A vast landscape of bustling metropolises, sun-soaked countryside and incredible natural wonders, it’s no wonder why the US has remained one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world.
Every inch of the 3.8 million square miles of America offers something different; whether you want to chill out on a beach or hit the clubs, there’s a state and city to suit all personal tastes. So much so that it’s practically impossible to run out of the sights this diverse country has to offer.
If you’re a newbie to the States or simply want to visit a different city, you’ve come to the right place. We’re exploring our favourite ten US destinations to get the ball rolling for your next holiday.
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BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN THE USA
More than 50 million people visit New York City every year, and with good reason. The Big Apple, as it’s known, conjures up images of steel sky-grazing buildings contrasted by a neon-lit central square. With so much to see, do and eat, it can be overwhelming figuring out where to begin.
We recommend starting with the classics: The Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and Times Square are all worth the hype, not to mention the 9/11 Memorial, American Museum of Natural History and Central Park.
When it comes to lesser known sites, we recommend a trip to the Tenement Museum, where you can learn more about America’s history of immigration, before grabbing a bite to eat in Katz’s Delicatessen – be sure to tuck into one of their famous pastrami sandwiches.
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Top tip: For a memorable afternoon out, head to Prospect Park in Brooklyn and eat to your heart’s content at Smorgasberg, a food truck festival that takes place every Sunday.
Washington D.C. is the place to go if you want to find out more about American history. Whole days can be spent exploring the city’s many monuments and museums, including the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and the Smithsonian Institution – and of course no trip to Washington is complete without seeing the White House itself and Capitol itself.
We also recommend taking a stroll through Georgetown. The historic waterfront town boasts a wide array of restaurants, bars and shops.
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Top tip: Visit Washington in the springtime, where you can see the cherry blossoms blooming around the Tidal Basin.
Famous for its bright lights and casinos, Las Vegas is billed as the entertainment capital of the world. From world-class mega casinos to spectacular shows and concerts featuring the world’s top entertainers, Vegas certainly lives up to its reputation.
Every hotel along the Strip is famous in some way, whether it’s the Bellagio’s mesmerising fountains, the Venetian’s canal or New York New York’s Big Apple roller coaster. Whichever hotel you decide to stay in, you’ll still be able to enjoy everything else the other hotels have to offer, so don’t worry about missing out.
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Top tip: Whilst the Strip is the main reason people visit Las Vegas, don’t be afraid to wander off the beaten track and check out the surrounding area; a kayak tour on Lake Mead is especially memorable.
Perched on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago is celebrated for its vibrant arts scene, numerous cultural attractions and interesting architecture. It’s also the perfect place for sports fans, with the Chicago Bears, White Sox, Cubs and Chicago Bulls all hailing from the Windy City.
Whether you’re taking in a game or enjoying a relaxed afternoon in Millennium Park, there’s plenty to keep you occupied in this vibrant city.
And, of course, no trip to Chicago is complete without sampling the city’s famous deep dish pizza. With a much thicker crust, Chicago pizza leaves plenty of room for extra sauce, cheese and toppings – it’s a must try experience.
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Top tip: Laugh out loud with an evening at one of Chicago’s comedy clubs. Some of the greatest talent has emerged from Chicago, from Tina Fey to Stephen Colbert.
From the Golden Gate Bridge to the faithful cable car, San Francisco is an iconic city that warrants hours of exploration.
One of the most memorable experiences San Francisco has to offer is a trip to Alcatraz Island. Visit the now-defunct federal prison where the likes of Al Capone were once incarcerated and get a feel for what it was like to be a prisoner here.
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Top tip: San Francisco’s Chinatown is a great place for cheap and authentic Chinese food. There’s even a fortune cookie factory that you can visit!
Combining beautiful beaches with a dynamic party scene, Miami is the place to be for those who want equal parts relaxation and clubbing. You can enjoy a dip in the impossibly blue sea before heading back to the hotel to dress up to the nines and head out to one of the many vibrant bars dotted along the streets.
Fancy a sweet tipple? Sugar is the place for you. This beautiful rooftop bar offers 360-views of the city and a delightful selection of Asian-inspired cocktails. Take your celebrations well into the night at the famous 24-hour club E11EVEN. This is far from your ordinary nightclub, combining EDM music with trapeze dancers and burlesque to create an atmosphere like no other.
A visit to Miami wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. This grand Italian Renaissance estate shows off another side to this dynamic city; admire the gorgeous architecture before exploring the beautiful gardens and woodland that surround it.
