I moved to the US from China — and here are the 29 things on my US bucket list

Zirui yanThe author, Zirui Yan, moved from China to the US to attend college.
  • In 2016, I moved from Guiyang, China, to North Carolina to go to college.
  • My love of travel, nature, and other cultures inspired me to make a bucket list of the uniquely American things I want to experience the most.
  • Read on to see the 29 things on my US bucket list.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In 2016, I moved from my hometown of Guiyang, China, to North Carolina for college.

For someone who grew up in another country, adjusting to life in America was difficult at first. There are many differences between our two cultures – from how Americans don’t drink hot water to their reliance on cars to get around – that I had no idea about until I experienced them for myself.

But my love of travel has pushed me to explore as much of America as possible during my time in this country. Since I started college, I’ve travelled at every opportunity. On one vacation I witnessed the raging beauty of Niagara Falls, and on another, I strolled for miles along Miami’s South Beach in beautiful January weather. I went stargazing at LA’s Griffith Observatory and I spent two days on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Still, there are countless things in the US I’ve yet to experience for myself. It would be nearly impossible to see the entire country in a lifetime, let alone a few years, so I decided to make a bucket list of the top things on my list.

The US is a fascinating place in many ways. The country is big enough to have a myriad of landscapes and climates in different regions, and the unique history of each state makes it even more interesting to travel.

The items on my bucket list are a reflection of my interest in learning about various cultures, as well as my admiration and awe of the natural wonders the US has to offer.


Go leaf peeping in autumn in Vermont


Take a helicopter ride over Manhattan

nosha via Compfight cc

See a show on Broadway


Do a New Year’s countdown in New York City

AP Photo/John Minchillo

Go on a seafood crawl in Annapolis, Maryland

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See a show at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee

jejim/ShutterstockThe Grand Ole Opry.

Hike through the Great Smoky Mountains — and see a bear in person

Sean Pavone/Getty Images

Check out a NASCAR race in Charlotte, North Carolina

David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

See the famous Pineapple Fountain in Charleston, South Carolina


Taste all the different flavours of Coke at Atlanta’s World of Coca-Cola museum

Braunger/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Attend the Ultra Music Festival in Miami


Visit Ernest Hemingway’s house in Key West, Florida

Paul Harris/Getty Images

Celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

See the famous Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park


Visit Mount Rushmore in South Dakota


See the Gateway Arch in St. Louis

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Gamble at a Las Vegas casino


Drive across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Travel Stock/Shutterstock

Explore Yellowstone National Park


Go skiing at Breckenridge in Colorado

Keystone/AP

Attend Coachella music festival in Indio, California

Amy Harris/Invision/AP

Go swimming in a natural pool in Laguna Beach

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Make it inside a Hollywood party


Visit the colourful Salvation Mountain in the California desert


Wander through the Wave rock formation in Arizona

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Spend a summer week at a lake house in Alaska

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Get a coffee at the original Starbucks in Seattle


Visit White Sand National Monument in New Mexico


Take in Seattle’s skyline from the Space Needle

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