Travelling USA for three weeks in September 2012

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Travelling USA for three weeks in September 2012

Postby morganjo » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:42 am

Hello,

Me and my girlfriend are going to be travelling north America for 3 weeks in September, we are going to be booking it all online and in America so we are not tied into doing anything from a tour provider.

we are flying into New York on the 1st of September, we are planning to stay in New york then visit Detroit, Chicago, Vegas and then several locations in California and then flying home on approximately the 20/21st of September.

We are going to be booking the flights from Manchester UK to New York then returning to the UK from LA X.

Can anyone please give us some informationm on booking internal flights when we are there, how easy it is? approximate prices? any sugestions of things to do when we are in the places mentioned, we are 25 and 21! What sports are played in September? from looking online most of the 'popular' sports arent in season in September?

any response will be appreciated

thanks
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Re: Travelling USA for three weeks in September 2012

Postby thecakeisalie » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:14 pm

Booking internal flights is easy enough, you can either use consolidator sights (Kayak, Orbitz, Travelocity, etc.) or just contact the airlines directly. The US airlines with the broadest reach are American, Delta, and United/Continental. United and Continental are technically merged on paper, but you still might find separate flight codes. Southwest Airlines often has cheap one way fares and no baggage fees, so keep them in mind too. There are dozens of others as well, but mostly that's what you'll find. As for prices, there's no way to predict that. Start with Kayak.com, that's my go to site for comparing flight options.

As for the rest of your trip, you've got a lot of details to fill in. Will you be renting a car for any portion of it? You can get by without one in places like NY, Chicago, Vegas, but if you're looking to see any national parks in California you may need to get one. Speaking of California, what parts are you planning on going to? It's a big state, lots to see and do.

What are your interests in the cities you're headed? And just curious, but why Detroit?

For sports, by September baseball season is wrapping up, and depending on the state of the team (i.e. on the verge of making the playoffs, or have been out of contention since June) you might be able to find some reasonable tickets. In NY you've got the Yankees and Mets, in Detroit the Tigers, in Chicago the Cubs and White Sox, and in California the Dodgers, Angels, Padres, Giants and A's. Football season is just beginning (gridiron, not soccer), and there are professional teams in the aforementioned cities, as well as university teams throughout the country. Typically the pros play on Sunday and the colleges play on Saturday. Be prepared, football tickets are expensive!
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Re: Travelling USA for three weeks in September 2012

Postby kat6942 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:13 pm

I always think it's fascinating to hear what people think of us so please post after or during your trip! A couple of suggestions.... I have to agree with the Detroit question. That's an odd choice. I'd think there'd be more interest in Boston or DC, though I do believe DC will be incredibly expensive that time of year due to the cherry blossoms. You could get reasonably-priced train tickets to either from NY. The trains are not up to UK standards but it could save you some money. Also... why Vegas? It's the only red state on your agenda. If it's to see American tacky in all its glory, I'd recommend saving a few dollars and going to Atlantic City from NY. It's not very far and just as tacky. I agree on comparing airlines; just be conscious of airports. New York has 3 and Chicago has 2. Getting to and from NY's by public transport is hilarious for first-time visitors. JFK is connected by metra but some of the trains on the line don't actually stop there... there is nothing to indicate that it will not. If locals are staring at your luggage and smiling, it's time to get off and get a cab. LaGuardia is only connected by the M60 bus. Allow a lot of time or take a cab. Newark is in New Jersey. Enough said. Both airports in Chicago are connected by train, I hear, though I've never actually been to Midway. Tickets between NY and Chicago are very cheap and run almost constantly. I wouldn't expect to pay more than $200 and have paid as little as $120 for round-trip tickets. Tickets to California from the East Coast are more. I also want to caution that your trip coincides with Labor Day weekend. Expect flight prices to briefly spike. Book early for those dates or avoid flying for a few days.

