After more than 19 months of being off-limits to tourists amid the threat of new Covid-19 infections, the US has lifted restrictions to allow fully vaccinated travellers unrestricted travel into the country. If you’re already planning for your next dose of Americana, don’t miss these five intriguing new destinations spread across the Lower 48.
Summit One Vanderbilt
In the heart of Midtown Manhattan, Summit One Vanderbilt offers an all-new perspective on New York. Set atop a newly built skyscraper at Grand Central, Summit One Vanderbilt perches 400-metres above Madison Avenue. Gaze north and Central Park unfurls, framed by the East and Hudson Rivers. South sees the World Trade Center skewer the skyline. Left is the scalloped Art Deco charm of the Chrysler Building.
But this is more than a simple observation deck. Summit One is worth the entry fee (from $39) for the range of sky-high experiences on offer. Transparent boxes — dubbed Levitation — extend beyond the edge of the building, allowing a view straight down to the pavement, while a glass-elevator on the exterior of the building will indulge your wildest Roald Dahl fantasies. Then there’s Air, an immersive and interactive mirrored art experience by Kenzo Digital that reimagines the notion of perspective.
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
Film geeks, rejoice. This sprawling new museum in Los Angeles whisks visitors through a century of celluloid magic, celebrating the stars, the costumes and the technology behind some of the 20th century’s most memorable movies.
Across six floors movie-lovers can delve into how the art form evolved from silent comedies to immersive audiovisual experiences. Discover how the Steadicam changed the art of movie making, and marvel at the original sets and robotics from the likes of Jaws, Alien and Jurassic Park. And if you’ve always dreamt of your own 30-seconds of fame, The Oscars Experience simulation lets you step on stage at the Dolby Theatre to soak in the glamour of Oscars Night.
2022 will also the opening of a landmark new exhibition, celebrating the unrecognised history of African American filmmakers. Visitors must show proof of vaccination, or a negative Covid-19 PCR test no more than 72 hours before arrival.
Clear Sky Domes
Trade in the bright lights of Las Vegas for the starry skies of the Grand Canyon National Park. It’s here on the fringes of the park that you’ll find the luxury glamping domes of Clear Sky Resorts, immersed in a landscape of red rocks and dramatic desert views. Indoors, the décor is all about off-grid luxury, from upscale linen to plush en suite bathrooms. Each of the domes boasts its own skylight and telescope, while guests are encouraged to gather for s’mores at the communal fire pit, play a round on the floodlit frisbee golf course and join night-time sculpture walks.
National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM)
Where else but in the heart of Music City — Nashville, Tennessee — would be the place for a museum dedicated to the contribution of African American musicians. This is the city that gave rise to the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Ray Charles and Little Richard, and this landmark new museum digs deep into the origins of American soul, blues and jazz, tracing the historical threads that shaped a musical art form. The NMAAM adds another string to the state’s musical bow, resting easily alongside the Country Music Hall of Fame, Graceland, The Grand Ole Opry and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.
Celebrating language in all its forms, this offbeat museum at the historic Franklin School in Washington DC offers an immersive experience that delves into the origin of the written word, how humans learn language and how lexicons develop. It’s billed as the world’s first voice-activated museum, and the varied exhibitions offer an immersive digital experience for all ages. Admission is free.