Inspiration Destinations USA Discover the Soul of the USA: 7 Unique Ways to Experience its Culture 

Discover the Soul of the USA: 7 Unique Ways to Experience its Culture 

August 13, 2023
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Jurassic history in Hawaii, jazz heritage in New Orleans, Native American traditions in New Mexico... connect to the true heart of the USA with these unmissable experiences.

Stretching over nine million square kilometres, the USA is a melting pot of cultures and traditions so vast that it’s hard to believe it all falls under the same flag. From wrangling your cowboy boots and hitting the world’s most prestigious livestock show in Texas, connecting to New Orleans’ soul at Preservation Hall, or tasting your way through the multi-cultural food trucks of Portland, Oregon, there’s a slice of something new to discover in every state, territory and district. The biggest question is where to start.

Ready to escape? Discover our collection of USA stays here.  

Catch a rodeo show in Texas  

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Celebrate Texas' rich agricultural heritage and Western culture

Houston’s Livestock Show & Rodeo is the largest and most prestigious livestock show in the world. The show celebrates Texas' rich agricultural heritage and Western culture, while also supporting education and charitable initiatives for young bucks. The event showcases various livestock competitions, where breeders and exhibitors present their finest cattle competing for awards and recognition. Beyond the livestock, the rodeo events are a major draw, with action-packed bull riding and calf scrambles galore. 

Immerse yourself in Hawaiian history  

You may be surprised to know that the famed ‘Isla Nubla’ in the Jurassic Park franchise is no CGI – those prehistoric landscapes are all picture-perfect Hawaii. Visit Kualoa Ranch to pose against dino-themed props and sets, or feast on the visual beauty of Hawaii on jungle expeditions. For a truly authentic experience, embrace the warm hospitality of the Polynesian islands by stopping by a traditional Lu’au, where you can try popular Lu’au dishes like poke and taro, and jam out with the locals. 

Discover rich Latin culture in Miami 

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Miami is a Latin hotspot.

With most of Miami’s residents identifying as Hispanic, the city has become one of the most buzzing hubs for Latin culture outside of Latin America. Immerse yourself in the lively rhythms of salsa and merengue, explore colourful neighbourhoods like Little Havana, and savour mouthwatering delights from food trucks serving arepas, empanadas, and strong, sweet Cuban coffee. Whether strolling through enchanting botanical gardens, mingling with the locals on the Miami Beach Boardwalk or dancing the night away in Latin nightclubs, Miami offers unforgettable opportunities to celebrate the unity and passion of Latin culture. 

Watch live jazz in New Orleans 

Discover the soul of New Orleans in the heart of the French Quarter at Preservation Hall. This historic venue is a living testament to the influence of jazz on New Orleans and its mark on U.S. history. The hall's story began in the 1950s when Larry Borenstein invited jazz musicians to perform in his art gallery, giving birth to an iconic venue. Allan and Sandra Jaffe, enchanted by the music's purity, made New Orleans their home, preserving the culture and fostering integration during the Civil Rights Movement. Today, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band continues to spread the magic of New Orleans jazz worldwide. Purchase a ticket to any event on their calendar and let the spirit of the Big Easy warm your heart. 

Witness the annual Gathering of Nations 

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Immerse yourself in Native American history at the annual Gathering of Nations.

You can’t sum up the USA’s culture without diving into the rich tapestry of the Native American people, their ancestral wisdom and electric traditions. Taking place annually in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the annual Gathering of Nations event brings together over 700 tribes from across the Americas for a vibrant pow-wow like no other. Join thousands of visitors in April as they immerse themselves in traditional dance competitions, artisan markets, and authentic Native cuisine. Witness the crowning of the reigning Miss Indian World and be moved by the powerful beats of traditional drum groups.   

Explore the Art Institute of Chicago   

With some of the world’s most stirring art coming from American soil, there is no surprise that the Art Institute of Chicago has curated one of the most coveted collections in the world. A wander around this institute will find you face-to-face with iconic works like Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks and American Gothic, as well as ancient international pieces like Katsushika Hokusai’s The Great Wave. As well as the golden oldies, the institute showcases groundbreaking work from newcomers through various residencies and exhibitions.  

Taste the world at Portland’s food trucks   

People standing out the front of a USA foodtruck in Portland and experiencing the foodie culture of the USA - Luxury Escapes
The food truck movement in Portland is second-to-none.

Portland boasts a huge hiking and outdoors culture – locals even prefer to dine outside and on the move. Portland was ranked number one on Food & Wine’s list of America’s Best Food Truck Cities, with a growing number of over 1000 alfresco eateries across the city. Must-eat options include Tito’s Taquitos, Yoshi’s Sushi and Frybaby’s fried chicken. Don’t worry if you can’t decide on just one – these trucks can be found huddled together in pods across Portland, so you can enjoy a multi-course feast of flavours from around the world.   

Ready to escape? Discover our collection of USA stays here.  

Looking for more inspiration? Check out Top Hawaii Resorts for Wellness Enthusiasts.

About Sofia Calvert
Travel and lifestyle writer → born in Australia, raised in Asia and the South Pacific. Loves craft cocktails and long walks to the hotel pool.

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