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This USA Bucketlist covers every major attraction and destination the US has to offer. We also include some must-eats too!

We love exploring the United States of America; so much so, that after living in the UK and then Asia, we decided to make the big move and live in the US. Whilst living in the windy city of Chicago, we are enjoying every opportunity we have to see as much of this USA Bucket list as possible.

If you are looking for a Camp America Job, these destinations are great places to explore once you have finished your summer working.

P.S. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see ways you can save money whilst traveling to the USA.


Road of Route 66 must be on your USA Bucket list

1. Drive Route 66

Known as the best road trip in America, Route 66 offers visitors an insight into all areas of the states, making it a great USA bucketlist experience, especially for first-time tourists.

Starting in Chicago and ending at Santa Monica Pier, this route takes you across the country, with some historic, interesting, and exciting places to stop by on the way.

The drive takes around 2 weeks but it is advised to give yourself at least 4 weeks to enjoy and experience the route at your leisure.

Unusual places on Route 66 include the Muffler Man Statue in Cicero, the second-largest rocking chair in Fanning, the Cadillac Ranch art piece, and the quirky Wigwam Motel in San Bernardino, California.

Cadillac Ranch Texas Route 66 USA Bucketlist

Tips for visiting Route 66:

  • The route is 2278 miles, meaning it will take around 46 hours of total driving. Use this to plan how long you need for your trip. 
  • Avoid driving for too many hours at once (6 hours or less a day is ideal).
  • Route 66 is not an interstate highway, so you will drive slower
  • Outline a general idea of your road trip and book accommodation in more popular cities beforehand. 
  • Make a wish list or a must-see Route 66 attractions, so you don’t miss anything. But also make a ‘would like to see’ and a ‘can skip’ list too, so you know which destinations or roadside attractions are worth your time and aren’t. 
  • Decide your start and end point – if you are short on time, why not drive a section of the road rather than squeeze in the whole route but possibly not enjoy it as much. 
  • Factor in some side trips – there are some amazing attractions near Route 66 but not necessarily on the road. Places like the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and Hoover Dam will require a day trip away from the road but are worth the visit. 
  • If you don’t want to drive the whole route, you could take a day trip from Vegas to experience some parts of Route 66 as well as see other nearby attractions.
  • Along the route are vintage hotels, themed rooms, and unique places to stay in the USA. Book these in advance as they are in high demand, especially during the summer months. 
  • When renting a car, make sure you can drop it off at your final destination. Companies like Budget, Dollar, Avis, National, Hertz, Alamo, and Thrifty all offer this service but you can compare prices online before booking. Most people drive East to West, meaning often the drop-off fee is cheaper if you do the reverse and drive from LA to Chicago. 
  • Spring and Autumn is the best time to plan and take a road trip like this USA Bucketlist experience. The western destinations get very warm in July and August whilst it can snow during the winter in Eastern destinations.
Wigman Hotel Route 66 USA Bucket List

Unique experiences:

  • Stay in a Route 66 motel – Wigwam Motel is a fun option for families. 
  • Get spray painting a car at Cadillac Ranch in Texas
  • Muffler Man Statue (Atlanta)
  • The world’s second-largest rocking chair, Missouri
  • Whale of Catoosa, Oklahoma
  • Eat at the Mid Point Cafe, half-way between Santa Monica and Chicago
  • Fantastic Caverns, Missouri
  • Amboy Shoe Tree. California
  • The Singing Road, Albuquerque
  • Meteor Crater, Arizona
  • Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch, California
  • The World’s Largest Totem Pole, Oklahoma
  • 66 Drive-In Theatre, Missouri
  • Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas
  • Calico Ghost Town, Nevada
  • Lincoln’s Tomb, Illinois
  • Cars on the Route (an old service station that inspired the Cars animated movies). 
Statue of Liberty on your USA Bucketlist

2. Climb the Statue of Liberty, New York City

The next USA bucketlist item is the iconic Statue of Liberty brings millions of tourists to NYC every year.

Jump on the ferry to Liberty Island to see the statue or book in advance to go inside and walk up to the crown – one of my all-time favorite experiences in New York City and, in my opinion, one of the best things to do in the USA.

New York is also a great place to explore as a solo traveler and is one of the recommended best places to travel alone in the US!

There are so many things to keep you busy in the city that never sleeps plus you will find lots of food markets so you can avoid sitting alone in a restaurant and there are hostels all over the city so you can save money as a solo traveler.

No matter what season in NYC you are visiting in, make sure to start any trip, if it is just two days in NYC, with a trip to the Statue of Liberty.

View from the crown of the Statue of Liberty

Tips for visiting the Statue of Liberty Crown

  • Allow plenty of time – whether you are visiting the Crown or just heading to Liberty Island, allow plenty of time. It is a popular tourist sight, queues for tickets and ferries are long and the trip up to the crown will take longer than you may anticipate. Allow 5-6 hours if you intend on visiting Ellis Island as well. 
  • Book an early slot – Avoid the queues (and heat during the summer) by booking an early slot, especially on the weekends. 
  • Bring a snack – After walking up to the crown, you will want to eat something. There is food available but it is overpriced and mediocre. 
  • Be prepared for the stairs – If you are heading to the crown, be aware that there are 146 steps up a winding staircase and another 44 up a double spiral staircase to take you to the top. Wear comfortable shoes and stop for breath if you are starting to feel dizzy. 
  • Bring Sun protection – If you are visiting in the spring or summer, bring sun protection, water, and sunglasses. There isn’t too much shade on Liberty Island and no one wants to get sunburnt on their vacation. 
  • Book a tour – If you want to learn more about the history of both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, you could book a guided tour, saving you time on queueing for tickets on arrival.
  • CityPass – You can also save money and time by getting the NYC CityPASS.
Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles

3. Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles

One of the best places to visit in LA and next on our USA Bucketlist is Hollywood Boulevard.

Take a stroll down Hollywood Boulevard, see the famous Chinese Theater, and find your favorite performers along the Walk of Fame.

There are so many things to do in LA and exploring Hollywood Boulevard is one of many.

There are some fun things to see and do on Hollywood Boulevard and these include:

  • Walk of Fame – Find your favorite celebrity along the Walk of Fame, just avoid getting into too many people’s way when taking pictures, and watch out for pickpockets in the busy, crowded areas.
  • Hollywood and Highland Center – This is a popular shopping center but head to level 2 to catch a view of the Hollywood sign. 
  • Grauman’s Chinese Theatre – This is an iconic Theatre along the Boulevard; you can take a 30-minute walking tour, offered throughout the day for $16.
  • Dolby Theatre – Tours aren’t available but you can enter the theatre to watch a performance, just check the schedule ahead of your visit.
  • Madame Tussauds Wax Museum – This wax museum is similar to all Madame Tussauds around the world but can be a fun thing to do in the evenings if you are staying in the local area.
  • Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – Dating back to the Golden Era, this is an iconic hotel that reflects classic Hollywood in every sense. The hotel has hosted stars like Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, and Marilyn Monroe.
  • Street performers – You can find plenty of street performers and actors dressed up as fun characters along this street. However, if you want to take a photograph with a character, expect to be asked for a tip; for many, this is how they earn a living or support their move to the glamourous city.
  • El Capitan Theatre – This is a fully restored theater, owned by Disney and still showing movies today.
  • Hollywood Wax Museum – This is another fun activity for families the wax celebrities are less up-to-date than Madame Tussauds but this is still a unique museum on Hollywood Boulevard.
  • Mel’s Drive-in – This should be on a USA bucketlist itself. This is a fun, themed old-school style diner with huge portions and the best milkshake I have ever tasted!
Zion National Park for your USA Bucketlist

4. Discover Zion National Park, Utah

Explore the wonders of Zion National Park, admiring the sandstone cliffs and narrow canyons.

Fly into nearby Vegas or Salt Lake City, rent a car, and explore at your own leisure – perhaps consider spending a few nights at a lodge in the park.

This makes for a great weekend trip from Las Vegas, meaning you can see multiple USA Bucketlist items within just a week or so when visiting Vegas.

After exploring Zion, make sure you check out the rest of the West Coast National Parks; they are not to be missed!

Things to do in Zion National Park

  • Zion Canyon Scenic Drive
  • Zion-Mount Carmel Highway
  • The Weeping Rock
  • Lower Emerald Pools
  • Hike around the park – Angels Landing and The Narrows are the most famous hikes. 
  • Riverside Walk scenic path
  • Checkerboard Mesa
  • Human History Museum
  • Horseback riding tours through the Canyons (March to October)
  • Rock Climbing and Canyoneering

Best and Unique places to stay in and near Zion National Park

  • Driftwood Lodge – Located in Springdale, this is a popular lodge choice, with an outdoor swimming pool and sunbathing terrace. 
  • Zion Glamping Adventures – Want to try some glamping? Sleep under the stars in these luxury canvas tents with real beds and heaters too. There is a Barbecue and picnic area for guests to use too. 
  • Ruby’s Inn Campground – Stay in a teepee, which fits up to 8 people. There aren’t any beds though, so you will need to bring your own sleeping bag, camp chairs, and stove. 
  • Zion Luxury Camping – For a luxury camping tent, this is a great choice. Every tent has mountain views which are breathtaking but bathroom blocks are shared. 
  • Cedar Breaks Lodge – This ski resort is perfect, even if you are visiting in the summer. You can enjoy the mountain trails, hotel activities, and scenic chair lifts, no matter what the temperature.
  • The Parry Lodge – This is the lodge of movie stars. Many actors, including Clint Eastwood and John Wayne, stayed here when filming on location. 
  • Red Mountain Lodge – Heading here for a romantic break? This is perfect! No children under 12 are allowed at this lodge, so you can enjoy the pool. Healthy life classes, hiking, yoga, biking, and personal-discovery activities as well as a good massage after a long day exploring the park. 
maid of the mist at Niagara Falls

5. Ride the Maid of the Mist, Niagara Falls

I love everything about Niagara Falls and what better way to get up close to the falls than the iconic Maid of the Mist.

Tickets cost $19.95 but if you have the time, cross the Niagara Falls Border Crossing and head over to the Canadian side and check out the unusual wax museum on Clifton Hill or Whirlpool jet boat experience.

Really, the whole area should be on your USA bucketlist, as there are plenty of things to see and do in the area.

How to get to Niagara Falls?

The quickest way to get to Niagara Falls is by flying to either Toronto or Buffalo Airport and then taking a taxi, bus, or train into Niagara. 

Alternatively, you can use the Greyhound bus services from New York City. These trips take 10 to 12 hours and cost $58.

You could also take the train for $78, taking 9 hours. If you are taking a road trip, the drive can take approximately 6 and a half hours.

Niagara Falls up close

Getting around Niagara Falls

Whilst you are in Niagara Falls, there are a few ways to get around.

Walking is the most popular option here, as many of the attractions are close to one another. You can also walk from the US side to the Canadian side and vice versa, using the Rainbow Bridge.

There aren’t too many parking options near the falls themselves apart from hotel or casino parking lots but driving around Niagara itself can be a fun experience; especially for those wanting to visit the vineyards or further afield attractions.

Alcatraz prisoner cell

6. Alcatraz, San Francisco

This historic, fascinating, and infamous prison off the coast of San Francisco needs to be on your USA bucketlist. Book your tickets online and aim for an early slot to avoid crowds.

I was so impressed with the audio tour and would highly recommend it; it creates an eerie but interesting experience in the city by the bay.

Not sure how to visit Alcatraz, a summary is:

  • There are different tour options – day tour, early bird tour (the best choice), night tour, behind-the-scenes tour), Alcatraz and Angel Island tour. 
  • Buy your tickets in advance – tickets go on sale 7 weeks ahead of time and book up quickly, especially during the holidays and summer months. 
  • Get the audio tour – it is fantastic, giving information whilst taking you through the history and stories of the prisoners. 
  • Ferries leave from Pier 33

Whilst in San Francisco, make sure to see all of the best San Francisco attractions.

The White House is a must-see USA Bucketlist item

7. The White House

Our next USA bucketlist must-see is to head to the capital to see The White House.

This was on our bucket list and when we first visited America back in 2011, we ticked this one off our list.

The White House is iconic and Washington D.C. is full of historic landmarks and museums that make for a great weekend away.

There are plenty of must-dos in Washington D.C. Firstly, begin with seeing the iconic monuments and landmarks. Lincoln Memorial is a must-see sight in DC, and just a short walk from here are the Vietnam Veterans and the Korean War Veterans Memorials.

Also, make sure to see the Washington Monument, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial before seeing the famous White House. 

Washington DC has many, many museums so spend plenty of time exploring the best on offer.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is one of our favorites, as are the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The International Spy Museum is a fun option for families as is the National Zoological Park. 

Take a relaxing walk through the Botanic Gardens, catch a Washington Nationals baseball game, and take a food tour around the city.

Stroll around the Tidal Basin, visit the World War 2 memorial and spend some time exploring the historic Georgetown. 

What do you have to do to visit the White House?

It is possible to visit and tour the White House. These come on a first-come, first-served basis but requests can be submitted up to three months in advance.The White House tour is free of charge. Tours are self-guided but generally, tours will take 30 – 45 ns aieminutes. 

USA Bucketlist Disneyland

8. Disneyland

The original magical park isn’t for everyone but it is definitely on my USA bucketlist. After visiting its sister park in Orlando, I will be heading to Disneyland on our next trip to America for sure!

Best Disney attractions and rides


  • Sleeping Beauty Castle 
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Big Thunder Mountain
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • It’s a small world
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats
  • Star Tours
  • Fantasmic! 

California Adventure

  • Radiator Springs Racers
  • Frozen: Live at the Hyperion
  • The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
  • World of Color Water Spectacular
  • Pixar Pier
  • The Incredicoaster
  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
  • Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
  • Grizzly River Run
  • Red Car Trolleys
  • Soarin’ Around The World
  • Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!
  • Paint the Night parade
  • Toy Story Midway Mania
Death Valley in the USA

9. Visit Death Valley

Known as the driest, hottest, and lowest National park, Death Valley can often be overlooked but is a great national park for your USA Bucketlist.

