Straight up, I should point out that the only city in America where I spent longer than 3 days was Los Angeles, and that was because I was working there for 3 months. L.A. was not my favourite city however, not by a long shot. While I may not have been able to spend as much time in my favourites (as are detailed below) as I would have liked, they certainly left an impression on me and I would love to go back for more.
I immediately liked Chicago because it had such an amazing atmosphere. It was so laid back and chilled, and everyone I met was lovely. I was in Chicago during the run up to the city being host to a giant jazz festival, so the hostels were full (and more expensive – why I didn’t stay longer) the streets were busy and the music really good. I really discovered jazz in Chicago (and got more involved in New Orleans, more on that later). Before America I hadn’t realised just how good jazz could be as I had never heard it live. I have now decided that it is music that needs to be heard live because it sounds just awesome. Also, I would go back just for the pizza. Amazing.
There is so much to do in Washington D.C. that you just can’t be bored. Aside from L.A., I was in D.C. for the longest amount of time and could have comfortably spent another week, even a week and a half there. I went to so many museums, toured Congress, saw the Lincoln Memorial, the MLK Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial… I walked by the Potomac river both in the day and as the sun was setting, stopped by the White House, explored Chinatown and got some good chow mein. I did so much but there was so much more to do! I didn’t get to see all the museums, or where Lincoln was shot, or the Vietnam War Memorial, nor the wider city of D.C. If you’re looking for a holiday destination this year where you can soak in culture until you explode, Washington D.C. is your destination.
New Orleans is just so cool. I was there during a huge gay pride event and so I’m not sure if Bourbon Street is like that all the time, but that place was crazy. I was a much bigger fan of Frenchman’s, a lot more chilled out and relaxed, with good jazz streaming out the windows of clubs, or being performed right there on the street. I would describe New Orleans as Paris crossed with Coventry (hear me out) – it has the beauty of the French capital, as well as obviously being hugely influenced by French style in general, while having the run down, slightly grimy, ‘but don’t you dare judge us’ quality of Coventry. It’s a fun city where beautiful universities contrast with the eerie cemeteries (featured image) which are only a few miles away. I didn’t get to go to Algiers, but I’m sure that it would have allowed a whole new plethora of contradictions. Definitely a city worth visiting, if only because everyone will be so jealous you’ve been there!
What are your favourite American cities? Would these three make your list? Let me know.