Times Square, New York
Possibly the best season in Washington DC, cherry blossom time in March. Photo by Al Jazeera.
Europeans heading for the USA?
You are required to complete an online authorisation form 72-hours before you fly. However, you will not have to specify precisely when you are travelling and the authorisation you receive will last for two years.
This system applies to those using the Visa Waiver Program which allows British passport holders to stay in America for less than 90 days without a visa.
Best US Cities for Tourists
New York – a vibrant culture with a lot of attitude, top class entertainment, fantastic sights and skyline, great restaurants and one of the best places to shop on the planet.
San Francisco – the hills, the quaint wooden houses, the cocktail of modern city life stirred with bohemian cool, gay abandon and over-touristy but still popular Fisherman’s Wharf make this a city as unique and splendid as the iconic bridge and its nearby Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Washington DC – for the incredible spread of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, White House and other much-filmed government buildings, plus an extensive range of superb museums.
Miami – warm waters, white beaches and a colourful Art Deco buildings set off Miami’s vibrant, mixed-culture lifestyle while it’s just a short ride to the Everglades or the Florida Keys (islands) for wildlife and watersports. Sun and heat are common but not guaranteed.
Los Angeles – car oriented and careless but Venice beach is super cool, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive and Santa Monica are super elegant, there are movie associations galore, the weather, shopping and eating are superb and tourists will certainly see people who look like stars or think they should be stars. Superb museums, and easy access to great theme parks as well as great real green parks.
Las Vegas– another astonishing must-see in the US, a fantasy city surrounded by desert, Las Vegas is variously billed as The Entertainment Capital of the World, The Gambling Capital of the World, Capital of Second Chances, and The Marriage Capital of the World.
As a tourist the main attractions are the shows – which are world-class but not cheap, the incredible architecture along the strip, a little gambling if only to see what all the fuss is about (our advice is don’t start with more than $100 in your pocket! ), and proximity to some wonderful sights outside the city, such as several spectacular canyons (including Grand Canyon), the epic Hoover Dam and more.
Best States for Tourists
California, for almost everything you could ask from a state; cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara; a beautiful coastline, good beaches, surf, mountains, deserts, theme parks.
Miami South Beach at Lummus Park, Florida. Photo by Thelmadatter.
Utah, home of some of the world’s most dramatic National Parks including Zion Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and the north rim of the Grand Canyon.
Florida, for fun in the sun in colourful, multicultural Miami; white beaches, islands and brilliant blue seas; the swampy shrinking wilderness of the Everglades; fantastic theme parks in Orlando and rocket science at NASA.
Colorado, for outdoor sights and activities – the most mountainous of the states, with superb ski resorts, great hiking and rafting.
Massachusetts, for history lessons in cultured and classy Boston, quaint and historic surroundings.
Dog Sleds in Denali National Park, Alaska. Photo by Jacob W.
Alaska, for pristine wilderness , a massive expanse of stunning, peaky landscapes and glassy fjords with little but wild things for company, especially whales and bears in the summertime. The hiking is immense, but Alaska offers plenty of other activities too, including great driving or ship cruises for those of a less active persuasion. Tours are convenient as it’s a massive state and transport or accommodation not necessarily easy to find.