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Talk:United States of America/Archive 2009

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Nine Cities[edit]

Twice in the last day I've reverted a change to the nine cities. (Once to add Philadelphia, once to change New Orleans to Las Vegas.) In my opinion, this article is too high-profile, and the choice of nine cities too much a matter of opinion, to allow undiscussed changes to stand. The nine cities we currently have are not obviously inadequate, and thus any proposed change should be discussed here first. LtPowers 09:04, 21 October 2008 (EDT)

OK Here's the discussion. Let's replace New Orleans with Las Vegas. Vegas is more than 5 times larger than New Orleans and receives more than 50 times as many visitors per year. If travelers vote with their feet, they've clearly already voted for Vegas. Vegas rocks! It's great place to visit, lots of things to do, and is surrounded by the vast and great outdoors that is the American west. And remember, "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas". New Orleans? Had its heyday about 200 years ago, been in a slow decline ever since. VIVA LAS VEGAS! —The preceding unsigned comment was added by SONORAMA (talkcontribs)
I agree that non-discussed changes to the cities list here can simply be reverted on sight. And although I once argued that we should add Vegas, I think replacing New Orleans with it would not fit our goal of representing each geographic region in these lists. We already have 2 other destinations for the Southwest, and New Orleans is the only destination we list in the South. --Peter Talk 13:28, 21 October 2008 (EDT)
OK, what do you suggest Las Vegas replace? Also, Los Angeles is the only other city in the Southwest currently on the list, and Miami, you may have heard, is in the South. In any event, I don't think we have to maintain a specific balance of regions in the list. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by SONORAMA (talkcontribs)
Los Angeles and Miami are in the respective regions of California and Florida (since we're being snarky: you may have read the regions sections of this article). The South is a huge region and should be represented somewhere in the destinations list. In past discussions, we have considered geographical representation, by the regions we use, to be even more important than prominence as a travel destination. And I can't think of a better destination to list for the important South region. --Peter Talk 14:55, 22 October 2008 (EDT)
The problem is that the South as a whole is not characterized by its huge destination cities. And if the goal is to represent the South, New Orleans is probably the least "Southern" city you could pick, due to its French Cajun-influenced culture. Atlanta would probably be the major alternative candidate; I personally think that would be somewhat more representative of the South. That's not to say NO is a poor choice overall, though. LtPowers 18:47, 22 October 2008 (EDT)
Please sign your posts, SONORAMA. I would agree we don't need every region represented (let's face it; there just isn't that much in the Great Plains); the nine cities should be a representative sample. I think New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington are absolutely inviolable. Boston, Miami, and San Francisco are in the next tier, almost as important. That leaves Seattle and New Orleans as the only two real options for replacement. Both have been questioned in the past. Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Denver, Orlando, Honolulu, and Houston seem to be the major candidates to replace them.
Philadelphia is a problem because that would give us four out of nine cities all in the BosWash corridor. We're already pushing it with three, but NYC and Washington have to be there. Orlando is a problem because we already have Miami (I suppose we might consider switching them). Any other thoughts? LtPowers 09:29, 22 October 2008 (EDT)

I just like to add my support to the idea that we should have geographic balance. As for Vegas, it's such a unique city that it represents nothing other than itself so I'd prefer to leave it off. If we were to eliminate a city, I'd note that there are three West Coast cities (Seattle, SF, LA) and three East Coast (Boston, NYC, DC) that seem overrepresentative. If we were to eliminate one, I'd suggest SF or LA with my preference being LA because it is seethingly bland. -- Colin 19:07, 22 October 2008 (EDT)

I'm fine with the list as is, but if we were to substitute, I'd say ditch Boston rather than LA... Hollywood is one of the main stops for visitors. Or ditch Seattle. SF is way too popular as well – cacahuate talk 22:14, 22 October 2008 (EDT)
I agree. Of the list, Boston is probably the easiest to ditch (two east coast cities already in the list and Boston, while a nice place, is not that remarkable). I sort of think that Vegas should probably kick Boston off anyway since it is more visited (I think, no hard stats here). Regardless of other decisions, I wouldn't dump LA! --Wandering 23:10, 22 October 2008 (EDT)
How about ditching New Orleans? It is by far the smallest city in population there. Other than Mardi Gras it doesn't have much going for it -- nothing compared to Vegas. SONORAMA 06:18, 23 October 2008 (EDT)
I think New Orleans should stay. If anything I believe Seattle could go - but mostly i think it should just be left as is Sertmann 06:30, 23 October 2008 (EDT)

All right, I'm going to propose we scrap the whole list and go with Buffalo, Charleston, Fargo, Portland, Biloxi, Tucson, Boise, Galveston, and Gary. How's that? =) LtPowers 13:43, 23 October 2008 (EDT)

That's crazy talk: everyone knows Cour de'Alene has far more visitors than Fargo! -- Colin 19:45, 23 October 2008 (EDT)
I support any and all lists that include Gary. Support. --Peter Talk 19:48, 23 October 2008 (EDT)
The US cities list is probably at least as frequently debated as the Wikitravel:External links policy, and in both cases no one has yet come up with an alternative to the current version that addresses all concerns. As a result, in both cases my vote goes for keeping the status status quo. I'd agree that it would be nice to see Vegas on this list (as well as any number of other cities), but until someone comes up with a better alternative than the "pick five to nine representative cities" guideline I'd say let's just stick with the current nine. As an aside, have you guys actually been to Gary? Nothing against the fine folks in Indiana, but clearly Wall, South Dakota would be a vastly better choice. -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:36, 23 October 2008 (EDT)
My vote goes to the village of Pepacton, NY. The view itself is worth the visit. (Bring an oxygen tank.)--Wandering 22:06, 24 October 2008 (EDT)
Are you kidding, Wandring? Edmontonenthusiast 22:10, 24 October 2008 (EDT)
Moi? Never! Pepacton is a lovely village at the edge of the Catskills. (Sadly, it is under water these days - a part of a reservoir built in the 1950s!)


