The 70 Best American Traditional Tattoos for Men

This collection of tattoos is particularly wide-ranging. That’s because America is such a melting pot of cultures and interests. Below, you’ll find a variety of tattoos that represent what it means to be American.

A Traditional Crocodile Along the Outer Forearm A Traditional Take on Upper Chest Tattoos A Variety of Mini Traditional Hand Tattoos Add Extra Color with Blue and Orange in Your Forearm Traditional Tattoo All Black Tiger Designed with Thin Lines Amazing Neck Piece Featuring a Ferocious Panther Angry Eagle Over Top a Red Sun Back of Head Intricate Ship Design Black and Red Ferocious Animal on Your Hand Black Eagle and Skull Tattoo with Subtle Hints of Color

Blue and Red Shoulder-to-Hand Traditional Masterpiece Brown, Yellow, and Black Stomach Design With Symmetrical Smaller Pieces Buffalo Design with Muted Tones Colorless Viking Ship Sailing on Your Chest Compilation of Separate Traditional Pieces on One Leg Coordinated Calf and Shin Monarch Butterfly and Deathly Gloom Tattoos Cover an Entire Leg in Various Traditional Pieces Cover Every Inch of Your Hand with a Multi-Colored Compass with Flowers Black, Red, and Yellow Dagger along the Back of the Forearm Black-and-White Centerpiece Surrounded by Colored Traditional Tattoos

Full-Sleeve Basic Traditional Pieces Half Wolf, Half Woman Traditional Arm Tattoo Handshake and Roses on the Outer Right Leg Cover Your Entire Chest and Core with Traditionally Inspired Tattoos Dark Black Sleeve of Traditional Tattoos Eagle Wings Across the Back of Your Neck Eerie Skeleton Traditional Tattoo Forearm Tattoo of a Crescent Moon Surrounded by Flowers Front Piece with Eagles, Symmetry, and Crests Full Forearm Tattoo with Bright Color Accents

Red, Yellow, and Blue Ship and Quote Tattoo Have a Spider Crawling across Your Kneecap Forever Hooded Skull Tattoo Identical Spider Web Shoulder Tattoos Paired with Full Sleeves Multi-Colored Compass along the Inner Arm Navy Blue Emphasis with Touches of Red, Green, and Yellow Patriotic Serpent, Eagle, and American Flag Front Pieces Play on Words Heartbroken Tattoo Design Portrait of a Man with a Touch of Nature Elements Red and Blue Traditional Shoulder Tattoo

Three Identical Salmon Swimming along the Upper Arm Serpents Tongue and Scaley Hand Traditional Tattoo Shaded Spider Web Knee Tattoo Sheep Traditional Outer Calf Tattoo Similar Yet Different Upper Chest Tattoo Pieces Skull Tattoos across the Chest Slayer Ghost with an Ax Back Tattoo Smoking Sailor Traditional Design Spider Web Elbow Tattoos and a Full Back Piece Spooky Darkened Traditional Style Sleeve Tattoos

Traditional Design Eagle Chest Tattoo Traditional Eagle Tattoo on a Shaved Head Traditional Rose Tattoo that Covers the Neck Traditional Rose Thumb Tattoos Traditional Sailboat Tattoo on Your Hand Traditional Tattoo Made From Thinner Outlines Traditional Tattoo of Skeleton Hands Holding Paradise Triple Dice Inside of an Ace Wrist Tattoo Triple-Eyed Tiger Rib Cage Piece Two Full Sleeves of Miniature Traditional Tattoos

Two Swords Piercing a Serpents Eyes Unique Full Sleeve Tattooed with Dull Hues of Ink Uppercase Traditional Lettering Elbow Design Very Bright Family Name Traditional Tattoo Vibrant Green-Eyed Beast Chest Piece Vibrant Rose with a Hidden Eyeball for Anyones Hand Vibrant Upper Thigh Serpent Tattoo Wear a Campfire on Your Arm Forever Yin and Yang Hand Tattoos

Animals and Fantastic Beasts

We have a plethora of awesome animals in America, and they all symbolize certain characteristics that we admire. Perhaps you want a tattoo of a strong bear, a fierce wolf, or a wise owl. Maybe you’d rather show yourself as a cunning snake. Americans even have an affinity for mythical beasts, such as dragons and phoenixes, or the alluring mermaid.


America is also composed of a varied landscape. We have mountains, forests, beaches, and the Grand Canyon. Show your appreciation of the most beautiful places in America with a tattoo of your favorite type of location.

Native American

Even if you don’t have any Native American blood in your body, you can still pay homage to those who first lived here. Many of us admire their simple way of life, their bravery, and their respect for nature. From the wizened chief to the young brave to the beautiful squaw, you can depict the people of our past in any way you like. Some Americans opt to simply show their everyday tools, such as tomahawks, feathers, dreamcatchers, or teepees.


A tattoo of a desirable woman is another common theme on the arms of American men. The tradition started when men would go out to sea. They wanted to take something nice to look at with them. But even if you’re a landlubber, the red-hot blood of the American man can still be seen in their love of women tattoos. The most tasteful, however, are those that are mixed with another theme. Perhaps you could get a tattoo of a woman in a skimpy army uniform or one of a woman in a classy 20s-style dress.


From the grim reaper to skulls to death masks to hourglasses, we Americans like to say that we’re not afraid of anything, including death itself. You can get a tattoo that reminds you of your mortality in a sobering manner or one that makes light of the end of days.

Patriotism and Military Strength

Cool American Flags, bald eagles, quotes from the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution, portraits of presidents and other leaders, and men, women, or personified animals in uniform all fall into this category. Despite the politics of the day, we still believe that this is the greatest nation on earth with the strongest military.


Our colonial era, the Old West, and the Roaring 20s are the most popular time periods to depict in tattoo art. They’re iconic times in our history. You could opt for log cabins, covered wagons, cannons, cowboys, rifles, pistols, sophisticated gentlemen, or classy women.

Pop Culture

While no particular tattoo in this category would be considered traditional, the theme of pop culture is very much American. Radio, television, and Hollywood have all had a profound impact on our country and our identity as Americans. Show your interests and know that they are helping to shape American culture.


Though most religions didn’t originate in America, many of our ancestors traveled here for religious reasons. The various brands of Christianity shaped our culture and still give us our national sense of morality. If you’re a believer, you could consider getting a tattoo of Jesus, your favorite saint, a meaningful Bible verse, or a stylized cross. And even if you’re not a devout follower, you might still appreciate the iconography of angels or angel wings.


We’re explorers and engineers here in America. That’s why compasses, globes, maps, sailing vessels, trains, and race cars are all popular tattoo themes. We like to find new places to go and new ways to get there, preferably in the fastest way possible.

Worker’s Pride

The American spirit is all about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and making a life for yourself. Show that you’re no quitter with a tattoo of your trade.

Mexican Influence

Of course, our neighbors to the south have had a profound impact on the southern states in particular. You’ll often see American men with tattoos of sugar skulls or women in death masks. Cactuses, Spanish guitars, and Mexican sombreros are other popular themes. If you like the Mexican culture, getting a tattoo of it can still be very American.


And, of course, we can’t forget the most traditional tough guy tattoo. Family is the most important thing in many men’s lives, and we have a special place in our hearts for our longsuffering mothers. They’re the ones who put up with us getting all our other tattoos.