11 unique things to do in the US in 2019

There are plenty of unique things to do in the US as it spans almost 10 million kilometers – there’s a lot of territory to cover.

Surf along the West Coast beach scene and make your way through breathtaking national parks and forests.

Embrace the cool city life on the East Coast.

Ski across snow-capped mountains in the winter and take summer float trips down the river in the Midwest.

Find great live music and discover the glory of buttery biscuits in the South. You can find all of this and so much more in the land of the free and home of the brave.

1. Ski in Vail, Colorado

Things to do in the US - skiing in Vail, Colorado

Wrap up warm, click in your ski boots and carve up the slopes.

In a short, three-hour day trip from INTO Colorado State University, students can venture to the picturesque slope of Vail, Colorado.

With powdery runs through snow-covered pine trees and Colorado blue skies, this is as close as you’ll get to the Bavarian chalets stateside.

Go on a snowboarding and skiing trip with your classmates or simply enjoy the scenery with a steaming mug of hot cocoa in this charming outdoorsy town.

You won’t find a winter wonderland quite as magical as Vail.

2. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

Things to do in the US - spend St. Patrick's Day in Chicago

From lively parades to the Chicago River sparkling a brilliant shade of emerald green, there’s nothing quite like St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago in March.

Make your friends green with envy when you celebrate St. Patrick’s (AKA St. Paddy’s day) day in Chicago.

Students at INTO Illinois State University can get into Chicago in less than three hours by train to see the Chicago river dyed green for the patron saint’s holiday.

Dance and sing along in the Irish tradition at the Irish American Heritage Center’s St. Patrick’s Day festival.

Cheer in the crowds during the downtown Chicago parade. If you’re a real fan of the emerald river, you can even take a river cruise to see the whole city by boat.

3. Picnic at the Tulip Festival in Oregon

Early spring brings bright hues to Oregon’s Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm.

Their annual tulip festival is just a short one-hour drive from INTO Oregon State University’s campus. Students can frolic around the vibrant 40 acres of tulips, take a hot air balloon ride or make a day of it with a picnic.

You can even see the striking Mt. Hood in the background among the sunset-colored rows of tulips. Not to mention, a photo with the blooms make for a very instagrammable event.

4. See the cherry blossoms in Washington DC

Things to do in the US while studying abroad - capture the Washington DC blossom.

To see the city look pretty in pink make sure you visit between 20 March–13 April when the famous cherry blossom is in full bloom.

Japan isn’t the only place with cherry blossom (sakura) festivals. Throughout the monuments and downtown Washington DC, cherry blossom trees bloom and the snow of pastel-pink petals line the sidewalks.

Students at INTO George Mason University can get to DC where the festival takes place in either 15 minutes from Arlington or 30 minutes from the Fairfax campus location.  While the blossoms mark the beginning of springtime in DC, the festival celebrates the relationship between the US and Japan. In fact, the 3,000 trees were donated by the then Mayor of Tokyo, Yukio Ozaki, in 1912.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is complete with a parade, kite festival, live music, fireworks, traditional Japanese matsuri (festival) and in 2019 will feature Pretty Guardians Sailor Moon Super Live, a musical rendition of the popular manga/anime series.

5. Visit the Palouse Falls, Washington

Things to do in the US for students - soak up the sights at the amazing Palouse Falls

The Palouse Falls are an impressive 60 meters tall!

Students at INTO Washington State University can take a short road trip to the majestic Palouse Falls as featured in National Geographic.

Coined as the official waterfall of Washington, it’s the one you have to chase. You can hike around the Palouse Falls State park and snap photos of the giant mouth of water falls accompanied by patches of greenery and coppery rock formations.

If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a rainbow dancing over the falls. You’ll see why the falls have been featured in National Geographic.

6. Celebrate the Fourth of July in Boston

Things to do in the US as a student - celebrate the Fourth of July in Boston

The Fourth of July in Boston means concerts by the Boston Pops at the Hatch Shell and a fireworks display over the Charles River.

Independence is celebrated across the nation on the fourth of July.

