About Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The U.S. is a country of 50 states covering a vast swath of North America, with Alaska in the extreme Northwest and Hawaii extending the nation’s presence into the Pacific Ocean. Major cities include New York, a global finance and culture center, and Washington, DC, the capital, both on the Atlantic Coast; Los Angeles, famed for filmmaking, on the Pacific Coast; and the Midwestern metropolis Chicago.
New York City, Las Vegas, Orlando, San Francisco, Washington, Los Angeles, we have all dreamed of visiting one or several of these cities. The USA is home to some of the most thrilling and diverse cities or towns in the world. Just about any imagined holiday can be experienced somewhere in this great land, from hip and urban metropolises, to quaint hidden streams, gigantic canyons landscapes, or minuscule towns brimming with culture. And the people are just as varied and fascinating to meet, with each having a rich and unique story to tell.
Some of the top sites and destinations offered in this great country include the Statue of Liberty in New York City, Arizona's Grand Canyon, the French Quarter of New Orleans, Florida's Gold Coast, the Hollywood sign of Los Angeles, Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, the exotic islands of Hawaii, the famous Las Vegas Strip, the Rocky Mountains and the living history and memorials of Washington, D.C. The choices are simply enumerable; you are only limited by the time of your stay.
Washington, DC Currency : US dollar Driver's License : A valid driver's license is accepted. Must be between 19 and 25 years old (check with rental company) and have a credit card. Electricity : 110-120V, 60Hz Entry Requirements : A valid passport is required. Return or onward ticket required. It is the traveller's responsibility to check with the country’s Embassy for up-to-date information. GMT Time : Continental USA counts four time zones: Eastern (-5h), Central (-6h), Mountain (-7h), and Pacific (-8h) Standard Times. Alaska (-9h) and Hawaii (-10h) have their own zones. Daylight savings is applied; except in parts of Hawaii, Indiana and Arizona. Government : Constitution-based federal republic Land size : 9,826,675 km2 Language : English, and other commonly heard languages include Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Chinese. National Airlines : The major airlines include American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, United, US Airways Population : 307,212,123 approx Religion : Protestant 52%, Roman Catholic 24%, Mormon 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 1%, other 10%, none 10% Required Vaccines : none Tourist Season : Late spring and early fall are best overall. Summer months are ideal in the north and winter months remain warm in the south.
With such a melting pot of cultures and backgrounds, one simply cannot specify a single nation wide traditional cuisine. Of course some regions, states and cities are famous for specific specialties: Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich, New York Cheesecake, Southern Fried Chicken, New England Clam Chowder and Jack Daniels Ice Cream. But everywhere you go you will find dozens, if not hundreds, of restaurants serving up their own American International flavor.
Here is a sampling of the many various cuisines you may encounter as you travel across this broad land: American Chinese, Barbecue, Californian, Euro-Asian fusion, Fast food, Floribbean, Hawaiian, Native American, New England, Pennsylvanian Dutch. Lets not forget southern cuisine which encompasses Cajun, Creole, Soul food and Tex-Mex.
Culture The United States is remarkable in the fact that it has dozens of major cities, 11 of them being included in the list of the world's 55 global cities. Its three global metropolises are New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Also considered important are Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Las Vegas, Miami, New Orleans, Seattle, San Francisco and Washington. The United States is also a great center of higher education, boasting more than 1,500 universities, colleges, and other institutions of higher learning. Students from all over the world come to the US expressively to complete studies.
According to statistics, the population is comprised of 81.7% Caucasian, 12.9% black, 4.2%, Asian, 1% Amerindian, Alaska native and native Hawaiian, and 0.2% other Pacific islander. Within these percentages, Hispanics make up the largest minority group, comprising about 13 percent of the population. In cities from coast to coast, the use of the Spanish language is booming.
US culture has a large influence on the rest of the world, especially the Western world. American music styles are heard all over the world. The birth of blues, jazz, modern rock and roll, and popular music can all be traced back here. Other entertainment shapes would be operatic and instrumental music, world-famed Broadway plays and musicals, hip hop music, and country music. New York, Seattle, and San Francisco have become are worldwide leaders in graphic design, fashion, food and drink, and movie industries. American movies and television shows circle globe. Historical, scientific and art research centers, museums; dance performances and plays, outdoor art projects and architecture; these are all other contributions to the shaping of this unique and diverse culture.
Geography The United States of America comprises 50 states, one federal district, and fourteen territories. It is also referred to as the United States, America, the US, the USA or simply the States. Common land borders are shared with Canada and Mexico. Otherwise, it is flanked by the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Atlantic Ocean on the east, and the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast. Forty-eight of the states share borders and are referred to as the continental or contiguous United States.
The country's landscape is incredibly varied. Rolling hills and temperate forests make up the majority of the east. Notable characteristics are the Appalachian Mountains, forming a line of low mountains, and the five Great Lakes, located in the north central part. The Southeast largely contains subtropical forests and mangrove. As you start heading west in the Midwest area, the Great Plains slowly emerge, home to a large portion of the country's agricultural land. This flat grassland comes to an abrupt end at the foot of the great Rocky Mountains. The highest peak is Mount Elbert in Colorado, which is 4,401 m above sea level.
Still further west lays the Intermontane Plateaus, a large, arid desert. The large southern portion, known as the Great Basin, consists of salt flats, drainage basins, and many small north-south mountain ranges. More low-lying desert regions populate the southwest. Some of the most spectacular scenery in the world can be admired here, such as the Grand Canyon, Arches, and Bryce Canyon. The Cascades and the Sierra Nevada volcanic mountain ranges flank the west Pacific coast of the country. These ranges are high, rugged, and dense. The highest point of the contiguous 48 states is Mount Whitney, at 4,421m above sea level. Yosemite and Mount Rainier are found here as well. The coast also has series of valleys, in California and in Oregon. The lowest point of the contiguous 48 states is Death Valley, at -86m below sea level.
The two non continental states are Alaska and Hawaii. Alaska, offering rugged mountains ranges and flat tundra plains, borders the Pacific Ocean to the south, the Bering Strait to the west, and the Arctic Ocean to the north. Hawaii, a volcanic archipelago, lies far to the southwest of the mainland in the Pacific Ocean. The United States also has overseas territories with varying levels of independence.
History Native Americans arrived on this continent probably from Asia, at some point during 48,000 BC and 9,000 BC. These first settlers dominated the area until the arrival of Europeans, in the early 17th century. Colonial America was defined by ongoing battles between Europeans colonists and Native Americans, following a severe labor shortage that gave birth to slavery, and by the neglect of living according to the established British policies, further developing the beginning of a distinct American spirit and culture.
Britain's American colonies broke with the mother country in 1776 and were recognized as the new nation of the United States of America following the Treaty of Paris in 1783. During the 19th and 20th centuries, 37 new states were added to the original 13 as the nation expanded across the North American continent and acquired a number of overseas possessions.
The two most traumatic experiences in the nation's history were the Civil War (1861-65) and the Great Depression of the 1930s. Buoyed by victories in World Wars I and II and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the US remains the world's most powerful nation state. The economy is marked by steady growth, low unemployment and inflation and rapid advances in technology.
Nature An enormous variety of wildlife can be observed. You can see moose in the Rocky Mountains, maybe a bear in the Great Smoky Mountains, or alligators and other critters in Florida's Everglades. For elk and bison sightings, Yellowstone should be at the top of your list. Alaska is a gold mind when it comes to spotting a very diverse fauna. Its Denali national park offers visitors a great chance to see grizzlies and other types of bears. The East Coast is famous for the many migrating water birds and waterfowl. Shorebirds also migrate along the Pacific side of the country, especially along the Washington and Oregon state coasts. Once endangered, the bald eagle is now widespread across the country.
Incredible whale watching opportunities can be found here. On the East Coast, especially by Cape Cod, humpback and finback sightings are practically guaranteed from April to November. The Pacific gray whales can be seen during their spring and fall migrations from Point Reyes National Seashore, north of San Francisco, Depot Bay on the Oregon coast and the San Juan Islands near Seattle, which also have orcas. The Kenai Fjords National Park of Alaska is great spots to watch humpbacks feeding in summer. You will also see seals, otters and other marine mammals here. December through May is best for humpbacks in the south of the Hawaii islands.
Beach settings abound, the best being in Miami, Southern California and the islands of Hawaii. The entire Atlantic coastline is lined with sand where you can sun and swim in the summer. Much more rugged and beautiful are the Northern California and Oregon coast.
The lush green landscapes can change tremendously from one region to another, from leafy dense forest, to sparse stretches of evergreens. Several trees species are endemic, the most famous being the Redwood, the tallest trees in the world. The fall foliage in New England is one of the greatest natural phenomena you will ever witness. Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York and Virginia's rolling hills progressively become blanketed in brilliant reds and stunning oranges. Looking for even more natural marvels? Here is a brief listing of some of the many country's national parks:
East Coast - Everglades, Great Smoky Mountains, Hot Springs. Midwest - Badlands, Grand Teton, Mesa Verde, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone. Southwest - Arches, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Zion. West - Crater Lake, Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Redwood, Sequoia, Yosemite. Alaska and Hawaii- Gates of the Arctic, Glacier Bay, Hawaii Volcanoes.
Sports Just about every possible sport in existence can be practiced somewhere or another in this country. Of course fitness centers abound offering a variety of classes such as aerobics, swimming, gymnastics, yoga, tai chi or pilates.
There are associations for every team sports imaginable: baseball, basketball, football, ice hockey, soccer, softball, volleyball. Boxing, martial arts and wrestling shows can be enjoyed as well. Most extreme sports can be experienced as well.
Nature lovers can choose from a list of activities to explore their surroundings. Some include: biking, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, rafting and skating. Golf and fishing amateurs will rejoice with the many options offered.
Finally, water babies have not been forgotten, with tantalizing activities like jet skiing, sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, diving, surfing and water skiing.
Banks & Money
The only currency used and accepted is the US dollar. Canadian dollars can be exchanged at the airport, banks or at the rather uncommon exchange bureaus, usually found easily in Europe. ATMs remain the most convenient way to get cash either from your debit card or credit cards. The Cirrus and PLUS networks are found almost everywhere. A user fee will usually be imposed for each transaction.
All major credit cards are accepted. This is probably the most efficient and safe way to make any purchases. US traveler's checks are another alternative. They can be exchanged at any bank or company of purchase. Most stores, restaurants and hotels will accept them as well, usually on presentation of a passport. A service fee, ranging between 1 to 4%, will usually be added. Traveler's checks are ideal if traveling with large sums of money, having the benefit of being replaced if lost or stolen.
Climate When you consider the shear size of the continental USA, it is not hard to understand how climate conditions can be so strikingly different. Pleasant warm temperatures are found year-round in the western and southern part, whereas then eastern and northern parts can get very cold during winter months. The western and southern areas suffer blistering hot summers but mild winters. Here is a brief look at the six climate regions:
Northwest Pacific: Although this zone enjoys rather mild all the year round, it is also the wettest, usually in the form of a light drizzle.
Mid/South Pacific Rockies: Summers are usually dry, such as in California. The northern states of this zone can be cold during the winter months, with temperatures dropping below -32 C. Wonderful sky resorts can be found in Colorado, Utah and Nevada.
Midwest: Late spring and early summer are the wetter months, making this zone moderately dry. Summer conditions are ideal but the winters are cold and windy.
Northeast: This zone does experience moderately humidity year round. Summers are usually warm and sunny; while winters receive heavy snow falls.
Southeast: Here you can enjoy hot and dry in summers, and rather mild, or short lived, winters. Moderate rains falls are experienced throughout the year. Southern Florida is excellent year round.
Southwest: Extreme humidity and heat are not uncommon during the summer, reaching well over the 40 C mark. Severe, flash rain and thunder storms are frequent with such temperatures. Winters are short, spring and fall seasons are most enjoyable
Off the continent, mild tropical temperatures are found in Hawaii. Alaska, although in an arctic area, can have pleasant summers with temperatures around 18 C in the southern parts.
For monthly average temperatures please refer to your destination of choice.
Communication Telephone systems are at the peak of all new technologies and are mostly run by private companies. Hence, rates vary tremendously. Most phones offer direct call services but hotels often charge a lot. Long-distance calls are bets made with a pay phone and with a calling card. Local calls only require dialing the 7 digit number. For long-distance calls within the US and to Canada, dial 1, the area code and the 7 digit number. The country code 011 for the US and Canada, for international calls.
You will have no trouble finding an Internet café in the US. Some hotels may also offer internet access for a small fee. A good place too is public libraries. Every town has several local radio stations, TV stations and cable to major networks. Local daily paper are also found just about everywhere, plus the big national ones: USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times.
Health There are no major health hazards to mention as long as a few basic precautions are taken. Tap water is safe to drink everywhere, and all food is safe as well.
Sunburns and sunstroke are more common then one would expect. Always apply sunscreen with a high protection factor frequently. This advice is not just for beach destinations, but also applies to high altitudes sites, and even in the winter.
When hiking or skiing, makes sure to always follow the established trails. It is also a good idea to wear brightly colored clothing, especially during hunting season. There are few things to watch out for when in out and about in parks or woods. Lyme disease can be contracted by ticks. The best prevention is using insect repellent and by covering up your legs and arms. If bitten by a tick, consult a doctor. The same precautions apply for the West Nile Virus which is spread by mosquito bites. It would be wise learn to identify poison ivy, western poison oak and poison sumac. Altitude sickness can be a problem when arriving in the Rocky Mountains. You should take a couple of days to acclimatize before going on a demanding physical trek.
Official Holidays January 01 - New Year's Day January - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the third Monday February - Presidents' Day, Washington's Birthday, the third Monday May - Memorial Day, the last Monday July 04 - Independence Day September - Labor Day, the first Monday October - Columbus Day, the second Monday November 11 - Veterans' Day/Armistice Day November - Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday December 25 - Christmas
Safety Traveling across the USA is generally safe, especially in tourist areas. However, larger cities, like in any other around the world, have their fair share of crime. Crime rates are significantly lower in smaller areas but precautions should always be taken. Always be aware of your environment and inquire ahead of time about the safety of the neighborhoods you will be visiting.
Use good judgment, keep money and travel documents well and advantage of the safety deposit boxes provided by the hotels. Always lock your hotel door or your rental car. Never leave any luggage unattended and be inconspicuous with jewelery, cameras, or anything of value. Walking in deserted areas or alone at night is not advised.
Particular attention should also be given to driving safety. Always park your car rental in a well lit area. If you feel unsafe driving through certain neighborhoods, leave the area as quickly as possible. Carjacking can be a real threat in this country. If you have an accident or if you're bumped from behind, do not leave your car unless you are in a public and crowded place. Motion to the other driver to follow you if necessary or contact 911 for police assistance. Many car rental companies will rent out a cell phone on short-term basis, or contact InTouch USA (tel. 800/872-7626; www.intouchusa.com).
Taxes & Tips There is no value-added tax (VAT) or a national government tax. Taxes are set independently on the state, county, and city level. Taxes are applied to all purchases and services. You can verify local taxes in the destination section of this travel guide.
Tipping, although not obligatory, is very much expected. Restaurants, bar or club staff and taxi drivers receive normally a 15% tip. Bellhops and doorman usually receive $1 per bag, checkroom attendants $1 per garment, and parking attendants $1 per vehicle. Chambermaids should get 1 to $2 per day.
Transportation When you need to travel long distances, taking the plane is simply the best, and often quite affordable option to choose. The key for the best fairs is flexibility, to book well in advance, and to make sure to spend a full week-end at your destination. The only drawback to air travel is airport security. With recent events, security procedures have toughened a lot and passing through security can be quite time consuming. It is best to arrive 2 hours before your flight's departure time and always keep you passport on hand at all times.
Unless you are only planning to visit a well serviced city, a car rental is essential in the US. Many attractions can only be reached by car. Car rentals are available everywhere, especially at airports and larger cities. Just remember to inquire about all taxes, required insurances and fees before renting. A popular way to see the country in comfort is with a recreational vehicle, known as an RV for short. Others enjoy the adventurous motorcycle road trip, should you have the obligatory motorcycle license.
Long-distance trains are operated by Amtrak and buses by Greyhound. Both offer various travel passes. Both experiences can be time consuming though. Flying may remain cheaper.
Special Car Discounts
You will visit the following 47 places:
The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. It is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The Denver downtown district is located immediately east of the confluence of Cherry Creek with the South Platte River, approximately 12.3 miles (20 km) east of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Denver is nicknamed the "Mile-High City" because its official elevation is exactly one mile or 5,280 feet (1,609.344 m) above sea level. The 105th meridian west of Greenwich passes through Union Station and is the temporal reference for the Mountain Time Zone.
Oklahoma City is the capital and largest city of the state of Oklahoma. The county seat of Oklahoma County, the city ranks 27th among United States cities in population. The city also ranks as the eighth-largest city in the United States by land area (including consolidated city-counties; it is the largest city in the United States by land area whose government is not consolidated with that of a county or borough). Lying in the Great Plains region, the city features one of the largest livestock markets in the world. Oil, natural gas, petroleum products and related industries are the largest sector of the local economy. The city is situated in the middle of an active oil field and oil derricks dot the capitol grounds. Oklahoma City is on the I-35 Corridor and is one of the primary travel corridors into neighboring Texas and Mexico. Located in theFrontier Country region of the state, the city's northeast section lies in an ecological region known as the Cross Timbers. The city was founded during the Land Run of 1889, and grew to a population of over 10,000 within hours of its founding.
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the U.S. state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore City in order to distinguish it from surrounding Baltimore County. Founded in 1729, Baltimore is the largest U.S. seaport in the mid-atlantic and is situated closer to major Midwestern markets than any other major seaport on the East Coast. Baltimore's Inner Harbor was once the second leading port of entry for immigrants to the United States and a major manufacturing center. The harbor is now home to Harborplace, a shopping, entertainment, and tourist center, and the National Aquarium in Baltimore. According to Forbes, the city of Baltimore was rated 3rd best place to shop in 2010. After a decline in manufacturing, Baltimore shifted to a service-oriented economy. Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Hospital are now the city's largest employers.
Detroit is the largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the seat of Wayne County. Detroit is a major port city on the Detroit River, in the Midwest region of the United States It was founded on July 24, 1701, by the Frenchman Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. Its name originates from the French word détroit for strait, in reference to its location on the river connecting the Great Lakes.
Columbus is the capital and largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio, center of the state's third largest metropolitan area behind Cincinnati and Cleveland, the fourth largest city in the American Midwest, and the sixteenth largest city in the United States of America. It is the county seat of Franklin County, yet the city has expanded and annexed portions of adjoining Delaware County and Fairfield County. Named for explorer Christopher Columbus, the city was founded in 1812 at the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers, and assumed the functions of state capital in 1816. The city has a diverse economy based on education, government, insurance, banking, fashion, defense, aviation, food, clothes, logistics, steel, energy, medical research, health care, hospitality, retail, and technology. Modern Columbus has emerged as a technologically sophisticated city.
St. Louis is an independent city and the second-largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri. The city has a 2010 population of 319,294 and is the principal municipality of Greater St. Louis, population 2,892,874, the largest urban area in Missouri, the 4th largest urban area in the Midwest, and 15th-largest in the United States. The city was founded in 1764 just south of the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers in what is today the Midwestern United States by colonial French traders Cooper Hausmann and René Auguste Chouteau, who named the settlement after King Louis IX of France. The early wealth of the city was based on the fur trade. The city, as well as the future state of Missouri, became part of the Spanish Empire after the French were defeated in the Seven Years' War.
Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in the U.S. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Allegheny County. Regionally, it anchors the largest urban area of Appalachia and the Ohio River Valley, and nationally, it is the 22nd-largest urban area in the United States. The estimated population of the city in 2009 was 311,647, while the seven-county metropolitan area was estimated at 2,354,957. Downtown Pittsburgh retains substantial economic influence, ranking at 25th in the nation for jobs within the urban core and 6th in job density. The characteristic shape of Pittsburgh's central business district is a triangular tract carved by the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, which form the mighty Ohio River. The city features 151 high-rise buildings, 446 bridges, two inclined railways, and a pre-revolutionary fortification. Pittsburgh is known colloquially as "The City of Bridges" and "The Steel City" for its many bridges and former steel manufacturing base.
Honolulu, on Oahu’s south shore, is the main gateway to Hawaii and a major gateway into the United States. The city is a major hub for international business, military defense, as well as famously being host to a diverse variety of east-west and Pacific culture, cuisine, and traditions. The name Honolulu means "sheltered harbor" or "calm port".
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, the District, or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States founded on July 16, 1790. The U.S. Constitution allows for the creation of a special district to serve as the permanent national capital. The District is therefore not a part of any U.S. state and is instead directly overseen by the federal government. Within the District, a new capital city was founded in 1791 and named in honor of George Washington. The City of Washington, along with Georgetown and outlying areas within the federal district, were placed under a single, unified government following an act of Congress in 1871. It is for this reason that the city, while legally named the District of Columbia, is known as Washington, D.C. The city shares its name with the U.S. state of Washington located on the country's Pacific coast.
Los Angeles, Spanish for "The Angels", is the most populous city in California and the second most populous in the United States, with a population of 4.06 million on a land area of 498.3 square miles (1,290.6 km2). It is the focal point of the larger Los Angeles-Long Beach Riverside combined statistical area, which contains nearly 17.8 million people. This makes it the 12th most populous metropolitan area in the world. Los Angeles is also the seat of Los Angeles County, the most populated and one of the most multicultural counties in the United States. The city's inhabitants are referred to as "Angelenos".
Tucson is a city in and the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States. The city is located 118 miles (188 km) southeast of Phoenix and 60 miles (98 km) north of the U.S.-Mexico border. The 2009 Census Bureau estimate puts the city's population at 543,910, with a metropolitan area population at 1,020,200 as of July 1, 2009. In 2009, Tucson ranked as the 32nd largest city and 52nd largest metropolitan area in the United States. Tucson is the largest city in southern Arizona, the second largest in the state after Phoenix. It is also the largest city in the area of the Gadsden Purchase. Tucson is home to the University of Arizona. Roughly 150 Tucson companies are involved in the design and manufacture of optics and optoelectronics systems, earning Tucson the nickname Optics Valley.
North Las Vegas
San Diego, named after Saint Didacus, is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest city in California after Los Angeles, with a population of 1,306,300 (Jul 2009) within its administrative limits on a land area of 372.1 square miles (963.7 km2). The city is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California. The urban area of San Diego extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 2,880,000. San Diego is also the county seat of San Diego County, the 5th largest county, by population, in the United States.
Memphis, along the Mississippi River in Tennessee, is the youngest of Tennessee's major cities, founded in 1819 as a planned city by a group of wealthy Americans including judge John Overton and future president Andrew Jackson. A resident of Memphis is referred to as a Memphian, and the Memphis region is known, particularly to media outlets, as Memphis and the Mid-South. It is also known for its music and food.
Chicago is the largest city in the state of Illinois. Its metropolitan area, commonly named "Chicagoland", is the 27th most populous metropolitan area in the world, home to an estimated 9.7 million people spread across the U.S. states of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. Chicago is the county seat of Cook County, the second largest county in the United States by population. The city is renowned for its fascinating museums - including the Art Institute and its expansive collections, including noted Impressionist works; it is a city with an appetite for food, of course, but also for design, history, culture, finance, commerce, industry, technology, telecommunications and transportation.
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the health care, music, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home to a large number of colleges and universities. Nashville is the home of the Country Music genre and is dubbed "Music City".
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States of America and the largest city in the state of Texas. As of the 2009 U.S. Census estimate, the city had a population of 2.3 million within an area of 579 square miles (1,500 km2). Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area—the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. with a population of approximately 5.9 million. The city’s relatively compact Downtown includes the Theater District, home to the renowned Houston Grand Opera, and the Historic District, which pairs 19th-century architecture with trendy restaurants.
Fort Worth is the 16th-largest city in the United States and the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas. The city is located in North Central Texas and covers nearly 350 square miles (910 km2) in Tarrant, Denton, Parker, and Wise Counties; it is the seat of Tarrant County. The city is the second-largest in the Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metropolitan area (the "DFW Metroplex"). The city was established in 1849 as an Army outpost on a bluff overlooking the Trinity River. Today, Fort Worth still embraces its Western heritage and traditional architecture and design. USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) is the first ship of the United States Navynamed after the city. Fort Worth is home to the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and several world-class museums designed by internationally known contemporary architects. The Kimbell Art Museum, considered to have one of the best collections in Texas, is housed in what is widely regarded as one of Texas' foremost works of modern architecture, designed by Louis Kahnwith an addition by Renzo Piano.
