Kick off with cocktails in the bar at the Rainbow Grill for a heart-stopping view of the Empire State and downtown skyscrapers. I’ve been living here for over a year and this place still gives me that ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ feeling when I walk in. Another good option would be the bar at the top of the Mandarin Oriental on 59th Street, Columbus Circle. If you go at sunset, you get the most wonderful view of the southern end of Central Park. Dinner – well, yes it’s hokey, but for an authentic New York experience, try Smith & Wollensky – the cathedral of steak (and pretty wonderful seafood too). You’ll feel your arteries furring up, but it’s a blissful way to go.
I love NYC, and always head to this great Italian I found on Upper East Side. It's called Baraonda and is on 2nd Avenue and the corner of 75th. The best night to go is on a Sunday by midnight when everyone is dancing on the tables or even on the bar! The food is delicious and great value. Book ahead.
I backpacked around Europe last summer and held onto my handbag for dear life at all times. As a poor student carrying around over 500 Euros, I couldn't take any chances. At one point I ran out of money and used my UK debit card to withdraw cash from an ATM, only to receive frantic calls from my bank to see who had been using my card at a bank in Rome.
This summer I made a similar trip around the US and I came across the concept of prepaid cards. I loaded my dollars onto it before I left and it was like having a local debit card. I could even withdraw cash from it at an ATM. When I ran out of money I just sent a text message to the card account and bought currency to put on the card in just two minutes. I think the card is also available in Euros.
It's now as much of a holiday staple for me as my sun tan lotion and flip flops.
The Neue Galerie shows early twentieth century German and Austrian art and design, including first-rate examples of paintings by Kokoschka, Schiele, Klimt (Adele Bloch-Bauer), and many other artists and designers. The setting is a 1914 mansion, just off Fifth Avenue, which opened in 2001.
The work is displayed as if it were in a private house, with furniture and fabrics appropriate to the pieces on show. The glassware and ceramics are also of high quality. The Neue Galerie is a pleasure to visit and a tribute to its founders. There is a comprehensive bookshop offering scholarly works as well as souvenirs.
Corner of Fifth Avenue and 87th Street. Subway to 86th Street and walk from there.
For drinks: Little Branch in the Village – much like visiting a speakeasy with classic and innovative cocktails in a strangely enticing basement space.
For dinner: You can’t go wrong with 11 Madison. It’s a wonderful, adult place to eat which exemplifies a certain sort of American and New York high cuisine. It’s an utter pleasure.
Little Branch: on the corner of St. Luke’s and 7th Avenue in the Village.
11 Madison: www.elevenmadisonpark.com/
I love NYC, and always head to this great Italian I found on Upper East Side called Baraonda. The best night to go is on a Sunday by midnight when everyone is dancing on the tables or even on the bar! The food is delicious and great value. Book ahead.
2nd Avenue and the corner of 75th
The Whitney Museum was designed by Marcel Breuer and contains a large collection of American art from the nineteenth century to the present day. Sometimes however it shows special exhibitions and that can restrict the range of work on display. This is a pity since many visitors to New York will want to see a representative selection of work from the Whitney's entire collection to gain an insight into the nature and range of American art, rather than concentrating on the work of select figures.
However the Whitney is well worth visiting especially if, in future, it makes a more generous selection of its main collections available than was on show this season. There is also a good bookshop.
945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street. www.whitney.org Subway lines 5 or 6, at 77th St and walk towards Central Park.
The Rockefeller Centre is an extraordinary and wonderful place to visit. Built in the mid-1930's it is a pure example of Art Deco architecture, both inside and out, right down to the smallest details of its interior, such as light fittings and switches.
Go early (or book online) and go to The Top of the Rock, the viewing area on the roof of the building, which is reached by high-speed but not frightening lifts. At the top you'll have a panoramic view of all of New York and as far as the Atlantic Ocean in clear weather.
It's not quite as high as the Empire State Building but that's included in the view from the Rock, so no problem. There is a charge for entry but it's well worth it.
