National parks to man-made wonders, quiet cities with the old world charm to the busiest and most bustling cities in the world, the East Coast with a rich history to the West Coast endowed with immense natural beauty – USA is one place in the world with such diversity, one place where you can have the best of both worlds. The country is so vast that it spans across not just thousands of kilometres but also different time zones. Incredible, isn’t it?
You need to come back to the United States of America time and again to be able to experience everything this wonderful land has to offer. However, if you’re planning a 2-week trip off from work, here’s a handy itinerary with the top things to do in USA.
Spend a day getting over the tiredness from your flight and getting used to the time difference before you begin exploration.
New York City, the financial capital of US, is the first and one of the most happening cities on your itinerary. Home to the iconic Empire State Building, newly built One World Trade Center, the Brooklyn Bridge and countless other skyscrapers, New York can never fail to impress the traveller.
An incredible experience awaits you at the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, coupled with panoramic views of the entire city from One World Observatory.
We booked in advance to avoid last minute disappointment. When you book your tickets, try to opt for a morning slot so that you have the rest of the day to yourself.
Once you’re done, grab a quick bite (read New York’s famous bagel!) from any of the local street food corners. You’ll thank us later for this recommendation! I can’t still can’t stop thinking about the hand rolled bagel we had at Black Seed at World Financial Centre.
Take a leisurely walk down, if you will, to Times Square, taking in the many sights and sounds of New York. 3.6 miles away, it takes you from downtown to midtown, and gives you a wonderful opportunity to explore the many nooks and alleys of the city. Take stops to indulge in retail therapy, try out local bites and get tons of fun photos.
Reserve the night for the very touristy yet fun Times Square, a one-of-its-kind entertainment hub in the world.
This is also your go-to place for lots of shopping, memorable moments at Hershey’s Building and M&M's World and for some of the finest restaurants in the world. You can dine at the ever-bustling Hard Rock Café, the posh Carmine’s or the creative Sushi of Gari 46.
Here are some pictures from our memorable visit to Carmine's.
Central Park is where you should begin your next day in New York. You can spend hours doing absolutely nothing here (and admiring nature) or hire a cycle to go around the park’s many attractions. While you are here, don’t forget to visit the lake and the pond, Alice in Wonderful park, Chess & Checkers House, Belvedere Castle, Shakespeare Garden, Sheep Meadow, Strawberry Fields…the list is endless!
If you’re into art or history, take out at least a couple of hours to visit the Museum of Modern Art. Here is a glimpse of some of the exhibits here:
A short 8-min walk, crossing the insta-worthy St. Patrick’s Cathedral, will take you to the cultural hub of New York. Say hello to Rockefeller Center! Depending on how much time you have, shop, head to the Top of the Rock or walk through the Channel Gardens to the oh-so-popular Rink at Rockefeller Center.
While it is the best-in-the-city skiing place during winter, it transforms completely during summers when the outdoor cafes come live.
Don’t forget to visit the Lego Store right across the Rink to bring back your favourite childhood memories. We definitely loved our time here!
No trip to New York is ever complete without catching a Broadway Show. Because we had the luxury of time, we got a chance to witness both Mary Poppins and Lion King and always have a tough time deciding which one was better!
Mama Mia, Wicked and The Phantom of the Opera are also highly recommended. No matter which one you pick, book for the show at least a month in advance to get good seats.
Live it up like the local as you cycle or walk down the length of the legendary Brooklyn Bridge. We got superb shots of the New York skyline, the Statue of Liberty and other iconic landmarks of the city from atop the bridge.
If you have time, take a ferry to Ellis Island to see the wonder that is the Statue of Liberty. If you wish to climb up and visit the crown, make reservations at least 2 month in advance.
Later in the evening, fly down to Orlando (2.5 hours away) for yet another fulfilling experience!
Day 5, 6, 7:
Movie-themed rides, exciting games, life-size fantastical and Disney characters, adventurous slides, water rides, adrenaline-pumping rollercoasters and more – Orlando has enough and more for the holidaymaker. Pick from Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom and its many amusement parks. For water rides and encounters with marine life, visit Discovery Cove, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park or Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park. Countless shopping and food kiosks further add to your experience.