There are plenty of places to stay in Death Valley, making a self-drive option my preferred choice, although tours are available from Vegas as well.

Death Valley travel tips:

  • Off-road tires – If you plan on driving across the park’s dirt roads, make sure you have off-road tires and spare tires. Flats are common in this national park. 
  • Gas – Gas is available inside the park from Stovepipe Wells, Panamint Springs, and Furnace Creek but make sure you carry extra if you are moving away from the paved routes. 
  • Carry water – Make sure to bring plenty of water, the national park gets hot and you will need water. 
  • Bring maps – Phones don’t tend to work out in Death Valley and GPS systems are unreliable here. Make sure you bring a map to avoid getting lost on your self-drive. 
  • Arrive early – For gorgeous sunrises, dramatic backdrops, and empty landscapes, head to Death Valley early. 

Best time to visit Death Valley: 

Fall – Late October through to November is ideal, as the camping season has just begun and temperatures range between 50 to 70 degrees. 

Spring – March to early May is the perfect time to visit if you are looking to see the vibrant wildflowers bloom. This is the most popular time to visit the park, so weekends can be busy and campsites get a little more crowded. 

Avoid the summer – it is incredibly hot and you will want to stay inside your air-conditioned vehicle. 

Liberty Bell in Philadelphia

10. The Liberty Bell, Philadelphia

Outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the Liberty Bell is a must for anyone interested in American history and our next USA bucketlist attraction.

Take a tour of the hall if you have time, timed tours are available from 9am to 5pm.

Location: The Liberty Bell Center is at 526 Market Street, with the exit near Chestnut Street. 

Entrance fee: This is a free attraction but entrance tickets are given on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Creative tip: If you want to learn more about the Bell and see a Park Ranger inside the Liberty Bell Center, why not stop and ask about it? They are full of knowledge! 

Visiting in the Spring or Fall:

  • Spring and Fall is the busiest time at the Liberty Bell, with school field trips arriving almost every weekday. 
  • Arrive early (8.30 am), before the school groups arrive.
  • Allocate about an hour between waiting in the line, security, and viewing; especially from May to June. 

Visiting in the Summer:

  • There are lots of tourists that visit the Liberty Bell in the summer, which is why hours are extended to 7pm. 
  • You can begin to queue before 9 am to avoid long queues. 
  • If the queues are too long, you can still see the Liberty Bell via the showcase windows on Chestnut Street.
  • Visiting at night offers great views of the Liberty Bell illuminated. 

Other things to do in Philadelphia:

Eastern State Penitentiary – A lesser-known point of interest in Philadelphia, this state penitentiary is the oldest standing penitentiary in America and was a home (and a very comfortable one) to Al Capone.

Tickets are available at the entrance for $14 including an audio tour, with the penitentiary open from 10 am to 5 pm. The entrance fee is included in the Philadelphia CityPASS. 

Philadelphia Museum of Art – Art lovers should head to the Museum of Art holds innovative exhibitions and popular artworks from around the world.

Open from 10 am to 5 pm, the Museum of Art holds innovative exhibitions and popular artworks from around the world. Definitely worth a visit whilst you’re in town with entrance fees costing $20.

Rocky Statue – As cheesy and touristy as it sounds (and is), no trip to Philadelphia is complete until you have had your snapshot with the Rocky Statue and completed the infamous ‘run’ up the stairs. 

Eat a Philly Cheesesteak – Every deli and sandwich bar sells the Philly Cheesesteak, so make sure you grab one whilst you’re in town. Pat’s King Of Steaks on 9th Street & Passyunk Avenue is a great choice and the founders of the steak sandwich.

Please Touch Museum – Home to two floors of interactive education exhibitions and artistic experiences, the Please Touch Museum was built for children to have fun and learn.

Entrance is included in the Philadelphia CityPASS or children and adult admission costs $17 without the pass.

The Museum is open from 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Saturday and 11 am to 5 pm on Sundays.

Reading Terminal Market – For some mouthwatering food stalls, head to Reading Terminal Market; as seen on Man Vs Food. The market includes the signature Philly Cheesesteak as well as every other food you could think of from around the world.

Philadelphia Zoo – With exploration trails and a whole host of animals, the Philadelphia Zoo is one of the best Zoos I have visited. Opening times vary with general times being around 9.30 am to 5 pm during the summer months.

Diamond Head in Hawaii has to be on your USA Bucketlist

11. Volcano spotting in Hawaii

Hawaii is stunning but you can’t ignore the clusters of volcanos dotted around the islands.

Take a tour or hire a car and head to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to see both the Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes – Kilauea is known for being one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

Just remember to get your Hawaii packing list sorted and ready for your hiking trips.

Best volcanoes in Hawaii and how to get to them:

  • Diamond head – This is the most famous volcano in Hawaii even though it is an extinct volcano. Hike up the crater for amazing views of Waikiki and the rest of the island. 
  • Mauna Loa – Last erupting in 1984, Mauna Loa is located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It is a World Heritage Site and World Biosphere site by UNESCO. You can reach the visitor station from Hwy 200 and even interact with the mountain by walking through the lava tube.
  • Kilauea – This is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. The park has 333,000 acres and is known for its amazing volcanic craters, hiking trails, and rainforests. You can drive around the crater rim of this volcano, giving it the nickname of ‘the world’s only drive-in volcano’. 
  • Hualalai – Last active in the 1800s, the volcanic cones price the ash soil for the Kona coffee belt. The volcano is massive and relatively unvisited but take a tour of the hidden craters or take a helicopter excursion to see this enormous volcano from above. 
  • Haleakala – Located on the east side of Maui, Haleakala forms more than three-quarters of the island. The national park preserves the outstanding landscape and is a fantastic day trip. The main road to the summit is windy and slow, so plan at least an hour for the journey.
  • Mauna Kea – This is a dormant volcano and the tallest mountain on earth, five miles above the ocean floor. You can drive from sea level to 14,000 feet in around 2 hours, with the visitor center half-way up at 9200 feet. 
Elvis' living room at Graceland for your USA Bucket list

12. Visit Elvis’ Home

Head to Graceland and see where the king lived. Book your tickets online to make sure you aren’t disappointed and enjoy a tour of his Mansion, car museum, and several other exhibits.

This is one of the best places to vacation in Tennessee so make sure to get this on your USA Bucketlist!

Remember to bring along a Sharpie so you can sign the Graceland wall!

Opening hours: 9 am – 5 pm

Tip: Graceland is busier in the mornings but the last mansion tour begins at 4 pm. Head here after 2 pm to avoid queuing and crowds.

Duration: 1 – 1.5 hours for the mansion tour, The Elvis Experience tour (includes the mansion, car museum, and exhibits) takes 2.5 – 3.5 hours. 

Ticket Prices: 

  • Elvis Presley’s Memphis + Planes tour (Entertainment complex only, NOT including Graceland Mansion) – $41.50 for adults, $21 for children aged 5-10. 
  • Elvis Experience Tour (Mansion, Elvis’s Jets, and entertainment complex) – $69 for adults and $38 for children aged 5-10. 

This is the option we recommend

  • Elvis Entourage VIP (includes Mansion tour, jets, entertainment complex, front of the link access) – $108.50
  • Ultimate VIP tour (includes Mansion tour, Elvis’ Custom jets, entertainment complex, ultimate lounge, and VIP exhibits plus personal archives and voucher for Vernon’s Smokehouse) – $180

Buy tickets here or in person during opening hours. 

Print tickets or have them available on your smartphone to avoid waiting in line for ticket reprints. 

Address: 3717 Elvis Presley Boulevard

You can even stay at The Guest House at Graceland; an AAA four-diamond hotel that prides itself on sharing the southern hospitality that Elvis always showed. 

View of the strip with the best hotels for couples along it

13. Stroll along the Las Vegas Strip

Head to Las Vegas, catch a show, try your hand in the casinos, and enjoy everything that is Las Vegas.

Just a walk down the strip will take your breath away and whizz you into a world of lights and excitement.

Things not to miss in Las Vegas

Las Vegas is one of the 100 best places to visit in the USA because it offers so many amazing things to see and do, including many free things to do in Las Vegas.

You have your best experiences in Las Vegas, and the best things to do in Las Vegas for couples, but there are some fun, overlooked attractions near the strip that many overlook:

  • Topgolf at MGM Grand – This is a must-level complex with entertainment on each floor. Enjoy some golfing in an air-conditioned lane, compete with your friends or family, and enjoy some drinks as you go. They even have themed games like Angry Birds, perfect for those visiting with children.
  • High Roller Cabin – The High Roller is a popular observation wheel that offers spectacular views of Vegas. But, did you know that one of the cabins has an indoor bar? You can book this cabin during sunset and enjoy champagne whilst watching the glittering lights turn on. his is one of the more relaxing things to do in Las Vegas and perfect for all types of travelers.
  • Casino Royale – You are likely looking to do some gambling in Vegas but no one wants to lose a fortune. Casino Royal is perfect for those looking to enjoy gambling without the big bucks. Table games offer a $1 minimum, unheard of in many other casinos around Vegas.
  • Eat at the Top of the World – At the top of The Strat Hotel, this revolving restaurant is a bucket list item for many and one of the best places to eat in Vegas. Reserve a table in advance and enjoy a meal with an amazing view of Vegas and Nevada. Other restaurants with amazing views include Americana on Lake Jacqueline, Binions Steakhouse, Mizumi in Wynn Las  Vegas, and Buddy V’s Ristorante. If you have the cash, you could also head to Restaurant Guy Savoy for views of the Eiffel Tower and Bellagio fountain or Spago by Wolfgang Puck.
  • Try the buffets – We love the Vegas buffets and so should you! Wicked Spoon in The Cosmopolitan is our favorite but shop around at the different options and vouchers available and make sure you enjoy a buffet at least once on your trip. 
  • Head to a pool party – Flamingo, The Venetian, and The Cosmopolitan all host pool parties (often on the weekends). Depending on the venue, you can rent a day bed, order a meal or snacks, and dance the day away in the pool.
  • Explore the hotels – Of course, you will want to explore the best hotels in Las Vegas. Each resort not only has a unique theme and decor but many offer some great attractions too; from exhibits to aquariums, shopping malls to museums. This is where some of the most unique hotels in the US can be found too, so browse options before booking a stay.
  • The Chandelier Bar – Head to the Chandelier Bar in The Cosmopolitan to enjoy a cocktail in this glitzy, glamorous bar – the martinis are superb. 
  • Watch a show – When asked is Las Vegas worth visiting, I always say YES because of the many shows! Whether it is your favorite singer or a Cirque performance, you are going to want to watch a show whilst in Sin City. We love the LOVE show in The Mirage (Cirque) but watch trailers online before booking to see which show takes your fancy. 
Palms Las Vegas hotel, one of the best hotels in Las Vegas for couples for couples

The Best time to visit Las Vegas

Some things to know before you go to Las Vegas is when to visit.

The best time to visit Las Vegas is from March to May and September to November when crowds are lower and the temperature is warm but not too humid. 

The cheapest months to visit Vegas are January, February, April, and September. This is off-season and generally tends to be a cheaper time to visit the city. 

Visiting in December also offers the coolest temperatures and the Christmas displays are gorgeous. 

Summertime is a very popular time to visit but is also incredibly hot and humid. Avoid August if you can, it can be hard to walk along the strip in this humidity but July and August also see an increase in rainfall. 

Buildings of the things to do in Times Square

14. Visit Times Square

There is something special about Times Square. Stand in the center, among the towering skyscrapers and bright adverts, and just watch. There are so many things to do in Times Square.

We loved Times Square so much that, when we returned to NYC, we checked into a hotel on Times Square itself!

Things to do on or near Times Square:

  • Madame Tussauds 
  • One Times Square 
  • Times Square Church
  • Gulliver’s Gate
  • Hershey’s Interactive store
  • The New Victory Theater
  • TKTS Booth
  • M&M Chocolate store
  • Duffy Square (perfect for people-watching)
  • OMEscape
  • Ripley’s Believe it or not! 
  • Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon
  • The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
  • Bryant Park
  • National Geographic Ocean Odyssey
  • Broadway 
The Ride Tour things to do in Times Square

Where to eat on or around Times Square:

  • Dave and Buster’s (arcade and restaurant)
  • Shake Shack (American)
  • Becco Restaurant (Italian)
  • Ippudo Westside (Japanese)
  • Carmines (Italian, perfect for families)
  • Los Tacos No.1 (Mexican)
  • Junior’s (American diner)
  • Churrascaria Platforma (Brazilian)
  • John’s Pizzeria
  • Pure Thai Cookhouse (Thai)
  • The Little Beat (gluten-free) 
  • Junzi Kitchen (Chinese)
  • Virgil’s Real Barbecue (BBQ spot)
New Orleans sign for Bourbon Street, for your usa Bucket list

15. Celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Mardi Gras in New Orleans is on my USA bucket list and looks incredible. Running through the first month of the year, New Orleans is associated with Mardi Gras and vice versa. I am hoping to catch the parade through the city on our next trip to America.

What is Mardi Gras?

Mardi Gras (known as Fat Tuesday) is a carnival celebration of food, just before the first day of Lent. The festival lasts for two weeks but parties and colorful parades come to life during the 5 days surrounding Mardi Gras.

What to expect at Mardi Gras

During the Mardi Gras festival, there is usually one major procession each day, with several smaller parades, masquerades, parties, and balls. 

Most parades go down St. Charles Avenue into the Business District and often include spectators being showered with plastic beads, coins, and cups. 

