While you’re still young enough to tolerate a few hours of sleep, roadside food, and questionable motels, take a road trip across the country. You are guaranteed to find more treasures along the way than you could by following an entire travel bucket list to a T.
Between Steeplechase in Kentucky and Foxfield Races at the University of Virginia, there are plenty of horse races from which to choose. Don’t forget to pack a hat twice the size of your head.
Nashville is the country music capital of the world, and your twenties are the perfect time to head to this Southern city to get your fill of some of the best live music. Go dancing downtown to live country music on Broadway (Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge is a favorite) and then head to The Loveless Cafe for bluegrass and jazz.
Austin’s unofficial motto is “Keep Austin Weird,” and your twenties are an ideal time to go and partake in the tradition. You can happily spend a week eating almost exclusively at the city’s many food trucks and taking in nearly any kind of concert you like, from reggae to rock. Your visit should end with a trip to the famous Allens Boots, which is packed floor to ceiling with cowboy boots for sale.
Extra points if it’s Dave Matthews Band.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 18300 W Alameda Pkwy, Morrison, CO, USA, +1 720 865 2494
Between Bonnaroo (for the truly crunchy), Coachella (for the floral crown enthusiast) and BottleRock (a relatively sedate affair in Napa for those trending towards 30), there’s a music festival for everyone.
Venice may be on the southern tip of Los Angeles, but it’s really a city and a universe unto itself. Right on the ocean, Venice is one of the only neighborhoods in Los Angeles where many people do not own cars, choosing to bike and walk (often barefoot) instead. Eat at trendy Gjelina or the Rose Café, and then go shopping down Abbot Kinney, which GQ has called the “coolest block in America.”
The best time to go is at sunrise. While it may be painful to drag yourself out of bed at four in the morning to catch the sunrise, the view will make it worth your while.
Grand Canyon National Park, AZ, USA, +1 928 638 7888
Dress to impress and play the slots for a night, just to say that you’ve been.
Wherever you live, there is likely a major college football game nearby that you can attend. Whether at a classic big football school (such as Michigan or Alabama) or a school that gets into the spirit once a year (Harvard or Yale), just make sure to show up in time for the tailgate beforehand.
Sure, most Major League Baseball games are fun, but few things can compare to going to a game at the home stadium of a team whose fans are famously devoted. Yankee Stadium, the Red Sox’s Fenway Park, the St. Louis Cardinals’ Busch Stadium, and the Cubs’ Wrigley Field are all experiences to have while you’re young and don’t mind the—ahem—excessive noise.
While you’re still young enough to do it, get an incomparable perspective on one of America’s greatest cities by walking from Harlem to the southern tip of Manhattan along Broadway, one of the city’s main thoroughfares. If you’re still feeling energetic, then head on over the Brooklyn Bridge for a pizza at Grimaldi’s to reward yourself.
Whether you are in Texas, Oklahoma, or Montana, a rodeo is an undeniably good time that every 20-something should experience. Don’t forget a bandana, hat, and cowboy boots, because there’s no point in going if you don’t go all in.