Essential Souvenir Shopping in the USA
Whether you’re ticking off states on a classic American road trip, or jetting to North America in style, every tourist leaves the USA with full suitcases and fuller stomachs. Next time you travel to the States consider spending your last dollars on our alternative souvenir suggestions, which are appealing than your average star spangled t-shirt.
What to avoid: Dancing hula girl figurines
The movements of an authentic hula dancer are not exactly reflected by wiggling dashboard dolls.
What to get instead: Koa wood ukulele
Koa wood has been traditionally used in every aspect of early Hawaiian life, and has since maintained its status as one of the finest textured woods in the world. Whilst any koa wood item would be a worthy purchase, if you really want to bring home the sounds of the island state, you should buy a Koa wood ukulele.
Food item: Li-Hing Mui
Even though this pickled-plum-flavoured powder originated in China, Hawaiians quickly adopted the sour topping, and have since used it to add an unexpected kick to their favourite sweet treats. We recommend picking up a bag from OnePops and experimenting with popcorn, fresh fruit, or cocktails, for a sweet-sour combination and a new perspective on classic snacks.
Las Vegas, Nevada
What to avoid: Dice
We think that fuzzy pink dice should also stay in Vegas.
What to get instead: a Light bulb
Many visitors claim that the only part of their trip that they can remember is the bright lights of the ‘welcome to Las Vegas’ sign. If you want to prove that you survived Vegas we recommend purchasing one of the bulbs that has previously illuminated the renowned sign. Complete with a certificate of authenticity and a complimentary poker chip.
Food item: Jean-Philippe’s Gift Baskets
Whether you have the privilege of staying at the Bellagio or not, no trip to Vegas is complete without a visit to their world-class patisserie, headed up by double World Pastry Champion Jean-Philippe Maury. We recommend purchasing one of his luxury gift baskets, so you can take home a variety of award-winning chocolates, pastries, and biscuits to savour.
Los Angeles, California
What to avoid: Personalised ‘stars of fame’
These replicas would only make it to the C-List of souvenirs.
What to get instead: Earth Tu Face products
If you want to blend in with the clear-skinned sun-kissed locals we recommend browsing through the Earth Tu facial products range. Earth Tu is a Californian based brand specialising in botanically based facial products, designed to increase cellular regeneration and facilitate tissue repair – which will help you to maintain your Californian glow even after your trip has ended.
Food item: Smoothies from The Punchbowl
In the ‘City of Angels’ it’s all about maintaining the healthiest lifestyle, which you can get a taste of at The Punchbowl. Their smoothies and juices are made using only 100% raw, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, organic ingredients, that will make you feel as fit as the Californian beauties on Muscle Beach (without the need to sweat in the LA sun).
New Orleans, Louisiana
What to avoid: Masks, beads and joker hats
You’ll look like the Mardi Gras fool if you wear them outside of the carnival.
What to get instead: Cap from Meyer The Hatter
If you really want to feel like a local from the Big Easy, pick up a custom measured cap fit for a jazz concert from Meyer The Hatter. Steeped in history, the hatter is renowned for its high quality caps, and attentive measuring service from 93 year old owner Sam Meyer, as well as his sons and grandsons.
Food item: Muriel’s Hot Sauce
Nestled in the French Quarter, Muriel’s Jackson Square is renowned for its classic New Orleans cuisine, including gumbo, crab meat, and barbeque shrimp, which are smothered in their delicious own-brand sauce. For spice fans who want to take home a taste of the Louisiana heat, we dare you to take home a bottle of Muriel’s Hot Sauce, which will make any meal sizzle.
New York City, New York
What to avoid: Yellow cab figurines
We still don’t know why anyone would want to take the memory the inner city traffic home.
What to get instead: Love Framed Print from MoMA
One of the most famous sights in New York is Robert Indiana’s ‘LOVE’ sculpture(1958), sitting on the corner of Sixth Avenue at 55th Street. If you really want to express your love for New York, you have to purchase a stylish framed print of Indiana’s ‘Love’ (1964), which is available from the MoMA (The Museum of Metropolitan Art) shop.
Food item: Andrew’s Honey
Lovers of local produce need to pick up an artisanal jar of Andrew’s Honey – which even labels the name of the neighbourhood it was collected from. Whether you pick up a Central Park, Queens, or Harlem you can eat generous spoonful of the unprocessed honey knowing that it is both good for you and the local beekeeping colonies that Andrew’s supports.
What to avoid: A lawn flamingo
Somehow it doesn’t have the same impact on your patio.
What to get instead: Flight Jackets from Kennedy Space Centre
For anyone with an interest in the great expanse of space, we recommend picking up an exclusive flight jacket from the Kennedy Space Centre. Complete with functional pockets, extra layers of insulation, and three exclusive N.A.S.A patches, this jacket is designed to survive a space race (or at least make you look like you’ve come back from your latest mission).
Food item: Florida Sunshine Spice Blend
Inspired by the flavours of the ‘sunshine state’, the Florida Sunshine Spice Blend is a popular combination of spices that can be found across Florida. The Spice & Tea Exchange created the seasoning using an assorted blend of Atlantic sea salt, peppercorns, rose petals, and citrus flavours, which is bound to brighten up your snacks, salads, and fish dishes.
What to avoid: Cactus related products
These momentos are as dry as the desert they were inspired by.
What to get instead: Leather products from Lifetime Leather Co.
As a state noted for its production of livestock, Arizona is renowned for its hand-crafted, authentic American leather goods. We recommend a visit to Lifetime Leather Co’s Phoenix location, as it boasts an abundance of high-quality leather pieces, which are guaranteed to last the test of time.
Food item: Medjool Dates
In spite of their origins in Saharan Africa, the Medjool dates have quickly become coveted treasures on the local Arizonan market scene, as they are widely produced in state’s south western arid plains. Medjool dates are a popular variety of the succulent fruit because of their large size and caramel-like flavour, which make them a perfect alternative for chocolates.
What to avoid: Replicas of the Space Needle
This towering icon should be left in the Seattle skyline.
What to get instead: Hand blown glass
Scattered around the metropolitan centre of Seattle, you can find a variety of glass blowing studios, specialising in the production of unique, handcrafted glass art. Whilst they require more care when you pack your purchase in your case, the extra effort is worth it in order to take home a beautiful piece of Seattle’s artistic culture.
Food item: Fran’s Chocolates
Rumour has it that former President Obama fell in love with the salty-sweet taste of Fran’s Chocolates, which are exclusively found in the Seattle area. To have a taste of the treats that motivated Obama on his presidential path to victory, pick up a box of smoked salt caramels for your own tasty travel snack.
What to avoid: Cowboy boots
Are you honestly going to a hoedown when you get back home?
What to get instead: Vinyl records
In recent years Texas has seen the surprising resurgence of record stores, specialising in vinyl sales of country classics. If you want to support the rise of record stores, take home a stylish physical copy of the sounds of Tennessee, which is still considered to be the beating heart of country music.
Food item: Smokey Mountain Whisky Glaze
No state does barbeques like Texas – and if you want to recreate the rich flavours of the south after returning home you simply have to pick up a bottle of Smokey Mountain Whisky Glaze. Your ribs, chicken, and burgers will sizzle with the sweet-smokey flavours of the glaze, which is enhanced by the added kick of locally produced whisky.
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