Anyone who knows me knows that I’m obsessed with travel. I mean, obviously, I have a blog dedicated to it. I specifically love traveling around Europe – there’s just something about the culture, the cities, and the lifestyle that I just absolutely adore. Although I’ve been on my fair share of trips through Europe, I also think I’ve visited my fair share of great destinations here in the good ol’ US of A. I have a never-ending list of “places I must go to before I die” (don’t we all) around the world, but my list of cities here in the states keeps growing as well!
I’ve been to some great places in the US. New Mexico, New York City, Boston and Cape Cod, Savannah, Asheville, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Washington D.C., and the mountains of Colorado. Not to mention Houston, New Orleans, and the beaches of the Gulf Coast numerous times.
But a couple of weeks ago when I was having dinner with my family, we somehow got to going around the table and saying our top 5 places we want to visit in the US. And I started thinking – only 5??? That’s really hard! As much as I always dream about moving out the of US and living in another country, there are still places here at home that I’m dying to see! I really thought about it and finally came up with my Top 5 list.
1. SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
San Francisco will always be #1 on my US must-go list until, well, I go there. My parents went to San Fran for their honeymoon, and I’ve heard great things from them, and basically anyone else who’s ever visited. I’ve read a lot about San Francisco – about how you can see/do like 10 great things in a day because its not too big, about its rich history, and about its all around awesomeness. San Francisco is said to be great for people who love outdoors, food, and great scenery. And hey! That’s me! Here are my top 5 touristy things I have to do when I finallyyyy visit:
- Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge (obviously).
- Go shopping on Fillmore Street.
- See the city from a cable car.
- Visit Fisherman’s Wharf.
- Go to Chinatown and EATTTTT.
2. CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
Charleston is one of the most unique-looking cities I’ve ever laid eyes on……in pictures of course. During one of my family’s many interesting road trips, we actually passed through Charleston for a night during our trip to Georgia and the Carolinas. But we got there at night and it was STORMING. So I wasn’t able to see any of Charleston. We got some dinner and went back to the hotel, unable to do much since it was so late and so..WET.
And its such a shame because Charleston looks so picturesque and charming. It actually reminds me somewhat of New Orleans. (This is based on photos I’ve seen, so I could be totally off here.) One of these days when I’m in between European extravaganzas, I’m going to take a road trip up there, and I’m already making a list of what I’ll do:
- Browse the mansion on The Battery and visit the nearby White Point Gardens.
- Have a lazy day at the beach
- Shop at the Charleston City Market.
- Take a bike tour! Because I love touristy stuff like that.
- Eat my weight in seafood.
3. Seattle, Washington
I feel like visiting Seattle would give me a great mixture of both city and nature. Its location right on the upper left-hand corner of the US map gives it a sense of mystery since its so far from me. Seattle is popular for some of my favorite things on this earth – Coffee and music. It boasts tons of record stores, concerts, and shows, AND its the origin of Starbucks. Need I say more? I’m dying to go check out Seattle’s eclectic vibe! Here’s my I’ve-never-been-to-Seattle-so-I’ve-got-to-do-tourist-attractions-on-my-first-visit list:
- Wander around/drink in Beacon Hill.
- Hop around the San Juan Islands.
- Visit Pike’s Place Market (and see the original Starbucks!!!!!!).
- Check out local record stores and try to find vinyls of some good ol’ Seattle grunge.
- Get a panoramic view of the city from the Space Needle (if I’m feeling really touristy).
4. Chicago, Illonois
Chi-Town. Why oh why have I not made it out to Chi-town???? Chicago apparently has some of the world’s best dining, shopping, attractions, architecture and hotels and yet I’ve never been. So, this needs to be changed immediately. Ideally, I would loveeeee to go to Chicago for the huge music fest Lollapalooza (its on my bucket list). But Lolla aside, I think this city has some fantastic attractions to offer! And, I hear its beautiful in both the summer and winter (but SUPER SUPER cold in the winter). Here’s my personal Chicago to-do list:
- Bike the lakefront.
- Millennium Park and the Bean (One does not simply go to Chicago without seeing this.)
- Eat, eat, and eat some more in Fulton Market.
- Wander around downtown and admire the buildings and architecture.
- Visit some of Chicago’s neighborhoods for dining/drinking.
5. Maui, Hawaii
Ok, so I kind of cheated with this one. Technically Maui isn’t a city, its an island. But I ain’t apologizing. Its my list so I can break my own rules. If I could, I would put the whole state of Hawaii on my list because I would love to just go there in general! But, I tried to narrow it down a little to just an island. And with its stunning beaches and amazing marine life, Maui just drew me in. Out of all of the tourist attractions I’ve read about, these stick out to me the most:
- Visit Haleakalā National Park, the “House of the Sun.”
- Rent a car and drive down to the quiet, coastal town of Hana.
- Go zip lining!
- Visit the eclectic town of Paia.
- Spend a day doing absolutely nothing on the beach. Ah, paradise.
As you can see, my US dream destinations range from tropical paradise to mountains to a bustling city. Obviously I have more than 5 US cities I haven’t been to but want to, and have more than 5 things I want to do in each of these cities, but this was just on my mind so I thought I’d share!
Runner ups for this list include: Portland, Miami, San Diego, Nashville, Aspen, and Phoenix.
I would seriously LOVE suggestions. Have you been to any of these places? Are they all as great as they seem? Are Seattle and Portland really THAT similar? (I’ve heard this from several people.) Are there things I left off of my must-do touristy things for these cities that you totally recommend? Let me know because I will one day go to all these places and would love as many suggestions as I can get!