Tips for visiting Mardi Gras

  • Reserve hotel rooms in advance and be aware that most hotels in the French Quarter and Business District require a 4 or 5-day minimum stay. 
  • The French Quarter is closed to vehicles during Mardi Gras weekend unless you are staying in a hotel. There are off-site commercial parking lots that are expensive and fill fast, so it may be worth paying extra to stay in the French Quarter. 
  • Make sure to try King Cake. These are everywhere but the best is at La Boulangerie
  • Mardi Gras is safe but use common sense. Don’t bring expensive jewelry and keep your valuables on your body. There are pickpockets so leave your handbag at home and stick to the essentials. 
  • Arrive early – There are two popular parades and crowds can be 10-deep, so arrive early if you want a great view. 
  • Decide on a meet-up spot – Whether you are traveling as a pair or group, decide on a meet-up spot before heading into the parade zone. 
  • Bring a plastic cup – you can drink with open containers as long as they are in plastic cups. However, it is worth noting that public restrooms are rare. 
  • To avoid the traffic getting to and from the party areas, rent a bike. Some companies even deliver to your hotel but rent a bike and bring a lock to get in and out easily. 
  • Be sensible – Anyone arrested between Friday to Tuesday is not released until Ash Wednesday, so don’t break the law and be sensible. 
  • Avoid the French Quarter if you are visiting with children. 
  • Make sure you dress up
USA Bucketlist Northern Lights from Alaska

16. Watch the Northern Lights in Alaska

An Alaska itinerary cruise is high on my dream American travels but imagine being able to watch the stunning Northern lights over the glistening glaciers – heaven.

When planning a trip to Alaska, compare destination to stay in overnight.

Fairbanks is known as the best place to see the Northern Lights in Alaska, but you can also get a good show in Anchorage; Alaska’s largest city. The best time to see the lights is from August 21st to April 21st, with the average visibility in Fairbanks being four out of five nights. 

This is one of the most romantic things to do in Alaska, but remember to wear layers. Alaska is cold and you will be outside for extended periods of time.

Ways to see the Northern Lights 

  • From Fairbanks, you can drive to a nearby vantage point and wait for them to appear.
  • You can take a tour and watch them from a heated cabin or lodge. You can even see them during dog sledding or ice fishing tours. 
  • Some hotels offer a wake-up call when the northern lights are out. 
  • Fairbanks is the most popular place to see the lights because it is under the “Auroral Oval” and has consistently clear nights, meaning you get incredible views from here. 
  • Denali National Park is also a great place to see the Northern Lights. With no light pollution, you can rent a vacation home nearby and head up the tall mountains for incredible views. 
  • The remove, quiet town of Nome also gives incredible views. Visit in March for the Sled Dog Race or at any time to experience rural Alaska.
Millennium Park in Chicago during Fall

17. Millennium Park in Chicago

There is something enchanting about Chicago, it always draws me back. Whenever I’m there, I head to Millennium Park; there is more to the park than ‘The Bean’. Many tours leave from near the park too, making it a great place to begin a trip to the city.

The park is free to enter and open 6 am to 11 pm each day. 

Why you should visit Millennium Park:

  • The Crown Fountain with video art and sculptures
  • Lurie Garden
  • Rock Climbing at Maggie Daley Park
  • See the Outdoor art at the Boeing Galleries
  • Eat at Plaza at Park Grill
  • Watch a show at Jay Pritzker Pavilion
  • See a show at Harris Theater for Music & Dance
  • Head to the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Enjoy fine dining with a curated menu at Terzo Piano
  • Visit the Chicago Cultural Center
Big Sur Coastline for your USA BUcketlist

18. Drive along the Big Sur Coast

Experience the ultimate California road trip by driving the Big Sur. This 85-mile scenic route sits between San Simeon and Carmel, along the California coastline. 

Come prepared for this trip, as there are some amazing views that can easily be missed. From Los Angeles, the Big Sur trip takes 3.5 – 4 hours to drive, and another 2-hour drive from Carmel (end of the Big Sur) to San Francisco

What to see and do in Big Sur

  • Watsonville
  • 17 Mile Drive through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove
  • Camel-by-the-sea 
  • Mission San Carlos Borromeo
  • Point Lobos State Reserve
  • Point Sur State Historic Park
  • Pfeiffer Beach
  • Mcway Falls
  • Esalen Hot Springs
  • Limekiln State Park and falls
  • Sand Dollar Beach
  • Treebones Resort
  • San Simeon State Park Camp
  • Halter Ranch Vineyard
  • Garrapata State Park and beach
  • Bixby Creed Bridge
  • Henry Miller Memorial Library
Big Sur Day Trip

Things to know before visiting Big Sur

  • Plan your trip – Plan your trip in advance, deciding where you want to hike, eat and explore and plot these out on a map. Do not rely on Google maps or any apps; phone service isn’t reliable along the Big Sur. 
  • If you are in a rush, skip it – You should give at least a day to visit Big Sur. Yes, the drive can be taken in a few hours but there is no point rushing through. If you are in a rush, use the freeway instead.
  • You don’t need to stay overnight – Although there are rustic rental cabins or boutique-styled inns that you can stay in, it is not essential. Give yourself a full day to explore Big Sur but don’t stay along the coastline, as rooms start at $300 but can cost all the way up to $1000 per night. If you do want to stay overnight, check out Airbnb or flip key for better deals than the overpriced camping options or hotels along the coastline.
  • Stay either end – If you do want to stay along the coastline, staying at either end offers better value. Avoid Monterey Peninsula at the northern gateway and, instead, head to the town or Pacific Grove for better deals. At the southern gateway, the beach town of Cayucos is pretty, charming and affordable. 
  • It’s a tourist trap – Big Sur is breathtaking but it is extremely touristy. Hotels, restaurants and even some attractions will be ridiculously overpriced, so either go in with that expectation of prepare snacks and decide on your must-see attractions. 
  • Don’t just stick to Highway 1 – Head off the beaten path and explore other routes such as the Palo Colorado Road or the Nacimiento Road. 
  • Plan time in the nearby cities – don’t just head straight to San Francisco or Los Angeles when you are done. The nearby cities such as Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara are must see destinations in California too. 
  • Book a tour – If you would prefer not to self-drive along the Big Sur, it is possible to experience the beauty of the area by taking a 3-day tour from Los Angeles.

Places to eat along the Big Sur

There are lots of options to eat along the coastline but very few are good. However, if you are stopping for snacks or a meal, these are some of the best places to eat along the Big Sur:

  • The restaurant at River Inn Big Sur
  • Sebastian’s General Store
  • Big Sur Bakery
  • Nepenthe
  • Old Fishermans Grotto
  • Caveat
  • Big Sur Deli
  • Sierra Mar’s
  • Big Sur Roadhouse
  • Robin’s Restaurant
  • Casanova Restaurant
  • The Sur House
  • Cafe Kevah
State Penitentiary in Philadelphia

19. Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia

This eerie but fascinating almost abandoned penitentiary in Philadelphia is a lesser-known attraction in the city but a must. This was the prison of notorious criminals such as Al Capone and Willie Sutton.

The Eastern State Penitentiary located in Philadelphia is a former American prison that operated from 1829 to 1971. It is known as the world’s first penitentiary because it refined the separate incarceration system, emphasizing reform over punishment. 

The design and layout of the prison was innovative and become the model for over 300 prisons across the world.

The prison is open all year from 10 am to 5 pm and audio tours are included in the ticket price.

Hot air Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico

20. Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico

This yearly hot air balloon festival runs every October, with thousands of balloons filling the clear blue sky. This is a spectacular place to visit and, the perfect place to enjoy a hot air balloon; newbie riders, get this on your USA Bucketlist.

When: The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is held each October, spanning 9 days of ballooning events (typically at the start of the month).

Where: The main events take place at the Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

How Long: The events span 9 days but aim to come for at least 3 days to get a good chance of catching the balloon launches.


  • America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race – This long-distance race starts in Fiesta Park, where pilots compete to see who can go the furthest distance without coming down; sometimes spending up to four days in the balloons. 
  • Dawn Patrol Show – Hot Air Balloons will take off before sunrise to check weather conditions and are normally launched to music. 
  • Morning Glow – Balloons are lined up and teachers to the ground but use their burners to light up, synchronized to one another. 
  • Mass Ascension – Hundreds of Balloons launch in the same morning, in two waves over around 2 hours. 
  • Balloon Launch – This is a smaller version of the Mass Ascension, but groups of balloons launch over an hour. 
  • Evening Balloon Glows – Just before dusk, hot air balloons are inflated whilst tethered to the ground. Then, similar to the Morning Glow event, the pilots use their burners to light up the balloon in a synchronized pattern, which is generally followed by fireworks and lasers. 
  • Special Shape Balloon Events – With balloons resembling your favourite cartoon characters, animals, people, beer mugs, Star Wars Characters, and so on; this is a fun event for the whole family to enjoy. 
Warner Brothers Studio Tour in Los Angeles

21. Tour a studio in Los Angeles

No matter what your favourite TV shows are, you are likely to find a set you’re interested in when exploring LA.

We headed to Warner Brothers Studio in Burbank and checked out the Friends set, Ellen Show studio, the streets of Pretty Little Liars, and the Big Bang Set.

You can also see different exhibits on Harry Potter, Batman, and the DC Universe.

Types of tours:

  • Studio Tour $69 – 2 hours guided, 1 hour self-guided, go behind the scenes and visit some of the working studios at Warner brothers. 
  • Classic Tour $69 – 3 hour tour, focusing on the Golden Age of Film and TV. 
  • Deluxe Tour $295 – 6 hour tour, including the costume department, property department, and lunch at Warner Bros’ Commissary Fine Dining Room. 

Tip: If there is a set you want to see, make sure your tour guide knows! 

Getting to Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood:

  • Drive – If you are renting a car, you can drive to the Studio Tour with parking available on site. Put the address below into your SatNav and follow the signs for Tour Parking once you head into Warner Blvd.
  • Ride-share or Taxi – You can get a taxi to the studio using Uber or Lyft. Taking an Uber from Hollywood Boulevard will cost around $6 – $10 and takes around 12 minutes depending on traffic.
  • The Bus – You can get a bus from Hollywood/Highland, Universal, Pasadena/Del Mar and North Hollywood to the Warner Bros Studio Hollywood. For routes and timetables, see the LA Metro website.

Warner Brothers Studio Hollywood Address: 3400 Warner Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505

Famous street in Charleston South Carolina

22. Explore the history of Charleston

Before the civil war, plantations were dotted around Charleston, growing cotton, rice, and indigo, becoming rich off the backs of slaves.

Many plantations were destroyed during the Civil War or ceased operations but today, you can visit those that have been restored and preserved as museums. 

Each plantation offers a different experience, depending on what you are looking for.

A quick guide to some of the Plantations: 

  • Magnolia Plantation – Perhaps the most popular plantation, founded in 1676 by the Drayton Family. The plantation grew rice but is known for its beautiful and romantic gardens. 
  • Drayton Hall – The Drayton Family also owned a huge network of commercial plantations, with this building becoming a museum, exhibition space, visitor center and cafe.
  • McLeod Plantation Historical Site – This site was one of the original plantations on James Island from the 17th century. Today it is a 37-acre park dedicated to Gullah heritage and African American History. 
  • Boone Hall Plantation – Founded in 1681, this plantation grew cotton and indigo but also produced brick here in the mid-19th century. The plantation is still a working farm, making it one of the oldest farms in America. 
  • Middleton Place Plantation – This is a National Historic Landmark, rich in history whilst also being a beautiful place to visit. The Middleton family were important figures but their home was damaged several times; first in a fire set by the Union troops in 186 then by the Great Earthquake in 1186. However, the restored home is a grand estate with gorgeous landscaped gardens but also the filming location for the film The Patriot. 

Things to know before you go to Charleston

Other things to do in Charleston:

There are plenty of things to do in Charleston beyond the plantations that should also be on your USA Bucketlist.

  • Charleston City Market
  • Nathaniel Russell House
  • Joy Riley Waterfront Park
  • Old Slave Mart Museum
  • Fort Sumter
  • The Charleston Museum
  • Rainbow Row
  • A ghost tour 
  • White Point Garden
  • Drayton Hall
  • South Carolina Aquarium
  • Middleton Place
Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is a must on your USA Bucketlist

23. Walk across Brooklyn Bridge

Walking across Brooklyn Bridge was one of my favorite things to do in NYC.

We jumped on the Yellow River taxi that takes you along the Hudson River and jumped off in Brooklyn.

After a walk around the neighborhood, we headed back to Manhattan across the bridge on a warm summer day – bliss.

If you want to drive over the bridge, you could either drive yourself, take a taxi to Brooklyn (or back) or jump on the hop on, hop off sightseeing bus, perfect for those short on time in the city but who want to see the many sights.

Whilst in Brooklyn, check out the best things to do in Brooklyn and try some of the local cafes and restaurants before heading back to Manhattan.

Brooklyn Bridge is 5989 feet long with the pedestrian walkway being just over 1.1 miles. You can walk across the bridge in around 25 minutes but allow an hour if you intend to take pictures and take in the incredible views. 

The bridge is open 24 hours a day but sunset makes for a gorgeous time to visit. This is especially pleasant in the Spring, when the weather is warm but cooling down; you can experience the bridge no matter what season in New York City you visit in.

Remember to bring a jacket if you are visiting in the spring, fall, or winter, the wind brings a chill when you are walking across Brooklyn Bridge. 

Brooklyn Bridge view from Brooklyn

How to get to Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan

From Manhattan, you can enter Brooklyn Bridge near City Hall along Centre Street in Lower Manhattan. Nearby trains include 4, 5, 6, J, Z, and R lines. 

How to get to Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn

If you are coming from Brooklyn Heights or Dumbo, you can take the A or C train to the High Street – Brooklyn Bridge Subway station and follow the signs for Cadman Plaza West. Cross to the park and take the footpath on the far left to access the pedestrian stairway under the bridge. 

San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf Pier 39

24. Fisherman’s Wharf

Whilst in San Francisco, you have to head to Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39. This is a great place to visit in San Francisco, especially if you are travelling with kids.

Alcatraz trips leave from here but you can also visit an Aquarium, the Sea Lion Center, a 7D experience, fairground rides and a whole host of restaurants, bars, cafes, and food vendors.

Things to do in Fisherman Wharf

  • DarkRide 7D experience rollercoaster (Pier 29)
  • Laser Maze Challenge (Pier 39)
  • Museum of 3D illusions
  • Alcatraz Island (departs from Pier 33)
  • Aquarium of the Bay (Pier 39)
  • Gameday VR Arcade (Ghirardelli Square)
  • Historic Pier 45
  • Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum
  • Maritime Museum 
  • Ripley’s Believe it or not! 
  • San Francisco Dungeon
  • Musee Mecanique (Pier 45) 
  • Sea Lions at Pier 39
  • Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze (Pier 39)
  • Pier 39’s musical Stairs
  • San Francisco Carousel (Pier 39)
  • The Plunge ride (Pier 39)
  • Subpar MIni Golf
Sequoia National Park for your USA Bucketlist

25. Sequoia National Park

Visit the world’s largest trees at the Sequoia National Park. This park is enchanting and impressive with its gigantic trees and deep canyons and has to be on every USA bucketlist, especially if you love exploring the great outdoors.

