The Cultureur 100: 100 Things to Do in the United States

Words by:

Nyssa P. Chopra
100 Things to Do in the United States
If you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ll know I love creating series — Deconstructed!, 15 Foods You Must Try in…, Eat, Play, Stay Luxe City Guides, 100 Reasons to Travel, and the list goes on. So I bring you a new series today — The Cultureur 100. It’s a list of things to do, see, and eat in a particular country with an emphasis on luxury travel, local culture, lifestyle, and food. It’s a blend of my tried and tested recommendations and my bucket list, so it’s by no means a comprehensive list, but rather personal advice I give to someone when they ask me, “What should I do in…?”

Up first in the series is my home country, the United States.
  1. EMBARK on an architectural tour through Los Angeles to see the incredibly diverse architecture and vibrant urban design scapes such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House and Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall
  2. RENT paddle boats on the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. to enjoy the Japanese Cherry Blossoms and the historical monuments from an unique vantage pointcherryblossom
  3. ROVE about Death Valley National Park in California (and parts of Nevada), where the seemingly barren landscape holds many beautiful surprises (it’s known as the hottest, driest, and lowest point in the United States)
  4. EAT dim sum in the oldest China Town in the country – San Francisco
  5. ACQUAINT yourself with American history by visiting major Civil War battlefield sites such as Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; Appomattox Court House, Virginia; and Fort Sumter, South Carolina (you can even watch reenactments throughout the year)
  6. REFINE your wine expertise with a master sommelier class at the Bellagio in Las Vegas (cooking classes are offered too) or attend Vegas Uncork’d – an annual culinary extravaganza
  7. PAY homage to American Civil Rights heroes and social justice icons at the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta
  8. TOUR Ellis Island in New York City to peek into an integral part of the history of American immigration
  9. ENJOY wine tasting in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys in California
  10. GAWK at the grandiose Grand Canyon in a scenic helicopter ride
  11. TAKE a tour through the Ivy League education jungle at one of the 8 campuses
  12. VISIT the Lucy Desi Center for Comedy in Jamestown, New York to celebrate America’s favorite redhead, Lucille Ball and to promote the comedic arts
  13. SKI through the Rocky Mountains in Colorado—some of the best slopes in the United States
  14. INDULGE in a night of classic luxury with a stay at the Plaza Hotel in New York City (don’t forget to head to the Caudalie Vinothérapie Spa for the wine-centric wellness treatments)
  15. SURPRISE yourself with the autumnal glory and fall foliage of the New England region (a walk through Central Park is a must!)
  16. DRIVE up and down California’s most scenic path, Pacific Coast Highway in a convertible (Big Sur cannot be missed!)
  17. ATTEND a Broadway musical in New York City
  18. TREK up to Gilroy, California to attend one of the largest food festivals in the U.S. – the Gilroy Garlic Festival and sample a diverse range of garlic creations (including garlic ice cream!)
  19. GO to the U.S. Open—1 of 4 Grand Slam tennis tournaments—in Flushing, New York at the end of August/beginning of September
  20. KAYAK off the shore of Connecticut through the Thimble Islands, an archipelago that consists of hundreds of tiny islands
  21. DINE at Michelin-starred Alinea in Chicago for a full-fledged culinary experience that combines food with science and art
  22. PICK apples at eight-generations-old Dwight Miller Orchards in Vermont
  23. BITE into an In-N-Out burger at least once while in California to see what a truly amazing hamburger should taste like
  24. EXPLORE the Ozark Caverns in Missouri – famous for their unusual “angel showers”
  25. GAZE at the gorgeous sunrise from Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain in Acadia National Park and along the eastern coast of the United States
  26. PARTICIPATE in or watch the original Ironman World Championship in Hawaii
  27. WITNESS the beautiful cherry blossoms in full bloom in the springtime in Washington, D.C.
  28. TAKE IN stunning aerial views (around sunset hour or beyond) of Chicago while sipping on delicious cocktails at The Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building
  29. FISH the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland to scope out more than 350 species of fish (don’t forget to try some of the finest crabcakes around!)
  30. DIVE in the beautiful Florida Keys – the third largest barrier reef system in the world
  31. WANDER through the endless gourmet coffee shops in Seattle – the city known for the best coffee in the U.S. – with a book in hand
  32. SAMPLE local specialties, unusual eats, and iconic treats on a food tour through the countless foodie hotspots in New York City, from hole-in-the-wall joints to fancy gourmet restaurants
