From east to west in three American cities

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In St Andrews, Americans make up around a seventh of the student body, and most students can claim to have at least one American friend. If you ever fancy visiting these friends or are just up for a road trip across the States, here are three great cities to consider.

When you first think of Washington DC, I’m sure politics and non-profits come to mind. But this transitory, metropolitan hub attracts so much more than politics, bringing people from all backgrounds together. By Aubrey McAllister.

D.C. wikimedia commonsWalking the two-mile National Mall is a must, it takes you from the US Capitol Building all the way to the Lincoln Memorial. Along the way, you can also stop at the Washington Monument, Reflection Pool, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and the Vietnam Wall. You haven’t been to the Lincoln Memorial if you did not stand where MLK stood to give his “I have a dream” speech – it’s an incredible, powerful view. Take advantage of all the free Smithsonian museums. If the weather permits, visit the National Arboretum a fairly overlooked but beautiful destination. For sport lovers watching baseball at the Nationals Park can make any tourist feel truly American. Walk through the streets of Chinatown and see the Friendship Arch. For good food go to the Busboys and Poets offering amazing food and events, or Ben’s Chili Bowl which has attracted costumers from Larry the Cable guy to Obama. Baked and Wired is also a must for cupcake lovers, don’t waste your time queuing for Georgetown Cupcakes, warns Aubrey and “please, for the sake of your pride, do not do a DC Duck Boat or Segway tour.”

 

Chicago, the big city in the Mid-West known for its notorious crime and deep-dish pizza, has a lot more to it. By Sarah Pollock.Bean at Night Sarah Pollock photocredit

Chicago’s establishment and expansion was based around transportation as the major train stop which connected East and West, Chicago rapidly expanded from a swampy, onion-field to a populous city of almost 3 million and hometown of such diverse people as Al Capone, Oprah and Hillary Clinton. For tourists there is plenty to see, spanning the city, you can see its many towers, stroll around Millennium Park, and any spot close to the lakeshore (Lake Michigan) to enjoy the view or the beach in the summertime. The handful of impressive museums, such as The Field Museum of Natural History, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Science and Industry Museum are all worth a visit. No street in Chicago lacks culture, and in summer, street fairs and festivals such as Lollapalooza fill the city. A huge part of the culture is the food made the true Chicago way: deep dish pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs, and Garrett popcorn. “Essentially, adds Sarah, if Frank Sinatra has sung about you, you know you’re on the map.”

 

Seattle is so much more than a geographically inaccurate backdrop for Kelsey Grammar’s shenanigans; it is a vibrant city with its own unique culture, thriving arts scene, and impossible-to-replicate sense of calm. By Ali West.

Seattle WikimediaIt’s the city of Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, and Bill Gates, a place where any kind of cuisine you could think to crave is available. It’s an amalgamation of neighbourhoods, each with a unique character. Arriving in Seattle, be sure to scoop up a copy of “The Stranger’ or ‘Seattle Weekly’. Tourist activities available year-round are musts to tick off your bucket list: Pike Place Market, in downtown Seattle, is a knick-knack seeker’s dream. Stop for a bite to eat at Piroshky Piroshky, and spend an afternoon hunting for treasures. Amble down First Avenue, dodging pamphleteers; walking this direction will take you past the Seattle Art Museum, towards Pioneer Square, Seattle’s oldest neighbourhood and home to an eclectic array of galleries. North in Fremont, buy an ice-cream at Blue Bird Micro-creamery, home to such flavours as Salted Caramel, and Snickerdoodle, and wander around the neighbourhood; if you look carefully, you’ll find a statue of Vladimir Lenin, a troll hiding under a bridge, and a building wearing a beanie. I promise this is all real. Ali concludes, “go forth and explore, but put that umbrella away, if you get caught in the drizzle only tourists carry those.”

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