing and harvesting insights, nutrition information, trivia and other fun facts.
Adult admission is $4, children ages 5 to 12 are $2, and children 4 and younger are free.
Illinois: Willis Tower
Soaring a total of 1,730 feet in the air, the Willis Tower is the 12th largest building in the world and the second largest in North America. Formerly known as the Sears Tower, the 110-story building was commissioned by Sears Roebuck and Company — then the largest retailer in the world — for its headquarters.
It took 2,000 workers three years to build the structure at a price of more than $175 million. Still predominately an office building, tourist-friendly Skydeck Chicago opened in 2009 and welcomes roughly 1.5 million visitors annually.
Indiana: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Known as the racing capital of the world, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the home of the Indy 500. In 1909, four investors — Carl Fisher, James Allison, Frank Wheeler and Arthur Newby — purchased farmland to build the famed racetrack for approximately $3 million.
In 2016, the speedway underwent a $100 million renovation in honor of the Indy 500’s 100th anniversary. Prices for reserved seating at the 2017 Indy 500 range from $50 to $115.
Iowa: The Old Capitol Building
Now a museum, the Old Capitol Building in Iowa City was built for nearly $2.9 million in 1884 — nearly double the initial budget of $1.5 million. In the early 1900s, the building received more than $400,000 worth of updates, bringing its total cost to approximately $3.3 million.
Iowa City’s only National Historic Landmark has been a museum since 1976. Located on the University of Iowa Pentacrest campus, the school used it for classes and more prior to transforming it into a museum.
Kansas: The Kansas State Capitol
Situated on a 20-acre tract in downtown Topeka, the Kansas State Capitol is recognizable by its bronze Ad Astra statue perched atop its copper dome. The building took 37 years to construct, partially because the original east wing cornerstone crumbled just months after it was laid due to a harsh winter.
The building was completed in March 1903 for a cost of $3,200,588.92. The Kansas City Historical Society provides historic tours of the building Monday through Friday. Reservations are strongly encouraged.
Kentucky: Churchill Downs
Home of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs has a rich history that dates back to 1875. Located in Louisville, the famed horse race is the longest continuously running sporting event in America.
Churchill Downs was founded by Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark, who raised funds to build a clubhouse, grandstand, Porter’s Lodge and six stables by selling 320 membership subscriptions for $100 each. These original buildings are still standing.
Many renovations have been completed since, including a $25 million project in 1984 that included Paddock construction, clubhouse and barn improvements and the creation of the Matt Winn Turf Course.
Louisiana: Mercedes-Benz Superdome
The Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans has hosted seven Super Bowls — more than any other venue. The superdome is home to the New Orleans Saints, but the stadium also accommodates large events, such as the Republican National Convention and famous visitors, including Pope John Paul III.
The Superdome cost $163 million to build and has a total of 76,468 seats.
Maine: The Portland Observatory
The 86-foot high Portland Observatory has been standing tall since 1807. A beloved piece of history, it’s the last standing maritime signal tower in America. The observatory was commissioned by Captain Lemuel Moody, who charged ship owners $5 per year for him to let them know when their ships had arrived.
The observatory underwent a $1 million renovation in 2000 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006.
Harborplace, a pair of two-story pavilions situated in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, is home to a variety of shopping, dining and entertainment options. Visitors are regularly treated to live performances while wandering to and from anchors like Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium.
Built for approximately $25 million, the 130,000-square-foot tourist attraction has been standing tall since 1980.
Massachusetts: Fenway Park
Home of the Boston Red Socks, Fenway Park opened its gates in 1912. Built for just $650,000, team owners considered building a new ballpark in recent years but opted to preserve the historic 37,731-seat venue instead.
Since deciding to keep the stadium in play, improvements totaling approximately $285 million have been budgeted, including the addition of three new high definition video boards and scoring systems back in 2011.
Michigan: Fisher Building
More than just a skyscraper, the Fisher Building is an Art Deco masterpiece that has been towering high above Detroit since 1928. The building was commissioned by automotive industry magnates the Fisher Brothers, who spent more than $30 million to build a three-tower complex. The Fisher Building itself cost roughly $9 million, with 25 percent allocated to the building’s art and décor.
The lobby is adorned with elaborate frescoes, which cost more than $20,000 to create — roughly $265,000 today. In 2001, the Fisher Building and its sister property, the Albert Kahn Building, were sold for around $30 million. Both structures are about to undergo a restoration, with the refurbishment of the Fisher Building arcade expected to cost approximately $500,000.
Minnesota: Paul Bunyan Statue
Local folk hero Paul Bunyan and his faithful companion Babe the Blue Ox are immortalized in statue form along the shore of Lake Bemidji. Constructed in 1937, the 18-foot Bunyan statue is expectantly burly, with a 16-foot-10-inch chest.
The Paul and Babe statue cost $442.20 to build, including $200 for materials and labor.