  33. PLAN a visit to Alaska to see the amazing Northern Lights, usually from September to March
  34. TRAVEL across the country on a road trip (Route 66, anyone?), or better yet, by train travel
  35. STUFF your face in the Windy City with deep-dish pizza – the culinary pride of Chicago (try Lou Malnati’s, Gino’s East, or Giordano’s)giordanos watermark
  36. SHOP ‘til you drop (or go window shopping/people watching) on the famed Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills
  37. HEAD to the U.S. Supreme Court (at select times) in Washington, D.C. for special access to argument sessions and court hearings
  38. STAND in Times Square, New York City on New Year’s Eve to watch the historic ball drop at midnight
  39. CELEBRATE Groundhog Day (February 2) with Punxsutawney Phil in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania and watch as he makes predictions for the remainder of winter
  40. SECURE tickets in advance to your favorite T.V. show/movie taping in Los Angeles
  41. RESERVE a table at French Laundry in Yountville, California to indulge in an exquisite dining experience
  42. LISTEN to country music to your heart’s content in its epicenter in Nashville
  43. WALK the Hollywood Walk of Fame – a collection of more than 2,500 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars commemorating celebrities, artists, and all those Tinseltown titans that have forever changed Hollywood
  44. SAUNTER through the corridors of the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City
  45. POP over to Key West to sample one of America’s beloved sweet treats that dates back to the late 19th century – key lime pie (it was invented here!)
  46. UNLEASH your inner photographer and go on an urban photo expedition through San Francisco/New York City (or Alaska/Wyoming for stunning natural landscapes)
  47. GET stuck between some of the most beautiful cliffs and canyons at Zion and Bryce National Parks in Utah
  48. STEP into the fashion world by attending Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City (February and September)
  49. CYCLE the Deschutes River Trail in Oregon to ride through some breathtaking forests, meadows, and waterfalls
  50. HIKE Glacier National Park in Montana – a true hiker’s paradise
  51. DISCOVER the rich history of the American Revolution on the 2.5-mile stretch of the Freedom Trail in Boston
  52. TREAT yourself to the ultimate mineral spa experience at The Greenbrier Spa in West Virginia (bathe in the white sulphur spring waters!)
  53. GOLF at The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach for an incredible experience that includes dramatic rolling hills and fantastic ocean viewsColiseum Pool at the Resort at Pelican Hill
  54. FROLIC through the perfectly manicured gardens of the Getty Center in Los Angeles (don’t miss the stunning city panoramas at night!)
  55. SETTLE on an afternoon of art and culture at the Art Institute of Chicago
  56. RELAX and rejoice with sushi, cocktails, and ocean views at the famous beachfront Nobu in Malibu
  57. PARK yourself at one of the pavement cafes in Miami and people-watch your heart out – so many larger-than-life personalities in one city
  58. TRY a traditional lobster roll in Connecticut – the famed birthplace of the delicacy
  59. DO yourself a favor and indulge in the fine culinary culture of San Francisco (think: sourdough bread, salt water taffy, Ghirardelli chocolate, coffee, clam chowder, and so much more!)
  60. CHECK in at legendary Palmer House, a Hilton Hotel in Chicago – known as the oldest American hotel in continual operation and/or the Waldorf Astoria, New York – the first hotel in the world to offer room service
  61. HAVE a traditional Thanksgiving feast
  62. ALLOW yourself plenty of time to hop through the many museums in Washington, D.C. including the Smithsonian Complex and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
  63. BRUNCH on Sundays at the glorious Navio at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay
  64. CIRCLE around the technology giants’ headquarters (think: Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitter, etc.) in Silicon Valley (do your homework beforehand because access isn’t easy!)
  65. SAVOR every bite of a Sprinkles cupcake, which can be bought from 1 of its 11 stores throughout the U.S., its Cupcake ATMs, or its Sprinklesmobile.
  66. LUXURIATE in an ultra-exclusive luxury resort, Amangani in Jackson Hole, Wyoming—with a suite that overlooks the majestic Grand Tetons, you’ll never want to leave
  67. WALTZ over to Laguna Beach to attend the Pageant of the Masters—an annual festival known for its tableaux vivants or “living pictures” in which classical and contemporary works of art are recreated by real people
  68. SOAK up the flavors of live jazz music in New Orleans, heard at just about every corner (it’s arguably the birthplace of the genre)
  69. DRINK your way through a bourbon distillery tour in Kentucky—the birthplace of this beloved American spirit
