A visit to the United States opens the door to an incredible variety of cultural events and festivals that take place all year round. The country’s rich historical background has made it a cultural melting pot, with immigrants from far and wide bringing traditions and influences from their home countries. Whether you are a music nut and want to catch world’s best artists and bands, or if you are a foody looking for a unique culinary experience, in a trip to the United States is something that you should seriously consider. Whenever you visit the United States make sure you get an ESTA visa (the US visa waiver scheme for EU residents and other countries). Consult a reliable guide to ESTA to make sure that you are not met with any nasty surprises at immigration when you touch down in the country. Read on for a list of eight cultural events that are not to be missed in 2020.
1. Mardi Gras, New Orleans
Nowhere is France’s colonial legacy in the United States more apparent than in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. The jewel in the crown of this diverse and vibrant city, which is famous for its unique musical and culinary heritage, is the Mardi Gras carnival held in late February every year. First brought to Louisiana by French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville at the beginning of the eighteenth century, the carnival today is the meeting point between the city’s deeply-rooted Afro-American culture, with its jazz music and incredible cuisine, and the region’s colourful French and Spanish colonial history.
2. Burning Man, Nevada
The Burning Man festival in Nevada has long been considered the Holy Grail for festival enthusiasts the world over, and for good reason. Every year between the end of August and the beginning of September, crowds of people congregate in what can only be described as a temporary city erected like a mirage in the inhospitable Black Rock Desert, drawn by the promise of a psychedelic celebration of freedom and self-expression and some the world’s more progressive artists and performers.
3. Aloha Festivals, Hawaii
The Hawaii archipelago is home to one of the most fascinating ancient cultures in the world. If you want to experience it at its most vibrant, consider timing your trip to coincide with the annual Aloha Festivals that take place throughout the whole month of September. The festivals showcase the best of Hawaiian music and dance, parades, street parties, concerts and educational workshops. And the best thing is that entry is completely free of charge!
4. Albuquerque International Balloon Festival, New Mexico
If you happen to be in New Mexico in October, a visit to the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival is an absolute must. People from all over the world come to witness the awe-inspiring spectacle of hundreds of hot air balloons of every colour of the rainbow sailing across the wide-open blue skies of New Mexico. A brilliant day out for families and balloon lovers alike is complete with one of the roasted chillies that are so loved by residents of the region.
5. Sundance Film Festival, Utah
For one week at the end of January every year, the normally sleepy city of Park City, Utah becomes the site for the largest and most important independent film festival in the United States. The festival is a hotbed for budding indie filmmakers and has given a foot in the door for many of the best-known actors and directors. A trip to the festival affords dedicated film buffs the chance to get ahead of the curve and see the hottest new feature films, shorts and documentaries of the year.
6. Coachella, California
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is one of the United States’ favourite festivals. The festival is named after the Californian valley in which its site is nestled. Apart from hosting a cutting-edge selection of up-and-coming musicians and artists, it is famous for giving festival-goers the chance to rub shoulders with the high number of celebrities who are always present in the crowds of revelers. Make sure you go in your trendiest outfit – style is of the essence at Coachella!
If you are set for a holiday in the United States, make sure to add at least one of the events mentioned in this article to your trip itinerary. It would be a crime not to!