The W Hotel 515 15th Street NW, F St. Between 14th and 15th Street, Washington, DC, USA
Visa Requirements:Visa is required for all non-American citizens.
Currency Used:American dollar (USD)
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S.) or America, is a federal republic composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions.[fn 6] At 3.8 million square miles (9.8 million km2) and with over 325 million people, the United States is the world's third- or fourth-largest country by total area[fn 7] and the third-most populous. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City.
The United States has a capitalist mixed economy which is fueled by abundant natural resources and high productivity. According to the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. GDP of $16.8 trillion constitutes 24% of the gross world product at market exchange rates and over 19% of the gross world product at purchasing power parity (PPP).
The nominal GDP of the U.S. is estimated to be $17.528 trillion as of 2014. From 1983 to 2008, U.S. real compounded annual GDP growth was 3.3%, compared to a 2.3% weighted average for the rest of the G7. The country ranks ninth in the world in nominal GDP per capita (first in the Americas) and sixth in GDP per capita at PPP. The U.S. dollar is the world's primary reserve currency.The U.S. economy is also the fastest growing in the Americas.
Wealth, like income and taxes, is highly concentrated; the richest 10% of the adult population possess 72% of the country's household wealth, while the bottom half claim only 2%. According to a September 2017 report by the Federal Reserve, the top 1% controlled 38.6% of the country's wealth in 2016. Between June 2007 and November 2008 the global recession led to falling asset prices around the world. Assets owned by Americans lost about a quarter of their value. Since peaking in the second quarter of 2007, household wealth was down $14 trillion, but has since increased $14 trillion over 2006 levels. At the end of 2014, household debt amounted to $11.8 trillion, down from $13.8 trillion at the end of 2008.
Places To Go
The US is perhaps the most famous country in the world, not only for being the world’s largest economic power and its cultural center since World War II; but also as a leading tourist destination. With over 74m international tourist arrivals (as of 2014), it is the second most visited country after France. The United States have a lot of appealing features for tourists, such as its city that never sleeps (New York City), vast natural parks throughout the country and sunny beaches on the Pacific (Los Angeles) or the Caribbean (Miami).
New York City
Cool, cosmopolitan, crowded, constantly evolving … the Big Apple blends big city splendor with small-town charm. Amid Gotham's iconic landmarks and towering skyscrapers, you'll experience a vibrant culture permeating each of the city's distinctive neighborhoods and boroughs. Follow trendsetters to the East Village and Brooklyn to check out indie boutiques, iconic bakeries and trendy coffee shops. Afterward, peruse the racks of the sleek shops lining Fifth Avenue, admire the cutting-edge art collections at the MoMa and the Met, catch a memorable show on Broadway or sit down for a meal at the latest "it" restaurant.
As the most populous city in the U.S. – set at the forefront of food, fashion and the arts – NYC requires stamina. But don't let the Big Apple's frenetic sights and sounds intimidate you from soaking up its grandeur. Wander through the concrete jungle and you'll discover roaring taxis zipping down bustling blocks, fast-paced pedestrians strolling past on their way to marquee galleries and trendy cocktail bars, and Times Square's neon lights flickering at all hours. And yet, the city's twinkling lights and chaotic corners also invite you to embrace every New York minute, explore every enclave and create your own urban adventure. There are endless ways to spend your time in the city that never sleeps, but before you leave, stop and look around – what's here today will be transformed into something bigger and better tomorrow.
With its rich historical heritage, Philadelphia is one of the United States' most visited cities. After all, both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were signed here in Independence Hall. Renaissance man Benjamin Franklin once called this city home. And before Washington, D.C. usurped its role, Philadelphia served as the country's capital. Yet the city is far from being stuck in its glorious past. The Philly of today is filled with notable museums, a bumping nightlife, beloved sports teams and a thriving restaurant scene that encompasses more than just the ubiquitous cheesesteak.
A jumbled collage of colorful neighborhoods and beautiful views, San Francisco draws those free-spirited types who have an eye for edgy art, a taste for imaginative cuisine and a zeal for adventure. It's really not surprising that songwriter Tony Bennett left his heart here: The city boasts jaw-dropping sights, world-class cuisine, cozy cafes and plenty of booming nightlife venues – there's no shortage of ways to stay busy here. Spend an hour or two sunning yourself alongside sea lions on the bay, admiring the views of the city from Twin Peaks, or strolling along the Marina. And for the quintessential San Franciscan experience, enjoy a ride on a cable car.