This is somewhat of a curiosity, but has New Orleans bounced back much from Hurricane Katrina? I know people probably don't want to deal with another comment about the 9 cities, but New Orleans does look odd to me (Miami does, too, but that's probably more of a personal opinion). I know even now people are still going to do relief work. If that's the case, don't you think another city would be better for the "top 9"? I've read the discussions, and I think Atlanta or Las Vegas really should replace New Orleans. Las Vegas seems to have mixed support, but there are actually zero cities on the list in that region as Wikitravel has divided the country. If however, there is a need to have a Southern city (which perhaps should be represented), then why not Atlanta? Someone had mentioned it, but it kind of got swept under the rug with the Vegas talk. Someone mentioned that it better represents the South, and I think the fact that it's not still recovering from a disaster makes it more appealing, as well. What do you think? ChubbyWimbus 23:27, 20 July 2009 (EDT)

I really really prefer the big easy over Atlanta, tourism wise very few other American cities has such a rich a cultural heritage, and despite regional differences, I still consider North American culture pretty monolithical. I'd never pay a dime to set my foot in Atlanta - unless chance took me there, just another generic metropolis, but I'd pay an arm and a leg to see the mardi gras or a funeral possession in N.O. (And I'm going to one fine day). As far as I'm aware, it's business as usual in the French Quarter, which is what people come to see in the first place right? And besides if New Orleans was deemed worthy before Katrina, It would leave a bad taste in my mouth to remove it afterwards, when the city needs tourism more than ever. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 00:45, 21 July 2009 (EDT)
That's true; NO has things that no other city in the world has. Atlanta may be a more popular destination right now (in part due to the airport) but that's not the only criterion we use. I'd rather look at replacing Miami, I think, but it represents the southern beach tradition. LtPowers 13:24, 21 July 2009 (EDT)
Or Boston; the more I think about it, the less important it seems to have it here. We already have two northeast cities, and although Boston is certainly not the same as NYC or Washington, I think the geographic issues might be enough to justify removing it. LtPowers 13:34, 21 July 2009 (EDT)
Okay, that's a good point. New Orleans does have quite a unique culture, and as long as the places people visit have not been destroyed, I think I can support it. I would support replacing Miami and maybe Boston. I like Philadelphia as a top 9 city, because it some of the country's best historical sites, but it's a shame that it is so close to NYC and D.C. For geographic reasons, I understand why it's not on the list... If Las Vegas is too close to California, then would St. Louis be a good choice to replace Miami? Florida is represented with Disneyworld in the "Other Destinations" section (and the Everglades could just as easily be there), so Miami is not a must. (as a sidenote: I just noticed that Las Vegas doesn't have a pinpoint on the map) ChubbyWimbus 14:52, 21 July 2009 (EDT)
Whoa nelly! We're talking about switching Miami out for St Louis? Not sure why a city full of sunshine, white suits, endless models, and Cuban sandwiches is getting so much hate here, so I'll just give a reminder: 4th largest urban area in the US; international center for television, music, fashion, film, performing arts; world's #1 destination for cruise ships; beautiful skyline; white beaches; trendy upscale dining; some of the most stylish nightlife in the world; beautiful people; Cuban culture; 3rd wealthiest city in the country; bordered by two national parks; pretender to the "Capital of Latin America"; etc. The US is a big country; it's unavoidable that we won't include every major city destination in this list, and the potential complaints are boundless—Philadelphia, Denver, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Houston, etc. I do, however, remain committed to support any revised city proposal that includes Gary. --Peter Talk 18:15, 21 July 2009 (EDT)
I must agree. Culturally, St. Louis isn't that interesting compared to the existing entries on the list, and geographically, there's no need to scrounge up another city to represent the Midwest when Chicago's already there. - Dguillaime 18:27, 21 July 2009 (EDT)
I suppose the debate is closed again (unless Peter wants to trade Chicago for Gary. An interesting debate). By the way, what exactly are "strivers" (see the description for Miami)? Is that a clever way of alluding to illegals and refugees? ChubbyWimbus 22:15, 24 July 2009 (EDT)
I wouldn't be so quick. Has anyone actually defended Boston's inclusion on the list? It's a great city, but it makes for a third city in the BosWash corridor when we could be including Vegas, Denver, or Atlanta. I doubt we'd get half as many people coming in trying to add Boston as currently try to add Vegas. LtPowers 10:08, 25 July 2009 (EDT)
On Boston, I could go either way. If it does get switched, my vote would have to go in favor of Las Vegas. Denver and Atlanta are below Boston, in my opinion. ChubbyWimbus 18:47, 25 July 2009 (EDT)
Boston's cultural significance dwarfs Vegas, Denver, and Atlanta combined. Vegas should be among the Other Destinations. It's a theme park for gambling much more than a city. Gorilla Jones 18:52, 25 July 2009 (EDT)
But cultural significance is not the only criterion we should be looking at. We need to consider what's most useful for the traveler, and that can include things like geographic representation and having a variety of different types of places. LtPowers 22:25, 25 July 2009 (EDT)
What's most useful for the traveler is listing the places they are extremely likely to visit. That's why Boston is listed. Geographic representation is all fine and good, but we're being myopic if we let that miss a difference as enormous as the quality of Denver and Atlanta's attractions relative to Boston's. Gorilla Jones 23:35, 25 July 2009 (EDT)
I would think it rather obvious that Boston is there in no small part because of the desire for geographical spread—it's the sole listed city/od for the important travel region of New England. Peter--23:46, 25 July 2009 (EDT)
True, but New York City is really close. =) LtPowers 09:46, 26 July 2009 (EDT)