San Francisco, officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region of 7.5 million people which includes San Jose and Oakland. The only consolidated city-county in California, it encompasses a land area of about 46.9 square miles (121 km2) on the northern end of the San Francisco Peninsula, giving it a density of about 17,179 people per square mile (6,632 people per km2). It is the most densely settled large city (population greater than 200,000) in the state of California and the second-most densely populated large city in the United States after New York City. San Francisco is the fourth most populous city in California and the 13th most populous city in the United States, with a population of 805,235 as of the 2010 Census. The San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont metropolitan area has a population of 4,335,391.
Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska, United States, and is the county seat of Douglas County. It is located in the Midwestern United States on the Missouri River, about 20 miles (30 km) north of the mouth of the Platte River. A stop on the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, it's known for its pioneer history, museums and cultural centers. The modern economy of Omaha is diverse and built on skilled knowledge jobs. In 2009, Forbes identified Omaha as the nation's number one "Best Bang-For-The Buck City" and ranked it number one on "America's Fastest-Recovering Cities" list. Tourism in Omaha benefits the city's economy greatly, with the annual College World Series providing important revenue and the city's Henry Doorly Zoo serving as the top attraction in Nebraska as well as being named the best zoo in the world by Trip Advisor in 2014.
El Paso is the county seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States. The city is situated in the far western corner of the state of Texas. El Paso stands on the Rio Grande (Río Bravo del Norte) across the border from Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. The city is also the headquarters of one Fortune 500 and three publicly traded companies, as well as home to the Medical Center of the Americas, the only medical research and care provider complex in West Texas and southern New Mexico, and the University of Texas at El Paso, the city's primary university. The city hosts the annual Sun Bowl college football post-season game, the second oldest bowl game in the country.
Madison is the capital of the U.S. state of Wisconsin and the county seat of Dane County. It is home to the University of Wisconsin–Madison. It is also home to an extensive and varied number of print publications, reflecting the city's role as the state capital and its diverse political, cultural and academic population. In 1996, Money magazine identified Madison as the best place to live in the United States. It has consistently ranked near the top of the best-places list in subsequent years, with the city's low unemployment rate a major contributor.
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire "New England" region. The city proper had a 2009 estimated population of 645,169, making it the twentieth largest in the country. It is also the anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area called "Greater Boston", home to 4.5 million people and the tenth-largest metropolitan area in the country. Greater Boston as a commuting region includes six Massachusetts counties: "Essex", "Middlesex","Norfolk", "Suffolk", "Plymouth", "Worcester", northern "Bristol" County, all of "Rhode Island" and parts of "New Hampshire"; it is home to 7.6 million people, making it the fifth-largest Combined Statistical Area in the United States.
Albuquerque is the largest city in the state of New Mexico, United States. It is the county seat of Bernalillo County and is situated in the central part of the state, straddling the Rio Grande. Its modern Downtown core contrasts with Old Town, dating to the city’s 1706 founding as a Spanish colony. Old Town is filled with historic adobe buildings, such as San Felipe de Neri Church, and shops selling Native American handicrafts. The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center traces the area’s tribal history.
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Utah. The name of the city is often shortened to Salt Lake or SLC. With a population of 186,440 as of the 2010 Census, the city lies in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, which has a total population of 1,124,197. Salt Lake City is further situated in a larger urban area known as the Wasatch Front, which has an estimated population of 2,298,915. The city was founded in 1847 as Great Salt Lake City by Brigham Young and his Mormon followers, who extensively irrigated and cultivated the arid valley, and continued to face legal prosecution from the U.S. government for their practice of polygamy, which was officially discontinued in 1890 in order to gain statehood. Although Salt Lake City is still home to the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, less than half the population of Salt Lake City proper is Mormon today.
Colorado Springs is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and most populous city of El Paso County, Colorado, United States. Colorado Springs is located in the South Central portion of Central Colorado. It is situated on Fountain Creek and is located 61 miles south of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. At 6,035 feet the city sits over one mile above sea level, though some areas of the city are significantly higher. Colorado Springs is situated near the base of one of the most famous American mountains, Pikes Peak, at the eastern edge of the southern Rocky Mountains. With a 2010 Census of 416,427, it is the second most populous city in the state of Colorado, behind Denver, and the 46th most populous city in the United States, while the Colorado Springs Metropolitan Statistical Area had an estimated population of 626,227 in 2009. The city covers 186.1 square miles, making it Colorado's largest city in area. $$https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoK0YviLCh0$$
Seattle is the northernmost major city in the contiguous United States, and the largest city in the Pacific Northwest and in the state of Washington. A seaport situated on a narrow isthmus between Puget Sound (an arm of the Pacific Ocean) and Lake Washington, about 100 miles (160 km) south of the Canada – United States border, it is named after Chief Sealth "Seattle", of the Duwamish and Suquamish native tribes. Seattle is the center of the Seattle–Tacoma–Bellevue metropolitan statistical area, the 15th largest in the United States, and the largest in the northwestern United States. Seattle is the county seat of King County and is the major economic, cultural and educational center in the region. The 2010 census found that Seattle is home to 630,320 residents within a metropolitan area of some 3.4 million inhabitants. The Port of Seattle and Seattle–Tacoma International Airport are major gateways to Asia, Alaska, and the rest of the world.
