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6 US States that Should be on Everyone’s Bucket Lists

 

 

The good old US of A, home to 52 individual states offering every kind of town, city and village you can think of. Whether you’re hitting the bright lights of Las Vegas or hiking in the remote Rocky Mountains, the US has it all. With so many places to choose from, you’ll have the trip of a lifetime planning your American adventure. Exactly this time last year, I had the pleasure of spending all summer there, road tripping from LA to NYC and ticking off 23 states along the way, so I’ve seen a fair few of them! My epic trip was booked with Contiki and it was a once in a lifetime adventure, made even bigger because I had totally quit my 9-5 day job in order to jet off across the pond and spend my summer in style. It was also my first ever solo adventure and, for that reason, it will always be an incredibly special trip to me.

After popping into my local STA Travel store and finding out about all the big tours, I knew I wanted to spend my summer in America, and I knew I wanted to do a huge road trip and a big chunk of the famous Route 66 too. As well as visiting 23 states in 28 days I had the opportunity to tick so many amazing things off my bucket-list, including taking a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, swamp boating in New Orleans, parasailing over Daytona Beach and celebrating 4th July in New York City. I had the most incredible summer pushing myself to my limits, getting out of my comfort zone and doing things I had always dreamt about. I’ve line danced in Texas, partied in Miami, gambled in Vegas and ghost-hunted in Savannah. I’ve white water rafted in Durango, seen the White House in Washington and walked in Memphis. It was tough to narrow it down after having such an epic adventure, but here are my top six US states, and why I think you should visit them ALL at least one in your lifetime…

California

 

L.A L.A L.A ✈️🇺🇸✈️🇺🇸

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Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Disneyland, California has it all. Stretching for nearly 900 miles along the Pacific Ocean, California boasts beaches, mountains, forests and of course the epic Mojave Desert. With the city of Los Angeles being the focal point of the state, and the hub of the world’s entertainment industry, you’ll never be stuck for something to do in the city of stars. Other Californian highlights include the capital city of Sacramento, celeb haunt Malibu, wonderful San Diego, San Francisco with its iconic golden gate bridge and historic Alcatraz Island, as well as popular boating destination Lake Tahoe and the spectacular Yosemite National Park. I only got to spend one night in LA before my tour started so I saw barely any of it, but I know I want to return to Cali as soon as I can to explore everything properly!

 

Georgia

 

I left my heart in #Savannah 💖 @contiki @statravel_uk #contiki #grandsouthern #america #USA #noregrets #wanderlustwednesday

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Perhaps a little less well known than some of the other states on this list, Georgia is one of the most beautiful states of the entire country offering so much to see and do. The northern part of the state is home to the Blue Ridge mountains, an excellent hiking destination with the most stunning surroundings. Famous cities in Georgia include Atlanta, the capital, Savannah and Augusta, each home to museums, galleries, churches and Atlanta even boasts a number of large theme parks. Savannah is a real highlight though, with its cobblestoned squares, green spaces and fantastic architecture. Forsyth Park is at the heart of the Historic District and is a sight not to be missed when discovering this Georgian gem – unexpectedly, this place became one of my favourite cities on the entire trip and I can’t recommend it enough!

 

 

Arizona

 

 

If national parks are your thing you’ll be spoilt for choice in Arizona. Arguably the most visited attraction in the whole state is the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Grand Canyon, carved by the Colorado River and famed for its incredible landscape and natural beauty. Tourists and locals alike can choose to hike, bike, fly over or raft in the Canyon and all methods of transport offer the most breathtaking views of this geological wonder. Horseshoe bend, located near the town of Page, is a must see during your time in the state, even if it is just to capture those all important photos. You’ll also find the epic Antelope Canyon in Arizona, as well as the stunning red-sand desert of Monument Valley on the Arizona-Utah border, both of which are a spectacular sight to behold, and both of which gave me the most amazing photos for my Instagram page! Seriously, they blew my mind.