+Vegas -Seattle?[edit]

As I see it, the only one on the current list that might reasonably be deleted is Seattle. Yes, it is an important city, interesting to visit, and the center of its region, but it is not clear to me it belongs among the nine we list here. On the other hand, there's a pretty good case for adding Las Vegas; it is one of America's top tourist destinations.

Basically, I think the current list is about right. Replacing Seattle with Las Vegas is the only change I'd support. Other opinions? Pashley 12:46, 15 September 2009 (EDT)

I can't argue against it except on grounds of geographic representation, but that line doesn't seem to get very far around here. LtPowers 09:52, 22 September 2009 (EDT)
I know this is a little old now, but just to give another opinion, I'd rather Seattle stay on the list, and I appreciate geographic representation. ChubbyWimbus 01:22, 24 November 2009 (EST)

Other destinations[edit]

So we've discussed the 9 cities, now it's time to discuss the 9 "Other destinations". For one, there are two destinations listed for California & none in the plains/midwest. Should we go for simply the most notable, or for geographic diversity. I suggest adding Niagra Falls, Denali NP, Badlands NP (Mt. Rushmore, right?), or the Everglades (but not sure that that should replace DW). Not really sure which destinations to therefore eliminate aside from one of the CA destinations, but leaning towards Acadia NP & Glacier NP. These are just some quick suggestions I've come up with, this is certainly something which merits much input. AHeneen 20:02, 23 January 2009 (EST)

The ten most visited national parks, from greatest to least, are: Great Smoky Mountains NP, Grand Canyon NP, Yosemite NP, Yellowstone NP, Olympic NP, Rocky Mountain NP, Zion NP, Cuyahoga Valley NP, Grand Teton NP and Acadia NP. I think popularity is as much a factor in this as geography. WineCountryInn 20:10, 23 January 2009 (EST)
Niagara should be included, Mt Rushmore also seems like a good idea, since it's probably one of the greatest icons of the States, along with the Capitol and good old lady in NY. On the other hand Grand Canyon, Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, Yosemite and WDW (another thing which America is very famous for abroad, and it has a good article) should stay, at least that is my take on it. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 21:10, 23 January 2009 (EST)
I like those suggestions, although I must point out that Niagara Falls (New York) is not listed as one of Mid-Atlantic's nine cities. Though perhaps we could list it under "Other destinations" in that article. LtPowers 22:56, 23 January 2009 (EST)
Oh, and I was worried someone would object to my addition of WDW, given that all the others were national parks. LtPowers 22:58, 23 January 2009 (EST)

Vegas, baby! I find it weird that it's missing from the top cities, so it should definitely go into the Other Destinations then. I'd suggest dropping Carlsbad Caverns, which is just a cave (albeit a pretty darn big one), and not the kind of place that people go to spend entire holidays in. Jpatokal 11:45, 24 January 2009 (EST)

I believe the "Other destinations" are not cities and should stay that way. Vegas is a city and shouldn't be on this list. AHeneen 11:57, 24 January 2009 (EST)
Where do cities such as Niagara Falls factor in, then? (I agree that Vegas doesn't count as an Other Destination, though.) LtPowers 16:23, 24 January 2009 (EST)
Niagara Falls just happens to share the name of the small city nearby. The waterfall is the draw, and if it weren't for that, the city would not be a draw at all, so I think that's OK for an other destination. Las Vegas is out of the question though. Texugo 19:42, 24 January 2009 (EST)
Jpatokal is absolutely right about Vegas. It is quintessentially American in all its glorious tackiness, and should be included somewhere. Since the consensus seems to be leaning away from its inclusion in "Other Destinations," how about "Drink"? Currently, there is nothing about gambling in the nightlife part of "Drink," and Reno, Vegas, Atlantic City and the various Native American reservation casinos could all be mentioned. WineCountryInn 20:39, 24 January 2009 (EST)
Las Vegas is very much a city, and I think only merits inclusion in the cities section, otherwise we're defeating the purpose of keeping it to nine cities... see the vegas conversation a few sections up... feel free to bring new opinions to that conversation :) – cacahuate talk 21:44, 24 January 2009 (EST)
I agree, cacahuate. Vegas needs a home other than Cities and Other Destinations. I think this can be resolved rather neatly by a brief write up of gambling in the U.S., with internal links/mentions of the casino towns in the nightlife part of the "Drink" section. That way --Blackjack! Everybody wins! :) WineCountryInn 22:35, 24 January 2009 (EST)
It's a bit too facile to dismiss Vegas just as a gambling destination. One friend of mine flew there from Singapore to celebrate his honeymoon, another goes there regularly from Finland for Star Trek and strippers. Neither gambles.
If one of the cities had to go, I'd lean towards to dropping Seattle — it's just not a top tourist draw in the way that Vegas, San Fran, Hollywood, NYC etc are. Jpatokal 03:56, 27 January 2009 (EST)
Couldn't we just list it as The Strip under Other Destinations, that way we're listing a place, not a city :-p --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 05:54, 27 January 2009 (EST)
No! ;) – cacahuate talk 01:59, 29 January 2009 (EST)
Dammit! :) anyway, back on topic - I really think Mesa Verde or Chaco should be included on the list, to give it a bit more variety, than just (completely awesome) nature - leaning towards Mesa Verde myself. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 02:35, 29 January 2009 (EST)

