About The United States
Mapping: east coast, central, west coast
Neighbour countries: Canada (North), Mexico (South)
Capital city: Washington
Governmental form: Constitutional republic with a presidential system.
Religion: 79.8% Christian, 90% beliefs in a god
Time difference: In California and Nevada it is eight hours earlier than in the United Kingdom, in Arizona the time difference is seven hours. The summer time starts in the first weekend of April and ends in the last weekend of October. Times before 12:00 are indicated with a.m. and after with p.m.
10 biggest cities:
1 New York City – New York. The biggest city of The United States is the most
densely populated area of the world, with its 8,175,133 inhabitants. New York City is important for the world because of its financial district. In addition to New York City’s influence on world; trade, fashion, art, education and theatre. During your visit you should not miss the Empire State Building, Central park or one of the many other sightseeing locations this city has to offer.
2 Los Angeles – California. The second biggest city of The United States, not only because of its substantial number of inhabitants (3,792,621), but also due to its size. Los Angeles is the film city of The United States, here you can find world famous Hollywood. Moreover, you can take a walk on the Hollywood walk of fame or visit amusement parks like; Disney world and Universal Studios.
3 Chicago – Illinois comes in on a third place with 2,833,321 inhabitants. To experience Chicago the fullest you should hit the streets. Chicago is truly one of a kind, with many architectural buildings and high skyscrapers.
4 Houston – Texas, inhabitant count; 2,144,491. “Houston, we have a problem”, Everybody recognizes this sentence, since this city is known for its aerospace industry. If you want to get to know everything about space, the Space Centre Houston is the place to be.
5 Phoenix – Arizona. One of the fastest growing cities in The United States with 1,512,986 inhabitants. Arizona is known for its breath taking and extreme nature, with its dessert and the well-known Rocky Mountains. Phoenix is a green oasis in the dessert, due to the many golf clubs and tropical fruit orchards. The average temperature is 38 degrees Celsius.
6 Philadelphia – Pennsylvania, inhabitants count; 1,470,151. The city is best known for the historical building; the Independence Hall. Which is listed on UNESCO’s the world heritage list. This building is definitely worth a visit.
7 San Antonio -Texas. One of the least well known big cities in The United States. It has an inhabitant count of 1,327,407. Their touristic highlight is the Alamo. The Alamo is a Catholic mission building in which Spanish missionaries lived in the 18th century. In 1836 the Texans got attacked by an army of 5000 Mexicans. The approximately 200 Texan rebels retreated to the Alamo were all killed. Not long after Texas became independent. Nowadays Alamo is a museum.
8 San Diego – California, inhabitant count; 1,256,951. San Diego is the second largest city of California and is located on the west coast close to the Mexican border. It is a popular seaside resort with a mild climate and beautiful diving spots all year round. Besides that, San Diego is an important base for the U.S. navy.
9 Dallas – Texas, Inhabitant count 1,232,940. Dallas is located in the South West of The United States and has been an important trade centre for cotton since the old ages. In addition, Dallas is well known for its extraction and refining of petroleum. Many know Dallas as the city in which president John F. Kennedy was murdered in 1963 and as the city in which the world-famous show Dallas was shot from 1978 until 1991.
10 San Jose – California This city counts close to a million inhabitants (929,936) making it the tenth largest city in The United States. The city is known as the capital of Silicon Valley the centre of high-tech companies such as Apple, Adobe Systems and eBay.
National parks: The United States counts up to 58 national parks. Discover the most popular national parks in our article “Sights in The United States.”
- In 2016, 3.597.000 UK tourists visited The United States. Annually the visitor count from The United Kingdom rises, just like it does in the rest of the world. The United States is especially popular in the summer, many tourists look for the sub-tropical climate in places like Miami.
- The United States is a very big country with many different climates. This varies from a cold tundra climate to tropical rain forest climate. In the North West there is a lot of rain, in the South East a reasonable amount of rain and in central America it is extremely dry. The New York climate is a marine climate, which results in hot summers and moderate winters. Although the winters can also get extremely cold, New York is familiar with heavy snowstorms. The Miami climate is subtropical, with warm winters and even warmer summers, making it the warm winter city of The United States. Orlando on the other hand has a clear rain period in which they have to deal with massive rainfall. As you can see every city is different.
- Whirlwinds or Tornadoes are very common in The United States. Most tornados can be found in Central America and east of the Rocky Mountains.
- The vast majority of the American population has English as their first language, but there are groups that speak other European and non-European languages, like Spanish. In halve of Louisiana they often speak with a French dialect.
Food and drinks:
- Amerika is more than just enormous hamburgers, fries and spareribs. Eating habits in American restaurants do not differ much from what we are used to at home. If you go out to eat, you have to leave a tip even if the food was not as good as you were expecting. This is because waiters in The United States get paid very little and have to live of tips. It is common to tip between 10% and 20% of the total bill. The tip is not shared with the other waiters and is used for daily living expenses.
- Restaurant etiquette can be very different from what you are used to in The United Kingdom. When you have finished your dinner, you are expected to leave and not to stay for a cup of coffee or tea. This way the table will be freed for the next customer. If you do decide to stay, they may ask you to leave. The dining itself also is more rushed than we are used to in Europe, you will often find yourself finished with eating within half an hour.
- In The United States it is very usual to get a doggie bag after your meal. This is due to the fact that their portions are quite large, and the staff loves to see you leave quickly.
