You may not automatically think of cemeteries as beautiful, but believe it or not, some U.S. cemeteries look absolutely stunning.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- 1. Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles California
- 2. Graceland Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois
- 3. Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California
- 4. Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia
- 5. More Beautiful Cemeteries
The earliest cemeteries in the United States date back to the 1700s. Some of the oldest cemeteries top the list as the most beautiful. Through the years, people have created cemeteries across the United States as a final resting place for family members and friends. Whether you like history, have an artistic streak, or simply enjoy beautiful places, you will want to visit these cemeteries.
1. Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles California
With a name like Hollywood Forever, is it any wonder that this cemetery reminds you of the palatial estates of Hollywood’s elite? With rolling lush green hills, California’s iconic palm trees, lakes, statues, fountains, swans, and flowers, the stars rest here.
In addition to the beauty you’ll find on the grounds, you can locate the headstones of the rich and famous, including Rudy Valentino, Mel Blanc, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and the founder of the L.A. Philharmonic, William Andrews Clark, Jr.
People hold movie screenings and concerts here throughout the year.
2. Graceland Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois
This cemetery, one of the more recently established cemeteries on this list, was founded in 1960. The stunning grounds, headstones, and mausoleums showcase 121 acres of lush green grass, weeping willows, and lakes. You can hunt for the most famous residents there, including Roger Ebert, Marshall Fields, and Victor Lawson of the "Chicago Daily News."
3. Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California
Many of the rich and famous choose beautiful Mountain View Cemetery as a final resting place. Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park, designed Mountain View's green rolling hills and full view of the San Francisco Bay.
If you take a look at it yourself, you can see why the founder of Ghirardelli Chocolate, Domingo Ghirardelli, and steel magnate Henry Kaiser chose this cemetery as their final resting place. There are often stark differences between public and private cemeteries and this is one cemetery where it pays to shell out the expensive price for a plot.
4. Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia
People visit Arlington National Cemetery from all around the world. The 624 acres of rolling green hills are dedicated to the bravest of the men and women who fought in a branch of America’s armed services. This is also home to the famous Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
During fall, the trees in the cemetery change colors to brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows. In spring and summer, foliage matches the lush greenery that surrounds each headstone. One trip to this location and you’ll quickly understand why this is one of the most beautiful national cemeteries in America.
5. Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Laurel Hill Cemetery in Pennsylvania is notable for its monuments and mausoleums — all 33,000 of them. The cemetery dates back to the 1800s and many of the structures show incredibly ornate detail. Take a walk through the winding pathways and you’ll see thousands of marble sculptures, obelisks, and mausoleums that will make any architect proud.
6. Trinity Church Cemeteries in New York City, New York
Trinity's three different cemetery sites in New York City showcase one of the oldest established cemeteries still in use today. First established in 1698, the cemetery pays tribute to those buried there, dating from pioneer days to modern times. The most famous resident is Alexander Hamilton and his family, whose grave you can still visit.
The older headstones offer a stark but beautiful contrast against the lush green landscape of the cemetery. In springtime, cherry trees covered in thick pink blossoms float down and adorn the gravesites. It’s a stunning sight and it’s a wonder this cemetery hasn’t made it into several movies about cemeteries.
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7. Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston, Massachusetts
Given its location, you can guest that the cemetery not only contains quite a lot of natural beauty but plenty of history as well. Established in 1848, the grounds contain 275 acres of sprawling walkways, statues, lush trees, gardens, memorials, and mausoleums. Visit during the fall (or all year round) for stunning views.
8. Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York
Even the name of this cemetery speaks of the natural beauty contained in the sprawling 478-acre area. Green-Wood, which started in 1838, contains some of America’s most famous individuals, including politician Boss Tweed and conductor Leonard Bernstein.
Those who visit can take trolley tours year-round, go bird watching, or attend special programs. If you want to view the grounds in all their glory, visit during the fall months.
9. Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky
If you love beautiful locations and history, Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky offers a must-see location during your next vacation. This sprawling home to some of Kentucky’s famous residents offers more than just a cemetery. In fact, the grounds boast an entire arboretum with crystal lakes, swans, flowering trees, and flowers that carpet entire sections of the cemetery.
During winter, snow often blankets the grounds, tombs, and statues, creating a stunning winter scene those buried there would relish.
10. Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
For those who want some beauty with their history lesson, visit Oak Hill Cemetery. Among the trees, stone walkways, and garden-like settings, you’ll find statues, memorials, fountains, ponds, lakes, and benches to pause at during your visit.
This cemetery has become such a local favorite that you can take a self-guided tour put on by the Georgetown Garden Club. The tour takes visitors around the grounds and stops at some of the most scenic areas available.
11. Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio
This cemetery first opened in 1869 and from the start, the grounds featured a practically part-like setting with acres of the finest trees, shrubbery, and flowering plants available.
Along with meandering pathways, lakes, fountains, and statues, this cemetery showcases some of the oldest and most beautiful flowering trees around. Stunning whether you visit in spring, summer, winter, or fall, you can always find some beauty.
12. Mount Auburn Cemetery in Middlesex, Massachusetts
If you've put fall foliage and beautiful cemeteries both on your bucket list, visit Mount Auburn Cemetery during the fall and you’ll accomplish both at the same time. This cemetery was founded in 1831 and boasts some beautiful old stone architecture, ornate headstones, and loads of history.
Nestled among the hundreds of trees, you'll find headstones belonging to some of the earliest pioneers, including descendants of those who came to America on the Mayflower. During the fall months, the vibrant trees display the full range of colors of New England. You certainly don’t have to be a taphophile to visit this beautiful place.
13. Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York
This sprawling cemetery was formed in 1838 with just 40 acres. Today, it boasts 200 acres of pathways, grassy hills, gardens, and stunning mausoleums, crypts, headstones, and statues.
This cemetery has become so popular with the locals that many visit to simply stroll through the picturesque grounds and admire the natural and manmade beauty. If you visit during the fall months, you’ll find the grounds especially beautiful as its trees turn and leaves decorate the headstones.
14. Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California
Sitting high up on a bluff overlooking much of southern California, Forest Lawn in Glendale is beautiful, elegant, architecturally pleasing, and star-studded through and through. Acres of rolling green hills, lakes, fountains, statues, gardens, benches, and walkways make it inviting for the rich and famous.
While admiring the view, walking the lush grounds, or enjoying the world-class art museum on the property, you can also find the graves of singer Nat King Cole, actor Clark Gable, and the world-renowned Walt Disney.
Places of Beauty, History, and Solace
Cemeteries offer elegance and beauty that serve as the final resting place to those who grace our memories and history books. By visiting these locations, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation of life and those who lived it, all the while enjoying the natural beauty and solace that surrounds you.
- Medina, Sarah. “The Most Hauntingly Beautiful Cemeteries.” Things to Do, Time Out, 2 October 2020. timeout.com/usa/things-to-do/best-beautiful-cemeteries-in-usa
- ”Must-Visit Cemeteries in America.” Travel, Best Choice, July 2019. bestchoicereviews.org/travel/must-visit-cemeteries-america/
- Brynes, Hristina. “The Most Beautiful Cemeteries in America.” Travel, The Active Times, 30 August 2018. theactivetimes.com/travel/most-beautiful-cemeteries-america/slide-15