Photo: MattiaATH Sonat/Shutterstock

Travelers Are Sharing Where People Visiting America for the First Time Should Go

United States Travel
by Olivia Harden Feb 25, 2022

Americans tend to get excited about the opportunity to explore what the rest of the world has to offer. The truth is there’s also so much to do in their own backyard. It’s easy to forget how massive it is — there’s even a map that shows how 30 European countries all fit in the US’ landmass. So, for a foreigner interested in visiting the US, it might be challenging to choose the best places to travel in the US. These Reddit users have the answers.

If you like the city

Panoramic view of New York at sunrise. Manhattan office buildings / skyscrapers in the morning., where to travel

Photo: IM_photo/Shutterstock

1. “If you like nightlife and gambling, Las Vegas. Oddly, Vegas is also big on shopping last time I went. They have a weird combo of gambling, shopping, family entertainment, and now sports there. And, of course, the original reason for Vegas existing: business conferences.” u/midnightFreddie

2.” Depending on the season & weather, Detroit is awesome. Amazing food, museums (including, but not limited to the DIA, Motown Museum, and Museum of African American History), festivals, outdoor skating rink, three professional sports teams, craft fairs, the river walk. . . oh! and dozens of different music venues of varying sizes and formality.

People shit on the city, but those are people who don’t go to the city.” – u/thisbuttonsucks

3.” I would fly to the east coast and do a road trip. You can see the most big cities and diverse landscapes IMO. You can drive from Boston to NYC to Philly to DC in like a week. Spend some time in southern states past DC if you have time.” – u/dancethrusunday

4. “Surprised no one has mentioned Chicago yet. Tons to do just like NYC and LA, but different culture. Food is amazing, many great steakhouses, deep-dish (or really any type) pizza, Italian beef, etc. Wonderful lakefront Seasonal dependent like Boston. Also, close enough to either take a train or drive to Milwaukee, which is an underrated city and gives a better insight into the Midwest culture. Cheese and beer seem to be central to Milwaukee.” — u/SST0617

5. “In DC you don’t even need much money beyond a decent hotel. Just touring the national mall, its monuments and the museums is enough to fill up days and almost everything is free. NYC is a bit trickier to plan and more expensive but once you find decent accommodations the possibilities are almost endless. Sure you are likely to encounter some shitty things like any big city but most places a tourist would go are pretty nice and safe.” — u/LennyFackler

If you like nature

Woman tourist overlooking Lower Falls waterfall in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA, where to travel

Photo: haveseen/Shutterstock

6.” Get out of the California cities and see the land. Start with the coast or Yosemite/Muir Woods/Joshua Tree yet don’t stop there. Explore. The local mountain peak that overlooks my neighborhood is 2 1/2 times the altitude of Ben Nevis. But it’s the 39th tallest peak in California. From the state’s 9th tallest range. So many visitors to this state spend a week trapped in Los Angeles traffic while they miss out on everything from glacial valleys to sand dunes” – u/doublestitch

7. “I live in Missouri, which isn’t much of an international destination. However, if you wanted to see nature in a super relaxing setting, where you can see some wildlife, talk to some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and take some beautiful photos, I’d 100% mention a camping/float trip in the Missouri/Arkansas Ozarks. There’s no “hustle and bustle” you find in big cities. There aren’t pushy souvenir vendors and TV famous stores or people to gawk at. No sushi or Michelin star restaurants. But you’ll find home cooking, nature, friendly people, damn good gas station chicken and pizza, river otters and deer, gorgeous, quiet sunrises, fresh spring water, and air that doesn’t have an odor. If canoes and tents sound like torture, you’d hate it and I’d tell you to go to NYC where the air smells like exhaust and body odor” – u/pedantic_dullard

8.” Well the classic (for a reason) answer is driving the 1/101 north. You can hit Ventura, Santa Barbara, SLO, Morro Bay, Pismo Beach, Cambria, Monterey, Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay, and get into SF in about 6.5 hours without stopping. All of those are on or near beautiful beaches and seaside cliffs with tons of shit to do around them. Big Bear is a few hours east and is beautiful. You can also get up into Mammoth Lakes. Not sure how far LA to Tahoe is. As far as parks go Sequoia National Forest and Yosemite are also absolutely unreal as well as Joshua Tree and Death Valley. Angeles National and Los Padres aren’t as popular but are also gorgeous. Tack on a little more time and there’s all of NorCal. Wine country is beautiful. Calistoga hot springs. Russian River. Eel River. Mendocino coast. Redwoods etc.” – u/BeastCoast

9.” Monument Valley Utah. For natural beauty, I think it’s one of the most uniquely beautiful areas we’ve got.” — u/ganchi_

10. “If you’re looking for a more rural or natural experience, areas like Montana, Colorado, or Maine could be a good fit.” — u/Organ_Stripe93

If you like culture

Washington DC, the United States Capitol at cloudy sunrise with a mirror reflection, where to travel

Photo: Orhan Cam/Shutterstock

11.” New England is beautiful in the summertime and in my opinion very underrated. The North East culture of cute seaside towns with boardwalks and candy shops and bicycle renting is great. You can explore the beaches but also some of the great parks— I found Acadia National Park in Maine to be breathtaking. Places like Martha’s Vineyard are also great to visit.” — u/AutumnAtronach

12. “New Orleans is the most important city to visit in America if you want a good and holistic perspective on American culture. New Orleans culture is truly what a ‘melting pot’ is. French, Spanish, English, African, and Native American culture combined into a city that is very much alive and has managed to make the best of a still recent tragedy. A Mecca for history, music, and art, both past and modern. It is honestly the heart of America.” – u/hyena_smile

13.” As many have said DC is great for history, really enjoyed the times I’ve been there. Boston is a really fun city, and again plenty of historical things to do, plus Cambridge is essentially next door and home to Harvard. Obviously probably less fun in the winter.” – u/SST0617

14. “Everyone is giving all the cool places to go – our big cities, our gambling dens, our parks, etc. – which is good and all, but if you’re someone who wants to bite into some lesser advertised Americana, I recommend the Great Lakes and Midwest areas. Lots of fun, kitschy and wholesome fun you can have if you appreciate that kind of thing. I’m a resident of Ohio, so I’ll give examples from my state: you should go to Cincinnati and check out their Art Deco buildings (especially the Union Terminal station), if you like architecture, and then go to Skyline Chili and have their chili-covered spaghetti (called an ‘[insert number]-way,’ depending on what you get on it; chili + spaghetti = 2-way, add cheese and it’s a 3-way, add onion or beans and it’s a 4-way, etc. – it is incredibly fun being able to ask a waiter/waitress for a 3-way and to be taken completely seriously). After that, drive out to our rural Adams County area and see Serpent Mound, an ancient burial site from some of the indigenous people in the area. There’s good wildflowers and off-the-beaten-path natural areas in this county, too, due to its history of glaciers striating the soil. From there, head to Amish country and stay at a bed-and-breakfast, and then hit some of the other sites around the state: the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Cedar Point amusement park, the town Botkins (just so you can say you were in a town called Botkins, which sounds like the name of a robot butler), the national Air Force Museum in Dayton, the home of the Wright Brothers, and so much more. You’ll find lots of hidden gems in our other midwestern and Great Lakes states, too. Look into some of the lesser-known “flyover” states and you’ll enjoy it.” –- u/Times_Hunger

The truth is America has so much to offer; although it’s pretty hard to see it all in one trip. To take it all in, you might want to consider a cross-country road trip. It’ll be worth it!

Discover Matador