A suggestion:

Gives us a - not perfect - but pretty descent geographical spread, and included sights that are not just (awesome) wilderness, and they all have fairly good guides. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 02:41, 29 January 2009 (EST)

I like it, although I'd go with Denali and Smoky Mountains over the alternatives. (Only because the Smoky Mountains are the most visited national park, according to WineCountryInn above.) LtPowers 09:22, 29 January 2009 (EST)
I have taken a preliminary stab at getting Vegas in the article somewhere in the Drink section. It is currently getting short shrift. If you'd like to see more about gambling and other forms of nightlife in this article, please let us know! WineCountryInn 19:03, 29 January 2009 (EST)
Also, I vote for dropping Carlsbad Caverns for the reasons mentioned above, as well as the Everglades (WDW is plenty for the Florida region). Pick up Denali, Yosemite and Smoky Mountains, and you have spread the regional destinations around again, to Alaska, California and the South. WineCountryInn 23:28, 29 January 2009 (EST)
I think the list is fine, using Denali (gives variety and Alaska is a great destination) and the Smoky Mountains (because WDW & the Everglades would be too close). AHeneen 23:35, 29 January 2009 (EST)

Low-quality photos[edit]

Some of the photos in this article are subpar in quality, in my opinion, including the Mt. Rushmore one in the infobox. Here is a higher-resolution, replacement option (with better color) for the infobox: [1] The Statue of Liberty image is also low quality, as are some of the others. I don't want to make unilateral replacements (though I did one), but would rather see what others think about the images. Aude 00:22, 30 January 2009 (EST)

I'm indifferent about the Mt Rushmore one, I think they're both fine.... but agree that a nicer one of the sol and gg bridge would be nice – cacahuate talk 01:14, 30 January 2009 (EST)
Is my photo at right ok? It's a little grainy, but also 5MP. AHeneen 03:42, 30 January 2009 (EST)
New York 108.jpg
I'm all for more pics, there are IMHO way too few at the moment. Re: statue of liberty, there's too much blue now, it looks like it's underwater. Jpatokal 05:45, 30 January 2009 (EST)
The current Mr. Rushmore pic is a bit heavy on the shadow. I'd be fine replacing it with a cropped version of the one Aude linked. LtPowers 08:17, 30 January 2009 (EST)
Coming from Wikipedia, ideally I like to see images that could pass as Featured pictures there or close to that quality. That said, a featured picture (or one close to that quality) of the Statue of Liberty is elusive. An average snapshot on a clear day would be better than what's in the article. Aude 12:23, 30 January 2009 (EST)
Any time, any photo, in any article can be improved, it should be. The gallery feature is one of the most underused features we have. 2old 13:49, 30 January 2009 (EST)
I've uploaded a better version of the SoL pic which gets rid of some of the graininess, but it's still quite blue. Compare it, however, to the very small pic we currently have (which is posted below). AHeneen 18:22, 30 January 2009 (EST)
I think the Statue of Liberty is a difficult subject to photograph really well, compared to the quality I think is needed, especially in a country article. Looking around on Flickr, I'm finding mainly artistic, sunset type pictures which don't work here. On Wikimedia Commons, the quality of the SOL pictures is far short of expectations, as do photos from my own collection. Maybe at some point I'll put up a bounty for a featured picture of the Statue of Liberty, New York Stock Exchange and maybe a couple other key places.
For now, I suggest replacing the SOL picture with something else. Actually, I see the SOL pictures is in the "Cities" section, so I think a cityscape type picture would be more suitable. Something of either NYC (e.g. [2]) or Chicago would be good, or something more symbolic such as The White House would work. Aude 19:57, 30 January 2009 (EST)
I hate to lose the Statue of Liberty from the article entirely, because of her symbolism of greeting visitors to the USA (which is a nice fit for a Wikitravel article). There are some decent SoL images at Wikimedia Commons [3]. As for the History section of Understand, how about a nice photo of the Liberty Bell, with Independence Hall in the background [4]? WineCountryInn 19:06, 1 February 2009 (EST)
Which SOL photo do you like? If we use one from Wikimedia Commons, it has to be licensed under "Creative Commons". Some photos are instead licensed under GFDL, which is no good here. My opinion of the photos of the SOL on Wikimedia Commons is that none really stand out. For this page, I suppose we could choose something of "acceptable" quality from Commons, until time that we get something better. The Liberty Bell is okay too. I'm setting up a "bounty" [5] as a sort of contest to encourage people to fulfill my request for featured pictures [6], so hope at some point we get photos of exceptional quality of the SOL and other key places. I'm not sure when my contest will start. Aude 19:44, 1 February 2009 (EST)
For history, another possibility is a photo of Gettysburg [7]. Aude 19:50, 1 February 2009 (EST)
Here's an older SoL pix from the National Parks Service. [8]. It's obviously been scanned in, but the contrast and composition are decent. It just needs a little cropping. More are here [9]. WineCountryInn 21:29, 1 February 2009 (EST)
I have uploaded the NPS photo with contrast adjustments - Image:Statueofliberty.jpg. I think this will work. Aude 22:17, 1 February 2009 (EST)
I put the image in, but feel free to rearrange the pictures or do whatever you think is best. Aude 22:21, 1 February 2009 (EST)
White House pictures for Aude, any of these you find worthy?
And I like this one :) -

