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Top US City Break Destinations

Published on: September 10, 2014

Following on from our Top European City Break Destinations post we’ve taken a look at the top city break destinations in the US.

Whether you’re looking for a weekend break or plan to spend more time touring the major cities, here’s our pick of the biggest and brightest cities in America!

Las Vegas

With a flight time of just over 10 hours from London, Las Vegas draws crowds from around the world not just to gamble and gawp but to enjoy world-class food, boutique hotels, fashionable shops and chic clubs.

Must see sights include:

  • Bellagio – the classic Las Vegas landmark, Bellagio’s lake front dancing fountains are accompanied by Frank Sinatra. Inside the casino check out the extravagant seasonal floral displays in the conservatory
  • Stratosphere Tower – reached by one of the US’s fastest lifts Stratosphere Tower takes you over 100 floors above the ground. Mechanical rides will test your nerves while those who are really brave can freefall 855ft into thin air on the SkyJump
  • Circus Circus – this hotel is keeping the spirit of 1960 Vegas alive with trapeze artists, jugglers, contortionists and more dangling from above the casino floor. For kids the Adventuredome indoor theme park offers carnival rides and performing clowns

Tip: Hotels and shows tend to offer their best deals midweek. There’s never a dull night in Vegas and by avoiding the weekend you’ll more elbow room in the casinos.

New York City

Possibly the most exciting city in the world, New York is around a 7 and a half hour flight from London, with a surprisingly safe and welcoming atmosphere.

Must see sights include:

  • Empire State Building – a fantastic place to get to grips with the city from the 86th or 102nd floor observatory decks. Pick your days right and you could see up to 80 miles – as far as Connecticut and Pennsylvania. For a truly atmospheric experience head up at night to see the city lights glittering or shrouded in mist
  • Statue of Liberty – Gifted by France in 1866, the 150ft high Lady Liberty is situated in New York Harbor as a symbol of liberty and freedom to immigrants arriving by ship. Visitors can climb the 254 steps to the crown
  • Madison Square Garden – arguably the most renowned arena in the US. It’s been home to some of the biggest entertainment and sports events in history. Currently home to the New York Rangers ice hockey side and Knicks basketball team

Tip: Want to eat where a real New Yorker would eat? Make a reservation in advance, a week ahead at least. If you’ve left it to the last minute avoid peak times by booking a table before 7pm or after 10:30pm.

San Francisco

One of America’s great walking cities, San Francisco takes just under 11 hours to reach by plane from London. Sitting at the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, the city boasts many walking and cycling trails along the waterfront.

Must see sights include:

  • Alcratraz – once a notorious maximum security prison with famous inmates including Al Capone, Doc and Ma Barker and the birdman of Alcatraz. Tours of Alcatraz can be booked through Alcratraz Cruises and includes a haunting audio tour featuring interviews with former inmates. Booking in advance is required
  • Cable Cars – these have run along the city’s hilly streets since 1873. The Powell Hyde line takes you past Lombard Street up to Nob Hill and past the Cable Car Museum, ending near Ghirardelli Square
  • SFMOMA – short for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, this pioneering museum includes design, architecture and photography as well as contemporary art

Tip: The Muni system of trains, buses and streetcars is the best way to travel around the city. Single tickets cost around £1.30 and 7-day tickets around £17.

Los Angeles

One of the world’s most creative cities, LA is reachable in around 11 hours and 15 minutes from London by plane. It’s a fantastic city to mix relaxing escapes into nature with metropolitan pleasures.

Must see sights include:

  • Griffith Observatory – this amazing art deco observatory is situated high above the city near to the Hollywood sign in Griffith Park offers stunning views over the city
  • Universal Studios – a big draw with audiences of all ages, also check out the famous back lot tour and special effects studio with demonstrations of CGI and 3D effects
  • Getty Villa + Getty Center – the Getty Museum is spread over two lavish campuses. The original Getty Villa is in Malibu and houses a world-class collection of Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities. The Getty Center houses a collection of American and European photographs and European art and furniture.

Tips: The Los Angeles metropolitan area is very large so make sure to figure out what you want to do during your visit advance and plan your route or concentrate on a specific area only.


Autumn is a great time to visit Boston with trees in parks and along leafy boulevards turning brilliant shades of orange, red and gold. Flight time from London is around 7 hours.

Must see sights include:

  • The Freedom Trail – for a simple lesson in American History this 2.5-mile route passes 16 sites each with its own story to tell. Must-sees include the Old State House, the Paul Revere House and Old North Church
  • Museum of Fine Arts – with a collection that spans the world, highlights include European Old Masters, Impressionists and the Art of the Americas
  • Beacon Hill – with elegant homes, gas lighting and flower boxes this area has barely changed in 200 years, there are many guided tours of the area available

Tip: Make sure you try the New England clam chowder but make sure you read up on reviews from tourists and locals before you visit to avoid disappointment.

Other US cities to consider

  • Chicago – With towering skyscrapers, fantastic food and world-class shopping, entertainment and hotels this Midwest city offers a vibrant destination choice.
  • Atlanta – Burned to the ground during the Civil War, this now thriving city offers a wealth of entertainment, shopping and cultural attractions.
  • San Diego – This city prides itself on its conservative small-town ambience, offering award-winning restaurants, fashionable shopping districts and a great downtown district as well as a rich history of art and culture.

If you’re heading off on a US city break make sure you pack a my Travel Cash US Dollar Currency Card to get great exchange rates, 1% cashback on purchases, no ATM fees* and more. Plus you could get up to £10 extra travel money when you order or top up before 21 September 2014 – find out how to claim your cashback.

*Some ATM providers may apply an additional surcharge..