U.S.A.

Must see locations, events and places to travel and enjoy in the United States of America.

Woodbury Common Premium Outlets: Central Valley, New York area, New York

Australians flock to the Big Apple to feel the pulse of its lifestyle, punctuated with cutting-edge design, Michel in-starred restaurants and inimitable street style. NYC is America’s undisputed fashion capital, home to famous brands and host to one of the world’s biggest fashion weeks.

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You can find many of its iconic brands, alongside international favourites, under the roof of Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, located one hour north of New York City. It’s renowned as the largest collection of designer outlets in the world, featuring more than 240 stores, including Armani, Burberry, Gucci and Prada. The centre has just completed a three-year multi-mi I lion-do liar redevelopment project. New luxury brands have joined the existing boutiques, including Givenchy, Marc Jacobs and Dsquared2.

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Have a Hipster Tour in Williamsburg – Brooklyn, New York

Start by having brunch or a mimosa at magnificent, old-world Hotel Delmano (82 Berry St), or try simple and delicious French fare at cozy Le Barricou (553 Grand St, tel: 718-782-7372).

Then head out to Bedford Avenue, the area’s main shopping drag, chockablock with clothing and antique shops, cafes, and restaurants. Start at Brooklyn Industries (no. 162), where messenger bags and cool T’s for both men and women are hot items, or poke through the well-edited selection of designer clothes made in NYC at In God We Trust (no. 148). One of the more interesting stores you’ll find is Catbird (no. 219), a tiny, funky shop specializing in fine delicate jewelry and interesting gift ideas. Get some vintage CDs and LPS at Earwax next door, or browse the crammed bookshelves at quirky Spoonbill and Sugartown a few doors down, then head next door to Verb Café to study hipsters in their natural environment. If you’re craving a snack, get a free cheese sample at the Bedford Gourmet Cheese Shop (no. 229).

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Bedford Gourmet Cheese Shop

When you’re ready for dinner, try the cozy and packed Diner (85 Broadway, tel: 718-486-3077), a favorite with celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain for its grass-fed burger and organic new American cuisine. If the wait is too long, go a few blocks away to Maison Premiere (298 Bedford Ave, tel: 347-345-0446), a famously decadent oyster bar set in the 1920s that is dripping with romance and finely crafted cocktails. Then it’s time for what Brooklyn is really famous for these days: music

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Maison Premiere – New York

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UFO Festival – Roswell, New Mexico

LATE JUNE TO EARLY JULY.

SO THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE!

If truckloads of alien paraphernalia and tens of thousands of alien-existence believers are anything to go by, then yes. The belief that there is something out there is alive and well at the world’s premier UFO festival.

ROSWELL IS WHERE IT ALL HAPPENED, RIGHT?

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Sure is – this is where the extra-terrestrial spaceship (aka military surveillance balloon) crash-landed in 1947. Don’t feel left out if you’re a believer in the balloon over the spaceship; the festival actively welcomes any sceptics out there who might need some convincing.

WITH A SHORTAGE OF ACTUAL ALIENS AND UFOS, WHAT ELSE HAS THE FESTIVAL GOT IN STORE?

Over the course of four days there are costume competitions, including one for your pet, if they enjoy getting their alien on too; an alien street parade; live musical entertainment; and guest speaking panels packed with authors who have been published on the topic of the moment – ETs and UFOs.

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Coachella – California

TWO WEEKENDS IN APRIL.

FINALLY, A FESTIVAL FOR ALL THE FORGOTTEN RICH AND FAMOUS KIDS OF CALIFORNIA.

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I know, right! Poor dears. Anyone who isn’t a supermodel or international ‘it’ girl might feel like they’ve stumbled onto the set of an advertisement for Coca Cola. Don’t worry, though. The extras get to have just as much fun without the paparazzi tailing their every move.

SO THE CROWD IS YOUNG AND PAINFULLY COOL – WHAT ABOUT THE MUSIC?

If you’re over 40, you’ll struggle to recognise a majority of the names, unless of course you’re one of those middle-aged hipsters; then you’ll recognise names like Beachhouse, Flume, Gary Clarke Jnr, and Purity Ring. There are hundreds of established and up-and-coming acts that perform in a wonderfully eclectic variety of genres. Think hip-hop, rock, indie and electronic dance.

WE MIGHT BE TOO OLD FOR THIS.

Oh get out! In 2016, the organisers rolled out Guns N’ Roses as a headline act. Rock on, oldies!