Head to the Crystal Caves or stay among the elevated landscapes in one of the cabins within the park.

Get the Kings Canyon self-drive audio tour to see the best sights in the park and learn more as you go.

When to visit: The best time to visit is during the summer months, when the weather is warm and reliable. The park is open all year but some areas of the park close from September onwards and winter sees snow. 

Mid-June to August is the busiest time of the year so visit at the end of May through to the start of June if you want to avoid the crowds. 

Getting around: The best way to get around the park is by car or on foot. Once inside the park, you can drive to different areas or park up and follow the hiking trails. 

Things to do in Sequoia National Park

  • General Sherman and the Giant Forest 
  • Moro Rock steps
  • Crystal Cave
  • Muir Grove
  • Mount Whitney
  • Buck Rock Lookout
  • Mineral King
  • Tunnel Log
  • General Grant Tree
  • Hume Lake
  • High Sierra Trail
  • Kings Canyon Scenic Byway
  • Boyden Cavern
  • Grizzly Falls
  • Road’s End
  • Mist Falls
  • Junction View
  • Roaring River Falls
  • Zumwalt Meadow

Where to stay in Sequoia National Park

  • Hilton Garden Inn Clovis – This Fresno hotel is perfect for families, with an outdoor pool, and spacious suites which also include living space and a kitchenette. The room rate includes a decent breakfast and Fresh has a lot to offer families, including Island Waterpark, Storyland and Playland. 
  • Lazy J Ranch Motel – a great option in Three Rivers, with free parking, amazing mountain views and an outdoor swimming pool. 
  • Holiday Inn Express Visali – Rooms are bright and colourful and the room rate includes breakfast. 
  • The Kern Lodge – A fantastic hotel in Kerville; The hotel includes an outdoor pool, BBQ area, wifi and the hotel is overlooked by mountains too. 
  • Whispering Pines Lodge Bed and Breakfast – A gorgeous lodge with views of the creek, wifi, BBQ terrace and toiletries. 
The Grand Canyon near Las Vegas

26. Grand Canyon National Park

Arguably the most famous national park in America, the Grand Canyon is a must-see whilst travelling the USA.

Many tourists visit the canyons from Vegas, with tours available from Las Vegas to the various nearby national parks but you can easily drive from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon too.

Hiking the Grand Canyon is a USA bucketlist thing to do and a MUST.

When to visit the Grand Canyon: The best time to visit the Grand Canyon is March to May or September to November. This is when temperatures are cool whilst the sites aren’t as crowded. The summer is very busy but also incredibly warm. 

Operating hours:

  • South Rim is open all year, 24 hours a day. 
  • North Rim is open for overnight guests at the lodge. 
Las Vegas to Grand Canyon

Tips for visiting the Grand Canyon:

  • Make sure you reserve hotels in advance if you wish to stay in a lodge or on the South Rim Campground. 
  • South Rim is easier to get to and therefore one of the busier areas; arrive early and expect traffic in the summer months or during spring break. 
  • Take the free shuttle bus around the Grand Canyon Village area on the South Rim. 
  • North Rim lodges are open from May to October. It is much harder to get to and is 8000 feet above ground. 
  • Keep your gas tank full when driving, using gas stations to fill up on your ride. 
  • Carry water in your car, especially during the hot months. 
Walt Disney World Entrance for every USA Bucketlist

27. Walt Disney World

The magic of Disney attracts around 52 million people every year. That is incredible and if you’re a Disney fan, then you can understand why.

With 4 different parks, 2 water parks, and 24 resort hotels, families have flocked to Disney World every year and if you haven’t visited, even just for a few days, you won’t know what you’re missing.

However, if it is your first trip to Orlando, make sure to read up on how to survive the Orlando theme parks; they can be very hot and very busy!

My hubby isn’t a theme park or Disney fan but even he enjoys visiting WDW and appreciates the attention to detail and theming.

As a couple, we can also enjoy the more romantic things to do in Walt Disney World, like a horse-drawn carriage ride, the Atlantic Dance Hall, and the gorgeous boat and kayak rental options.

Plus, Orlando isn’t as expensive as you may think. There are plenty of ways to save money like booking cheaper hotel options, taking advantage of the many supermarkets instead of restaurants in the area, and of course, enjoying the free things to do in Walt Disney World too. You can also take advatange of the cheaper restaurants and attractions on International Drive.

Whilst in WDW, enjoy the unique things to do in Walt Disney World, visit the other theme parks in Orlando, head out on a day trip to the Everglades and stock up on the best Disney souvenirs available!


28. Catch a baseball game

Everyone around the world has heard of baseball but where better to watch a game than in America!

We headed to Wrigley Field (home of the Chicago Cubs and an ivy-covered brick outfield wall) whilst in Chicago but also enjoyed the ‘President race’ in Washington DC and loved sitting among the locals (the cheap seats) in the Yankee Stadium, after our midtown Manhattan walking tour.

How to get baseball tickets in the US? 

You can buy tickets for individual games on Ticketmaster, however, it is possible to get single-game tickets from the MLB website, depending on the team and dates. 

There are also ways you can get cheap baseball tickets too:

  • Go to a weekday game, these are often cheaper. 
  • Go early in the season for cheaper prices. 
  • Wait until nearer the date. Avoid the advance sales and the extra surcharge that comes with this. Instead, head to the stadium for a walk-up purchase or use the team’s online ticket center. 
  • Avoid the big-name teams – As much as everyone wants to see the Yankees, Boston Red Sox, or The Cubs, these ticket prices are often a lot higher than in smaller, less touristy cities in the US. 
Napa Valley for your USA Bucketlist

29. Wine tasting in Napa Valley

Spanning across several towns, Napa Valley is known for its luxurious homes, Michelin-star restaurants, and of course, endless vineyards.

I love a good wine-tasting session and will definitely be heading here to try some of the best wines in the world.

Plus, if you are visiting San Francisco, you can actually take a day trip to the Napa Valley wineries, so you can enjoy the wine tasting without needing a designated driver.

The best vineyards in Napa Valley:

  • Inglenook Winery
  • Castello di Amorosa
  • Luna Vineyards
  • Spottswoode
  • Opus One
  • Domaine Carneros

Tip: Vincent Arroyo Winery offers free wine tasting, as long as you are traveling in a group of 4 or less, however, you must book ahead. 

French Quarter New Orleans USA bucket list

30. Visit the French Quarter in New Orleans

Unique, colorful, and a great laugh, the French Quarter in New Orleans can NOT be missed.

Make sure you try out the best food experiences the area has to offer, enjoy the nightlife on Bourbon Street, visit St. Louise Cathedral, and jump on a Steamboat down the Mississippi River.

When to visit the French Quarter

One reason that many flock to New Orleans is for the Mardi Gras celebrations, which are in full swing from February to May; when the weather is comfortable and cool. If you are looking for a quieter experience, visit the city in December or January. 

The cheapest time of the year to visit is during the summer months but expect an average temperature of 91 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is also worth noting that hurricane season runs from June through to November, with the worst months being August, September, and October. 

Getting around New Orleans

Downtown New Orleans is compact, meaning it is easy to walk from place to place.

There are plenty of cabs available if you are looking to go further afield or use the New Orleans Regional Transport Authority for $1.25 streetcars and buses around the city. 

Things to do in the French Quarter

  • St. Louise Cathedral
  • Carousel Bar
  • The French Market
  • Bourbon Street
  • Royal Street
  • Mississippi River
  • New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum
  • Voodoo Authentica
  • Andre Jack Statue
  • William Research Center
  • The Ursulines Convent
  • 1850 House Museum
  • The Presbytere
  • Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmiths shop
  • The Cabildo
  • Gallier House
  • Pirates Alley
  • Le Petit Theatre
  • New Orleans Pharmacy Museum
  • Napoleon House
  • Preservation Hall
  • Pat O’Brien’s Bar
Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC

31. Visit the memorials in Washington DC

Washington DC is home to many memorials that you must visit when in the capital. The memorials are free, open to see all day, every day and most memorials are close to one another; meaning you can spend a day visiting them all. 

The major monuments include:

  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Washington Monument
  • Thomas Jefferson Memorial
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  • Korean War Veterans Memorial
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
  • World War II Memorial
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

Other free things to do in Washington DC

St Louis is one of the best things to do in USA

32. Gateway Arch in St. Louis

Along Route 66, you need to make a stop at St. Louis to visit the Gateway Arch monument, standing at 630 feet and towering over the Mississippi River.

It is the world’s tallest arch and tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere – hence why this site is on my USA bucketlist and one of the most unique things to see in America

Need to know:

  • You can enter the monument itself, with the entrance through a glass west entrance, which faces Fourth Street and the Old Courthouse. You exit at the monument’s legs.
  • The Gateway Arch is open from 9 am to 6 pm whilst the park grounds are open 5 am to 11 pm. 
  • Riverboats are available from the Arch, which takes you along the Mississippi River, taking in the skyline of St. Louis. 
  • You can buy tickets online, including tram rides to the top but you need to book tickets in advance on the website to avoid disappointment. 
Venice Beach is a must USA bucketlist item

33. Stroll, run, cycle, and play on Venice Beach, Los Angeles

When you think of California, you may think of beaches, sunshine, and a chilled-out vibe. Venice Beach encompasses all these things and more.

Watch the skateboarders along the Ocean Front Walk, shop along Abbot Kinney Boulevard or catch a street performer along the beach itself.

Venice beachfront is known for its quirky characters; with jugglers, musicians, mimes, dancers, and street performers of all kinds, being part of the lively boardwalk. 

A famous spot also includes Muscle Beach Gyms, an old favorite for bodybuilder and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and seen in countless movies and TV programs.

Make sure you head over to the Venice Canals too. Walk through the picturesque neighborhood of charming beach houses and arching bridges. 

Whilst visiting Los Angeles, you can reach Venice Beach by using the hop-on, hop-off buses in the area.

The Empire State Building on your NYC and USA BUCKETLIST

34. Head to the top of the Empire State Building

Of course, a trip to New York City isn’t complete without seeing the Empire State Building, another USA Bucketlist.

Personally, I love heading up the iconic famous skyscraper in NYC; you may get amazing views from elsewhere in NYC but nothing beats the height and history of the Empire State Building.

Tips for visiting the Empire State Building

  • Visit early – The Empire State Building opens at 8 am every day, so get here for the open time to avoid the crowds. 
  • Passes – Save money and time by getting a VIP Express Pass or a New York City Pass. The VIP is specific to Empire State but the New York City Pass can be used at many attractions and allows you to skip the queue for ticket purchases. 
  • Visit late – If you don’t want to get up super early, then head to Empire State after 8pm. This is when queues and crowds are shorter and you can see the city lit up at night. 
  • Go to the 102nd floor – The standard ticket takes you up to the 86th floor but nothing needs the enclosed viewing area on the 102nd floor, 1250 feet above the city. 
  • Sunset – For the best experience, head here for sunset, giving you views of the city during the day and then watching the city lights flicker on as the sun sets. Make sure you book tickets online ahead of your visit to save time queuing as this is a popular time to visit the Empire State Building. 

35. Visit Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is a popular and beautiful place to visit in the USA with highlights such as the Grand Prismatic Spring (a hot spring and volcano), the erupting geyser named ‘Old Faithful’, and the gorgeous Yellowstone Lake.

Visit from May to October to fully experience the park; not all the roads are open in the winter months. 

Planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park

  • June, July, and August – Many people visit the park during these months so be patient and expect traffic. 
  • Plan and book ahead – Plan your visit and book accommodation ahead; lodges and campgrounds fill fast. 
  • Cell service is limited within the national park. 
  • Download the free NPS Yellowstone app which can act as your digital guide. 
  • Keep your distance – Do not approach the wildlife as you visit the park. 
  • Visit early or late – visiting the park before 9am or after 3pm will offer a quieter experience. 
  • Book a tour – If you are overwhelmed with planning your own trip, you can book an organized tour, either as a day trip or a multi-day trip.
  • Don’t underestimate distances – The park is massive and often you will experience traffic and road work. Plus parking spots at popular landmarks are in short supply, so plan your time, be patient, and give yourself extra time to visit all your must-see sights. 
  • Stay the night – There are plenty of lodges and campgrounds to choose from but make sure you spend at least one night in the parks. Why? Not only can you get exploring early the next morning but you can also appreciate the incredibly starry sky as the sunsets. 
Skiing in Colorado is one of the best things to do in the USA

36. Ski in Colorado

Colorado may not be the first state that you think of visiting when touring the USA, but if you love your winter sports, then add it to your list! Skiing is a unique thing to do in Colorado for those looking for an adventure.

Head here in February to enjoy deep snow whilst the mountains are fully open. It is possible to ski all year round in Colorado but the best months are from late October to late April, when the snow is falling the most. 

There are many resorts to choose from, some more affordable than others, but the best include

  • Vail Mountain Resort – One of the largest resorts in the world with extensive and varied terrain; perfect for all types of skiers. 
  • Telluride Ski Resort – A scenic ski town, this is ideal for those looking for picturesque destinations in the USA and is one of the more popular resort destinations. 
  • Aspect Snowmass – A combination of four ski areas that create a massive terrain, rivaling Vail in size. This is a family-oriented option with a cute town to match. 
  • Beaver Creek Resort – New at skiing? This is the resort for you. The resort is known for its friendly customer service and formed runs, making ideal conditions for new skiers. 
Mount Rushmore one of the best places to visit in America

37. Visit Mount Rushmore

This massive structure carved into rock has amazed me from a young age. Located in South Dakota, the national park sees around 3 million tourists every year and is a popular USA bucketlist destination to visit. 

Plan at least 2 hours to explore the park but note that there is no overnight accommodation within the park itself.

