You may think you know everything there is to know about America's most beloved landmarks - the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Mount Rushmore, to name a few. But have you ever stopped to think about what might lie just beneath the surface? Hidden away from plain sight, these legendary locations are home to rarely talked about secrets, from concealed underground chambers to little-known backstories. If you're ready to see these iconic sites in a whole new light, keep reading.
The Brooklyn Bridge Serves Another Purpose
For over a century, the Brooklyn Bridge has captivated New York City's imagination and, without a doubt, stands out as a global landmark. However, not many know the surprising backstory of how this impressive infrastructure came to be. Did you know that the construction of the bridge started in 1869, yet it took 14 years to complete? That it was an answer to the need for the working class to commute between Manhattan and Brooklyn with ease?
Not to mention the endless list of artists who used the bridge to inspire their work! But there's another mystery waiting to be revealed.
The Wine Cellars Underneath the Brooklyn Bridge
For wine aficionados, discovering hidden wine cellars is always a thrilling adventure. However, finding one hidden beneath the iconic Brooklyn Bridge is nothing short of magical. This is the secret we wished we knew all along. Built in 1876, the cellar complex was created to settle the $15 million debt from the construction of the bridge. While the wine bottles have long gone, the chilled vaults continue to draw wine enthusiasts.
Engraved with a declaration that these cellars once held the choicest wines in New York City, it's not surprising that the merchants were quick to rent out these hidden gems.
Uncovering the Truth About Hoover Dam
If there's one secret we've all wished we knew all along, it's the fascinating details about Hoover Dam. It's more than just a remarkable feat of engineering that controls the Colorado River's flow. Located only 30 minutes from the lively city of Las Vegas, it boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the southwest. Did you know that the dam contains enough concrete to wrap a four-foot-wide sidewalk around the equator?
Next time you're in the vicinity of Hoover Dam, be sure to marvel at its architectural beauty. But that's not the surprising part.
Exploring the Sunken Maze Near the Hoover Dam
For years, Lake Mead has been a hot spot for adrenaline junkies, with its range of watersports and stunning natural views. But what most don't know is that there's an entirely different world to explore beneath the surface. Underneath the water, a mysterious and haunting landscape of sunken tunnels and train lines awaits, creating a submerged maze. It's a wonder why this secret has remained so hidden for so long.
While most visitors of Lake Mead National Recreation Area are occupied with surface-level fun, what lies beneath the water's surface is a maze of history and adventure.
The Frick Collection, a Museum and Research Center
Boasting world-class artworks from the Renaissance era to the nineteenth century, The Frick Collection has solidified its standing as a distinguished museum and research center. Famed for its exceptional Old Master paintings and outstanding European sculptures and decorative arts, the institution's vast holdings have significantly expanded over the years, more than doubling in size since its inception in 1935. The prized research facility is esteemed by scholars, students, and the general public.
This institution remains steadfast in its pursuit of preserving and presenting history. Although it also carries a secret that no one knows.
The Secret Bowling Alley of NYC's Frick Collection
Deep beneath the ornate halls of the Frick Collection in NYC lies a secret bowling alley commissioned in 1914 by the famed industrialist Henry Clay Frick. This exquisitely decorated recreation space opened its doors in 1916 but was later closed due to fire safety concerns. Although renovated 81 years later, this fascinating gem remains primarily forgotten and perfectly preserved in time. Now you could go on an art tour and play a bowling game!
Venture down the cellar stairs and discover this strange, forgotten showpiece hidden beneath the walls of one of NYC's most celebrated art collections.
New York Public Libraries’ Are Historical
Amongst the bustling streets of New York City lies a hidden history within its public libraries. The New York Public Library system spreads over 92 locations and is the second-largest public library in the United States! Behind the rows of bookshelves are abandoned apartments that once housed the dedicated wardens of the past. In an era without modern heating, these diligent keepers ensured the warmth of books, burning coals, and protection from dampness.
The abandoned rooms provide a unique insight into the history of these beloved institutions.
Hidden Apartments Within Library Walls
The secret dwellings of library districts remain hidden from plain sight, their peeling panels and decaying plaster a testament to times gone by. Vintage rotary telephones adorn their walls, remnants of a bygone era. Despite their obscurity, Atlas Obscura recently revealed that thirteen of these once-forgotten homes still exist, hidden within the shadows of library walls. Yet most people didn't know they even existed! Secret little apartments all within the libraries.
