NEW YORK CITY - New Yorkers believe their city is the greatest in the world, and it may be true, considering the sheer number of things to do, see, hear, taste, experience, and ultimately remember. 1) Get up-close and personal with many of history’s most venerated artworks and artifacts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, The Guggenheim, the Cloisters, and the New York Historical Society. 2) Hit the streets to explore the unique neighborhood micro cultures and vibes of Greenwich Village, the Upper West Side, Upper East Side, Soho, Chelsea, Harlem, Tribeca, and Times Square. 3) Check out the most famous buildings in America, like the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, the Flatiron Building, the Chrysler Building, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Grand Central Terminal, and the new Freedom Tower.
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - Cradle of the American Revolution, Boston has taken great care to preserve historical places and landmarks such as the Paul Revere House, Boston Common, Old North Church, Faneuil Hall, and the USS Constitution, among many other sites. 1) Sit down and eat: Boston has long been known for great seafood and talented chefs who know what to do with it. Dig into shore dinners, clambakes, lobster rolls, oysters, clam chowder, steamed clams and lobster, and shrimp done up a hundred different ways. 2) Visit the stunning and expansive Museum of Fine Arts. 3) Tour the Samuel Adams Brewery. 4) Take a “backstage” tour of Fenway Park.
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - The crucible of American freedom, Philadelphia houses the most historic square mile in America – Independence Hall National Historic Park. Within this park, the artifacts and architecture of the early history of the United States are preserved. 1) Visit the Liberty Bell Center, across from Independence Hall, where the Liberty Bell remains a symbol of freedom worldwide. 2) Balance the past with the present by exploring Rittenhouse Square and the Reading Terminal’s eateries and markets. 3) Stroll past the historic homes of Society Hill and into hip South Street just beyond.
WASHINGTON, DC - The compactness of Washington, DC encourages the walking visitor. The White House, the Capitol building, the National Mall, the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, Washington Monument, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the new National World War II Memorial are just a few of the many attractions within a two-mile radius. 1) Don’t miss the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum complex, composed of 19 museums and the National Zoo. 2) Join a tour that takes you to DC’s most famous monuments after dark, when the lighting is awesomely dramatic. 3) Pay your respects to those who gave all for our freedoms at Arlington National Cemetery, a deeply moving site.
southeast - elegance, old-age traditions
FLORIDA - From hip South Beach to the lush and relaxing Keys, from 5-star restaurants to beachside bars, whether you’re traveling with the kids looking for family fun, or traveling with your significant other looking for a romantic escape, The Sunshine State beckons and stands ready to provide the vacation you’re yearning for. No matter where you go in Florida, you’ll find the makings of a perfect getaway: 1) Orlando – the world’s most famous theme parks, family hotels, shops galore, championship golf courses. 1) Atlantic Coast – turquoise waters, seductive nightlife, glittering Miami, Kennedy Space Center, Daytona International Speedway, Florida Keys fishing. 2) Gulf Coast – romantic beaches, mesmerizing sunsets, golfing, fishing, the excitement of Tampa/St. Pete. Whether you’re bringing the kids or simply young at heart, Florida’s theme parks are a must: 3) Meet your favorite Disney characters at Walt Disney World. 4) Immerse yourself in the world of cinema at Universal Orlando. 5) Take a seat in the “Splash Zone” at SeaWorld.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - For a real sense of New Orleans’ exotic history, browse the museums, sacred sites, and grand old homes dotted across the city, gorgeous architectural and cultural legacies that survive from past eras. The thriving French Quarter is a beautiful collision of past and present that offers fine views of the mighty Mississippi River. 1) When it comes to local flavor, New Orleans writes its own recipes – dive into classics like French Quarter beignets, po’ boys, crawfish, jambalaya, muffaletta, gumbo, and sno-balls. 2) Dance to the beat where music is the foreground of life – New Orleans rocks 24/7 with jazz, blues, zydeco, and gospel. 3)Music lovers, take a groovin’ trip down Frenchmen Street and catch the late-night vibe on Bourbon Street.
SOUTH CAROLINA - Discover the best of America in South Carolina, where the sun is warmer, the cuisine more delectable, the recreation endless, and your vacation experience even more memorable. 1) Take a step back in time in Charleston, where antebellum homes, churches, and museums occupy the Historic District. 2) Ride a horse-drawn carriage through the cobblestone streets, and embark on a leisurely walking tour. 3) Foodies, sit down to unique BBQ style and Low Country delicacies like fried green tomatoes, grits, catfish stew, boiled peanuts, and Hoppin’ John. Hilton Head Island is a playground with recreation galore, with more than 25 golf courses and dozens of tennis courts. Families love the broad beaches on the island’s ocean side. Myrtle Beach’s famous stretch of sand attracts millions annually with its 60 miles of resorts, entertainment, restaurants, recreation, amazing seafood, and 120-plus championship golf courses.