You can, however, choose to stay in Rapid City, located 35 miles away from Mount Rushmore.

The memorial grounds are open from 5am to 11pm, with the visitor center being open 8am to 10pm.

There is no entrance fee but there is an $11 parking fee.  

How to get there:  Mount Rushmore is located in a rural area of South Dakota, with most visitors making a road trip to the iconic landmark. The closest airport is Rapid City Regional Airport, where you can rent a car or take a guided day tour.

What to do:

  • The Avenue of the Flags (pathway to the memorial)
  • Get a view from the Grand View Terrace
  • The Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center
  • Presidential Trail

Whilst in South Dakota, make sure to visit Badlands National Park, one of the best places to find fossils in North America.

When to visit: Mount Rushmore is open all year except for Christmas Day. The busiest times to visit are during the summer months but the park is still easy to visit, even during these busy times. For cooler temperatures, visit in the spring and fall. 

surfing in Hawaii on your USA Bucketlist

38. Go surfing in Hawaii

Hawaii has actually been my dream destination for a long time, ever since I was a child, I dreamt of visiting this collection of beautiful islands.

I have never surfed in my life but surfing in Hawaii is on many USA bucketlist and for good reason. With some of the best surfing spots in the world, Hawaii is the perfect place for beginners and more advanced surfers.

Best surf spots: 


  • Puaena Point
  • Chun’s Reef
  • Canoes
  • Turtle Beach
  • Diamond Head Cliffs
  • Popoia Island


  • Kihei Cove
  • Launiupolo State Wayside Park
  • Guardrails
  • Kaanapali Beach
Rockefeller Center for your USA bucketlist

39. Rockefeller Center

Of course, if you are in NYC then you will want to get some gorgeous views of its impressive skyline. Now, personally, I prefer the Empire State Building but the Rockefeller Center gives you a fantastic view of the Empire State itself.

Tickets: Tickets for the Top of the Rock or a tour of the center itself can be purchased directly on the Rockefeller Center website. 

Location: Rockefeller Center is in Midtown Manhattan. From Times Square, head north on Seventh Avenue and then turn right onto 50th Street to reach the Center.

Alternatively, take the B, D, F, or M train to 47th-50th Street, the 1 train to 50th Street, the 6 train to 51st Street, or the N, Q, or R Train to 49th Street. 

Opening hours: The Rockefeller Center Plaza is open 24 hours a day whilst the Top of the Rock observation deck is open from 8am to midnight. Hours may vary during public holidays. 

Zig Zag road in San Francisco

40. Lombard Street, San Francisco

Whilst in San Francisco, visiting this famous Zig Zag Street is a must! Jump on a cable car to the top of the street and work your way down or rent a cool go-kart to drive down it in style.

Why so bendy? 

City planners and San Fran residents struggled with the steep hills of the city. Lombard Street was one of the many hills that horse-drawn wagons struggled with.

So, in 1922, the homeowners on the street decided that their road was too steep and created a plan to include a series of sharp turns to make the road more manageable. 

How to reach the Zig Zag road, Lombard Street:

There are a few ways you can get to this famous road in San Francisco:

  • Sightseeing bus– The sightseeing bus pass makes getting around San Francisco. To get to Zig Zag Lombard Street, take the red route which will take you to the street – it will be the stop after Marina/Cow Hollow.
  • Powell-Hyde cable car – This cable car route will take you to the top of Lombard Street, ready for you to take a descent down the famous crooked street
  • Drive it – Many people choose to drive down Zig Zag Street in San Francisco – it can see up to 350 cars an hour during the summer months! If you want to join that statistic, set your Sat Nav to 1099 Lombard Street – the top of this one-way street. Just keep an eye out for tourists – they will be in your way as you reach the bottom
  • Bus – City bus £19 runs from Beach Street near Fisherman’s Wharf to Lombard Street. You can use 511 SF Bay to find bus routes and schedules. 
  • Walking – If you don’t mind walking, the Zig Zag road is 5 blocks from Fisherman’s Wharf, taking around 20 – 25 minutes to walk. Take Leavenworth Street to avoid the very steep hills, which will take you to the bottom of the curvy area of Lombard Street. 
American Football game is a fun thing to do in the USA bucket list

41. Catch an American football game

America’s favorite sport is a fun way to spend a day in most cities. We saw the New York Giants play and, although I had no clue what was going on, it was definitely a memorable experience.

NFL tickets can be found on Ticketmaster with resellers selling on StubHub.

If you are new to the game, try and get a seat close to the action whilst seasoned watchers may prefer a higher vantage point. Most stadiums have good seats all over. 

The season usually runs from September to December with playoffs in January leading up to the Super Bowl in early February. However, if you are visiting the US in August, you may be able to catch a pre-season friendly. 

Gorgeous landscape of the Joshua Tree National Park, a unique thing to do in the USA

42. Visit the Joshua Tree National Park

Visit the stunning but stark landscape of the Joshua Tree National Park, where two types of desert meet. This is a peaceful and gorgeous park, offering picture-perfect views for travel photographers.

Head along the walking trail at Indian Cove or try rock climbing at Echo Cave. Visit the gigantic boulders on Arch Rock Trail or walk among cacti in Cholla Cactus Garden.

There are campsites in the national park too, giving you the opportunity to sleep under the zillions of stars.

Tips for visiting Joshua Tree National Park:

  • Never leave your car to explore without carrying a water bottle.
  • Bring extra water in case of emergencies.
  • October to May is peak season so visit during this time but arrive early. Avoid summertime, when temperatures are above 100 degrees.
SANTA CRUZ BEACH BOARDWALK is a fun place to visit in the USA bucket list

43. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Whilst in California, why wouldn’t you want to head to Santa Cruz? Check out the rides, food, attractions, beachfront and stores. This is an iconic place to visit in the USA and California, making it a great USA bucketlist destination for your travels.

Fun things to do in Santa Cruz

  • Santa Cruz Wharf
  • Main Beach and Cowell Beach
  • Museum of Art & History
  • West Cliff Drive
  • Natural Bridges State Beach
  • Surfing
  • Garden of Eden
  • Big Basin State Park
  • Penny’s Ice Creamery
  • Downtown thrift stores
  • Hidden Peak Teahouse
  • Roaring Camp Railroads
  • Brew Cruz
  • Wilder Ranch State Park
  • Shark Fin Cove
  • Point Market
  • Bigfoot Discovery Museum
Golden Gate Bridge at sunset

44. Drive along the Golden Gate Bridge

Drive, Cycle, or walk – whatever mode of transport you choose, a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge is a must.

We took a taxi over to the Golden Gate Bridge View Vista Point to get some shots of the bridge from afar, then took a short walk around the bridge and walked back to the main island.

Best places to get a view of San Francisco Bridge

  • Baker Beach – Enjoy the sandy beach whilst getting an incredible view of the bridge. This is one of our favorite viewpoints of the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Fort Point National Historic Site – This fortress is underneath the bridge, giving you a unique backdrop for selfies. The park is a short walk from Crissy Field and the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center.
  • Fort Baker – A little further from the bridge is Fort Baker, a former military post. The view includes the gorgeous hills and greenery surrounding the park too. 
  • Crissy Field – For side-on views, head to Crissy Field. You can also enjoy a snack from the Warming Hut and view San Francisco Bay from here too. 
  • Battery East Vista – Enjoy a stroll through this National Historic Site; taking either the Presidio Trail or the California Coastal Trail. 
  • Lands End – This viewpoint offers landscape views of San Francisco, with the bridge being a small part of that view. 
Glacier National Park lake with mountain in the background, a gorgeous place to visit in the USA

45. Glacier National Park in Montana

This park is part of the world’s first international peace park and celebrates the peace and friendship between the USA and Canada.

With 35 glaciers and 25 active glaciers, this lesser-known park looks simply stunning.

Make sure you head along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, a picturesque alpine road, visit Lake McDonald, or head to one of the many glaciers. To see all the nearby sights and things to do, you would need at least 3 days in Glacier National Park.

Visit Glacier National Park in July for the best weather but this is peak season, so book accommodation and travel in advance. Head here in the spring for the best chance to see the Aurora Borealis. 

To avoid the crowds, make sure to head out along the trails and visit the park early.

The cosmopolitan hotel is one of the best hotels in Las Vegas

46. Get a suite in Vegas

Maybe it’s a British thing but there is something exciting about the idea of booking a gorgeous suite on the Las Vegas strip.

We did just this and it is actually where we got engaged – we chose The Cosmopolitan and would travel back here in a heartbeat. It has the best Hidden Pizza restaurant that you have to discover!

Suites can cost between $200 – $600 a night for a hotel suite on the strip but make sure you head directly to the hotel website to get the best deals. You can also sign up for deals on Vegas hotel sites to save money too. 

Some of the best suites on the strip can be found in Aria, The Cosmopolitan, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, The Mirage, Bellagio, and Ceasars Palace. These are some of the best Las Vegas hotels for couples, so book a suite for your romantic stay.

The Sky Suite in Aria is 20,000 square feet, making it the biggest suite in Las Vegas. 

Join the MLife casino program to earn points for hotel upgrades. 

Boston freedom trail is a historic USA bucketlist thing to do in America

47. Walk the Freedom Trail in Boston

Boston is a gorgeous place to visit and the Freedom Trail is a popular Boston bucket list thing to do and a USA bucketlist must.

This 2.5 mile-long path through downtown Boston, takes you along a historic route, passing 16 locations that mark important moments in American history.

The walk takes around four hours and runs between the Boston Common and the USS Constitution. You can walk in less time if you plan on spending just a few minutes at each site.

You can take a tour of the trail but most tours don’t include all the sites; if you want to learn more, you may prefer to download the Freedom Trail Foundation audio file for just $15; so keep this in mind when planning your Boston budget.  

What to see on the Freedom Trail

  • Boston Common
  • Massachusetts State House
  • Park Street Church
  • Granary Burying Ground
  • King’s Chapel
  • Benjamin Franklin Statue and Boston Latin School
  • Older Corner Bookstore
  • Old Soul Meeting House
  • Old State House
  • Boston Massacre Site
  • Faneuil Hall
  • Paul Revere House
  • Old North Church
  • Copp’s Hilly Burying Ground
  • USS Constitution and Museum
  • Bunker Hill Monument
Havasu Falls in the USA Bucketlist

48. Swim in the Havasu Falls Pools, Arizona

This natural falls and swimming hole is heavenly! I didn’t even know places like this existed in the USA but 20,000 visitors head to the falls every year making it a unique, beautiful USA bucketlist item.

Why are the falls so secluded? You can’t reach this area by car, you must drive to the Havasupai Hilltop and then take a 9-mile hike down the trail to reach the falls.

Plan at least one night stay for this trip, reaching and enjoying the falls is tricky for a day trip. 

For the perfect temperatures, visit in early spring (avoid spring break) or late autumn. Summer is a great time for camping but start your hike early to beat the heat.

Beyond the falls, make sure to enjoy the fantastic golf resorts in Arizona or discover some of the affordable wellness retreats in the USA.  

Santa Monica Pier USA Bucketlist

49. Santa Monica Pier

With an iconic Ferris wheel, family-friendly rides, a variety of food, drink, and summer summer-filled atmosphere, why wouldn’t you love Santa Monica Pier?

Visiting Santa Monica is a must! They even have an aquarium and classic arcade plus, the pier marks the end of Route 66!

Things to do on Santa Monica Pier and nearby

  1. Pacific Park – carnival-styled rides
  2. Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
  3. End of Route 66 sign
  4. The Ferris wheel
  5. Santa Monica Beach
  6. Ocean Boulevard
  7. Trapeze School
  8. Street performers on the Third Street Promenade
  9. The Santa Monica Stairs
  10. Surfing
  11. Palisades Park
  12. Santa Monica Farmers’ Market
  13. Tongva Park
  14. Santa Monica Camera Obscura

Where to stay

There are some great hotel options along the beach but you will not find an AirBnB in Santa Monica, as these are illegal in the city. For beautiful hotels with beautiful views, check out Loews Beach Hotel, Hotel Casa del Mar, and the Shangri-La. 


There is parking at Santa Monica Pier but it is limited. If you are visiting on a weekend, during a holiday, or the summer, you will need to find parking elsewhere.

Luckily, there are 5 parking lots just off the beach which are ideal for a day at the beach. You can also find street parking during the evenings.


50. Universal Studios Hollywood

So you like film sets?

Whilst in Hollywood, make sure you head to Universal Studios Hollywood; where a theme park meets movie set.

You can find sets from Jurassic Park, Home Alone 2, King Kong, Transformers, The Trueman Show, Back to the Future, The Grinch, Psycho, Pirates of the Caribbean, Apollo 13 and the Gremlins – just make sure you book tickets in advance.

Tips for visiting Universal Studios Hollywood:

  • Arrive for opening
  • Book your tickets in advance
  • Consider a Universal Express pass if you are visiting during the Summer, during a holiday, or the weekend. 
  • Eat a decent breakfast before arriving
  • Bring a reusable water bottle. 
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Plan in time to watch the shows
  • Start in the lower lot
  • Do one lot at a time – avoid moving between the lots too often
  • Use the single riders queue
  • Use the child swap system
Man buying Broadway tickets in Times Square

51. Catch a Broadway show

There are some incredible Broadway shows (and some not-so-great ones).

If you aren’t fussed about what you see, head to the TKT office in Times Square for cheaper, on-the-day tickets but if you want to see your favorite musical, you are best to book online or use this guide on buying Broadway tickets.

Hamilton Play Bill Broadway Show

Best Broadway shows to watch out for?

  • Hamilton
  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • Les Mierstables 
  • Lion King (especially with children)
  • Wicked 
  • Aladdin
  • The Book of Mormon
  • Beetlejuice
Smithsonian Museums in Washington DC are the best things to do in the USA

52. Learn more in the Smithsonian Museums in Washington DC

Washington DC is not only known for being the home of the White House but also the home to some of the best museums in the world.

Head to the collection of Smithsonian museums to learn, explore, and enjoy. I personally loved the Natural History Museum and the American History Museum.

The best Smithsonian Museums in Washington DC

Many of these museums are open every day apart from December 25th, from 10am to 5.30pm.

