Non-Americans Who've Visited The States Are Sharing The Most Stereotypical "American" Moment From Their Trip, And Oh Boyyyy

Non-Americans Who've Visited The States Are Sharing The Most Stereotypical "American" Moment From Their Trip, And Oh Boyyyy

Reddit user u/JeffRyan1 asked the community: "Non-Americans of Reddit who've visited America, what was the most 'American' moment of the visit?" The thread quickly filled with folks from around the world who had rather colorful encounters while visiting The States. Here's what people shared:

1."I was on Main Street, USA, in Magic Kingdom, when we could see one of the Space Shuttles being launched into the sky in the distance. The barbershop quartet stopped, turned to it, and started singing 'The Star-Spangled Banner.' A military dad and his two kids stood straight, rooted to the spot, and saluted until it went out of sight."


2."My wife and I (Canadians) wanted to visit Detroit on a weekend because we love art-deco architecture and beautiful old record stores. We didn't realize there was a Lions' game, and went to the market area (sorry, I forget the actual name), where there were thousands of people tailgating. It might not seem like a big deal, but to a non-American, all the good vibes, fried food, and sheer passion people had for football was awesome. We had a great time."


People gathered around a barbecue grill at an outdoor event. Some are cooking while others chat and laugh. A family is sitting under a blanket in the background
Monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images/iStockphoto

3."I'm posting on behalf of an older friend. Several years ago, one of my friends reached out because a new international student was joining a local college, and their parents were hoping to find somebody in the US to help them out. The first day they visited us, we had a couple of major coincidences that created weirdly over-the-top American experiences. Based on talks before they arrived, the two biggest things they wanted to do were walk around the downtown area to make sure it was safe and get some American BBQ. We went to a local BBQ restaurant that served a huge family-style meal on a giant shovel (it's called KC's Rib Shack in Manchester, NH). The dad was absolutely blown away and took like 30 photos before we could eat."

"We then went downtown but didn't realize that there was a classic car show downtown and an Elvis impersonator competition. This family that had never been outside Japan ate brisket from a shovel, then immediately looked at classic muscle cars while dozens of dudes dressed as Elvis walked around. We kept trying to explain that it was an abnormally 'American' day, but the family was just so blown away and overwhelmed the whole time. The last time I talked to the student, she said her dad still talks about the BBQ shovel, car, and Elvis Day all the time."


4."Visited Arizona for the first time last year. I photographed a fishing lake in Papago Park outside Phoenix, as I thought it made a cool mock photo of an 'oasis' in the desert. My picture was photobombed by what I am reliably informed was a bald eagle. It felt like a very American moment in a, 'Wow! That seems lucky and pretty cool!' sort of way."


A bald eagle soars in the sky with its wings fully extended
Johnny Johnson / Getty Images

5."I visited Austin, Texas, in 2000 and asked the cab driver to take my friends and me to a store to buy cowboy hats (hey, when in Rome!). Steve, our cab driver for the week we were there (he gave us his cell number), took us to a shopping park and a store called 'Hats, Boots & Guns.' I have never been to such a brilliant, pure, American place in all my other trips to the States from the UK. I ended up with a great black Stetson and gawked at all the guns behind the counter in amazement. If I'd had more money, I would have loved a pair of boots as they had every style imaginable."

"Then, a few days into the trip, Steve, the driver, invited us to come to his place out of town on the weekend to shoot some guns. Sadly (or luckily), we had to fly back that weekend. He was great and friendly, as were all the people we met. America may be a colorful and strange place to us Brits, but you sure are friendly and welcoming."


6."I was in Montana after driving across the Canadian border. I ate in a breakfast diner that actually had stacks of pancakes with a little square of butter on top, just like I had always seen in movies. The waitress poured coffee into everyone's cups, talking about the 'potata salad' and saying 'sir' and 'ma'am' after every sentence. It was so quaint. Then, I noticed a guy with a gun on his belt who was wearing a shirt that read, 'I'd rather be a Mormon than a Moron.' From my outsider's perspective, the amount of Jesus and stars and stripes on that one little drive was peak America."


A stack of three pancakes with a pat of butter on top on a patterned plate, with a cup of coffee in the background. Image categorized as Internet Finds
Pjohnson1 / Getty Images

7."As if going to see NASCAR wasn't 'Merican enough, before going into the stadium, my mate and I walked around the fan park they had built outside it. Within five minutes of being there, I heard an engine being revved up to within an inch of its life, and the smell of petrol filled the air. I turned around, and this engine was on board a Harley Davidson three-wheeler, driven by a bloke in full leathers, a bandana, and shades. Suddenly, 'Born to be Wild' blasted out of the speakers, and the bloke started miming playing the drums and singing the lyrics badly, all while revving the engine occasionally. I felt like I was American myself by the end of it."


8."I've lived in America for 25 years and became an American citizen last year. My first time here was during Halloween. I stayed with friends who had bought an ungodly amount of candy for the holiday. They lived in a Denver suburb with lots of kids in the neighborhood. It was like a scene out of E.T.! They went trick or treating, and the sidewalks were just full of kids. That's the most American thing I've seen, apart from free refills."


