America is a pretty stunning country. The nearly ten million kilometres squared boasts forests, deserts, mountains and bustling metropolises filled with top restaurants, luxury hotels and world-class entertainment. That said, and to appropriate a Trump quote, “let's talk about the real issues facing the United States of America.” There seems to be a prevailing theme amongst travellers – where to go to avoid Trump supporters? We’re here to assist travellers the world over to make the most of America without having their holidays ruined by rhetoric.
Politics are a no-go zone, even in the best of company, but being surrounded by those who are still fanatically devoted to the nation’s Embarassment-in-Chief on your downtime is not ok. We’ve cross-referenced multiple 2016 Presidential Election Maps and checked in with a healthy dose of our favourite people, editors and contributors across the pond to keep your next holiday to The States in the blue.
*List is in the order as if you’re looking at a map of America – start top left, work your way down, then to the right and back up.
Will it ever shake its renowned reputation of being the city of Nirvana and Kurt Cobain? Probably not. After you’ve made a pilgrimage to his last place of residence, your next focus should be food. Its northwestern positioning and extreme proximity to the sea makes Seattle a seafood dreamland. Go to Pike Place Fish Market to get stuck into the live action of seafood sales, and scout out Matt's in the Market (upstairs) for fresh creations and top wine pairing. You can also walk up the hill on East Pike Street and wander around. A cluster of taverns, bistros and burger joints awaits.
Seattle, photograph by Ian Sane
The Fremont neighbourhood is a vital visit when in Seattle. Set just off the water, it’s its own charming enclave with its own unique vibe. Go on a Sunday to tack the Fremont Sunday Market into your trip, then take to the streets to flick through vinyl records, sift through vintage objet d'art in its many vintage shops and then go to The Back Door for cocktails. There is an expansive list made up of seasonal concoctions, mainstays and classics, but the obvious choice is a Ryan Gosling –a blend of Old Overholt rye, Goslings Rum, crème de cassis, grapefruit, honey and lemon, finished with a splash of bubbles.
A building in Seattle's Fremont neighbourhood by Tracer14
Sushi is a must in Seattle; take an Uber to Madison Park and eat at Nishino (a culinary secret of those in the know). Filled with art and very relaxed, head chef Tatsu Nishino works some serious magic with raw fish. Make your visit easy and opt for the omakase menu.
There’s an undercurrent of strangeness and electricity to Portland, unlike any other city in America. Known for its vicinity to outdoor recreation, you can hike old-growth forests filled with looming hemlocks and red cedars, get lost in the mist of a towering waterfall or take on the rapids, rafting the White Salmon River. If pavements are more your speed, walking around Portland provides no shortage of entertainment; there is always something going on. Live music in the city squares and a hopping (and insanely hip) restaurant scene can keep you busy for hours. Some of the most unique bars and coffee houses sit in the city and in July there’s the Portland Craft Beer Festival that features more than just malted barley and hops – over sixty breweries, cideries, and wineries sample their liquid arts.
‘Keep Portland Weird' – a campaign supporting local businesses, photographed by Sue Kellerman
Do not leave Portland without doing something strange (‘When in…’). The Vacuum Cleaner Museum, Casa Diablo Vegan Strip Club and (the original) Voodoo Doughnut might be the weirdest. Maybe even get hitched? Alongside a selection of highly inventive doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnut (the Voodoo Doll is coated in chocolate with raspberry jam and a tiny pretzel stick staked through its torso), you can also get married, with one of the owners officiating the ceremony.
Voodoo Doughnuts, photographed by Ian Sane
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles voted overwhelmingly democratic, so it’s a fairly safe ratio. LA can make for an ideal sun-drenched holiday – if you know where to go. Avoid the tourist route (Hollywood Walk of Fame, TCL Grauman's Chinese Theatre) and instead, check out The Broad museum for refuge in the contemporary or head to the 27th floor of City Hall to take in sweeping views of the city.
The Broad, photographed by Andreas Krenz
Although it can get touristy, make your way west to Venice Beach and stroll the Venice Boardwalk and Santa Monica. Get there early to mark your spot on the bustling beach, or just take in the laidback vibes of the boardwalk – dotted amongst the grittier shops are upscale eateries, swanky cocktail bars and bohemian food emporiums.
The Gold Coast Red Dress Party, courtesy of Naomi Grossman's Instagram
Depending on your travel dates, one of our favourite actors, Naomi Grossman suggests hitting RuPaul's DragCon or the Gold Coast Red Dress Party (with roots in HIV activism) and the West Hollywood Pride Parade. She also says, “pretty much anywhere in LA is good. Scroll through my Instagram. Anywhere I go, or post about, has been vetted, and is void of Trumpsters. I think there may be about ten Trump supporters here [Los Angeles], total.” Ten out over four million makes for good odds indeed.
