Summer Travel Itinerary: City-Hopping the USA

If you know me personally, you’re probably privy to the fact that I’m not exactly enamored with the good ol’ US of A–maybe I’ve only mentioned it in passing, or perhaps you’ve heard my harangue about the dissonance between my values and those of the average American (…but I’ll save that for another day)–in any case, spend a little bit of time with me and it’ll quickly become apparent that I’m happiest when exploring foreign locales rather than the motherland.

That said, however, I do have a special affinity for a few places around the US.  I’ve had trysts with many a city in this great country over the years, and I’m fortunate enough to have the opportunity to revisit some of my old flames this summer, as well as a few cities I’m not as well-acquainted with, before I head off on my next overseas adventure.

August and September are shaping up quite nicely so far, and my schedule looks a little something like this:

Stop #1: Portland, OR – I’ve lived in Washington most of my life and have never once made it to Portland aside from passing through on my way to California.  This summer I plan to rectify this ghastly offense and spend a long weekend touring Portland’s countless cafes and breweries.  A friend of mine currently resides in this veritable west coast Williamsburg where she spends most of her time studying or working in a lab, so we’ll have a chance to shake up both of our lives as she steps out into the light of day (kidding!) to show this Portland newb around her current port of call (thanks in advance, Daicia!).  If you’ve got any suggestions for a Portland first-timer, I’m all ears!

How I'm imagining Portland.

How I’m imagining Portland.

Stop #2: New York City – Dear god, just typing the name of this place makes my heart race and my palms sweat in delicious anticipation.  I said goodbye to NYC back in August of 2011, so it seems appropriate to pick up where we left off on our last summer fling.  I wonder how three years apart has affected our relationship–something tells me we’ll fall right back in love.  A few old haunts I plan to visit: The Frying Pan, the High Line, Central Park (duh), SHAKE SHACK, and my favorite little bar on the lower east side, Pianos.

You can bet your ass this will be happening.

You can bet your ass this will be happening.

Stop #3: San Francisco, CA – As a graduate of UC Berkeley, the Bay Area feels like a second home to me.  I’ve only managed to visit San Francisco twice since graduating in 2009, both times planning my trip to coincide with Bay 2 Breakers (a massive foot race/excuse for San Franciscans to dress in ridiculous costumes and drink in public) in late May.  This trip will be a little different, as I’m reuniting with some friends from Thailand as well as friends from university, and hopefully a little warmer.  Mark Twain wasn’t kidding when he famously stated: “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco;” but Indian summers are typical of northern California so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I won’t need a thick parka for the evenings this time around.  On my SF to-do list: picnic in Golden Gate park, cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito, and indulge in at least one bottomless mimosa brunch.


Bay to Breaker-ing in 2013.

Stop #4: Los Angeles, CA – Admittedly, I haven’t spent much time in the City of Angels.  I’ve always been a bigger fan of northern California (my Californian friends forced me to choose a side when I was in college) and haven’t had many opportunities to explore the southern half of the state.  However, it IS much less expensive to fly to other countries from LA than from, say, Seattle or San Francisco, which is why it’ll most likely be my last stop stateside before I head abroad.  As with every other city I’m visiting this summer, I’m lucky enough to have several friends (many of which I haven’t seen in years) who have kindly offered me couch space while I breeze on through.  Once again, knowing next-to-nothing about what there is to do or see in LA, suggestions are welcome!  Beach time is the only given at this point.

My last visit to southern California in 2011.

My last visit to southern California in 2011.

Where are you headed this summer?  Let me know in the comments and let’s connect!


About Leah Davis

Hey! I'm Leah. I'm a solo traveler letting my heart lead me around the world, one country at a time. I've taught English in Thailand, climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge, gone skydiving in Argentina, and marveled at the ruins at Machu Picchu (twice!). I love maps, strong coffee, good wine and warm climates. For even more travel talk and inspiration, you can follow my adventures on Twitter or Instagram.
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9 Responses to Summer Travel Itinerary: City-Hopping the USA

  1. Jason says:

    A lot of the same places you are!

    I’m in Cambodia for 10 more days before starting what will probably be a 60-hour journey from here to Denver. There for a wedding, then off to spend a whirlwind week in Seattle, Olympia, and Vancouver with friends and my sister. Then San Francisco for a week, Dallas for a week, Arizona for two weeks, NYC for a month, Sri Lanka!!!

    Are you still thinking about starting your next trip in Guatemala?!

    • LaMochilera says:

      Wow you are busy! Enjoy the rest of your time in Cambodia, I hope you get to visit the Killing Fields and Angkor Wat…there’s so much more to see there but I feel those two are most important!

      I think I’m meeting a friend in Nicaragua actually and then making my way south from there…it’ll be hard to be so close to those other countries though and try to “save them for later…”

  2. Jason says:

    Oh, and I think L.A. is a city definitely best explored with friends who live there, especially friends who grew up there or have lived there for a long time. L.A. was a five-hour drive from where I grew up and I visited probably once a year with my family and never thought much of it, but in college I had close friends from there who have shown me some stuff I’ve really dug. My guess is that there are gems all over the city, but I like Manhattan Beach, Venice Beach (when it is not overrun by European and Asian tourists), and Los Feliz. Runyon Canyon has excellent hiking (walking may be a better word for it, I’d put it somewhere well below moderate on a difficulty scale) and I think Griffith Observatory is pretty cool. I’ve also had some serious fun partying in WeHo and Santa Monica. But….I definitely think the best way to enjoy to ask your friends who know it (or parts of it) to show you what they like in the fasion in which they like to experience it.

    I still think L.A. is a really weird city…

    • LaMochilera says:

      Thanks for the suggestions! I wouldn’t mind doing one of those “hikes” I always see pictures of, it does look like you can get some nice views! And one of the friends I’m going to stay with just moved to Manhattan beach, I’m excited to check it out! I really don’t know how long I’m going to have to explore, but hopefully I’ll be able to squeeze in a few sights.

  3. Silvia says:

    Looks like you have a lot of fun ahead of you! It almost makes me want to go back to the U.S. I’m in Chiang Mai for the summer, catching up with friends and… planning my next escape? Until then I’ll be eating tons of khao soi and som tam!

    • LaMochilera says:

      Ahh how I miss khao soi and som tam!! I learned how to make both once, but I’m sure I’d fail miserably at it now. I’m excited to travel the US but more excited for my next escape too 🙂 Give Chiang Mai some love for me!

  4. Kait Cabat says:

    I’m exploring the southern coast of British Columbia and Oregon this summer! The 7 wonders of Oregon commercials really encourage me to head south and explore a bit closer to home!

  5. Pingback: Month in Review: July 2014 | The Mochilera Diaries

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