Where To Travel In The USA, According To TV And The Movies

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This feature is brought to you by Qantas, who are proud to play a part in bringing travellers together with the people they love from around Australia and across the globe.

One of the great best things about travelling to the USA is the chance to get a real-life look at all those places you’ve seen on TV and in the movies.

Whether you want gaze with misty-eyes at the bright lights of the big cities or be served slices of hot cherry pie at roadside diners, a trip to America is the time to bring all your wildest Hollywood-inspired dreams to life. So, from coast-to-coast, here’s a few places where you can follow in the footsteps of your favourite characters.

Los Angeles

Image: Jack Finnigan / Unsplash

Where would any movie-inspired holiday be without a stop in La La Land itself? Do a Cher Horowitz-worthy shopping spree on Melrose, sure, but let Hollywood guide you through LA’s diverse ‘burbs as well — skate down the boardwalk of Venice (Lords of Dogtown), hang out in South Central LA (Friday and Boyz n the Hood), or sip iced lattes in Silver Lake (Love, Transparent, You’re The Worst). Because there’s way more to this city than just Beverly Hills.

…And The Rest Of California

Image: Herson Rodriguez / Unsplash

Of course, there’s more to see in the Golden State than just LA. Do your best Marissa Cooper impression and sit moodily in a lifeguard tower on the sands of Newport Beach, channel Fast Times At Ridgemont High by hanging 10 in San Diego, or hit the Mojave Desert à la Erin Brockovich. Californiaaaa, here you come.

Las Vegas

Image: Ken Yam / Unsplash

If there’s one city the silver screen just can’t get enough of, it’s Vegas, baby. As Hollywood tells it, a weekend in Sin City is a life-altering rite of passage — just treat flicks like The Hangover and Knocked Up as cautionary tales rather than how-to manuals. For the proper just-like-in-the-movies experience, road trip from LA so you can pass the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign as you drive in.

The Pacific Crest Trail

Image: Aniket Deole / Unsplash

Its big cities might hog the limelight, but what the USA really does best is nature. From Yellowstone to Yosemite, the national parks here among the best in the world — so make like Cheryl Strayed in Wild and go hike the PCT to see it all up close.

New York

Image: Joshua Earle / Unsplash

Getting a hot dog from a food cart, being dazzled by the flashing neons of Times Square, and yelling “I’m walkin’ here!” at a yellow cab are just a few of the quintessential experiences you can recreate on a trip to the Big Apple.

You’ll also want to follow Meg Ryan’s lead and eat an orgasmic sandwich at Katz’s Deli, peer in the windows at Tiffany’s like you’re Audrey Hepburn, and recline on the steps of The Met à la Gossip Girl, leaving plenty of time for an impromptu adventure that would make the girls from Broad City proud. Because in the words of Carrie Bradshaw: “Anything is possible. This is New York.”


Image: Michael Olsen / Unsplash

Want to go on holiday where people in the movies go on holiday? Hawaii it is. The Aloha State’s pristine shores have starred in modern classics like Blue Crush, 50 First Dates, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

And, yes, it’s every bit as beautiful IRL as it looks on screen.

The Open Road

Image: Heidi Kaden / Unsplash

Hollywood loves the great American road trip — everything from Crossroads to Thelma & Louise and Easy Rider have mythologised the redemptive power of hitting the open road. Hiring a car and heading down Route 66 (or any of the country’s highways, really) also happens to be arguably the best way to see the “real” America, from its delightful small towns to its beautiful outdoor spaces.

Make your ride a Ford Thunderbird convertible to really do it right.

The Grand Canyon

Image: Gautier Salles / Unsplash

If it’s a bucket-list worthy trip you’re after, take your cues from Andy and April on Parks and Recreation and head off in search of the Grand Canyon. Just remember: it’s not the same as Mount Rushmore.

(Lead image: Meriç Dağlı / Unsplash)

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Brought to you by Qantas

This feature is brought to you by Qantas, who are proud to play a part in bringing travellers together with the people they love from around Australia and across the globe.