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What every state is best known for

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fall foliage and a barn in rural new hampshire
Fall foliage in New Hampshire. All Trails

ALABAMA: College football

alabama football fans cheering in the stands at a game
Alabama Crimson Tide fans. David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire

Think of Alabama and you'll no doubt think of the excited chants of "Roll Tide!" at the University of Alabama. According to the Encyclopedia of Alabama, college football is by far the most popular spectator sport in the state due to a history of successful seasons for the teams at both the University of Alabama and Auburn University.

ALASKA: The Northern Lights

northern lights over a silhouette of trees on a lake
The Northern Lights. Gunar Streu/McPhoto/ullstein bild via Getty Images

The Northern Lights, or the aurora borealis, can be seen from Alaska between mid-September and late April, peaking in March. The further north you travel, the more likely it is you'll be able to see the gorgeous glowing lights Alaska is famous for.

ARIZONA: The Grand Canyon

woman sitting on the edge of the grand canyon
The Grand Canyon. Ingus Kruklitis/Shutterstock

One of the most popular tourist attractions in the United States, the Grand Canyon is located in Arizona. On average, more than 6 million people visit the Grand Canyon National Park each year.

ARKANSAS: Former President Bill Clinton

Democratic Presidential candidate Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary celebrate his victory in the New York primary in a New York City disco on April 7, 1992
President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

Bill Clinton is a native of Hempstead County, Arkansas, and served as the 40th and 42nd governor of Arkansas before becoming the 42nd president of the United States. Clinton was the second-youngest governor in the state's history, after John Selden Roane, and had the second-longest term in the state's history, 11 years and 11 months in total.


people dressed as super heroes posing in front of hollywood sign
The Hollywood sign. Ben Horton/Getty Images for Madame Tussauds Hollywood

From the glitz and glamour of the golden age of Hollywood to the present day, California is known for being a celebrity stomping ground and for producing a majority of the film industry's blockbusters and award-winning movies.


people skiing in colorado
Skiers in Colorado. iofoto/Shutterstock

Colorado is the nation's No. 1 ski and snowboard destination, home to 39 ski and snowboard resorts. A few of Colorado's ski resorts are among the largest in the nation, allowing skiers to experience the best of the best in regards to snow-covered slopes.

Quick-tip: Insider's reviews team has rounded up the best ski resorts in Colorado. Read more about all ski areas.


mohegan sun casino waterfall and tables
Mohegan Sun Casino. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Connecticut is famous for its incredible Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun, both located on Native American reservations. Guests can enjoy fine dining, deluxe accommodations, and a wide variety of attractions and shopping opportunities.

Both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun closed temporarily as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but are now open.


NASCAR driver Kyle Busch after winning the race
NASCAR driver Kyle Busch. Chris Trotman/Getty Images

The second-smallest state in the country, Delaware is home to Dover International Speedway, also known as the "Monster Mile," which hosts two NASCAR races each year.

FLORIDA: Theme parks

snow covered buildings at the wizarding world harry potter in orlando florida
Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida. Chansak Joe/Shutterstock

Known as the theme park capital of the world, Orlando, Florida is home to fan-favorite theme parks and attractions like Universal Studios Orlando and Walt Disney World.

All four Walt Disney World theme parks are now open after temporarily closing due to the coronavirus pandemic, as is Universal Studios Orlando, with new, improved safety measures to encourage social distancing and hygiene.

GEORGIA: Peaches

A pile of cut peaches.
Peaches. Marie C Fields/Shutterstock

Also known as the setting of "Gone With the Wind," Georgia is known around the world for its peaches. The peach is the state fruit of Georgia, and a peach is even featured on the US Mint's Georgia quarter.

HAWAII: Surfing

a person surfing a green ocean wave
Surfer. Isai Ramos/Unsplash

Hawaii is recognized as the birthplace of modern surfing, so it's no surprise that the state is famous across the world for the water sport. Surfing dates back to the 4th century and has become a huge part of Hawaii's history and culture.

IDAHO: Potatoes

a person hand mashing potatoes in a silver bowl
Mashed potatoes. Peter Horrox/Shutterstock

Idaho is the top potato-producing state and reportedly grows about 13 billion pounds of potatoes each year, most of which are brown russet potatoes.

ILLINOIS: Deep-dish pizza

Giordanos deep dish pizza in chicago
Giordano's deep-dish pizza. Irene Jiang/Business Insider

When it comes to pizza styles in the US, it's usually a match-up between New York and Chicago. Though there are plenty of things to love about Chicago and the state of Illinois, the city is perhaps most well known for its famous deep-dish pizza.