Spread Photos by Region[edit]

To add more variety to the article, we should discuss spreading the photographs around by region, similar to the lively discussions surrounding the Cities and Other destinations sections. What would you put on this list? And what should be the max number of images in this article? That way, we can take everyone's input and winnow it down to the best images. The hotel sign in Sleep, for instance, could be replaced by something more iconic. WineCountryInn 22:33, 1 February 2009 (EST)

I'm thinking of replacing the White House picture (or moving it), and putting a NYC skyline picture (e.g. Image:Brooklyn Bridge by Dr G Schmitz.jpg) in its place, since it's the "Cities" section. Other than that, I don't have any great preferences, but agree on including images of many different regions. Aude 22:46, 1 February 2009 (EST)
I think that the images are already spread out. Maybe add something in the Midwest or Alaska and something better for FL. But as it stands the images look fine to me. AHeneen 23:03, 1 February 2009 (EST)
I have no problem with the White House, because it's in a different city but in the same Mid-Atlantic region. I think it's an exception, however, since it's the capitol. Here's the breakdown of the photos, so far:
  • Great Plains - Mount Rushmore.
  • Southwest - Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Burning Man.
  • Mid-Atlantic - Statue of Liberty and White House.
  • California - Golden Gate Bridge
  • Florida - baseball in Daytona Beach
  • South - Grand Ole Opry, Nashville
  • Miscellaneous signs - Welcome, highway, and motel signs.

Not represented

And some of the images we are using are generic or not particularly strong images (muddy, poor composition, etc.) We should put our best foot forward on this. I recommend dumping the Burning Man and keeping the Vegas pix, etc. Maybe stronger images for Florida and the South, as well. There's got to be more iconic and emblematic images we can use. WineCountryInn 23:08, 1 February 2009 (EST)

I found and added a strong image of the Grand Tetons between "Geography" and "Climate" in the Understand section. That takes care of the Rocky Mountains. One down, six more regions to go! (Maybe). WineCountryInn 01:43, 2 February 2009 (EST)
Added the Gateway Arch to the By thumb section of "Get around." That includes the Midwest region in the mix. WineCountryInn 17:54, 2 February 2009 (EST)
Placed a lighthouse in Maine in the Itineraries section of "See" to take care of the New England region. Like this, because with GG bridge, makes for "sea to shining sea" concept. Before I go any further, here are a couple of ideas for photos:
  • South - Replace Grand Old Opry with a photo of Graceland [10]. Place in the Culture section of "Understand." Strong composition on this pix.
  • Texas - Picture of the Alamo [11]. Like the idea, but think we need either a better photo or some fixing of the contrast. Place in History section of "Understand."
  • Pacific Northwest - Maybe Space Needle in Seattle, but I can't find a strong enough image. Any suggestions?
  • Alaska - An Inuit totem pole, perhaps [12]? Or a bald eagle on Kodiak Island [13]? The second idea has appeal because it works in some wildlife, a national symbol and region all in one shot.
  • Hawaii - Maybe a really strong photo of Waikiki Beach, palm trees, hotels and Diamond Head, and replace image in Sleep?
  • Florida - No strong ideas for Fla, maybe an image of a space shuttle launch along the Space Coast [14]?

What do you think? Please keep the ideas coming, not the least of which is, how many photos is "too many photos?" Thanks! WineCountryInn 18:26, 2 February 2009 (EST)

Added a photo of the Alamo to history section, so that the region is now represented. That leaves three regions, Alaska, Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest, not represented. Please read the dialogue above and share your ideas/commentaries/criticisms. Thanks! WineCountryInn 19:37, 5 February 2009 (EST)
Moved Burning Man down to Respect section, where it is mentioned in article. Plus, bottom half of article is devoid of images. WineCountryInn 20:08, 5 February 2009 (EST)
Your suggestions seem good. Though, I don't have any spare time to help here until Sunday or early next week. I'll check back then, but please go ahead and make changes. Aude 23:17, 5 February 2009 (EST)
Replaced Grand Ole Opry with image of Bourbon Street. Moved image from Do section up to Culture sub-section of "Understand." I think this is a stronger photo for the South. Any thoughts? WineCountryInn 00:11, 6 February 2009 (EST)
Sharpened the color of the Daytona Beach picture in the Do section. Had to load it into Wikitravel main, as it was originally was uploaded, because it kept overriding my upload to Wikitravel shared. WineCountryInn 00:53, 6 February 2009 (EST)
Added Bald eagles, taking care of Alaska, a national symbol and some wildlife all in one pix. Added it into Costs subsection of "Buy" simply for no other reason than it was a vast sea of text. WineCountryInn 01:43, 6 February 2009 (EST)
Placed an image of Seattle skyline, Space Needle, Mount Rainier, etc. in By plane subsection of "Get In." That only leaves Hawaii for regions not represented. Any feedback is appreciated. WineCountryInn 14:45, 6 February 2009 (EST)
Added one last image, this time Hawaii in the By mail subsection of "Contact." This takes care of full regional spread of images. All regions are now represented. Hopefully, this will spark some consensus building and debate. What pictures do we keep? What do we jettison? What could be adjusted? Obviously, some of the images are stronger than others. If you think you can find a stronger image, remember Aude has a bounty to come up with the best pictures possible. I'd challenge you one further and say, if you replace an image, you try to do it with another photo from the same region. Perfect geographical representation isn't necessarily the goal, but we do want as much regional diversity as possible. Let the debates begin. ;) WineCountryInn 17:16, 6 February 2009 (EST)