There are two Smithsonian Institutions in New York, but the rest can be found in Washington DC; with most of them in walking distance from the National Mall.

When vacationing in Washington DC, it is worth noting that the museums are free to enter but you need to have a ticket; book early if you are traveling with a large group. 

  • National Museum of African-American History and Culture – This is the only national museum devoted to African-American art, life, history, and culture. The multilevel, engaging museum is fantastic and a favorite to many. 
  • National Museum of Natural History – Discover the world’s scientific heritage and animal origins in the exhibitions at this museum. There are millions of insects inside and this is the perfect museum for families. 
  • National Museum of African Art – Featuring exhibits from the continent of Africa, you can find contemporary and traditional art on display here. 
  • National Air and Space Museum – A great choice for families visiting Washington DC, not only do they have exhibits of space artifacts but you can also see rockets, missiles, and various types of planes. Take a tour of the Steven F. Udvar-hazy Center where you can find two large hangers with a showcase of space items, including the space shuttle Discovery. 
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum – Open from 11.30am to 7pm, this is a gorgeous art museum full of folk and decorative artworks as well as sculptures and photographs. 
  • National Museum of American History – Learn about American history at this museum dedicated to the developments of the USA. 
  • National Museum of American Indian – Holding a massive collection of artifacts, the architecture of this museum is just as impressive. The concept is designated and focused on different Indian communities and tribes. 
  • National Portrait Gallery – Through visual arts, performing arts, and new media, this museum tells the story of important people in America’s history; from presidents to poets. 
  • Anacostia Community Museum – Committed to challenging and bringing people together through critical thinking, this museum is perfect for those deep thinkers. 
  • Freer Gallery of Art – Home to a famous collection of art by James McNeill Whistler, this gallery is home to Asian, American, and Ancient Egyptian Art. 
  • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden – Abstract art lovers will enjoy this sculpture garden and plaza, full of contemporary, unique artworks. 
New England in the fall for your USA Bucketlist

53. Visit New England in the Fall

Has anyone else seen those postcards of the gorgeous fall in New England?

Whenever I see pictures, I simply fall in love and feel all cozy inside – which is why this is a must-visit USA bucketlist destination when those leaves turn orange and brown.

New England in the fall is famous for its colorful foliage, gorgeous landscapes, and billions of leaves changing color.

The temperature is perfect for hiking, long drives, and biking around the countryside.

Make sure you stop at the farmer’s market and orchards during your stay. 

Stay in one of the cosy inns or head to Provincetown for a quieter experience. Go hiking in Northern Maine, learn about the history of Salem, and eat your way around Boston. 

Popular Street in Nashville with neon signs, a fun thing to do in the USA at night

54. Watch a country show in Nashville

Apart from Taylor Swift, I don’t tend to listen to too much country music but Nashville is the place where all that changes, as this is the birthplace of live Country music. This is one of the best music cities in the US and should be on any music-lovers USA Bucketlist.

Grand Old Opry is known for its fun shows and is apparently “the show that made country music famous”.

Other venues in Nashville include Ryman Auditorium, Bridgestone Arena, Ascend Amphitheater, and Nissan Stadium. 

There are also great bars, often with live music, that you should check out whilst you are in Lower Broadway.

Head to Blake Shelton’s Ole Red, Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, and Luke’s 32 Bridge Food + Drink, for a good night out. 

Other things to do in Nashville

  • Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
  • The Johnny Cash Museum
  • Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery
  • Belle Meade Plantation
  • Soundwaves Water Park 
  • Doyle and Debbie Comedy show
  • Radnor Lake State Park
  • Nashville’s hot chicken
  • Tennessee State Museum
  • Cheekwood Estate and Gardens
  • The Band Box
Miami places to go to in the USA

55. Enjoy the Miami sunshine on Miami Beach

When I was a child, someone once told me that Miami was similar to Brighton…they lied.

Miami is warm and sunny all year round, so when planning a trip to Florida, make sure Miami is on your USA Bucketlist.

Be swept away by the Latin music playing out the bars, enjoy the world-renowned nightlife, and explore the artistic areas of this seaside location. Once you have explored Miami Beach, make sure to enjoy a South Beach walking tour to see the art-deco area and enjoy the lively atmosphere.

Whilst in Miami, make sure you visit Jungle Island on Watson Island, wander around the Art Deco District or visit the Vizcaya Museum.

Visit a cafe or restaurant along Miami’s Waterfront in Bayside Marketplace or see over 2000 wild animals in the Miami Zoo. 

Alamo San Antonio for your USA Bucketlist

56. Visit The Alamo in San Antonio

This historic Spanish fortress was founded in the 18th century and was the site of the Battle of Alamo in 1836. I have never visited Texas but once we do, this will definitely be a place I hope to visit.

This historic Spanish fortress was founded in the 18th century and was the site of the Battle of Alamo in 1836.

Living history demonstrations and special events take place here throughout the year but the fortress is open year-round to be enjoyed and explored by everyone.

The entrance is free but you can choose to take a guided tour for $15, taking around an hour. 

Also, note that no cell phones or cameras are permitted inside the historic structures, and make sure you read the rules before entering; as a shrine to Texas Liberty, you are expected to be respectful.

Grand Teton National park USA things to do

57. Marvel at the beauty of Grand Teton National Parka

It amazes me how many varied National Parks there are in America and the Grand Teton is a great example of natural beauty at its best.

Take a picture of the gorgeous mountains and their reflections in the surrounding lakes and hike along the different trails for spectacular views.

Visit Grand Teton National Park from mid-May to late September to experience the best weather and hiking trails.

At this time, all the visitor centers are also open and park activities like fishing and kayaking are open and accessible too. 

The National Park is known for the Jackson Hole National Monument but spend time watching the wildlife, visiting Jenny Lake, or taking in amazing views from the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center. 

Maroon Bells is one of the best places to visit in America

58. The Maroon Bells Near Aspen, Colorado

If you haven’t seen enough parks by now, then head to Aspen and witness the Maroon Bells; another breathtaking viewpoint that is quieter than most.

10 miles from Aspen or 16 from Snowmass, these 14,000-foot peaks are truly remarkable. 

There are five trails, ranging from 1 to 13 miles found trip, depending on which you choose. Some are easier than others but visiting from May to November is the best option for all types of hikers.

Entrance into the park costs $10 per vehicle. 

Pike Place Market Seattle is a fun thing to do on your USA Bucketlist

59. Pike Place Market in Seattle

Not only is this a fabulous farmers market but it also offers local specialty food and includes a craft market. It is a must when in Seattle because of its diverse food and shopping options.

The 109-year-old farmers’ Market is a tourist attraction in itself, seeing more than 10 million visitors each year.

Make sure to visit the fishmongers, try the specialty food, head to the produce stalls, and browse the craft stands too.

Tips for visiting Pike Place Market:

  • Arrive early: This is a popular market place so get here for opening time to make the most out of the market without the crowds. The best time to arrive is between 9am and 10am.
  • Getting there: Walking is the easiest way to reach the market, especially if you are staying in the downtown area or Belltown. Alternatively, you could catch a bus or light rail to the market. 
  • Plan your stops: Many people often overlook how big this market is; it covers 9 acres with more than 500 small businesses! Whilst ticking this off your USA bucketlist, make sure to use the Pike Place website to plan which stores you want to visit. 
  • Don’t miss the lower levels: Did we mention this was a busy market? When visiting, it is really easy to miss the lower levels (which we did on our first visit!), but make sure to head down and visit those lower levels as there are some of the best spots below! We loved the little record stores and quirky magic shop!
  • Chefs tour: For those who want to try the best food in the market, you could choose to take a chef’s tour; a tour of the market that stops by all the best foodie spots so you can try everything on offer.
Pike Place Market is your top USA Bucketlist

What to expect at Pike Place Market:

  • Amazing food: Pike Place Market is full of delicious food, from local favorites to international delights. Try as much as you can here and visit multiple times; you will want to take advantage of the awesome bakeries and coffee shops in the morning but also return in the evening to head to the breweries. 
  • Arts and Crafts: There are plenty of boutique stores selling art pieces and crafts. From original paintings to leather goods, and jewelry to glass creations, there are plenty of creative local businesses to discover. 
  • Buskers and performers: The market is always a lively place to visit, so don’t expect a quiet stroll. There are plenty of performers playing all sorts of instruments, keeping you entertained whilst you shop. 
Lake Tahoe USA Bucket list

60. Lake Tahoe

I mean, look at those pictures… do I need to say anymore?

Lake Tahoe is another stunning place to visit in the USA and is a great place to unwind and explore at your own pace.

Straddling Nevada and California, this is a popular holiday destination for many.

Spend your days hiking the Sierra Nevada Mountains or try skiing in one of the many ski resorts.

If you love the beach, head to the Kings Beach State area or the D. L. Bliss State Park. Visit in the summer to try your hand at one of the many water activities available or go hiking to one of the many viewpoints.

Emerald Bay State Park is stunning Whilst Squaw Valley, Heavenly Resort, and Northstar California Resort are all perfect destinations for skiers.

Take a cruise around Lake Tahoe or jump in a hot air balloon to witness the beauty from above.

Redwood National Park Amazing places in the USA

61. Redwood National Park

Known as the home of the tallest trees in the world, Redwood National Park has fascinated me since I was a child. It has an amazing rugged coastline to explore and wild riverways.

When to visit:

Summer is the high season in Redwood National Park, with most visitors heading here in June, July or August. The temperature is warm and, because of the large size of the park, it rarely feels crowded.

Although summer is a great time to visit, Fall offers milder temperatures and is a beautiful time to visit the forest but just remember to bring layers and a rain jacket. 

Visiting Redwood National Park

  • How long? – You can drive through the park in around 25 minutes if you stick to the 101 but if you drive the Avenue of the Giants, it will take around 2.5 hours, including time for a walk around the woods and a picnic stop. We recommend planning at least a full day if not two. With over 40 miles of coastline and 133000 total acres, there is a lot to explore here. 
  • Location – The park is located in Northern California, around a 6-hour drive north of San Francisco. Most people choose to fly into San Francisco but you can fly into Arcata-Eureka Airport. This is a tiny airport so expect expensive and sometimes unreliable flights. 
  • Fees – There is no entrance fee for Redwood National Park but there is a $5 day-use fee for the nearby state parks.
  • Get climbing – Every March, Tree Climbing Planet founder Tim Kovar, allows a limited number of visitors to climb into the tree canopy, up a grandfather tree; standing between 600 to 1000 years old.
  • Drive-through – There are three drive-through redwood trees along the Avenue of the Giants highway, however, you are charged a small fee to drive through them.
  • Stay near – Alternatively, book a nearby hotel or lodge, such as the Holiday Inn Express in Klamath, the Elk Meadow Cabins, or the Lost Whale Inn. 
  • Don’t miss – There are lots of amazing things to see and do in the national park. Don’t miss the Fern Canyon, the James Irvine Trail, and the Gold Bluffs beach. You can also spot wildlife such as the Roosevelt Elk and the black-tailed deer. 

Camping at Redwoods State Park

There are four campgrounds within Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park but they must be reserved by phone or online at least 48 hours before. However, you can book 6 months in advance to avoid disappointment.

The standard camping fee is $35 but there are some basic cabins in the campgrounds that cost $100 per night during the summer. However, we definitely recommend you skip the cabins and enjoy the camping experience by spending the nights in a tent. 

Savannah Restaurants you must visit in the USAA

62. Explore the history of Savannah, Georgia

As the oldest city in Georgia and one of the original 13 colonies, Savannah holds a lot of history.

When planning a trip to Savannah, make sure to take a stroll down the Savannah Historic District, visit Forsyth Park, or explore the Wormsloe Historic Site. After a long day, or sightseeing, make sure to visit the best mom-and-pop restaurants in Savannah too; they have the BEST food!

Things to do in Savannah

  • River Street
  • Birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low 
  • Forsyth Park
  • Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
  • Savannah’s Telfair Museum
  • Old Town Trolley Tours
  • Georgia Queen Cruise and the Savannah waterfront
  • Bonaventure Cemetery
  • Pin Point Heritage Museum
  • Tybee Island
  • Kayak through Skidaway Narrows
  • City Market
  • The Owen’s Thomas House
  • The Historic Savannah Theatre
  • The Wilkes House
Santa Fe New Mexico is next on the USA Bucketlist

63. Visit serene Santa Fe, New Mexico

Head over to New Mexico and explore one of the coolest cities in America.

See the amazing architecture, visit the hidden away resorts and spas, try rafting down white water rapids, or just road trip through the desert.

The city offers over 400 years of cultural fusion; it is a great place to relax and learn but also offers a sophisticated, hip nightlife. 

Visit from September to November to experience the festivals or in the springtime for the best hotel rates.

Santa Fe sees over 300 days of sunshine each year but temperatures can change dramatically.

Visiting from November to April is ski season, so expect snowfalls during this time whilst summer months offer temperatures in the 90s. 

Remember to stay hydrated and avoid drinking too much – one drink is equivalent to three at this altitude (7000 feet above sea level).

Also, don’t forget to wear a to and bring sunscreen too. 

USA Bucketlist includes San Antonio Riverwalk

64. Walk along the San Antonio Riverwalk

Think Venice but in Texas – that is my impression of San Antonio.

Visit on a warm day and take a boat along the river – you can even hop on the floating bar for a ‘drift and dine’ option. Walking around this area in the late afternoon is a perfect way to end your day. Walking along is free whilst boat rides cost around $12. 

Tucked below street level and only a few steps from the Alamo, the Riverwalk in San Antonio is a place for sightseeing, shopping, food, bars, and fun. 

The San Antonio River Walk is 15 miles long but make sure to stay away from the edge; there are only railings in front of the restaurants. 

The Hollywood Sign has to be on your USA Bucketlist too!

65. See the Hollywood Sign

The iconic Hollywood sign is known worldwide and has appeared in many films and TV series over the years.

You can opt for a tour or drive up to the see sign or, if you are visiting Hollywood Boulevard, you can actually get a decent view of the sign from the Hollywood and Highland Center Mall.

Personally, I love the view from the Griffith Park Observatory.