INDIANA: Indianapolis 500

indianapolis 500 racers posing behind their race car
Simon Pagenaud of France poses with Roger Penske during the Winner's Portraits session after the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 in May 2019. Clive Rose/Getty Images

Otherwise known as the Indy 500 or the Indianapolis 500, the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race is held every year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. It is the oldest major automobile race in the world.

IOWA: Cornfields

iowa cornfields with windmill in background
A field of corn grows in front of an old windmill in Pacific Junction, Iowa. Nati Harnik/AP Images

Iowa is known across the country for its robust farming community. Iowa is the top producer in the country of corn, soybeans, hogs, and eggs, and the state has about 87,500 farms. In 2015, Iowa farmers produced more than 2.51 billion bushels of corn, according to the US Department of Agricultural Statistics Service.

KANSAS: "The Wizard of Oz"

the wizard of oz cast scarecrow, cowardly lion, dorothy, and the tin man
The cast of "The Wizard of Oz." Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." When Judy Garland uttered those iconic words in "The Wizard of Oz," Kansas would forever be fondly remembered as Dorothy Gale's home state. Today, Kansans are often reminded there's truly no place like home when looking out on Kansas' sprawling sunflower fields and beautiful farmland scenery.

KENTUCKY: The Kentucky Derby

people cheering and holding champagne at the kentucky derby
People at the Kentucky Derby. Mike Coppola/Getty Images

The Kentucky Derby is known for its exciting horse racing, distinctly preppy fashions, and, of course, mint juleps. The race is held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, and is the longest-running sporting event in US history.


people wearing beads and hats celebrating mardi gras
Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana. Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Mardi Gras, the French celebration of "Fat Tuesday" before Ash Wednesday, is an annual celebration and parade lasting about two weeks. While the biggest event unfolds in New Orleans, Mardi Gras is celebrated throughout Louisiana and is marked by drinking, delicious food, bright colors, beads, and dancing.

MAINE: Lobster

maine lobster rolls
Maine lobster roll with coleslaw and french fries on a waterfront harbor in Maine. jenlo8/Shutterstock

Called the "sweetest, most flavorful lobster on Earth," Maine lobster is known around the world. Lobster contributes an average of $1 billion to Maine's economy annually, making it not only what the state is known for, but a huge economic driver for the state as well.


person holding up steamed crab
Steamed crab. MR.WUTTISAK PROMCHOO/Getty Images

Maryland sits on the Chesapeake Bay and is known across the country for its delicious blue crabs and crab cakes. Visitors flock to Maryland every year to get their fill of the delicacy and to attend the annual crab feast in Baltimore.


a person holding dunkin donuts coffee cup and donut
A person holding Dunkin' coffee and doughnut. Mark Lennihan/AP

A New England staple, Dunkin' — originally Dunkin' Donuts — was founded in Quincy, Massachusetts, and has been a state-favorite coffee brand ever since. In 1950, Bill Rosenberg opened the very first Dunkin' Donuts restaurant with the goal to "make and serve the freshest, most delicious coffee and donuts quickly and courteously in modern, well-merchandised stores."

MICHIGAN: The auto industry

person working on a car at a michigan gm plant
General Motors employees assemble a GM crossover SUV on the assembly line in Lansing, Michigan, in 2010. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Michigan is the No. 1 state in car manufacturing. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018, one in five US auto-manufacturing jobs are based in Michigan, and Wayne County alone has more auto-manufacturing jobs than any state except Kentucky.

MINNESOTA: The Mall of America

mall of america sign and entrance
An entrance to the Mall of America in Bloomington. Associated Press/Jim Mone

The Mall of America officially opened in 1922 in Bloomington, Minnesota, a suburb of the Twin Cities. It is the largest shopping mall in the United States, with more than 500 stores and 10 attractions, including an indoor theme park. It is visited by more than 40 million people every year.

Many stores in the Mall of America have now reopened after temporarily closing during the pandemic.

MISSISSIPPI: The Mississippi River

boat going down Mississippi River
The Mississippi River. Shutterstock

The Mississippi River is one of the longest rivers in the world and is the second-longest in the United States. According to the National Park Service, early European explorers used the Mississippi to explore what would one day become the United States. The river was also instrumental in the fur trade and the business of merchants in the early days of American history.

MISSOURI: Budweiser

person taking Budweiser out of crate
Budweiser bottle. Budweiser

Budweiser was founded in St. Louis, Missouri, due to its direct access to the Mississippi River, German immigrants moving en masse to the area in the 1800s, and nearby cave formations that allowed brewers to keep their product cool before modern refrigeration was introduced. So, next time you crack open a cold one, thank Missouri.

