United States

  • 137 hotels

  • 1168 hotels

  • 25227 hotels

  • 11340 hotels

  • 1922 hotels

  • 209 hotels

40003 hotels in this place

The United States of America is a large country in North America, often referred to as the "USA," the "U.S.," the "United States," "America," or simply "the States." It has a land area of about 9.6 million km2 (about half the size of Russia and about the same size as China). It also has the world's third-largest population, with more than 310 million people. It includes densely populated cities with sprawling suburbs and vast uninhabited areas of natural beauty. Representing the world's single largest economy with its history of mass immigration dating from the 17th century, it is a "melting pot" of cultures from around the world. Regarded as the most powerful and influential country in the world, it plays a dominant role in the world's cultural landscape, and is famous for its wide array of popular tourist destinations, ranging from the skyscrapers of Manhattan and Chicago, to the natural wonders of Yellowstone and Alaska, to the warm, sunny beaches of Florida, Hawaii and Southern California. (less...) (more...)

Population: 316,668,567 people
Area: 9,826,675 km2
Highest point: 6,194 m
Coastline: 19,924 km
Life expectancy: 78.62 years
GDP per capita: $50,700
Sort by:

No rooms are available for given criteria.

Sort by:

Interactive map

interactive map

Welcome to our interactive map!

Accommodation

Room 1:
Child age:

Filter the result


Legend

Hotels

  • 5 star hotels 5 star hotel
  • 4 star hotels 4 star hotel
  • 3 star hotels 3 star hotel
  • 2 star hotels 2 star hotel
  • 1 star hotels 1 star hotel

Cities

  • Metropolis over 100 hotels
  • Big city 50-100 hotels
  • Medium city 20-50 hotels
  • Small city 5-20 hotels
  • Village below 5 hotels

Points of Interest

  • Beach Beach
  • Business object Business object
  • Casino Casino
  • Civic property Civic property
  • Education Education
  • Entertainment Entertainment
  • Golf course Golf course
  • Green space Green space
  • Harbor Harbor
  • Historic site Historic site
  • Interesting place Interesting place
  • Medical Medical
  • Monument Monument
  • Museum Museum
  • Shopping Shopping
  • Skiing Skiing
  • Sports facility Sports facility
  • Theater Theater
  • Winery Winery

About United States

History

Native Americans, or American Indians, probably emerged tens of thousands of years ago from migrating northeast Asian peoples. Stereotypes of their primitiveness misrepresent the wide variety of sophisticated societies that existed before the first arrival of Europeans in the late 15th century. For example, the Cherokee built huge mounds and large towns that covered the Southeast, and the Anasazi built elaborate cliff-side towns in the Southwest. These societies were decimated by Old-World diseases such as smallpox; their broken remnants led the simple existences of the stereotype.

European colonization began in the 16th and 17th centuries. England, Spain, and France gained large holdings; the Netherlands, Sweden, and Russia also established outposts. The first English colonies, founded in Jamestown, Virginia (1607) and Plymouth, Massachusetts (1620), formed the kernel of what is now known as the United States of America.

In the North, Massachusetts was first settled by religious immigrants—Puritans—who later spread and founded most of the other New England colonies, creating a highly religious and idealistic region. Other religious groups also founded colonies, including the Quakers in Pennsylvania and Roman Catholics in Maryland. The Middle Colonies of New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania became the North's cosmopolitan center.

Longer growing seasons in the Southern colonies, which remained dominated by Virginia, gave them richer agricultural prospects, especially for cotton and tobacco. As in Latin America and the Caribbean, indentured servants and later African slaves were imported and forced to cultivate large plantations. Slavery was initially legal in both North and South, but its greater importance to the South's economy would eventually cause tremendous upheaval.

By the early 18th century, Great Britain had colonized the Atlantic coast from Georgia north into what is now Canada. Britain's dominance in North America was established in 1763 after the global Seven Years' War. In part to finance the North American campaigns of the war, known as the French and Indian War, Britain imposed unpopular taxes and regulations on its colonists. This precipitated revolution in 1775 and on 4 July 1776, colonists from 13 colonies declared full independence. The Revolutionary War lasted until 1783, when the new United States of America formally took control of all British land between the Atlantic and the Mississippi River.

Wrangling over the formation of a national government lasted until 1787 when a constitution was agreed upon. Its Enlightenment-era ideas about individual liberty have since inspired the founding decrees of many states. George Washington, the leader of the revolutionary forces, was elected the first president. By the turn of the 19th century, the newly-built Washington, D.C. was established as the national capital.

New states were created as white settlers moved west beyond the Appalachian Mountains. The Native American populations were duly displaced and further harrowed by war and disease. The 1803 Louisiana Purchase of French lands to the west of the Mississippi effectively doubled the country's area, and provided "Indian Territory" in what is now Oklahoma for the many Native American tribes from the east that were forcibly relocated during the Trail of Tears of the 1830s.

An attempt to rout British loyalists from Canada led to the War of 1812. There were over two years of dramatic action on land and sea that included the burning of the White House, Capitol, and other public buildings in Washington, DC. The final stalemate saw virtually no changes of territory, but the war galvanized separate American and Canadian identities. The national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner", was conceived during the war. Western Native American tribes that had sided with the British suffered greatly as their territory was given to white settlers.

After the war, industry and infrastructure were expanded greatly, particularly in the Northeast. Roads and canals came first and helped people spread inland. In 1825, the Erie Canal connected the Atlantic to the Great Lakes. By the 1860s, railroads and telegraph lines connected the east and west coasts via the industrial hub of Chicago in the Midwest. In the early 19th century, a series of religious revivals, the Second Great Awakening, led to various reform movements that strove for goals such as temperance, the abolition of slavery, and women's suffrage.

U.S. expansion south and west chipped away at Spanish and Mexican territory. Spain sold Florida in 1813 after American military intervention; and an 1836 rebellion by American settlers in Mexican Texas founded an independent republic which was absorbed into the Union ten years later. This sparked the Mexican–American War in which Mexico lost what is now California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico, and the continental United States essentially assumed its modern outline. Native Americans were relegated to reservations and continued to be purged by treaty, military force, and disease from settlers on the Oregon Trail and other westward routes.

Federal governance was light and the individual states were highly autonomous. By the 1850s, there was irreconcilable disparity between the industrialized and more urban Northern states, which had all outlawed slavery within three decades of the revolution, and the plantation-dependent rural South. The North wanted to impose a national ban on the expansion of slavery, while the Southern states sought to expand slavery into new territories. Abolitionists operated an Underground Railroad leading fugitive slaves in the northern states to freedom in Canada. In 1861, eleven Southern states, fearful of marginalization and the avowedly anti-slavery President Abraham Lincoln, broke from the Union and formed an independent Confederate States of America. The ensuing American Civil War remains the bloodiest conflict on American soil and killed hundreds of thousands. In 1865, Union forces prevailed, firmly cementing the federal government's authority over the states. Slavery was abolished nationwide and the Confederate states were re-admitted into the Union during a period of Reconstruction. The former slaves and their descendants were to remain an economic and social underclass, particularly in the South.

Russia sold its tenuously held Alaskan territory in 1867, and the previously independent Hawaii was annexed in 1898. The United States' decisive victory over Spain in the 1898 Spanish–American War gained it colonial territories: Cuba (granted independence a few years later), the Philippines (granted independence shortly after World War II), Puerto Rico, and Guam (which remain American dependencies).

In the late 19th and into the 20th century, Southern and Eastern Europeans, Russian Jews, and Irish refugees bolstered the continuing industrialization of the eastern cities by providing cheap labor. Many Southern African-Americans fled rural poverty for industrial jobs in the North. Other immigrants, including many Scandinavians and Germans, moved to newly opened territories in the West and Midwest, where land was given to anyone who would develop it.

The United States' entrance into World War I in 1917 marked the start of an era it would ultimately dominate politically. However, soon after the victory the U.S. eschewed international involvement and refused to join the nascent League of Nations, effectively crippling the organization. Real wealth grew rapidly and the Roaring 20s saw stock speculation that created an immense "bubble" which burst in 1929, leading to the global economic havoc of the Great Depression. The resulting privation fostered a culture of sacrifice and hard work that would serve the country well in the coming conflict. It also ushered in Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his "New Deal", a series of government programs that constructed thousands of buildings and bridges across the country while creating the basis of the American welfare state.

In 1941 Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, a Hawaiian naval base, plunging the United States into World War II alongside British, Soviet, and Chinese allies. The U.S. developed atomic bombs and dropped them twice on Japan in 1945, abruptly ending the war. By the end of the war, the United States had firmly established itself as the world's dominant economic power, responsible for nearly half of global industrial production. The subsequent nuclear-armed Cold War saw the United States and the Soviet Union jostle for power while courting their own mutually assured destruction.

For the century after the Civil War, blacks were not equal citizens. Discrimination was particularly rife in the South. In the 1950s a civil rights movement emerged which vehemently, but largely peacefully, vied for equal rights. With Martin Luther King, Jr., a charismatic preacher, as its figurehead the movement came to a head in 1963 when 200,000–300,000 people flooded the capital to listen to him. A revived women's movement in the 1960s also led to wide-ranging changes in American society.

Postwar America was characterized by affluence and industrialization. People left agriculture and moved to the cities to become part of an increasingly technology-based economy. American car culture emerged in the 1950s and was supported by the construction of a comprehensive Interstate Highway System. The American consumer culture, as well as Hollywood movies and many forms of popular music, arguably established the United States as the cultural center of the world. The U.S. has also grown into one of the world's major centres of higher education, being home to some of the world's most prestigious universities, and attracting more international students than any other country in the world.

Climate

The overall climate is temperate, with notable exceptions. Alaska has Arctic tundra, while Hawaii, South Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are tropical. The Great Plains are dry, flat and grassy, turning into arid desert in the far West and Mediterranean along the California coast.

In the winter, the northern and mid-western major cities can see as much as 2 feet (61 cm) of snowfall in one day, with cold temperatures. Summers are humid, but mild. Temperatures over 100 °F (38 °C) sometimes invade the Midwest and Great Plains. Some areas in the northern plains can experience cold temperatures of −30 °F (−34 °C) during the winter. Temperatures below 0 °F (−18 °C) sometimes reach as far south as Oklahoma.