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Top tip: Escape the glitz and glamour of Miami with a trip to Jungle Island. Located only minutes away from South Beach and Downtown Miami. This self-described eco-adventure theme park features everything from animal exhibitions to escape rooms.
Known as the capital of theme parks, Orlando should be a bucket-list topper for those who want a thrill. From Walt Disney World to Volcano Bay, there’s a theme park to suit all ages and preferences. Adults can become big kids again while the little ones explore their daring side and say hello to their favourite characters.
With an average of 233 sunny days a year, it’s no wonder why people flock to this Florida-based city all year round. Enjoy the sunshine on the sprawling white-sand beach before dipping your toes into the sparkling blue water.
Orlando is a paradise for sun-seekers and thrill lovers, but sports fans are sure to be equally enamoured with this city. Why not see a show at the 25,500 seat Orlando City Soccer Stadium? If you’d rather get stuck into a game than watch, you’ll be delighted to know that there are over 170 golf courses in Orlando alone. For true thrill seekers, get behind the wheel of a real NASCAR race car at the famous Richard Petty Driving Experience.
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Top tip: It may be known for its theme parks, but there’s a more grown-up side to Orlando. Take some time out of your trip to explore the more cultural side of the sunny city, including the Orlando Museum of Art, Museum of Osteology or even a Broadway show.
A sprawling metropolis packed with glamorous hot spots, vibrant nightlife and plenty of natural beauty, Los Angeles is the place to let your hair down. Spend your days exploring the many iconic landmarks before heading to one of the eccentric nightclubs when dawn turns to dusk.
Speaking of landmarks, the Hollywood sign and the Walk of Fame are both must-sees for those who like all things celebrity related. If you’re looking for a more exhilarating day out or want to put a smile on the family’s face, try a trip to Disneyland Park or Universal Studios Hollywood.
There’s plenty more to see outside of Hollywood though; the Ferris wheel and roller-coaster that sits atop Santa Monica Pier, for example, is an iconic part of Los Angeles.
Don’t forget to take a stroll down Sunset Boulevard, one of the most famous streets in the world. From swanky designer shops to fancy sky bars, this boulevard embodies the famously luxurious ambience Los Angeles is renowned for.
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Top tip: Enjoy the most incredible 360-degree view of Hollywood at the Griffith Observatory. This striking Art Deco style dome offers a range of interesting exhibits, although it’s the sight of the twinkling city and magnificent Hollywood sign is breathtaking enough.
A dream destination for many, Hawaii is like no other place in the States. From the welcomingly calm ambience to the spectacular scenery, every inch of Hawaii is nothing less than paradise.
Surrounded by crystal waters, Hawaii is the best place to get stuck into water-based sports. See the incredible life that lives below the surface with some scuba diving or snorkelling. Want to take it a step further? Board a submarine for an underwater adventure or go for dinner on board a yacht for a spot of luxury.
The beaches are some of the best in the world, but if you can bear to step off of the powdery soft sand, there’s plenty more to enjoy.
Surrounded by luscious greenery and rugged rock, the waterfalls in Hawaii look like something out of a dream. Wailua, Rainbow and Manoa Falls are particular favourites, but there are a multitude to visit – all of which have their own charms. You can take a tour or view them at your own leisure. Either way, you simply can’t miss the dreamy waterfalls of Hawaii.
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Top tip: Hawaii offers a feast of fresh food and is very much a tasting experience as it is a natural haven. Try the Poke – a delightful raw fish salad that is full of bold flavour. Enjoy a sweet treat afterwards with some all-natural shaved ice and fruit. Delicious.
Famed as one of the most eclectic and vibrant cities in the States, New Orleans is a melting pot of artistic culture, world-famous food and breathtaking architecture.
Fans of live music will be in awe of the jazz scene in New Orleans; in fact, it’s known as the birthplace of this genre. There are a number of live venues, festivals and street performances to see. So much so that there’s always some kind of tune floating through the air as you wander the spirited streets. Bourbon Street is particularly famous for its jazz scene and many music-filled bars.
Tuck into delicious flavour-filled dishes on your trip, including boiled crawfish. While it may not be a familiar dish, it packs a punch and simply can’t be missed. After dining on this dish, head outside and you’ll find yourself surrounded by beautiful architecture. You don’t have to be an expert to admire the many stunning buildings all over the city.
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Top tip: Head to New Orleans during Mardi Gras season where you can experience one of the biggest carnivals in the world. The last day of the street festival always falls on the day before Ash Wednesday but the dynamic event usually lasts around two weeks.