 

 

New York

 

Concrete jungle where dreams are made of 🇺🇸 #newyork

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Times Square, Central Park, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, the city of New York in, yep, you guessed it, New York state, is one of the most visited in the entire world attracting over 60 million people every year. Catch a Broadway show, go shopping in Macy’s, pay your respects at the World Trade Centre memorial or take a boat trip over to Ellis Island to learn more about the history behind this fascinating place. Venture outside of the city itself and you’ll find the spectacular Niagara Falls (straddling the international border between America and Canada), the quirky Long Island and the stunning Lake Ontario, all of which are a world away from the buzz and bright lights of New York City. I was lucky enough to spend 4th July in NYC, watching the fireworks sparkle above the Hudson River, and it was so magical I wanted to stay there forever!

 

 

Texas

 

I miss you #Dallas 🇺🇸🇺🇸 @contiki @statravel #grandsouthern #contiki #USA #america #traveltuesday #texas

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Grab your cowboy boots and your Stetson hat and head into the deep south for a true taste of America. The second largest state in the entire country, Texas is home to Houston, Austin, Fortworth, Amarillo and many more interesting cities, but be sure to check out Dallas during your time there to experience the famous Tex-Mex cuisine and immerse yourself in the city’s culture and history. Dallas is a thriving city with a zoo, an aquarium, museums and memorials and is well known for being the site of the assassination of President John F Kennedy in November 1963 – if you get time, check out the sixth floor museum, it’s incredibly moving and such an important part of American history. If ranches and rodeos are your thing, head over to Houston for the world’s largest livestock show or stop by the Texan capital of Austin and enjoy their two week rodeo carnival extravaganza taking place every Spring.

 

Florida

 

 

The sunshine state of Florida lies between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean and is one of the most visited areas in the whole country. Brimming with gigantic theme parks, designer shopping malls, gorgeous sandy beaches and vibrant cosmopolitan cities, particular highlights include Orlando’s Walt Disney World and its Universal counterparts, the luscious Everglades, and the city of Miami. Head over to the beautiful St Augustine to discover one of the smaller areas in the state, and to get away from the hustle and bustle of the larger cities, I’d definitely recommend doing this to explore somewhere new for a few days. Spend a week exploring the many theme parks, and then relax and recharge with a week on some of Florida’s many beaches. Head from Daytona to PCB and you’ll soon be feeling fresh after a busy few days seeing the sights and hanging out with Mickey and Co!

So there we have it, the top US states that EVERYONE should visit! I’m just dying to go back to America as soon as I can, and I could have easily spent many more weeks and months there finding new places to tick off my bucket list. Have you ever been to any of them before? What did you think and which were your favourite? Let me know if I should have picked different states to include in this list, or whether you agreed with my top picks!

Love Jess x

🇺🇸🇺🇸

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A Guide to Washington DC: The Most Famous Capital in the World

Goodbye #Washington you've been amazing! 🎉🇺🇸 @contiki @statravel_uk #contiki #grandsouthern #noregrets #america #USA

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Smithsonian Institution

For most Americans, and for most of the world, today is D-Day. Today is the day that Barack Obama steps down as US President. Today is the day Donald Trump becomes US President, and the most powerful leader in the world – there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say. I visited Washington DC back in July when the Trump vs Clinton campaigns were heating up and everyone was talking about the impending election. Despite the uncertainty of a Trump-led America, I thought today would be a good day to remind everyone just how beautiful the capital of the United States really is. Washington is a city unlike any I’ve ever experienced before; it’s steeped in history and has so much to offer. I spent three wonderful days there exploring as much as I possibly could on my Grand Southern Contiki Tour and I still feel like I only just scratched the surface. Let’s share some optimism on this gloomy January day and remind ourselves how great Washington is with this guide to the city and my top must sees…

Stroll down the National Mall

 

 

All eyes will be on this famous street this evening, but on a normal day the National Mall is buzzing with locals and tourists alike, with different events occurring almost every week meaning there’s always something going on. Wandering along the two mile long, tree-lined boulevard you’ll find the Capitol Building at one end whilst the Lincoln Memorial occupies the other end. In between two of the city’s most famous landmarks you’ll find a number of well known buildings, memorial statues and green parks. The whole of the National Mall, affectionately known as ‘America’s Front Yard’, is officially listed as a National Park and is one of the most visited areas in the whole of the United States.