The climate of the South also varies. In the summer, it is hot and humid, but from October through April the weather can range from 60 °F (15 °C) to short cold spells of 20 °F (−7 °C) or so.

The Great Plains and Midwestern states also experience tornadoes from the late spring to early fall, earlier in the south and later in the north. States along the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico may experience hurricanes between June and November. These intense and dangerous storms frequently miss the U.S. mainland, but evacuations are often ordered and should be heeded.

The Rockies are cold and snowy. Some parts of the Rockies see over 500 inches (1,200 cm) of snow in a season. Even during the summer, temperatures are cool in the mountains, and snow can fall nearly year-round. It is dangerous to go up in the mountains unprepared in the winter and the roads through them can get very icy.

The deserts of the Southwest are hot and dry during the summer, with temperatures often exceeding 100 °F (38 °C). Thunderstorms can be expected in the southwest frequently from July through September. Winters are mild, and snow is unusual. Average annual precipitation is low, usually less than 10 inches (25 cm).

Cool and damp weather is common much of the year in the coastal northwest (Oregon and Washington west of the Cascade Range, and the northern part of California west of the Coast Ranges/Cascades). Summers (July through September) are usually quite dry with low humidity, though, making it the ideal climate for outdoor activities. Rain is most frequent in winter, snow is rare, especially along the coast, and extreme temperatures are uncommon. Rain falls almost exclusively from late fall through early spring along the coast. East of the Cascades, the northwest is considerably drier. Much of the inland northwest is either semi-arid or desert, though altitude and weather patterns may result in wetter climates in some areas.

Northeastern and cities of the Upper South are known for summers with temperatures reaching into the 90s (32 °C) or more, with extremely high humidity, usually over 80%. This can be a drastic change from the Southwest. High humidity means that the temperature can feel hotter than actual readings. The Northeast also experiences snow, and at least once every few years there will be a dumping of the white stuff in enormous quantities.

Geography

The contiguous United States or "Lower 48" (the 48 states other than Alaska and Hawaii) are bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Pacific Ocean to the west and Gulf of Mexico to the south, with much of the population living on these three coasts. Its only land borders are shared with Canada to the north, and Mexico to the south. The U.S. also shares maritime borders with Russia, Cuba, and the Bahamas.

The country has three major mountain ranges. The Appalachians extend from Canada to the state of Alabama, a few hundred miles west of the Atlantic Ocean. They are the oldest of the three mountain ranges and offer spectacular sightseeing and excellent camping spots. The Rockies are, on average, the highest in North America, extending from Alaska to New Mexico, with many areas protected as national parks. They offer hiking, camping, skiing, and sightseeing opportunities. The combined Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges are the youngest. The Sierras extend across the "backbone" of California, with sites such as Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park, then give way to the even younger volcanic Cascade range, with some of the highest points in the country.

The Gulf of Mexico borders the states of Texas to the west, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida to the east.

The Great Lakes define much of the border between the eastern United States and Canada. More fresh water inland seas than lakes, they were formed by the pressure of glaciers retreating north at the end of the last Ice Age. The five lakes span hundreds of miles, bordering the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, and their shores vary from pristine wilderness areas to industrial "rust belt" cities. They are the second-largest bodies of freshwater in the world, after the polar ice caps.

Activities

  • Music — Mid-size to large cities often draw big ticket concerts, especially in large outdoor amphitheaters. Small towns sometimes host concerts in parks with local or older bands. Other options include music festivals such has San Diego's Street Scene or South by Southwest in Austin. Classical music concerts are held year round and performed by semi-professional and professional symphonies. Boston, for instance, occasionally puts on free concerts in the Public Park. Many cities and regions have unique sounds. Nashville is known as Music City because of the large number of country artists that live in the city. It's home to the Grand Ole Opry, one of the most famous music venues in the country. Country music is popular throughout the U.S. but is particularly concentrated in the South and rural West. Seattle is the home of grunge rock. Many of the most popular bands are based out of Los Angeles due to the large entertainment presence and concentration of record companies.
  • Theatre - America is considered to be the spiritual home of musical theatre, and many of the world's most famous musicals have had a run on Broadway in New York at one time or another. No trip to the East Coast of the United States will be complete without catching at least one musical at Broadway. Alternatively, for those who prefer classical music, the United States is also home to one of the world's premier opera companies, the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Other well-regarded opera companies include the San Francisco Opera in San Francisco and the Lyric Opera of Chicago in Chicago.
  • Marching Band — In addition to traditional music concerts, a quintessential American experience is the marching band festival. One can find these events almost every weekend between September and Thanksgiving throughout the country and again from March to June in California. Check local event listings and papers to find specifics. Also notable is the Bands of America Grand National Championship held every autumn in Indianapolis. Those looking to see the best of the best should acquire tickets to the "finals" performance, where the ten best bands of the festival compete for the championship. This event is now held at the Lucas Oil Stadium. Both "street" or parade marching bands as well as "field" or show bands are found at almost every high school and university in America.
  • Professional sports — The United States has a professional league for virtually every sport, including pillow fighting. A few of the most popular leagues are:
    • MLB. Major League Baseball is very popular and the sport of baseball is often referred to as "America's pastime" (being one of the most widely played in the country). The league has 30 teams (29 in the U.S. and 1 in Canada). Season lasts from April to September with playoff games held in October. With 30 teams playing 162 games per team per season and the cheapest seats usually $10-20, this is possibly the best sporting event for international travelers to watch. There are also several hundred minor league teams scattered across the U.S.; while quality of the games are lower, prices are cheaper (even free in a few leagues). See Baseball in the United States for more information.
    • NBA. The National Basketball Association is the world's premier men's basketball league and has 30 teams (29 in the U.S. and one in Canada). Season runs November to April, with playoffs in May–June.
    • NFL. The National Football League, with 32 teams, is the leading promoter of American football in the world, a sport which has virtually nothing in common with the sport that most other countries call football (Americans know that sport as soccer). It is extremely popular, and the day of the championship game, called the Super Bowl, is an unofficial national holiday. Season lasts from September to December, with playoffs in January ending with the Super Bowl in February.
    • NHL. The premier ice hockey league in the world, featuring 30 teams (23 in the U.S. and 7 in Canada). A slight majority of players are Canadians, but the league has players from many other parts of the world, mainly the United States, the Nordic countries (primarily Sweden and Finland), Russia, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Originally in Northern markets, recent expansions have each major region covered with a NHL team. The season runs from October to April, followed by playoffs that culminate in the Stanley Cup Finals in June.
    • INDYCAR. Beginning as the original form of American motorsport in 1911 with the first Indianapolis 500. INDYCAR has since come to be the premier open-wheel racing series in North America. The competition in INDYCAR is known to be closer, faster, and far more dangerous than that of NASCAR. Unlike NASCAR which almost races exclusively on "oval" tracks, INDYCAR competes on a wide variety of tracks ranging from city streets, road courses, to ovals like the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana which plays host to a prestigious race, the Indianapolis 500, where speeds can reach up to a thrilling 240 miles per hour! INDYCAR holds races all across the United States, as well as Brazil, Canada and as of 2012 China, from March to October.
    • NASCAR. Viewed by many as a "regional sport" confined to the more rural areas of the South, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) has seemingly broken away from those misconceptions over recent years to become a major spectator sport across the country. While a majority of the tracks still reside in the Mid-Atlantic and South, NASCAR holds races all across the country, beginning with their marquee event, the Daytona 500, in mid-February and ending in late November.
    • MLS. Major League Soccer, newly expanded to 19 teams for 2012 (16 in the U.S. and three in Canada), is the latest attempt to kick start American interest in soccer. While it may not be as popular with the media, MLS is still widely viewed and enjoyed. Foreign travelers can find particularly vibrant and familiar fan experiences in several cities, notably Washington, Chicago, Houston, Kansas City, Portland, and Seattle.
  • College sports — One rare feature of the United States sports landscape, as compared to that of other nations, is the extent to which sports are associated with educational institutions. In many regions of the country, local college or university teams, especially in football and men's basketball, enjoy followings that rival or surpass those of major professional teams. The primary governing body for U.S. college sports is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which has over 1,000 member schools, including essentially all of the country's best-known colleges and universities. The college football season runs from roughly September 1 through mid-December, with postseason bowl games running into early January. The basketball regular season begins in mid-November and ends in late February or early March, followed by conference tournaments and then national post-season tournaments that run through early April. The NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament, popularly known as "March Madness" (an NCAA trademark), is especially widely followed even by casual sports fans.
  • Golf - The United States is home to many of the world's most famous golf courses. The most famous is arguably the Augusta National Golf Club, where membership is a very exclusive privilege. The Augusta National Golf Club is the home of Masters, one of the world's most prestigious professional golf tournaments.
  • Festivals and Fairs — A few days prompt nation-wide celebrations. They include Memorial Day, Independence Day (a.k.a. Fourth of July), and Labor Day. Other major holidays like Thanksgiving Day are marked by private festivities. Many towns and/or counties throw fairs, to commemorate the establishment of a town or the county with rides, games, and other attractions.
    • Memorial Day — commemorates the ultimate sacrifice made by America's war dead. It is not to be confused with Veterans Day (11 November) which commemorates the service of America's military veterans, both living and deceased. It is the also the unofficial start of summer—expect heavy traffic in popular destinations, especially National Parks and Amusement Parks.
    • Independence Day — Celebrates America's independence from Great Britain. The day is usually marked by parades, festivals, concerts, outdoor cooking and grilling and firework displays. Almost every town puts on some sort of festivity to celebrate the day. Large cities often have multiple events. Washington, D.C. celebrates the day on the Mall with a parade and a fireworks display against the Washington Monument.
    • Labor Day — The U.S. celebrates Labor Day on the first Monday of September, rather than May 1. Labor Day marks the end of the summer social season. Some places, such as Cincinnati throw parties to celebrate the day.
  • National Parks. There are numerous national parks throughout the United States, especially the vast interior, which offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy your favorite outdoor activities, including Recreational shooting, ATV riding, hiking, bird watching, prospecting, and horseback riding. In more urban areas, some national parks are centered around historic landmarks.
    • National Trails System is a group of twenty-one "National Scenic Trails" and "National Historic Trails" as well as over 1,000 shorter "National Recreation Trails" for a total length of over 50,000 miles. While all are open to hiking, most are also open to mountain biking, horseback riding, and camping and some are even open for ATVs and cars.

