12 Destinations of the United States — in Doodles

The United States is a large country with so many places of interest to visit that seeing everything it has to offer in even a lifetime can be virtually impossible — and many people around the world know this great nation through movies, music and postcards…

12 Destinations of the United States — in Doodles

…but if the average American was asked to picture the top travel destinations in his or her mind, what would he or she see?

One hundred Americans were asked to imagine twelve of the most popular travel destinations in the United States and draw the first thing which came into their heads. These guest artists then sketched an icon for each destination in the form of a doodle — and without the use of a search engine for research.

A series of twelve alternative travel posters of doodles has been created which reveals the United States that American citizens carry in their minds and celebrates the best known or most popular destinations in the United States; and this article — which was written by Barbara Davidson from NetCredit — gives more details about them.

I have been given express written permission to use the images and the verbatim text from the aforementioned article in this article. How many landmarks of the United States can you recognize from the doodles in the posters?

1. Alaska

Click on the graphic for an enlarged view. Source: NetCredit.

Tucked away on the far side of western Canada, Alaska is America’s least-visited state. But for those who make the expedition, it is truly the adventure of a lifetime — and one of the most highly-rated destinations in the U.S. Our doodlers have mostly chosen to illustrate the cold weather and snow. Polar bears, igloos and snow-capped mountains dominate our posters. It’s true the wildlife is phenomenal and the landscapes otherworldly, but Alaska has a wide variety of climates and is a beautiful summer visit, too!

2. Austin

Click on the graphic for an enlarged view. Source: NetCredit.

The SXSW festival. Ruggedness. Matthew McConaughey. It’s not easy to draw a picture of some of the things that make Austin, Texas such a popular destination. The preponderance of guitars among our doodles may indicate the celebrated music, film and VR festival that takes over the city every March — or it could be a reference to legendary country singer Willie Nelson, who made the city his adopted home on the strength of its music scene.

3. Chicago

Click on the graphic for an enlarged view. Source: NetCredit.

If you thought Austin was hard to draw, how would you draw Chicago’s famous wind? A few of our guest artists gave it a pretty good try. If the weather isn’t winning you over, other top Chicago attractions include the Chicago Cubs who play at the must-visit Wrigley Field. Everybody’s heard of Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza, but what’s that bean shape that recurs through our poster? None other than Anish Kapoor’s extraordinary Cloud Gate sculpture. You can find it in Millennium Park, on the AT&T Plaza.

4. Florida

Click on the graphic for an enlarged view. Source: NetCredit.

The green of the palm trees and alligators! The pink of the flamingos in Everglades National Park! The orange of the… uh, oranges! Our doodlers have created an exotic explosion of color for their artist impressions of Florida. Some of those oranges have a distinctly ‘cocktail’-look about them, and that’s no surprise since the Sunshine State is renowned for its tropical drinks at places such as Gramps in Miami and Moxie’s in Jacksonville. Just don’t get too close to those ‘gators after you’ve had a drink!

5. Grand Canyon

Click on the graphic for an enlarged view. Source: NetCredit.

The Grand Canyon is most famous for being, well… a big canyon. That means our artists’ doodles are mostly variations on the theme of a 277-mile-long, 18-mile-wide, six-million-year-old gorge. But what variations! When you arrive in Arizona, there’s plenty more to do than sit and stare, since the canyon is the backbone of the awesome Grand Canyon National Park. Hiking, horse trails, swimming in the oasis of Havasu Falls — you name it, there are a million ways to get that Grand Canyon selfie that one of our doodlers (bottom right) dreams of.

6. Hawaii

Click on the graphic for an enlarged view. Source: NetCredit.

Every American has their own fantasy of Hawaii, as these 100 doodles demonstrate. It seems like quite a few of them involve hula dancing and grass skirts. Historically, the hula has been a way for Hawaiians to preserve and celebrate their history and mythology. The Merrie Monarch Festival in springtime is the best moment to see a range of performers and learn about Hawaiian culture through art, crafts and demonstrations.

7. Hollywood

Click on the graphic for an enlarged view. Source: NetCredit.

Lights, camera, action! Hollywood is, of course, best known as the home of the blockbuster movie industry. But if you don’t make it as a star, how can you get up close to the action? As our doodlers reveal, the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Blvd is a glamorous stop-off point, featuring thousands of terrazzo-and-brass stars commemorating cinema’s brightest and best. Plan carefully, and you can even attend an unveiling ceremony. Studio tours reveal the secrets behind the glamor. And for a wider angle, head to Sunset Boulevard for the best view of the Hollywood sign (or make a hike of it).

8. Las Vegas

Click on the graphic for an enlarged view. Source: NetCredit.

The bright lights, poker hands and Elvis impersonators have made Las Vegas one of the most instantly recognizable cities worldwide. But Vegas’ identity as a gambling capital is barely a century old. The first bets were made in the heat of the wild west, and mobsters dominated the scene until the 1960s when super-wealthy developers such as Howard Hughes began to exploit the city’s potential. Today, around 40 million tourists a year visit Vegas knowing that if they don’t strike it lucky, they’ll at least have fun trying.

9. New York City

Click on the graphic for an enlarged view. Source: NetCredit.

If there is one American destination that’s impossible to capture in a single image, it’s the sprawling metropolis of New York City. Our doodlers had a pretty good try. The Statue of Liberty is a true icon of America’s warm welcome towards ‘the tired, the poor, and those huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’ However, it is the skyscrapers and rich street life that keep the Big Apple fresh.

10. Philadelphia

Click on the graphic for an enlarged view. Source: NetCredit.

Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof,” reads the message on the Liberty Bell, Philadelphia’s famously cracked symbol of American freedom. Judging by the number of doodlers who instantly thought to draw the bell, this sentiment is still dear to the hearts of American people. Almost as dear to our hearts (or perhaps stomachs) is the city’s iconic cheesesteak — a long, crusty roll packed with sautéed beef ribeye and melted Cheez Whiz.

11. San Francisco

Click on the graphic for an enlarged view. Source: NetCredit.

San Francisco is all about the Golden Gate Bridge, according to our doodlers. The famous suspension bridge has straddled the Golden Gate strait since 1937 and narrowly avoided being turned into a tidal energy farm in the 1990s. Just as fabulous as the bridge drawings are the colorful representations of the rainbow flag, representing Frisco’s welcoming, diverse LGBTQ+ community.

12. Washington, District of Columbia

Click on the graphic for an enlarged view. Source: NetCredit.

Were we wise to ask 100 randomly chosen Americans to draw what comes to mind when they picture the country’s seat of power? Thankfully yes. We got some truly American symbols, from the Stars and Stripes to the White House. The 555 foot tall Washington Monument was the most common choice. The world’s tallest stone structure is visited by 800,000 people every year, so you need to line up early to get in. But once you get to the top, you can see as far as 20 miles away over the roofs of America’s movers and shakers. Power at last!


Washington Monument

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Although I am an artist and can draw as well as doodle — I used to doodle all the time while I was in school — I prefer to document the destinations which I visit in the form of photographs and videos, as they provide the most accurate records of my visits…

…but the problem is that I take so many photographs that choosing the best from them is very difficult for me — which is why I am slow in posting trip reports and reviews here at The Gate — but even if they are a few years old, I still intend to write those articles.

All photographs ©2007 and ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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