As a city where the Freedom Trail weaves through downtown and historic sites from American Revolution are sprinkled throughout the city, you know you will celebrate the fourth properly in Boston. Students at INTO Suffolk University live walking distance from where all the festivities take place.

The Charles River Esplanade is known to attract the masses for the annual celebration where you can picnic in the day, enjoy live music and fireworks by night.

Last year’s firework spectacular was accompanied by the Boston Symphony. So be ready to go full red, white and blue for the fourth in Boston.

7. Feast on your foodie fantasy in Birmingham

Birmingham, Alabama has been featured in Zagat’s 30 Most Exciting Food Cities in America 2017 and The New York Times’ 52 Places to Go in 2017 based on its budding foodie scene.

What Pulitzer Prizes are to books is what James Beard awards are to restaurants. In less than a 15-minute walk from INTO The University of Alabama at Birmingham, you’ll find Highlands Bar and Grill, the winner of the James Beard Foundation most outstanding restaurant in America this past May 2018.

Highlands Bar and Grill takes seasonal Southern specialties like grits and adds a French flair with prosciutto, mushrooms and thyme. Beyond fine dining, students can find mouthwatering Southern bites around town like fried chicken and barbeque as well as a wide range of cuisine from Mexican to Vietnamese.

If you want to live your David Chang Ugly Delicious food crawls in real time, go ahead and eat your way through Birmingham.

8. Go to Disney World in Orlando, Florida

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It’s a small world after all once you realize that Disney World is about an hour away from INTO University of South Florida.

Students can visit the magic kingdom over the weekends to ride the Space Mountain roller coaster, spin in whirlwind on the Alice and Wonderland teacups, see spooky thrills in the Haunted Mansion and much more.

Grab your best Mickey or Minnie ears to get a taste of the Disney magic for yourself.

9. Embrace your inner child at the City Museum, St. Louis

Toddler Town net climber is now open.

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Since INTO Saint Louis University sits in the heart of St. Louis, there are tons of events and activities going on.

A hidden gem not to be missed is the City Museum. This is not your typical museum; the City Museum is a highly interactive space. Students can easily walk to this museum where you can climb through birdcage-like globes and crawl through chutes.

Take in the city views from a repurposed school bus on the rooftop area.

Moving through mazes and gliding down slides make this a memorable museum experience unlike any other.

10. Spike your adrenaline at Coney Island, New York

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Beach, boardwalk, roller coasters and a classic American hot dog – you can find all of this at Coney Island.

Students at INTO Drew University can get here in less than an hour by car. Coney Island is a beachy district in Brooklyn, one of New York City’s most popular boroughs.

In the summertime, people flock to Coney Island for a taste of the past’s simple pleasures: grabbing an ice cream cone, playing classic board games, swimming through the crashing waves and flying through the ups and downs the Cyclone roller coaster.

This seaside escape gives you the best of what put Brooklyn on the map, a mix of 50s era boardwalk games like skee ball, famous pizzerias, the first Nathan’s hot dog and other New York institutions.

Check everything off your summer in the states list at New York’s favorite playground.

11. Hike the Appalachian Trail, Georgia to Maine 

Things to do in the US when studying abroad - The Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail is 3,500 km long and the highest point is Clingmans Dome at 2,025 meters above sea level! Fasten your hiking boots are get ready to explore.

Okay so hiking the entire Appalachian Trail would be quite an expedition. Still, students at INTO Marshall University can take a day trip to hike segments of the trail going through the Blue Ridge mountains east of the Shenandoah river.

The trail also includes Harper’s Ferry, an adorably colorful, unique national park.

This park in particular is full of relics from America’s industrial history like railroads, factories and other brick buildings from the era. You can also go white water rafting, zipline, hike to waterfalls and more.

How many of the above unique things to do in the US will you tick off in 2019? To find out more about studying in the US with INTO, click here

You may also like to read about the real US university experience or how to apply to study at a US university.  

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Tracy Ratledge

Hey, I am an editor at INTO North America. As a journalist and storyteller, I love learning and writing about our outstanding students. As an aspiring singer-songwriter and comedy fanatic, you'll find me singing and laughing at length outside of the office.

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