Food

The variety of restaurants throughout the U.S. is remarkable. In a major city such as New York, it may be possible to find a restaurant from nearly every country in the world. In addition to the usual array of independent restaurants, the U.S. possesses a singularly baffling array of fast food and casual chain restaurants; even if you think you know U.S. fast food from the chains' international outlets, the sheer variety domestically is immense.

Ethnic cuisine from other parts of the world is frequently adapted to American tastes and/or made with locally available ingredients. This is particularly true of Asian cuisines, especially Chinese (see below).

Many restaurants, especially those serving fast food or breakfast, do not serve alcohol, and many others may only serve beer and wine. Portions are generally huge, regardless of restaurant style, although this trend has moderated recently with increasingly health-conscious customers. Many restaurants now offer several portion options, though it may not be immediately obvious. Ask when ordering if portion choices are available. Taking home "left overs" is very common and is a good way to get two meals for the price of one. Ask for a to-go box at the end of your meal if you have not cleared your plate.

In much of America, home-cooked food is substantially better than restaurant fare. This is particularly true in rural areas and small towns. If you have the opportunity to attend a carry-in dinner or pot luck, this is a chance not to be missed.

Smoking

There is no nationwide ban on smoking, so whether you are allowed to smoke in a bar or restaurant or other public indoor space varies between, and even within, states. In most cases, it is banned. If there is a "No Smoking" sign, lighting up may get you ejected, fined, or even arrested, in addition to dirty looks.

Smoking has acquired a social stigma—even where it is permitted. You may want to ask the people around you whether they mind before lighting up. Many states have laws about smoking near public entrances, keep an eye out for posted signs stating a minimum distance to the door although enforcement is not consistent. Typically if you find an ash tray or a butt station, you are safe to smoke there.

Types of restaurants

The large cities host many examples of every type of restaurant imaginable from inexpensive neighborhood eateries to extravagant full-service restaurants with extensive wine lists and prices to match. Most medium sized cities and suburbs will also field a decent selection. In the most "up-scale" restaurants, rules for men to wear jackets and ties, while once de rigueur, are becoming more relaxed. Check with the restaurant if in doubt.

Fast food restaurants such as McDonald's, Subway and Burger King are ubiquitous. But the variety of this type of restaurant in the U.S. is astounding: burgers, hot dogs, pizza, fried chicken, barbecued meat, and ice cream only begin to touch on it. Alcoholic beverages are not served in these restaurants; "soda" (often called "pop" in the Midwest through Western New York and Western Pennsylvania, or generically "coke" in the South) or other soft drinks are standard. Don't be surprised when you order a soda, are handed a paper cup and expected to fill it yourself from the soda fountain (refills are often free). The quality of the food varies, but because of the strictly limited menu, it is generally good, especially in the daytime. Also the restaurants are usually clean and bright, and the service is limited but friendly. Tipping is not expected but you must clear your table after your meal. A few restaurants, called "drive-ins", serve you directly in your car.

Takeout food is very common in larger cities for meals that may take a little longer to prepare than in a fast-food place. Place an order by phone or online and then go to the restaurant to pick it up and take it away. Many places will also deliver; in some cities, it is easier to have pizza or Chinese food delivered than to find a sit-down restaurant.

Fast-Casual restaurants offer a fast-food dining style (no waitstaff, no alcohol), but the meals tend to be fresher and healthier. The food takes a bit longer to prepare—and costs a few dollars more—than at fast food joints, but it's generally worth it. Notable examples include Chipotle, Noodles and Company, Panera Bread, and Freddies Burgers.

Diners are typically American and have remained popular since their heyday in the 1940s and 1950s. They are usually individually run, open 24-hours and found on major roads, though they also appear in large cities and suburbs. They offer a huge variety of huge meals that often include soup or salad, bread, beverage and dessert. They are usually busy for breakfast, in the morning or after the bars close. Diner chains include Denny's and Norm's.

No compendium of American restaurants would be complete without mentioning the truck stop. You will only encounter these places if you are taking an intercity auto or bus trip. They are found on the interstate highways and cater to truckers. There will be diesel fuel and separate parking for the "big rigs" and showers for the drivers who sleep in their cabs. These fabled restaurants serve what passes on the road for "plain home cooking": hot roast beef sandwiches, meatloaf, fried chicken, and of course the ubiquitous burger and fries—expect large portions! The three major chains are Pilot/Flying J, TA/Petro, and Love's. These generally have 24-hour restaurants, including "all you can eat" buffets and large breakfasts, often served in skillets. You are most likely to find such a restaurant at a TA or Petro (most truck stops also have national fast food outlets). Truckers know their eating: if there are plenty of trucks outside, it'll be good.

Chain sit-down restaurants are a step up in quality and price from diners and truck stops, although those with discerning palates will probably still be disappointed. Some specialize in a type of food (e.g. seafood) or a particular national cuisine, others have broader offerings. Some are well known only for breakfast, such as the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) which serves it all day in addition to other meals. A few of the larger chains include Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Applebee's and T.G.I. Friday's. These restaurants tend to serve alcohol.

The largest cities will have one or more fine dining establishments, the quality of which can vary from "overpriced" to "exquisite". Some will have a dress code; if jackets or ties are required, they will sometimes be made available to borrow.

Some bars double as restaurants and serve food late. Bars, including their dining areas, may be off-limits to those under 21.

Soft drinks come with a liberal supply of ice. Asking for no ice is acceptable, and the drink will still probably be fairly cool. Water is usually served chilled and with ice, unless you request otherwise. It will typically not be carbonated; if you want carbonated water, ask for "sparkling water." Bottled water, still or sparkling, will cost at least $1–2. Sit-down restaurants will often bring free iced tap water, even before taking your drink order. At fast food restaurants, bottled water is assumed unless you specify "ice water" or "tap water". Coffee, tea and soft drinks are sometimes refilled at no extra charge, but you should ask if this is not explicitly stated.

Types of Service

Many restaurants aren't open for breakfast. Those that do (mostly fast-food and diners), serve eggs, toast, pancakes, cereals, coffee, etc. Most restaurants stop serving breakfast between 10 and 11 AM, but some, especially diners, will serve breakfast all day. As an alternative to a restaurant breakfast, one can grab breakfast food such as doughnuts, muffins, fruits, coffee, and packaged drinks at almost any gas station, coffee shop, or convenience store (such as 7-Eleven, Circle K or AM/PM).

Continental Breakfast is a term primarily used by hotels and motels to describe a cold breakfast offering of cereal, breads, muffins, fruit, etc. Milk, fruit juices, hot coffee and tea are the typical beverages. There is usually a toaster for your bread. This is a quick, cheap way of getting morning food.

Lunch can be a good way to get food from a restaurant whose dinners are out of your price range.

Dinner, the main meal. Depending on culture, region, and personal preference, is usually enjoyed between 5 and 9pm. Most restaurants will be willing to box up your leftover food (typically referred to as a "to go box"). Making reservations in advance is a good idea if the restaurant is popular, "up-scale", or you are dining in a large group.

Buffets are generally a cheap way to get a large amount of food. For a single, flat, rate, you can have as many servings of whatever foods are set out. However, since food can be sitting out in the heat for hours, the quality can suffer. Generally, buffets serve American or Chinese food.

Many restaurants serve Sunday brunch, served morning through early afternoon, with both breakfast and lunch items. There is often a buffet. Like most other meals, quality and price can vary by restaurant.

Types of food

Typical American food items that can be found at most restaurants or large gatherings include hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, ice cream, and pie. While many types of food are unchanged throughout the United States, there are a few distinct regional varieties of food. The most notable is in the South, where traditional local fare includes grits (ground maize porridge), collard greens (a boiled vegetable, often flavored with ham and a dash of vinegar), sweet iced tea, barbecue (not unique to this region, but best and most common here), catfish (served deep-fried with a breadcrumb coating), cornbread, okra, red beans, and gumbo (a stew of seafood or sausage, rice, okra, and sometimes tomatoes).

Barbecue, BBQ, or barbeque is a delicious American specialty. At its best, it's beef brisket, ribs, or pork shoulder slowly wood smoked for hours. Ribs are served as a whole- or half-rack or cut into individual ribs, brisket is usually sliced thin, and the pork shoulder can be shredded ("pulled pork") or chopped ("chopped pork"). Sauces of varying spiciness may be served on the dish, or provided on the side. There are also unique regional styles of barbecue, with the best generally found in the South. The most distinct styles come from Kansas City, Texas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. California and Maryland have a style that focuses on beef barbecued in an outdoor pit or brick oven. However, barbecue of some variety is generally available throughout the country. Barbecued meat can be served with a variety of sides, including chili, corn on the cob, coleslaw and potato salad. Barbecue restaurants are unpretentious and the best food is often found at very casual establishments. Expect plastic dinnerware, picnic tables, and sandwiches on cheap white bread. Barbecue found on the menu at a fancy chain or non-specialty restaurant is likely to be less authentic. Ribs and chicken are almost always eaten with your fingers; tackle pork and brisket either with a fork or in a sandwich. Some Americans (though never Southerners) use "barbecue" as a synonym for "cookout": a party where the likes of chicken, hamburgers, and hot dogs are grilled outdoors (rather than smoked). These can be fun, but they don't represent the American BBQ cuisine.

With a rich tradition of immigration, America has a wide variety of ethnic foods; everything from Ethiopian cuisine to Laotian food is available in major cities with large immigrant populations.

Italian food is perhaps the most pervasive of ethnic cuisines in America, though this food has often taken a different direction than Italian food in Italy. All but the smallest villages have at least one restaurant that specializes in pizza, and many also have pasta restaurants as well. There are also restaurants that specialize in German or French food, but in much smaller numbers.

Chinese food is widely available and adjusted to American tastes. Authentic Chinese food can be found in restaurants in Chinatowns in addition to communities with large Chinese populations. Japanese sushi, Vietnamese, and Thai food have also been adapted for the American market in recent years. Fusion cuisine combines Asian ingredients and techniques with more traditional American presentation. Indian food outlets are available in most major U.S. cities and towns.

