Spotlight on Boston (photo via Collette)
Though the US is filled with an abundance of beautiful cities and towns, there are some that absolutely stand out for their rich culture and heritage or absolute uniqueness.
These destinations represent what America is all about – for good or bad. They stand out as beacons of democracy to symbols of excess. But they certainly are major pieces of the puzzle in the make up of the cultural fabric of this country. And if really dig deep enough, we’ll find that without these incredible cities, life as we know it just wouldn’t be the same as they are our symbolic American treasures.
New York City, New York
The Big Apple. There’s no place like it in the whole entire world. Perhaps the most American of all our cities, New York represents the lifeblood of our nation with its symbolic call of freedom to immigrants around the world. And it’s served as the hope of many ambitious Americans that “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere…”
From Wall Street’s skyscrapers to the neon lights of Times Square, the city that never sleeps pulses with constant irrepressible energy and fortitude. Cultural diversity is worshipped here, art and culture are so appreciated, and the city is filled with a myriad of unrivaled restaurants and bars.
Truth be told, there’s something magical about this city, and each time I visit, I find another new reason to fall in love with New York.
There would be no United States if there wasn’t a Boston. Home to the Sons of Liberty and the Freedom Trail, this is where our Revolution was born.
Boston wears on its history on its sleeve like a badge of honor. Everywhere you turn, there’s a piece of the past to remind us of Boston’s rebellious spirit.
Home of the Boston Tea Party, Old Ironsides, Fenway Park, and its iconic sports teams, this city on the bay certainly has a strong New England character with a vibe all of its own.
PHOTO: Sailboat near the Golden Gate bridge. (photo via iStock / Getty Images Plus / pgbrace)
San Francisco, California
San Francisco journalist Herb Caen once said, “One day if I go to heaven, I’ll look around and say ‘It ain’t bad. But it ain’t San Francisco.’”
So, what makes this city one of our top five favorites?
Whether a first visit or a 15th, this beautiful, exciting and diverse town knows how to do it right. San Francisco somehow manages to magically blend its colorful history with cosmopolitan flair.
Home to Alcatraz Prison, iconic Fisherman’s Wharf and Golden Gate Bridge, the ‘ding, ding, ding’ of trolley cars and its vibrant multicultural communities like North Beach and China Town, San Francisco has it all. Even that incredible Boudin’s sourdough bread, classic clam chowder, and lots and lots of fresh seafood.
Let’s face it. Every American needs to get to Hawaii sometime in their life. And while each of the Hawaiian Isles has its own enchantment, Honolulu remains Hawaii’s welcome mat.
Here too, history was made during the bombing of Pearl Harbor which propelled the US into World War II. Waikiki Beach was the siren’s call to the islands during the 1950s and 60s when the film industry introduced us to this tropical aloha paradise.
A rite of passage includes the arduous climb to the top of Diamond Head, the Punchbowl and World War II memorials, a cocktail at the Royal Hawaiian, and posing for a photo alongside native Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku’s surfing statue on the beach.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Nothing can prepare you for your first sight of Las Vegas. Whether you are into gambling or not, Las Vegas is guaranteed to dazzle the senses, disorient and delight.
This adult fantasyland is a lot more than its Sin City moniker. Visitors have to admit that Las Vegas is in a class of its own. Want to see the Eiffel Tower, Roman ruins, the canals of Venice, dancing fountains, or the Statue of Liberty? You’ll find them all here and much more.
Sure, they’re not the real deal, but a trip down the strip is pretty darn impressive and a Vegas vacation is definitely fun escapism. Enough so that Vegas welcomes more than 30 million visitors every year.