Mississippi: Biloxi Lighthouse
Built for $12,000 in 1848, the 64-foot Biloxi Lighthouse was one of the first cast-iron lighthouses in the South. Run by civilians until 1939, the lighthouse was notably operated by several female lightkeepers. The Coast Guard took control in 1939, and after being declared surplus property, it was deeded to the City of Biloxi in 1968.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused extensive damage to the Biloxi Lighthouse. It reopened in 2010 following a 14-month, $400,000 restoration.
Missouri: Gateway Arch
Synonymous with St. Louis, the Gateway Arch and its accompanying transportation system were completed in 1968 at a cost of $13 million. Standing 630 feet high, the top of the 63-story arch can be accessed by tram, allowing up to 160 visitors at a time to take in views extending up to 30 miles. Traffic is heavy during the busy summer season, with as many as 6,400 visitors stopping by.
Montana: Moss Mansion
The Moss Mansion was built in 1903, but it’s still one of the grandest homes in Billings. It cost $105,000 to build, which doesn’t seem like much now, but the average home price in the area at the time was just $3,000.
Designed by Henry Janeway Hardenberg — the New York-based architect behind the original Waldorf Astoria and Plaza Hotels — the mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The home opens its doors to visitors year-round.
Designed to pay homage to Stonehenge in England, Carhenge is a unique car sculpture by artist Jim Reinders. One of the weirdest roadside attractions in America, Carhenge consists of 39 vehicles placed in the same proportions as Stonehenge. This unique work has been standing tall in Alliance since 1987.
The site almost sold for $300,000 in 2011, but the deal didn’t happen because the buyer wanted to move the sculpture to another site. Now owned by the city, site maintenance costs approximately $39,000 annually.
Nevada: Stratosphere Tower
The Las Vegas Strip is home to many recognizable structures, but the 1,149-foot Stratosphere Tower has a presence that goes beyond Las Vegas Blvd. Part of the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino, the tower opened in 1996 and cost $80 million to build.
For $20, visitors enjoy stunning views of Sin City and beyond from the observation deck on Level 109 and are shuttled back and forth on elevators that travel 1,800 feet per minute at 20.5 miles per hour.
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New Hampshire: Omni Mount Washington Resort
Tucked away in Bretton Woods, the Omni Mount Washington Resort opened its doors in 1902 after two years of construction. The National Historic Landmark cost $1.7 million to build. Famed inventor Thomas Edison turned its lights on for the very first time.
Multiple owners and $80 million in restorations later, it’s just as grand of a resort as ever. Located in New Hampshire’s largest ski spot, the gorgeous hotel has been popular with presidents, poets and celebrities for more than 100 years.
New Jersey: Atlantic City Boardwalk
The Atlantic City Boardwalk was the very first boardwalk built in the U.S. After around two months of construction, it made its debut in 1870 at a cost of $5,000. The original boardwalk was 8-feet wide, 1-mile long and situated roughly 1 foot above the sand.
In 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused substantial damage to the Atlantic City Boardwalk. The city received more than $10.5 million in federal funding to assist with repairs.
New Mexico: Spaceport America
Launched in 2011, Spaceport America cost $219 million to build. Located in Truth or Consequences, the FAA-licensed launch complex is home to Virgin Galatic’s WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo, as well as SpaceX’s Falcon 9R. Visitors are welcome to tour the site with at least a 24-hour advance reservation.
New York: Statue of Liberty
A symbol of America recognized across the globe, the Statue of Liberty has been standing proud since 1886. A gift from France to celebrate its alliance with the U.S. during the Revolutionary War, she cost $250,000 to build. Funds for her construction were raised by both the U.S. and France.
It took crews nine years of working round the clock, seven days per week to build the Statue of Liberty. When complete, she was disassembled into 350 pieces and shipped to New York City, where it took four months to put her back together. Designated a National Monument in 1924, the statue resides on Liberty Island in the New York Harbor.
North Carolina: Biltmore Estate
America’s largest home, the Biltmore Estate is a 250-room French Renaissance chateau that took six years to build. Completed in 1895, construction costs totaled $5 million — equivalent to roughly $137.2 million today.
Open to the public 365 days per year, adult tickets for a daytime visit cost $75. The property also boasts three hotels for overnight stays.
North Dakota: Salem Sue
More than just a statue, Salem Sue is the world’s largest Holstein cow. Built by the New Salem Lions Club for $40,000 in 1974 to promote local Holstein herds, the beloved landmark put New Salem on the map.
Admission to see the 12,000-pound, 38-foot tall statue is free, but donations are welcomed.
Ohio: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Cleveland has been rockin’ since the opening of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. The city paid nearly half of the $92 million construction costs for the pyramid-shaped structure that sits on the shores of Lake Erie.
The Rock & Roll Hallf of Fame honors artists who have made significant contributions to the music industry by inducting a new class of rockers each year. Adult tickets to visit cost $23.50 each.
Oklahoma: SkyDance Bridge
Functional, yet artistic, the SkyDance Bridge in Oklahoma City is a 380-foot pedestrian bridge topped with a 197-foot sculpture. Inspired by Oklahoma’s state bird, construction on the pricey bridge cost $12.8 million — nearly double the city’s $6.8 million budget. Opened in 2008, LED lights illuminate the bridge, and residents can request special lighting.