Despite being neglected for so long, these quarters are treasured artifacts of the city's past, preserving memories and glimpses into the lives of the people who lived there.
Mount Rushmore's Past That's Been Kept Out of Sight
The sight of Mount Rushmore inspires a sense of awe and wonder. However, beneath the grandeur of the rock sculpture lies a fascinating and often unknown history. Gutzon Borglum, the visionary creator of the monument, had grandiose plans that involved not only the presidents' faces but also their entire bodies, along with a host of other iconic American symbols. The project encountered a range of obstacles, including funding and personality clashes, forcing Borglum to scale back his aspirations significantly.
But a few clues remain of the initial ambitious designs, including a secret chamber 800 feet up. But what could be in this chamber?
The Secret Vault in Lincoln's Face
The truth about Mount Rushmore has finally been uncovered. Did you know that behind Abraham Lincoln's head on Mount Rushmore lies a hidden chamber filled with America's most treasured documents? Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor of the memorial, always intended for a secret stash of historical highlights to be chiseled into the granite. The vault is now too dangerous for tourists to access, but the hoard of American charters remains untouched.
The duplicates of both the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence, fittingly stored behind the Great Emancipator, add an extra layer of mystique to this already iconic American monument.
Grand Central Terminal
Built in 1913, the Grand Central Terminal stands tall in New York City. Constructed on the site of two prior stations dating back to 1871, the terminal was named after and operated by the New York Central Railroad. It also serviced the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad. The building was more than just a transportation hub; it served as a cultural center in the city. Visitors flocked to its on-site museum, cafes, and restaurants, while others came to see a movie in its theater.
Even today, Grand Central Terminal remains a landmark destination for locals and tourists. But while some people run for a train, others head to a secret floor.
Tennis Courts of Grand Central Terminal
Hidden high up in the bustling Grand Central Terminal lies a secret sports haven for tennis enthusiasts. Tucked away on the top floors, the Vanderbilt Tennis Club boasts a regulation-sized indoor hardcourt, a junior court, practice lanes, and a fully equipped fitness room. Despite being open since 1966, this luxury sports club remains a little-known gem within one of America's busiest transportation hubs. No one could've guessed this was even a thing!
For those in the know, Grand Central Terminal is not just a transit hub but a haven for fitness and recreation.
Niagara Falls Isn't Just Full of Waterfalls
For years, people have been fooled by the name "Niagara Falls" into thinking it refers to a single massive waterfall. However, those in the know understand that this is not the case. Three waterfalls span both the US and Canada, including the stunning American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls. Despite the falls being around 12,000 years old, it is still a magnificent natural wonder that amazes all who experience it. But there's something you need to know.
And who would’ve thought that this secret gem was hiding in plain sight all along?
Cave of the Evil Spirit in Niagara Falls
For years, the world has been fascinated with the enigmatic Mount Rushmore. But what if we told you that the majestic Niagara Falls has its own secret grotto? Hidden within the Niagara Gorge is the "Cave of the Evil Spirit," a mysterious lair once home to wicked spirits and haunted by the souls of fallen British soldiers. The tale goes back to 1763, when a surprise attack from the Seneca tribe led to the death of 80 British troops.
To this day, the hollowed hideout echoes with their spirits. Most people visit for the falls, but this is the ultimate landmark to visit if you're into paranormal things.
The Iconic Lincoln Memorial
For nearly a century, the Lincoln Memorial has stood as a powerful symbol of America's democracy and history. Dedicated to the 16th President of the United States, the neoclassical monument attracts millions of tourists each year and is the most visited site in Washington, D.C. Its image has graced the back of pennies and five-dollar bills, while its impressive architecture has been featured in numerous movies and witnessed significant moments in American history.
Built almost 60 years after Lincoln's death, the memorial was modeled after the Parthenon in Athens to honor the birthplace of democracy. But it holds a mystery we are about to uncover.
The Hidden Maze Beneath the Lincoln Memorial
Burrowed 40 feet into the ground before the construction of the Lincoln Memorial in 1914, engineers created a massive 43,800-square-foot cellar beneath the monument. Yet, it was the discovery of the eerie undercroft in 1975 that revealed a whole new mystery about the hidden basement. Rodents scurried among the stalactite-suspended columns while carved sketches were etched into the stones by the original construction workers. They even used to allow the public in this area.