 

Visit the Capitol Building

 

 

Another famous building and a must see when in the capital is, yep you got it, The Capitol Building. Home to the House and Senate, the Capitol Building is at the centre of American democracy and attracts millions of tourists each year – guided tours are free but must be booked in advance, which is why I didn’t get to explore the inside! I loved looking up at this place when I visited – it’s huge and looks so grand from the outside. Standing on the steps on Capitol Hill looking out towards the whole of the National Mall, with the Washington Monument and Reflection Pool in the distance, is pretty special and is definitely one of those ‘pinch me’ travel moments.

 

Stop for a selfie at the White House

 

Found the most famous house on the planet today 🇺🇸🏡 #Washington #whitehouse #heyobama #noregrets #USA

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One of the most famous houses on the planet, the White House is one of Washington’s biggest tourist attractions with free guided tours being offered four times a week, subject to the busy government schedule. Tours must be requested way in advance, up to six months before your visit date, and they get booked up incredibly quickly due to the White House’s extreme popularity. I could barely get close to the White House when I visited due to the safety railings and the hoards of security guards, but I still managed to take a decent selfie from the distance!

 

Gaze at the Washington Monument

 

 

This was my favourite building in the whole of Washington, and I know it’s extremely popular with tourists too! Perhaps the most iconic building across the whole of the city skyline, the Washington Monument stands 555ft tall and offers spectacular views across the entire city. Riding the elevator all the way to the top was an incredible experience, and the views from up high were amazing, taking in the National Mall and all the other famous monuments in the vicinity.

 

Discover the Memorial Parks

 

Reflecting in #washington 🇺🇸 @contiki @statravel_uk #contiki #grandsouthern #noregrets #america #USA

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It's still #worldphotoday and I'm still posting #Washington pics 📸🇺🇸 @contiki @statravel_uk #flashbackfriday

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The Memorials laid out across the centre of the city and the whole of the National Mall are really special and definitely worth dedicating a whole day to. I had enough time to see pretty much all of them during my time there and I fell in love with them. It was so interesting to learn the history behind each of them, and find out more about the famous faces they were commemorated to. The Lincoln, FDR and Jefferson Memorials were particular favourites of mine as they are so iconic, but I also really liked the reflective World War II Memorial and the beautiful Martin Luther King Jr Statue too. I’d recommend seeing the monuments both in the day time and after dark to see them lit up in all their glory – they look even MORE amazing when the sun goes down!

 

Explore the many museums

 

 

Part of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington is home to 17 museums and galleries which are all free to enter for the public. The most popular museums include the National Museum of Natural History, the National Portrait Gallery and the National Air and Space Museum. Each offer something different and are fun for all the family, although I’d recommend only focusing on the museums you actually want to visit as this will take up a lot of your time during your visit to the city.

 

Visit the National Zoo

 

 

Also part of the Smithsonian Institution, and also free to enter for the public, Washington Zoo is a really popular tourist attraction. Located in the residential Woodley Park neighbourhood, the zoo is laid out over 160 acres and is home to over 2000 animals. Some of the species at the zoo include lions, tigers, bears, giraffes, elephants and their famous giant pandas which are just ADORABLE! The zoo offers something different compared to the historic areas of the city and is a great day out for all the family.

 

So there we have it, my guide to the best things to see and do during your time in Washington. Although it may be an uncertain time for America at the moment, one thing I’m sure of is that Washington will still retain its charm and beauty of being one of the most iconic capital cities in the world. With so much to see and do and so many incredible landmarks to visit, your visit to Washington will be a dream no matter what.

Have you ever been to Washington DC? Tell me what you thought of it, I’d love to hear your comments!

