Where to Find the Best Views in the US
Natural wonders, skyscrapers, and the most famous letters in the world.
What makes an excellent view? For some people it’s about how they get there, and hiking up the side of a mountain is always going to be more satisfying for them than simply taking a lift to the summit; for some people, it’s all about looking out over an iconic skyline or a bucket-list destination, somewhere you’ve seen in a million photographs; and for some it’s just about being really, really high up. Whether you’re looking for a picture-perfect reward after a challenging journey or just a background for your new profile picture, Plum has found the best views in the US for you to discover. And because we’re Plum Guide, we haven’t just sourced top-tier views, we’ve also found the very best homes for you to stay in while you travel – some of which even have views of their own. How’s that for a two for one?
Grand Canyon in Arizona
It’s probably the most famous National Park in the world, and though we do try to see past the hype with these sorts of things we have to admit that the Grand Canyon is worthy of joining the list of best views in the US. Most people head to the south rim, which gives the most impressive and recognisable views, allowing visitors to look right down into the heart of the canyon. However, the west rim has also seen a boom in tourism in recent years, mainly due to the Skywalk. Part of the Hualapai Tribal Lands rather than the national park, this glass-bottomed path juts 70 metres over the edge of the canyon, leaving you suspended in the air for a vertigo-inducing, once-in-a-lifetime experience. After that kind of adrenaline rush, you’ll be looking forward to a quiet evening at home – the canyon area itself tends to be quite touristy, so we suggest heading towards Phoenix to rest up in one of Plum’s luxurious homes and steady your nerves with a strong cocktail and an early night. It’s not every day you visit one of the seven natural wonders of the world, after all.
New York skyline in Brooklyn
You’ll probably feel like you’ve seen this view already. The setting of countless movies and TV shows, New York’s skyline is as iconic as they come, and it seems like every building and every street offers a new angle on the city. But don’t be tempted to head to some soulless rooftop bar or restaurant just for the view – sometimes the view is as much about where you are as it is about what you can see. Head to the High Line, a former railway track which has been transformed into a linear garden above the city, to discover an oasis of calm with views over Manhattan; or take a boat tour out to the Statue of Liberty, to experience the view that would have greeted the immigrants arriving to America (with a couple of added skyscrapers, of course). However, we think the best view of the city is from Brooklyn Bridge – Manhattan is laid out before you like a paper map, and if you go just as night falls you can see the whole of New York light up in the darkness. We know you’ll also want to appreciate that kind of view from the comfort of your own home as well, which is why so many of our Plum homes in Brooklyn (including the minimalist Bright Clouds) make the most of it with huge windows and private rooftops.
The Hollywood sign from LA
Los Angeles is synonymous with the American Dream, and nowhere have more dreams been born and built than in Hollywood. Plenty of stars have headed off to these hills to make their fortune, and now you’re going to join them in search of one of the best views in the US. Built in 1923 (and originally reading Hollywoodland) the Hollywood sign is possibly the most American view imaginable. All the hopes, dreams, and history of the world’s most glamorous industry are represented by these little letters – well, not quite so little, as each one stands almost 14 metres tall. You can no longer walk right up to the letters due to vandalism (boo) but you can check it from Griffith Observatory or the surrounding hiking trails. Or, if you stay in Plum’s beautiful home A Sign is Born, you can admire America’s most iconic view from the side of your private pool just like a real movie star.
The Rocky Mountains in Aspen
The views in the Rocky Mountains will take your breath away in more ways than one -- with the highest point standing 4,399 metres tall you’ll have to get used to the altitude before you do any sightseeing. Colorado is the home to the most dramatic scenery in the Rockies, including the towering Mount Elbert and numerous ski resorts where you can explore the peaks and slopes yourself. Aspen is the glitziest and most glam of these and with the abundance of award-winning gourmet restaurants and spas here it’s no surprise that this community also has some of the best views in the US. Hike to the Maroon Bells area for a view of the unusual red-tinged peaks (said to be the most photographed mountains in America) or stick closer to home with a walk along the Smuggler Mountain Trail, which will give you incredible views of Aspen Mountain and the municipality itself – perfect for striking a pose in your snowsuit or admiring with a romantic picnic lunch.