25 Fun Facts about the USA

March 19, 2024

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A stone church with the United States of America flag hanging from it.

The United States is one of the largest and most diverse countries in the world. From bustling cities to breath-taking natural wonders, it’s no wonder that it is visited by millions of people every year. But how much do you know about this fascinating country?

Here are 25 fun facts about the United States you might not know.

1. Independence Day could have been celebrated on July 2

We all know this famous national holiday is celebrated on July 4, but the Declaration of Independence was, in fact, passed on July 2. 

However, the first signature on the Declaration of Independence was written by John Hancock on July 4, which is why US citizens celebrate their independence from the British Empire on this date.

2. What’s in a name?

New York wasn’t always known by its current name. In the early 1600s, the city was a Dutch settlement named New Amsterdam before it was settled by the English in 1664 and changed to New York after the Duke of York.

3. The US has the most amusement parks in the world

Universal Studios, Orlando
Universal Studios, Orlando

From thrilling, high-speed rollercoasters to classic rides, amusement parks are endless fun for the whole family. And the United States has lots of them. Over 400 to be more exact.

With ten major theme parks, including Magic Kingdom Park, Hollywood Studios, Universal Studios, and Legoland, Orlando is known as the ‘Theme Park Capital of the World’.

4. There’s a spelling ‘mistake’ on the Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell is a symbol of America’s independence. It hangs in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, but the state it is located in is spelled incorrectly on the bell’s inscription. 

The word “Pennsylvania” is misspelled as “Penysylvania”; although this was an accepted spelling in 1752 when the bell was commissioned.

5. The US has more than half of the world’s 20 largest hotels

12 of the world’s 20 largest hotels are in the United States — and all of them are in Las Vegas. 

Some of these mammoth hotels include The Venetian Resort — the second-largest hotel after First World Hotel in Malaysia — MGM Grand, Caesars Palace, and Bellagio. Each of these hotels has between 3,506 and 7,115 guest rooms.

6. The fourth-longest river system in the world can be found in the USA

The Mississippi River System stretches for 6,270 kilometers through 23 US states, making it the fourth-longest river system in the world.

The river system consists of three rivers: the Mississippi, the Missouri, and the Jefferson.

7. Hollywood has been making films for over 100 years

The Hollywood sign
The Hollywood sign

Hollywood has become the movie capital of the world, and more than 500 English-language films are released by studios on average every year. The first movie to have ever been shot in Hollywood was In Old California, a 17-minute long historical dramatization about the Mexican era of California.

8. Walk this way

There are more than 2,700 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, honoring public figures across the following categories: motion pictures, television, recording, radio, live performance, and sports entertainment.

On February 14, 2019, rock band Aerosmith was due to get the 2,657th star, however, their award ceremony was canceled due to bad weather. This means that although the star exists on Hollywood Boulevard, it hasn’t been officially dedicated yet.

9. The USA is one of only three countries that uses the imperial system of measurement

Along with Liberia and Myanmar, the USA uses the Imperial System of measurement. Every other country in the world uses the Metric System. 

Some examples of imperial units include feet, miles, ounces, gallons, and Fahrenheit, while meters, grams, liters, and Celsius are examples of metric units of measurement.

10. Alaska used to belong to Russia

Up until 1867, the US state of Alaska belonged to Russia. Russia decided to sell Alaska to the United States for several reasons, including a loss of interest in the region due to the Crimean War and a belief that it could join forces with the US against its great Pacific rival, Great Britain. 

After much negotiation, the US bought the state for a measly $7.2 million.

11. Thin crust or deep pan?

Americans love their pizza, consuming 100 acres of the stuff every single day. That adds up to three billion pizzas a year! But did you know it’s made differently depending on where you are in the country? 

Some of the many variations of American pizza include New York style, Chicago deep dish, California style, Detroit style, Grandma pizza, and Italian tomato pie.

12. The US has more than 10,000 national and state parks

Beautiful view of Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is believed to be the world’s first national park

In the USA, there are 428 national parks and more than 9,800 state parks. 

