The easiest way to see the multitude of sights that New York has to offer is by taking a guided tour of the city. Gray Line New York tours offer hop-on, hop-off services for prices ranging from $25 and will take you to all the major tourist attractions. You will get to see the world renowned Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building as well as Time Square, Central park, the World Trade Centre, Greenwich Village and the Rockefeller Centre. The other major tour operators in the city are Circle Line Cruises which offer boat trips around Manhattan Island. While they only give you a glimpse at everything they still offer the best way to the world famous New York skyline.
There are an incredible amount of attractions in Washington DC and the best news is that most of them are free. You can tour the US Capitol Building, the White House, the Supreme Court and the Federal Bureau of Investigations or you can visit the Washington Memorial, the Lincoln, Jefferson and Roosevelt Memorials, the Arlington National Cemetery and the Vietnam Memorial without paying for any of them. As well as the above, you could spend several days touring the numerous parts of the Smithsonian Institute, one of the largest and most impressive collection of museums in the world, also for free. Among the most popular of the fourteen separate museums at the institute are the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Natural History, The National Gallery of Art and the National Museum of American History.
New Orleans is a unique American city as it is the only one that has preserved its Spanish, French and African heritage and it is also the only one that is built below seal level. The combination of the three original cultures has resulted in a city which is home to great food and music, an exotic nightlife, voodoo practices and a unique cultural blend that was to become the Creole and Cajun people. The attractions which you can’t afford to miss during your stay are plenty in number. You should certainly take a steamboat cruise on the river where you will get to enjoy New Orleans food and music as well as the sights of the city. New Orleans is known all over the world for its Mardi Gras but if you can’t make the festival, you should check out the next best thing – Mardi Gras World – where the festival is made. You will see artists preparing floats for next year’s parade and get some traditional king-cake so keep your camera handy. For shopping you should visit the Riverwalk Marketplace, over one hundred and twenty shops and cafes right alongside the Mississippi and just a couple of blocks away from the fascinating French Quarter which houses all things traditional and sacred in the city. The final attraction which you should visit are the cemeteries of New Orleans or, as they are more commonly known, the cities of the dead. The fact that these tombs are built above ground is what makes them so different and worth checking out.
Situated about four hundred miles north of Los Angeles on the Californian coast, San Francisco is best know for its steep streets, the spectacular views of the bay and the surrounding mountains and the world famous Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge connects San Francisco with the Marin headlands which is famous for its expensive homes. So, if you want to see how the other half live, it is an interesting experience. The famous abandoned Alcatraz prison is located in the middle of San Francisco Bay and is open to the public. To get to ‘The Rock’ you will need to avail of one of the excursion boats which depart from the piers near Fisherman’s Wharf. As well as taking you to the prison you can also take a ferry to get to the USS Hornet Aircraft Carrier Museum or to the shopping havens of Sausalito and Tiburon or you can simply enjoy the myriad of sights around the bay. The other equally impressive way to see the sites is by using the antique cable cars that still shuttle people up and down the city streets.
For all you stargazers out there, the acting as opposed to the astrological variety, Los Angeles will be everything you thought it would and then some. The best way to see Hollywood is on a walking sightseeing tour as most of the main attractions are located within a few blocks of each other. Check out Hollywood Boulevard where you will see the famous handprints and shoeprints of all the celebrities since 1927. There are also several guided tours which will take you by the homes of the movie stars offering a good view of the Hollywood sights. Also worth checking out is the Hollywood Bowl whose grounds are open all year round for free and Griffith Park and Planetarium which offers an excellent view of the famous Hollywood sign. If you’re an adventure park fan then check out Disneyland, Universal Studios, Six Flags Magic Mountain or Knott’s Berry Farm – America’s first theme park. Finally, if the beach is more your thing Santa Monica situated about 30 minutes from downtown Los Angeles is well worth a visit, if only to confirm that Baywatch is loosely based on real life.