New map[edit]

I updated the USA map for higher contrast between region colors and greater visibility (and a few small corrections). It should now be fully legible in-article, which makes printing the guide much simpler. Is this an improvement? Thoughts? --Peter Talk 20:15, 31 March 2009 (EDT)

I think so. LtPowers 18:58, 13 April 2009 (EDT)

Travel advisories - swine flu[edit]

The Australian government is currently warning travellers to the United States to practice Respiratory Etiquette. It seems they have been reading the Wikitravel respect sections for ideas.. --Inas 20:26, 29 April 2009 (EDT)

More seriously, some kind of warning is probably appropriate. I suggest something like:
Travel Warning WARNING: There has been an outbreak of swine flu in several parts of the United States. Take appropriate precautions if considering travel to affected areas

Anybody see any issues with that? --Inas 02:11, 30 April 2009 (EDT)

I agree, some kind of precaution needs to be posted on the main page about those who are planning on traveling to the United States.

Meh. It's a situation to keep an eye on at this point, but with zero deaths for people who have not gone to Mexico, we're not there yet. The concern is that, based on the Mexican cases, this could be the type of flu which leads to pandemic. Mysteriously, the US cases do not show the troubling signs that would make one worry about pandemic. So let's wait until an EU government actually says something, rather than just one EU health minister proffering her own opinion without bothering to use the normal science-based decision making process of her own department. -- Colin 02:46, 30 April 2009 (EDT)
Not trying to be sensationalist, or overplay the situation, but this thing is headlines all over the world today, in large font, on front pages of newspapers globally. Warnings about swine flu rate a mention on most countries travel advisories for the United States, although they are not saying to not travel there. It is an issue primarily concerned with travel, and it may well all be a fizzer, but we can't just say nothing can we? I personally would at least think twice before travelling to an affected area.--Inas 02:57, 30 April 2009 (EDT)
I'm kinda okay with your version of the warning on the page. But switch "take appropriate precautions" to something like "wash hands frequently." Now I'm off to bed with my flu-like symptoms one week after meeting several groups of people from Mexico City. -- Colin 03:04, 30 April 2009 (EDT)
Which gets us to where we came in, following the advice of the Australian travel website, advising visitors to the United States to follow Respiratory Etiquette. I guess we could add to that Hygiene.
Travel Warning WARNING: There has been an outbreak of swine flu in several parts of the United States. The effects and spread of the disease are still unclear. Current advice is to follow appropriate respiratory and hygiene etiquette if travelling to affected areas

--Inas 05:25, 30 April 2009 (EDT)

I think the warningbox is a bit ridiculous...there has only been one death (a Mexican infant who had just gotten back from Mex.) and 91 people infected nationwide. That's 91 people in a country of >300million!!! I think this swine flu thing is overblown. Let's put that 1 death & 91 infections into perspective:

  • 47,000 flu deaths annually USA Today;
  • 37, 313 fatalities from traffic accidents nationwide in 2008 NHTSA;
  • 5020 deaths annually from "food-bourne illnesses" CDC

It would be more appropriate to put a warningbox at the top warning not to get in a might get killed! I'm not going to remove the box, but if anyone else agrees with me that this is far overhyped, please do so. AHeneen 11:08, 30 April 2009 (EDT)

Agree with AHeneen, it's almost comical how quickly our media likes to latch on to things like this – cacahuate talk 11:32, 30 April 2009 (EDT)
Agreed. I've removed the warningbox. Also, IMHO Wikitravel doesn't really need to worry about things that are already "headlines all over the world today, in large font, on front pages of newspapers globally"... Jpatokal 12:16, 30 April 2009 (EDT)

Some kind of advisory needs to be posted then. It doesn't need to necessarily go at the top of the page in a warning box, but there should be some mention of it in the "Stay Healthy" section.

Hahaha, I like how once the cases of swine flu in the United States surpassed those in Mexico the warning box was taken off of the Mexican page instead of a warning box on the United States page. You guys are hilarious, but you are more unfair. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs)

I removed it once I noticed that it was there, given the precedent on this page. I find it odd that you claim to care so much about this, and wonder why you are only involved in pushing controversial points of view, rather than contributing travel content to this wiki. --Peter Talk 21:31, 24 May 2009 (EDT)

It's just easy to pick apart your unjust American nationalism. If you can't handle having a warning box on your own page, don't put it on Mexico's page. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs)

I was the one who removed it from the Mexico page. Bah, sometimes I just can't resist getting roped into this silly trolling game... --Peter Talk 22:06, 24 May 2009 (EDT)


Why is there a Burning Man photo in the Respect section, and a Waikiki Beach photo in Contact>By Mail?--Jtesla16 00:38, 1 May 2009 (EDT)