But it seems today that it remains a hidden place, mostly untouched by society as visitors constantly visit above.
The Legacy of the New Yorker Hotel
Rising above Manhattan's skyline since 1930, the New Yorker Hotel remains a beloved icon of the city's past and present. Its Art Deco architecture is unmatched, with 42 stories of history and four basement levels. Owned by the Unification Church, the lower floors are rented as offices and dorms, while the upper levels are home to the luxurious New Yorker, A Wyndham Hotel. But did you know about the parts of the building that mostly stay hidden away?
With her own power plant, tunnel to Penn Station, and even an ice rink, the Grand Old Lady was once a top destination for influential figures, entertainers, and sports personalities. But what's it like inside?
The Hidden Tunnels Beneath The New Yorker Hotel
The New Yorker’s iconic crimson sign that rises high above the city is an awe-inspiring sight for any visitor. Yet, beneath the surface of this celebrated landmark lies an overlooked gem - a subterranean tunnel. In bygone days, this passageway transported guests from Pennsylvania Station to the hotel lobby, only to be closed down after the station was destroyed. Now, it remains filled with unwanted fixtures, outdated furnishings, and random things.
Who would've guessed that this hotel has its own personal tunnel? The New Yorker Hotel is more than just a skyscraper; it's a hidden time capsule!
The Birth of Radio City Music Hall
During the 1929 stock market crash, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. owned a valuable 24-year lease on a midtown Manhattan property initially known for speakeasies. His plan to build a new Metropolitan Opera House there was dashed by the economic downturn. Despite grim prospects, Rockefeller made a daring decision. He constructed a complex of remarkable buildings, including Radio City Music Hall. This grand theater was designed for everyone, offering excellent entertainment at affordable prices.
With colossal dimensions, graceful arches, and clear views from every seat, Radio City Music Hall became a symbol of hope and optimism in a challenging time. But not just that!
The Secret Penthouse at Radio City Music Hall
Tucked away atop the iconic Radio City Music Hall is a hidden gem – a luxurious penthouse adorned with gold leaf, known to only a few. This extravagant space was given to showman Samuel "Roxy" Rothafel back in 1932. Surprisingly, it's still used today to host A-listers like Mick Jagger, Mariah Carey, and John Legend. It's remarkable that such a massive venue could keep this secret tucked away in its roof.
Very few know about this concealed attic apartment, adding an extra layer of mystique to the legendary theater, where even the stars themselves find a hidden treasure.
Times Square, the True Center of New York
Originally named Long Acre Square, Times Square was christened in 1904 when it was relocated to the offices of the New York Times at the intersection of 42nd Street. The Times then moved its headquarters in 1913, leaving behind a district known for crime and prostitution. Over the years, the area underwent major revitalization, becoming a beacon of tourism, entertainment, and commerce. Today, Times Square has transformed into a cultural icon.
With numerous theaters lining Broadway, Lincoln Center, and the Theater District, it's no wonder millions of people pass through this iconic spot each year.
One Times Square Is Actually Empty
As crowds swarm New York's iconic Times Square, all eyes are on the One Times Square skyscraper. With an average of 360,000 pedestrians passing by each day, it's easy to assume that the building's interior is equally as busy. However, to the surprise of many tourists, the interior is nearly empty. Thanks to the building's prime location and highly lucrative digital billboards, owners Jamestown L.P. and Sherwood Equities don't need tenants to keep the money rolling in.
In fact, the tower remains empty beyond the third floor! Only one person calls the tower home: Jeff Straus, the New Year's Eve celebrations mastermind.
The Famous Grand Canyon
Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon and felt like you were missing something? Perhaps it's the fact that Grand Canyon National Park is larger than Rhode Island. Or that there are over 1,000 caves within the canyon's depths, but only one is open to the public. This natural wonder holds more secrets than you could ever imagine. Even the most frequent visitor may not know some of the things lingering in this iconic landmark.
Get ready to see it through new eyes as you unravel the mysteries of one of the world's most famous destinations.
The Hideout in the Grand Canyon You Never Knew Existed
Have you ever dreamed of experiencing the Grand Canyon in a unique way? You may have already taken stunning pictures of this natural wonder, but did you know that you could actually sleep inside it? There are endless historical tours to choose from and exciting rafting experiences, but you probably didn't know there were actual caves that you could stay in. They're even fully set up and furnished like a hotel.
