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When planning a great American adventure, the sheer size of both continents can be overwhelming. To help, we suggest the next places you’ll love, based on better known places you might have already enjoyed!
With Air New Zealand now offering direct service to Chicago from Auckland, this city has never been easier. The birthplace of both legendary pizza (try the late Anthony Bourdain’s favourite pizzeria, Bonci) and the world’s first skyscraper, located on LaSalle and Adams Street. Chicago’s theatre scene rivals Broadway and Magnificent Mile delivers the ultimate shopping spree. For gangster vibes, Green Mill bar is where Al Capone socialised.
Where wide palm-lined roads meet mellow beaches, snazzy boutiques hide in the Montecito foothills and sun-soaked cafés serve stylish brunch. Santa Barbara’s most happening neighbourhood, The Funk Zone, is an arts community of sorts, while the Santa Ynez Mountains provide idyllic day hikes and gorgeous wineries. The climate allows for year-round surfing and a fruitful harvest, with farmers markets popping up daily.
The world’s first national park, Yellowstone is an American icon. Bursting at its 2,219,789-acre seams with stunning wildlife and over 10,000 thermal wonderments, restless volcanic activity is everywhere. In fact, so large is its volcanic bowl, the first geologists couldn’t even find it. They eventually realised they were standing in it. At 56km wide and 80km long, it’s easy to see their mistake.
Sip on a glass of Jack Daniels and write a song — it’s the Nashville way. Come for the music and venture to Lower Broadway for honky tonks (loud old bars full of guaranteed good times) and live performances. Then it’s onto Memphis for musical kings and crooners. Visit Sun Studio, where Elvis recorded his first song, and his Colonial-style mansion, Graceland. Come nightfall, nurse a Bourbon at B.B King’s ‘Blues Club.
Some cities have a pulse, and Buenos Aires, like Paris, is one of them. Street side dining overflows into balmy streets, markets erupt with chatter and passionate Tango dancers prove that romance is never dead. Like Paris, the coffee’s strong and the sweet treats are naughty.
Man-made islands float atop Lake Titicaca, the world’s largest navigable lake. The residents here build their homes, furniture, and even the ‘land’ itself from totora reed. Get off the beaten track and join them for an overnight homestay. It’s basic, but pleasantly different.
As the world’s highest capital city, the air might be thinner at 2850 metres, but the experiences are rich. Soak up the artworks of famed sculpture, Fundación Guayasamín, or get lost in the city’s crinkled Old Town. Calle La Ronda is a narrow, cobbled street which comes alive at night.
Both look like Mars, but Atacama feels like you’ve actually left Earth. From San Pedro de Atacama you can explore an otherworldly terrain. We love the enormous sand dunes of Death Valley and the mirror-like salt flats with spectacular reflections, while the night’s cloudless sky is a star-gazer’s fantasy.
It’s a different kind of hedonism, but Rio, much like the GC, is partying, dancing, sunshine and endless beach. ‘Jandal-culture’ reigns supreme, but you’ll still see plenty of well-dressed cariocas; the shopping is superb. Meet Christ the Redeemer, experience Copacabana beach and sip on caipirinhas.
Something caught your fancy? Find our best North America deals here. And more of South America is just a click away.
7 of the USA's most iconic cities.
The top 5 South Pacific beaches.
Which island is right for you?
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