You’ve spent so long cooped up in school, walking up and down the same roads of your home town, it’s time for you to get your backpack on and explore the world! America is a fantastic place to start – amazing national parks, stunning coastline and some of the most iconic road trips in the world. It also has some of the coolest cities out there which present the perfect way to link up your gap year trip across America. If you’re looking for more ideas as to where and how to spend a gap year in the USA then read on and get those wagons rolling – yeeha!
New York City
There are so many things to do in NYC, you’ll need to factor in a decent amount of time just to see the main sights. The Statue of Liberty; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Times Square; Central Park… the list goes on. To really experience what it is like to be a New Yorker, go and watch a game; the Yankees, the Jets, the Giants and the Knicks all fill stadiums with an incredible American atmosphere. If sport is not your thing, perhaps a stroll to Tiffanys or Bloomingdales? Make sure you leave some space in your rucksack!
Welcome to Sin City! This is the party capital of the USA and so usually features on a gap year travellers list of places to go! Even if you don’t want to gamble, the Las Vegas Strip has so much to see – hotels are like miniature theme parks, with fountains and light shows galore. There are roller-coasters on top of hotels; world-class aquariums; stage shows; wedding chapels… in fact you can usually find whatever you want in Vegas!
If you’ve ever been a student you will know the importance of good coffee! Seattle is the home of the original Starbucks, so it knows a thing or two about café culture. You can find the store in Pike Place Market, ironically looking different to all the other Starbucks as it has kept its original design. Fuelled by caffeine, take a trip up the Space Needle before sourcing some of the city’s best Hip-Hop music joints.
San Fran – home to some of the coolest kids in America. Bohemian lifestyle is ripe here, with artists and musicians living side by side in colourful houses on the steep streets of the city. The San Franciscans have an open mind and a trip to the tourist information will give you plenty of creative ideas for your gap year in the city; from joining the amazing Gay Pride celebrations to walking across the Golden Gate Bridge. Of course it is not all happy go lucky residents; looming in the bay is the island of Alcatraz – the world’s most famous prison!
If you like celebrity spotting – head to LA! This is where movie stars live out their glamorous lives in fortified mansions (which you can visit on a tour bus!), before heading into the heart of the city to party the night away in the infamous Viper Rooms. Compare hand sizes with A list stars at the Chinese Theatre, where everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Whoopi Goldberg have left their mark in the cement. Take a leaf our of Pretty Woman’s book and stroll down Hollywood Boulevard, before swapping the rough and ready for the glitz and glamour of Rodeo Drive.
If you like food, make sure you go to Chicago. Aside from the biggest food festival in the country, they have Alinea, the most celebrated molecular-gastronomy restaurant in the U.S. If portions are too small for you, head to the Cheesecake Factory and choose from one of the many different cheesecakes on offer. Of course the city is not just a place for foodies. History buffs can enjoy the Museum of Science and Industry – the biggest science museum in the Western Hemisphere.