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Some of the most popular attractions should be visited as early in the day as you can make, to reducing queuing time and guarantee entry. Some US cities sell passes that include free or reduced entry to several city sights Americans are famously welcoming – if you're looking for any recommendations for what to see, try asking anyone working at your hotel or restaurant.

American Iconic USA Highlights

LA has the ‘Hollywood’ sign and the Walk of Fame, and trips around the areas where stars live.

Texas has some great sites that are highly significant to US history and culture. The building where Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK now holds a dedicated museum, and there’s the NASA Mission Control at Houston.

Chicago, the home of Motown, has numerous top class sights including Sears Tower.

Niagara Falls marks the boundary between the USA and Canada, and is a must-see destination.

Iconic USA

New York City is a US icon in itself, with Central Park, Times Square and numerous other sights that you can see simply wandering the city. However, the Statue of Liberty is the most American of monuments, and arguably the top sight in the entire country – try to get there early. Visit the observation deck of the Empire State Building, and head to the fantastic Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art. Have a hot dog on the city streets, ride on the subway, shop at Macy's and the Apple Store, go for a cocktail at a Sex and the City-esque bar. Just being there is an iconic experience.

Nevada is the location of Vegas, that all-America pleasure capital. Wander around the various hotels that are meant to look like they belong somewhere else – the ones themed around Venice and Egypt are the most famous, but there are many others. Play slot machines, pontoon or roulette. And check who is playing Vegas before you go – there are always superstars in residence, but failing that you can go to burlesque clubs, comedians, circuses and just about any other form of staged entertainment you care to mention. You can also get a trip out to Area 51. As all X Files fans know, this is where the US military have regular meetings with aliens and develop elaborate Bond-villian style weapons. You can't actually go in the base because you'd be shot (or otherwise won't be rejoining the tour group for the rest of the journey), but you can tour around the exterior and see where UFOs have recently been spotted, as well as some genuine Men In Black.

Tennessee is a must-see destination for those who are interested in American music. Nashville is the capital of the country scene – visit the Grand Ole Oprey and see whoever is playing the local C&W pubs. For those who are a little bit trendier, Nashville is great for star spotting – Ben Folds and the Kings of Leon stay here. Memphis is the birthplace of the blues – go drinking on Beale Street to enjoy some local artists, or play your harmonica down by the Mississippi. However, it's more famous as the location of Gracelands, home of Elvis Presley. Go in January or August, which are Birth and Death Weeks, to enjoy the impersonators and general Elvis-mania at its height. Kids may enjoy a trip to Dollywood, the Dolly Parton theme park.

Arizona is where you go to see the Grand Canyon. There are various hiking trails along this magnificent natural spectacle, and you're likely to see coyotes and, if you're lucky, a condor. If walking doesn't appear, then there's whitewater rafting, air safaris, jeep safaris and more – just about any form of transport you can think of can be utilised to see the Grand Canyon. Arizona is also the location of Tombstone, the setting and inspiration for dozens of Wild West films. Visit the OK Corrall, see a Wild West show, take a history tour and walk into a bar with swinging doors and ask for their strongest whisky.

San Francisco's main sight is the Golden Gate Bridge, but there's plenty more to see here. Go to a trip to Alcatraz island, formerly home to one of the most forbidding prisons in the world. You can also wander around Russian Hill, have a drink on the pier, and take a cruise to the sea lion colony.


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