Enormous and staggeringly diverse, America harbors an astounding collection of natural and cultural wonders, from teeming city streets to mountains, plains and forests covering vast swaths of the continent.
Bright Lights, Big Cities
America is the birthplace of LA, Las Vegas, Chicago, Miami, Boston and New York City – each a brimming metropolis whose name alone conjures a million different notions of culture, cuisine and entertainment. Look more closely, and the American quilt unfurls in all its surprising variety: the eclectic music scene of Austin, the easy-going charms of antebellum Savannah, the ecoconsciousness of free-spirited Portland, the magnificent waterfront of San Francisco, and the captivating old quarters of New Orleans, still rising up from its waterlogged ashes.
On the Road Again
This is a country of road trips and great open skies, where four million miles of highways lead past red-rock deserts, below towering mountain peaks, and across fertile wheat fields that roll off toward the horizon. The sun-bleached hillsides of the Great Plains, the lush rain forests of the Pacific Northwest and the scenic country lanes of New England are a few fine starting points for the great American road trip.
Cuisine is another way of illuminating the American experience. On one evening in the US, thick barbecue ribs and smoked brisket come piping hot at a Texas roadhouse; over 1500 miles away, talented chefs blend organic, fresh-off-the-farm produce with Asian accents at award- winning West Coast restaurants. A smattering of locals get their fix of bagels and lox at a century-old deli in Manhattan's Upper West Side, while several states away, plump pancakes and fried eggs disappear in a hurry under the clatter of cutlery at a 1950s-style diner. Steaming plates of fresh lobster served off a Maine pier, oysters and champagne in a fashion-forward wine bar in California, beer and pizza at a Midwestern pub – these are just a few ways to dine à la Americana.
The world's third-largest nation has made tremendous contributions to the arts. Georgia O'Keeffe's wild landscapes, Robert Rauschenberg's surreal collages, Alexander Calder's elegant mobiles and Jackson Pollock's drip paintings have entered the vernacular of modern 20th-century art. Cities like Chicago and New York have become veritable drawing boards for the great archi- tects of the modern era. Musically speaking, America has few peers on the world stage. From the soulful blues born in the Mississippi Delta to the bluegrass of Appalachia and Detroit's Motown sound, plus jazz, funk, hip-hop, country, and rock and roll – America has invented sounds that are integral to modern music.
Best places to stay in the USA
USA travel guide
The great American experience is about so many things: bluegrass and beaches, snow-covered peaks and redwood forests, restaurant-loving cities and big open skies.
Visiting California's Wine Country
Lonely Planet has produced this article for Visit California. All editorial views are those of Lonely Planet alone and reflect our policy of editorial independence and impartiality. Vineyards never feel very far away in California, where world-beating wines await...
Native American encounters
Road Trippin' USA
Eastern USA travel guide
Flanked by mega-cities New York City and Chicago; landscaped with dune-backed beaches, smoky mountains and gator swamps; and steeped in musical roots, the East rolls out a sweet trip.
How to party like it's the 4th of July (on the 4th of July)
Ever wonder why July 4 is so often called 'the 4th of July' around the USA? And not just ol' 'July 4'? No other date regularly gets that days-of-old construction. And for a day steeped in national independence, it gets it wrong...
The Wild West
Western USA travel guide
Landscapes and legends draw adventurers to the West, where a good day includes locavore dining, vineyard wine-sipping, cowboy history and outdoor fun.
Grand Canyon All American Helicopter Tour
Take off from Las Vegas Airport on an exhilarating helicopter flight to the Grand Canyon. You'll enjoy a 45-minute helicopter flight each way, land deep in the canyon for a champagne picnic, and fly low over the famous Las Vegas neon Strip on your return.
Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam Day Trip from Las Vegas with Optional Skywalk
Hit the highway out of Las Vegas and spend the day touring the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam. On this day trip you'll have four hours at the Grand Canyon, with the option of walking on the popular Grand Canyon Skywalk for panoramic 360-degree views.
Mammoth beyond the mountain
Lonely Planet has produced this article for Mammoth Lakes Tourism. All editorial views are those of Lonely Planet alone and reflect our policy of editorial independence and impartiality...
Discover USA travel guide
Enormous in size and staggeringly diverse, the USA harbors astounding wonders. The sheer variety is simplybreathtaking, from teeming city streets to mountains,coastlines and forests.
Sights in USA
Activities in USA
Tours in USA
Restaurants in USA
Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
The moment you arrive in the Golden State, you may suspect you’ve been cast as the ingenue in a road-trip movie. Everything seems staged for a script riddled with exclamation points: no way are they going to surf those skyscraper-sized waves at Mavericks! Brrrrrrr...