Heh, I think putting Burning Man in the respect section might be a bit tongue-in-cheek, since most of these rules are turned on their head at the event. But the bigger reason is that the principle purpose of photo placement is to break up long chunks of black and white text, which can be rough on the reader's eyes. Of course, it's ideal to also have the pictures match up somewhat with the text to the left, so if you have some good ideas...  ;) --Peter Talk 01:21, 1 May 2009 (EDT)
WineCountryInn was trying to get a photo from each region somewhere in this article. He/she did invite discussion on the photo selection and placement above, but no one ever commented. LtPowers 09:07, 1 May 2009 (EDT)

Latino vs Hispanic[edit]

Maybe I'm just a few laps behind on the euphemism treadmill, but isn't "Hispanic" a more common term than "Latino"? Jpatokal 00:12, 11 May 2009 (EDT)

a) They're not euphemisms. b) "Hispanic" is more common on the East Coast; "Latino" on the West. Wikipedia sez:
The term "Latino" was officially adopted in 1997 by the United States Government in the ethnonym "Hispanic or Latino", which replaced the single term "Hispanic": "Because regional usage of the terms differs -- Hispanic is commonly used in the eastern portion of the United States, whereas Latino is commonly used in the western portion."
The quote is from OMB. --Jonboy 07:47, 11 May 2009 (EDT)
Mmkay, looks like my sample size is biased by living in Nu Yoik for too long... Jpatokal 11:52, 11 May 2009 (EDT)

"Melting Pot" claim[edit]

Remove the part in the introduction where it claims the United States is a "melting pot" country. The United States resembles more of a country of assimilation then a "melting pot." —The preceding comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

Yeah, that's what "melting pot" means. LtPowers 22:07, 24 May 2009 (EDT)

Expedia, priceline, etc.. in Get Around..[edit]

Some reasons to delete this airline consolidator para..

  1. These sites don't offer all flights, exclude some airlines, and often don't have the best prices.. We mention that southwest is the most famous discounter, and then list consolidator sites that don't have southwest fares on them. It is bordering on misleading..
  2. There are hundreds (thousands, millions?) of online agencies that will offer the same service. After all these sites just hook into the booking engines like every other site does.. We can't list them all - this is the inherent problem with listing consolidators..
  3. Our Wikitravel:External links policy discourages links to consolidators and agencies. The philosophy being that people can always easily find an agent if they want an agent, online or otherwise, and Wikitravel exists to put people in direct contact..
  4. The discount flying article, offers the strategies for people wanting to get the best price..
  5. If we want to list airline consolidators as a method of booking, is could just about mentioned it in just about every wikitravel article.
  6. It is hard to maintain a stance against consolidators listing elsewhere, if they are featured in one of our primary articles..

Does anybody see any offsetting benefit? --inas 21:27, 4 June 2009 (EDT)

Sound reasoning on all counts. It should be deleted. Gorilla Jones 21:46, 4 June 2009 (EDT)
Delete – cacahuate talk 22:33, 4 June 2009 (EDT)

American culture: soccer[edit]

Soccer is American culture? Really? Globe-trotter 11:21, 20 August 2009 (EDT)

Not by most standards, no. Nuked (but left in the Major League Soccer bit). Jpatokal 11:38, 20 August 2009 (EDT)
Professional soccer, perhaps not, but youth soccer is extremely popular. I'd say it's reasonable to include it among the other sports, and possibly hockey as well. LtPowers 14:37, 20 August 2009 (EDT)
Any country that calls the sport soccer, doesn't have a proper football culture :) --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 18:25, 20 August 2009 (EDT)
That means nothing-- the word soccer was invented in England as an abbreviation for "association football", used to distinguish the sport from rugby. In the US, it is used to distinguish the sport from American football, big deal. They call it soccer here in Japan too, where it is second only to baseball in popularity.
Anyway, I agree with LtPowers. It is an almost defining part of American youth, so much that the term "soccer mom" has come to represent middle-class motherhood. I'd support throwing hockey in there too. Texugo 23:36, 20 August 2009 (EDT)
This is a travel guide. How much do travelers really need to know about American youth sports? Gorilla Jones 23:53, 20 August 2009 (EDT)
It was meant as a light joke, hence the smiley, but coincidentally MLS and the J-League are the only two artificial football leagues I can think of. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 02:37, 21 August 2009 (EDT)
GJ, they don't need to know a lot about youth sports -- but we're not discussing it in any detail, merely saying that soccer is part of the U.S. culture -- which it is. LtPowers 09:53, 21 August 2009 (EDT)
So's knitting. Let's not turn this into a Wikipedia article. Gorilla Jones 18:48, 21 August 2009 (EDT)
Are you advocating removing that whole sentence, then? LtPowers 19:52, 21 August 2009 (EDT)
I'd be fine with that if it would end this interminable trifling over Jani's commonsense edit. I always feared the day when Wikitravel would be overrun with Wikipedia-style endless debating of every single word, every single change. I certainly didn't think it would come so soon... --Peter Talk 20:02, 21 August 2009 (EDT)
I've removed the whole thing. Travelers who are ambushed by the fact that popular music is a common element of American culture may address their angry post-trip complaints to me. Gorilla Jones 20:13, 21 August 2009 (EDT)

So "edits I agree with" are "commonsense" while "edits I disagree with" are "endless debating of every single word"? At least that's how it seems lately. LtPowers 21:44, 21 August 2009 (EDT)

