By Michelle King

After what will hereby be known as The Worst Winter Ever, No Seriously, it’s finally summer. And while it’s technically possible to go on a road trip during the dreary winter, it’s far more appealing to hit the asphalt when the sun is shining and the temperatures are higher than 22 degree fahrenheit.

Whether you’re lucky enough to go on a real-live road trip this summer or if you’re stuck at your desk pretending you’re far, far away (a totally acceptable way to spend the workday), these quotes about America’s greatest cities from your favorite authors are sure to satisfy the wanderlust deep within you.


“We say the cows laid out Boston. Well, there are worse surveyors.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“If you don't like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes.”

― Mark Twain

“I guess God made Boston on a wet Sunday.”

— Raymond Chandler

New York

“I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York's skyline.”

― Ayn Rand

“The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding.”

― John Updike

“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.”

― Thomas Wolfe

“When you leave New York, you are astonished at how clean the rest of the world is. Clean is not enough.”

― Fran Lebowitz

“New York is a diamond iceberg floating in river water.”

― Truman Capote


“In Boston they ask, How much does he know? in New York, How much is he worth? in Philadelphia, Who were his parents?”

― Mark Twain

“Last week, I went to Philadelphia, but it was closed.”

― W. C. Fields

“I liked poor dear queer flat comfortable Philadelphia almost ridiculously (for what it is — extraordinarily cossu and materially civilized).”

— Henry James


“Almost everything strange washes up near Miami.”

― Rick Riordan

“It seems that half the point of being in Miami Beach — particularly the northern end of South Beach — is to be observed by people-watchers like me, and the display along Ocean Drive during my visit was, as always, sublime.”

— Susan Orlean

“Miami Beach is where neon goes to die.”

— Lenny Bruce


“Yet once you've come to be part of this particular patch, you'll never love another. Like loving a woman with a broken nose, you may well find lovelier lovelies. But never a lovely so real.”

― Nelson Algren

“In the twilight, it was a vision of power.”

— Upton Sinclair

“Chicago has so much excellent architecture that they feel obliged to tear some of it down now and then and erect terrible buildings just to help us all appreciate the good stuff.”

― Audrey Niffenegger

Las Vegas

“The view from the window, particularly if you enjoy neon, is extraordinary.”

― Chris Bachelder

“Las Vegas looks the way you’d imagine heaven must look at night.”

— Chuck Palahniuk

“Vegas is the most extreme and allegorical of American settlements, bizarre and beautiful in its venality and in it devotion to immediate gratification.”

— Joan Didion

San Francisco

“It's an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco. It must be a delightful city, and possess all the attractions of the next world.”

― Oscar Wilde

“It seemed like a matter of minutes when we began rolling in the foothills before Oakland and suddenly reached a height and saw stretched out ahead of us the fabulous white city of San Francisco on her eleven mystic hills with the blue Pacific and its advancing wall of potato-patch fog beyond, and smoke and goldenness in the late afternoon of time.”

― Jack Kerouac

“San Francisco is a mad city — inhabited for the most part by perfectly insane people whose women are of a remarkable beauty.”

— Rudyard Kipling

Los Angeles

“All right, you say, this is California; what can you expect? They think they’ll be young and beautiful forever, even though most of them aren’t even young and beautiful now.”

― Christopher Hitchens

“Los Angeles is seven suburbs in search of a city.”

― Alfred Hitchcock

“Los Angeles is a constellation of plastic.”

— Norman Mailer

“Los Angeles gives one the feeling of the future more strongly than any city I know of. A bad future, too, like something out of Fritz Lang’s feeble imagination.”

— Henry Miller

So, which of the above authors would you want to make your travel buddy? Chuck Palahniuk in Las Vegas? Mark Twain in Philadelphia? Or how about walking the Golden Gate Bridge with Oscar Wilde? Let us know your dream literary vacation below. As they say, if you comment it, the road trip will come. (No one says that.)

Michelle King grew up in South Florida and now lives in Brooklyn. Her contributions have appeared on BULLETT, Refinery29 and The Topaz Review. Harriet M. Welsch is still her role model and probably always will be.

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