7 Amazing Cemeteries to Visit in the US
Cemeteries aren’t just solemn places to remember loved ones, but they also have historic and cultural relevance themselves. So, visiting one doesn’t always have to be an occasion for tears. Some are just beautiful to look at, and others contain multitudes. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or a fan of rock music, cemeteries are a good reminder that even those who are immortal in the pages of books or the strummed chords of a guitar have to rest in peace somewhere. Here are a few of our favorites.
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Why Visit?: For music, film, and entertainment enthusiasts alike, the Hollywood Forever Cemetery is a memorial to artists who have passed on. Opulent mausoleums and tombstones speckle rolling green hills. Visitors can see the resting place of Johnny Ramone (of the Ramones), Jerry Seigel (co-creator of the Superman comics), Anton Yelchin (a budding star extinguished far too soon), Rudolph Valentino, and more. The cemetery also hosts community events like live music and summer movies.
Arlington National Cemetery
Location: Arlington, VA
Why Visit?: This cemetery is best known as a military burial site, though more than military personnel were buried here. For those wanting to visit the graves of John F. and Jackie Kennedy, this is the place to be. It’s one of America’s largest burial sites and contains a memorial for the Unknown Soldier. On Memorial Day, flags are placed on each tombstone- and during the holidays, they are replaced by wreaths.
Neptune Memorial Reef
Location: Key Biscayne, FL
Why Visit?: This cemetery is equal parts crematorium, man-made reef, and underwater art installation. Visitors are invited to dive deep into this underwater sculpture which was modeled to resemble the mythological city of Atlantis. If you’re the adventuresome seafaring sort, this may be the cemetery for you.
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1
Location: New Orleans, LA
Why Visit?: The St. Louis Cemetery is one of New Orleans’ oldest resting places, established in 1798. This crumbling city of the dead pays homage to Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau. If you intend to leave her an offering, this would be the place to do it. Of all the cemeteries on our list, this is the only one only accessible via guided tour at the cost of $20 per person.
Location: Baltimore, MD
Why Visit?: We’d be remiss to leave Westminster Hall off of our list. At first glance, this 18th-century resting place looks just about the same as any other. Especially if you happen upon it on a midnight dreary. The biggest pull to 519 W. Fayette Street is the resting place of Edgar Allan Poe, the literary king of all things gothic and spooky. For Poe fans, this is a great place to pay your respects. If you want to continue the tradition of the Poe Toaster, however, we recommend a bottle of cognac, a glass, and a visit to Poe’s monument on January 19th.
Location: Savannah, GA
Why to Visit: This is one of Savannah’s oldest Victorian cemeteries, and resembles Hollywood Forever- expect older and with less pomp! The memorials are beautiful and the flora contained therein are lovely to look at. With its meandering stone paths, the Bonaventure Cemetery is a lovely spot to put on your list if you’re ever in Savannah. Free tours are offered by the Bonaventure Historical Society.
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
Location: Sleepy Hollow, NY
Why to Visit: Washington Irving, the writer of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, rests in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery next to his wife, Minna. This cemetery espouses a number of colorful characters including a director of the Rockefeller Standard Oil Company, the empress of a cosmetics empire, an inventor of photographic paper later purchased by Kodack, Andrew Carnegie, and more. Sleepy Hollow Cemetery is particularly beautiful in autumn and free walking tours are offered for visitors!
Have you visited any of these cemeteries? Do you have a favorite that we missed? Leave a comment below!