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - Nashville is a winning blend of warmth and sophistication that’s best known for being the epicenter of country music. Surrounded by rolling hills, rivers and lakes, and wide-open green spaces, its downtown is where the action is. 1) Score some tickets to The Grand Ole Opry, which features a dynamic line-up of new stars, superstars, and legends of country music every week. 2) Hop onto tours of the Ryman Auditorium and Country Music Hall of Fame for a glimpse into America’s musical past. 3) Drop into one of the honky-tonk bars along Broadway and Second Avenue, where great acts perform daily. Southern comfort food traditions endure at so-called “Meat & Three” restaurants, where you pick one meat and three vegetable side dishes. The city’s other culinary specialty, hot chicken, is found at places that let you choose the level of spiciness of your chicken.
midwest - the heartland of the nation
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - Everything is big in Chicago, from towering skyscrapers to voluminous Lake Michigan and the city’s wildly diverse range of entertainment. Long known as America’s “Second City,” this bustling metropolis has the capacity to overwhelm. So breathe in, steel yourself, and experience Chicago like a local – with a hot dog in hand and a spring in your step. 1) Groove to late-night jazz, blues, and rock at one of Chicago’s numerous music venues. 2) Spot outrageous outsize works by Picasso, Calder, Oldenburg, and Chagall on the streets throughout downtown Chicago. 3) Join a cruise on the Chicago River to spot architectural gems like the Willis Tower (a/k/a Sears Tower), John Hancock Center, Wrigley Building, and Aon Center. Diet-conscious diners beware: Chicago meal portions are huge. If you’re looking for gastronomic gluttony, you can’t turn down classic deep-dish pizza, a genuine Chicago hot dog with all the trimmings, and an authentic, dripping Italian beef sandwich. And there’s no shortage of Michelin-starred eateries in town, including a few three-star gems.
CLEVELAND, OHIO - Perched on the shores of Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River, Cleveland has experienced a resurgence in popularity with tourists who can explore cultural attractions and historical landmarks from the city’s legacy as a major manufacturing center. 1) Visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which, in true hard rock fashion, is open 365 days a year. 2) Revisit your childhood – and Ralphie’s – at A Christmas Story House in the Tremont neighborhood, the setting for the beloved 1983 holiday classic movie. 3) Walk on the wild side at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, complete with a simulated rainforest.
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - Curving against the St. Louis skyline, the iconic Gateway Arch is no doubt the focal point of Missouri’s largest city, not to mention a monument to the westward expansion of the United States. Standing proud beneath the arch, the vibrant city of St. Louis is credited with creating some of the biggest stars in jazz and blues music, establishing leading universities, and fostering an excellent museum, food, and arts scene. 1) What better way to take in gorgeous views of St. Louis than from 630 feet up the iconic Gateway Arch? 2) Stop by the St. Louis Zoo, regarded as one of America’s best, and the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, the oldest art museum west of the Mississippi. 3) Take a free tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, meet the famous Clydesdale horses, and enjoy a free sample of America’s best-selling brew.
RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA - Rapid City is a convenient base camp for exploring in and around the Black Hills area, including nearby Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park. Mount Rushmore National memorial is one of America’s most recognizable sights, and almost needs no introduction. This awesome artistic achievement is best viewed from the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center and the Grand View Terrace. When visiting Rapid City: 1) Ramble through the Rapid City Historic District and see 19th and early 20th century structures like the First National Bank Building and the 1911 Lions Head Fountain. 2) Hop on (and off) the City View Trolley while enjoying a narrated tour of Rapid City’s attractions, such as the Journey Museum, Storybook Island, and Dinosaur Park.
southwest - stunning natural wonders
ARIZONA - Stunning natural desert beauty, Southwestern ambiance, and a sun-kissed climate make Arizona a top vacation destination. Tee off on legendary golf courses, rejuvenate at deluxe spas, and retreat to luxurious resorts in Phoenix and neighboring Scottsdale. Sedona’s magnificent Red Rock scenery is the gateway to the Grand Canyon. 1) Check out the latest art-world buzz at more than 590 galleries and museums in Downtown Tucson. 2) Head to Phoenix for exciting sports action, including the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Suns, and Coyotes, plus NASCAR, Indy Car, PGA, and LPGA. 3) Drive the fairways on more than 400 golf courses across the state. Some of the country’s greatest Tex-Mex restaurants can be found in Phoenix as well as authentic Mexican and contemporary southwest cuisine. Tucson fancies itself the Mexican food capital of the US, and you can find numerous purveyors of simple street tacos and tamales that easily support the claim.