The Mass Ascension at the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival, photograph courtesy Kayak the Rockies
Albuquerque & Santa Fe, New Mexico
If you can time your holiday to Albuquerque to fall in with the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival, you won’t regret it. It’s pure magic. Hundreds of hot air balloons float above the city each October over a nine-day celebration that includes music, laser light shows and more. Once you’ve satiated your hot-air fix, head to in Santa Fe, where many a celebrity has staked claim to a sprawling ranch or a more urban-centric adobe mansion. A rampant arts community is propped up by dozens of galleries, museums and Native American craft markets.
The architecture alone is worth the visit. From low-to-ground pueblo dwellings to Greek Revival and the very on-trend Western meets opulence Territorial, Santa Fe is a design buff’s southwestern paradise. Catch a performance at The Santa Fe Opera, or just take in the modern structure, whose latest and breath-taking iteration was architected by Polshek and Partners (now Ennead Architects). The firm’s other works include the Shanghai Planetarium, the Asheville Art Museum and The New York Times Printing Plant.
The Santa Fe Opera, photograph courtesy of Ennead Architects
Punctuated by five-star hotels and global fashion behemoths like Louis Vuitton, DIOR, Gucci, Prada, Ermenegildo Zegna and Moncler, this small mountainside village is a fishbowl for people watching. A winter escape for Hollywood A-listers, Aspen holds its own film festival annually in October. No prizes are awarded. It's simply a celebration of moving picture, screening independent films, autumn previews and documentaries.
Aspen's Moncler, photograph by A Wee
Stay for the snow and join in the fun for Gay Ski Week, which is what got Aspen on the list for Best of GAYCITIES 2016 Winter Wonderland. Powder and sunshine makes skiing in Aspen nearly unrivalled and your ticket will gain you access to neighbouring mountain, Snowmass, which has a snow park for the boarders amongst you. And the après-ski? You’ll have to experience it for yourself. Our editor-in-chief, Courtney Blackman, who was born in Colorado says, “The best restaurant is Sundeck, on Aspen Mountain. It's still ‘ski lodge-style', but the food is five-star, courtesy of The Little Nell hotel. Take the Silver Queen Gondola up, order a stir-fry and relax in the sunshine surrounded by snowy mountains.” What's Courtney's top tip? “Double check the offspring of Trump’s travel schedule to coordinate your stay so that you’re not there the week that Ivanka, Don Jr. and Eric go to Aspen.”
Aspen Art Museum, photograph by Calvin Seibert
Explore work from local artists at The Red Brick Center and world-class, contemporary art at the Aspen Art Museum.
Austin is the capital city of America’s second largest state. Although Texas is glaringly red, Austin is a welcome dot of blue in the expansive sea of Republican-ness. Head there in March when it’s South by Southwest (SXSW) – perhaps one of the world’s coolest conferences and festivals where film, music and the interactive intersect. Austin is also the universal hub of food trucks. From Tex-Mex to good ol’ Southern BBQ to Cajun, you can taste every cuisine imaginable via the city’s mobile eating network.
Austin wall art, photograph by Jeremy Keith
With over twenty-five galleries and museums, you could fill your schedule with the art alone. Notable stops should be taken at The Contemporary Austin, a two-locale operation that focuses on multi-disciplinary exhibits and events; the Modern Rocks gallery, which houses a huge collection of music photography and grayDUCK in East Austin, a contemporary art gallery that puts everyday life at the centre of experiential creativity. Cap off a night with a stroll down 6th Street for live music and an unfathomable choice of bars.
The Jones Center at The Contemporary Austin, photograph by Robert Saucier
Barack Obama, the man the world wishes was still in America’s top job, was the state senator for Illinois, and Chicago is one hell of a city – especially in the summer. There is an abundance of hip neighbourhoods, inventive food, a thriving street art scene and lots of music, buts it’s the architecture and Midwestern skyline that draw people to the city.
Chicago, photograph by Christopher Candela
Chicago is home to over thirty museums that concentrate on design, science and industry, photography, stained glass, history and the cosmos and it’s also brilliant for shopping. Head to the enclave of Bucktown and shop Rick Owens, Walter van Beirendonck, Isaac Sellam and Lost & Found at Robin Richman. Our Chicago-based Fashion & Entertainment Editor, Jeff Conway says, “I would suggest The Signature Room in the John Hancock building. Cafe Ba Ba Reeba is a great tapas spot in Lincoln Park.”
Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art, photograph by Steve Silverman
Jeff also recommends the Lollapalooza music festival (annually in August) in Grant Park. “It’s super-liberal, youthful and fun-loving…everything our temporary President is not. Also, Untitled is a newly-created speakeasy that feels super old school in the River North neighbourhood; even their entrance is barely noticeable from the street, purposefully. They have live musical acts playing tunes from the Roaring '30s and there is sometimes burlesque and other whimsical acts. [It] brings you back to a happier time, before last November's bone-chilling election [laughs].”