The Hollywood Sign is located on Mt. Lee in Griffith Park, above the Hollywood Hills. It is a 45-foot-tall billboard and was once lit with 4000 light bulbs. 

Whilst you are in Hollywood, make sure to head to Warner Brothers Studio and see the sets of some of the best TV and Movies. Yes, that includes the Friends set!

Best places to see the Hollywood Sign

  • Hollywood and Highland – This is perhaps the easiest way to see the sign, especially if you are short on time. Head to the second level of the plaza on Hollywood Boulevard for views of the sign. 
  • Griffith Observatory – There is a great view of the sign from the parking lot at the Griffith Observatory with the closest view of the sign being along the railings on the ride side of the parking lot. Head along the trail behind the Observatory to get another great viewpoint.
  • Mulholland Drive – Head to the easternmost viewpoint on Mulholland Drive called the Hollywood Bowl Overlook. Here you can get great views of the sign above the Hollywood homes. 
  • Dante’s view – Hike up Mt. Hollywood for a high vantage point of downtown LA and views of the Hollywood Sign. 
  • From behind – You can’t hike up to the sign itself but you can hike to an area behind the sign. Head up the Hollyridge Trail or visit the Hollywood Reservoir Loop for signs from above and behind.
Everglades national park 100 best things to do in the USA

66. Everglades National Park

Next on your USA bucketlist has to be the Everglades!

So many people flock to Florida for the theme parks but I found taking an airboat ride through the Everglades to be just as impressive.

With alligators and birds surrounding you, the Everglades is unlike any other park you will see.

Some popular activities in the park include airboats, cycling, bird watching, camping, kayaking, fishing, hiking, and geocaching. 

Visit the Everglades from December through to April to enjoy the low humidity and lack of downpours; this is Florida’s dry season. 

Note: The Everglades are not safe to swim in. They are full of alligators and crocodiles so explore these on an organized tour via boat. 

Navy Pier is an iconic pier in Chicago

67. Navy Pier in Chicago

Whilst in Chicago, an evening trip to Navy Pier is ideal. There are many restaurants here and the city center isn’t a far walk if you would prefer to eat at one of the many pizza places.

Jump on a boat to see more of Chicago from the waters or try out one of the rides – this is one of the top 10 things to do in Chicago so make sure to visit it, no matter what time of the year you are in the windy city.

Things to do on and near the Navy Pier

  • Centennial Wheel
  • Architecture River Cruise
  • Tall Ship Windy
  • Chicago Children’s Museum
  • Navy Pier IMAX
  • Crystal Gardens
  • Free events – concerts and performers
  • Art Installations
  • Fireworks show (summer months) 
  • Fishing from Navy Pier’s North Dock
  • Ohio Street Beach
  • Miller Lite Beer Garden
San Francisco Cable Cars must be on your USA bucketlist whilst in San Francisco

68. Ride the cable cars in San Francisco

If you’re exploring San Francisco via public transport, chances are you will jump on a cable car at some point.

Maybe it’s because we don’t have cable cars in the UK but personally, I loved hopping on and off around the city and would definitely recommend it as a mode of transport in San Fran.

One thing to note, however, certain routes (e.g. to Lombard Street or Fisherman’s Wharf) can get really crowded. We tended to use cable cars in the morning and evening but stuck to taxis or the bus during the day.

White Sands National Park is next on your Texas to California Road Trip

69. Be amazed by White Sands National Park

White sand for as far as the eye can see – beautiful!

This national park can be found in New Mexico and has varied open times throughout the year.  To catch the Cottonwoods changing color, visit in late October to early November. 

To enter the park, you will need to pay $20 per vehicle or $10 per person. There are fee-free days throughout the year as well.

Plan to spend around 2-3 hours in the national monument if you wish to drive through, play in the sand a bit, and visit the visitor center. 

Nearby is the White Sands Missile Range, which can sometimes force the National Monument to close whilst they are testing. You can visit the Missile Range by heading here on their public open days which occur twice a year. 

Mesa Verde is the next USA Bucketlist place you must viist

70. Mesa Verde National Park

Visit this lesser-known park in Colorado and check out the collection of well-preserved ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings.

The park was established in 1906 to preserve the archeological heritage of the Ancestral Pueblo people, who lived here from 600 to 1300 CE.

You will need at least 3 hours in the park but to fully experience the sights, plan a full day here. 

Avoid the crowds and heat by visiting after Labor Day in September. Summer is always busy here so avoid school holidays if you can.

There are guided tours available in the Mesa Verde National Park but you can also do a self-guided trip, driving the Mesa Top Loop Road for the 6-mile route. 

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK IN Maine is a must visit USA destination

71. Acadia National Park in Maine

Along the Mississippi River, you will find the Acadia National Park; known for its dark sky, Cadillac Mountain, and sandy beach.

Visit here if you love to stargaze and hike through stunning, untouched nature.

Visit the park in late spring and fall for pleasant weather or head here in September to avoid the crowds.

Aim to spend at least 3 days in Acadia, exploring the nearby towns and villages during your visit. 

Don’t miss the Park Loop Road for scenic views then take in the carved rock at Thunder Hole. Cycle or walk along the Carriage Roads and cool off at the Jordan Pond House restaurant.

Head to the highest point of the park (Cadillac Mountain) or challenge yourself with the Beehive Trail. 

To experience the best of the park, get yourself the self-driving tour to self-drive around this gorgeous destination.

Couple rowing in Central Park in New York City

72. Stroll through Central Park

There is something so tranquil about Central Park, even though it is estimated that up to 42 million people visit every year.

Perhaps it is because it is an escape from the busy NYC scene but personally, I love strolling through the park, visiting the historic landmarks and finding gorgeous viewpoints along the way.

Things to see and do in Central Park

  • Belvedere Castle
  • Bethesda Terrace and Fountain
  • The Shakespeare Garden
  • Strawberry fields and the Imagine mosaic
  • Bow Bridge
  • Row a boat on Central Park Lake
  • Alice in Wonderland Statue
  • Hans Christian Anderson and the Ugly Duckling statue
  • Central Park Carousel
  • Delacorte Clock
  • Sheep Meadow
  • Loeb Boathouse
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts Romantic places in the usa

73. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

This little island of Cape Cod is a quiet haven that is only accessible by boat and air. The ferry takes around 95 minutes, depending on the tide.

Visit in the summer to enjoy the village, beaches, nature, preserve, and well-known Gay Head Lighthouse and wander around the harbor.

Visit from May to September for warm weather or visit in March or October to avoid the expensive hotel prices.

There are plenty of places to stay here, including gorgeous mansions. Highly recommended options include Isbabelle’s Beach House, The Harbor View Hotel, and The Christopher and Winnetu Oceanside Resort. 


74. Denali National Park

This 6 million acres of wild land is a nature lover’s paradise and one of the more understated and under-visited national parks in America.

See where the dense forest meets the snowy mountains or camp under the stars, either way, you will find yourself unwinding and enjoying the park.

Although drivers can drive into the park, there is only one road (Denali Park Road) through the national park.

This means visitors will need to park up and take the bus ride through the park itself. It can take some time to get to the park, so if you only have a half day, head to Savage River and stop by the Denali Visitor Center.

If you have a full day to explore, ride a transit or tour bus or join a ranger-led discovery hike. Either way, get planning ahead of your trip. 

Atlantic City one of the best places in America to visit

75. Visit Atlantic City

Known as a lesser version of Vegas, Atlantic City is a great place to unwind for your USA Bucketlist.

Not only enjoy the casinos but visit the iconic Boardwalk and large beaches as well as the nightclubs, health resorts, spas, and the Steel Pier.

Things to do in Atlantic City besides gambling

  • Atlantic City Boardwalk and Beach
  • The Steel Pier
  • Watch a show
  • Absecon Lighthouse
  • Visit The Outlets
  • Enjoy a sunset dinner on The Pier
  • Storybook Land Amusement Park
  • IMAX Theatre at Tropicana
  • Atlantic City Aquarium
  • Lucy the Margate Elephant
  • One of the many spas

76. Visit the Village of Taos Pueblo, New Mexico

Our next USA Bucketlist item is something a little different and often overlooked; the Village of Taos Pueblo.

This native American community has been inhabited for over 1,000 years and welcomes visitors to visit their village and learn more about American history and heritage. 

You can take a tour of Taos Pueblo, with tours beginning at 9 a.m. and running every 30 minutes. Admission fees are $16 for an adult but check their website for closures and special events. 

Located at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, this is a picturesque hidden gem that needs to be on your USA bucket list. 


77. Kenai Fjords National Park

Take a cruise or boat around the Kenai Fjords to witness breathtaking glaciers and even catch whales in their natural habitat.

If you are hoping to see some whales, I recommend getting a smaller boat around the park; it may not be as comfortable but you are much more likely to be able to see wildlife.

The national park was established as a national monument in 1978, preserving the fjord and rainforest ecosystems in 1980. The park is known for its wildlife, ice landscapes, and archeological remains. 

For a once in a lifetime experience, stay at the Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge; an eco-lodge located in a native-owned wildlife sanctuary in the heart of the Kenai Fjords National Park. 

There are plenty of romantic things to do in Alaska so plan out your Alaska itinerary and enjoy this natural beauty in the US.

USA Bucket list Diamond Head

78. Hike up Diamond Head State Monument in Hawaii

Hike up the hour Oahu hiking trail to witness stunning 360-degree views of the island. Hawaii has been a lifelong dream destination of mine and when we finally get there, this will definitely be on my list of things to do in Oahu!

The hike takes around 45 minutes to reach the top of the trail but you will want to plan for 2 hours to hike and enjoy the view. You can drive up to Diamond Head if you wish or take a bus up into the park. No matter which option you choose, get your Hawaii packing list together and have a great time.

Visit Oahu from April to June to September to December; these are the shoulder seasons and see fewer crowds and lower room rates. 

Things to do in Oahu

Whilst you are in Oahu, there are a few other things you may want to visit: 

  • The Pearl Harbor National Memorial
  • Hanauma Bay
  • Kualoa Ranch
  • Doris Duke’s Shangri La
  • Waiahole Poi Factory
  • Bishop Museum
  • Waikiki Beach
  • Lanikai Beach
  • Luau at Paradise Cove
  • Haleiwa town
  • North Shore’s famous food trucks
  • Turtle Beach
  • Iolani Palace


Deep dish pizza

79. Try a deep-dish pizza in Chicago

Of course, this is a must! We loved Gino’s East but there are so many great deep-dish pizza places around Chicago and they are AMAZING. We have tried making our own at home and it is just not the same!

Where to get Deep Dish in Chicago?

There are many options for deep-dish Pizza in Chicago, but here are some of the best-rated:

  • Gino’s East
  • Lou Malnati’s
  • Uno Pizzeria & Grill
  • Giordano’s
  • Burt’s Place
  • Bartoli’s
  • The Art of Pizza
  • Pequod’s
Philly cheesesteak

80. Try a Philly Cheesesteak

Whilst in Philadelphia, head to one of the hundreds of places that offer this roll full of thinly sliced beefsteak and melted cheese.

It is said that, in 1930, Pat Olivieri, a hot dog vendor, threw some beef on the drill to make a sandwich. A cab driver passing had asked for one and the Philly cheesesteak was born. 

Favorite places to pick up this meal include Pat’s King of Steaks, Geno’s Steaks, Campo’s and McNally’s Tavern. 


81. Try the famous Po’Noy sandwich in New Orleans

This famous Louisiana sandwich looks incredible – the original is said to have included fried oysters and shrimp but nowadays you can find these sarnies with all types of meat and seafood in them.

You can get awesome Po’ Boys from many places in New Orleans but see are some of the best choices:

  • Guy’s Po-Boys
  • Adams Street Grocery
  • Walker’s BBQ
  • Radosta’s Restaurant
  • Killer PoBoys
  • Bears Poboy’s at Gennaro’s
  • Zara’s Lil’ Giant Supermarket & Po-Boys
  • Avery’s On Tulane
  • Parasol’s
Clam Chowder is a must eat in the USA bucketlist

82. Try Clam Chowder

I had never heard of clam chowder until I was at the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco and every street stall or café was selling the stuff.

This clam-filled broth often includes potatoes, onions, and celery and we enjoyed it served in a massive sourdough bread shaped as a bowl.

Yes, getting this iconic dish on the Wharf in San Francisco is the best place to give it a try but you can find this popular dish in many restaurants and chains, including Red Lobster (our fave)!

Where to get clam chowder in San Francisco?

  • Chowders
  • Boudin Bakery and Cafe
  • Fog Harbor Fish House
  • Blue Mermaid Chowder House
  • Sabella & La Torre
  • Nick’s Lighthouse
  • Alioto’s Restaurant
Lobster from Maine must eat in the USA

83. Try lobster in Maine

Lobster Maine is said to be the best Lobster in the world and we will definitely be trying it when we visit Maine.

Apparently, the warmer waters allow Maine lobsters to be a little softer than Canadian lobsters, meaning the meat is tender and tastes better – sounds good to me!

Where to eat Lobster in Maine?

  • McLoons Lobster Shack
  • Quoddy Bay Lobster
  • Bite into Maine
  • Miller’s Lobster Company
  • Beal’s Lobster Pier
  • Boothbay Lobster Wharf
  • Muscongus Bay Lobster
  • Round Pond Lobster
  • Young’’s Lobster Pound
Texas BBQ is a Traditional American food

84. Try Texas BBQ

Ever since watching that Man vs Food episode where they rub in BBQ sauce on meant with a mop, my taste glands fell in love!

The Salt Lick is a great place to get BBQ food and is said to be one of the best in Texas.

Best BBQ spots in Texas


  • Pinkerton’s Barbecue
  • Ray’s BBQ Shack
  • Lubin City Market
  • Jackson Street Barbecue


  • Mike Anderson’s BBQ House
  • Pecan Lodge
  • Baby Back Shak


  • Franklin Barbecue
  • Micklethwait Craft Meats
  • The Switch
  • Black’s Barbecue


  • Spicy Mike’s BBQ Haven
  • Tyler’s Barbeque
  • Crazy Larry’s Barbecue
Seafood in Cape Cod is an foodie bucketlist item in America

85. Eat Seafood in Cape Cod

Back when I was 20, I worked in America for the summer and EVERYONE talked about the amazing seafood in Cape Cod.

