American culture is many things at once. This vast United States has always been a melting pot, an amalgam of cultures from across the globe made into something all its own. Each of the 50 states and their cities contribute something to the culture—think California cool, the creativity of Oregon, the neon lights of Las Vegas, the laid-back charms of Florida, and the cultural powerhouse that is New York City. Whether you’re in Poughkeepsie or Portland, there are many ties that bind. America is a land of resilience and strength, a place of opportunity and pride. It’s also a place like no other in the world.
While there are more than 300 million people in the United States, each with different experiences and memories, there are some values that Americans hold in common. In general, America is a country that values hard work, individualism, freedom, and creativity. Democracy is also important to Americans, as anyone who visits Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Capitol will see first hand. It’s also a place where community matters, from small towns to the biggest cities. If you really want to see American values in action, you could visit any town during festivals and see how people come together. You’ll see a lot of smiling faces, hard-working volunteers, and people who come out to experience the fun.
As one of the newer countries in the world, America’s roots do no go back as deep as countries in Europe or Asia, but many traditions have developed over the two-plus centuries of American history. One of the traditions that binds Americans together happens on the Fourth of July when everyone celebrates the country’s independence. It’s a day filled with picnics and fireworks, a day of community pride. Other traditions involve entertainment, especially going to the movies on the weekend or catching a Broadway show in New York City or one of the traveling productions. Americans love their actors and celebrities, and Hollywood is one of the primary ways American culture is shared with the world. There are other American traditions of course, like a road trip to follow the lure of the open road, wearing blue jeans, and watching sports.
It’s no secret that Americans like to eat, and thanks for the easy availability and productive farms, it’s not hard ensure that citizens and visitors alike have their fill. The American heartland, places like Illinois and Nebraska, produce many of the crops that feed the world. When it comes to iconic dishes, it’s hard to beat hamburgers, hot dogs, and French fries. American's also gave the world ice cream cones, Coca-Cola, iced tea, and traditional Thanksgiving dinners, complete with turkey and all the trimmings. Beyond the basics, American food, like the country itself, blends the flavors of all kinds of cultures. The soul food in the south blends Haitian, African, and European flavors, while the Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine of Pennsylvania comes largely from Old World Germany and Switzerland. Americans have also embraced cuisines of many cultures, and it’s not hard to find Italian restaurants next to Thai restaurants, across the street from a Mexican eatery and a hamburger stand.