MONTANA: Cowboys

cowboy working a cattle drive in montana
A cattle drive in Montana, USA. Marka/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Montana is known for its wide, grassy plains and flourishing cattle and ranch business. Cowboy culture is very much alive and well in the state.

The state also has a rich history of Native American culture and is home to the site of the last major Native American battle in United States history at the end of the Nez Perce War of 1877.


a cown in a field in nebraska at sunset
A cow in a field in Nebraska. Dani O'Brien/Shutterstock

In Nebraska, one in four jobs is related to agriculture, and the state consistently ranks as one of the top cattle-producing states in the country. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture also reports that Nebraska's farms and ranches utilize 45 million acres, which is 91% of the state's total land area, and exported $1,318,500,000 in beef and veal in 2018 alone.

NEVADA: Las Vegas

las vegas strip
The Bellagio Hotel's nightly water fountain show is seen among the lights of other casinos on the Las Vegas strip. George Rose/Getty Images

Las Vegas is the largest city in Nevada by population and receives roughly 40 million visitors every year. The city is known across the country for its exciting nightlife, attractions, and dining, as well as for the famous Las Vegas Strip.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Fall foliage

new hampshire fall foliage view
Bethlehem, New Hampshire. Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

New Hampshire is known for its beautiful fall foliage, and many leaf-peepers travel from across the country just to watch the fall leaves change color along New Hampshire's creeks and in the state's quaint, quintessentially New England villages.

NEW MEXICO: Los Alamos

Los Alamos, New Mexico, sign
A sign at the entrance. Shutterstock

New Mexico is perhaps most well known for the town of Los Alamos, where the Manhattan Project and development of the atomic bomb during World War II occurred. On July 16, 1945, the world's very first atomic bomb was detonated on the Alamogordo Bombing Range, 200 miles south of Los Alamos.

NEW YORK: Broadway

Broadway NYC billboards at night
Broadway in New York City. Andrey Bayda/Shutterstock

New York City has countless attractions that draw millions of visitors every year. However, one of the most notable things to do while visiting New York is to attend a Broadway show. According to Loving New York, 13 million spectators annually attend one of New York City's Broadway shows, 63% of whom are tourists, in an average year.

Broadway theaters have been closed since the start of the pandemic, but some shows are scheduled to reopen in September 2021, with more to follow.


new jersey garden state diner in newark airport
The exterior of Garden State Diner. Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

New Jersey is known as the "diner capital of the world," with more than 500 diners located throughout the state. If you're visiting New Jersey, make sure to work up a good appetite first!

NORTH CAROLINA: The Wright brothers

wright brothers first flight famous photo
The Wright brothers' plane. Nasa

North Carolina's state motto is "First in Flight," after the Wright brothers' famous flight at Kitty Hawk on North Carolina's Outer Banks on December 17, 1903. It was the first "controlled, powered aircraft flight" in history.


north dakota ranch
Ranch in North Dakota. T. C. Knight/Design Pics/Getty Images

Farms and ranches occupy more than 39 million acres, almost 90% of North Dakota's land area. The state ranks first in the country for producing many common agriculture products, including spring wheat, flaxseed, and canola.

OHIO: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

rock and roll hall of fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio. KIMBERLY BARTH/AFP/Getty Images

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1983, after being chosen as the location over New York, San Francisco, Memphis, and Chicago. It attracts thousands of visitors each year. Induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is considered a highly prestigious honor for the world's most famous musicians.

OKLAHOMA: Tornadoes

two tornadoes touching down on field in oklahoma
A tornado in Oklahoma. Eugene R Thieszen/Shutterstock

While Oklahoma might be known for "Oklahoma!" the musical, it's also a well-known spot for tornadoes. America's very first tornado warning was issued in Oklahoma on March 25, 1948, and the state consistently ranks as one of the states with the most tornadoes.

OREGON: Craft beer

brewery in portland oregon
Bar and tap handles at Basecamp Brewing Company, a popular craft brewery in Portland, Oregon. Shutterstock

Portland, Oregon, as well as the entire state, is arguably known for its "earthy-crunchy" culture, beautiful hiking trails, cozy coffee shops, and craft beer breweries.

PENNSYLVANIA: The Liberty Bell

liberty bell
The Liberty Bell. f11photo/Shutterstock

Pennsylvania is rich in American history and is home to one of America's most recognizable historical objects, the Liberty Bell. Visitors travel from far and wide to visit Philadelphia and marvel at this symbol of American freedom, crack and all.