Mexican/Hispanic/Tex-Mex food is very popular, but again in a localized version. Combining in various ways beans, rice, cheese, and spiced beef or chicken with round flatbread loaves called tortillas, dishes are usually topped with spicy tomato salsa, sour cream, and an avocado-based dip called guacamole. Small authentic Mexican taquerias can be found easily in California and the Southwest, and increasingly in cities throughout the country.

Middle Eastern and Greek foods are also becoming popular in the United States. The gyro (known as "doner kebab" or "shawarma" in Europe) is a popular Greek sandwich of sliced processed lamb on a pita bread topped with lettuce, tomatoes and a yogurt-cucumber sauce. Hummus (a ground chickpea dip/spread) and baklava pastries are frequently found in supermarkets, along with an increasingly widespread and high-quality array of "pita" products.

Vegetarian food is easy to come by in big urban areas. As vegetarians are becoming more common in the U.S., so are the restaurants that cater to them. Most big cities and college towns will have vegetarian restaurants serving exclusively or primarily vegetarian dishes. In smaller towns you may need to check the menu at several restaurants before finding a vegetarian main course, or else make up a meal out of side dishes. Wait staff can be helpful answering questions about meat content, but be very clear about your personal definition of vegetarian, as dishes with fish, chicken, egg, or even small quantities of beef or pork flavoring may be considered vegetarian. This is especially common with vegetable side dishes in the South. Meat-free breakfast foods such as pancakes or eggs are readily available at diners.

People on low-fat or low-calorie diets should be fairly well-served in the U.S., as there has been a continuing trend in calorie consciousness since the 1970s. Even fast-food restaurants have "lite" specials, and can provide charts of calorie and fat counts on request.

For the backpacker or those on very restricted budgets, American supermarkets offer an almost infinite variety of pre-packaged/pre-processed foods that are either ready or almost ready for consumption, e.g. breakfast cereal, ramen noodles, canned soups, frozen dinner, etc.

In the largest cities, "corner stores" abound. These small convenience stores carry a variety of snacks, drinks, and prepackaged foods. Unlike most convenience stores, their products are sold at relatively low prices (especially by urban standards) and can provide for snacks or even (nutritionally partial) meals for a budget no more than $5 a day.

Etiquette

It is usually inappropriate to join a table already occupied by other diners, even if it has unused seats; Americans prefer this degree of privacy when they eat. Exceptions are cafeteria-style eateries with long tables, and at crowded informal eateries and cafés you may have success asking a stranger if you can share the table they're sitting at. Striking up a conversation in this situation may or may not be welcome, however.

Table manners, while varying greatly, are typically European influenced. Slurping or making other noises while eating is considered rude, as is loud conversation (including phone calls). It is fairly common to wait until everybody at your table has been served before eating. You should lay cloth napkins across your lap; you can do the same with paper napkins, or keep them on the table. Offense isn't taken if you don't finish your meal, and most restaurants will package the remainder to take with you, or provide a box for you to do this yourself (sometimes euphemistically called a "doggy bag", implying that the leftovers are for your pet). If you want to do this, ask the server to get the remainder "to go"; this term will be almost universally understood, and will not cause any embarrassment. Some restaurants offer an "all-you-can-eat" buffet or other service; taking home portions from such a meal is either not allowed, or carries an additional fee.

Many fast food items (sandwiches, burgers, pizza, tacos, etc.) are designed to be eaten by hand (so-called "finger food"); a few foods are almost always eaten by hand (french fries, barbecue, chicken on the bone) even at moderately nice restaurants. If unsure, eating finger food with a fork and knife probably won't offend anyone; eating fork-and-knife food by hand might, as it's considered "uncivilized" and rude.

When invited to a meal in a private home it is considered polite for a guest to ask if they can bring anything for the meal, such a dessert, a side dish, wine or beer, or for an outdoor barbecue, something useful like ice or plastic cups or plates. The host may refuse, but it is nonetheless considered good manners to bring along a small gift for the host. A bottle of wine, box of candies or fresh cut flowers are most common. Gifts of cash, prepared ready-to-serve foods, or very personal items (e.g. toiletries) are not appropriate. If you do not know your hosts very well, it may be best to avoid alcohol, particularly in the Midwest, where a significant percentage of the population is teetotal.

An exception is the carry-in or potluck meal, where each guest (or group/family) must bring a food dish to share with everyone; these shared dishes make up the entire meal. Usually dishes are grouped (e.g., salads, main dishes or casseroles, side dishes, desserts); you should ask the host if they want you to bring something in particular. Ideal dishes for a potluck should be served from a large pot, dish, or bowl, and would be spooned or forked on to diners' plates—hence the emphasis on salads, casseroles, and spoonable side dishes. These types of meals typically offer a wide assortment of well-prepared foods and may be the very best way to experience authentic American cuisine.

Drinks

Drinking customs in America are as varied as the backgrounds of its many people. In the cities, you can find everything from tough local "shot and a beer" bars to upscale "martini bars"; urban bars and nightclubs will often serve only simple food, or none at all. In the suburbs, alcohol is mainly served in restaurants rather than bars. And in rural areas, the line between "bar" and "restaurant" is often blurred to the point of meaninglessness; with few establishments nearby, locals go to the same place for both meals and nightlife. A few states have dry counties, places where it is illegal to sell alcohol for local consumption; these are mostly in rural areas.

Laws

The drinking age is 21 throughout the U.S. except in most of the outlying territories (where it is 18). Enforcement of this varies, but if you're under 30 be prepared to show photo ID – some retailers may not accept a foreign driver's license (except from Canada) so having your passport available when purchasing alcohol is strongly advised. In some states, people who are under 21 are not even allowed to be present in a bar or liquor store.

Alcohol sales are typically prohibited after 2 AM. In some states, most stores can only sell beer and wine; hard liquor is sold at dedicated liquor stores. Several "dry counties" – mostly in southern states – ban some or all types of alcohol in public establishments; private clubs (with nominal membership fees) are often set up to get around this. Sunday sales are restricted in some areas.

Most towns ban drinking in the open with varying degrees of enforcement. Even if it is allowed, a visible bottle (rather than one in a small bag) is either illegal or justifies police attention. Being "drunk and disorderly" is banned. Drunk driving comes under fairly harsh scrutiny. A blood-alcohol level of 0.08% is considered "under the Influence" and many states consider a level of 0.05% as "impaired". If you're under 21, most states have limits of 0.00-0.02%. Foreigners will typically be deported, even well established permanent residents. It is also usually against the law to have an open container of alcohol anywhere in a car other than in the trunk; this can be heavily fined. Should you find yourself in a situation where you drank a bit more than you intended and are unsure if you should drive, taxi cabs are fairly prolific in medium to large cities. Many automotive clubs offer hotlines to find a ride home.

Sales of raw milk for human consumption are illegal in some states and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bans the interstate sale or distribution of raw milk.

Drinks

Beer and wine are the main non-distilled alcoholic drinks, with whiskey the main hard liquor (i.e. distilled drink). "Cider" without further qualification is just an unfiltered variety of apple juice. "Hard cider" is the alcoholic drink from fermented apples; it is generally unpopular despite Americans having been its most enthusiastic consumers two centuries ago.

Beer constitutes approximately half the alcohol consumed in the U.S. Nationally known light lagers (which are cheap and mediocre) remain most prevalent, despite the emergence of other types of beer in the 1990s. Microbreweries, which specialize in small-batch, high-quality beers made by traditional methods, add much-needed variety. Microbrews are often inventive and experimental; some are excellent examples of classic beer styles, while others push the limits and develop new, unique flavors. Most are individual regional brewers, although a few are reaching national distribution. Some bars and restaurants carry microbrews, while others don't, seemingly at random. Brew pubs combine microbrewery and bar and serve highly regarded beer that is made on the premises. Vermont offers the highest ratio of microbreweries per capita in the country followed by Oregon, Montana, Colorado and Maine, while Washington grows 77 percent of the total United States hop crop, a key ingredient in beer making.

Wine is available across the quality spectrum. American wines are labeled primarily by the grape variety. A rough guide to quality comes in the specificity of the labeling. Color alone ("Red", "white", and "rosé" or "pink") denotes the lowest echelon. Above this, regions are labeled by state (e.g. "California"), an area of a state (e.g. "Central Coast"), a county or other small region (e.g. "Willamette Valley"), or a specific vineyard (e.g. "Dry Creek Vineyard").

The cheapest wine tends to come in a plastic bag encased in a box. "Fortified wines", known as "bum wine", are the precise opposite of high-class European port, sherry or Madeira.

All 50 states practice some sort of winemaking, though 90% of America's wine—including its most highly regarded from the Napa Valley—are Californian. Wines from Oregon's Willamette Valley and Washington state represent good value as they are less well known. Michigan, Colorado's Wine Country, and New York State's Finger Lakes produce German-style whites which have won international competitions. The Llano Estacado region of Texas is also notable for its wines.

Sparkling wines are available by the bottle in upscale restaurants, and are also sometimes served by the glass. The best Californian sparkling wines have been rated comparably to leading French champagnes but they are not commonly sold in supermarkets outside of California.

Most bars, except urbane wine bars, serve unremarkable wine. Wine is taken quite seriously by some restaurants, but as with all other alcoholic drinks in restaurants, expect to pay up to four times the liquor store price for a bottle.

Hard alcohol (i.e. spirits) is usually drunk with mixers, but it is also served "on the rocks" (with ice) or "straight up" (unmixed, with no ice, also called "neat"). Whiskey, the traditional choice, remains popular despite the increased popularity of vodka and other clear spirits. Whiskey is distilled from many different grains. The main types are rye (made with mainly rye, a relative of wheat), malt (made with mainly barley) and bourbon (made with mainly corn, i.e. maize).

Nightlife

Nightclubs in America run the usual gamut of various music scenes, from discos with top-40 dance tunes to obscure clubs serving tiny slices of obscure musical genres. Country music dance clubs, or honky tonks, are laid fairly thick in the South and West, especially in rural areas and away from the coasts, but one or two can be found in almost any city. Also, gay/lesbian nightclubs exist in nearly every medium- to large-sized city.