- In The United States it is illegal to drink alcohol under the age of 21, even in the presence of a parent or grown up. You can receive excessive punishments for this!
- Breakfast is eaten in a breakfast restaurant. For a set price you can get a breakfast with coffee and juices, eggs, bacon, and potatoes. If you are not a fan of this type of breakfast, you can always select something else on the menu.
- The Unites States has a lot less public transport in comparison to The United Kingdom. Everybody is largely dependent on their own car. The Interstate Highway system is an important part of their infrastructure. In some large cities they do use public transport, like the underground.
Sports are a huge part of the American culture. It is definitely worth your while to watch a big American sports game during your visit. It is a wonderful way to get to know the American culture a little better.
- Tennis is a popular individual sport for both men and women. One of the highlights for tennis is the U.S. Open. The best tennis players in the world visit New York for this event. The U.S. Open is held every year in August.
- During the winter ice hockey is a popular sport in some parts of The United States, although not everywhere. The states with a soft winter climate are not as big a fan of ice hockey, as they are in states like; Alaska, Michigan and Minnesota.
- Basketball is one of the biggest sports in The United States. The sport is especially popular in states located in the east and north of the country. The highest competition is the NBA, which has been won by the Boston Celtics 17 times, an accomplishment no other club has been able to achieve.
- Another typical American sport is Baseball. During the summer months big teams like; the New York Yankees and the Red Sox are competing for the national title. It is a lot of fun to go watch one of the games. If you want to order tickets for the MLB you will have to do this in advance (a couple of months before the game). If you cannot manage to buy tickets it is always an option to watch a game in a park or sports field. Those games are almost always free.
- American Football is of course the most popular sport in The United States. The Super Bowl is held every year in February and shows how important this sport is for Americans. It is more than just a sports event, every year during half time the most famous artist from all over the world perform incredible shows. Over 110 million Americans watch the Super Bowl annually.
The United States has many holidays just as The United Kingdom does. Be aware that during these holidays many post offices, government buildings, banks and many private businesses will be closed.
- January 1st - New Years Day. This day is just the way it is in The United Kingdom. The day revolves around food, fireworks and family.
- 3rd Monday of January - Martin Luther King`s Birthday. On this day the Americans celebrate the birthday of the man who fought against racism and who received the Nobel prize for peace in 1964.
- 3rd Monday of February – Washington Birthday. This holiday has been celebrated since 1971. It is a way to honour all people that have ever been president of The United States.
- Last Monday of May – Memorial Day. On this day all war victims are being commemorated and the people who have helped make The United States into the free country it is today are thanked. Various money raising events are held for veterans with a handicap.
- 4th of July – Independence Day. On this day the birthday of The United States is celebrated. This is a day off for many Americans, which they often spend picnicking or BBQing with family and friends.
- 1st Monday of September – Labor Day. This day is similar to labour day that is being celebrated in Europe on the 1st of May.
- 3rd Monday of October – Columbus Day. On this day Columbus is being commemorated, he discovered The United States on 12th of October 1492.
- 31st of October – Halloween. The death are honoured on this day. Children go trick or treating, which means they go past doors in costume to collect candy. Furthermore, it is a spectacular day which is celebrated with family and a lot of spectacle.
- 11th of November – Veterans day. Veterans that have passed away are honoured and commemorated.
- 4th Thursday of November – Thanksgiving. You will probably be picturing a big turkey, a beautiful dinning table and a lot of family. This is very accurate. However, thanksgiving was first implemented to commemorated that the colonists had brought in their first harvest in Plymouth in 1621.
- 25th of December – Christmas. Just as we do in The United Kingdom they also celebrate Christmas in The United States.
- The current president of The United States in Donald Trump. He is the successor of Barack Obama. The state governments are roughly determined by the two largest parties, the Republicans and the Democrats. The United States is seen as one of the most powerful countries in the world, because of her government.
- Even though The United States is a rich country and an important player in the world economy, the differences in the population between poor and rich are immense. 45 million Americans live under the poverty line. White people on average make about twice as much as black people do.
- Most Americans are very proud of their country. They express their patriotism by proudly waving the American flag and singing their national anthem.
- The United States is an immigration country from origin, which is the reason for the multi-cultural country they are today. This makes it hard to define The Unites States as one culture.
- Indians were the first inhabitants of The United States.
- American airports and customs are often perceived as strict. Visitors do not get the feeling they are welcome. Some of the custom agents can be very strict. Therefore, it is important to be well prepared and have all your travel documents ready.
Applying for an ESTA:
In the past visitors of The United States had to fill in a I-94W form before departure at the airport. Nowadays you can apply for an ESTA quickly and easily online. This can be done directly through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This option has two disadvantages; there is no customer service available and you will only be able to pay with your credit card. Another option to apply for an ESTA is by using the service of Evisa application on www.esta-applications.uk . This option offers customer service and different payment methods. Your application will also be checked manually. More information on ESTA is also found on www.esta-applications.uk
- The United States has changed their immigration policy drastically in the sixties, making it harder to immigrate. The laws on this matter have changed a bit in the last couple of years, since The United States believes that immigrants are a stimulant for the economy. This makes it easier and more attractive to immigrate to The Unites States. Annually about 650,000 new immigrants are welcomed to The United States.
- The crime statistics of The United States have bettered in the past couple of years. The chances of somebody getting mugged or killed have been cut in halve since the nineties. Although weapons are still used a lot during crimes. The cause of this is the fact that weapons are not prohibited in The United States.