Love Jess x

 

Wish I was back exploring #Washington 🇺🇸🇺🇸 @contiki @statravel_uk #grandsouthern #contiki #noregrets #america #USA #DC #capital

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Walking in Memphis – 48 Hours in the Birthplace of Rock'n'Roll

Walkin in #Memphis 🇺🇸🎉

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Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since I last posted any US content, so I thought I’d take you back to Summer 2016 and share a little insight into my short time spent down in Memphis, Tennessee. I was only there for a couple of nights whilst on my Contiki Grand Southern tour but I fitted such a lot into my short time there and I LOVED every second! For anyone looking to spend time in Memphis in 2017, this post is for you! Here’s how to spend 48 hours in this rock’n’roll city…

Pay tribute to Elvis at Graceland

 

#Graceland 🇺🇸🎉🎤

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As someone who has LOVED Elvis ever since I was a little girl I was beyond excited to visit Graceland and was wandering round in awe of all the fantastic things I saw there. Elvis’ music is one of a kind, it is special, just like he was, and visiting his home was a special experience for me too, it almost didn’t seem real at times. Graceland is laid out over 13 acres of land, and you get a lot of time to wander around at your own pace and see everything that you wish to. Your personal ipad and audio guide is handed to you upon arrival and will take you through each room of Elvis’ home, including the grounds as well. I actually had no idea that Elvis himself was buried in the gardens at Graceland, so seeing his grave right in front of me was incredibly moving. My time at Graceland was amazing and something I definitely won’t forget in a hurry – if you’re an Elvis fan you wont want to visit Memphis without stopping here!

Visit the world-famous Sun Studios

 

 

Stepping into one of the most famous recording studios in the world was a special experience for me, and definitely something to tick off the bucket list! The likes of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis recorded some of their most famous songs in the small surroundings of Sun Studios and it was SURREAL to be holding the same mic and standing in the same spot as all those legends. If you’re a blues fan or a rock’n’roller you will absolutely adore your time at Sun Studios – it’s a must see for music lovers!

Party on Beale Street

 

 

Voted as America’s most iconic street (according to USA Today) Beale Street is perhaps one of the biggest party streets in the US, and one of the most famous too! Here you’ll find everything from jazz bars and soul clubs to honky tonks and restaurants. Beale Street is busy during the day but it comes alive at night, with plenty of places to eat, drink and have a good time! The road is filled with music from every corner and there are street performers, bright lights and live entertainment to keep you mesmerised. I loved my time on Beale Street – listening to live jazz music was amazing and there was just such a buzz about the place. If you like a good night out on the town and you enjoy authentic live music then you’re in for a treat!

See the spot where Martin Luther King was assassinated

 

The assassination site of #MartinLutherKing – may he rest in peace 🇺🇸 #Memphis #Tennessee #america #USA #history

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April 4th 1968 – one of the most famous dates in American history, and one that will certainly never be forgotten. Martin Luther King, the leader of the Civil Rights Movement, was fatally shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis and was killed by a single bullet. Seeing the very spot where MLK was assassinated, and learning about the true history of what really happened that day, was incredibly moving. Nowadays, the National Civil Rights Museum has been built around the site of the Lorraine Motel, tracing the history of the Civil Rights Movement in the US, from the 17th century to the present.

Explore one of the many museums

 

#PinkPalaceMuseum & #Mansion #Memphis #sun #sky #beautiful #architecture #building #pink #photography #museum

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Memphis is home to so many fantastic museums and you’d be mad NOT to visit at least one of them during your time in the city. As well as Sun Studios and Graceland, which are wonderful museums in themselves, I’d highly recommend the National Civil Rights Museum and the Rock n Soul Museum, both of which are two of the city’s most visited attractions. If, like me, you’re only in Memphis for 48hrs though, I’d suggest spending time visiting one or two but not trying to visit all of them as you simply won’t have the time! Memphis is full of history and culture and there is so much to learn, but you might need a few more days to be able to explore everything properly!

Cross the Mississippi River

 

Crossing the #Missisippi river over into #memphis 🇺🇸🎉 #grandsouthern #contiki #noregrets @contiki @statravel_uk #america #USA

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As I was on a Contiki tour, we arrived in Memphis by road, passing the Texarkana state-line border before crossing the Mississippi River. Arriving by road meant we could see a lot of the city before we even stepped off the coach; we passed famous avenues such as Beale Street and BB King Boulevard, as well as driving past landmarks such as the Autozone Park, Sun Studios and the National Civil Rights Museum. Crossing the Mississippi River though was, for me, a true bucket list item in itself and was a great way to kick-start my time in Memphis.