Oregon: Tillamook Rock Lighthouse
It’s not open to the public, but Tillamook Rock Lighthouse is worth the trek to Ecola State Park or Highway 101 south of Cannon Beach to admire from a distance. Completed in 1881, after 575 days of construction, the lighthouse cost $123,493 to build.
Nicknamed “Terrible Tilly,” the keepers of this lighthouse were paid more due to its location on a dangerous, isolating spot. It has been decommissioned since 1957.
Pennsylvania: Philadelphia City Hall
Completed in 1901, construction on Philadelphia City Hall took 30 years and cost $25 million. It’s 548-foot-tall bell tower was supposed to make it the tallest building in world, but by the time it was completed, the Eiffel Tower and Washington Monument rose above it.
Still in use, the roughly 700-room National Historic Landmark is the country’s largest municipal building.
Rhode Island: The Breakers
The summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, The Breakers was completed in 1895 at a cost of more than $12 million. Located in Newport, the 70-room Italian Renaissance-style mansion remains one of the most impressive homes in the country
Now a museum, adult tickets to visit the National Historic Landmark cost $24.
South Carolina: Arcade Mall
The Arcade Mall was Columbia’s first indoor shopping center. Built in 1912 at a reported cost of $200,000, the extravagant structure was designed in Italian Renaissance Revival style.
Renovations on the spectacular historic mall began in 2016 and are expected to cost at least $2 million.
South Dakota: Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore is quite possibly the most famous depiction of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Located in Black Hills National Forest, it took 400 workers 14 years to create the sculpture.
Completed in 1941, the famed work of art came with a price tag of $989,992.32.
The Home of Elvis Presley, Graceland was actually named by the home’s previous owners. The King of Rock and Roll’s parents saw the 10,266-square-foot Memphis property first and liked so much that they put a $1,000 down payment on it on behalf of their son.
After Elvis Presley completed the purchase of the home for $102,500, his parents and grandmother came to live with him. Added to the American National Register of Historic Places in 1991, the popular tourist spot attracts more than 600,000 visitors annually.
Texas: The Alamo
Thought to be built in the 1700s, the Alamo played a key role in Texas’ breakaway from Mexico. Located in San Antonio, it’s the site of the 1836 Battle of the Alamo, which was fought by 200 men, including Davy Crockett.
Construction costs for the Alamo remain unknown, but $31.5 million in funding was allocated to help preserve it in 2015.
Utah: Salt Lake Temple
The Salt Lake Temple took 40 years (1853-1893) to build, but the magnificent structure was worth the wait. Built for $3.5 million, the foundation walls of the seriously solid 253,000-square-foot temple are 16 feet thick and 16 feet deep.
Only members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are permitted inside the temple, but everyone is welcome to enjoy the grounds and the stunning exterior of the building.
Vermont: Old Round Church
The Old Round Church is thought to be the last standing example of an early 19th-century, 16-sided wooden meetinghouse. Constructed from 1812 to 1813, it underwent an approximately $190,000 renovation during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
A National Historic Landmark since 1996, this Richmond church is open to visitors part of the year and can be rented for weddings.
Virginia: Mount Vernon
The home of George Washington, the former president inherited Mount Vernon in 1761. Named after a British admiral, the house is located on the banks of the Potomac River. Purchased by The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association for $200,000 in 1858, the home is open to visitors 365 days per year.
Washington: Space Needle
The 605-foot Space Needle towers high above Seattle. Built in 1962 for $4.5 million, the beloved structure underwent a $20 million renovation in 2000. Solid as a rock, the concrete foundation of the famed landmark extends 30 feet underground.
Washington, D.C.: The White House
Home of the President of the United States, the White House was constructed for $232,000 in the 1790s. The current value of the prestigious property is unknown, but Zillow estimates the 16-bedroom, 35-bathroom home at nearly $400 million.
The White House has a total of 132 rooms, including a kitchen with the capacity to serve 140 guests for dinner and more than 1,000 for hors d’oeuvres.
West Virginia: West Virginia State Capitol Building
After eight years of construction, the West Virginia State Capitol Building was completed in 1932. The cost to build the beautiful 333-room Charleston building totaled just under $10 million. Two-thirds of the building is marble, and a 4,000-pound Czechoslovakian crystal chandelier illuminates its rotunda.
Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum
A creative wonder itself, expansion of the Milwaukee Art Museum was completed in 2001 at a cost of $125 million. Beyond its unique exterior, the museum has a collection of nearly 25,000 works, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, decorative arts, prints, video art and installations and textiles. One of the best destinations for kids and adults, it also hosts a variety of exhibitions that keeps visitors coming back for more.
Wyoming: Old Faithful Inn
The most popular place to stay in Yellowstone National Park, Old Faithful Inn is 327-room hotel completed in 1904 for $140,000. When it opened, rooms could be booked for $4 per night, but now range in price from $119 to $590. A National Historic Landmark, it’s still one of the largest log-style structures in the world.
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