Sure, Halloween is tomorrow, but autumn is just generally the best time of year to walk through a beautiful cemetery and appreciate not only the serenity, but also the landscape, intricate tombstones, and sometimes even the final resting places of famous historical figures. Some people find them creepy, while others purposely seek out graveyards when they go out of town. For those of the latter persuasion, here are 20 cemeteries you absolutely must visit — before you, well, end up in one yourself.
St. Louis No. 1, New Orleans, Louisiana
Everyone who visits the Crescent City quickly realizes that it is a place with an energy and culture all its own, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that this, the oldest of its three Roman Catholic cemeteries, is an above-ground burial site that has been one of the city’s most notable landmarks since 1789.
Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York
The most beautiful place in all of Brooklyn, Green-Wood was founded in 1838, and, in a very New York sort of way, is some truly desirable real estate — even if its inhabitants can’t enjoy it. The cemetery includes the highest spot in the city, Battle Hill, with its view of the Statue of Liberty in the distance, and such famous residents as William “Bill The Butcher” Poole, Henry Ward Beecher, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Leonard Bernstein, and plenty of Civil War soldiers.
Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois
The Windy City’s most famous cemetery boasts some of the best-looking and creepiest tombstones in the United States, including the Getty Tomb for Cary Eliza Getty, which was designed by Louis Sullivan (who is also buried on the grounds), and a life-size statue of a six-year-old girl who was killed by lightning while picnicking with her family.
Père-Lachaise, Paris, France
The most well-known cemetery in one of the world’s most famous cities, everybody from Marcel Proust to Frédéric Chopin rests here, and that’s why tourists flock here year after year.
Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia
The oldest cemetery in Atlanta is home to six Georgia governors and Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchel, and is just as mysterious and beautiful as you’d expect a graveyard in one of the South’s greatest cities to be.
La Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Argentina
This gorgeous Argentinean cemetery has been around since the mid-1700s. Its weathered graves feature an incredible mix of Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Baroque, and Neo-Gothic styles.
Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts
This serene and historic New England cemetery is about as quaint as it gets, and a perfect place to read the poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who’s buried there.
Xoxocotlan, Oaxaca, Mexico
Even if you don’t happen to find yourself in Mexico on the Day of the Dead, the cemeteries in this city are all worth trying to see at least once in your life.
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, California
You can honor our country’s fallen soldiers by taking a trip to Arlington Cemetery, but this graveyard overlooking the bay is a particularly scenic resting place for heroes from several American wars.
Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Los Angeles, California
The iconic Hollywood cemetery that is home to silver screen legends like Rudolph Valentino and Douglas Fairbanks is (for lack of a better term) about as dead-Hollywood as it gets.
Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague, Czech Republic
With its oldest tombstone dating back to 1439, the Old Jewish Cemetery is a historic landmark. But sorry, tourists, it’s not where you’ll find Franz Kafka’s grave — that’s actually at the New Jewish Cemetery. Sorry for the confusion.
Key West Cemetery, Key West, Florida
Learn about the history of the region by walking among the estimated 100,000 grave sites in this supposedly haunted cemetery on the highest point in Key West. Soldiers, slaves, Cuban freedom fighters, and thousands of other souls tell a tale of Florida that you can’t read in history books.
The Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York
The outer boroughs of New York are full of gems, but this Bronx cemetery boasts a number of famous figures, from Herman Melville to Duke Ellington and Joseph Pulitzer.
Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia
Located on a scenic bluff of the Wilmington River, this Savannah cemetery is the epitome of Southern Gothic, and was made famous in John Berendt’s 1994 novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
Merry Cemetery, Sapanta, Romania
Almost as much an open-air art museum as it is a burial ground, this Romanian cemetery might be the cheeriest graveyard you’ll ever encounter.
Novodevichy Cemetery, Moscow, Russia
The fact that it houses the graves of so many of your favorite long-dead Russians, from director Sergei Eisenstein to Dead Souls author Nikolai Gogol to Anton Chekhov, makes this an obligatory stop in Moscow, even for people who aren’t normally wild about cemeteries.
Waverley Cemetery, Sydney, Australia
Not to sound morbid, but if you have to pick a final resting place, it’s tough to beat a seaside burial in this beautiful Australian cemetery that was established in 1877.
Cementerio General de Santiago, Chile
With an estimated two million grave sites, this cemetery is home to several of Chile’s former presidents, and is worth multiple stops to try and see as many of the different headstones and markers as possible.
Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
If you find yourself doing a tour of East Coast cemeteries, you’ll be remiss to pass up this cemetery filled with former politicians and monuments that should be appreciated as great works of art.
Granary Burying Ground, Boston, Massachusetts
It’s hard to believe this burial ground, founded in 1660, is only the third oldest in the city of Boston — especially because it contains the graves of founding fathers Paul Revere, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams.