Too much depends on your mode of travel to a certain extent. Sounds like you have been here previously so you know the US is about 20% bigger than Australia and thus travel times here, like there, can be considerable. The rail system is not a terrific option time wise if you plan to travel large distances cross country. But it will be of easy use on the East Coast. Each place you mentioned would be nice for week long visits. ;-) I’m thinking if you budget 3-4 days in each place with a travel day between each that will work out that you can visit much of your list. Please realize that the cheapest flights are often via hub cities so for instance flying from Nashville to New Orleans might look short but the airline might route you through Atlanta. Thus the travel days might be long if you pick cheapest fares. If I were to suggest dropping a place it would be LA. It is a great place to visit but it is a huge area. And though I like Chicago it is not exactly on the way to anyplace else on your list. But it is another great place to visit given the types of stores you like. SF is a very walkable place – geographically constrained by water so the SF proper is an easy visit. I guess my responses will depend a lot on your mode of travel and budget. But on the surface it is probably a few too many places.
Thanks for your answer!
Yeah, we have been to the states before – absolutely love it!
We wanted to tour the south, as went to Memphis a month ago and really loved the atomsphere and the food – soul food in Oz is no where to be found!
In saying that though, we fell in love with Seattle, and really want to check out Oregon. I’ve been to SF before, but didn’t like it at all. My husband has heard a lot of good things about SF and thinks I should give it another try. Personally, I’d really liked to check out the South, and maybe then Portland, Boston and Philly, and leave out San Fran, LA and Chicago (all places I’ve been before, but where he is busting to go to!) That still means we will have seven places to visit, and we are thinking of staying for about a month, so that’s 28 days all up if we stay in each place for four days. But in saying that, our plane from OZ will either come in at SF or LAX, and after a 14hour flight, it’s a pain hopping on another plane…
Your info has been awesome, and I’ll totally take it into account when I keep on researching our trip! Thanks so much!
From a life pace perspective I think the Austin, Nashville, New Orleans, Atlanta, and points south will be a very different vibe than will Boston and Philly. Washington DC is also a southern city in very many ways.
For me the culture shock of going from the south to Boston would be kind of high. ;-) However the pace in Portland, Seattle and places all down the NW coastal area is in some ways similar to the US South East.
I am partial to SF. I like walking all through North Beach (Italian Food) and China Town (Chinese food) and the Marina District, up to Coit Town and down the Filbert Stairs to the Embarcadaro, then over to the warf. Oh and you can rent a bike near fisherman’s warf, ride it across the golden gate bridge and down into Sausalito, eat lunch and then take the ferry back across the bay to the ferry building and then ride back (flat route) back to the bike rental shop. 5 hours or so spent riding about.
If you like book stores go to Powells when you are in Portland. Head up along the Columbia River gorge and hike into some falls. Drive around Mt. Hood and get up to Skyline Lodge. There are nice trails all around the mountain.
Spent time on the Olympic Peninsula and stand on the beach on the west side of Olympic National Park. The ocean there is beautiful in a wild way. If you mostly/only like urban areas then ignore the hiking and such mentioned above.
That is a lot of places! If you go to SF, Chicago and LA, then you will average 3 days in each city. Is that ok with you? The next thing is, the US is very large. Some of these cities will take the better part of a day driving between; the rest will require you to fly or take a train (the rail network in the US isnt that good). As such, transportation could get very expensive. If I were you, I’d skip at a minimum Nashville and Portland. Portland is nice, but I dont think its worth going out of your way for. If you wanted go so somewhere from Seattle, go north to Vancouver. Anyway, if you cut Portland and Nashville, you’d be up to 4 days per city. I would also definitely go to SF, and would try to get to Chicago and LA. You may not have liked SF the first time, but its the first place that comes to mind when you say vintage stores. I would disagree with it being very walkable – its very hilly. As for getting around, you can take trains along the east coast, to/from Chicago and maybe along the west coast fairly easily.
Personally, a good idea may to be focus on the midwest cities… I have lived in Chicago, Louisville, and Cincinati, and all offer a lot of unique experiences and people. Chicago is a place that one could spend years, and still constantly discover new and exciting sites. Nashville, while great and wonderful in its own rite, was pretty much destroyed this week by flooding. Most of Nashville is underwater and will be for some time….
As you are well aware, the United States is a monster of a country. It can be expensive in both time and money to get around.
This almost sounds like a task for a travel agent, unless you’re really savvy about airfare and car rental.
I think I’d pick one region and focus my trip on that—unless you can build a stopover into your trip for free (as in, you land in San Francisco/Los Angeles and can stop there for free). You may need to deal with a travel agent for this feature, which may or may not be free.
Boston and Philly would be easy to do together. Seattle and Portland go together too. The rest is really too scattered to manage without real planning.
Given that you’re looking a month, you’ve really got a decent amount of time. Your problem, as I see it, is that you’re interested in the opposite ends of the country. Pick one or the other. Or expect 4 days of solid driving to get from one to the other (or $250+ for a flight). Google maps claims 46 hours of drive time from Philly to Seattle—all on toll roads until you get to Wisconsin.
Personally, I’d pick the east coast and start in Boston and head south by train until I got to DC. Then I’d pick up a rental car and head even further south. If the price of a one-way rental doesn’t scare you (and they can), you needn’t even loop back (allowing you to hit New Orleans and Austin). The open jaw flight and one-way car rental may require a travel agent—unless you’re savvy with building itineraries.
In my experience, people are nicer (at least superficially) and the food is better the further south you go along the Atlantic coast.
Likewise, you could pull a west-coaster too, but you’d rent the car the whole way. I’ve had well-prepared food on the west coast, but in every other way it is grossly inferior to southern cooking (and this could really be said about anywhere in the country lest you think I’m running down the food scene on the west coast).
I’d forget Nashville and Chicago in any case (and they’re both places that merit a visit). Probably more vintage stores to be had in the northeast due to population density.
i would definitely recommend colorado. i live in the states and CO is my favorite state there is, something about the nature and people!
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