NEW MEXICO - The Land of Enchantment is a landscape of desert and wide open sky, punctuated by Santa Fe. This magnetic city is home to more than 300 art galleries, historic architecture, and a distinct spiritual aura. An hour south is Albuquerque, the state’s largest city. Its multiculturalism, natural beauty, ancient attractions, spectacular climate, museums, galleries, and shops make it a great destination. 1) Pick up some beautiful handcrafted wares made by the Taos Pueblo community using techniques passed down through generations. 2) Showcasing the artist’s definitive collection, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe is the only museum in the world dedicated to an American woman artist. 3) Shop for authentic Native American jewelry and pottery at the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, a designated UNESCO Creative City. 4) Visit Albuquerque’s Old Town, which hosts more than 130 shops, art galleries, and restaurants.
TEXAS - Dallas has long attracted big dreamers with a can-do attitude. Today, as the #1 tourist destination in Texas, “Big D” is a culturally rich, diverse, and vibrant city. 1) See impressionist paintings at the Dallas Museum of Art. 2) Observe Sumatran tigers at the Dallas Zoo. 3) Do some serious shopping and jump-start your nightlife in offbeat Deep Ellum, cutting-edge Greenville Avenue, and upscale West Village. Discover San Antonio, considered the heart of Texas, bustling and cosmopolitan with a small-town ambiance and a history that inspires story-telling. 4) Stroll the popular River Walk, a network of cobblestone walkways set along the San Antonio River and lined with restaurants, nightclubs, and shops. 5) Visit La Villita, the city’s first neighborhood and now a thriving art community. 6) Pay your respects at the Alamo, where frontiersman Davy Crockett met his end in 1836 fighting Mexican General Santa Ana’s forces during the Texas Revolution. Austin’s official slogan is “The Live Music Capital of the World,” which can mean only one thing: music, music, and more music. It’s also home to dozens of acclaimed BBQ eateries. 6) For every style of music imaginable, check out the 6th Street nightclubs or hit town during the annual South by Southwest Music Festival. 7) Wander through the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas, a 279-acre public garden dedicated to conserving, restoring, and creating healthy landscapes with native plants.
West - a diverse region, larger than life
CALIFORNIA - California is so big, so varied, so enduringly symbolic, you could create literally thousands of vacations up and down the coast and barely scrape the surface of what the Golden State has to offer, from San Francisco, to the Pacific Coast, to Los Angeles and Anaheim, to San Diego. 1) Head to enigmatic LA to follow the stars along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, catch a baseball game at Dodger Stadium, and hang ten in the surf off Malibu. 2) Enjoy a great view of San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge from the harbor, then head north to savor the best of Napa Valley wine country. 3) Gear up for family fun at Disneyland, Universal Studios HollywoodSM, SeaWorld San Diego, LEGOLAND California, and Knott’s Berry Farm.
LAS VEGAS & RENO-TAHOE, NEVADA - The world’s most famous playground, Las Vegas is all dazzling showgirls, world-class dining, superstar entertainment, extraordinary hotels, red-hot casino action, and outrageous neon that lights up the night sky. Reno-Tahoe sits at the foot of the looming Sierra Nevada mountain range and knows how to pull out all the aces for visitors, offering up excellent outdoor activities, family-friendly entertainment, nightlife, North America’s largest concentration of ski resorts, and more casinos than you can shake a stick at. 1) At every big resort casino, dive into poker, blackjack, craps, baccarat, roulette, bingo, video poker, big six, and keno, and play the sports books. 1) Pull up a chair at more than a dozen Michelin-starred eateries for incredible meals created by the likes of Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - The people of Seattle are crazy – about music, coffee, sports, good food, the outdoor life, late-night fun, and their own unique city. Seattle’s energetic, forward-looking bent is epitomized by the iconic Space Needle, and its setting is magnificent: Puget Sound, the Cascade Mountains, and Olympic National Park.
PORTLAND, OREGON - Perhaps it’s a rebel attitude that has made Portland a beacon for artisans, but craft beer makers, coffee roasters, fashion designers, and budding chefs alike all flourish here – a city with ample green space, where there are more cyclists on the road than cars. Local and organic aren’t just buzzwords, they’re a way of life.
UTAH - Salt Lake City is an ideal destination for outdoor adventurers. The proud capital of Utah is the gateway to some of the West’s best ski resorts and national parks. The nearby home of the 2002 Winter Olympics, Park City is a winter sports playground and the official training site of the US Ski and Snowboard team.
WYOMING - Jackson Hole is known for challenging ski terrain and Old West charm, but it’s also the place for tubing, cross-country skiing, dog-sledding, and shopping and spa packages. While preserving its heritage with wooden sidewalks and other historic details, Jackson Hole also accommodates the modern traveler with a range of lodging choices.
COLORADO - Denver is the springboard to some of the best alpine recreation in the US. There are more than 30 snow resorts nearby, and its downtown hosts an exciting cultural, creative, and culinary scene, plus a bevy of microbreweries. World-renowned Aspen/Snowmass has a laid-back attitude, and nearly 5,000 acres of skiable terrain. One of the largest ski resorts in the world, Vail also boasts action-packed outdoor fun in summer.