  70. EXPERIENCE a poignant part of the United States by learning about the first settlers—Native Americans—in the town of Taos Pueblo, New Mexico (the entire community is made up of adobe buildings and has been around for more than a thousand years)
  71. CATCH a summer flick at an outdoor movie screening/drive-in theater in Los Angeles (don’t forget to chow down on all the yummy foods at nearby food trucks)
  72. FEEL the blues presence all over Memphis, Tennessee, especially around Beale Street Historic District, where W.C. Handy (“the Father of the Blues”) penned the first Blues song
  73. BRING an appetite for all things fried to the annual State Fair of Texas in Dallas—it’s the biggest one in the United States
  74. MARVEL at Mount Rushmore, the approximate 1.3-acre granite sculpture of 4 beloved U.S. presidents (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln) in Keystone, South Dakota
  75. UNDERSTAND what football and baseball mean to *some* Americans and try catching a live game to see the sports in all their glory
  76. BASK in the glory of Lanikai, Oahu with pristine sands, turquoise water, calm waves, and lush tropical plants
  77. ADMIRE the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia and appreciate all that symbolizes—truly a treasured emblem of American independence
  78. WORK your way through the pumpkin patches in Portland (or the New England states) during the autumn months, especially around Halloween in October
  79. POSE in front of The Bean in Millennium Park in Chicago—picture perfectchicago photo essay slider
  80. DELVE into historical cinema by taking a Gone With the Wind tour in and around Atlanta
  81. RIDE your bike (or walk) along the beautiful Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge across the Cooper River in Charleston
  82. SIP on a potent cocktail while admiring the glittering lights of Los Angeles at Perch LA, Standard Downtown, Yamashiro, or ABH at the Thompson
  83. LEARN about hundreds of years of Spanish history at Balboa Park and Old Town in San Diego—watch a live show in the Old Globe Theater
  84.  SLIP into a night of luxury beyond your wildest dreams at the Presidential Suite at the Mandarin Oriental in New York City
  85. HANG out with polar bears in their real home at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska
  86. DESCEND the steep slopes of the Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado on your sandboard
  87. CLIMB Barnegat Lighthouse on Long Beach Island in New Jersey, all 217 steps
  88. BE amazed at the sight of thousands of hot-air balloons being unleashed into the vast expanse of the blue sky at the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque—wait for the night ascent too (it’s magical!)
  89. SASHAY down Fifth Avenue in New York City during the festive month of December—watch the spectacular display of lights, marvel at the elaborate shop windows, go iceskating in Central Park, etc. (very few places can rival NYC during Christmas time!)
  90. LOSE yourself in Powell’s City of Books in Portland—believed to be the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world
  91. WATCH the quintessential Southern California sunsets from one of the many beaches along the Pacific coast—Laguna Beach, La Jolla Shores, Salt Creek, Malibu, and Corona del Mar are good places to start
  92. PEEK into the largest private estate in the United States at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville—built by George Washington Vanderbilt II in the late 1800s, it’s one of the most prominent examples of the Gilded Age
  93. SPEAK with real members of the Amish community and learn about the Amish way of life in Pennsylvania Dutch Country in Lancaster
  94. TASTE a part of American history at the Harland Sanders Museum and Cafe in Corbin—the museum was formerly the home of Harland—a.k.a. Colonel—Sanders and was where the fast-food chain, Kentucky Fried Chicken got its start
  95. ESCAPE the busy urban rhythm and head to the beach boardwalks to soak up the romantic vibes of vintage America—Ocean City, Maryland, Coney Island, New York, and Atlantic City, New Jersey are good places to start
  96. STROLL through all the breweries in Vermont—it has the most breweries per capita of any state (check out Magic Hat Brewery in South Burlington)
  97. ROAM the small quaint town of Hershey, Pennsylvania—the chocolate capital of the United States (you’ll notice Hershey’s Kiss lamp posts and pungent cocoa aromas sweep through the entire area)
  98. UNCOVER the 27,000-square-mile Navajo Nation across Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico—home to many tribal parks, sacred monuments, and historical sites
  99. DIG for diamonds and learn about diamond mines at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, the only diamond-bearing site accessible to the public
  100. RECONNECT with the United States of yesterday as you roam through the former corridors of power at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and George Washington’s Mount VernonMonticello

How many have you done? What would YOU add to the list?

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