Everyone has a mental list of the places they want to see, even if that list only has one or two places. Personally, I could tell you a hundred places I want to see. But have you thought about what you want to see before you graduate college? No need to sit and think about it – here’s a list of the top five places you need to see right here in the U.S.
1. Washington D.C.
This one is self-explanatory. We can learn all about the history of our country from professors and textbooks, and still not truly understand the significance until we see it with our own eyes. Have you ever stood in front of our Constitution and had John Hancock’s authentic signature staring you back in the face? If not, it’s time you make your way to this historic capital. Read National Geographic’s list of Must-Dos for an overview, and Budget Travel’s 20 Best-Kept Secrets of Washington for some great ideas that won’t empty your wallet.
2. New York City
College is the perfect time to visit this great city, even if you’ve seen it before. I guarantee you will see something new every time you make the trip. You don’t need to have a big-city personality to appreciate the commerce and culture surrounding Manhattan. From Central Park to Chinatown to Soho and back, there’s something for everybody. My personal favorite is the American Museum of Natural History (unfortunately, the displays don’t come alive at night). Visit nycgo.com to find some more must-sees!
This one is a personal favorite of mine. I just can’t get over the amazing views and beautiful architecture. Be sure to stop by Willis Tower and Michigan Avenue when you’re in town to get a feel for the city. I also highly suggest seeing Shedd Aquarium and the Museum of Science and Industry when you have the chance – I guarantee you’ve never seen museums like these! If you feel like splurging, make a reservation at the incredible Signature Room for dinner 95 floors above the city.
When you step foot in Portland, it immediately feels like a quirky college town. You can feel it in the eclectic shops that line the streets. I first noticed it when a guy jumped out of a parked van in a monkey suit and started dancing to funky music on the sidewalk. Trust me, you need to schedule a trip to Portland before you graduate. Top two locations to see – Voodoo Doughnuts and Powell’s Books. Also, try to get in a free Secrets of Portlandia walking tour for even more of that authentic feel.
5. San Francisco
Last, but by no means least – San Francisco! After you visit the Golden Gate bridge, make sure you soak in the atmosphere of the city, with its cable cars and winding streets. Union Square is a must-see destination if you want to shop, or just grab some great food. I also recommend seeing Alcatraz while you’re there; it’s definitely an interesting piece of U.S. history. Check out ‘How to Save Money in San Francisco‘ for more tips.