Although we firmly believe everyone should visit iconic American cities like New York City and Los Angeles by the time they are 30, such destinations can get a little tiring, especially if you’ve already experienced them before. Why not switch things up with something new? We’re here to introduce you to four cities you should visit before 30 and a few of the things you can do while in those cities.
1. New Orleans
The energy in New Orleans is distinct and contagious, and this American city — which is unlike any other city in America — offers young travelers so many cultural experiences that it’s hard to fit everything in during one trip. Start by taking a cruise on a Mississippi steamboat and listening to the sounds of a live jazz band as you float down the river. In the evening, go on a delightfully spooky ghost tour through the French Quarter and explore this district’s 300 years of history. If you’re a jazz aficionado, spend an afternoon at the New Orleans Jazz Museum and marvel at the various exhibits and memorabilia (such as one of Louis Armstrong cornets!).
Depending on what time of year you visit New Orleans, plan to attend one of the many festivals happening year-round. Although Mardi Gras is obviously the most famous, there are plenty of other incredible festivals happening, including the Satchmo SummerFest in April, the Oyster Festival in June, and the Voodoo Festival in October.
Surf. Sun. Sand. What person in their 20s wouldn’t love an island getaway in Hawaii? Honolulu has been a popular vacation destination for many a tourist over the course of several decades, and its appeal isn’t wearing off any time soon. Although the primary objective of a vacation in Honolulu is to spend some serious time on the beach, there are plenty of dryland activities worth checking out. Explore the stunning street art in the Kakaako district, a formerly rundown part of town that was recently transformed by graffiti artists. What was just a bunch of old, abandoned warehouses is now a hip part of town filled with art, culture, music, shopping, and dining.
To squeeze in a bit of exercise, plan a brisk hiking trip up to the top of Diamond Head, a dormant volcano with breathtaking views of Waikiki. The trail is 3.2 miles round trip and takes roughly two hours to complete. Early birds will be treated to an immaculate sunrise if they make it to the top of the volcano in time. After an invigorating hike, head to Laniakea Beach to hang out with the sea turtles who like to come up to the shore for a seaweed breakfast. Then, drive over to the edge of Oahu, Kaena Point, to snap some photos of the monk seals. Remember to observe from a distance; monk seals can be dangerous! Finally, finish off your trip with a Friday night fireworks show at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The fireworks go off every week, so you have no excuse to miss them!
When you’re in Philadelphia, do yourself a favor and get a Philly cheesesteak. Then, work off the 1,200 calories you just inhaled by jogging up the Rocky Steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. For a truly unique experience in Philadelphia, visit the Eastern State Penitentiary, which closed for good in 1971 and was home to some of the most famous gangsters in history, including Al Capone. If you have a sweet tooth, pick up some candy at Shane’s Confectionery, which has been in operation since 1863 and still gives off a vintage vibe.
Atlanta is rife with nightlife, good eats, and cultural hotspots that beckon youthful travelers to explore everything it has to offer. Spend an evening at The Fox Theater to catch a touring Broadway show, an acclaimed comedian like Chelsea Handler delivers a hilarious stand-up routine or a riveting concert series. After satisfying your cultural appetite, fill up on sweet and tangy ribs at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack or pick up some juicy bacon cheeseburgers at the Krog Street Market on Old Fourth Ward. A few other notable activities to put on your travel itinerary include snapping photos in front of the colorful Olympic Park Fountains, riding the giant SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel, and tubing down the Chattahoochee River.
Ready to start exploring these vibrant American cities? Take the first step and buy your bus ticket from BusTickets.com today!