Catch a Memphis Redbirds baseball game

 

Baseball baseball ⚾️⚾️ #Memphis

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If you’ve never been to a US baseball game before, you NEED to add it to your bucket-list! The Autozone Park is one of the best places to catch a game, and the Memphis Redbirds are a well known team with a huge following. I was lucky enough to watch a Redbirds game from the hospitality box, with unlimited food and drink included as part of our ticket – winning! At the end of the game we watched the fireworks show set to music which was a spectacle in itself and was a brilliant way to finish the evening. I saw another baseball game in Washington at the end of my trip,  but the atmosphere wasn’t as good as at the Autozone and I didn’t get a red baseball hat to keep either!

 

So there we have it, my top tips on exploring Memphis in a whirlwind 48 hours! Immerse yourself in the rock’n’roll vibe of the city, visit the top music sites, hit up the museums and cross the Mississippi River in style. Hopefully this post inspires you for your trip to the city and helps with that all important planning!

Have you ever been to Memphis? Tell me what you thought of it, I’d love to hear your comments!

Love Jess x

 

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48hours in Miami- A guide to the US party capital

Palm trees, skyscraper hotels and a beautiful harbour.. It can only be M I A M I 🇺🇸🌴 #Florida #Miami #wanderlustwednesday

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Hi everyone,

On my American Adventure this summer I had the chance to explore the US party capital of Miami, somewhere I have wanted to visit for months and months! I only had two full days to explore whilst on my Contiki Grand Southern trip, but I definitely made the most of my short time there and it lived up to my crazy high expectations – Miami was INCREDIBLE! Two full days actually gives you enough time to see the main sights, although I would love to have embraced the beach life for a few days longer! Here is my list of must see’s and my guide on how to make the most of your time in the city…

 

Hit Lincoln Road Mall for the ultimate shopping experience

 

#tbt to M I A M I 🇺🇸🌴 #America #USA #contiki #grandsouthern #noregrets #throwbackthursday

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Lincoln Road Mall was the first stop of my Miami trip and it was the best way to get acclimatised to the city. We strolled up and down the boulevard checking out all the stores, picking up souvenirs and stopping for drinks whilst people-watching til our hearts were content! This place is THE premier shopping mall in Miami and stretches for miles with stores selling everything you can think of. I loved that the streets were lined with palm trees and there were market stalls on every corner – embracing the true Miami lifestyle was so much fun and it was one of the best shopping experiences I’ve ever had!

Take a thriller speed boat ride to Star Island

 

BRB, just gonna move in to ma new house 🌴🏡 #Miami #Florida #wanderlustwednesday #housegoals #agirlcandream

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This was an optional extra on my Contiki trip and I am SO glad I did it! I am usually really  bad with boats, or any kind of water based activity, as I suffer badly with both travel and sea sickness, so I really thought I’d struggle on this one, but the boat went SO FRIKKIN FAST that I don’t think my body even had time to start feeling sick! We sped across the ocean and sailed around Biscayne Bay before making our way over to Star Island to ogle at all the famous people’s houses that were on site! The 90 minute tour took us past amazing homes belonging to Will Smith, Julio Iglesias & Gloria Estefan before making our way back to the harbour where we were placed firmly back on the ground and came back to the real world! The boat tour was a really fun way of seeing Biscayne Bay – tours run every 2 hours departing from the harbour – and I’d 100% recommend it to anyone wanting to explore Miami from the ocean!

Embrace beach life

 

I'm in Miami bitchhh! 🇺🇸🎉🇺🇸🎉 #noregrets #grandsouthern #miami

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Miami is suuuuch a cool place and it has some of the best beaches I’ve ever seen! Both Miami Beach and South Beach were my faves; they were framed by skyscraper hotels, art-deco buildings and white sands with the bluest sea I have ever swam in! Beach life is a massive part of Miami, and these beaches are known to attract top celebs all year round – I tried my best to spot some A-Listers but sadly didn’t see anyone during my trip! After a hectic week exploring Florida it was so nice to just chill out on the beach and spend some time people-watching and seeing those ocean waves roll in… what I would give to be back there right now!

