Saturday, 1 January 2011 12:00 AM
Forget Orlando, Florida, or the lights of Las Vegas - American cities can offer the perfect city break holiday, and from fly-drive to special tours and stopovers there are many ways to explore them. Here is travelbite.co.uk's guide to the top 5 major US cities to visit:
San Francisco, California
America's No.1 walking city, San Francisco has fantastic architecture and culture, all in close proximity to beautiful nature.
San Fran's diversity is probably what makes it such an interesting place to visit, and while the weather isn't always perfect, it's usually decent (well, decent by British standards anyway).
New York City, New York
Well, what can we say - NYC was always going to feature in the list.
The city that never sleeps really is one of the most exciting places in the world. Its infamous sights to one side, a simple stroll around the New York streets can be as engaging as any amount of tourism.
Central Park is the perfect place to reflect during the autumnal fall, Greenwich Village is ideal for searching out those chic bargains, and the whole city offers more nightlife, quirky bars, cafes and restaurants than anywhere else on earth.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Since the tragedy of hurricane Katrina fewer and fewer tourist are choosing to visit New Orleans, but it's the best city in the American south.
New Orleans isn't just a top destination because of its party scene and musical history; it also has a beautiful landscape and architecture, as well as a rich history and many cultural haunts.
While redevelopment in parts of the city has been slow, or arguably nonexistent in some areas, New Orleans can still be a great place to visit with fantastic cuisine, unbeatable live music and that insuppressible party vibe.
The President's old stomping ground, Chicago is often overlooked by many visitors to the states in favour of Las Vegas, Los Angeles and NYC - even though it is a major city.
Striking the fine line between cosmopolitan and comfortable, Chicago has more than enough to offer. The list of cultural draws is endless, from the Art Institute, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago International Film Festival and a vibrant theatre scene, to popular festivals like Jazz Fest, Blues Fest and the recently revitalised Lollapalooza.
In addition to this Chicago's restaurant scene is impeccable, ranging from top culinary luminaries to traditional hole-in-the wall neighborhood joints serving the city's famous deep-dish pizzas, Italian beef and Chicago style hot dogs.
If all this weren't enough the city is the perfect base for exploring the majestic Great Lakes, making it an all-round, near-perfect destination.
As the stereotypical beach bum destination, San Diego has gorgeous beaches of all different kinds (70 miles worth to be precise), but it's also a buzzing urban area with lots to see and do. Family friendly attractions like San Diego Zoo and Sea World are also a plus.
San Diego's Spanish influence is reflected in the many historic sites across the city, such as Mission San Diego de Alcala and Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, and its close proximity to the Mexican boarder offers its own unique charms.
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