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The Ultimate USA Bucket List

It’s not called the land of opportunity for nothing. America is so large and wonderfully varied that it’s tough to narrow the must-see attractions down to one list. We could easily get carried away with a bucket list for each state in the US, but we put our thinking caps firmly on and hand-picked the crème de la crème so that you don’t have to.

Betty Written by: Betty Peng / 15 November 2014

Read on and get inspired for your next adventure...

Alcatraz Island

For The History Buffs

Alcatraz, San Francisco: Perhaps the most notorious prison in the world and now a museum, Alcatraz has a fascinating and rich history filled with escape attempts and infamous criminals such as Al Capone and ‘Birdman’ Robert Stroud. However there are also beautiful, rare flowers and plants to discover on the island, as well as rich marine life. Tickets include a scenic boat ride to the ‘rock’, and there are a range of tours to choose from.

Indepenence Hall

For The History Buffs

Independence Hall, Philadelphia: During the summer of 1776, a group of 56 men gathered here and risked everything to stand against the King of England. Without this historic event, the US as we know simply wouldn’t exist. Tickets for the guided tours, which take you into the room where the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution were signed, are free, but most are gone by 1pm, so get there early if you can or reserve your ticket for $1.50

Brooklyn Bridge

For The View

Brooklyn Bridge, New York: The big apple’s skyline is surely one of the most famous in the world, and we reckon that one of the best ways to take it all in is from the Brooklyn Bridge. Not only does it provide a great stand point (seagulls fly beneath you here!) but the 130-year-old architecture is nothing short of incredible. Walk from Brooklyn to Manhattan and enjoy the spectacular view, then grab a slice of that famous New York pizza when you’ve finished your journey.

Chicago 360

For The View

360 Chicago, Chicago: Formerly known as the John Hancock Observatory, 360 Chicago offers an extraordinary view of the city’s skyline, as well as 4 neighbouring states and the gorgeous Lake Michigan. There’s a range of ticket options (general admission is $18 for adults and $12 for children), and for an extra $5 you can experience the ‘Tilt’ attraction, which tips you over the skyline so that you can experience the city from a whole new angle – one for adrenaline junkies!

Grand Canyon

For The Nature

Grand Canyon: If you love the outdoors, there can't be a better experience than spending the night sleeping under the stars in the Grand Canyon. The night sky, sunrise and sunset is extraordinary, and making your way into the Canyon itself means that you’ll get the chance to see the stunning blue-green waters Havasu Falls, too, which you’d miss if you only walked around the rim. There are a few camp sites and a trailer park available for sightseers, but if you love your home comforts, then there are plenty of hotels at the South Rim.

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For The Big Kids

Space Camp, Alabama:Who hasn’t dreamt of being an astronaut at some point throughout their childhood? Whether you’re 9 or 99, you’re sure to have a fun at one of the space camp programmes, which can range from a day to a week in length. The team will train you to live and work in space, with activities including guiding operations from Mission Control, leading experiments, building robots and having a spin in the space simulator.

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For The Big Kids

Dollywood, Tennessee: Whether or not you’re a fan of the famous blonde bombshell, multi-award winning singer, you’re sure to find a whole heap of family fun at this amusement park. With rollercoasters, a water park, live entertainment (with a country feel, naturally) and gorgeous wooden cabins to rest in after a packed day, this is a fantastically refreshing alternative to Disneyworld. If you love kitsch, you’re sure to love this.


For The Food

It would be easy (and delicious) to plan your whole trip around the food you’d like to sample while in the US, but as we only have limited space we’ll just include a couple of our favourites. And seeing as it’s hard to find a more typically American food joint than the drive-in, The Varsity has made the list.

texas ranch

For The Food

The Varsity, Atlanta: It doesn’t get more quintessentially American than the The Varsity seeing as it’s the country’s largest drive-in diner. The Varsity has been running since 1928, and the staff still greets diners in the same way, with a cheerful “What’ll y’all have?” Want ketchup? Ask for a red dog; yellow dog if you want mustard, and request a ‘bag of rags’ if you’d like chips.

texas ranch

For The Food

Katz’s Delicatessen, New York: Katz’s Delicatessen (also known as Katz's of New York City) legendary sandwich emporium has been running since 1888, and it’s easy to see why it’s still so popular. There’s surely no better place to try the iconic pastrami on rye that’s so synonymous with New York; there’s certainly enough mustard and pickles to satisfy even the most discerning diners.


Final Thoughts

So if you want to visit the most notorious prison in the world in San Francisco, stand in one of the most important rooms in history in Philadelphia, see one of the most famous skylines in the world in New York, teeter on the edge in Chicago, sleep under the stars at the Grand Canyon in Arizona, live out your astronaut dreams in Alabama, have some good ol’ country fun in Tennessee, drive through one of America’s oldest drive through in Atlanta or grab a sandwich at one of New York’s original delicatessen then get in touch, we would love to help you plan your very own USA bucket list.


Blogger Profile - Betty Peng

I grew up in Southern California near LA and spent most of my adult life in Northern California in San Francisco. (Oh believe me, there is a big difference between the two locations!) In my early twenties, I was very fond of road trips and have camped and climbed most of the National Parks in the western part of the United States. I have always been amazed by the dramatic change in scenery a few miles brings when driving throughout the U.S. There is always something remarkable around every corner! I recently moved to London and hope to continue my travel whims in Europe.

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