In many ways, these streets are destinations all on their own. Without stopping for blues and barbecue on Beale Street, you would not truly have visited Memphis. Similarly, you can’t see Washington, D.C.’s most famous sites without a trip down Pennsylvania Avenue. From Hollywood Boulevard to Broadway, the eight iconic streets on this list are worth strolling.
New York, New York
Manhattan is home to many iconic thoroughfares, from Wall Street to Fifth Avenue, but none is arguably as famous as Broadway (pictured above). It’s home to the world famous theater district of the same name, as well as Times Square. Additionally, it has served as the route for some of history’s most famous ticker-tape parades through what is dubbed the Canyon of Heroes. Broadway runs the entire length of Manhattan and beyond and has been around since New York was only a settlement, which makes it the oldest north-to-south street in city. Countless iconic buildings have Broadway addresses, including lower Manhattan’s historic Trinity Church.
Photo by Kim Eriksson, CC BY 2.0
Known as America’s Main Street, Pennsylvania Avenue is the most politically and culturally relevant routes in the country. With the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, it’s also home to the most famous address in the country. You’ll also find the U.S. Capitol, J. Edgar Hoover Building (F.B.I. headquarters), the Treasury Building and the World Bank along this nearly six-mile avenue. The Newseum, a museum dedicated to news, as well as The George Washington University campus are also found along this registered National Historic Site.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Photo by Kevin O’Mara, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
New Orleans’ most famous thoroughfare, Bourbon Street (or Rue Bourbon), is located in the city’s equally as famous French Quarter. While the street likely elicits images of the infamous and rowdy Mardi Gras celebration, the street has far more to offer than beads. A hotspot for Creole cuisine, live jazz and plenty of drinking, Bourbon Street is home to some of New Orleans’ most iconic establishments. Don’t miss a meal of French Creole classics like shrimp Clemenceau and duck and andouille gumbo at Galatoire’s Restaurant. First opening its doors in 1905, the restaurant is one of New Orleans’ oldest and most popular establishments. While the bars that line the 13-block Bourbon Street are numerous, The Old Absinthe House is a must-visit. Since the late 1800s this saloon has been serving absinthe-inspired drinks.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo by Mike Fard, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Known simply as the Strip, Las Vegas Boulevard is the stretch of Sin City where you’ll find the greatest concentration of hotels, casinos and shows. Cruising the boulevard, whether by car or foot, should not be missed after dark when glowing neon signs illuminate the way. There’s little you could want to do and see in Vegas that would require you to leave the Strip. It’s home to the Bellagio, Luxor, MGM Grand and pretty much every major hotel in the city, as well as restaurants like Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower’s award-winning and rotating Top of the World restaurant that sits 800 feet above the Strip.
Photo by Jonathan, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
There’s more to Chicago’s Michigan Avenue than the Magnificent Mile, which refers to the upscale shopping section of the avenue that runs between the Chicago River and Oak Street. This major north-to-south stretch of road is home to some of the city’s best attractions, including Grant Park with its Buckingham Fountain and Millennium Park and the famous Cloud Gate (the Bean). The Art Institute of Chicago and John Hancock Center with its 360-degree observatory also have Michigan Avenue addresses. Iconic landmarks, new and old, can also be found here, including the Chicago Water Tower, Tribune Building, Wrigley Building and Trump Hotel. If you’re visiting around the winter holiday season, be sure to catch the Lights Festival, dubbed the nation’s largest evening holiday celebration. In the weeks that follow, the trees along Michigan Avenue remain draped in lights.
Photo by Thomas Hawk, CC BY-NC 2.0
In the city famous for its barbecue and namesake blues music, there’s no better place to experience both than on Beale Street. Don’t miss dinner at Blues City Cafe the Best Meal on Beale combo, a half-rack of ribs and catfish fillet, will give you a true taste of Memphis. After the sun sets, walk under the neon signs and let your ears guide you. For obvious reasons, B.B. King’s Blues Club and Mr. Handy’s Blues Hall, a classic juke joint, are itinerary essentials.
San Francisco, California
Photo by jimsideas, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Considered the most crooked road in the world, Lombard Street is famous for the 600-foot stretch of red brick that challenges drivers to eight hairpin turns at a 27-percent grade. If you plan to test your behind-the-wheel skills on this block, get in line. A reported 350 cars zigzag down this one-way section every hour on busy days. If white knuckles aren’t what you’re longing for, plenty line up at the bottom of the block to watch others attempt the drive. Alternatively, catch a ride to the top via the Powell-Hyde cable car and walk down at your own pace.
Los Angeles, California
Photo by Neil Kremer, CC BY-ND 2.0
Touristy, sure, but Hollywood Boulevard is both a landmark and an important piece of Los Angeles’ culture history. No trip to the city, especially for television and film buffs, would be complete without paying your respects to the more than 2,500 stars that are permanently placed in the sidewalk squares of this boulevard’s Walk of Fame or without grabbing an obligatory photo of the Hollywood sign (visible from here) and in front of the iconic Mann’s Chinese Theater (now, TLC Chinese Theater). Plan your trip around a major movie premier and you might catch a glimpse of your favorite actor or actress. Otherwise, for guaranteed celebrity-spotting head to Madame Tussauds wax museum. It’s kitschy, but it’s also a classic.
?Top Photo: Joey Lax-Salinas, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Paste Travel’s Bucket List columnist Lauren Kilberg is a Chicago-based freelance writer. Her travels have found her camping near the Pakistani border of India and conquering volcanoes in the Philippines.