Planning a trip to the US - need help

Hi guys,

I’m planning a trip to the US next year around May - June.

Need some suggestions about events/place to go to, things to see.


Wow…that is one hell of a question.

Could you perhaps narrow down your interests? 'Tis a big country, with urban, rural, high-brow, low-brow, cheap, expensive, quick trip or leisure travel…

You might like Las Vegas. Then again, you might not.

How about a little more info?

What do you like to do?
Where are you landing?
How long are you staying?

Detailed instructions on the best hiking trail in Glacier National Park to view grizzly bears won’t help you much if you’re heading for Orlando and Disneyworld. A complete description of the best way to get Broadway tickets and find seats at the finest Manhattan restaurants and clubs won’t do you a lot of good if you’re only going to be in San Diego for a 12-hour layover before flying on to London.

My recommendation would be to rent a car in L.A., drive up to Bishop, then follow US. 6 across the center of the country to see the “real” America (traveling back to Seattle by U.S. 2). :wink:

I’ll say.

Seriously, Vagus, do you have any sort of location/activities in mind?

There is a lot to see and do in this country. How long do you intend to be here?

If you visit Washington DC, stick to the Smithsonian museums or Washington Zoo (which is a part of the Smithsonian, anyhow). It’s all free…most of the other of the buildings in that immediate area just serve to block out the light. :wink:

I’d say pick a coast first. On the east coast, you could see New York, Washington DC, Boston, and Philadelphia. On the west, there is Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and San Diego. I’d avoid the middle of the country (where I live.) Distances are too great and the Midwest isn’t where I would want to take a vacation.

Oh, piffle.

You may have been soured by actually living at Columbus. There are a lot of places to visit, here, if you’re interested in history or scenery rather than big city excitement. (And Chicago has “big city” stuff rivalling New York and exceeding L.A. in some ways. Most of the Rust Belt cities have multiple ethnic enclaves that provide opportunities for savoring European and Asian foods along with a smattering of Old World cultures.)

Take a river boat tour down the Ohio to the Mississippi or along various sections of the Mississippi.
Rent a houseboat and laze back on many of the rivers and lakes in the region (particularly in western Tennessee/Kentucky.
Take a tour of Indian archaelogical sites, starting with the mounds in southern Ohio, including Great Serpent Mound, then past the salt licks in Kentucky and over to the Cahokia site outside St. Louis in Illinois.
Tour the Great Lakes. (There are even periodic cruises on the Lakes, although we haven’t gotten a regular tour to run, yet.)
Visit Nashville, Memphis, and New Orleans.
Like Blues? Tour Chicago, St, Louis, Kansas City, and the Delta for both historic and current sites.
Sports geek? Make a quick run past the various new sport facilities (baseball, American football, or basketball, depending on your interests and the time of year) to see the teams and new facilities that have been built throughout the region. (Buffalo, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Detroit, Chicago, Twin Cities, for sure, probably more farther from the immediate region.)
Roller coaster fan? Ohio, alone, has three parks with good ones with more just over the borders.

And these are just the stuff that popped into my head from an Ohio-based view of the country. Folks from Illinois or Missouri or points West could probably expand this a lot. (We haven’t even touched on Texas or on the scenery or hiking/skiing/hunting/etc. opportunities in the underpopulated West away from Las Vegas.) I agree that one could drive from Ohio through Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska and, depending on the route, get the feeling that the U.S. does nothing but grow corn/maize on flat fields. However, there are a lot of other things to do (and a lot of history and scenery to see) if one gets off the turnpikes and I-55.

Certainly, “flyover country” can be boring to someonne looking for things that are only provided on a coast. My suggestions might bore Vagus to tears (although, with a name like Vagus, s/he might be interested in visiting the Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic, and University of Michigan Hospital, and similar sites), but it is hardly a place where no one would want to vacation.

Agreed, Tom.

I’m a Kansas City girl, and between here and St Louis there is a ton of stuff, museums, zoos, jazz, blues, scenery and history.

Vagus, we REALLY need you to narrow this down for us. The US is a big place.