Imagine hunkering down in the burrows of America's most beloved canyon and waking up to a spectacular view. It's the ultimate secret we're letting you in on.
America's Palace Known as Waldorf Astoria
For decades, the Waldorf Astoria has reigned as the ultimate symbol of elegance and luxury. A favorite of cultural figures, politicians, and even royalty, this grand hotel has welcomed some of the world's most important people throughout its storied history. Celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Mick Jagger have flocked to the Waldorf Astoria's opulent suites and ballrooms. From royal engagements to presidential birthdays and gala events, the Waldorf Astoria has played a significant role in American culture.
It truly is the palace of the city. But it doesn't serve as just a hotel. It serves as a getaway and has its own secret transportation.
The Underground Station Beneath Waldorf Astoria
Beneath the luxurious Waldorf Astoria, New York, lies a hidden terminal known as Track 61. It used to be a subway station but was abandoned and taken over by the hotel. The secret escape route is reportedly still used today to whisk away politicians and famous figures in secret. It is connected to the hotel by a concealed elevator and was initially utilized to shuttle Franklin D. Roosevelt between his city suite and home in Hyde Park during WWII.
Although this has been kept relatively secret until now, rumors have spread that presidents even use it today.
The Statue Of Liberty Standing Tall in the Heart of America
Standing 151 feet tall, the Statue of Liberty is more than just a towering monument in New York Harbor - an enduring symbol of America's past, present, and future. As a gift from France, Lady Liberty serves as a reminder of the alliance between the two countries during the American Revolution and as a beacon of hope and freedom to people around the world. And to this day, she stands proud and tall.
Her constituent parts traveled across the Atlantic in 214 shipping crates, a testament to the ingenuity and dedication required to bring this magnificent statue to life.
The Torch Room Is Lady Liberty's Best-Kept Secret
Before 1916, tourists used to ascend all the way up to the Statue of Liberty's torch and bask in the stunning views of the city from the inside of the torch itself. However, due to the closure of the entry room, this part of the monument remains shrouded in mystery for many visitors today. It stands as her best-kept secret! But why do people not know about this, and why has it been closed?
The room was closed to the public due to debris from the German agents who blew up the pier connecting Jersey City to Black Tom Island during World War I.
The Washington Monument Dedicated to George Washington
Standing tall on the National Mall in Washington, DC, is a monument dedicated to one of America's greatest leaders - General George Washington. Discussions on the construction of this monumental tribute began shortly after the American Revolution. In 1884, the Washington Monument proudly claimed the title of the world's tallest structure, overtaking Germany's Cologne Cathedral. However, the record only stood for five years before the towering Eiffel Tower was built.
It took nearly 40 years to complete the Washington Monument, which was finally opened to the public in 1888. But of course, there's a mystery around this landmark that most don't know.
The Hidden Trap Door of the Washington Monument
If you're one of the 800,000 visitors who flock to the Washington Monument each year, chances are you've missed out on a well-kept secret. A tiny trap door, unknown to many, lies at the top of the world's highest stone monument. It's the entrance that allows workers to climb the obelisk for necessary repairs and maintenance without interfering with the beauty of the structure or the tourist experience. Disguised in white paint to blend with the marble, this little door has been hiding in plain sight for decades.
Keep an eye out for this tiny portal on the eastern face, and you might just discover another intriguing aspect of America's most iconic landmark.
The Mini Washington Monument
Did you know that there actually exists a mini version of the Washington Monument? That's right! It's not exactly as it appears, though. Known as "Bench Mark A," this underground oddity stands at 12 feet and 5 inches tall, serving as a Geodetic Control Point used by surveyors to ensure accurate map readings across the country. But let's take a closer look at what precisely this copycat monument really does.
Initially placed in the 1880s as part of a trans-continental leveling program, the Mini Monument may be small in comparison to its famous counterpart, but its importance in surveying cannot be denied.
Miniature Monument That Sits Underground
Amidst the grandeur of the Washington Monument, a strange but significant secret lies hidden. A miniature 12-foot copy of the monument isn't that easy to find! And most people don't even know about it. Enclosed in a brick casing, it lies concealed in a manhole nearby. While its existence might puzzle many, it plays a vital role in monitoring the land on which the iconic landmark stands. But remains hidden in the ground!
