We wouldn’t dare rank our nation’s natural assets—who could choose between yosemite and Yellowstone? But the man-made attractions? You bet. Behold, our picks for the country’s most epic buildings, monuments, & engineering feats, with advice for navigating them smarter, better, & with fewer crowds.
This gravity-defying glass bridge, perched 4,000 feet above the floor of the Grand Canyon, on its western rim, has hosted more than 250,000 visitors a year since it opened four years ago-and the knee-buckling privilege doesn't come cheap. The only way to access the Skywalk is via Grand Canyon West, a tourist area run by the Hualapai tribe on land located outside the Grand Canyon National Park. The most affordable ticket option is the Legacy Gold package, an all-day pass that includes a meal, a tour, and tribal demonstrations along with the Skywalk ticket. grandcanyonwest.com, $87.
14. Millennium Park, Chicago, IL
This 24.5-acre park in the heart of downtown Chicago opened in 2004, and is a wonderland of cutting-edge architecture and design. Playful, family-friendly, and free attractions include the Cloud Gate sculpture, which reflects the downtown skyline and visitors' faces like a series of fun-house mirrors, and Crown Fountain, a multimedia installation that pairs splash-worthy sprays of water with 50-foot-tall video portraits. millennium.org
15. Fallingwater, Mill Run, PA
Ninety minutes southeast of Pittsburgh, Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece of indoor-outdoor architectural harmony draws 150,000 annual visitors attracted by the spectacle of three cantilevered levels made of concrete and sandstone that jut gracefully over a cascading 30-foot waterfall. Fallingwater celebrates its 75th anniversary this year with a series of special events. To experience the house at its most serene, aim for early May, when the redbud trees are in bloom. fallingwater.org, from $20.
16. Fenway Park, Boston, MA
The oldest major-league baseball stadium in the country (Chicago's Wrigley Field is two years younger), Fenway Park turns 100 in 2012-and a 50-minute daily guided tour, which runs every hour on the hour between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on nongame days, celebrates its history. Newbies will want to stop by a Fan Services booth and ask for a free welcome message on the stadium's original, manually-operated scoreboard. If you're one of the first five to arrive at the booth, 35,000 people will see your name in lights-just like Yaz. mlb.com, tour $12.
As seen on TV! We've followed Don Draper for seven seasons as he's crisscrossed the globe, be it via Cadillac or TWA flight. As the final episodes air, we're taking you back to the Golden Age of travel with a 'Mad Men'-inspired vacation guide for retro-style trips to cities Don visited.