Six experiences you should not miss in the USA

written by Julia Hammond

The USA never gets boring. The natural, historic and cultural attractions of its fifty states are as diverse as anywhere on the planet – so no matter what kind of holiday you enjoy, you’ll find something here that interests you. Here are Mundana’s recommendations for six experiences you should not miss in the USA.

Ascend a skyscraper for a jaw-dropping view of Manhattan

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The chance to see New York’s famous skyline in real life brings many visitors to the city. See it from ground level – cross the East River to Brooklyn’s Domino Park for one of the best panoramas. But you shouldn’t miss an opportunity to see the city from above. The classic trip up the Art Deco Empire State Building is a must, but has one flaw – you won’t see it in your photos. Pair it with an ascent up the Top of the Rock with its outdoor observation deck, or a breathtaking view from Lower Manhattan’s Freedom Tower whose elevator ride will be a real talking point.

Take a scenic drive through one of the country’s national parks

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Of course there are myriad hiking trails through America’s national parks. To cover more ground, follow one of the scenic roads through the parks and pull off the road to see the highlights. Visitors to Glacier National Park, Montana shouldn’t miss the Going-to-the-Sun road which winds up and over the continental divide and Logan Pass. The fearsome cacti and namesake trees of California’s Joshua Tree National Park are a stone’s throw from the parking lot. Over in Maine, the granite cliffs and picture postcard beaches of Acadia National Park are a delight in summer and autumn.

Shop at an outlet mall

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The range of stock in America’s many outlet malls is as impressive as the price tags, so leave room in your suitcase for a few purchases. From sneakers to suitcases, there are plenty of bargains to be had. You’ll find outlet malls in every state, but some are especially attractive. That’s because each state sets their own sales tax, and some opt for a zero rating. Head to Alaska (though local variations exist), Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire or Oregon to shop tax-free. Elsewhere, you’ll soon get used to the small increase in price you see when your goods are rung up at the till.

Chance your luck in a Vegas casino

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Whether you choose to gamble or not, strolling along the famous Las Vegas strip is a night you won’t want to miss. From the dancing fountains at the Bellagio to a gondola ride along the canal at the Venetian, there’s plenty of ways to experience this larger than life city. Take a spin on the High Roller, the largest observation wheel in the US. Day or night, tour the Neon Museum and see what happens to the old casino signs when they’re no longer needed.

Appreciate the music of the Deep South

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New Orleans knows how to throw a good party but if you’re looking for something a little more authentic than boozy Bourbon Street then the answer isn’t far away. Frenchmen Street is the place to go if you want to hear live jazz, reggae or rock. Head north to Memphis – this Tennessee gem is the home of the blues. Tour the famous Sun Studio and follow it up with an evening out on Beale Street – a treat for music fans. The city’s also home to Graceland. Though Elvis’ mansion isn’t as large as you might expect, a visit to his home is a fascinating flashback to the 1970s – shagpile carpet and all.

Indulge your inner child at a theme park

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Who says theme parks are just for kids? If you’re a parent, you’ll know first-hand how attractive Disney and Universal are to the youngest members of your family. But there’s nothing to stop you experiencing the exhilaration of the thrill rides even if you’re an adult. As well as the mainstream hubs of Florida and California, try Dollywood in Tennessee. Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, the brainchild of country music legend Dolly Parton boasts rides galore and a friendly welcome.

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