Orlando is a major city in the central region of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat of Orange County, and the center of the Greater Orlando metropolitan region. The Orlando metropolitan area has a population of 2,082,628 and it is the 27th largest metropolitan area in the United States, the 5th largest metropolitan area in the Southeastern United States, and the 3rd largest metro area in Florida. The city-proper population is 235,860 making Orlando the 80th largest city in the "United States". It is Florida's fifth largest city by population. Orlando was incorporated on July 31, 1875, and became a city in 1885.
Charlotte is the largest city in the U.S. state of North Carolina and the seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2009, Charlotte's population was estimated by the US Census Bureau as 709,441 (the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce insists it is higher in mid-2010, at 756,912), making it the 18th largest city in the United States based on population. The Charlotte metropolitan area had a 2009 population of 1,745,524. The Charlotte metropolitan area is part of a wider thirteen-county labor market region or combined statistical area with a 2009 estimated population of 2,389,763. Residents of Charlotte are referred to as "Charlotteans". $$https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qwn0Ni9G5ow$$
Anchorage (officially called the Municipality of Anchorage) is a unified home rule municipality in the U.S. state of Alaska. With an estimated 300,950 residents in 2013, it is Alaska's most populous city and contains more than 40 percent of the state's total population; among the 50 states, only New York has a higher percentage of residents who live in its most populous city. Located in the south-central portion of Alaska at the terminus of the Cook Inlet on a peninsula, Anchorage is a common refueling stop for many international passenger flights and is home to a major FedEx Hub which the company calls a "critical part" of its global network of services. Anchorage has been named an All-America City four times, in 1956, 1965, 1984–85, and 2002, by the National Civic League. It has also been named by Kiplinger as the most tax-friendly city in the United States. It's also known for its cultural sites, including the Alaska Native Heritage Center, which displays traditional crafts, stages dances and presents replicas of dwellings from the area’s indigenous groups.
Raleigh is the capital city and the second largest city in the state of North Carolina as well as the seat of Wake County. Raleigh is known as the "City of Oaks" for its many oak trees. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city's estimated population on November 22, 2010 was 426,708, over an area of 142.8 square miles, making Raleigh currently the 45th largest city in the United States. It is also one of the fastest growing cities in the country. The city of Raleigh is named after Sir Walter Raleigh. Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill make up the three historically primary cities of the Research Triangle metropolitan region. The regional nickname of "The Triangle" originated after the 1959 creation of the Research Triangle Park, primarily located in Durham County, four miles from Downtown Durham and encompassed on three sides by the city of Durham and roughly midway between the cities of Raleigh and Chapel Hill and the three major research universities of NC State University, Duke University, and UNC-Chapel Hill.
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of Texas and the county seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the fifteenth most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in the nation from 2000 to 2006. Austin has a population of 786,386 (2009 U.S. Census estimate). The city is the cultural and economic center of the Austin–Round Rock–San Marcos metropolitan area, with a population of over 1.7 million, making it the 35th-largest metropolitan area in the United States.
Jacksonville is the largest city by population in the U.S. state of Florida, the 12th most populous city in the United States and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. It is the county seat of Duval County, with which the city government consolidated in 1968. Jacksonville is in the First Coast region of northeast Florida and is centered on the banks of the St. Johns River, about 25 miles (40 km) south of the Georgia state line and about 340 miles (550 km) north of Miami. The Jacksonville Beaches communities are along the adjacent Atlantic coast. Its riverine location facilitates two United States Navy bases and the Port of Jacksonville, Florida's third largest seaport. Significant factors in the local economy include services such as banking, insurance, healthcare and logistics. A regional business center, it also has many museums and cultural offerings.
Louisville, the largest city in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the 30th-most populous city in the United States, is one of two cities in Kentucky designated as first-class. Louisville is the historical seat and, since 2003, the nominal seat of Jefferson County. It was founded in 1778 by George Rogers Clark and is named after King Louis XVI of France, making Louisville one of the oldest cities west of the Appalachian Mountains. Sited beside the Falls of the Ohio, the only major obstruction to river traffic between the upper Ohio River and the Gulf of Mexico, the settlement first grew as a portage site. An important internal shipping port in the 19th century, Louisville is today most well known for the Kentucky Derby, the widely watched first race of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.
Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of 2009 it had an estimated population of about 540,922 people. The Atlanta metropolitan area, with more than 5.4 million people, is the third largest in the Southeastern United States and the ninth largest in the country. The Atlanta Combined Statistical Area, a larger trade area, has a population approaching six million and is the largest in the Southeast. Like many urban areas in the Sun Belt, the Atlanta region has seen increasing growth since the 1970s, and it added about 1.1 million residents between 2000 and 2008. Atlanta is considered an "alpha-" or "world city", ranking 36th among world cities and 8th in the nation with a gross domestic product of $270 billion. It's economy is considered diverse, with dominant sectors including logistics, professional and business services, media operations, and information technology. Topographically, it is marked by rolling hills and dense tree coverage. Revitalization of Atlanta's neighborhoods, initially spurred by the 1996 Olympics, has intensified in the 21st century, altering the city's demographics, politics, and culture.
Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. Divided between Collin, Dallas, Denton, Kaufman, and Rockwall counties, the city had an estimated 2009 population of approximately 1.3 million, according to the United States Census Bureau. The city is the largest economic center of the 12-county Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metropolitan area that according to the March 2010 U.S. Census Bureau release, had a population of roughly 6.5 million as of July 2009. The metropolitan area is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States.
Minneapolis, nicknamed "City of Lakes" and the "Mill City," is the county seat of Hennepin County, the largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota, and the 48th largest in the United States. Its name is attributed to the city's first schoolteacher, who combined mni, the Dakota word for water, and polis, the Greek word for city. Minneapolis lies on both banks of the Mississippi River, just north of the river's confluence with the Minnesota River, and adjoins Saint Paul, the state's capital. Known as the "Twin Cities," Minneapolis-St. Paul is the 16th-largest metropolitan area in the U.S., with 3.5 million residents. The Metropolitan Council estimated the city's population in 2008 as 390,131.
San Antonio, officially the City of San Antonio, is a major city in south-central Texas with a rich colonial heritage. It is the seventh most populated city in the United States of America and the second most populated city in the state of Texas. It was the fastest growing of the top 10 largest cities in the United States from 2000 to 2010, and the second from 1990 to 2000. The city straddles Central Texas and South Texas and is on the southwestern corner of an urban mega region known as the Texas Triangle. San Antonio was named for Saint Anthony of Padua, whose feast day is on June 13, by a 1691 Spanish expedition in the area. It is notable for Spanish colonial missions, the Alamo, the River Walk, the Tower of the Americas, the Alamo Bowl, and Marriage Island. The city is home to the five-time NBA champion San Antonio Spurs and hosts the annual San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, one of the largest such events in the country. The missions of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park along with the Alamo, became part of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites on July 5, 2015. The San Antonio Missions became the 23rd U.S. site on the World Heritage List, which includes the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty.
Indianapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Indiana, and the county seat of Marion County, Indiana. It is Indiana's largest city and is the 14th largest city in the U.S., the third largest city in the Midwest (behind Chicago and Detroit), the second most populous state capital (after Phoenix, Arizona), and the most populous state capital east of the Mississippi River. The city is also known as the "Racing Capital of the World" due to the proximity of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indy 500 and Allstate 400 at the Brickyard (formerly known as the "Brickyard 400").
Milwaukee is the largest city in the State of Wisconsin and the fifth-largest city in the Midwestern United States. The county seat of Milwaukee County, it is on Lake Michigan's western shore. According to the 2010 census, Milwaukee has a population of 594,833. Milwaukee is the main cultural and economic center of the Milwaukee–Racine–Waukesha Metropolitan Area with a population of 2,043,904 as of an official 2014 estimate. Known for its brewing traditions, major new additions to the city include the Milwaukee Riverwalk, the Wisconsin Center,Miller Park, an expansion to the Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, and Pier Wisconsin, as well as major renovations to the UW–Milwaukee Panther Arena. In addition, many new skyscrapers, condos, lofts and apartments have been built in neighborhoods on and near the lakefront and riverbanks.
New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area, (New Orleans–Metairie–Kenner) has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population of 1,360,436 as of 2000. The city/parish alone has a population of 343,829 as of 2010. The city is named after Philippe d' Orléans, Duke of Orléans, Regent of France, and is well known for its distinct French Creole architecture, as well as its cross cultural and multilingual heritage. New Orleans is also famous for its cuisine, music (particularly as the birthplace of jazz), and its annual celebrations and festivals, most notably Mardi Gras. The city is often referred to as the "most unique" city in America.
Sitting on Missouri's western border, with Downtown near the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, Kansas City is the largest city in the U.S. State of Missouri and the sixth largest city in the Midwest. It is the anchor city of the Kansas City metropolitan area, which straddles the Kansas–Missouri border. Founded in the 1830s, the modern city has several distinguished neighborhoods, each with its own rich history, such as: one of America's largest public farmers' markets located in the River Market District in the north, the cradle of a distinctive form of jazz in the 18th and Vine District in the east, and the Spanish-styled architecture and upscale shops of the Country Club Plaza in the south. Kansas City is also known for its cuisine (most notably its distinctive style of barbecue), its craft breweries, and its major league sports teams.