Spot celebrities in Los Angeles and enjoy the magic of Orlando theme parks when visiting the United States
U.S. travel restrictions end next month for fully vaxxed visitors.
Here are our top tips for where to visit when crossing the pond.
Magic of theme parks and sunny days guaranteed.
Park ‘n’ ride Thrill seekers will forever flock to Florida for the world’s best theme parks, which keep getting bigger and better.
At Universal Orlando Resort, you’ll feel like you’re flying on Harry Potter’s latest ride, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. Day tickets start at £ 100, but book online for the best deals (Universalorlando.com).
Early next year, the world’s fastest and steepest hybrid (wood and steel) roller coaster, Iron Dwazi, will open in Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay. This will be the park’s 10th roller coaster, joining SheiKra, a 200-foot, 90-degree beast. Book online for the best day ticket deals (Seaworldparks.co.uk).
SOMETHING NEW: Just an hour’s drive east of Orlando is New Smyrna Beach, a vibrant community of artists and surfers living on wide, colorful streets, which many represent the real Florida. It’s a world away from theme parks, with no chain restaurants, plenty of independent shops, 17 miles of beautiful white sand beaches, and a thriving cultural scene.
It’s the perfect place to relax and take a dip in the ocean – you might even see dolphins. If you’ve got the energy for another thrill, take a two-hour, £ 80 surf lesson with the pros at legendary Nichols Surf School (Nicholssurfshop.com).
RESERVE: The Night Swan at New Smyrna Beach is a charming boutique B&B with stunning views of the Indian River. Rooms start from £ 130 per night including breakfast (Nightswan.com). British Airways flies nonstop from London Heathrow to Orlando, starting at £ 482.87 return.
Spot celebrities and enjoy the good life in the sprawling City of Angels.
GLORIOUS FOOD: Grand Central Market, open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., is a downtown institution (Grandcentralmarket.com). The legendary Tacos Tumbras stand A pork burrito from Tomas, £ 8.50, may be the best of your life, while Sticky Rice is the destination for Thai street food.
LA is full of herbal options, but don’t miss The Butcher’s Daughter, a self-proclaimed “vegetable slaughterhouse.” Try a BLT with adzuki bacon, £ 11, and a rosemary latte, £ 4 (Thebutchersdaughter.com).
BABY SANTA CLAUS: There’s not much you can do without a car in LA, except in town-in-the-town Santa Monica. Walk – or rent an electric scooter, from £ 2 an hour – along the palm-fringed graduation party (Birdapp.com).
Grab a coffee at Menotti, which has a secret menu hidden behind a photo frame (Menottis.com). Head to Abbot Kinney Boulevard, named one of the coolest streets in the world, for its quirky boutiques, cafes, bars, and unique pieces, such as the Japanese housewares store Tortoise (Tortoisegeneralstore.com). Plus, you’re almost guaranteed to spot a famous face.
WHAT’S NEW? Tucked away behind Venice Beach, the peaceful Marina del Rey is the best place to try stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). Rent yours from Pro SUP Shop, from £ 22 an hour (Prosupshop.com). Then browse the famous canals of Venice on Insta for some serious porn.
RESERVE: The timeless Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica offers everything from double rooms to family apartments, from £ 180 per night. End the day here with a rooftop cocktail overlooking the Pacific (Shangrila-hotel.com).
Less crazy but still top notch is the Elan Hotel in West Hollywood, starting at £ 89 per night (Elanhotel.com). British Airways flies from London Heathrow to LAX, starting at £ 348.88 return (Britishairways.com).
Take a long-awaited bite of the glamorous Big Apple.
PACKAGE: With the filming of the Sex And The City And Just Like That… revival series currently filming, channel Carrie Bradshaw by visiting Manhattan’s Bergdorf Goodman department store. The fifth floor is the Mecca for Manolo lovers (Bergdorfgoodman.com).
Don’t miss the magnificent House of Dior exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum through February 2022, exploring the long history of the fashion house. Tickets cost £ 18 for adults, £ 7.50 for children (Brooklynmuseum.org).
MARKET VALUE: Chelsea Market in the Meatpacking District has everything from independent brands to cult lifestyle boutiques, like Anthropologie, and even a fresh seafood counter (Chelseamarket.com).
For something more daring, Regeneration in Brooklyn is a new weekend market dedicated to vintage and pre-loved fashion. Allow plenty of time to dig to locate these hidden gems (Artistsandfleas.com/regeneration). Book lovers can browse 18 miles of new, used and rare titles on Strand Books (Strandbooks.com).
BIG EATERS: Pancakes are the only thing to order at the chic brunch on the Lower East Side, Clinton St Bakery. Opt for classic blueberry or our choice – a stack of chewy apple pie pancakes served with warm maple butter, £ 12, to start your day in style (Clintonstreetbaking.com). New Yorkers line up around the block at Lucali, which is essentially a pizza cult. A bite of his margherita, £ 8.50, and you’ll see why (Lucalibrooklyn.com).
HIGH & POWERFUL: Breathtaking panoramic city views await atop America’s tallest building, One World Observatory at One World Trade Center. After the breathtaking ascent in the SkyPod elevator (one of the fastest in the world) takes you to floor 102, step onto a 14-foot-wide platform providing live footage of the streets below . Tickets cost £ 35 (Oneworldobservatory.com).
RESERVE: With generously sized rooms, a rooftop bar, and cool graffiti, the Indigo Hotel on the Lower East Side is an urban oasis. Rooms cost from £ 150 per night (Ihg.com/hotelindigo). At just £ 70 a night, the Union Hotel Brooklyn is an affordable yet stylish crash pad (Unionhotelbrooklyn.com). JetBlue flies from London Heathrow or Gatwick to JFK, from £ 330 return (Jetblue.com).