Things to do in NY: I go for a long weekend at least once a year so I have a few ideas. The most commonly touristed locales are the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Ground Zero. I haven't done any of those in at least a decade if ever. Your call. You should see Central Park but be aware of how massive it is. A lot of tourists go or a walk around it and barely scratch the surface. My mother went recently and raved about a bike tour she did. It sounds like a great idea to me. If I have a little bit of time, I tend to walk neighborhoods and find things. My recommendation is if you've heard of it, take a look. My favorite little walk is by Coney Island. It's very touristy but you can see the other side of the Atlantic and walk by Woody Allen's childhood home. I also usually hit Chinatown (much like any other city's Chinatown) and Little Italy. Do eat at Angelo's. I always do. Union Square would be great that time of year. It's a good area but with a healthy dose of the strange you would expect of NY. The farmer's market is superb and you're going at a good time of year to pick up some cheap snacks.

It would be hard to miss Broadway entirely. If you have any interest in the Book of Mormon, book sooner rather than later (if it's not sold out already) and expect it to be pricey. It's fantastic and I highly recommend it but it is a very hot ticket. You could also do the touristy thing and wait in the tks line in Times Square for tickets at 30-50% off. I would just recommend reading reviews before buying anything. Not everything on Broadway is good. There are also great and cheaper off-Broadway shows.

Museums: The Met and Natural History Museum are both pay what you want. This is important as a lot of other museums are far more expensive. I definitely recommend the Met as it has a nice dosage of the surreal. Americans might not travel as much as residents of some other countries as they're just as likely to import the experience. Definitely check out the Egyptian temple Jackie O. brought us. If you have a few extra hours, head out to the cloisters. It's in a lovely park at the tip of the island and is utterly surreal for Europeans. They imported the remnants of several medieval churches and combined them. My favorite museum in NY is the Frick. Student prices are reasonable and it's a great remnant of the Gilded Age. Expensive but great smaller art museums I'd recommend are the Whitney and the Neue Museum. I'm personally not as impressed with the Gugey and MoMA. Oh and if you do go to the Natural History Museum, be sure to pick up deliciously overpriced cupcakes at Magnolia.

Chicago: Major tourist attractions - the Sears Tower, Millennium Park, Navy Pier, and architecture. Again your call on the major attractions. I can recommend some tips on architecture if it's your thing. Check with the Chicago Architecture Foundation for tours. They cover any number of interests. The best downtown tour is probably Historic Skyscrapers, but you may prefer Art Culture and Commerce, Modern Skyscrapers, or Art Deco. I really love the neighborhood tours which are usually only done on the weekends. Kenwood is by far the best. That is where the Obamas lived but it also covers a lot or architecture and Chicago history. Do it if you can. I also really enjoyed their tour of Graceland Cemetery and discussed it with my tour guide at Highgate Cemetery when I was in London last. Possibly of interest. If you're into Frank Lloyd Wright, definitely take the train out to Oak Park. We also have a ton of museums. Some may be of more interest to you than others. My favorite is the Art Institute and you should at least check out the lions to see exactly how much of your culture we've stolen. A lot has been written about how much European art Americans bought up at the beginning of last century but nothing illustrates quite as much as seeing the collection. Also be sure to check out the sausage photographs in the modern wing. Make a point of seeing our little lake. If you get up early, a sunrise is highly recommended.

Entertainment: Second City is the most traditional but a little costly. If you go, go on Saturday for some improv. Theatre tickets are far more reasonable than in NY but I again recommend reading reviews. Chicago has a variety of theatres of various sizes and prices. I've seen great shows in rooms that hold a dozen people and mediocre plays in theatres that hold hundreds. Our shows fluctuate far more than NY's so it's a little early to look into it. We also have half price tickets for sale day of. For a cheap and more traditional weekend night out, check out Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. Admission is $9 plus the roll of a die. It's also right around the corner from the best bar in Chicago - the Hap Leaf. Definitely catch a Cubs game. They'll be well out of contention by then and weekday daytime tickets should be cheap from any scalper. Check out the sports bars in the area or find Guthrie's, an utterly fantastic bar. I would also look into college hockey. The intramural season starts early and tickets are cheap. Hockey may not be the most entertaining sport but the crowds are the real entertainment.

The surreal: Somehow the Chicago area has the largest Baha'i temple in the world. It's located not very far from the city in a very well-to-do suburb. I doubt guidebooks would mention it but it's pretty impressive. And very very out of place.
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