America is a land of hobbies, extra-curricular activities, weekend ball games, unofficial national holidays for sports events… Basically, it’s a country that takes its well-loved pastimes very seriously. Part of the American Dream is to play as hard as you work, develop yourself outside of the curriculum, and enjoy life to the fullest. With this in mind, you will not be surprised to discover that the USA has a great many favourite interests, ranging from sport to entertainment to exploring the natural beauty of the country itself. Whether you journey through the blistering heat of Death Valley or the freezing cold of Denali National Park, you’ll find love for these typical American hobbies all over the country.
Famously dubbed the Great American Pastime, baseball is watched and followed by millions of Americans every year. It is arguably the most popular sport in the country, and even though the Super Bowl might hit the highest TV ratings, baseball receives a constant, slow-burning support all year round. It’s a matter of national pride for most, and almost a religion for many.
Major League Baseball is the highest tier of play in the USA, and attracts the biggest names, the most brilliant games and the largest crowds. The New York Yankees, L.A. Dodgers and Boston Red Sox are amongst the most successful baseball teams today, but it’s the names of legendary players like Babe Ruth and Willie Mays that keep the romance of the game alive for many people. They left a lot to live up to!
The Las Vegas Strip epitomizes a certain facet of America with its bright flashing lights, glitz and glamour. Here is where you can watch superstars perform and walk in the footsteps of the greats like Elvis Presley and the Rat Pack. One of the biggest attractions, beyond the shows, is the casinos in Vegas. Home to the Venetian, the Bellagio, the MGM Grand and other well-known names, it’s the ultimate casino destination in the country, if not the world.
Whilst you can visit other cities around the US – Atlantic City, Chicago, St. Louis – to enjoy the tables, times have moved along since the casinos first came to town. Just as you’d naturally turn to Hulu to view the latest TV series and news, you can now access all the fun of games online too at sites like PokerStarsCasino or Poki. Entertainment has truly entered the digital age, with apps and streaming services catering to your every whim, so it’s certainly been a case of moving with the times for this favourite American leisure activity.
Technically, watching television is actually the number one favourite thing for Americans to do with their spare time. This is no surprise, considering that the biggest TV industries in the world are at home in the US and millions of dollars can be spent producing just one episode of a network drama.
Super popular shows like Game of Thrones and The Big Bang Theory can draw millions of viewers, though the way that they watch their favourite programmes is changing. With the development of streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, studios are having to rethink how they produce shows for their discerning audiences. As viewing numbers for traditional methods of broadcast continue to decline, we enter a new era of online television that puts the audience in the driving seat.
Hollywood and all that it entails is still a source of fascination for America and people from all over the world. Whilst the traditional way of doing things is dying out, new initiatives like 3D technology, remasters of old classics and IMAX broadcasts are introducing a whole new generation to the magic of cinema.
Recent years have seen a new Hollywood elite emerge, and they seem to be brighter, savvier and more inclusive than any set before them. Whilst there is still a tendency to hark back to the golden era of the silver screen, the development of CGI technology has enabled film makers to realise even the most far-fetched visions on screen. The popularity of the Marvel universe reboot movies and other modern blockbusters, like the new titles from the Star Wars universe, are testament to its success.
The Great Outdoors
It’s hard to beat a walk through nature for a relaxing pastime – and America has such a wealth of outdoor beauty to choose from. National parks like Yosemite, Yellowstone and Zion offer breathtaking landscapes to explore, whereas natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls have to be seen to be believed.
But it doesn’t all necessarily have to be grand and expansive scenery; everyday American is full of charm too. New York’s Central Park is beautiful at any time of the year, and Griffith Park in L.A. offers a welcome respite from Tinsel Town’s hustle and bustle. Some of the city’s most famous residents are known to frequent these dusty hills, which provides extra inventive to get out there for a Sunday afternoon hike.