It’s a difficult decision – once you get your J1 recent graduate visa sorted for the US you have to choose where to live when you get there. Some people have a fair idea of what they want to do. Perhaps a career job at a tech start up in San Fran. Maybe a design job at a fashion label in NYC. But not everyone has such a clear idea and there is often inner turmoil for where one should live! To help make your decision we have laid out the classic East Coast vs West Coast argument to help figure out where you end up. Read on knowing that it would be physically impossible to write about every single draw card for each location, so we picked a couple key selling points!


NEW YORK – New York, what better way to kick off your working holiday than the city that never sleeps. From the second you arrive you’ll be caught up in the organized chaos that makes this amazing place so special. With so much history and culture packed into every block, chuck on your walking shoes and lose yourself in this Urban Jungle. Explore further afield and experience amazing views from Iconic towers, food from every corner of the globe – You can’t beat the Infamous NY $1 Slice! And discover hidden gems on the infamous NY Subway which stretches throughout all 5 boroughs. Such a huge, diverse city means 1000’s of people call the big apple home for their US gap year. This makes it super easy to meet new friends from all over the world. Whether you’re wanting to kick-start your career or work casually you can’t go past New York!

CHICAGO – The windy City! A metropolis packed with culture of every kind! If you’re into your sports this is the place for you!  They have everything from Baseball, Basketball, American Football, Ice Hockey and they’re even big fans of rugby having hosted the All Blacks on a few occasions!  You can also find art everywhere – from the giant ‘bean’ sculpture (Cloud Gate) in millennium park to the absolutely mind blowing experience of exploring the Art Institute of Chicago. Plus, every year Chicago plays host to one of the biggest music festivals in the Country – Lollapalooza! Whether you choose to spend your days wandering along the River (Yes it does get dyed bright green for St Patricks Day) or checking out one of the many dive bars you can’t say you’ve been to Chicago without indulging in a deep dish pizza.


LOS ANGELES – The City of Angels! This West Coast Wonder has something for everyone. If you’re looking for the big city hustle and bustle to kick off your career, why not check out the heart of Hollywood or try and spot your favourite Celebrities in Beverley Hills. If you’re Ideal US Working holiday is chilling out by the beach you can’t miss the classic surfer neighbourhood of Santa Monica or the world class people watching at the infamous Venice beach (aka Muscle beach). In LA you really can have the best of both worlds so why not make the most of this amazing opportunity to work and play in the USA!

SAN FRANCISCO – The Golden City! When it’s not completely covered in fog this beautiful city is home to some of the most amazing views on the West Coast. Whether you’re taking in the City skyline or the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge that the city was named after you will never get bored of exploring this place. For a taste of something different you can’t go past the vibrant Mission District with its old Latin roots and alternative vibe. You’ll find the best cocktails and quirky old school eateries thrown in with live music clubs to create a truly electric atmosphere.  Make the most of this waterfront paradise and head down to Pier 39 where you can waste away the day amongst the many restaurants, rides, shops and even hang out with the local Californian Sea Lions lounging on the rocks. No trip to San Fran would be complete without a visit to the eerie, abandoned prison island of Alcatraz.  


AUSTIN   Austin is fast becoming a widely renowned US destination city like New York, LA, Chicago and San Fran! Food is of huge importance in Austin. Everyone has heard of the 4 hour lines for Franklin BBQ (specifically the brisket) but if you don’t have the time to spare – head to Salt Lick BBQ for pit fired passion – its worth the trip! Not only that but Mexican food is prevalent in most neighbourhoods and places like Licha’s Cantina are holding it down for regional Mexican cooking like their famous Tlacoyo de Camarón con mole. After you have fuelled up you should get yourself to one of Austin’s many amazing festivals! To name a few – South by Southwest and Austin City Limits where Paul McCartney, Travis Scott and Justice were some of the headline acts in 2018! After spending the day and night at a festival head to Barton Springs, a giant natural spring fed swimming hole to freshen up before taking a short jaunt to some amazing thrift and vintage stores. Finally – the nightlife in Austin is amazing. The University of Texas at Austin is right in town which means that during the semester you can have a wild night on “dirty sixth street”. Austin is an awesome time and definitely a must do for anyone with a work visa in the US!  

NEW ORLEANS Much like Austin – New Orleans is a growing destination for J1 Visa working holiday participants. You have all seen what Bourbon street is like but there is a lot more to Nawlin’s than one street. Check out some incredible Blues or Jazz on Frenchmen Street at somewhere like the Apple Barrel. The food in the Big Easy is on par with its excellent music. Pick up a Beignet from Café Du Monde, a chicken fried pork chop from Willie Maes Scotch House or have a sit down feed of Crawfish (during the season) at Deanie’s Seafood in the French Quarter. Sadly, much of the city was devastated during 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. Yet, it is truly inspiring to visit a place that has done such an amazing job of picking itself back up, dusting itself off and turning the music back up to 11. It’s a sight to behold – one that is best experienced with new friends found on a 12 month working visa for the US.  

Ok so maybe laying out the best parts of each city doesn’t make it easier to choose… Maybe it made it harder… That means the only solution is to visit them all – something you can do on a J1 Working Visa. So get in touch, sort out your visa and we can help you decide where you want to go!