The Pacific West Coast
Population estimate: 4 million
What it’s known for: Hollywood
Regarded as the center of the film and television industry, you can find the Hollywood Walk of Fame, movie studios, and streets full of lookalikes.
Locals love: Korea Town
An incredibly diverse neighborhood in LA, Korea Town is rich in culture, cuisine, and late-night fun.
Population estimate: 650.000
What it’s known for: Hipster culture
The city’s unique diversity, its specialty shops and cafes, and its booming business has been attracting young people from all over the country.
Locals love: The Japanese Gardens
When in need of a relaxing day, stop by the five beautiful Japanese-themed gardens, each with its own unique style.
Population estimate: 730.000
What it’s known for: Global companies
Have you heard of Starbucks, Amazon, Microsoft Windows, or Boeing Aircrafts? We thought so. But you may not have known that they all call Seattle home.
Locals love: The ID
Short for “the International District”, the ID is full of history and culture, delicious food, and street performances.
Population estimate: 336.000
What it’s known for: Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach
Diamond Head is a dormant volcano located near the world-famous Waikiki Beach.
Locals love: Ala Moana Shopping Center
This is the largest open-air shopping center in the world. With an average annual temperature of 24 degrees Celsius, who wouldn’t want to be outside?
Population estimate: 32,000
What it’s known for: Golden Rush
Atlanta is home to the world’s most beloved soda, Coca Cola. Visiting the factory is more than just a tour. With a large tasting room, you can try more than 50 different international and domestic Coke products.
Locals love: Mount Robers’ Tram
This tram ride will take you to the top of Mount Roberts for a bird’s-eye view of the city and surrounding landscape.
Road Trip Worthy
Big Sur is the name given to a section of California State Route 1 (Pacific Coast Highway), which winds from the coastal city of Carmel-by-the-Sea down to the city of San Simeon. What makes this road unique are the beautiful cliffs that drop down into the Pacific Ocean on one side and the mountainous landscape on the other. This contrasting scenery provides impressive viewpoints.
This narrow, winding two-way road has some of the best spots in California to enjoy a sunset over the Pacific. It is no surprise that it has been a popular location for films, commercials, and even YouTubers, all trying to capture the natural beauty on camera.
We recommend renting a car or hiring a bus service to drive through Big Sur. Also, make sure to stop at some of the many viewpoints where you can take in the marvellous scenery. We recommend starting in Carmel and driving south to Simeon, as this will place the stunning (maybe a bit scary) drop-off on your passenger side. Keep in mind that if you have a fear of heights, this part of the journey may not be as fun for you.
Located on the beautiful island of Maui, Hana is the name given to the highway going from the city of Kahului to the eastern town of Hana. This winding road is 103 kilometers long and passes some of Maui’s natural treasures. Here are some of the biggest tourist attractions found on this road:
1. Waterfalls – The opportunity to see lush tropical rainforests with stunning waterfalls jutting out is one reason to pull to the side of the road. Don’t forget to snap a picture.
2. The flora and fauna – One of the most biodiverse islands of Hawaii, this road allows you to be surrounded by incredibly rare flowers, trees, and animals that inhabit more than 15 different climate zones on the small island!
3. Waianapanapa State Park – Located along the Highway, this natural treasure includes lava-blackened beaches, perfect turquoise water, and wonderful sea creatures.
Think of the most desolate place on earth; that is where you should go. To get here, you actually have to cross Death Valley—the name says it all. The reward, however, is huge. In a section of this immense desert, you will be able to see rocks that have “moved” and left a trail in the sand behind them.
Scientists have truly scratched their heads for decades trying to explain how these rocks “move” from one place to another. Oddly enough, this is due to several climatic factors that create the perfect conditions for the rocks to “float” on the ice formed from the below freezing temperatures.
Racetrack Playa has been used on Instagram and by travel pages to show the incredible sights available in the valley. But Death Valley is actually home to a wide range of natural landmarks which have turned this abandoned patch of the United States into a hub for photographers and tourists in search of something completely out of this world. Not surprisingly, areas of Death Valley have been compared to landscape seen on Mars.
You may have a desire to go to California or the West Coast because of its impressive beaches, wonderful temperatures, sunsets, and surf culture. But don’t forget that it is also home to some of the best skiing resorts in the country. If you are passionate about skiing or snowboarding you cannot miss out the following:
1. Crystal Mountain: We start our tour about two hours north of Seattle, Washington, on Mount Rainier. With slopes for all levels, you can get that rush of adrenaline from the expert slopes through trees and steep falls or choose the intermediate rolling hills such as Lucky Shot. This is the largest ski resort in Washington although it only has a few hotels and cabins and a simple taco truck for food. Bu there’s no better way to end the day than eating a delicious taco!
2. Mount Bachelor: Continuing south to Oregon, you have Mt. Bachelor. This is a dormant volcano, so all your slopes down begin above tree level. As you wind down the slope, you begin to pass more and more trees, making it a more technical option and recommended for high-level skiers. Mt. Bachelor also stands out as it does not have any lodging options at the actual resort. You can, however, stay in the small town of Bend, about 20 minutes away. Most housing options come with a free shuttle to and from the resort making this a convenient choice.
3. Heavenly: Perhaps the most iconic resort of them all, Heavenly technically shares territory with Nevada, which can make for an interesting night. You can begin your day with a ski session, taking the lift to the mountain range belonging to California. But then you can end your night at a casino (on the Nevada side of the resort). Another fun fact about Heavenly is that most of the slopes have views of Lake Tahoe, one of the most impressive lake formations in all of California. Be sure to not miss out.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is a world-famous music festival held in Indio, California. The spirit of diversity is perfectly seen every year with a wide selection of artists chosen as part of the annual lineup. Criticized heavily these last couple of years for becoming too “mainstream”, it is still the place to be if you are a big music fan.
You will no doubt walk by celebrities, Instagram models, and popular YouTubers as they go to have the time of their life. Be sure to buy your tickets well in advance because they will run out quickly. No one wants to miss out on all the fun and being around the amazing musical talent at this event.
Words & Expressions to Know
- Hella: Used in Northern California to replace “really” or “very.”
- “The movie was hella good.”
- Mahalo: A common way to say “thank you” in Hawaii.
- Person A: “Here is your coffee.”
- Person B: “Oh, mahalo!”
- The Industry: This refers to the entertainment business in Southern California.
- “So, you work in the industry?”