Of course, when we started traveling the US, this was a must-try on our USA bucketlist. Whether you tuck into lobsters or clams, shrimp or cod, it all tastes great in Cape Cod!

Where to eat in Cape Cod?

  • The Beach House at the Chatham Bars Inn
  • Arnold’s Lobster & Clam Bar
  • Bistro on Main
  • Simply Divine
  • The Canteen
  • Pie and the Sky
  • Maison Villatte Bakery
  • Spoon and Seed
  • Keltic Kitchen
  • Mac’s Shack
  • The Beachcomber
  • Raw Bar

86. Try Buffalo Wings in Buffalo

Head to Anchor Bar, Buffalo where the original buffalo wing was founded (apparently).

Whilst we were in Buffalo, Gabriel’s Gate was recommended to us and we can see why – it was delicious and by far the best wings I have ever had.

Other top places to try these famous wings include Duff’s Famous Wings and Bar Bill & Tavern. 

Of course, you can try Buffalo Wings all over the US but there is something authentic and fun about trying them in Buffalo itself.

USA Festivals & Events

Coachella is the number 1 USA Festival and America bucketlist item for music lovers

87. Coachella

This California festival in the Palm Springs area is one of the most famous in the world.

Every year, thousands of music lovers head to the sunny state to enjoy live music in various tents whilst enjoying the fairground, fun atmosphere.

Tips for going to Coachella

  • Tickets for general Admission cost $499 but adding luxury experiences and VIP tickets can increase the price into the thousands. 
  • Tickets sell out in under 20 minutes, so be prepared to purchase tickets as soon as they go live. 
  • When using third-party ticket resellers make sure they have buyer protection; TicketNetwork and TicketLiquidator are recommended sites to use. 
  • Your ticket price does not include a camping pass; this is a separate purchase. 
  • Sign up for email notifications for Advanced Sale tickets. 
Lollapalooza USA festivals to visit

88. Lollapalooza

This annual festival in Chicago is a fun, slightly calmer option to Lollapalooza, with more alternative music.

This alternative rock, hip hop, and electronic music festival brings around 400,00 people every year and hopefully, one day we will be one of them.

Tips for going to Lollapalooza

  • The festival takes place in Chicago’s Grant Park with the 4-day pass starting around $380 and a day pass costing $145.
  • Tickets sell out within hours but you are likely to find resale tickets on websites like Stubhub.
  • There are various VIP extras you can pay for including shaded private lounges, complimentary soft drinks, golf cart shuttles, complimentary food, and even complimentary mini spas – depending on how much extra you are willing to pay. 

To save money, stay in the suburbs of Chicago; downtown hotels can be up to 77% higher during the festival.

Book flights in advance with budget airlines such as Spirit and skip the VIP treatments.

Also, you can get discounted tickets around a week before the event on reselling websites. 

Burning Man festival in Nevada is one of the unique things to do in the USA

89. Nevada’s Burning Man

This Nevada event is held at Black Rock City; a temporarily erected city for the festival.

A place where art and community combine, the event takes its name from the symbolic burning of a large wooden effigy (the man).

This festival is dedicated to radical self-expression and self-reliance, so it is unlike any other festival in the US. 

Book your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment and remember to get an in and out pass if you leave the event but intend to return. 


This event is about building communities and supporting each other but there is nowhere you can buy anything with money. Therefore, you must make sure you bring everything you need and want during your trip and always bring extras to share with your community.

Ultra Music Festival Miami USA

90. Ultra Miami

For anyone who loves dance music, you would have probably heard of Ultra. This music festival is now worldwide but the home and largest festival happens every year in Miami – all the best DJ’s perform here! 

Book tickets in advance and come prepared.

The event sees more than 50,000 visitors every day, so expect the crowds. Parking is not permitted near the venue so use the free shuttle services or use apps like Lyft or Uber. 

There are many stages and areas at this festival, so check the schedule ahead of time and plan your day accordingly. 

More Unusual things to do in the USA

Breaking Bad locations in Albuquerque

91. Visit the Breaking Bad Locations in Albuquerque

If, like us, you are a massive Breaking Bad fan, you will want to visit the locations in and around Albuquerque.

Rent a car and take a drive around the city, visiting the following places. 

  • Walter White’s House – 3828 Piermont Drive
  • Pinkman Residence – 322 16th Street
  • Octopus Car Wash – 9516 Snow Heights Cir Ne
  • Twisters Restaurant (Los Pollos Hermanos)
  • Hooligans Tavern – 9800 Montgomery Blvd (Saul’s office)
  • Java Joes – 906 Park Ave SW
  • Crossroads Motel – 1001 Central Ave
  • Ace Metals – 5711 Broadway Boulevard (Joe’s Salvage Yard)
  • Delta Linen Supply – 1617 Candelaria Street (Laundry office used for the superb)
  • To’Hajiilee Indian Reservation
Coca Cola factory in Atlanta places to visit in the US

92. Visit the Coca-Cola Factory in Atlanta

My husband is a super Coca-Cola geek and loves all things related to the popular drink. So, of course, the Coca-Cola factory has made it to our list of unusual things to do in America and we loved it!

Learn about the history of the famous drink in the Coca-Cola Theatre before learning more about the secret formula in The Volt Exhibition. Watch the mechanics of the factory production line before meeting the Coca-Cola Polar Bear and enjoying the 3D theater.

And finally, enjoy tasting colas from all over the world before browsing the many many merchandise items in the store. 

Tickets cost $17 for adults and $13 for children aged 3 to 12 but the Atlanta CityPass covers the museum entrance.

Tours take around 2 hours but plan more time to explore the rest of the attraction once the tour is over. 

Stay in an American Ranch for unique Things to do in the US

93. Experience an American Ranch

Stay at a ranch, go on horse rides, have barn dances, and all that ranch-type stuff – who wouldn’t want to try this? There are many options across the US for all types of travelers. 

Resort ranches are more relaxed and ideal for families or those looking for a bit of luxury.

Stay for a week in a dude ranch, helping out around the ranch and fully immersing yourself in the cowboy experience. 

Popular ranches include:

  • Marble Mountain Guest Ranch – In the mountains of Somes Bar in Northern California, this ranch is perfect for thrill seekers and adventurous. You can try white-water rafting, waterspouts, trail riding, arena lessons, frontier shooting, and archery.
  • Colorado Cattle Company & Guest Ranch –  Work on the ranch with 900 cattle before relaxing in the evening with a hearty meal. 
  • White Stallion Ranch – With your own custom-fitted horse, you can take rides through the rugged mountains and desert of Tucson, Arizona. This luxury ranch also includes massages, rock climbing, rodeos, a heated swimming pool, a theater, a petting zoo, and a bar. 
  • Elk River Guest Ranch – This smaller ranch (with rooms serving up to 15 guests), is perfect for a romantic escape. North of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, head here for horseback riding, forest trails, hiking, biking, camping, rafting, fly fishing, concerts, rodeo, dancing, kayaking, and cookouts; soaking in the ranch lifestyle. 

94. Ben & Jerry’s Factory, Vermont

Yes, this one is for me. If you don’t like ice cream, then I guess you should move to the next one but I LOVE BEN AND JERRYS! You can take a factory tour with, of course, samples!

The factory was built in 1985 and has been used ever since.

During the summer season, the factory tours can get busy so expect to wait around for a time slot.

Once you arrive, buy your $4 ticket (sold on a first-come, first-served) and spend some time browsing the small ice cream museum; the tour takes around 30 minutes.

The tour includes a movie in the Cover Over The Moon Theater followed by views of the manufacturing process from a mezzanine above the factory itself.

Next, you will head to the FlavoRoom for delicious samples! 

You can buy a cone of your favorite flavor at the Scoop shop; they have around 40 flavors to choose from. 

Relax along the promenade, browse the gift shop, and visit the ‘graveyard’ of abandoned flavors. 


95. Watch the Rodeo in Cody, Wyoming

Head to the Cowboy State to watch a rodeo!

The Cody Rodeo takes place from June through to August whilst the Cody Stampede runs the first few days of July from 8pm and last for around 2 hours.

You can watch competitive events such as calf roping, barrel racing, bronc riding, and bull riding as well as ceremonies and rodeo clowns. 

Other things to do in Cody is the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, a collection of museums that focus on the history, art, natural history, and development of the West.

For a bit of fun and live music, head to Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue or take a Red Canyon wild Mustang Tour to watch herds of wild horses among the incredible scenery.

There are lots to enjoy in the great outdoors around Cody, including hiking, rafting and kayaking. 

From Cody, you can take a day trip to Yellowstone National Park as well.


96. Visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio

Head to Cleveland, Ohio, and visit the different exhibits at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Here you will find memorabilia, clothing, and history of some of the biggest Rock and Roll legends in the world including The Beatles, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, and more.

Entrance costs $26 for adults but plan at least 2 hours to explore and make the most out of the museum.

Buy your tickets in advance to save time waiting in line but before you run into the museum, take time to appreciate the architecture of the building. 

THE SEVEN MAGIC MOUNTAINS IN NEVADAis another unique thing to do in America

97. The Seven Magic Mountains in Nevada

Next on your USA Bucketlist, has to be this quirky art piece on the outskirts of Las Vegas.

The Seven Magic Mountains are one of those kooky, artistic sculptures you see on road trips around America. These colorful, pilled-up “mountains” make for great photos and have become a tourist attraction itself. 

Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone, created this large-scale, site-specific public art installation near Jean Dry Lake; perfect for those visiting Las Vegas.

The artwork consists of seven towers of stacked, colorful boulders which represent a human presence in the desert; a burst of color contrasting with the endless desert surrounding the installation. 

If you plan a visit, remember to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat; there is no shade or restrooms near the free installation. 

Salem Witch Museum is one of the more unusual places to visit in the USA Bucketlist.

98. Experience the Supernatural in Salem… Maybe

For something a little more unusual or unique on your USA Bucketlist, learn a bit of history in this haunting destination.

This historic town in Essex County, Salem, Massachusetts is known for the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692 (and its appearance in Disney’s Hocus Pocus movie).

There are a whole bunch of tours available for those interested in learning more about Salem’s magical history but also some interesting museums and tasty restaurants to try out. You could also enjoy the spooky bars on a bar tour too.

Fly into Boston then rent a car or take the train into Salem; it makes for the perfect day trip from Boston.

Alternatively, plan on spending a night or two in the town, with restored Georgian homes making an ideal and unique overnight stay. 

Things to see and do in Salem:

  • House of Seven Gables
  • Salem Witch Trial Museum
  • The Witch House of Salem
  • Howard Street Cemetery
  • Old Burying Point Cemetery
  • Salem Maritime National Historic Site
  • Witch Dungeon Museum
  • Statue of Elizabeth Montgomery
  • Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery
  • Peabody Essex Museum

99. Enjoy the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Head along the Kentucky Trail to try the different distilleries: Bardstown Bourbon Company, Four Roses Warehouse & Bottling Facility, Jim Beam American Stillhouse, Lux Row Distillers, Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center, and Maker’s Mark Distillery.

Tips for taking the trail tour:

  • Stick to one or two if you wish to do the whole tour
  • Most distilleries are located in Lexington (around a 2-hour drive from Cincinnati. 
  • Plan at least 90 minutes for each distillery, if you intend on taking the tour with a tasting. 
  • We recommend taking the tour for the first distillery but then taking a guided tasting for each place after that. 


This is NASCAR’s biggest and most challenging track; it is said that you could fit 14 football stadiums inside the track!

Tickets are available on the website to watch these exciting races. 

The venue is open all year round with daily tours of the track offered from 9am to 4pm – perfect if you are a fan but not in the area during a big race. 


  • US dollars are the only currency accepted.
  • Drinking age is 21, even if you are from a country where the drinking age is less. The states are also very strict on ID, so bring out ID if you plan on drinking. 
  • You’re expected to tip in most circumstances. In restaurants, it is common to leave a 15% to 20% tip or more if you received good service. 
  • Prepare to pay more than the prices displayed – many places add the VAT on top of listed prices.
  • The USA is split into 50 states, with each area offering diverse geographical characteristics. Plan your trip ahead and check the weather in each destination you are visiting. 
  • Visit the National Parks – there are lots of amazing cities to explore in the US but the National Parks are just as incredible. Wherever you are heading to, try to plan a visit to at least one nearby park. 
  • Get insurance – do not visit the US without health or travel insurance. The country’s health services are expensive so you will need insurance should you fall unwell on your trip. We have always used World Nomads for our visits in the USA and the rest of the world. 
  • Compare prices when traveling – America is massive, so make sure you compare prices for travel. Flights are often the quickest option but need to be booked far in advance for good prices whilst the the long-distance bus with Greyhound and Megabus is a budget-friendly option. The Amtrak train is another popular way of transport, connecting 500 destinations across 46 states. 
  • You can turn right – When driving in the US, you will see a red light on the right lane at traffic lights – this means you can turn right if it is safe to do so and if there is no sign prohibiting the right turn. 
  • Cheap flights – There are a handful of budget airlines that make traveling around the US a little more affordable. Check out Spirit, Southwest, JetBlue, and Frontier. 
  • Road trips – Road tripping around the USA is one of the best ways to fully explore and experience the country. There are so many roadside cafes, motels, hidden gems, and national parks across the country, that planning a road trip around a certain area or state makes for a wonderful vacation. 
  • Age restrictions – On a similar note, you must be at least 25 years old to rent a car in the US.
  • Uber and Lyft – If you are looking to travel around a city, download the Uber and Lyft apps and use them to get around. Generally speaking, Lyft works out a little cheaper but Uber tends to have nicer cars. 
  • Use Starbucks – No matter which city or town you are exploring, there is likely to be a Starbucks. Use this for decent wifi or a bathroom!
  • Food portions are huge – Do not over-order! We tend to order starts to share and we are full, so order cautiously. 
  • State laws differ – Something else to note is that state laws differ. So something like gambling may be legal in one state but becomes illegal as you cross the state line. 

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