7. Los Angeles
The second-largest city in the USA, Los Angeles is located in southern California surrounded by the Pacific Coast, mountains and valleys. Often regarded as the “Entertainment Capital of the World”, LA is awash with celebrity culture. You can see the handprints of film stars on Hollywood Boulevard or go on a tour to see stars’ homes in Beverly Hills. For laid back days there’s the bohemian neighbourhood of Venice Beach, home to Muscle Beach and a rambling promenade that doubles as a stage for all sorts of quirky street performers. The seafront city of Santa Moncia also offers a more relaxed pace of life with its old pier and aquarium. LA is also home to the world’s first Disneyland – great news if you’re traveling with children!
6. Las Vegas
You wouldn’t think a city in the middle of the desert in Nevada would be as popular as it is, but it’s thanks to the cavalcade of casinos here that Las Vegas is so famous. The most well-known casinos themselves are practically household names: Caesar’s Palace, MGM Grand, the Bellagio. In addition to gambling, show girls and lavish performances, Las Vegas offers plenty more to suit people of all ages and interests. On the main street called the Strip, there are the Bellagio’s impressive fountain shows, a replica of the Eiffel Tower and of an Egyptian pyramid, amongst other landmarks.
Established in 1872, Yellowstone is famous for being the very first national park in the world. There are numerous geysers to watch here – notably Old Faithful, which is practically legendary; it never fails to erupt on schedule. And then there’s the multicolored Grand Prismatic Spring, ringed by rainbow colors thanks to different bacteria that live in the cooler sections of this boiling body of water. Yellowstone National Park is also home to more wild animals than just about any place in the United States.
4. Grand Canyon
Attracting millions of visitors every year, the Grand Canyon is one of those bucket list destinations in the USA. Located in northern Arizona, this massive natural wonder was carved by the Colorado River over a period of several million years. It is not the deepest or the longest canyon in the world but the overwhelming size and colorful landscape offers visitor vistas that are hard to match. Simply find a viewpoint and peer over the edge, or fly over it in a helicopter. There are numerous well-marked trails to try out, including the South Kaibab Trail. If you want a really long hike, go for the Rim-to-Rim Trail but don’t forget to pack plenty of water, this is an unrelenting desert climate, after all.
3. San Francisco
Set on the tip of a peninsula, San Francisco is a beautiful city in northern California that is famous for a lot (and we really mean a lot) of things. Undoubtedly, the Golden Gate Bridge is the city’s number one attraction. Tourists can drive, bike ride or walk across this famous suspension bridge to admire and photograph stunning views. There’s also the bustling Chinatown, the seafood at the ever-popular Fisherman’s Wharf, the notorious island prison of Alcatraz, historic cable cars and the famously steep and winding Lombard Street. You’ll be hard pressed to get bored in this fascinating city.
The Polynesian archipelago of Hawaii is a veritable paradise that’s spread across hundreds of islands in the Pacific Ocean. With its tropical climate, famously pristine beaches and wealth of natural scenery, Hawaii has been promoted as a tropical destination since the end of WW2. The islands are also a prime destination of surfers from around the world; famous spots include the Banzai Pipeline, a break just off Oahu’s north shore. Despite the steady influx of visitors, indigenous Hawaiian culture still thrives and can be seen in ceremonies, traditions and folk music.
1. New York City
The jewel in the crown of the USA when it comes to urban areas, New York is a megacity that is absolutely packed full of iconic places, areas, and buildings. In fact, sometimes it feels like you’re walking through familiar territory, thanks to how often the city features in Hollywood films. There’s Central Park, the Empire State Building, Grand Central Station, Times Square – even the “Five Boroughs” that make up NYC are famous (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, Staten Island). Then there’s the culture: Koreatown, multiple Chinatowns, the remnants of Little Italy, and communities from Jewish to African American make New York a true world city made rich by the people who’ve flocked here from all over the world.