Oh hey, United States! The return of the American dream

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n November, it will be 20 months since British tourists have been allowed to visit the United States. As a committed American obsessive – my cowboy boot collection has 12 somewhat outrageous pairs and I’m open to more – I’ve spent a good deal of that time dreaming of the country’s cactus-strewn landscapes, Cinematic highways and neon lights. guests. Not to mention their deliciously seedy dive bars and over-enthusiastic approach to their food portion sizes. Next month, those dreams will come true as North America’s borders finally reopen to European travelers after nearly two years of Covid-related restrictions. But rather than following the crowds on well-traveled trips to New York, Los Angeles, and Miami – we all know what the Empire State Building looks like now, guys – here are the alternative cities and places that should be on top of. your US Vacation Itinerary.

Joshua Tree, California

With its lunar landscape, high-end hidden eateries, and custom-built UFO spotting domes that are seemingly capable of time travel – the latter will be a 1950s-built quirk called the Integratron, which now hosts sound baths and sonic healing sessions – Joshua Tree is a sprawling and quirky place in the Mojave Desert. Accommodation is suitably to the left of the center with fully equipped and kitsch caravans at Lana Del Rey-

Hicksville Trailer Palace-approved, cosmic cowboy rooms at the laid-back Joshua Tree Inn, and pretty cabanas at the Pioneertown Motel, which sits amid old Western movie theater decor. Watch the play by shopping for second-hand fringed jackets from The End or Hoof and the Horn, then feast on seasonal specials (think roasted mini beets with sweet Turkish figs and pistachio pesto) and Desert cocktails. Lily at the elegant La Copine. End your evenings dancing at Pappy and Harriet’s Saloon Bar, which has seen shows from everyone from Paul McCartney to Patti Smith.

Joshua Tree National Park in California

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Nashville, Tennessee

You don’t have to love music to enjoy a trip to Nashville, but it helps. From bustling Broadway bars where live country artists perform every night – our favorite is old school Robert’s Western World – to attractions such as the Country Music Hall of Fame, the recently opened National Museum of African American Music and the Johnny Cash Museum, the traditional sound of America is the cornerstone of this city. Grab a bench for an iconic Ryman gig – Jason Isbell, Anderson East, and Courtney Barnett will all perform there over the next few months – and meet newcomers from America like Sierra Ferrell at Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge.

Stay at the outrageously Instagram-capable 70s-themed Motel The Dive, or immerse yourself in the upscale Hermitage, a five-star Beaux-Arts building that’s also Nashville’s oldest hotel. East Nashville is where you’ll find the city’s coolest residents. They drink coffee at Barista Parlor, which welcomes motorcycles, eat delicious Mexican fast food at Mas Tacos Por Favor, throw beers at Dino’s late-night boozer, and rummage through vintage clothing from High Class Hillbilly. If your stay at Music City USA makes you want to make your own sweet sounds, then exercise your vocal cords at Santa’s Pub – a rowdy but friendly karaoke bar in a trailer where it’s Christmas every day.

Neon signs light up Broadway in Nashville

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Tucson, Arizona

It might only be an hour’s flight from Los Angeles, but the best way to get there is by taking an overnight sleeper car on an iconic Amtrak train. Despite being Arizona’s second largest city, Tucson has small town charm with many neighborhoods of Spanish “barrios” and a stunning skyline that sees it dominated by four desert mountain ranges. different. Immerse yourself in the spectacular scenery of the vast Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum and its breathtaking botanical garden. You’ll easily spend an entire day gazing at gigantic cacti, trekking desert trails, and spotting mountain lions, black bears, and gray wolves. Stay in casita-style rooms at The Arizona Inn, a 1930s hotel with pink stucco walls and lush landscaped gardens, and eat vegan tostadas at Barrio Charro. Mezcal fans will be in the alcohol-soaked nirvana at El Crisol, which features 150 kinds of punchy, smoky big sisters of tequila, each served with a matching snack. For something a little less boozy, try Exo Roast, a café that shares the same industrial space. Those of a Gothic persuasion might want to embrace the darkness (or maybe just an Old Fashioned) at The Owl’s Club, a chic cocktail bar in a former funeral home.

Barton Springs in Austin, Texas

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Austin, Texas

Known for its scorching – and often unbearable – summers, fall is the perfect time of year to take a trip to the Texas capital of all things alt. Known for its thriving food scene as well as its laid back attitude, any trip to Austin should pass through the extremely pedestrianized South Congress district.

Check into the chic Hotel San Jose or the more rock’n’roll Hotel Saint Cecilia, which has a lending library of Gibson vinyls and guitars. Then you’ll be a short distance from caffeine refills at Jo’s Coffee, music at the Continental Club, perfect pizza at Home Slice, and fresh seafood at Perla’s. Cross the Colorado River that cuts the city in half and you’ll find the Shangri-La Tiki Bar for happy hour cocktails and the Vegas Hotel for shows of local punk acts. Incredible food trucks are also dotted around the city – miss them at your own risk. If the weather is still a little too humid for your liking, cool off at Barton Springs, a beautiful outdoor swimming lake that makes Kenwood Ladies’ Pond look like a puddle.

The French Quarter of New Orleans

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New Orleans, Louisiana

Beautiful, complex and fascinating, New Orleans more than deserves its reputation as America’s most magical city. Like Nashville, there’s music in its bones, with jazz and blues oozing from bustling Frenchmen Street bars like the cozy Spotted Cat. Step back in time at the atmospheric Preservation Hall of the French Quarter and let yourself be wowed by their world-renowned house band before stopping off at the 24-hour Café Du Monde, which has served chicory coffee and sugar-dusted donuts since 1862 Food is important in New Orleans; the best barbecued beef brisket can be found at The Joint, and you’ll feast on classic Creole dishes like shrimp clemenceau and crayfish stew at Dooky Chase’s.

Try the city’s punchy signature cocktail in the art deco splendor of the Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel and for something completely different, Bud Rips Pique is great for no-frills beers and for making new friends around. a glass of whiskey. Connect with the spiritual side of New Orleans with a tour of the spooky St Louis No1 Cemetery and a visit to the Historical Voodoo Museum where you can stock up on spells and potions. A dip in the pool at the LGBTQ + friendly Country Club – which also hosts a drag brunch – is a must, while rooms at the Royal Street Inn provide a unique alternative to Airbnb, which has been criticized for pushing residents more poor out of town.

House Of Vintage Savers’ Paradise

Portland, Oregon

With a pleasantly familiar climate, gray skies and a generous seasoning of rain, you don’t go to Portland to laze on the beach, but rather browse the shelves of the world’s largest independent bookstore Powell’s, drinking Bordeaux wine rock ‘ n’roll bar The Old Portland and delve into Persian love cake at Tusk Middle Eastern Restaurant. Lean into the Pacific Northwest’s penchant for all things plaid and pine at the Doug Fir Lounge, a log cabin-style bar and concert hall that comes straight out of Twin Peaks and features live entertainment. upcoming shows by Laura Marling and Martha Wainwright. The Sandy Hut is also great for a beer, especially when followed by a sweet hunter from the cult bakery Voodoo Donuts, possibly visited wearing your purchases from House Of Vintage thrifters’ paradise, a treasure trove of t-shirts and of mini-dresses from the 60s. Head down to the chic Heathman Hotel, which will be familiar to fans of 50 Shades of Gray or The Ace Hotel, which offers an in-store sleepover experience.


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