The country’s national parks are owned by the Federal Government and maintained by the National Park Service, while its state parks are looked after locally.

Established in 1872, Yellowstone is the oldest national park in the US and also the world.

13. The big game

Historically, baseball was the USA’s unofficial national sport, but based on viewing figures it’s been overtaken by American Football.

Each year, Americans all over the country come together on “Super Bowl Sunday” for a day of feasting and festivities, hoping their team will win the National Football League (NFL) championship. 

The day after Super Bowl Sunday is not currently a public holiday in the US, but according to a 2023 poll, 42 percent of workers think it should be.

14. North America’s highest mountain is in the United States

With a height of 6,190 meters (20,310 feet), Denali in the state of Alaska is the highest mountain on the continent of North America. 

Denali is also the tallest mountain in the world when measuring from base to peak rather than sea level to peak.

15. Walmart is the country’s largest employer

With a workforce of almost 2.2 million, Walmart is the USA’s largest employer.

However, the company employs people in other countries too, and only 1.3 million of its employees work in the USA.

There are almost 10,600 Walmart stores worldwide, around 4,600 of which can be found in the US. 

16. Say what?

English might be the most widely spoken language in the US, but surprisingly, the country doesn’t have an official language.

That’s despite their being 337 languages that are spoken in the country, including Spanish, French, Chinese, and Vietnamese, as well as English.

17. The US is home to one of the oldest lifeforms on Earth

Bristlecone pine tree
Ancient bristlecone pine tree

The bristlecone pine tree in the Great Basin Desert is thought to be one of the world’s oldest lifeforms.

The oldest bristlecone ever found in the desert lived for almost 4,900 years before it was chopped down in 1964. The oldest living tree today has been growing for 4,765 years in a secret location in eastern California.

18. The USA has three of the world’s ten longest beaches

Stretching for 70 miles (113 kilometers), Padre Island National Seashore, on Padre Island off the coast of Texas, is the longest beach in the US and the fifth-longest beach in the world.

The US also has the world’s sixth and tenth longest beaches: The Grand Strand in South Carolina and Virginia Beach.

19. It is home to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World

The Grand Canyon in Arizona is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World

This impressive landmark stretches for 227 miles, with an average width of more than 10 miles. Each year, more than five million visitors come to the Grand Canyon to witness its immense size for themselves. Many choose to explore the canyon on foot, hiking one of the North Rim and South Rim trails. If you would prefer a more leisurely tour, you can take a helicopter ride from Las Vegas instead.

20. The smallest state can fit into the largest state 430 times

Alaska is by far the USA’s largest state. It covers 665,384 square miles, which means that at 1,545 square miles, the state of Rhode Island could fit into it 430 times.

21. The world’s most active volcano is in Hawaii

Kilauea Volcano
Kilauea Volcano

Indonesia may have the world’s highest number of recently active volcanoes, but with 161 volcanoes, the US has the most overall. 

The vast majority of these are in Hawaii, including the world’s most active volcano — Mount Kilauea. This volcano erupted continuously for 35 years, from 1983 until 2018. Since then, it has been erupting intermittently.

22. Washington, D.C. is not a state

Washington, D.C. is not a state itself, nor is it a part of any other state. Instead, it is classed as a territory.

There are petitions to make Washington, D.C. a state, but nothing has come of them yet.

23. Superior by name…

Lake Superior, one of the five Great Lakes of North America, is the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area.

24. Fly the flag

The flag of the United States of America
The flag of the United States of America

The first US flag was designed in 1777. It consisted of 13 stars and 13 stripes to represent the 13 colonies that declared independence from Great Britain. Since then, there have been 26 other versions of the US flag, each one coming as new states were declared.

The version with 48 stars was used for 47 years, until 1959, after a high school student named Robert Heft submitted a design to the White House with 50 stars to represent the 50 states. It’s his flag that’s still in use today.

25. We are the champions

In total, the US has won 2,985 Olympic medals — that’s more medals than any other country in the world. 

1,182 of the US’s Olympic medals are gold, 964 are silver, and 839 are bronze.

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