Often described as Los Angeles' more refined northern cousin, cool and compact San Francisco takes the big-city buzz exuded by its southern counterpart and melds it with a sense of small-town charm. Here, you'll discover a patchwork of culture flourishing throughout San Francisco's many vibrant quarters. Follow the crowds to the touristy Fisherman's Wharf area (which offers spectacular views of Alcatraz) before heading along the bay to the Presidio for a glimpse of the famous Golden Gate Bridge. But don't forget to save time for the Mission district, The Haight and The Castro for exposure to all of the different varieties of the San Francisco lifestyle.
"Grand" doesn't begin to do this canyon justice. Measuring approximately 277 miles in length, up to 18 miles in width and a mile deep, this massive chasm in northern Arizona is truly a natural wonder. For six million years, the Grand Canyon has expanded with the help of the mighty Colorado River, and for centuries, people from all over the globe have traveled to gaze out over its red and orange grandeur. Managed by the National Park Service and officially designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Grand Canyon leaves its approximately 4.5 million visitors per year awestruck.
But if you're seeking a secluded escape to Mother Nature, you should be prepared: The Grand Canyon can be very crowded. The South Rim — home to the Grand Canyon Village and the well-worn Bright Angel Trail — is particularly popular for sightseers and hikers. It is on this side that you'll find the most amenities. However, for a true escapist experience, head to the North Rim. This is the place for backwoods camping and hardcore hiking.
Hawaii - The Big Island
In Hawaii, the Big Island is like the sometimes awkward older sibling. Forgotten in favor of adorable little brothers and sisters, her attributes are often glossed over. Maui is for fun and families. Oahu attracts surfers, partiers and outdoor adventurers. Kauai is for romance and luxury.
And the Big Island isn't just big. Majestic is more accurate. Geographically unique, the Big Island boasts everything from black-sand beaches to snow-covered peaks, from hardened lava deserts to steamy and lush rainforests. And it's still growing. The Big Island's trump card — the active, fire-spitting Kilauea volcano — has been increasing the island's land mass since 1983. It's true that if you arrived here hoping for a stereotypical Hawaiian getaway that's full of Tiki, luaus and a honeymoon-esque atmosphere, you've probably missed the mark. But the hiking trails and state parks that are here hold sights that no other Hawaiian island can boast of. And the beaches are colors you've probably never seen.
"Bahston," as the locals say – is not only a hub for baseball, brownstones and bookish collegiate types. It's also home to America's first large free municipal public library, the first subway system, the first public school and the first public park. To say the city is historic would be an understatement, but this wicked smart college town doesn't linger in the past, either. A well-rounded trip to Boston integrates the classic with the contemporary: Split your time between cherished sites like the Paul Revere House and Faneuil Hall and modern attractions like the Museum of Fine Arts. Venture to Beacon Hill and you'll stumble upon the graceful mansions of yore juxtaposed with chic boutiques and innovative hotels. So, yes, come first for the history, but don't miss out on the opportunity to sample the unmistakable Beantown flavor.
The city's darker side has garnered a rough-and-tumble reputation thanks to Hollywood appearances in gritty films like "Black Mass," "American Hustle" and "The Town," but Boston's cool, cosmopolitan personality pervades its trendy restaurants, urban parks and modern museums. Passionate residents are still rooting for their beloved Red Sox, but they're also venturing to the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway for a free yoga class or meandering to the edgy SoWa Open Market for some antique shopping. So, grab a stool and join them at their favorite pub to chow down on oyster shooters and New England clam chowder, or venture to Back Bay to sip a coffee as you stroll along the trendy Newbury Street. You'll need more than a few days to experience the city's wealth of cultural and historical offerings, but meandering along Boston's cobblestone streets is a great way to start your exploration.
New Orleans is known for its European-style architecture, mouth-watering Creole cuisine and all-around mysticism. And as its backbone is music: Jazz, blues, rock 'n' roll and Zydeco tunes ooze from every city crevice. But for many, the main reason to visit is Mardi Gras, an over-the-top party with Carnival traits, such as masks, music and an all-around wild time. Even if you don't make it to Mardi Gras, you'll still find a party year-round, with revelers pouring out of Bourbon Street clubs until the wee hours of the morning.
Despite past environmental disasters — namely the BP Oil Spill, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Isaac — New Orleans continues to thrive. Over the past several years, major efforts have been made to restore the distinct districts. Today, the Crescent City looks almost as good as new. So start your visit in the French Quarter, where colonial heritage still survives. From here, you can explore the major architectural sites before enjoying a hearty plate of jambalaya and a rowdy evening out.