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is a craft brew aficionado’s dream and actually has more breweries per capita than any other American city. Not a beer person? You can also enjoy locally-made cider, kombucha, mead, sake and wine. Surrounded by mountains (with plenty of exploratory options), the relaxed town is as original as an America town can get without a high street store in sight. Your feet are your best mode of transportation; mosey around the streets to listen to live music, pop into antique stores and explore Asheville’s history museum at your own pace – it’s outside, dotted along the streets. Thirty stops are demarcated by a piece of art and a bronze plaque explaining the cultural and architectural significance. Sidestep the history tour and stop at French Broad Chocolates. Sample everything you can; you won’t be disappointed.
Ashville's Blue Ridge Pride Festival, photograph courtesy of Blue Ridge Pride
Much to Vice President, Mike Pence’s chagrin, Asheville has one of the country’s largest (again, per capita) LGBTQ communities. O Henry’s is one of the oldest gay bars in North Carolina and, for planning, Asheville's Blue Ridge Pride Festival takes place annually on the first Saturday of October.
Once you’ve mastered the downtown quadrant, make your way to the architecturally and historically important Biltmore Estate to explore the incredible Châteauesque mansion built by George Washington Vanderbilt II in the late 1800s, and its adjacent gardens. Last but definitely not least, do not miss the River Arts District, which is probably the coolest part of Asheville. An extensive collection of individual art studios have taken up residence in a series of decommissioned factories and industrial warehouses. Once you have visited the over twenty studios and met all of the artists, stop at 12 Bones Smokehouse on the way out for some classic BBQ – a proclaimed favourite of the Obamas.
Asheville's River Arts District, photograph by Randy Roberts 12 Bones, photograph by Woodley Wonderworks
New York City, New York
Trump may have his own tower on Fifth Avenue, but the people of NYC collectively said ‘not my president’ on the 8th of November 2016. Needless to say, avoid Fifth Avenue. Instead, go anywhere; New York City is a skyscraper-filled landscape of non-stop activity. Our favourite haunts are aggregated around Soho and Tribeca. For weekend brunch, go to the Cupping Room Cafe – a neighbourhood restaurant since the late ‘70s. It’s a go-to for artists, actors and locals who can’t resist Orren’s Benedict Bar or the Stuffed French Toast, washed down with a Mimosa.
New York's Cupping Room Cafe, photograph by PICCHU
Go off-piste and head to another borough, one that isn’t Manhattan. Red Hook in Brooklyn isn’t the easiest place to get to, but your rewards will be great. Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies on Van Dyke Street, Red Hook Lobster Pound on Van Brunt and Cacao Prieto on Conover Street will keep your taste buds in check. Zigzag around to chance upon antique stores, textile shops, home furnishing specialists and a myriad of art spaces.
Art by Shu Ohno at Usagi in DUMBO. Timelapse by Pratya Jankong.
While in Brooklyn, delve into DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). On the first Thursday of every month, galleries stay open late and on Sundays there’s a sprawling (seasonal) flea market with over eighty vendors.
The DUMBO Flea Market, photograph by Alex K
Vermont is home to the antithesis of Donald Trump in every way: Bernie Sanders – state senator and former contender for the Democratic nomination. Burlington, which is a vibrant university town sat on the bank of Lake Champlain, is a town for foodies, hippies and fans of art. The Church Street Marketplace (Burlington’s main vein) is a pedestrian-only high street lined with some of the city’s best restaurants, shops and galleries. Burlington City Arts is a modern, conceptual venture showing exhibitions focused around global warming, memory and the rural landscape.
Frog Hollow has a curation of traditional and contemporary Vermont craft and it’s hard to leave without at least one piece of pottery. Carry on toward the church at the end of the street and treat yourself to an ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s – a Vermont-born creamery with legendary status. Backtrack to Lake Champlain Chocolates and get a takeaway box filled with salted caramels and pecan clusters. Veer off onto Winooski Avenue and hit Pure Pop, the decades-old independent record store overflowing with hard-to-find vinyl.
Pure Pop in Burlington, photograph by Rob Friesel ‘If I were President…' community contribution outside of Penny Cluse in Burlington, photograph by Amanda Rutter
Penny Cluse is the place to go for breakfast or lunch (queues apply), Trattoria Delia has the best Italian food for dinner, don’t miss a trip to Muddy Waters for a coffee – it feels like you’ve wandered into a hobbit’s den, and stroll around the farmer’s market (every Saturday from May – October) in City Hall Park to try a selection of Vermont’s finest: cheeses, baked goods, seasonal fruits and veg, kefir, honey, maple syrup and distilled liquors.
Burlington's ‘Democracy' sculpture by W.F. Herrick in Courthouse Plaza, photograph by Robert Magina
If in doubt, head north to Canada or south to Mexico – ‘the wall’ is not up yet.
There are still a few print copies left of The Art Issue, which features Art of a Demagogue – five pages dedicated to the best anti-Trump art from top artists from around the world, and so much more. Get your print copy or download the digital version.