"Happy hour", a period usually lasting from 30 minutes to three hours, usually between 5PM and 8PM, sees significant discounts on selected drinks. "Ladies' nights", during which women receive a discount or some other financial incentive, are increasingly common.

Until 1977, the only U.S. state with legalized gambling was Nevada. The state has allowed games of chance since the 1930s, creating such resort cities as Las Vegas and Reno in the process. Dubbed "Sin City," Las Vegas in particular has evolved into an end-destination adult playground, offering many other after-hours activities such as amusement parks, night clubs, strip clubs, shows, bars and four star restaurants. Gambling has since spread outside of Nevada to a plethora of U.S. cities like Atlantic City, New Jersey and Biloxi, Mississippi, as well as to riverboats, offshore cruises and Indian reservations. State lotteries and "scratch games" are another, popular form of legalized gambling. However, online gaming and wagering on sports across state lines remains illegal in the U.S.

Shopping

Money

The official U.S. currency is the United States dollar ($), divided into 100 cents (¢). The dollar is colloquially known as the buck so 5 bucks means $5. Foreign currencies are almost never accepted. Some major hotel chains may accept traveler's cheques in other currencies. The Canadian dollar can generally be used close to the border; it is sometimes accepted at larger stores up to 100 miles from the border. The Mexican peso can also be used in border towns (El Paso, Laredo, etc.), but you'll get better rates by exchanging it before leaving Mexico.

Common American bills are for $1, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100, with $2 bills practically never seen in circulation. The $100 and sometimes $50 bills are too valuable for small transactions, and may be refused. All the bills are the same size. All $1 and $2 bills and older $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills are greenish and printed with black and green ink. Newer versions of the $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills are slightly more colorful. Banknotes never expire and several designs of each note can circulate together. However, some retailers may refuse older bills in higher denominations ($100, $50, and maybe $20) which lack the anti-counterfeiting features (watermarks, security ribbon, microprinting) that staff are trained to look for.

The standard coins are the penny (1¢, copper color), the chunky nickel (5¢, silver color), the tiny dime (10¢, silver color) and the ridged-edge quarter (25¢, silver color). These coins only have their values written in words, not figures, e.g. "quarter dollar", rather than "25¢". The 10¢ coin is labeled "one dime", not "ten cents". When it comes to value, size doesn't matter: the dime is the smallest coin, followed by the penny, nickel, and quarter. Half dollar (50¢, silver) and dollar ($1, silver or gold) coins exist but are uncommon. Coin-operated machines usually only accept nickels, dimes, and quarters, and dollar bills, though vending machines may also accept dollar coins; larger vending machines, such as for buses or postal stamps, may take $5, $10, and even $20 bills. Canadian coins are sized similarly, but machines usually reject them. Humans generally won't notice (or care about) a few small Canadian coins (particularly pennies, but also nickels, dimes, and even quarters) mixed with American, at least not in the northern parts of the country.

Currency exchange and banking

Currency exchange centers are rare outside the downtowns of major coastal and border cities, and international airports. Some banks can provide currency exchange services.

Opening a bank account in the US is a fairly straightforward process, and there are no restrictions on foreigners owning bank accounts in the US. The largest retail banks are Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citibank. Many parts of the country, such as Hawaii, are poorly served by the big retail banks and are dominated by local banks.

ATMs can handle foreign bank cards or credit cards bearing Visa/Plus or MasterCard/Cirrus logos. They generally charge about $2.50 to cards issued by other banks, though this is often waived for cards issued outside the U.S. Smaller ATMs in restaurants etc. often charge higher fees (up to $5). Some ATMs (such as those at Sheetz gas stations and government buildings such as courthouses) have no fee. Another option is withdrawing cash (usually up to $40 over the cost of your goods) when making a debit-card purchase at a large discount store such as Walmart or Target, or at many supermarkets. Stores almost never charge a fee for this service, though the bank that issued your card may.

Credit and debit cards

Major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard (and their debit card affiliates) are widely used and accepted. Nearly all large retailers will accept credit cards for transactions of all sizes, even as small as one or two dollars. However, some small businesses and independently-owned stores specify a minimum amount of money (usually $2–5, but can legally charge up to $10 minimum) for credit card use, as such transactions cost them around $0.30–0.50 (this practice is also common at bars when opening a tab). Almost all sit-down restaurants, hotels, and shops will accept credit and debit cards; those that do not post a sign saying "CASH ONLY." Other cards such as American Express and Discover are also accepted, but not as widely. Many retailers have a window sticker or counter sign showing the logos of the four big U.S. credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, and Discover.

Only a few high-end boutique stores in major cities also have window stickers for foreign cards like JCB and China UnionPay. However, both JCB and China UnionPay have alliances with Discover, so they can be used at any retailer that accepts Discover cards.

When making large purchases, it is typical for U.S. retailers to ask to see some form of photo identification. Shops may also ask for photo identification for foreign issued cards. In certain circumstances, credit/debit cards are the only means to perform a transaction. Hence if you do not have one, you can purchase a prepaid card or gift card with Visa, MasterCard or AmEx logo for yourself in a good number of stores but you may need to provide identification before the card is activated.

Transaction authorization is made by signing a paper sales slip or a computer pad, although many retailers will waive the signature requirement for small purchases. The U.S. has not yet implemented the EMV "chip-and-PIN" credit card authorization system used overseas, due to the high cost of upgrading point-of-sale systems. Despite announcements of target deployment dates by credit card companies, adoption has been slow, although a rules change taking effect in October 2015 may encourage widespread deployment in the near future.

Gas station pumps, selected public transportation vending machines, and some other types of automated vending machines often have credit/debit card readers. Many gas station pumps and some automated vending machines that accept credit cards ask for the ZIP code (i.e., postal code) of the U.S. billing address for the card, which effectively prevents them from accepting foreign cards (they are unable to detect a foreign card and switch to PIN authentication). At gas stations you can use a foreign issued card by paying the station attendant inside.

Gift cards

Each major commercial establishment (e.g. store, restaurant, online service) with a statewide, regional, nationwide or online presence makes its own gift card available to consumers for use at any of its establishments nationwide or its online store. In spite of the word "gift" in gift card, you can actually purchase and use these cards for yourself. A gift card for a certain establishment can be purchased at any of the establishment's branches. Supermarkets and pharmacies also have a variety of gift cards from different stores, restaurants and other services. Once these are purchased by you or given to you by friends, you can use a particular store or restaurant's gift card at any of its branches nationwide or online store for any amount. In case funds in the gift card are insufficient, you can use other payment methods to pay for the balance (like cash, credit card, a 2nd gift card particular to the establishment). The gift card also has instructions on how to check your remaining balance online. Gift cards will not likely work in branches outside the U.S.

Sales tax

There is no nationwide sales tax (such as VAT or GST), although nationwide taxes are levied on certain goods, notably motor fuels (gasoline and diesel). As a result, state or local taxes cannot be refunded by customs agents upon your leaving the U.S.

Most states have a retail sales tax of roughly 3–10% (4–6% is typical). A few have no state sales tax, but allow local city governments to collect sales taxes. Most states also levy substantial sin taxes on liquor or cigarettes. Taxes are almost never included in posted prices (except for those on gasoline/diesel, and in most states, alcoholic beverages consumed on-premises). Instead it will calculated when you come to pay. Groceries and a variety of other "necessities" are usually exempt, but almost any other retail transaction – including restaurant meals – will incur sales tax.

Regional price variations, indirect hotel and business taxes, etc. will usually have more impact on a traveler's wallet than the savings of seeking out a low-sales-tax or no-sales-tax destination. Many cities also impose sales taxes, and certain cities have tax zones near airports and business districts that are designed to exploit travelers. Thus, sales taxes can vary up to 2% in a matter of a few miles.

However, even accounting for the burden of sales taxes, U.S. retail prices still tend to be much lower than in many other countries. The U.S. has not implemented any form of value-added tax, where each segment in the supply chain is required to charge tax on the value it adds towards the final product. Rather, U.S. sales taxes are charged only by the retailer at the time of the sale of the final product to the consumer.

Internationally renowned luxury brands are hard to find in the no-sales-tax states. Their boutiques are traditionally found in the largest and wealthiest states: California, Texas, New York, Illinois and Florida (all of which have sales taxes). However, a limited range of their wares may be found in local luxury retailers in the no-sales-tax states.

Places for shopping

Shopping malls and shopping centers. America is the birthplace of the modern enclosed "shopping mall" as well as the open-air "shopping center". In addition, American suburbs have miles and miles of small strip malls, or long rows of small shops with shared parking lots, usually built along a high-capacity road. Large cities still maintain central shopping districts that can be navigated on public transport, but pedestrian-friendly shopping streets are uncommon and usually small. Most medium-sized suburban towns contain at least one shopping mall containing one or more department stores as well as restaurants and retail establishments. They also contain one or more strip corridors containing strip malls, auto dealerships, and office space.

Outlet centers. The U.S. pioneered the factory outlet store, and in turn, the outlet center, a shopping mall consisting primarily of such stores. Outlet centers are found along major Interstate highways outside of most American cities.

Major retailers. American retailers tend to have some of the longest business hours in the world, with chains like Walmart and 7-Eleven often featuring stores open 24/7 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Department stores and other large retailers are usually open from 10 AM to 9 PM most days, and during the winter holiday season, may stay open as long as 8 AM to 11 PM. Most supermarkets are open late into the evening, usually until at least 9 PM. The U.S. does not regulate the timing of sales promotions as in other countries. U.S. retailers often announce sales during all major holidays, and also in between to attract customers or jettison merchandise. American retail stores are gigantic compared to retail stores in other countries, and are a shoppers' dream come true. As such, they typically offer a wide range of items. Department stores typically sell clothing, shoes, furniture, perfume and jewelry. Supermarkets sell produce, meats, fish, paper products, canned goods, milk, liquor and cigarettes. In poor neighborhoods or on freeways adjacent to gas stations, there are often convenience stores that offer a small range of cooked food, soda, sundries and cigarettes, albeit at rates not competitive with supermarkets.

Farmer's markets. Unlike many other countries, the United States does not have large open-air markets open daily. Instead, urban and suburban cities have farmer's markets where growers sell fruits and vegetables directly to consumers. These events are typically held once weekly and take place in a cordoned-off street or parking lot.

