15 Things to Love (Like, Really Really Love) About America

Because it’s Independence Day, ppl!


If, like me, you grew up in the United States, you probably remember singing “America the Beautiful” in middle school. There’s nothing like trilling about “fruited plains” and “music-hearted seas” to get you jazzed about your homeland, am I right? That song is basically patriotism meets Enya.

I haven’t had that goosebump-y America feeling in a while, though. I blame cynicism! Cynicism is really having its day in the sun lately. America-related cynicism in particular, what with all the political upheaval tossing things around and making it feel like we’re living inside of a giant washing machine. But there’s only so much cynicism I can take. Sometimes I just want to stretch my brain out on a red, white and blue lawn chair and bask in America’s vestiges of goodness — because, yes, there is still so much goodness to be found.

Don’t worry, I made you a list. Well, actually, I made America a list — a birthday gift to commemorate the adoption of her Declaration of Independence 241 years ago to the date: July 4th, 1776. That’s when America’s itty bitty crew of 13 colonies were reborn as a new nation, The United States of America, independent of the British Empire.

Okay, okay enough with the history lesson. (Who the heck do I think I am? Lin-Manuel Miranda?) Pull up your brain’s lawn chair and bask in this compendium of things to love about America:

1. Hamilton: An American Musical

I couldn’t mention Lin-Manuel Miranda without paying homage to HIS birthday gift to America. There’s literally nothing not to love about Hamilton — and I firmly believe I’m using “literally” appropriately in this sentence. The last time something was this uncontestedly beloved was probably when the wheel was invented.

2. Seamless

The magic of being able to click my mouse a few times and receive a delivery of perfectly cooked salmon 30 minutes later will never feel overrated to me.

3. Friendly strangers

I am always particularly appreciative of the exuberant friendliness of my fellow Americans whenever I’m returning from a trip abroad and, time after time, the person who stamps my passport smiles at me like I am either their long-lost daughter or Oprah.

4. Disneyland

Ah, Disneyland. There’s a reason it’s called “The Happiest Place on Earth,” and there’s a reason the ~original~ one is located in America. I truly don’t think there’s any other country that would encourage the consumption of powdered sugar-coated Mickey Mouse waffles and stomach-dropping rollercoaster rides in back-to-back succession.

5. Takeaway coffee

In so many cities across the globe, you must sit down and drink your coffee out of a real coffee cup. In America, not only can you take your coffee to go, but you can also specify your desired container size (taller than my face), your non-dairy milk preference (cashew) and your favorite flavor concoction (one pump vanilla, one pump hazelnut).

6. Men with zero interest in fashion

Other countries are chock-full of stylish men with their tailored jeans and chic eyeglasses and colorful loafers, which is why I find America’s solid bastion of men whose interest in fashion is absolutely zilch to be rather endearing — comforting, even. Don’t get me wrong — I love a Milanese men’s street-style slideshow as much as the next sane person — but I will always maintain a deep-seated fondness for the ill-fitting khakis and New Balance sneakers of my male American brethren.

7. Amazon Prime

I. Freaking. Love. Amazon. Prime. I mean, free two-day shipping on everything from Crest toothpaste to Marysia Swim bikinis? It’s bananas. I might even venture to call it Jeff Bezos’s year-round birthday gift to America. Don’t even get me started on the Prime video options…

8. Streaming video

Speaking of which, America has the best streaming video services of any country in the world. How cool is it that we don’t even need televisions anymore?

9. Freedom of speech

I snuck this one in here at #9 because I didn’t want you to accuse me of being too corny right off the bat. In all seriousness, though, I feel incredibly fortunate to live in a country where my voice and my opinions are fundamentally protected rights.

10. Impromptu pedicures

I once interviewed Sienna Miller and asked her how she practices self-care. She told me that now that she lives in NYC she can get impromptu pedicures more frequently, which you can’t do in London because there aren’t many walk-in nail salons and you always have to book an appointment first. I’ve been grateful for American pedicure access ever since.

11. Ice-cream scoop proportions

You know how when you go to a beach town in New England like Cape Cod and you walk up to a ramshackle ice cream shop with chipping paint and you order a small mint-chip ice cream and they hand you what is, essentially, a pint’s worth piled on top of a waffle cone? Yeah. I really love that, America.

12. Malls

Malls get a bad rap sometimes, but they’re actually amazing. Where else in the world can you find Gucci, Auntie Anne’s, an ear-piercing pagoda and Bath & Body Works within walking distance of each other?

13. Prom

Thinking about malls obviously reminded me of prom — an equally important cultural institution unique to America. Questionable dresses, stretch limos, awkward group photos, clunky corsages…I wouldn’t want high school any other way.

