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Travel Guide > North America > USA

USA People & Culture

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The United States is made up of many diverse ethnic groups and the culture varies greatly across the vast area of the country and even within cities - a city like New York will have dozens, if not hundreds, of different ethnicities represented within a neighborhood. Despite this difference, there exists a strong sense of national identity and certain predominant cultural traits. Generally, Americans tend to believe strongly in personal responsibility and that an individual determines his or her own success or failure, but it is important to note that there are many exceptions and that a nation as diverse as the United States has literally thousands of distinct cultural traditions. One will find Mississippi in the South to be very different culturally than Massachusetts in the North.


It is polite to shake hands when meeting someone or being introduced. It is often omitted in less formal situations.

Unless it is really crowded, leave about an arm's length of personal space between yourself and others.

Social kissing as done in some parts of Europe is not practiced. Best to take your cues from others' behavior toward you.

As a result of its history of racial discrimination and the modern push toward equality, Americans are exceptionally touchy about issues of race. If you have to reference race, Black or African-American, Asian, Latino or Hispanic, Native American or American Indian, and White are acceptable terms.

People & Culture Listings in USA

Cultural Center Institute For Art and Olfaction
"The Institute for Art and Olfaction aims to instigate greater engagement with the art and science of scent." Such is the mission statement fashioned by founder and native Angeleno Saskia Wilson-Brown. She had an... more
in Downtown
Cultural Center Levantine Cultural Center
The Center is home to a multi-purpose non-partisan organization promoting Middle Eastern culture, arts, and education programs that enlighten, engage and enable greater understanding between people of Middle Eastern backgr... more
Low Budget, Varies, in Carthay District
Cultural Center The Paley Center For Media
One of the largest public media archives in the U.S., the center stores over 150,000 accessible television and radio programs on a searchable database. Whether it's a classic episode of "All in the Family" or the... more
Free, Suggested donation $10; programs vary, in Beverly Hills
Cultural Center St. Elmo Village
It would be difficult to pigeonhole this place into a tidy category because it serves the community in so many ways. Perhaps more than anything, it is a place to share our humanity and for artists to develop self-esteem as... more
Free, FREE tours, in Mid-City
Cultural Center Eames Office
Charles & Ray Eames were highly acclaimed American designers who made significant contributions to modern architecture and furniture. They also worked in the fields of industrial and graphic design, fine art and film. ... more
in Santa Monica
Cultural Center 18th Street Arts Center
This complex presents the works of a dizzying variety of visual, performance and media artists, creating and exhibiting paintings, sculptures, film documentaries, live performances, and publishing magazines. An internation... more
Low Budget, Free to nominal, in Santa Monica
Cultural Center Clark-UCLA Memorial Library
William Andrews Clark, an L.A. philanthropist and son of a U.S. Senator, didn't know what to do with his bulging collection of rare books and manuscripts, so he built a library in the mid-1920s. The property was gifted to ... more
in West Adams
Cultural Center Goethe Institute
You might scratch your head and say, "...a German community in L.A.?" You won't find it on a street sign like Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Little Ethiopia, Koreatown, et al (Germans have a strong tendency to blend in... more
Free, in Mid-Wilshire District
Cultural Center Ukrainian Cultural Center
Not only is this a landmark of Ukrainian cultural heritage in Southern California, the building is an Art Deco dynamo from the Golden Age of Hollywood. As with so many of the older edifices in this part of town, looking be... more
in Hollywood
Cultural Center Korean Cultural Center
This simple yet elegant, serene center serves as a heritage house for the 100,000+ Korean community in Los Angeles. The rich traditions and culture of Korea manifest through a variety of expression here, from permanent exh... more
Free, in Koreatown
These are just 10 of 14 People & Culture Listings in USA. Show more.

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