Who says America doesn't make stuff anymore? From cars to coffee, hot sauce to jumbo jets, we've got 10 great places to see how the proverbial sausage is made.
Ford Rouge Factory, Dearborn, Mich. -- One of the most important sites in the history of the automobile, this city unto itself just 10 minutes from downtown Detroit is where you'll now find the F-150 pickup truck in production. All tours begin at the nearby Henry Ford museum complex, a destination unto itself (thehenryford.org).
Martin Guitar, Nazareth, Pa. -- The choice of sensitive rockers everywhere was around long before rock 'n' roll was invented. Martin's history of manufacturing some of the world's greatest acoustic guitars begins back in the 1700s. One-hour tours of the plant are complemented by an on-site museum and a Pickin' Parlor, where visitors are welcome to play high-end and limited edition models (martinguitar.com).
Intelligentsia Coffee, Chicago, Ill. -- One of the most popular roasters in the country -- now served in some of the most popular cafes and restaurants in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles -- offers its fans (or just the merely curious) this easy-going and fun tour at their main roasting facility in the Windy City. And, you'll get all the freshly-brewed coffee you can drink (intelligentsiacoffee.com).
Boeing, Everett, Wash. -- Go inside the world's largest building by volume -- 472,000,000 cubic feet -- for the chance to glimpse Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner in production, then head to the Future of Flight Aviation Center and get strapped into The Innovator, a seven-seat simulator that puts you in the cockpit for the ride of your life (boeing.com).
Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, Louisville, Ky. -- You've seen them in the hands of countless baseball greats, here's your chance to get right on the factory floor and see how the official bat of Major League Baseball is made. Each tour participant gets a mini-Slugger to take home as a souvenir; afterwards, stick around for the museum, a fun and informative look at the history of America's best-known bat (sluggermuseum.org).
Harley-Davidson, Menomonee Falls, Wis. -- It may not be the sexiest bit of the hog, but you can't have a Harley without a proper powertrain, right? Visitors are welcomed in to observe operations at the 849,000 square-foot plant northwest of downtown Milwaukee. Also, make sure to pay a visit to the company's fun and interactive downtown museum; consider checking into the handsome, museum-adjacent Iron Horse Hotel (harley-davidson.com).
Dogfish Head, Milton, Del. -- What was once a small Delaware brewery has grown to become one of the best on the East Coast. Tours are casual and cool, samples are (but of course) offered. If you didn't get enough to drink on the tour, check out their popular brewpub and restaurant in nearby Rehoboth Beach (dogfish.com).
Tabasco Factory, Avery Island, La. -- That familiar smell fills the air as you drive on to 2,200-acre Avery Island; there's no mistaking that you've arrived in the home of America's favorite hot sauce. But a tour through Tabasco's factory operation is just part of the experience here; the company-owned Jungle Gardens and Bird City make a visit to the island a fun day out from either New Orleans or Cajun Country (tabasco.com).
Mack Trucks, Macungie, Pa. -- Are you an admirer of the mighty Mack? Put on your comfortable shoes and embark on a 1.5-mile walking tour of the famed truck's mighty manufacturing plant. Visitors to the site are also invited to visit the Mack Museum, featuring a wide range of vintage vehicles dating from the early 1900s up to 1979 (macktrucks.com).
Airstream Factory, Jackson Center, Ohio -- A tiny town set amid the central Ohio farm fields is the setting for the factory that produces those iconic silver travel trailers. It's a pilgrimage site for owners, who bring their houses on wheels here to be serviced, camping out at the on-site RV park. The free, daily factory tour is good fun, even if just to see one of the country's most stubbornly unchanged companies in action (airstream.com).