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
Thie USA is a country of road trips and great open skies, where four million miles of highways lead past red-rock deserts and more.
What are your travel resolutions for 2014?
Let's face it. As soon as the last New Year's balloons have deflated, your resolve to be a fitter, healthier superhuman in 2014 will be as flat as morning-after champagne.
Native American encounters
Road Trippin' USA
Discover USA travel guide
Enormous in size and staggeringly diverse, America harbors an astounding collection of natural and cultural wonders.
The moment you arrive in the Golden State), you may suspect you’ve been cast as the ingenue in a road-trip movie.
Ask the experts: where to go in January
The mind wanders to enticingly unvisited corners of the map as a new year approaches and travel plans begin to take shape. But where should those looking for a quick getaway go to make the most of January? From Scottish fire festivals to spending quality time with the Sphinx, Lonely Planet's destination experts have the answers.
The Wild West
USA - Planning (Chapter)
Your journey to USA starts here.
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.
Cheese travel: tips from a cheesemonger
Gordon Edgar is the cheese buyer for San Francisco’s famous Rainbow Grocery Cooperative (rainbow.coop), a store that is well-known by Bay Area food-lovers for having an amazingly well-stocked and diverse cheese selection.
Southwest USA - Planning (Chapter)
Your journey to Southwest USA starts here.
Sights in USA
Activities in USA
Tours in USA
Restaurants in USA
Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
Welcome to iconic America, the luscious backdrop of movie Westerns and the red-rock land of limitless horizons.