Whether you’re the type of visitor who goes off the beaten road or who goes to the largest dang tourist trap, no matter how many selfies sticks there are, you have to realize that there are some locations in our beautiful country that you simply must see before you die.
But, where have they gone? And what should you do once you’ve arrived? We whittled down the most iconic, popular, gorgeous, historic, fun, delicious, awe-inspiring portions of the country to must-do places/activities, which include everything from national parks and monuments to baseball stadiums and epic road trips.
Watch a Broadway show in NYC
If you can’t acquire Hamilton tickets, go to the TKTS kiosk in Times Square for same-day discounted show tickets to something; then take your mandatory selfie with the extremely flashy new york hat that we all buy and go.
This spot is a trend among students and you would know that if you’re living in student accommodation in New York. Trying to keep up with all of New York’s awesomeness is like trying to keep up with every new Genz slang; it’s nearly impossible. Focus on the highlights: have a pastrami sandwich at Katz’s Deli, across the Brooklyn Bridge, and walk through SoHo and Greenwich Village.
Bike the national mall in DC
A two-wheeler is the finest way to see all of DC’s sights. Start in Rock Creek Park, ride along the Potomac, and finish on the National Mall, passing through the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, WWII Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington Monument, and so on.
Stop by the Smithsonian museums and take a look around. End at Union Station and the Capitol. Do all of these activities in the spring, when there are around a million cherry blossoms to admire. After that, reward yourself with a beer at District ChopHouse & Brewery.
Catch a show at Ole Opry in Nashville
Since 1925, the world’s greatest have performed on this barn-structured stage, which has been home to the world’s best. Sitting on those red velvet seats puts you right in the middle of music history. Nashville is also our favorite place in America to spend a weekend, and here’s why.
Drive from Miami to Key West
One of America’s most scenic roads, the Overseas Highway extends 113 miles across the Florida Keys, including 42 bridges. Grab a slice of lime pie at Blue Heaven and drink your way down Duval St. once you’ve reached Key West’s southernmost point (there’s an actual “point” you should selfie next to, duh). Of course, this is all after you’ve partied your heart out in South Beach.
Visit the Alamo in San Antonio
Remember how important this war was when you were in history class? Sure, it’s just a building, but this important piece of Texas and American history is still worth seeing; and once you’ve done that, head over to the pedestrian-only River Walk and enjoy the bars and restaurants.
Spend a night of your weekend at the Cowboys Dancehall if you really want to go native. Is it a nightclub? Is it a rodeo? Is there a concert hall? Is there a boxing venue? A place where you can drink a lot of beer and ride mechanical bulls? Yes. Everything. This one is clearly a buzz between students residing in students housing in Texas!
Camp at Ole Miss
Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any SEC tailgate, but few colleges offer the kind of pre-game extravaganza that the Grove does.
For the game, you should definitely sit in the student section. Alternate venue: If you really don’t want to go to Oxford, even if it’s Faulkner’s birthplace and has that very cool three-building bookshop, the Auburn-Alabama Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa is your best bet.
Visit St. Augustine
The infamous oldest town in the United States (1565!) is suitable for more than eighth-grade field excursions. It’s so good that it’s been dubbed “Florida’s Most Underrated Destination.” Spend the day fishing and the night bar-hopping/taking a haunted bar tour in the historic section of town once you’ve had your fill of Spanish colonial architecture.
Canoe the waters in Minnesota
Without John Candy, this is as close to the Great Outdoors as you can get. There are over a million acres of woods and more than 1,500 miles of canoe routes in the largest wilderness area east of the Rockies. Not to mention the breathtaking sunsets.
Watch a game at the big house
Sure, viewing the Buckeyes in Columbus makes sense, but it’s called “the Big House” for a reason. It is, after all, the largest college football stadium in the United States.
Even better, go to a UM-Ohio State game and witness one of America’s most storied sporting rivalries. Then there’s Ann Arbor, the quintessential college town, possibly the best one in all the land. Take a stroll through the Diag, stop by Dominick’s for some outside pitchers, and eat at one of these restaurants.
Hike the national glacier park in Montana
Take a lot of #dayout Instagrams as well. Drive up through the 6,646ft Logan Pass at the top of Going-to-the-Sun Rd to climb the Highline Trail in one of America’s most stunning national parks. After you’ve had your fill of glaciers, either pass out in your own dang caboose in the middle of nowhere at the train-themed Izaak Walton Inn in Essex or travel to Whitefish, one of Big Sky country’s coolest small towns.
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Anannya Chaudhary is a content writer living in Delhi. As soon as the clock strikes the completion of the last working minute of the office hours, you can find her on the way to her favorite food joint, brimming with excitement to devour a plate of chicken momos. You could classify her as that one designated annoying friend who makes you cry if you resist her dragging you to the dance floor.