Downtime in the USA
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is known for great food (you won’t find better grits – ground-corn porridge – on the planet) and colourful history. But why do travellers return year after year? We’ll blame the genuine Southern hospitality this city extends to each and every visitor.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Is there any possible way Las Vegas could not be on our ‘best nightlife’ list? The only way we could possibly omit it is on a technicality—since you can do pretty much anything 24/7 in Vegas, it might be wrong to call it ‘nightlife’.
Seattle’s petite downtown area and many attractions make it possible to pack a week’s experience into a weekend. Grab a latte and start at the world-famous Pike Place Market. Watch the fish fly and then head to the Space Needle for a dramatic view of the city and its surrounding waters. Return to earth and jump aboard a moonlit dinner cruise to Blake Island or canoe through the arboretum.
San Francisco, California
Who cares about a little fog (okay, a lot of fog) when there’s so much to do in San Francisco? By day, explore Fisherman’s Wharf and the Aquarium of the Bay, ride a cable car, and stroll around the Presidio. By night, have a fabulous dinner (at a Michelin-starred restaurant or a tiny place in Chinatown), then hit some of the best clubs on the West Coast.
Washington, District of Columbia
Make sure you bring cash to Washington, DC. Not that it’s expensive (actually, many museums are free) or that no-one accepts plastic (they do)—it’s just an awful lot of fun to hold up a $5 bill next to the actual Lincoln Memorial, or a $20 in front of the White House. In between touring monuments and historical sights, check out the quirky International Spy Museum, watch pandas at the National Zoo, or catch a military band playing an outdoor concert on Capitol Hill.
New Orleans, Louisiana
As a visitor in New Orleans, you can expect the locals to pull out all the stops to show you a good time. And it’s way more than just a demonstration of Southern hospitality—‘laisser les bon temps rouler’, or ‘let the good times roll’ is the city’s unofficial motto. So take a tour of the elegant Garden District, hit a jazz club, dine at the Commander’s Palace, or join the crowds on Bourbon Street. The Big Easy has much to celebrate these days, now that it’s had some time to rebuild from Hurricane Katrina, and you’ll be welcomed with open arms.
Palm Springs, California
Looking to relax in the sun? Palm Springs, with 354 days of sunshine per year, might be the place for you. Relax poolside or visit one of the many area spas… or tour some fantastic examples of mid-century modern architecture.
San Diego, California
Looking for a classic California beach experience, with a boardwalk, beach volleyball, even a classic amusement park? You can find it at Mission Beach in San Diego. After you’re done swimming and sunning, hit one of the many beachside restaurants and bars for some live music, dancing and a tropical drink.
St Louis, Missouri
The history of St Louis has been heavily influenced by westward expansion and blues music. The big must-see in this region is the Gateway Arch, while other important sites include the Museum of Westward Expansion, the St Louis Cathedral and the Anheuser-Busch factory tour. The city offers plenty for the whole family. Children will enjoy the local zoo and the Magic House, while family members will also want to unwind at Forest Park, home to the World’s Fair almost a century ago.
Any place can have an amazing pool and spa, but an amazing pool and spa in the middle of a gorgeous desert? That’s what you’ll find at Sedona’s resorts. If you do feel like taking a break from lounging poolside and sampling different kinds of massages, you’ll find miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback tours. Afterward, of course, you’ll need another massage. It’s the good kind of vicious cycle.