If I have learned anything from my travels so far, it is that corporate America has a plan to make every city the same. Every major city has every major restaurant chain and retail shop. From the highways, they look and feel the same. Take the roads less travelled.
When you travel across this wonderful country, avoid the restaurants and shops that you can find at home and in every other major city. Find the local businesses and support them. When you buy souvenirs, don't buy the crap made in China or Taiwan, look for the locally made items.
Not every meal you eat in the local dive is going to be a gem, but you'll never know until you try. Find out what the local specialty is. Here it is green chili. Green chili on hamburgers, green chili on pizza, green chili stew. It isn't spicy hot, just a different flavor. This advice is from a picky eater, but I'm trying. I just don't plan on visiting the tomato capitol of the world.
One exception is when you feel a touch of homesickness, then a comfort meal in a restaurant chain that you enjoy can be just the ticket to remind you that you are never far from home.
The next couple days will be in the 90s and I think they are going to open the pool, so that's where I'll be.