RHODE ISLAND: Coffee milk

glass half full of coffee milk on metal table
Coffee milk. am2photo/Getty Images

Only true Rhode Island natives are aware of the delicious drink that is coffee milk. Made with cold milk and coffee syrup, the fan-favorite beverage is also the state's official drink. This unique-to-Rhode Island drink is delicious, so next time you're passing through, be sure you grab a glass.


Myrtle Beach South Carolina
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Shutterstock

South Carolina's beautiful weather makes it easy to enjoy the state's beaches and stretches of coastline. Home to Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina has been a destination for people from across the country.

Quick-tip: Insider's reviews team has rounded up the best Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head hotels. Read more about all the high-end to budget-friendly options.

SOUTH DAKOTA: Mount Rushmore

mount rushmore
Mount Rushmore. J. Pat Hodges/Shutterstock

Mount Rushmore is one of the most iconic American tourist attractions in the country. Depicted on the side of the mountain's face are former US presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Mount Rushmore was originally conceived as an idea to drive tourism to South Dakota and its famous Black Hills mountain region.

The history of Mount Rushmore is controversial, however, and some see the monument as a painful reminder of how the land was taken from Native Americans. In addition, Washington and Jefferson were slave owners. Some activists have called for the monument to be removed entirely.

TENNESSEE: Country music

crowds outside bars in Nashville Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee. f11photo/Shutterstock

The state's capital, Nashville, is known as "Music City" and is the home of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Country Music Awards. It is also the stomping ground of many country music legends. The state has also produced some of the most iconic names in country music, from Dolly Parton to Johnny Cash.

TEXAS: Barbecue

Texas Barbecue ribs, brisket, beans, and sides on a tray
Texas barbecue. Sydney Kramer

Texas is known across America for its delicious barbecue. Barbecue is not only part of the cuisine of Texas, but the culture. Though each part of the large state has its own way of cooking meat, Texas as a whole would probably argue that Memphis, Carolina, or Kansas City-style simply can't compare to the dry-rub smokiness of Texas barbecue.

UTAH: National parks

Arches National Park Utah
Arches National Park in Grand County, Utah. Andrew S./Shutterstock

Utah is home to five gorgeous national parks, most notably Arches National Park in Grand County, Utah. The state also has 13 national park service units and multiple national monuments.

VERMONT: Maple syrup

maple leaf shaped bottles of Vermont maple syrup
Vermont maple syrup. Toby Talbot/AP

Vermont produces more maple syrup than any other state. In 2017, the state produced nearly 2 million gallons of syrup. Roughly 47% of the country's maple syrup comes from Vermont, and each year, maple syrup lovers travel to St. Albans to celebrate everything maple syrup at the Vermont Maple Syrup festival.

VIRGINIA: Jamestown

a british flag flying over wood fortress in jamestown virginia
A British flag flying over historic Jamestown, Virginia. Roberto Westbrook/Getty Images

Virginia is rich in American history and is regarded as "the birthplace of the nation." The first settlers to set up a permanent residence in America arrived in what would become Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. In 1612, Jamestown settler John Rolfe began planting tobacco, and before long the plant had become a thriving industry in the state — an industry that has continued to this day.


a window looks into the first starbucks coffee location in seattle washington
The first Starbucks location in America is located in Seattle. GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

Starbucks is known across the world as a global leader in coffee sales. However, the very first Starbucks coffee shop opened in Seattle's Pike Place Market in 1971. Coffee fans can still visit the first Starbucks location, which has retained much of its original charm from the signage to the vintage chairs inside.

WEST VIRGINIA: Scenic roads

west virginia road surrounded by trees and covered in red fallen leaves
A scenic road in West Virginia. Chen Su/Getty Images

West Virginia is known for its scenic roads and highways, and the state markets its beautiful drives as a reason to visit the state. From mountain views to sweeping farmlands and tree-lined roads, West Virginia is arguably one of the most beautiful states to take a slow Sunday drive through.


person making mozzarella cheese
Mozzarella cheese. INSIDER

Wisconsin's famous cheese comes as a result of a thriving dairy industry. According to Wisconsin Cheese Mart, Wisconsin's cheese-making industry produces "2 billion pounds of cheese every year, [or] 30% of the nation's total cheese production," which is more than any other state.

WYOMING: Mountains

a highway in Wyoming flanked by trees and a mountain in the background
Mountains in Wyoming. Sharon Day/Shutterstock

Wyoming, one of the most mountainous states in the country, is home to the Rocky Mountains as well as the first national park in the country, Yellowstone National Park, which features mountains, large canyons, rivers, hot springs, and geysers. The most notable geyser in Yellowstone National Park is Old Faithful.

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