Take in the awesome skyline

 

 

So this kinda goes without saying, but as soon as you arrive in Miami you won’t be able to miss the incredible skyline that is present across the entire city. The best way to see it is by boat, look behind you and just gaze up at the sheer size of those buildings – they’re so iconic and you’ll pinch yourself to check whether you’re actually there or whether you’re just day dreaming! I know I did that, and I still can’t believe I’ve actually been to Miami, even four months after I got back!

Party like a local

 

Miami rooftops 🎉🇺🇸 #saturdaynight

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You can’t visit Miami without partying at least once, so go out like a local, hit the clubs and dance the night away! We had drinks on the rooftop of our hotel (Hotel Croydon on Collins Avenue – would highly recommend this as a place to stay) then headed out to the main strip and went in a few small bars first before getting into the clubs which were HUGE! Drinks and entrance charges were really expensive, think Vegas prices, but the venues are so luxurious and there’s no where else quite like Miami so it definitely has to be done at least once on your trip!

Sail around Miami Harbour

 

🇺🇸🇺🇸 #Miami #florida #contiki #grandsouthern #noregrets #starttheadventure #takemeback #traveltuesday

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So this was organised as part of my Contiki trip, but if you get the chance to hop on a party cruise and sail around Miami Harbour I would definitely recommend it! We saw the whole of the Miami skyline lit up at night which looked totally amazing, and sailing around the bay was sooo dreamy. Our big American flag flew proudly at the rear of the ship, and we had an on-board bar with our very own DJ which made for a brilliant party atmosphere! I know Miami is big on clubbing, but a party boat is suuuuch good fun and a really good way of getting to meet people if you’re travelling alone or in a small group, plus it’ll be cheaper than the clubs and less busy – winner!

So there we have it, my top tips on exploring Miami in a whirlwind 48 hours! Immerse yourself in the buzz of the city, visit the sites, relax on the beach and embrace the party vibe that is present throughout for the full Floridian experience. Hopefully this post inspires you for your trip to the city and helps with that all important planning!

Have you ever been to Miami? Tell me what you thought of it, I’d love to hear your comments!

Love Jess x

🇺🇸 M I A M I 🇺🇸 #wanderlustwednesday

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🏙🌊 #Miami #Florida #takemeback #wanderlustwednesday

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24 Hours in New York City – Competition for Accor Hotels!

Even if it ain't all it seems, I've got a pocket full of dreams 🏙🇺🇸 #newyork #NYC #bigapple #tbt

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That skyline tho 😍🇺🇸🏙 #newyork #america #USA #contiki #grandsouthern #noregrets @contiki @statravel_uk

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Hey y’all!

On my recent American Adventure I was lucky enough to be able to explore New York City, on the very special day of 4th July, somewhere and something that had been on my bucket list for YEARS! I literally only had one full day to explore before I hopped back on a plane to London, so I had to make the most of my short time in the City that Never Sleeps! When I heard that Accor Hotels were running a fab 24 Hours In… competition (you could win a 9night European city break to Amsterdam, Paris & Berlin- eeek!) I knew that I just HAD to write about my whirlwind visit to The Big Apple. One day is definitely not enough to see everything, but here are my highlights and suggestions on how to spend 24 hours in New York…

Getting Around

 

 

I knew I was on limited time during my short stay in NYC, so in true tourist style I decided to hop on a sightseeing bus to get around, and tick off as many landmarks as possible! A hop on bus is a really easy way of getting your bearings and exploring as much of the city as you want to, without the need to get off. I stayed on board for two of the routes and saw everything from Brooklyn Bridge to the Empire State Building without having to walk for miles! I’d highly recommend using a tourist bus to explore the area if you’re limited on time, otherwise you can flag down one of those big yellow taxis, or  use the metro to get around the city, which can be a cheaper (but not as fun!) alternative.