If you like driving and pretty scenery, land in NY, rent a car and get out of there as soon as you can. Hit the NJ shore area, especially Island Beach State Park. Go to Cape May and take the ferry across to Delaware. Continue down the coast, taking the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, which is amazing all by itself. Stop off in Assateague and Chincoteague in Virginia. Later, continue down the Outer Banks of North Carolina. When you’re tired of beaches, head west to the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge. You can drive north along the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive. This is not a Parkway in the sense of a high-speed interstate highway, but a pleasant meandering drive with a top speed of 40 mph along the ridge of the mountains. It ends up in Virginia. From there you can meander through Pennsylvania and eventually work your way back to NYC, where you can enjoy as much as you can stand of big city life, shows and fine restaurants. Or you can continue north through New York state and go see Niagara Falls.

New York City: for the sheer number of fun, touristy things to do in one city, I haven’t seen it beat. Tour the Empire State Building, ride the Staten Island Ferry past the Statue of Liberty, go ice-skating in Central Park, see a Broadway play, visit Ground Zero. My tip: walk across the Brooklyn Bridge at midnight with some of your best buddies. NYC glows like magic from that viewpoint.

Philadelphia: nice looking city, and the Liberty Bell and Ben Franklin’s grave are worth a visit. However, the Philadelphians themselves are the most thoroughly unlikable people I’ve ever met.

Washington D.C.: Go for the monuments, and if you happen to be there during a big political demonstration, all the better. Ditto on the Smithsonian, and also check out the Holocaust Museum. The Library of Congress itself is worth at least 3 days of exploring.

New Orleans: Bourbon Street doesn’t get happenin’ until about 11:30, then the party goes till 6 a.m. Stroll around the French Quarter, enjoy the street musicians playing jazz, and have a beignet (or 20) at Cafe du Monde. Visit the Garden District and the Lafayette Cemetary, which is where Annie Rice’s fictional vampire Lestat’s “real” tomb is located (it’s the Karstendieck tomb, a giant wrought-iron white tomb).

I’d suggest LA, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Great Salt Lake in Utah, Yellowstone, and then back to LA via Seattle, Napa Valley, San Francisco, and Yosemite.

Driving is probably the best way to see the US. Stay at Motel 6s and other cheap but reasonably clean/safe Motels.

Thanks for the responses.

The plan is shaping up allong these lines:

LA - Las Vagus - Austin - Atlanta - New Orleans - NY/Boston.

So events or things to do within a day drive or so would be great.

If you’re going to be in Georgia, drive on up to Chattanooga, TN and go to Ruby Falls, which is an underground waterfall. Pretty neato.

Hey, I’ll second that recommendation.

Random thoughts.

LA - Hollywierd, Disneyland, Tommy’s for lunch, concerts at the Bowl, Getty, Venice Beach, too much to do in the time you have

Vegas - Dive into the belly of the Beast. Don’t hold back. Hit every buffett, see “O” and Peen & Teller, watch the fountains at the Bellagio, double down on 10 if the dealer is showing a 6, ride the Slingshot at Stratosphere, see Hoover Dam

Austin - Drive south to Elgin and eat some real BBQ

New Orleans - Food and Jazz

Atlanta - Get out of town and see the countryside

NY - There is nothing to do or see in New York. Move on to Boston.

Boston - Learn more than you ever wanted to know about American History. Listen to people rant about the Red Sox. Get scrod.

Have fun, and don’t feed the bears! :smiley:

New Orleans: the aquarium, party til dawn on the French Quarter, the Garden District. First and foremost, you must understand that New Orleans is one of the premier food cities in the world, and world-class food is to be found everywhere. Go down by the river and find Central Grocery. Have a muffaletta and a Dixie beer for lunch. You won’t regret it. Then go across the street and pick up one of the free jazz concerts at the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park. Roam the French Market, which is spectacular. Go over to the Abita Springs Brewery. Take a swamp tour.

Within a day’s drive easily from Atlanta is one of the great swamps of the world.

That’s “O-key-fen-o-key”

Are you planning on flying between cities?

I know that sounds like a dumb question, but I once met a French girl who thought you could just hop in your car and go coast to coast as a day or two sort of thing.

Good point!

I once had a German student who wanted to drive from NY to LA…in a week, in December! He even asked if it were possible to rent a horse to ride around and see Chicago.

But if you are coming to Las Vegas, be sure to at least check out to get some info before you arrive. And make very sure you do not arrive when there is a convention in town…rooms that might normally go for $50 or so will suddenly be $400 or more a night!

Feel free to email me with specific questions about Las Vegas…and New York and LA as well.