The good news is that most of the major attractions are situated along a ten-mile stretch making it exceptionally easy for you to find your way from one to the other. The Disney Resort Complex is probably the first one that you will want to visit. You should note that it is immense, over one hundred square kilometers in fact, and contains four major theme parks. Therefore you do need to allow yourself plenty of time to explore. The second of the main resorts is Universal Studios which is situated just five miles from downtown Orlando. This particular attraction contains two major theme parks as well as an assortment of restaurants and shopping facilities. Apart from the two I have mentioned you should also visit Sea World, Wet and Wild and some of the dozens of other attractions in the area. These are just the main and best known but some of the smaller ones can be even more enjoyable because the queues are not quite as long.
Situated in the southwest and dominated by the Rocky Mountain range, Colorado is a popular destination among backpackers, hikers and mountain climbers who come to enjoy the breathtaking scenery along the thousands of trails in the state. In winter it is favoured by skiers and snowboarders who visit each year in their thousands. Apart from sporting activities, the other major attractions in the area include Colorado Springs which is home to the Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame, the Garden of the Gods and the US Air Force Academy. It is also one of the best areas in the country to check out the whole ‘Wild West’ experience, it’s still the land of cowboys and Indians. Finally, Denver, the capital of Colorado, situated at the foot of the Rocky Mountains is a thriving city offering a multitude of sporting, entertaining and cultural attractions to its guests.
The attractions in Vegas pretty much talk for themselves. In a city which is specifically dedicated to entertainment, you just know you are in for a good stay. On arrival, you simply can’t miss the city’s skyline consists of huge buildings adorned with neon lights of every colour. And, once you touch down, you can visit Las Vegas’s very own Egypt complete with the Sphinx, New York City with Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty and Paris complete with the Eifel Tower. You really need to visit to comprehend just how crazy it is. The casinos are also home to the main attractions in Las Vegas, from roller coasters to simulated rides, each casino is like a self-contained amusement park, infact the city itself strongly resembles one huge amusement park. The only thing you need to remember when you are here is that it’s not a city for the conservative. You just need to lose, or momentarily forget, your inhibitions and enjoy the experiences that it has to offer.
Widely known as the Windy City, Chicago is usually considered the third biggest metropolis in the US and is home to a host of attractions for its visitors. Thanks to mass immigration from all over the world, there are several cultural distinct neighbourhoods throughout the city and each is an experience in itself. You can visit Greek town, Little Italy, Chinatown or Little Saigon and easily convince yourself that you have been transported to a different city altogether thanks to the mix of sights, sounds and smells which you will encounter in each district. Other attractions in Chicago include the observation deck at the Sears Tower and the famous Lakeshore Drive tour. The city also has over a dozen major museums, two zoos, a huge aquarium and planetarium. And, no visit would be complete without checking out one of the local spectator sports. You have a choice between baseball, the Chicago Cubs and the White Sox; American football, the Chicago Bears; hockey, the Chicago Blachawks; or basketball compliments of the world famous Chicago Bulls. If you do wish to visit one of these games, you should be aware that tickets are difficult to get so you should look into it well in advance.
Situated in the far northwestern corner of the US, Seattle is built on a series of low hills and is almost completely surrounded by water. Its number one tourist attraction is the Seattle Centre which takes up over seventy four acres of the city. The most prominent feature of the entertainment centre is Seattle Space Needle, a six hundred and five feet tall attraction where you can ride an elevator and avail of the breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding area and the revolving restaurants at the top. Also in the centre you will find the Pacific Science Centre, the home of the Seattle Supersonics Basketball Team and the Thunderbirds Hockey Team, and the Seattle Opera. Other attractions in the city include the Pike Place Market (this is the one where the vendors toss salmon back and forth over the customers heads), the Waterfront, where you can catch a ferry and cruise the local waterways and Pioneer Square you sill see the famous Seattle Totem Pole and the statue of chief Sealth.