Where to Eat and Drink

 

These streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you 🇺🇸🏙 #Newyork #NYC #bigapple #timessquare #tbt

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New York is one of those cities where there are more food and drink places than anything else! The city is brimming with trendy bars, cafes and restaurants offering every kind of food you can think of. There’s pizza places, Chinese takeaways, Mexican kitchens, Sushi restaurants, fast food outlets, you name it, everywhere in New York has it, from Lower Manhattan all the way through to Brooklyn! As I was staying close to Times Square, I found this a really convenient area to base myself, and there were plenty of dining options to choose from. NYC is famed for its iconic food, including bagels, hot dogs, doughnuts, cupcakes and, of course, its classic New York Cheesecake. When in the big apple though, a good slice of hearty American pizza (thin base, lots of mozzarella cheese and lashings of marinara sauce), is an absolute MUST!

 

What to See

 

 

The Big Apple is brimming with landmarks, tourist attractions and thousands of things to see and do. One of the most popular activities is catching a Broadway show; from Disney showstoppers Aladdin and The Lion King, to classic musicals such as Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon. With shows running every day of the week, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to catch a performance during your short time in the city. Book online to secure your seat and avoid disappointment on missing out, as shows get booked up well in advance and are extremely popular, particularly on weekends.

 

 

So I know you only have 24 hours in the city, but even if you don’t have time to go inside you must at least pass by the iconic American Museum of Natural History to take a photo!  One of the most famous buildings in the whole city, the museum attracts on average around 4 million visitors each year, and is extremely popular with locals and tourists alike.

There are hundreds of things to see and do in NYC, but if you only have 24 hours, here’s my top picks of the best of the rest:

Statue of Liberty | Brooklyn Bridge | One World Trade Centre & Ground Zero |

Central Park | Times Square | Madison Square Gardens | Hudson River

 

Where to Shop

 

Last day on tour 🇺🇸🎉 #NYC #timessquare #america #USA @contiki @statravel_uk #contiki #noregrets

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NYC is well known for its savvy shopping;  from giant department stores to high street shops and designer outlets, its a haven for every type of shopper. I started at Times Square and made my way down the many side streets, and the central plaza, the focal point of the square. You might only have 24hrs to spare, but if you have time, make sure you pick up an I Love NYC tank top, or pop in to Macy’s for a designer steal!

What Not to Miss

 

When you remember that this time yesterday you were in #newyork 🇺🇸🇺🇸 #America #USA #NYC #reflections

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So I am a TOTAL sucker for skyscrapers; I just love looking up and gazing in awe at the sheer enormity of them, and I was in love with New York before I even arrived after rolling past the iconic Manhattan skyline upon arrival. For me, NYC has it all. The Empire State Building, the Rockefeller, the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Centre; each are iconic, special and mesmerising in their own way, and encapsulate everything New York is about. During your whirlwind 24 hours I’d suggest trying to see as many skyscrapers as you can, and, if you have time, climbing up them is always fun too!

 

Empire State Building 🇺🇸🇺🇸 @contiki @statravel_uk #contiki #noregrets #america #USA #newyork #NYC #grandsouthern

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Hidden Gem

 

Experience the colors of the city—discover the sunset from #TopoftheRock. 📷: @jordbread

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There are hundred of hidden gems in New York just waiting to be discovered, but I’ve been told that this one trumps them all (ahem)… I guess most visitors would climb the most iconic building in the city for those spectacular panoramic views, The Empire State Building, but I’ve heard there’s somewhere else that offers an even better view… Why not head over to The Rockefeller Centre, where you can see the whole of New York AND the Empire State Building too?! The view is arguably better from the Top of The Rock, and it’s not hard to see why.

So there we have it, my top tips on exploring NYC in a whirlwind 24hours, and on Independence Day too! Immerse yourself in the buzz of the city, visit the tourist sites and get around like a local on the metro for the full New York experience. Hopefully this post inspires you for your trip to the city and helps with that all important planning!

Have you ever been to New York? Tell me what you thought of it, I’d love to hear your comments and I already cannot waittttt to go back as soon as I can! Oh and if you’re also entering Accor’s fab competition then GOOD LUCK!

Love Jess x

Jumping in my last big yellow taxi 🇺🇸🚕 #newyork

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