Sonoma, a county in Northern California known for its bucolic charms and array of wineries, could also be described as Napa's rustic, less-refined and more-relaxed sister. Its rolling hills, which rise into the Sonoma Mountains and descend to the Pacific shore, also contain a cache of small cities that are worth a visit: Try Santa Rosa for an urban escape, complete with museums and buzzy restaurants, but pop by Glen Ellen for a slice of small-town Americana. In short, if you want a laid-back introduction to stellar vintages and gorgeous properties, Sonoma – rather than Napa – should be your California wine country destination.
With its marbled monuments and high-profile politicos, Washington, D.C., has long been saddled with a reputation as a stuffy government-driven town. A "city of southern efficiency and northern charm," as John F. Kennedy once described it, Washington is often seen by outsiders as slow and inefficient. But these days, our nation's capital is awash with a new energy, transforming itself into an exciting, faster-paced East Coast vacation destination. Although the government is still the sun around which this city orbits, the District also offers a host of renowned museums and interesting neighborhoods. And with a recent explosion of restaurants, cafes, boutiques and clubs, D.C. is transitioning into a thriving cultural hub. As the D.C. Tourism Board is emphasizing through its DC Cool campaign, this isn't the Washington you remember from your middle school field trip – it's much hipper than that.
You can choose a traditional D.C. adventure, filled with tours of classic attractions like the White House and the Washington Monument, the U.S. Capitol and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. And there's no better way to experience iconic D.C. than with a stroll around the Tidal Basin. (Plan to visit in late March or early April – just in time for the National Cherry Blossom Festival – and you'll be rewarded with a canopy of beautiful pink blooms.) But if you've already seen the national landmarks, get a feel for the city's more youthful ambiance, highlighted by its urban neighborhoods, marquee art galleries and vibrant farmers markets. While you'll only need a few days to see the city as you know it from your history book, it could take months to experience the Washington that today's locals know and love.
Consistently sunny weather and 70 miles of magnificent coastline are what draw active types and sun seekers alike to San Diego throughout the year: that and the mouthwatering Mexican cuisine, thriving nightlife and one of the country's favorite zoos. And then there are the beaches: Retreat to Mission Beach to catch a wave, to La Jolla to soak up the sun and to Coronado for a leisurely seaside stroll. When you're ready to ditch your flip-flops and board shorts for more formal attire, you'll find pockets of vivacious nightlife throughout, especially near the historical Gaslamp Quarter.
Settled in 1859, Breckenridge retains the same Victorian-era charm it did during the height of the gold rush. Its down-to-earth and friendly atmosphere has also endured its transformation from a silver- and gold-mining town to one of the country's most beloved skiing destinations. What's more, Breck – as it's called by locals – is a quick drive from other popular Colorado destinations, including Vail, which is 40 miles northwest, and Denver, which is 80 miles northeast.
Winter days in Breckengidge are defined by runs on the Tenmile Range and nights spent refueling at downtown restaurants and bars – not to mention a collection of breweries and even a distillery. In the summer, winter sports are replaced with hiking and cycling. But no matter the season, the majesty of a Breckenridge sunset and star-studded night sky is a wonder to behold – and worth coming back to year after year.
Take a number of diverse cultures, add a strong dose of the arts and a splash of ocean water, and you have Miami. Looking at the fantastic art museums and the blossoming gastronomical scene, you might find it hard to believe that just a century ago, this colorful Floridian city was covered in swampland. Once developers rushed into the area, one of the most popular tourist destinations and spectacular city skylines in the country was born. Today, with South Beach before you and the Everglades behind you, you can walk through the bustling streets past historical homes with Spanish words and Caribbean music floating into your ears.
This mini melting pot has preserved multicultural neighborhoods like famous Little Havana as enclaves for unique traditions to thrive. United, they form an electric network — Miami. Its reputation for vibrant nightlife and extravagant parties is realized in Miami Beach, a barrier island to the east of the mainland. Meanwhile, the down-to-earth city proper cultivates an artsy vibe.
Los Angeles both confirms and dismantles all of its stereotypes. Sure, it's a sprawling metropolis with eternally congested freeways, but it also contains one of the most diverse and unique sets of neighborhoods in the United States. La-La Land is filled to the brim with the glamour of chic Hollywood name brands and movie set backdrops, yet it's also home to renowned art galleries like the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and architectural masterpieces like the Getty Center. The world's visual entertainment empire, LA offers tourists behind-the-scenes looks into the world of film-making and television broadcasting at studios like Paramount Pictures Studios and Warner Bros. Studio. What's more, the City of Angels features some of the country's most eclectic cuisine and dozens of highly acclaimed restaurants. Away from the revitalized downtown area, the Malibu and Santa Monica beaches provide sun, sand and surfing, while Venice Beach offers close-ups of the city's most unique residents.