So, the Washington Monument is famous and attracts many tourists, but this mini-version is something cool that you should add to your list to see next.
The Evolution of Disneyland
For over six decades, Disneyland has been a symbol of joy and happiness. The theme park began as a simple idea, but the vision and creativity of Walt Disney transformed it into the "Happiest Place on Earth." What started as an orange grove, Disneyland became the home to attractions like Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean. As the park has grown, it has maintained the enchantment that captivates people from all over the world.
Whether it's the magic of Main Street, the thrill of the rides, or the nostalgia of childhood memories, there is something about Disneyland that is unlike any other place. But there's one thing in particular that Disney fans must know about.
The Secret Society of Club 33
There's a little-known secret hidden within Disneyland Resort – a hidden gem that's coveted by the most elite of Disney fans. Club 33 is a private membership restaurant located within Disneyland Park, offering VIPs, executives, and celebrities an escape from the crowds, delicious cuisine, and, yes, even alcoholic beverages. With initiation fees rumored to be around $25,000, plus $10,000 annually for individual memberships, it's no surprise that this ultra-exclusive lounge remains shrouded in secrecy.
But if you're lucky enough to secure a coveted membership, you'll find yourself mingling with some of the biggest power players in the Disney world.
The Empire State Building Is an Architectural Marvel
Did you know that the Empire State Building was built in a jaw-dropping record time of just one year and 45 days? This skyscraper boasts a towering height of 1,454 feet. Its name was inspired by the Empire State, New York's beloved nickname. Back in the day, this building was built with the sole purpose of claiming the title of the world's tallest building. But what's so mysterious about this building?
Today, it stands tall and proud, known as an architectural masterpiece loved and cherished by millions of people across the globe, but there's a hidden component.
The Observation Balcony on the 103rd Story
We've all seen the views of New York City from the 86th story of the Empire State Building. But what if we told you there was an even better spot to take in the stunning skyline? It's a secret known to some fans of Taylor Swift, who famously posed on the platform while promoting her song "Welcome To New York." The observation balcony on the 103rd story offers a panorama view of the city!
While the public elevator doesn't stop on this level, it's worth making the trip up to the 86th floor and then taking the stairs to discover this hidden gem.
The Supreme Court, The Highest Court in the Land
Beyond the familiar exterior of the Supreme Court Building lies a treasure trove of hidden gems. Visitors to this impressive structure in Northeast Washington, D.C., are treated to a glimpse of the official workplace of the chief justice of the United States and the eight associate justices and a wealth of art and history. From stunning murals depicting the signing of the Declaration of Independence to intricate carvings of famous lawgivers!
But within these walls, there's something that no one would expect. Something that not many people get to enjoy.
The Secret Supreme Court Basketball Court
Above the Supreme Court lies a secret court where basketball is played and steam is let off. Since the 1940s, off-duty cops, clerks, and attorneys have been lining up to take on one another on the storeroom-turned-basketball court. However, playing ball or lifting weights is strictly prohibited during a court session. This court may be concealed from the public eye, but those who work in this building know about it!
Though not open to the public, the secret court has created an unlikely space where law and basketball intersect.
The Legendary Pixar Animation Studios
Did you know that the critically acclaimed animation studio Pixar started out as part of Lucasfilm's computer division? Yes, the Graphics Group was spun off in 1986 thanks to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who invested in it. Since then, Pixar has become synonymous with cutting-edge animation, with blockbusters like Toy Story, The Incredibles, and Inside Out that have captured audiences of all ages. The studio itself is something people dream about visiting.
There's even Pixar University, the research and development department of the renowned animation studio, where employees can attend workshops and courses designed to boost their creativity. But that's not even the craziest part of the studio.
The Secret Lounge of Pixar's Elite Visitors
It's no secret that Pixar Studios is home to some of the most creative minds in the entertainment industry. But did you know that nestled within the walls of this legendary establishment is a secret hangout spot exclusively for its most renowned celebrity visitors? Dubbed the Lucky 7 Lounge, this hidden gem is accessible through a minuscule hatch and features a signature wall adorned with the doodles of Randy Newman, Tim Allen, and Roy Disney.
Even Steve Jobs himself was known to frequent this elite venue, a seductive hideout that we wished we had known all along.