Travelling to the United States is like immersing yourself in multiple three-dimensional films at once. The number of cities, attractions and landscapes here can make your head spin. But you don’t have to see everything at once. Sometimes it’s better to pick a few well-known destinations with the intention of seeing them from a new angle.

Join us on a trip to New York, Miami and Los Angeles. Instead of the skyscrapers of Manhattan, Miami Beach and the Avenue of Stars, we’ll show you something different. There are some real gems waiting to be discovered that are not immediately associated with these famous American cities, but instead tell us the true story of these metropolises.

Relax in the city that never sleeps – New York City

New York is more than just Times Square, Manhattan’s skyscrapers and crowded streets. It also has plenty of hidden gems – from secret corners in Central Park to long-forgotten subway stations. Each is a unique experience that will give you a new perspective on the Big Apple.

Central Corners: Green New York

Although Central Park is one of the most recognisable locations in New York, it hides some tranquil corners that escape the attention of most tourists. The Shakespeare Garden is a prime example; wandering among the flowers and quotes from the playwright’s works, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into the pages of a novel!

Nearby, hidden waterfalls add a magical touch to the city’s green heart. Little-known and rarely visited by tourists, they will allow you to forget yourself in the shade of the trees, with the gentle sound of water in the background. 

Underground history: New York’s abandoned subway stations

Beneath the streets of New York lies a subterranean world of former subway stations, closed and overgrown with the patina of years. One such place is City Hall Station, an architectural gem of the city’s underground, which opened in 1904, but has been closed since 1945. The richly decorated ceramic tiles and vaulted ceilings are a true delight to behold. The station can only be visited on special tours organised by the New York Transit Museum. 

Bohemia in Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village, often referred to simply as ‘The Village’, is one of New York’s most distinctive and iconic neighbourhoods. Its history of artistic exploration, rebellion and cultural revolution still attracts those looking for more than just the standard tourist attractions.

Greenwich Village has been the centre of New York’s avant-garde art scene since the early 20th century. The neighbourhood has been home to many famous literary, musical and artistic figures, from Bob Dylan, via Allen Ginsberg to Jackson Pollock. The Village Vanguard is one of the city’s oldest jazz clubs and remains a mecca for jazz lovers.

Greenwich Village is notably different from the rest of Manhattan. The low buildings, cobbled streets and lack of a regular urban plan make walking through this neighbourhood feel like stepping back in time. 

Miami: More than the beach

Although Miami is widely known for its beautiful beaches and its vibrant South Beach district, there is much more to the city than sand, sea, bars and clubs. Monuments, art and wildlife may be less well-known to tourists, but offer a far more rounded experience.

Coral Castle: an undiscovered secret

Coral Castle is one of Florida’s most mysterious tourist attractions and the story of its creation has fascinated visitors for decades. Located in Homestead, it is the work of Edward Leedskalnin, a Latvian immigrant who built the entire complex himself between 1923 and 1951.

Edward Leedskalnin claimed to know the secrets of the pyramid builders in Egypt, which enabled him to move and work the building’s huge blocks without the aid of modern tools or technology. The one-tonne blocks were laid with incredible precision, without the use of mortar. Most impressive of all is the giant gate, which, despite weighing several tonnes, can be opened with a light push of a finger.

Leedskalnin usually worked at night, adding to the mystery of the whole project. It has been speculated that he used levitation and secret ancient knowledge. To this day, the castle is the subject of scientific research and is of significant interest to tourists.

Coral Castle
Coral Castle © Shutterstock

Colourful Vertigo: Miami and Art Deco

Miami is also world-famous for having the largest collection of Art Deco buildings in the world. This unique architectural style, which became popular in the 1920s and 1930s, is characterised by geometric patterns, vibrant colours and extravagant motifs that perfectly capture the atmosphere of the time.

After a series of hurricanes in the 1920s and later the Great Depression, Miami underwent a transformation, during which time Art Deco became a symbol of rebuilding and urban renewal. The buildings of this style in Miami Beach, with their neon lights and nautical motifs (including seashells, lighthouses and starfish), not only lifted the city after economic and natural disasters, but also transformed its image into one of the most recognisable resorts in the world.

Wild Florida: Everglades National Park 

Everglades National Park in South Florida is one of the world’s largest swamp ecosystems. There are many hiking trails and canoeing routes and exploring the Everglades off the main trails allows for closer encounters with the region’s unique wildlife.

Bear Lake Trail is one such option. It is a little-travelled route that passes through a variety of habitats, from savannah to dense wetlands, and is home to a wide variety of birds, alligators and native plant species. Keen kayakers can opt for a paddle around Nine Mile Pond, which offers scenic routes through the mangroves, ideal for observing fish, turtles and numerous species of water birds.

Another interesting option is the Hell’s Bay Canoe Trail, which, despite its menacing name, offers peaceful and scenic routes through mangrove thickets, where you can quietly enjoy the wildlife and local fauna. Broad River or Lostman’s River are longer canoe routes that take you through more remote and wild parts of the park.

The City of Angels away from the spotlight

Los Angeles is so much more than awards ceremonies and red carpets. This city is also home to many lesser-known, but equally fascinating film locations that have played a key role in classic Hollywood productions.

A Short Trip, ull of Soul:Angels Flight Railway

The Angels Flight Railway is the world’s shortest – built in 1901, it originally served the residents of the wealthy Bunker Hill district. It runs up a steep hill and covers a distance of just 91 metres between Hill Street and Grand Avenue. 

The railway consists of two cars, the Olivet and the Sinai, which run in opposite directions on a single track. In over a century of operation, Angels Flight has become an iconic Los Angeles landmark, appearing in numerous films, television shows and literary works, underscoring its importance in pop culture.

Angels Flight Railway © Shutterstock

Film Sets Near and Far

The interior of the Bradbury Building has been featured in films such as Blade Runner and (500) Days of Summer, with its ornate iron railings and glass roof attracting tourists and filmmakers alike.

The now closed Johnie’s Coffee Shop was once a regular feature in American films such as The Big Lebowski and Reservoir Dogs. Its retro 1950s décor made it an ideal location for filming scenes that depart from the present day.

Although Los Angeles’ Venice district is well known for both its beach and its boardwalk, its canals are often overlooked by tourists. However, its picturesque bridges and tranquil waters have provided the backdrop for many romantic shots in indie films and major productions.

Malibu by night
Malibu by night © Shutterstock

Undiscovered Malibu

While Malibu is known for its beautiful beaches and exclusive villas, there are also many peaceful hiking trails with stunning views, such as Solstice Canyon. Trails wind through mature trees and Mediterranean vegetation, past picturesque waterfalls, cascades and ancient ruins.

The Castro Crest trail offers some of the best views of Malibu and the surrounding Santa Monica Mountains. While it is more challengin views from the summit are well worth the effort. 

The Backbone Trail is a longer and better-known route, but there are sections of the trail that are less frequented. In return, you get incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and the green hills of Malibu. 

Vincent Thomas Bridge
Vincent Thomas Bridge © Shutterstock

The Film Bridge

The Vincent Thomas Bridge may be one of Los Angeles’ lesser-known structures, but it’s certainly one of great cultural significance. The bridge, which connects San Pedro to Terminal Island, opened in 1963 and is the third-longest suspension bridge in California. It was named after Vincent Thomas, a long-serving member of the California State Assembly.

Tourists and locals alike are drawn to the bridge’s unique, elegant design and distinctive green colour scheme. The Vincent Thomas Bridge is often used in action film chase scenes.


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