The icing on the cake is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which was added to the list of theme parks in Orlando recently. While you are here, get your very own wand, board the Hogwarts Express, visit Hagrid’s hut and explore the hidden corridors of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
At the end of your sixth day, prepare for your flight to San Francisco, your gateway to the great American West Coast.
From watching incredible bay landings in San Francisco to crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, there is no dearth of unique travel experiences in this colourful West Coast city.
Among the seven wonders of the modern world, the Golden Gate Bridge has become synonymous with San Francisco. Like many other trails in the US, you can walk or cycle along on the Golden Gate sidewalks. The massive Golden Gate Park is home to facilities for over 20 sports, the de Young Museum, San Francisco Botanical Gardens, Conservatory of Flowers and many more attractions.
Next up in the list of unique things to do in San Francisco is a visit to the most crooked street in the world, Lombard Street. It is known for being extremely steep with eight hairpin bends and offers stunning bay views.
2 miles from Lombard Street is the Union Square, great to spend an evening with your loves ones. It hosts many events and festivals through the year, boasts of countless fast food and fine dining restaurants, is the nightlife hub of SFO and also offers unlimited opportunities to shop.
Indulge in a sumptuous breakfast at one of the local American style cafes and head straight to catch a ferry to Alcatraz Island. Take a tour of the federal prison, which housed America’s most notorious prisoners from 1934 to 1963.
Once you’re back, hop on to San Francisco’s iconic cable car for a ride to Fisherman’s Wharf or Pier 39 to soak in the vibe of the city.
For dinner, visit The Cheesecake Factory at Geary Boulevard for the most flavourful American cuisine and amazing cheesecake flavours.
Get set for an early morning trek to the famous Twin Peaks for the best city and Bay Area views.
If you’re a fan of panoramic views, you can also visit Coit Tower, the most recognizable building in the San Francisco skyline. Enjoy your lunch at Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory located in Ghirardelli Square, an important landmark of San Francisco.
Get set for your flight to Las Vegas (1.5 hours) during the second half of the day. As soon as you reach, set out to explore the many luxurious hotels and casinos here. Walk through Bellagio, MGM Grand, Wynn Las Vegas, Venetian, Aria and Caesars Palace, and make a mental note to come back to your favourite at night for some gaming and casino adventures.
Reserve Day 10 of your US holiday for a day-long excursion to Grand Canyon. A 4.5-hour road trip will take you to this natural wonder that will leave you awestruck. If you miss the sunrise, fret not! The sunset at the Grand Canyon is equally beautiful, as the orange pink skies over the massive canyon take your breath away. Plan hikes through the various sections of the canyon or visit popular attractions like Horseshoe Bend and the Hoover Dam.
Spend a relaxed day at one of the most popular party hubs of the world, Las Vegas. Drink, dance and make new friends as you go for a pool party today, catch the fountain show at Bellagio, try your luck at the slot machines or shop for cool merchandise at the hotel stores.
Drive down to Los Angeles from Las Vegas for a few more days of glitz, glamour and lots of fun. Make a beeline for Universal Studios Hollywood on your very first day and you will find that you can spend countless hours here without getting bored. Would recommend that you get a VIP pass for yourself since most rides have hour-long queues, which can be avoided with this pass. Some attractions you must try here include Transformers – The Ride-3D, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Fast & Furious – Supercharged, King Kong 360 3D, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Jurassic Park – The Ride and The Simpsons Ride, among others.
Begin your day with visit to Griffith Observatory for uninterrupted views of the city. Next, head for a stroll through the Hollywood Walk of Frame and get the mandatory picture clicked with the massive Hollywood sign in the backdrop. Celebrity And Movie Stars Homes Tours are very popular in Los Angeles so if time permits opt for one of those too. If time permits, visits to Dolby Theatre and Walt Disney Concert Hall are recommended too.
Head to Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, in the evening to shop (or window shop!) at some of the most luxurious showrooms ever. Some designer brands you will find here are Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Fendi, Jimmy Choo and more.
Relax at one of the happening nightlife jaunts in Sunset Boulevard and party the night away (read pub hopping) in the dazzling city of Los Angeles.
As you approach the end of your trip, a day at the beach is something you wouldn’t want to say no to! 25 minutes by road from LA, Santa Monica awaits you with colourful beach umbrellas, beachside cafes, a wide range of water sports and lots of fun moments with your loved ones. Head back to LA in the evening and get to your hotel early to prepare for the long flight home the next day.