At more than 500 square miles, Los Angeles is massive and touring it can be exhausting – but that doesn't deter visitors. The area is one of the most visited in the country, especially between June and October when thousands of travelers try to get to as many of the spread-out attractions as they can. But the key to a successful L.A. vacation is simple: Plan ahead. Pick a few areas that best suit your interests and needs. Then all that's left to do is explore, explore, explore.
Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous and located in North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
The US is a safe country. It is ranked 51th on the ranking of world’s safest countries, which puts it in the top-third of the ranking. All the risks listed here have a small chance of happening, but prevention is better than cure.
The US is often criticized for having one of the highest crime rate in the world due to gun violence (American movies and TV shows tend to exaggerate this); despite the fact that crime rankings only ranks it at the 114th place out of 218. Most violent crime is concentrated around inner urban areas of some cities, as well as some poor suburbs with drug and gang violence. We also discourage tourists to stay around the Mexico border in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas as they have been reports of crime and car theft. Nonetheless travelers may face some minor dangers like petty crime, aggressive homeless people, dangerous traffic or natural hazards. Since 9/11, most touristic landmarks have seen an increase in police presence, and tourists can expect to be frisked and have their bags opened at museums or other monuments.
Mass shootings such as the Las Vegas Shooting and the Boston marathon bombing are constantly on the rise due to the lack of gun control legislation. They were over 372 mass shootings in the US in 2015. Even though they still mostly occur in cities and neighborhoods unfrequented by tourists, you always should stay vigilant in public areas.
Cases of pick-pocketing and bag-snatching are on a steep decline in the US. it is still wise to watch your valuables while in the subway or buses. Begging is not uncommon in some larger cities, but not to a greater extent than in most other major cities, and you will rarely experience aggressive beggars. Some beggars are organized in groups. Be aware that flashing any cardboard sign very near to your body could be a pickpocket trick.
Civil unrest is prone to happen in some areas, such as the recent outbreaks in Ferguson, Missouri. Some protests can lead to fights between the demonstrators and police force, it is therefore unwise to join any of these protests. Petty crime, like targeting rental / tourist cars to steal their valuables, can be an issue in some areas.
New York City
New York is the safest large metropolis of the US, with a crime rate per inhabitant even lower than the national average. However, given its status as the most visited city in the US, petty theft against tourists is not uncommon. The city also have some rough neighborhoods which are unadvised for tourists.
If the city has a history of violence (Al Capone’s Chicago mafia and rival gangs during the 70/80’s), there has been a steep decline in crime since the 90’s. Still, the city has some run-down neighborhoods where violence is very common, and thieves commonly operate in the subway. Avoid as much as you can the red areas on the following map. Also, Chicago is the murder capital of the USA.
Los Angeles (LA) is the largest city in the state of California, and is the home to about 17m people. Regarding safety, LA is at both extremes : while most of the touristic neighborhoods such as Hollywood, Beverly Hills or Santa Monica are safe, L.A. has some very dangerous areas downtown (Skid Row) and nearby (South Central), as well as some towns famous for gang related violence (Compton – the 4th most dangerous city in the US).
As any big city, San Francisco has its problems with crime and theft, and travelers should be cautious in some areas that can be seen on the map. Pickpocketing can be an issue in some crowded neighborhoods, and some areas have a very large homeless population and junkies that can sometimes be aggressive.
Washington DC used to be one of the most dangerous cities in the US, but thanks to a strong focus on crime prevention there has been a steep decline in the murder rate. DC is now much safer, but some areas are still problematic.
In case of emergency, dial 911 to get help. Dial 311 for all non-emergency situations. Protect your personal belongings at all times, especially your ID and passport.
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
The US is a very safe country. It is ranked 51th out of 162 on the ranking of the safest and most dangerous countries.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There is nearly no pickpocket risk in the US. A few simple precautions will minimize your chances of being pick-pocketed.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
The US is an averagely safe country regarding the chances of being mugged or kidnapped. Be aware of dangerous zones by asking local advice.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
As in any touristic place, there may be people trying to scam you in the US. Be aware of “gold ring” tricks, shady WI-fi hotspots and ATMs that look to have been tampered with.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Transports and taxis are generally very safe in the US.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
There can be some occasional natural hazards (geological, meteorological) in some localized states of the US. For instance, Earthquakes can happen around the west coast and Hawaii; Hurricanes are an issue on coastal states and wildfires are common in some regions during summer.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
The US has not recently been targeted by any major terrorist attack, but it is best to stay alert.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
The US is generally very safe for women travelers.