Seriously, Jani removed one word. --Peter Talk 22:53, 21 August 2009 (EDT)
And I disagreed with it so I contributed to the discussion that was already occurring. Should I have just reverted Jani instead? LtPowers 11:32, 22 August 2009 (EDT)

The MLS-bit is fine, sure. But yeah, I agree with what happened here. I think travellers would mostly come to the US to see basketball, baseball, ice hockey, American football, but not soccer.. Globe-trotter 23:04, 21 August 2009 (EDT)

Agreed. It's not a question of what Americans actually do, it's a question of what's widely considered uniquely American, and the cliche is Mom, baseball and apple pie, not soccer. Jpatokal 02:06, 22 August 2009 (EDT)

Anti-Los Angeles Bias[edit]

So New York offers "world-class cuisine and culture" plus diversity and Los Angeles offers smog, palmtrees and freeways? Los Angeles also has a world-class cuisine, culture and diversity. This website should list individual tourist attractions offered by each city rather than reinforcing demeaning stereotypes.

Not coming from the US, I guess I could fairly venture that the entry is pretty fair and balanced. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 17:37, 11 September 2009 (EDT)

Add a tenth pretty pretty pretty please?[edit]


I know all agreed on 9 cities, but there is a tenth one that I think should be on the list because of its history. Fact of the matter is, Philadelphia deserves a mention because it is actually where the Declaration of Independence was signed and written (by extension it is where the US was born.) It is also important for cultural reasons as it does have quite large collections of art, one Ivy League University, a premier science education and development center that is open to the public (Franklin Institute,) the very first hospital in the US, the first zoo (and first conservation societies) and has appeared in dozens of films (Rocky, Philadelphia, 1776, The Sixth Sense, etc.)It was the nation's first headquarters long before DC was ever built and during colonial times rivaled Dublin in size, something like third largest in the whole Empire. Otherwise it also has something very rare: Philadelphia has preserved more of its colonial era architecture than many other cities, including Boston (which it is slightly bigger than.) Parts of the city have changed little since Ben Franklin walked the streets (there are still parts with cobblestone} and Ben's grave and home are located here. If people are going to get persnickety on me about the location, I would actually argue that it is in the subregion mid-Atlantic (which DC is already in) more than the northeast (it is slightly south of New York City, which I would set up as the border.)

PS-Atlanta I would still put on the list. Miami is a poor representative of the South because it does not have a Southern flavor like Atlanta does: Miami has a decidedly Caribbean taste to it given all of the immigrants from the Caribbean that live there (you won't find a neighborhood marked Little Havana in Atlanta, but you will Miami; and knowing Spanish in Atlanta is useless but in Miami it will get you all sorts of things. The reason why I would put Atlanta on the list is that it is a city in progress of becoming great. Atlanta was the home base of Dr. Martin Luther King and his old church, Ebenezer Baptist, is still there (visitors as always are welcome.) Atlanta was a focal point of the Civil Rights Movement 40 years ago and today it is a city where blacks are doing swimmingly: Atlanta hasn't had a white mayor in eons and blacks make up about half the city's population (if you want to eat soul food, come to Atlanta.) Atlanta is also the birthplace for one of the world's most famous drinks, Coca Cola: the factory for it still stands and they allow tours. (Coca Cola's headquarters are also here.) Atlanta is home to the most prominent colleges for blacks (they were among the first as well,) Morehouse and Spellman (these universities are also well known for their African studies departments.)

—The preceding comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

We already have D.C., New York, and Boston; we really can't justify a fourth BosWash city. Philly gets left out in the cold, I'm afraid. As for Atlanta, it's certainly arguable, but it's not clear that Atlanta is yet a major tourist destination. Everything you mention is good history and business background, but being at the center of the civil rights movement and being the hometown of Coca-Cola just aren't major enough draws to justify removing Miami or New Orleans. LtPowers 09:59, 1 October 2009 (EDT)

General Revisons[edit]

I wanted to make a comment on general revisions being made to this page. When looking at the United States article and articles for other countries, for example Canada, I am puzzled as to how this page is being edited and what information is allowed. How is information that is ok for one country deemed too simplistic or vague for another country? For example, I noticed that someone posted information on Time Zones for the United States, but it was removed as being too simplistic or as a "visitors are idiots" revision. How is that not allowed for the United States article, but is ok for the Canada article where the same information exists? Isn't that a bit hypocritical? I'm not trying to stir up trouble, but come on. If the article gets too vague it will be useless to people trying to visit the US. I know this article is long, but it seems the more detailed information that can be provided the better the article will be. If people come here and make revisions and they are automatically deleted or deemed pointless, then it will turn them away from using this article and the site in general. Just a thought guys. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Asu83 (talkcontribs)

This article gets WAY more edits than most, and at this point the vast majority of those edits are of questionable value - see the archived talk pages above for discussions about edits that added such useful advice as "don't swear around children" or "don't make fun of 9/11". In the interest of keeping this article useful for travelers to the US, edits that add information that is either blatantly obvious or that applies elsewhere tend to get quickly reverted. At this point, most editors will ask "does that edit clearly make the article better", and if the answer is no it will generally either be re-written or removed. For less popular articles this isn't a big issue, but when an article is as mature as this one it actually becomes a lot of work to keep it readable and useful.
I would agree that the time zone info you cited from the previous edits might be valuable, but most of the other recent edits fell into the "blatantly obvious" category which is most likely why they were reverted en masse. -- Ryan • (talk) • 16:45, 10 October 2009 (EDT)



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