Garage sales. On weekends, it is not uncommon to find families selling no longer needed household items in their driveway, garage, or yard. If you see a driveway full of stuff on a Saturday, it's likely a garage sale. Check it out; one person's trash may just be your treasure. Bargaining is expected and encouraged.

Flea markets. Flea markets (called "swap meets" in Western states) have dozens if not hundreds of vendors selling all kinds of usually inexpensive merchandise. They sometimes take place in convention centers, but usually take place in large suburban parking lots. Some flea markets are highly specialized and aimed at collectors of a particular sort; others just sell all types of items. Again, bargaining is expected.

Auctions. Americans did not invent the auction but may well have perfected it. The fast paced, sing-song cadence of a country auctioneer, selling anything from farm animals to estate furniture, is a special experience, even if you have no intention of buying. In big cities, head to the auction chambers of Christie's or Sotheby's, and watch paintings, antiques and works of art sold in a matter of minutes at prices that go into the millions.

Major U.S. retail chains

According to Deloitte, the largest fashion goods retailer in both the U.S. and the entire world is Macy's, Inc., which operates over 800 Macy's midrange department stores in 45 states, Puerto Rico, and Guam, plus a smaller number of upscale Bloomingdale's stores. Nordstrom is another upscale department store that is also found in most states. Midrange stores include Kohl's, Sears, The Gap, and JCPenney, while the lower end is dominated by Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and Old Navy. Department stores are normally found in suburban towns, often in shopping malls, though a few can be found in downtowns or smaller rural towns.

General discount stores like Walmart, Target, and Kmart are ubiquitous. Many discount stores, in addition to selling clothing and sundries, have either a small grocery section or a full supermarket; in fact, Walmart is the country's largest grocer, as well as being its largest retail chain. The three largest supermarket chains are Kroger, Safeway and SuperValu, but they operate under legacy regional nameplates in many states (for example, Vons and Ralphs in California, and Cub in Minnesota). There are smaller regional supermarkets such as the A&P on the East Coast and Albertson's in the Rocky Mountain States. A number of American suburbs have high-end markets such as Whole Foods that sell more expensive items such as wine and organic produce. The dominant warehouse club chain is Costco, whose biggest competitor is Sam's Club (operated by Walmart). The three big pharmacy chains are CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid, though many supermarkets also contain a small pharmacy. Most urban and suburban towns contain several supermarkets or pharmacies, and more often than not a Walmart or other “big box” retailer.

In several areas of the retail sector, ruthless consolidation has resulted in only one surviving nationwide chain, which may compete with a number of smaller regional chains. Examples include bookstores (Barnes & Noble), electronics (Best Buy), convenience stores (7-Eleven) and housewares (Bed Bath & Beyond).

Costs

Unless you live in Australia, Canada, Europe or Japan, the U.S. is generally expensive, but there are ways to limit the damage. Many Europeans come to the U.S. for shopping (especially electronics). While prices in the U.S. are lower than in many European countries, keep in mind that you will be charged taxes/tariffs on goods purchased abroad. Additionally, electronics may not be compatible with standards when you return (electrical, DVD region, etc.). As such, the savings you may find shopping in the U.S. may easily be negated upon your return. Furthermore, your U.S.-bought item may not be eligible for warranty service in your home country.

A bare bones budget for camping, hostels, and cooking your food could be $30–50/day, and you can double that if you stay at motels and eat at cheap cafés. Add on a rental car and hotel accommodation and you'll be looking at $150/day and up. There are regional variations too: large cities like New York and Los Angeles are expensive, while prices go down in rural areas. Most U.S. cities have suburbs with good hotels that are often much more affordable than those in the city center and enjoy lower crime rates. Thus, if you plan to rent a car and drive between several major cities on a single visit to the U.S., it is usually a better idea to stay at safe suburban hotels with free parking, as opposed to downtown hotels that charge exorbitant parking fees. Additionally, if you have generous friends from the U.S. who will give gift cards to you for some reason, the cards can help you defray some of the costs.

If you intend to visit any of the National Parks Service sites, such as the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Park, it is worth considering the purchase of a National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. This costs $80 and gives access to almost all of the federally administered parks and recreation areas for one year. Considering the price of admission to many parks is at least $20 each, if you visit more than a few of them, the pass will be the cheaper solution. You can trade in receipts from individual entries for 14 days at the entrance to the parks to upgrade to an annual pass, if you find yourself cruising around and ending up visiting more parks than expected.

Many hotels and motels offer discounts for members of certain organizations which anyone can join, such as AAA (formerly the American Automobile Association). If you're a member, or are a member of a club affiliated with AAA (such as the Canadian Automobile Association, The Automobile Association in the UK, or ADAC in Germany), it's worth asking at check-in.

Tipping

Tipping in America is widely used and expected. While Americans themselves often debate correct levels and exactly who deserves to be tipped, generally accepted standard rates are:

  • Hairdressers, other personal services: 10–15%
  • Bartenders: $1 per drink if inexpensive or 15–20% of total
  • Bellhops: $1–2 per bag ($3–5 minimum regardless)
  • Hotel doorman: $1 per bag (if they assist), $1 for calling a cab
  • Shuttle bus drivers: $2–5 (optional)
  • Private car & limousine drivers: 15–20%
  • Parking valet: $1–3 for retrieving your car (unless there's already a fee for parking)
  • Housekeeping in hotels: $1–2 per day for long stays or $5 minimum for very short stays (optional)
  • Food delivery (pizza, etc.): $2–5, 15–20% for larger orders
  • Bicycle messengers: $3–5
  • Tour guides / activity guides: $5–$10 if he or she was particularly funny or informative.
  • Taxis: Tips of 10–20% are expected in both yellow cabs as well as livery cabs. A simple way of computing the tip is to add 10% of the fare and round up from there. Thus, if the meter reads $6.20, you pay $7 and if the meter reads $6.50, you pay $8. Always tip more for better service (for example, if the cabbie helps you with your bags or stroller). Leave a small tip if the service is lousy (for example, if the cabbie refuses to turn on the AC on a hot day). For livery cabs, if you hail the cab on the street and negotiate the fare in advance, then pay the negotiated amount plus an extra $1–2.
  • Full-service restaurants: 15–20%. Many restaurants include a mandatory service charge for larger groups, in which case you do not need to tip an additional amount – check the bill.

It is important to keep in mind that the legal minimum wage for restaurant waitstaff and other tip-earners is quite low (just $2.13/hour before taxes), with the expectation that tips bring them up to a "normal" minimum wage. Thus, in restaurants (and certain other professions) a tip is not just a way to say "thank you" for service, but an essential part of a server's wages.

Remember that while it is expected for you to tip normally for adequate service, you are never obliged to tip if your service was truly awful. If you receive exceptionally poor or rude service and the manager does not correct the problem when you bring it to their attention, a deliberately small tip (one or two coins) will express your displeasure more clearly than leaving no tip at all.

If paying your bill by cash, leave a cash tip on the table when you leave (there is no need to hand it over personally or wait until it's collected), or if paying by credit card you can add it directly to the charge slip when you sign it. Look carefully, as the slip will generally inform you whether a 15% gratuity has already been added.

Tipping is not expected at restaurants where patrons stand at a counter to place their order and receive their food (such as fast-food chains). Some such restaurants may have a "tip jar" by the cash register, which may be used wholly at the customer's discretion in appreciation of good service. Some tipping at a cafeteria or buffet is expected since the wait staff often clears the table for you and provides refills of drinks and such.

The majority of jobs not mentioned here are not customarily tipped, and would likely refuse them. Retail employees, or those in service positions which require high qualifications (such as doctors or dentists) are good examples. Never try to offer any kind of tip to a government employee of any kind, especially police officers; this could be construed as attempted bribery (a felony offense) and might cause serious legal problems.

Buying a mobile phone

A popular idea is to buy a hot new mobile phone in the U.S. to use on your home network. Unfortunately, there are several complications:

  • Most phones sold in the U.S. are SIM-locked (the phone will not function if a SIM card for a different network is inserted) to the carrier which sells the device.
    • A limited selection of unlocked phones may be found in some small electronics shops. Best Buy sells unlocked mobile phones at stores in some tourist shopping destinations (like New York City or Orlando). Online, there are only a handful of retailers selling unlocked phones.
    • Service providers have differing policies, but generally will only give out unlock codes to customers in good standing after 3–6 months of service with them. Circumventing a SIM lock without the service provider's authorization is illegal in the U.S., but not in some other countries, where the software may be modified at a mobile phone repair shop for a modest price (under $40).
  • Phone prices are almost always subsidized by 2-year contracts, making the up-front price seem cheaper than it really is. Paying out of pocket will be significantly more expensive (e.g., $450–700 instead of $100–200), and isn't allowed for certain phones, depending on the phone and the carrier selling it.
  • U.S. phones use different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz), although modern phones are often tri- or quad-band, which solves this issue.
  • Most mobile phones have been branded with the carrier's apps (which often can't be uninstalled) and external stickers/decals. This varies from merely inconvenient to just a nuisance.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article United States of America on Wikivoyage.