14. Cheese on everything

Have you noticed how Americans just add cheese to stuff for no apparent reason other than plain and simple, honest-to-goodness cheese appreciation? It is remarkable. Hot dogs, tortilla chips, broccoli, popcorn, steak, salad — they’ve all been cheese-ified. If I’m ordering a dish in a restaurant and ask to add cheese, there is a very high likelihood that not only will my request be readily accommodated, but also there was probably cheese on it to begin with and it just wasn’t specified because at this point cheese is just an implied ingredient.

15. America is my home

And nothing feels more goosebump-y good than knowing it always will be.

Get more Pop Culture ?
  • #6 – Men with Zero Interest in Fashion. I can attest to the comfort in this! I’m married to a lumberjack and it’s so cozy. Added bonus; he has no clue how much my shoes really cost 😉

  • Adrianna

    Back when I was on Facebook, I was still connected with people from high school who would post those memes comparing President Obama or USA to North Korea. I would point out that unlike in North Korea, they have the freedom to post the memes. Inevitably, I was called an idiot. *eyeroll*

  • Leandra Medine

    Sorry I am turning into such a schiller but I guess I’m not actually sorry because you know I can’t imagine that I’ll stop doing it

    • Bee

      Came here for the shoes, left with some feels.

    • Harling Ross

      Keep schilling pls !!!!!!! The shoes deserve it

    • Spanky

      Etymology of schiller plz?

  • we won’t have the best streaming services until Netflix gives us RuPauls drag race normal seasons AND all stars.

  • gracesface

    that in your 20s you can order j.jill and still be on fleeeek (if i do say so myself). oh and the friendliness REALLY matters to me. a brit is staying in a friend’s unit for a few weeks and i could tell he was charmed by me when i marched up to him, said hello, introduced myself and shook his hand. ‘murica.


    Okay so this just made my day, feeling grateful. (lol that looks like a Facebook emotion, but it’s truthful.) happy fourth <3

  • “patriotism meets Enya” I love it!! So true. Harling you have been killing it with your articles recently. The one about scenes from The Devil Wears Prada being true or false in real life…I devoured it.

    • Harling Ross

      TY EM!!!

  • patyof

    Number 16 (but actually my Number 1, Hamilton is a close second): the 3-time World Cup Winning and 4-time Olympic Medalists United States Women’s National Soccer team.

  • Kayla Sweeney

    I literally just got back from Cape Cod; can confirm all ice cream servings are out of this world.

  • usually on the fourth of july i embrace my english dual-citizenship and get all “bah humbug,” but this is a great list that makes me feel a tingle of patriotism.

    mostly for disneyland and takeaway coffee.

  • Madison Grace

    Ice cream scoop proportions – AMEN TO THIS. I’m from New Zealand and everytime I go to America, I can’t shut up about the food. It’s amazing, like you guys put bacon on EVERYTHING. And all the all-you-can-eat buffets? I’m done. I have no shame in admitting that at least 50% of my trip photos are of food.

    mads xx

    MY BLOG: http://www.bymybedside.com
    Free cookies if you check it out! Jks. Got ya.

  • eizhowa

    Well, not all of these apply to all of the US and far from all are exclusive to the US. Some countries even do them better. But fine.

    • Jade

      It’s kind of heartwarming that someone is still feeling so positive about the state of the nation.

  • Karna

    I’m a Swede who lived in London last year and went straight to California from there, and the coffee refills, and portions<333 paying with you hard earned 4 pounds for a small cappucino from a tired waiter, to waiters giving you refills whenever you emptied your cup was loveeeely

  • C. Killion

    Deviled eggs with smoked paprika, Moon Pies, hot dogs, lemonade, Fourth of July parades…yup, got that! If only for the day, it’s still the country I love.

    • Z

      Diversity is another bonus. Bc i grew up here knowing none of these things except the lemonade.

  • Jade

    I don’t remember “music-hearted seas” lol. Was that actually an unknown verse of the song?

  • Jade

    Wow, and things aren’t even going that well in America right now…I’m glad that someone is still feeling good about our country.

  • Laura

    I agree with all of this BUT let me tell you. I went to Mexico and checked Netflix and their selection IS SO MUCH BETTER. Fresh Prince! Full House! Harry Potter! More Disney movies! It’s just ugh. They had everything we have (well what I watch anyway) plus a nostalgia extravaganza I didn’t know I was missing.

  • Jukebox_babe

    MAAAAALLLLLLLS <33333333333

  • Lil

    Love the free refills at pretty much every eatery!