This is the place where Dylan Thomas claimed to have had 18 straight whiskies before passing out and being taken to nearby St Vincent's Hospital where he died.
The tavern is pleasingly modest and practical in appearance, the staff are friendly, there is a wide range of drinks and the legend of the gifted but wayward Thomas is not rammed down your throat.
567 Hudson Street at 11th Street, Greenwich Village. Subway to Washington Square and walk from there.
I had an unplanned stopover in Butte and stumbled (literally) across this place in the Downtown area of the city. The Margueritas were excellent. It is a fusion of Mexican/ American food and although not cheap it is like a breath of fresh air in a state where moose and elk burgers are pretty standard.
Atmosphere is lively and the owner - Fred - omnipresent. Creative and inspired eaterie.
205 S Arizona St
Butte, MT 59701
New York's Greenwich Village has an international reputation as the city location where many artists and writers lived and worked from the middle of the Nineteenth century onward, through to modern times. Yet, paradoxically, while the United States celebrates many of its historical sites, parts of the Village remain shabby and run-down in appearance.
The traffic races through its main thoroughfares, while the quiet back streets are disfigured with garbage bins or heaps of building materials. The romance and associations of the place struggle against this neglect. It is still well worth a visit, however, and it may be that in time discreet improvements will be made by the city authorities: improvements which retain the battered elegance of the place but recognise its significance in the history of American art and literature.
Subway to West 4th Street, Washington Square
University of Chicago: Situated around the Hyde Park area, this is a beautifully constructed university by industrialist John D. Rockerfeller
Capital Grille and Chicago Chop House really have to be experienced! Try the dry aged beef...
Chicago's best tap beer selection. No pretension. Great neighborhood. You won't be sorry.
1949 N. Hoyne at Armitage, one block west of Damen.
Take the blue line from downtown, get off at Western, walk north to Armitage, turn east a couple of blocks to the Map Room.
If you only have a few days and are starting in New York City, I might suggest following US 1, a highway which goes from Maine to Florida Where available, you can choose to take US 1A (also known as Alternate US 1 - it's not a contiguous highway) for a more scenic coastal route. From New York, you can head north into New England (cool days, chilly nights in April). Or, for warm weather, head south from New York along the Mid-Atlantic coast into the South and all the way to Key West, if time permits.
Some of the best American regional cuisine is located along the East Coast. Most of the seasonal diners, crab shacks and lobster pounds will be open by April, but not yet crowded. My personal favorites include: the Maine Diner in Wells, Maine; Essex Seafood in Essex, Massachusetts; Durgin Park in Boston, Massachusetts; Mrs. Wilke's Dining Room in Savannah, Georgia; the Dixie Crossroads in Titusville, Florida; and Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House in Miami Beach, Florida. There are simply too many to list; you need to get the Roadfood book or see their website. Happy travels and happy eating.
The west of America has some of the most awe-inspiring scenery I've ever seen. If time is very limited, fly into Vegas and drive down to the Grand Canyon, north rim, via Bryce Canyon or Zion National Park. Not only will you get a taste of life on the road here, I guarantee you'll be blown away by the landscape. You can find motels or lodges on National Park land for little money ($50 (£25) a night will get you a decent place) and all the crappy diner food you could ever want.
If you love Broadway shows like I do, Las Vegas is the place to visit. Most hotels on the Vegas strip have shows and concerts - everything from Le Reve or Cirque Du Soleil 'O' to famous magicians like Penn and Teller - the list goes on.
Show tickets, on the other hand, can cost you between $40-$200 per ticket, but don't despair, there are ways to get discount or half price tickets. Here are some tips:
Score is the best gay bar/club in Miami, situated on Lincoln Road. If you are lucky enough to be heading to Miami I highly recommend you check it out. The staff are adorable (especially Jonathan) and they serve a good range of drinks. The music is also very good.
727 Lincoln Road, South Beach, Miami
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