Obtaining a visa to the US is a great opportunity, and many people want to take advantage of it. Whether you’re visiting for business, pleasure, or study – the United States offers something for everyone. From stunning cities and national parks to incredible beaches and everything in between – there’s so much to explore.
With all the options, it can be a bit overwhelming for first-time travelers to decide where to go in the USA. Even US residents moving cross country for the first time have difficulty narrowing down their destinations – and they have the advantage of knowing a bit about the country.
To help you make the most of your first trip to the USA, we’ve rounded up 5 places you shouldn’t miss. These cities offer a great mix of history, culture, and natural beauty – so you won’t have to worry about missing out on anything.
1. San Francisco
This iconic city has something for everyone. Experience the hustle and bustle of downtown, marvel at iconic sights such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, or explore the winding streets of Chinatown. Take a ride on the famous cable cars, stroll along Fisherman’s Wharf, and enjoy some of the freshest seafood in America.
“If you are coming into town during the summer, consider taking a trip to Alamere Falls. The hike is not for the faint of heart, but the stunning views are worth it,” says Harrison Gough, a local moving specialist at MovingAPT.com and avid city traveler. “I help people move all the time, and Alamere Falls is always one of their top attractions after getting settled in with the help of our trustworthy cross-country movers.”
2. New York City
New York City is unlike anywhere else in the world – and it’s definitely high on the list of places you must visit in the USA. Soak up the bright lights and take in the bustling energy of Times Square, explore world-famous museums like MoMA and the American Museum of Natural History, or shop till you drop at famous stores such as Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s. From incredible food to iconic landmarks – NYC has it all.
If you’ve got a few extra days in the city in the springtime, be sure to check out the Cherry Blossom Festival in Central Park. The beautiful pink blooms will take your breath away.
3. Washington, DC
Washington DC, the nation’s capital, is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in America – and it’s definitely worth a visit when you’re in the US. From the White House to the Lincoln Memorial, explore some of America’s most important historical sites and get a glimpse into its past. Also, take advantage of iconic museums such as the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, or take a tour of Capitol Hill and watch Congress in action.
Solo travelers in DC during the summer won’t have to look hard for something to do. Check out the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, put on every year on the grounds of the National Mall. The celebration is a great way to immerse yourself in different cultures from all around the world.
The Midwest goliath of Minneapolis is a great city to visit for those looking for a relaxing trip. The city is known for its vibrant arts, outstanding food scene, and is home to an array of museums, galleries, theaters, and music venues. With four seasons that offer year-round activities, Minneapolis is a great spot for solo travelers seeking the comforts of a big city but with a relaxed atmosphere.
Don’t miss the iconic sculpture garden, an excellent spot for photos, and Minnehaha Falls, the 53-foot waterfall that is particularly beautiful in autumn when the leaves turn colors.
No trip to the States is complete without a visit to the southwest – and for that, look no further than Taos. This picturesque town, nestled in the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico, is home to incredible scenery and vibrant culture. There’s something for everyone here – from skiing, snowboarding, and mountain biking to hot air balloon rides and exploring Native American heritage sites.
If you’re looking for a spiritual journey, be sure to visit the Taos Pueblo – an ancient adobe village that is still occupied by its original native inhabitants. The townlet offers a unique glimpse into the past and is definitely worth a visit.
How long can I visit the USA?
Tourist visas for the USA vary in length, most valid for up to six months. Countries such as the UK and Australia can apply for a visa waiver that allows citizens of those countries to stay in the US for 90 days without a visa. It is important to understand the requirements and restrictions of your tourist visa before planning your trip.
If you are fortunate enough to have obtained a long-term visa, such as a student visa, you can stay in the country for the length of your visa – typically up to two years. A visit of this length will provide ample time to explore all that the USA has to offer, and you might even consider moving long-distance a few times to ensure you get to see everything that interests you.
Can I live in the USA after visiting?
Sometimes, it’s possible to transition from a tourist visa to a longer-term visa or permanent residency, such as an investment visa, work visa, family-based visa, or green card through marriage.
It is important to research your options and talk to an immigration lawyer if you are considering transitioning from a tourist visa to a longer-term option. You’ll also want to hire reliable help moving across the country should your transition be successful.
Make Your First USA Visit a Success
The first trip to a new place is always an exciting adventure, and the United States is no exception. Whether you’re looking for vibrant cities like New York or San Francisco, charming towns like Taos or Minneapolis, or iconic historical sites like Washington DC- you’re sure to find everything needed to make your first visit a success.