If you enjoy watching true crime shows on television, why not experience them in person? You can find some of the most famous true crime destinations in renowned tourist destinations in the United States. If you have a road trip bucket list, there’s a chance several of these cities are already on it.
Today, we’re sharing ten true crime destinations in the United States for your next road trip. How many will you add to your itinerary? Let’s find out!
What Are True Crime Destinations?
True crime destinations are cities and locations that had famous crime investigations. True crime is nonfiction entertainment that has become trendy in recent years through podcasts, films, and literary content. Enthusiasts learn about current and historical crime cases around the country and then want to experience the area for themselves.
While this may seem modern, it’s nothing new. It’s similar to visiting old western towns or areas that have capitalized on being the home of an infamous cowboy. True crime destinations capitalize on historical and significant events to provide an experience, typically to tourists, and generate revenue.
What Makes a Place a Good True Crime Destination?
If you’re looking to take a trip to a true crime destination, you don’t want to go just anywhere. The best places to visit are locations with several well-known historical crime events. These are often in areas with a history of organized crime, like mob or gang activity. However, some destinations have been the home to multiple serial killing sprees throughout history.
You’ll likely want to start by finding places with multiple events. These places will often offer several tours and experiences for you to enjoy during your trip. However, keep in mind that you’ll likely be staying nearby. You could wind up being the subject of the subsequent tourist experience!
Pro Tip: On your road trip to an epic true crime destination, give a listen to one of these 7 Spooky Campfire Podcasts.
10 True Crime Destinations in the USA for Your Road Trip
We think several true crime destinations are worth considering for your next road trip. Depending on your travel plans, you may even check off a couple of them simultaneously. Some destinations have abundant true crime history, while others may be home to one or two significant events. Here are some destinations you might consider visiting on your next road trip!
The Windy City has been a hotbed of criminal activity throughout the decades. From the 1929 Valentine’s Massacre to the decades of mob activity, Chicago has no shortage of true crime events. You can explore them on your own or buy a ticket to the Chicago Crime Tour.
On tour, you’ll spend an hour and a half to two hours hopping on and off the tour bus at some of the city’s most infamous crime scenes. Enjoy historic video footage with a knowledgeable guide educating you and your fellow true crime lovers about crime in Chicago. There will be many stops to take pictures, so charge your phone and have plenty of storage space.
Pro Tip: Find out how to Visit Al Capone’s Grave while on your true crime hunt in Chicago.
Savannah is a gorgeous coastal city that attracts more than 14 million guests annually. However, the Spanish moss-filled trees and beautiful beaches make it easy to forget the cruel true crime events in this southern city.
Many don’t realize it was the home to a serial killer with more than 60 confirmed kills, a murder that inspired authors and movie directors, a Christmas day murder, and many more horrific crimes. Sign up for the Bloody Murder Savannah Pub Crawl and learn about the criminal history in the city while strolling through the streets with a drink.
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles is home to a collection of True Crime stories, including Elisa Lam’s murder at the downtown Cecil Hotel. The city has experienced some of the most gruesome and bizarre crimes in history. You can find crimes involving decapitation, strangulation, arson, serial killers, and even plane crashes.
The Los Angeles area isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a rough city with a history that’s just as wild!
New York City, New York
The Big Apple was home to some of the most heinous crimes in American history. From decades of Mafia activity and some of the most brutal gangs in the country, NYC doesn’t mess around regarding crime. While you may have heard or read about some of the dirty deeds in New York City, there’s nothing like seeing and experiencing the sites.
If you want the ultimate adventure, book a spot on the NYC Gangster and Mob Private Walking Tour. This tour takes you through neighborhoods and hangout spots of some of the most famous gangsters in the city. You’ll even visit Little Italy, where rivals gunned down some of the most notorious mobsters. The tour even includes a stop at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, where filmmakers shot the famous mobster film, “The Godfather.”
Texans warn you not to mess with Texas, and they mean it. Sadly, some people don’t listen and pay the price. Dallas, Texas, has some incredibly gruesome tales. One of the most famous true crimes in Dallas was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. However, despite the city having a rich history of crime, there’s also a relatively active crime scene in Dallas. The city has such a broad true crime interest that it hosted the True Crime Podcast Festival in 2022.
New Orleans, Louisiana
While people may know New Orleans for Mardis Gras and beignets, the city has a darker and more sinister side. The city has a notorious history of horrific crimes that many believe caused hauntings. Many of the most haunted and gruesome attacks occurred near popular tourist destinations.
The best way to get the inside scoop is to book a spot on the Killers and Thrillers Tour. Your guide will give you a detailed play-by-play account of some of the terrible crimes that true crime avenues have documented over the years. A trip to New Orleans is a must for any fan of true crime and paranormal activity.
It should come as no surprise that Seattle would make our list. Many know Seattle for grunge rock and seedy activity. Seattle was the home to the Weyerhaeuser Kidnapping in 1935, the D.B. Cooper Skyjacking in 1971, and the Ted Bundy Murders.
The city has been home to some of the most vicious murderers in American history. Private Eye on Seattle Ghost & True Crime Tours offers a detailed trip into these crimes and provides a perspective only a local can offer. The Emerald City has less than a shiny history regarding true crime.
Fall River, Massachusetts
If you’re traveling to the northeast and looking for a true crime destination, Fall River, Massachusetts, might foot the bill. The city saw a series of murders from 1979 to 1980, all involving young individuals and causing police to uncover a local satanic cult practicing in the area. These three murders attracted enough attention that they inspired James Day to direct the 2021 documentary Fall River.
San Francisco, California
If you come to San Francisco for cable cars and hilly streets, you must be aware of its darker side. One of the most recent true crime cases involves Scott Peterson, who murdered his wife and unborn child in 2002.
However, another well-known series of true crime events that struck the bay area were those of Jack the Ripper during his killing spree in 1969. The city also has Alcatraz, the notorious prison that houses some of the worst criminals. Sign up for the Haunted SF’s Ghost Hunting, True Crime, and Mystery Tour to get an inside look at the famous true crimes in the area!
The City of Brotherly Love may sound friendly, but that isn’t always true. Philadelphia was home to Marie Noe, a mother of ten whose children mysteriously died. Decades later, she confessed to smothering four of them but couldn’t remember what happened to the rest. Another man put women in cages, and there was the Center City rapist in the 1990s and the Kensington Strangler in 2010. Join the Bad Things Happen in Philly to see that this city is not always sunny!
Can You Handle a True Crime Road Trip?
If you’re a true crime lover, a true crime road trip could be a fun and exciting way to make memories. You can walk the same streets that infamous criminals and innocent victims once walked. Experience the foods and sounds of their home cities. You may have trouble sleeping during your road trip, but it can be quite an adventure!
What famous true crime destination would you like to visit? Tell us in the comments!
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