The United States of America is huge, both geographically and culturally, and so an adventure here requires some serious preparation. It may sound obvious, but travel insurance is especially crucial for a trip to the US – as hospital treatment is extremely expensive here. Trying to visit the ‘whole’ of the States is an ambition that could consume your entire life, so we’ve put together six of the best cities that’ll get you singing the Star-Spangled Banner in no time.
1. Chicago, Illinois
Chicago is blessed with good looks, a feel-good atmosphere… and possibly the best shopping street in the entire USA. Seriously, Michigan Avenue is more than a match for 5th Avenue, culminating in the spectacular Millenium Park and the rather peculiar Cloudgate monument. Hipsters should head west to the previously gritty Fulton River District for a vibrant bar and food scene, including some of America’s best tasting menus.
2. Portland, Oregon
Green, relaxed and still a relative secret, Portland is the west-coast hangout for cool kids trying to escape from the stress of big-city life in Seattle and San Francisco. Portland’s micro-brewery scene is infamous – spend a day walking around the breweries that line the streets of the Pearl district before heading to the Hawthorne Asylum for some epic street food in true Portland style. Outdoorsy types will love the close proximity to Washington State, but a morning walk up Mount Tabor within the city limits is also certain to satisfy your lust for the great outdoors!
3. New York, New York
Yes, you can’t go to the USA without experiencing the Big Apple. A modern mega-metropolis with all the facilities and services you’d expect, including a top-tier transport system and the world-famous 5th Avenue, NYC also harbours hidden gems from the Meatpacking District to Lower Chelsea. Tip: try a reuben sandwich from a deli. Be sure to explore New York’s (and America’s) history with a visit to Ellis Island, the first port of call for those arriving by boat to chase the American Dream. There’s so much to do in the USA’s first city, it’s important to do your research in advance!
4. Nashville, Tennessee
Cool, young and happening, Tennessee’s capital is going through something of a resurgence since its days spent purely as a hangout for country stars. The country scene is still loud and proud in the ‘Ville, but it’s now also accompanied by a wide range of musical talent, one of the best bar scenes in North America and a blossoming gourmet food scene. There’s plenty to enjoy in this small city, from the famous hot chicken of Hattie B’s to a game at any one of the pro teams within the city limits.
5. Charleston, South Carolina
Take a step back in time with a visit to one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful cities in the USA. Coastal vibes and southern charm are best exemplified through a stroll along the harbour front to the beach, before enjoying some old fashioned southern cookin’. But make sure you take some time to visit the museums and plantations around Charleston and engage with the area’s dark past.
6. New Orleans, Louisiana
The party capital of the USA? Probably. A fascinating blend of history and culture? Absolutely. The Big Easy has had a turbulent past, yet fuses its Spanish and French roots admirably into the mish-mash it is today. Creole and Cajun are at the heart of NOLA, so spending some time taking a tour of the food scene is time well spent. Be sure to explore the Garden District and marvel at the old colonial-era homes, before letting your hair down on the infamous Bourbon Street.
Get researching, pack your bags and enjoy the trip of a lifetime!