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8 famous streets in America you need to visit in your lifetime 

Bourbon Street in New Orleans over Mardi Gras
Skip Bolen | Getty Images
Bourbon Street in New Orleans over Mardi Gras

There are renowned streets across the globe, like Abbey Road in London, England, and Champs-Elysees in Paris, France, but you don't have to go that far. Many of the world's most iconic streets are in America, and they are attractions unto themselves.

From California to Florida, these eight legendary U.S. streets are worth a stroll.

Bourbon Street, New Orleans, Louisiana

Many travelers identify New Orleans with Bourbon Street, the famed (and infamous) party street stretching 13 blocks across the city. Since the 1720s it's served as stomping ground for boozers, sailors, refugees and even pirates. The legendary street is chockablock with dive bars, night clubs, strip clubs and shops selling souvenirs and it's packed on the weekends with night revelers who throw Mardi Gras beads from second-floor balconies to crowds below. Due to New Orleans' open-container laws, people can drink alcohol on the street.

While one may think it was named after the American whiskey, Bourbon got its name for the Royal House of Bourbon, a ruling family in France, in 1721. The street is home to Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, which is among the oldest buildings in the famed French Quarter, one of the best places to see in America. Lafitte's has been used as a bar in America since it was built in 1722.

To get in the NOLA spirit, head to Tropical Isle bar and buy a "Hand Grenade," a famous melon-flavored frozen cocktail with 13 secret ingredients served in a large green grenade-shaped container since 1984. It's been dubbed the "strongest drink in New Orleans."

This year, Bourbon Street underwent a $13 million face lift to amp up security, fix sewer lines and repave the road, the first time its infrastructure has been reconstructed since 1928.

Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California

Hollywood Boulevard may have the Walk of Fame, but Sunset Boulevard has more famous and less touristy attractions. The stretch between Beverly Hills and Hollywood, known as "The Sunset Strip," is about a mile and a half out of the boulevard's 22 miles.

Sunset is home to Chateau Marmont, a favorite hotel for celebrities. Everyone from Clark Gable to Led Zeppelin to Anthony Bourdain has stayed there, and comedian John Belushi famously died there from a drug overdose in 1982. If you're not staying overnight, you can still make a reservation at The Restaurant at Chateau Marmont serving modern California cuisine that ranges from $24 to $48.

Down the street, tourists regularly frequent Sunset Tower Hotel, an iconic hotel from 1929 where famous names like Howard Hughes, John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor once resided in luxury residences. The hotel still has well preserved Art Deco interiors and design to check out, and you can grab a drink at The Tower Bar, the intimate rooftop bar with outdoor terrace. Specialty cocktails, like The Dimitri with vodka, gin, Luxardo Maraschino Liqeur, Green Chartreuse and fresh lime, are $17 to $19.

Also on the street: Rock bands like No Doubt, Van Halen and Guns N' Roses got their start at Whiskey a Go Go, opened in 1964, where a beer will cost you $8. And before they were famous, comedians like Tim Allen, Jim Carey and Dane Cook performed at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, opened in 1979. All-star comics continue to perform there, like "Crazy Rich Asians" (Warner Bros.) star Ken Jeong and Vicki Barbolak, who appeared on NBC's "America's Got Talent. Ticket prices depend on the show and average $17 to $25.

Just cruising down Sunset Boulevard in a car or walking on foot is also a pastime since it's known for countless billboards and entire building walls advertising movies, TV and music.

Fifth Avenue, New York City, New York

New York City has plenty of famous streets, like Wall Street, Broadway and Bowery, but there's none as famous as Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. It stretches from the downtown Greenwich Village neighborhood all the way uptown to Harlem. It's considered the most expensive street in the world based on prime rental value ($3,000 per square foot), according to a 2017 report by real estate services agency Cushman & Wakefield. Plenty of luxury brands have stores along Fifth Avenue, including Prada, Gucci, Versace and Louis Vuitton. Even if you're not shopping, they are known for elaborate and expensive window displays worth checking out.

Fifth Avenue isn't all about shopping. Some of N.Y.C.'s best attractions are here, like Rockefeller Center with Top of the Rock viewing deck on the 70th floor, which has with 360-degree views of the city ($36 per adult). The Empire State Building and the New York Public Library, opened in 1911, also sit on the avenue.

The east side of Central Park borders Fifth Avenue from 59th Street to 110th Street, with Central Park Zoo at East 64th and Fifth Avenue. You can see polar bears, snow monkeys, a red panda and birds. General admission to the zoo is $12.

Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada

In Las Vegas, Las Vegas Boulevard, also known as "The Vegas Strip," is packed with over 20 million visitors year-round, who marvel at the lavish resorts, large plasma-screen billboards and neon signs. Street performers amp up the energy of the street, and the people-watching is some of the best in the country, where you can see a diverse range of tourists from all over the world.

Stretching for 4.2 miles in the heart of Las Vegas, from Russell Road to Sahara Avenue, the Strip is packed with shops, restaurants, bars and famous attractions, like Bellagio's water fountains; the 460-feet high observation deck at Eiffel Tower, a 46-story replica of the Eiffel Tower in Paris at Paris Las Vegas hotel & Casino; the indoor and outdoor gondolas resembling Venice, Italy at Venetian; and the High Roller, the largest observation deck in the world with glass-enclosed passenger pods and views from 550 feet high.

Admission to the High Roller is $25 and it lasts 30 minutes. The views of Las Vegas Boulevard from the High Roller are unobstructed.

Ocean Drive, Miami, Florida

Ocean Drive is a historic beachfront gem in Miami's South Beach. Inaugurated in 1915, the short, 1.3-mile street spans 17 blocks and is chockfull of Art Deco buildings and hotels with retro, neon signs.

Colony Hotel, a 1939 boutique hotel, was featured in TV and films like Showtime's "Dexter," and The Sunray Apartments was seen in the 1983 movie "Scarface." Ocean Drive is also famous for being home to the late Italian fashion designer, Gianni Versace, whose mansion is now a hotel. The street is at the heart of Miami's Art Deco District, which is home to about 900 well-preserved period buildings.

Ocean Drive is all about being seen: Tourists and locals alike line up for patio seating at the string of restaurants, bars and lounges, and expensive cars parade along the drive. Grab a drink at Clevelander, an Art Deco hotel built in 1938. The rooftop terrace has views of Ocean Drive and the Atlantic Ocean. Cocktails start at $10.

Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

Known as "The Magnificent Mile," Michigan Avenue in Chicago runs 12 miles from famed Lake Shore Drive to Lake Michigan's shore in the Gold Coast District. North Michigan Avenue, which is the famous part, runs about one mile from Oak Street to the Chicago River.

The street is mostly known for shopping, from designer boutiques to chocolate shops, though it's home to Chicago's most recognizable building, the 100-story John Hancock Center. There are other significant edifices there too, including the Chicago Water Tower, built in 1869, and the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum, a movable bridge over Chicago River.

Visitors will also find Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago's most famous museum founded in 1879. Works include paintings by Pablo Picasso, Paul Gaugin and Vincent Van Gogh, and it's home to classic American paintings like "American Gothic" by Grant Wood and "Nighthawks" by Edward Hopper. Tickets start at $25 for entrance.

Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, California

Part of American pop culture, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills has been a magnet for wealthy people for more than a century (it was built in 1906 and led a path to Beverly Hills Hotel, built in 1912). It wasn't until 1967 when Giorgio Beverly Hills, the street's first high-end boutique, opened, that the 2-mile street became a high-end shopping mecca, with brand name designers like Valentino and Christian Dior.

It's also home to notable attractions, like Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Anderton Court Shops at 332 North Rodeo and Via Rodeo, a small section with a cobblestone street.

Visitors come to check out Rodeo Drive locations seen in movies. Julia Roberts' shopping scene (and famous "big mistake" line) in 1990's "Pretty Woman" was filmed at boutique Boulmiche; Eddie Murphy cruised down Rodeo Drive in 1984 hit "Beverly Hills Cop"; and Alicia Silverstone's character sadly walked down Rodeo Drive after failing her driving test in 1995's "Clueless."

Hop on the free trolley service for a short sightseeing tour that goes through Beverly Hills, including Rodeo Drive, Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. until September 2; Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m from September to November.

Castro Street, San Francisco, California

San Francisco's Castro neighborhood is one of the first and most famous LGBTQ neighborhoods in America, where all activity is centered along historic and busy Castro Street, which runs from Market Street to 19th Street.

Residents truly show their pride: you'll find rainbow flags and banners hung on most of the buildings, and the street has many gay-owned businesses. There are restaurants and coffee shops, bars and lounges, like Twin Peaks Tavern, a landmark bar opened as a gay bar in 1971. Locals say Twin Peaks Tavern was the first gay bar in America to have windows so patrons didn't have to hide their presence.

There are a handful of events and celebrations on Castro Street throughout the year, including The Castro Street Fair, which started in 1974 by openly gay politician Harvey Milk, who once owned a camera shop there. The 45th annual Castro Street Fair takes place this October.

You can also stop at Hot Cookie, a bakery serving specialty, freshly baked cookies and macaroons, and an institution since 1997. A cookie starts at $3.50.

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