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Try An Original Pastrami Sandwich at Kat’z Delicatessen – New York

Katz’s Delicatessen (205 E. Houston St) is one of the last big delis on the Lower East Side, packing in locals, tourists, and people heading to hear music in the area which is full of great little venues. Katz’s has what some say is the best pastrami sandwich in the city, with the meat sliced by hand, and served with giant homemade pickles. Place your order at the counter, then jostle for a seat at a table. You might end up occupying the very seat in which Meg Ryan played out her famous ‘climax’ scene in When Harry Met Sally. Cash only.

Nora Jones honed her craft a couple of blocks away at the mellow Living Room (154 Ludlow St, which features several good bands a night with no cover charge. Arlene’s Grocery (95 Stanton St) showcases new rock, metal, and indie bands for a cheap cover. Bluegrass, alt-country, and American roots are the focus at the intimate Rockwood Music Hall (196 Allen St), or at the louder two-level Delancey (168 Delancey St). On Monday nights the Parkside Lounge (317 E. Houston St) hosts great bluegrass jams. Good indie and alternative bands play The Mercury Lounge (217 E. Houston St) and even better bands from around the world play the historic Bowery Ballroom (6 Delancey St).

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Mardi Gras – New Orleans, Louisiana

LATE FEBRUARY.

SOME TOWNS JUST KNOW HOW TO THROW A GOOD PARTY.

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The city of New Orleans just can’t help itself, and during the annual Mardi Gras it’s a no holds barred, free-for-all, fun time. The motto of the festival is ‘les bons temp rouler’ which translates to ‘let the good times roll’.

WHY MARDI GRAS AND WHY HERE?

Mardi Gras is French for ‘fat Tuesday’, which, for those who observe the Christian calendar, is a sign it’s time to go all out before Lent begins, when it’s expected you’ll reign it in and behave yourself. The French are credited with bringing Mardi Gras to New Orleans, but it’s the mix with the mystic and pagan ‘krewes’ that gives Mardi Gras in New Orleans its edge.

CAN WE JOIN A KREWE?

The krewes are exemplified by different parades which actually represent different neighbourhoods or local communities. They’re themed and highly decorated with epic floats and awesome costumes. If you’re a visitor and not part of a krewe, you’ll have to settle for epic and awesome dancing, drinking, music and mounds of the famous colourful beads.

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Burning Man – Black Rock Desert, Nevada

LAST MONDAY OF AUGUST TO FIRST MONDAY IN SEPTEMBER.

ISN’T THIS A BUNCH OF HIPPIES DANCING AROUND IN THE DESERT?

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We prefer to think of it as 70,000 free-spirits bringing their creative energy together to enjoy one of the world’s biggest arts and culture festivals.

RIGHT ON.

No kidding. Since its organic inception in 1986, when founder Larry Harvey and friends spontaneously burnt an effigy of a man on a San Francisco beach, the festival has grown into a mind-boggling plethora of artistic expression, from supersized sculptures to interactive performances. Each night is a flaming, kaleidoscopic circus of light, sound, music and dancing.

IT MIGHT BE TIME TO LET GO OF ALL OUR TRADITIONAL, MATERIALISTIC HANG-UPS AND JOIN THE FUN.

That’s the spirit. The festival is not a spectator experience: be prepared to dive headlong into costumes and connections. Most attendees join a themed camp and help out by constructing the realisation of the camp’s ethos. Past camps have included concepts like Playasos, a light-hearted community of people who love spontaneous play and exploration; or ‘…and then there’s only  LOVE’, for the ‘romantics’ who look forward to meeting up in the Orgy Dome. For real.

South Beach Food and Wine Festival

South Beach Food and Wine Festival – Miami Beach, Florida

FEBRUARY OR MARCH.

FOOD, WINE, THE BEACH – THESE ARE SOME WINNING INGREDIENTS ALREADY.

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This food and wine extravaganza has been running for 15 years and attracts foodie superstars from not only the United States but all over the world. This kind of culinary clout draws in more than 65,000 guests who partake in over 80 different events over five, flavour-packed days.

THE REAL QUESTION HERE IS, ‘DO WE GET TO TASTE?’

Absolutely. Outside of cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs such as the likes of Bobby Flay and Martha Stewart, there are tasting events like the luxurious Oyster Bash, top notch fruits of the sea with matched wines, or the best burger competition – where the crowd gets a say in who gets crowned best burger chef for the festival.

I CAN’T DECIDE WHAT TO EAT.

If the veritable smorgasbord of events is too much to take in, then get into the Grand Tasting Village on the last day. There’s a little bit of everything on offer so you can stroll and sample at your own pace.