Popular cities in United States

  • 3 hotels

  • 4 hotels

  • 47 hotels

  • 139 hotels

  • 140 hotels

  • 32 hotels

365 hotels in this place

There is more than one place called New York:

Interesting places:

  • Bryant Park
  • The National September 11 Memorial
  • Trinity Church
  • St. Patrick\'s Cathedral
  • Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
  • 1 hotels

  • 3 hotels

  • 204 hotels

  • 104 hotels

  • 24 hotels

  • 4 hotels

340 hotels in this place

Houston is a sprawling port city in Southeastern Texas. A recent oil boom and continuing international immigration has brought explosive growth to the city, and it is now the fourth largest city in the United States, but only the fifth largest metropolitan area. While at first glance, the city appears to be a ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • Verizon Wireless Theater
  • Wortham Center
  • Houston City Hall
  • Sesquicentennial Park
  • Bayou Place
  • 0 hotels

  • 8 hotels

  • 163 hotels

  • 80 hotels

  • 18 hotels

  • 0 hotels

269 hotels in this place

San Antonio is the second largest city in the state of Texas and 7th largest in the United States. It's the 24th largest metropolitan area in the country. Visited by more than 26 million annual visitors, San Antonio is a beautiful city at the axis of three different geological terrains: Hill Country, South ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • River Walk
  • Alamo
  • Arneson River Theatre
  • Aztec on the River (Aztec Theater)
  • Main Plaza
  • 4 hotels

  • 1 hotels

  • 108 hotels

  • 130 hotels

  • 24 hotels

  • 2 hotels

269 hotels in this place

Orlando is a large city located in Orange County, Florida. Orlando, for most people, conjures up the image of theme parks, mainly Walt Disney World, but it has a lot more to offer than that. (In fact, Disney World is not in Orlando, but is in nearby Lake Buena Vista). With the estimated 52 million tourists a ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • Universal CityWalk
  • Epcot
  • Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Walt Disney World
  • Disney\'s Hollywood Studios
  • 1 hotels

  • 5 hotels

  • 41 hotels

  • 109 hotels

  • 64 hotels

  • 4 hotels

224 hotels in this place

Miami Beach is a city in Florida. This small barrier island near Miami was originally cleared of mangroves in the late 1800s to make way for a coconut farm, and was later incorporated as a city by real estate developers in 1915.

Interesting places:

  • South Pointe Park
  • Art Deco Welcome Center
  • Art Deco Museum
  • New World Symphony Park
  • The Wolfsonian Museum
  • 4 hotels

  • 6 hotels

  • 44 hotels

  • 151 hotels

  • 15 hotels

  • 2 hotels

222 hotels in this place

Kissimmee is a city in Osceola County. Kissimmee (pronounced /kiˈsimi/, accent on second syllable) is a popular Central Florida tourist destination because of its sunny weather, spring training baseball for major league clubs, and close proximity to Disney World. It is located just south of Orlando in what is ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • Lanier\'s Historic Downtown Marketplace
  • Old Town
  • Congo River Golf
  • Mystic Dunes Golf Club
  • Medieval Times
  • 0 hotels

  • 1 hotels

  • 90 hotels

  • 79 hotels

  • 26 hotels

  • 2 hotels

198 hotels in this place

From balmy beaches with a laid-back attitude to a gleaming modern image, San Diego offers much for the tourist to enjoy. Situated on the Southern California seacoast, San Diego is the second largest city in the state, with 1.3 million residents, and has long attracted travelers for its ideal climate, miles of ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • Spreckels Organ Pavilion
  • Balboa Park
  • Timken Museum of Art
  • San Diego Museum of Art
  • USS Midway Museum
  • 4 hotels

  • 8 hotels

  • 73 hotels

  • 58 hotels

  • 35 hotels

  • 7 hotels

185 hotels in this place

The centerpiece of the Bay Area, San Francisco is one of the most visited cities in the world, and with good reason. The cultural center of northern California, San Francisco is renowned for its mixture of scenic beauty and unique culture that makes it one of the most vibrant and desirable cities in the ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • Ferry Building
  • Union Square
  • Tin How Temple
  • TransAmerica Pyramid
  • Golden Gate Bridge
  • 1 hotels

  • 4 hotels

  • 57 hotels

  • 74 hotels

  • 28 hotels

  • 15 hotels

179 hotels in this place

Las Vegas is the largest city in the US state of Nevada. Nicknamed Sin City and the Entertainment Capital of the World, it is situated in the midst of the southern Nevada desert landscape. The communities around the city, commonly also known as Las Vegas, have giant mega-casino hotels, decorated with lavish ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • Fountains of Bellagio
  • Grand Canal Shoppes
  • Forum Shops
  • Las Vegas Eiffel Tower
  • Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art
  • 0 hotels

  • 1 hotels

  • 87 hotels

  • 53 hotels

  • 21 hotels

  • 0 hotels

162 hotels in this place

Austin is a city of over 700,000 people in the Hill Country region of the U.S. state of Texas. It's the capital of Texas and a college town, and also a center of alternative culture away from the major cities on the US coasts, though the city is rapidly gentrifying with its rising popularity. Austin's ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • Texas State Capitol
  • Frost Bank Tower
  • Paramount Theater
  • Austin City Hall
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan Statue
panoramio Photos are copyrighted by their owners

States in United States

  • 20 hotels

  • 119 hotels

  • 2489 hotels

  • 1254 hotels

  • 308 hotels

  • 47 hotels

4237 hotels in this place

  • 15 hotels

  • 101 hotels

  • 2558 hotels

  • 782 hotels

  • 118 hotels

  • 7 hotels

3581 hotels in this place

  • 21 hotels

  • 75 hotels

  • 1574 hotels

  • 1394 hotels

  • 327 hotels

  • 28 hotels

3419 hotels in this place

  • 4 hotels

  • 66 hotels

  • 1064 hotels

  • 311 hotels

  • 46 hotels

  • 7 hotels

1498 hotels in this place

  • 5 hotels

  • 42 hotels

  • 739 hotels

  • 499 hotels

  • 166 hotels

  • 33 hotels

1484 hotels in this place

  • 0 hotels

  • 28 hotels

  • 890 hotels

  • 327 hotels

  • 19 hotels

  • 1 hotels

1265 hotels in this place

  • 3 hotels

  • 50 hotels

  • 778 hotels

  • 370 hotels

  • 31 hotels

  • 1 hotels

1233 hotels in this place

  • 2 hotels

  • 37 hotels

  • 749 hotels

  • 373 hotels

  • 30 hotels

  • 2 hotels

1193 hotels in this place

  • 4 hotels

  • 13 hotels

  • 541 hotels

  • 457 hotels

  • 105 hotels

  • 12 hotels

1132 hotels in this place

  • 3 hotels

  • 33 hotels

  • 704 hotels

  • 292 hotels

  • 68 hotels

  • 7 hotels

1107 hotels in this place

  • 1 hotels

  • 39 hotels

  • 772 hotels

  • 266 hotels

  • 17 hotels

  • 0 hotels

1095 hotels in this place

  • 3 hotels

  • 45 hotels

  • 778 hotels

  • 188 hotels

  • 21 hotels

  • 0 hotels

1035 hotels in this place

  • 0 hotels

  • 24 hotels

  • 579 hotels

  • 288 hotels

  • 32 hotels

  • 2 hotels

925 hotels in this place

  • 6 hotels

  • 33 hotels

  • 609 hotels

  • 222 hotels

  • 15 hotels

  • 0 hotels

885 hotels in this place

  • 4 hotels

  • 28 hotels

  • 520 hotels

  • 270 hotels

  • 53 hotels

  • 9 hotels

884 hotels in this place

  • 1 hotels

  • 22 hotels

  • 556 hotels

  • 203 hotels

  • 27 hotels

  • 1 hotels

810 hotels in this place

  • 1 hotels

  • 31 hotels

  • 535 hotels

  • 158 hotels

  • 10 hotels

  • 0 hotels

735 hotels in this place

  • 0 hotels

  • 35 hotels

  • 343 hotels

  • 263 hotels

  • 57 hotels

  • 1 hotels

699 hotels in this place

  • 4 hotels

  • 22 hotels

  • 453 hotels

  • 177 hotels

  • 40 hotels

  • 2 hotels

698 hotels in this place

  • 2 hotels

  • 23 hotels

  • 519 hotels

  • 140 hotels

  • 12 hotels

  • 0 hotels

696 hotels in this place

  • 2 hotels

  • 15 hotels

  • 457 hotels

  • 181 hotels

  • 34 hotels

  • 0 hotels

689 hotels in this place

  • 2 hotels

  • 9 hotels

  • 452 hotels

  • 174 hotels

  • 11 hotels

  • 0 hotels

648 hotels in this place

  • 1 hotels

  • 23 hotels

  • 419 hotels

  • 141 hotels

  • 20 hotels

  • 1 hotels

605 hotels in this place

Popular cities:

  • 1 hotels

  • 15 hotels

  • 276 hotels

  • 256 hotels

  • 51 hotels

  • 5 hotels

604 hotels in this place

  • 2 hotels

  • 27 hotels

  • 452 hotels

  • 92 hotels

  • 5 hotels

  • 0 hotels

578 hotels in this place

  • 1 hotels

  • 21 hotels

  • 322 hotels

  • 212 hotels

  • 15 hotels

  • 1 hotels

572 hotels in this place

  • 1 hotels

  • 20 hotels

  • 413 hotels

  • 101 hotels

  • 6 hotels

  • 0 hotels

541 hotels in this place

  • 2 hotels

  • 8 hotels

  • 350 hotels

  • 145 hotels

  • 14 hotels

  • 0 hotels

519 hotels in this place

  • 2 hotels

  • 14 hotels

  • 395 hotels

  • 95 hotels

  • 1 hotels

  • 0 hotels

507 hotels in this place

  • 4 hotels

  • 17 hotels

  • 381 hotels

  • 88 hotels

  • 3 hotels

  • 0 hotels

493 hotels in this place

  • 2 hotels

  • 12 hotels

  • 299 hotels

  • 133 hotels

  • 32 hotels

  • 4 hotels

482 hotels in this place

  • 1 hotels

  • 18 hotels

  • 371 hotels

  • 77 hotels

  • 7 hotels

  • 0 hotels

474 hotels in this place

  • 0 hotels

  • 13 hotels

  • 350 hotels

  • 92 hotels

  • 16 hotels

  • 1 hotels

472 hotels in this place

  • 3 hotels

  • 17 hotels

  • 336 hotels

  • 68 hotels

  • 2 hotels

  • 0 hotels

426 hotels in this place

  • 1 hotels

  • 6 hotels

  • 170 hotels

  • 154 hotels

  • 41 hotels

  • 15 hotels

387 hotels in this place

  • 2 hotels

  • 1 hotels

  • 78 hotels

  • 207 hotels

  • 70 hotels

  • 12 hotels

370 hotels in this place

  • 0 hotels

  • 12 hotels

  • 155 hotels

  • 121 hotels

  • 11 hotels

  • 0 hotels

299 hotels in this place

  • 2 hotels

  • 6 hotels

  • 236 hotels

  • 48 hotels

  • 2 hotels

  • 0 hotels

294 hotels in this place

  • 0 hotels

  • 6 hotels

  • 200 hotels

  • 71 hotels

  • 4 hotels

  • 0 hotels

281 hotels in this place

  • 1 hotels

  • 8 hotels

  • 173 hotels

  • 52 hotels

  • 9 hotels

  • 1 hotels

244 hotels in this place

  • 3 hotels

  • 4 hotels

  • 186 hotels

  • 40 hotels

  • 0 hotels

  • 0 hotels

233 hotels in this place

  • 0 hotels

  • 8 hotels

  • 164 hotels

  • 60 hotels

  • 1 hotels

  • 0 hotels

233 hotels in this place

  • 0 hotels

  • 2 hotels

  • 136 hotels

  • 67 hotels

  • 9 hotels

  • 0 hotels

214 hotels in this place

  • 3 hotels

  • 7 hotels

  • 160 hotels

  • 40 hotels

  • 0 hotels

  • 0 hotels

210 hotels in this place

  • 0 hotels

  • 1 hotels

  • 141 hotels

  • 60 hotels

  • 4 hotels

  • 0 hotels

206 hotels in this place

  • 0 hotels

  • 2 hotels

  • 103 hotels

  • 84 hotels

  • 6 hotels

  • 0 hotels

195 hotels in this place

  • 1 hotels

  • 2 hotels

  • 93 hotels

  • 70 hotels

  • 6 hotels

  • 0 hotels

172 hotels in this place

  • 1 hotels

  • 3 hotels

  • 70 hotels

  • 43 hotels

  • 2 hotels

  • 0 hotels

119 hotels in this place

  • 0 hotels

  • 1 hotels

  • 16 hotels

  • 67 hotels

  • 25 hotels

  • 9 hotels

118 hotels in this place

Popular cities:

  • 0 hotels

  • 3 hotels

  • 55 hotels

  • 42 hotels

  • 10 hotels

  • 0 hotels

110 hotels in this place

  • 0 hotels

  • 1 hotels

  • 68 hotels

  • 25 hotels

  • 3 hotels

  • 0 hotels

97 hotels in this place

  • 0 hotels

  • 0 hotels

  • 0 hotels

  • 0 hotels

  • 0 hotels

  • 0 hotels

0 hotels in this place

Popular cities:

  • 0 hotels

  • 0 hotels

  • 0 hotels

  • 0 hotels

  • 0 hotels

  • 0 hotels

0 hotels in this place

Popular cities:

  • 0 hotels

  • 0 hotels

  • 0 hotels

  • 0 hotels

  • 0 hotels

  • 0 hotels

0 hotels in this place

Popular cities:

  • 0 hotels

  • 0 hotels

  • 0 hotels

  • 0 hotels

  • 0 hotels

  • 0 hotels

0 hotels in this place

Popular cities:

panoramio Photos are copyrighted by their owners

Points of Interest in United States

The United States is extraordinarily diverse in its array of attractions. You will never run out of things to see; even if you think you've exhausted what one place has to offer, the next destination is only a road trip away.

The Great American Road Trip (see above) is the most traditional way to see a variety of sights; just hop in the car and cruise down the Interstates, stopping at the convenient roadside hotels and restaurants as necessary, and stopping at every interesting tourist trap along the way, until you reach your destination.

Indescribably beautiful scenery, history that reads like a screenplay, entertainment options that can last you for days, and some of the world's greatest architecture—no matter what your pleasure, you can find it almost anywhere you look in the United States.

Natural scenery

From the spectacular glaciers of Alaska to the wooded, weathered peaks of Appalachia; from the otherworldly desertscapes of the Southwest to the vast waters of the Great Lakes; few other countries have as wide a variety of natural scenery as the United States does.

America's National Parks are a great place to start. Yellowstone National Park was the first true National Park in the world, and it remains one of the most famous, but there are 57 others. The Grand Canyon is possibly the world's most spectacular gorge; Sequoia National Park and Yosemite National Park are both home to the world's tallest living organisms; Glacier National Park is a great place to see huge sheets of ice; Canyonlands National Park could easily be mistaken for Mars; and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park features abundant wildlife among beautifully forested mountains. And the national parks aren't just for sightseeing, either; each has plenty of outdoors activities as well.

Still, the National Parks are just the beginning. The National Park Service also operates National Monuments, National Memorials, National Historic Sites, National Seashores, National Heritage Areas... the list goes on (and on). And each state has its own state parks that can be just as good as the federal versions. Most all of these destinations, federal or state, have an admission fee, but it all goes toward maintenance and operations of the parks, and the rewards are well worth it.

Those aren't your only options, though. Many of America's natural treasures can be seen without passing through admission gates. The world-famous Niagara Falls straddle the border between Canada and the U.S.; the American side lets you get right up next to the onrush and feel the power that has shaped the Niagara gorge. The "purple majesty" of the Rocky Mountains can be seen for hundreds of miles in any direction, while the placid coastal areas of the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic have relaxed Americans for generations. And, although they are very different from each other, Hawaii and Alaska are perhaps the two most scenic states; they don't just have attractions—they are attractions.

Historical attractions

Americans often have a misconception of their country as having little history. The U.S. does indeed have a tremendous wealth of historical attractions—more than enough to fill months of history-centric touring.

The prehistory of the continent can indeed be a little hard to uncover, as most of the Native American tribes did not build permanent settlements. But particularly in the West, you will find magnificent cliff dwellings at sites such as Mesa Verde, as well as near-ubiquitous rock paintings. The Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. is another great place to start learning about America's culture before the arrival of European colonists.

As the first part of the country to be colonized by Europeans, the eastern states of New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the South have more than their fair share of sites from early American history. The first successful British colony on the continent was at Jamestown, Virginia, although the settlement at Plymouth, Massachusetts, may loom larger in the nation's mind.

In the eighteenth century, major centers of commerce developed in Philadelphia and Boston, and as the colonies grew in size, wealth, and self-confidence, relations with Great Britain became strained, culminating in the Boston Tea Party and the ensuing Revolutionary War...

Monuments and architecture

Americans have never shied away from heroic feats of engineering, and many of them are among the country's biggest tourist attractions.

Washington, D.C., as the nation's capital, has more monuments and statuary than you could see in a day, but do be sure to visit the Washington Monument (the world's tallest obelisk), the stately Lincoln Memorial, and the incredibly moving Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The city's architecture is also an attraction—the Capitol Building and the White House are two of the most iconic buildings in the country and often serve to represent the whole nation to the world.

Actually, a number of American cities have world-renowned skylines, perhaps none moreso than the concrete canyons of Manhattan, part of New York City. There, a new World Trade Center tower has risen on a site adjacent to the fallen twin towers, and the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building still stand tall, as they have for almost a century. Chicago, where the skyscraper was invented, can no longer claim the tallest building in the country, but it still has an awful lot of really tall buildings. Other skylines worth seeing include San Francisco (with the Golden Gate Bridge), Seattle (including the Space Needle), Miami, and Pittsburgh.

Some human constructions transcend skyline, though, and become iconic symbols in their own right. The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the Statue of Liberty in Manhattan, the Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles, and even the fountains of the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas all draw visitors to their respective cities. Even the incredible Mount Rushmore, located far from any major city, still attracts two million visitors each year.

Museums and galleries

In the U.S., there's a museum for practically everything. From toys to priceless artifacts, from entertainment legends to dinosaur bones—nearly every city in the country has a museum worth visiting.

The highest concentrations of these museums are found in the largest cities, of course, but none compare to Washington, D.C., home to the Smithsonian Institution. With almost twenty independent museums, most of them located on the National Mall, the Smithsonian is the foremost curator of American history and achievement. The most popular of the Smithsonian museums are the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of American History, and the National Museum of Natural History, but any of the Smithsonian museums would be a great way to spend an afternoon—and they're all 100% free.

New York City also has an outstanding array of world-class museums, including the Guggenheim Museum, the American Museum of Natural History,the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.

You could spend weeks exploring the cultural institutions just in D.C. and the Big Apple, but here's a small fraction of the other great museums you'd be missing:

  • Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh — Pittsburgh
  • Children's Museum of Indianapolis — Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Exploratorium — San Francisco
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame — Los Angeles
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium — Monterey, California
  • Museum of Science & Industry — Chicago
  • Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame — Springfield, Massachusetts
  • National Aquarium in Baltimore — Baltimore, Maryland
  • National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum — Cooperstown, New York
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame — Canton, Ohio
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum — Cleveland, Ohio
  • San Diego Zoo — San Diego, California
  • Strong National Museum of Play — Rochester, New York
  • The Henry Ford — Detroit, Michigan

Itineraries

Here is a handful of itineraries spanning regions across the United States:

  • Appalachian Trail — a foot trail along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains from Georgia to Maine
  • Braddock Expedition — traces the French-Indian War route of British General Edward Braddock (and a younger George Washington) from Alexandria, Virginia through Cumberland, Maryland to the Monongahela River near Pittsburgh.
  • The Jazz Track — a nation-wide tour of the most important clubs in jazz history and in jazz performance today
  • Lewis and Clark Trail — retrace the northwest route of the great American explorers along the Missouri River
  • Route 66 — tour the iconic historic highway running from Chicago to Los Angeles
  • Santa Fe Trail — a historic southwest settler route from Missouri to Santa Fe
  • Touring Shaker country — takes you to one current and eight former Shaker religious communities in the Mid-Atlantic, New England and Midwest regions of the United States.
  • U.S. Highway 1 — traveling along the east coast from Maine to Florida.

Bryant Park - New York

Chicago Cultural Center - Chicago

Brooklyn Bridge - Brooklyn

American Falls - Niagara Falls

Fountains of Bellagio - Las Vegas

Old State House - Boston

U.S. Bank Tower - Los Angeles

College of Dupage - Glen Ellyn

Summit Skyride - Stone Mountain

National World War II Memorial - Washington

Ferry Building - San Francisco

Santa Monica Pier - Santa Monica

Cabildo - New Orleans

Hoover Dam - Boulder City

Seattle Great Wheel - Seattle

The National September 11 Memorial - New York

Trinity Church - New York

St. Patrick\'s Cathedral - New York

Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) - New York

Rockefeller Center - New York

panoramio Photos are copyrighted by their owners
loading...

Loading...