Children in costumes gather around a house entrance for trick-or-treating on Halloween, reaching into a bowl of assorted candies held by an adult
Wholly Owned Isunited Kingdom / Getty Images/Image Source

9."I was at Blake Shelton's bar in Nashville listening to live country music when the singer randomly broke out into the 'Pledge of Allegiance' in the middle of the song, and the entire crowd joined in."


10."I was shocked at the number of American flags everywhere. I would be hard-pressed to find a Canadian flag outside schools or government buildings. There were American flags at the mall, on random streets, in stores, backyards, front yards, convenience stores, etc."


American flag waving against a partly cloudy sky
Royce Bair / Getty Images

11."I had chicken-fried bacon at some breakfast BBQ place on the I-5 between Seattle and Portland. Was it delicious? Yes. Did it probably take at least a few days off my life? Also yes. And it was just the starter to my biscuits and gravy. Damn, I wish I could remember the name of that place. I would 100% go back there."


12."It sounds so dumb, but seeing yellow school buses. I'm Australian, so we only see yellow buses in movies. Seeing an actual yellow school bus was a dream come true for my 20-year-old self."


A row of yellow school buses parked side by side in a parking lot. The buses are aligned uniformly, with their fronts facing forward
Jhorrocks / Getty Images

13."Everyone kept asking me, 'How are you? How was your day?' Random strangers, store clerks, everyone asked me that, and I really didn't know how to respond. Back home, people just mind their own business. You don't talk to strangers unless you have to, and store clerks only ask if they can help you, and you can say no thanks."


14."I finished my root beer, and the waitress came over and started refilling my glass. I was all like, 'Whoa there, calm down. I didn't ask for another one,' and she just said, 'It's free, honey,' or something to that effect. It blew my little 15-year-old brain."


A frothy glass mug filled with dark beer on a wooden table, with other similar mugs visible in the background
Bhofack2 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

15."On a bus trip to the Everglades, our English accents must have been overheard because a minute later, we were asked several questions about Princess Diana by three different people. They couldn't understand that 1. We couldn't remember where we were when she died, and 2. We didn't really have much to say about it except, 'Yeah, that was sad, wasn't it?'"


16."I'm an American immigrant from Europe. I ordered coffee from one of those chain coffee shops during my first week in the US. When asked what size, I realized I had not slept much (jet lag), so I selected an extra large. You know what we call those extra-large coffee mugs in the old country? Buckets. What I got was a bucket of coffee."


A woman stands outside, happily holding an oversized coffee cup that is much larger than a typical cup
Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

17."The first time I visited New York City was around 2010, at the tail-end of a multi-city trip. I started having foot pain from all the walking on the trip, making walking quite difficult. I wanted to visit a walk-in clinic to have it checked out, but I didn't have health insurance. So I did what millions of Americans do: just shrug it out."


18."I lived in America for three years and I'd say: Walmart. It's the quintessential American experience, even better than Costco. It's consumerism in its purest materialization."


People walking outside a Walmart store
Joe Raedle / Getty Images

19."We went to Disney World with my parents (in their 60s) and two children (both younger than 10). One day, we were sitting outside Animal Kingdom, waiting for the gates to open. Next to us was an American family with kids about the same age. They heard us speaking a different language to each other, so they asked us where we were from (South Africa) and started chatting with us. The father told us they were from Kentucky and that their town has a life-size copy of Noah's Ark. In his opinion, it needed to be at the top of our list of places to visit after Orlando (we told him we're going on a four-week road trip across the States after Orlando)."

"He then told us a funny story about how their neighbors in the RV park where they stayed in Orlando were from the UK, and the English father was a policeman. He couldn't believe that the police don't carry guns in the UK. So, he invited him to come see the gun collection he has in his RV. A gun collection. In a family RV. In Orlando. On a family vacation. He also tried to convince us to skip one of the Disney parks and go to the Holy Land Experience, a Bible theme park in Orlando. Apparently, it's much better than anything Disney cobbled together."


20."I've lived here 25 years, so I'm used to all the fun Americanisms. I'll answer for my British Mother when she visited for the first time. She went to the grocery store and saw Easy Cheese, which is cheese in a spray bottle. She talked about that for the rest of the trip and still brings it up now and then as the most weirdly American thing she's ever seen."


Close-up of nachos topped with melted cheese
Mcpix / Getty Images

21."I spent months on a working holiday in Boston. When The Dark Knight was released, I saw it in the cinema. When the movie ended, everyone stood up and clapped. As an Irishman, I found this unusual but also very American."


22."The morning after a late-night landing in Atlanta, we discovered a diner near the hotel. We decided to go there for breakfast. Our first European instinct was to walk, but it was impossible to reach by foot even though it was less than 100 meters away. When we walked in, three cops sat at the counter drinking coffee and eating donuts while chatting with the server. We felt like we walked onto a movie set; it was so cliché."


A person in a police uniform is eating a powdered donut. The face is partially obscured, showing a moustache
Sean Murphy / Getty Images

23."I went to a conference in 2023. I had been in Florida less than three hours when I saw a car with one of those stick-figure family stickers in the back, except it had guns as the figures. It was jarring, to say the least."


24."Bass Pro Shops. The one I went to was also shaped like a pyramid. It was one of the coolest stores I've ever been to. From an outsider's perspective, the United States feels like a simulation."


The image shows the entrance of a Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World store with boats parked in front. A large Ducks Unlimited Waterfowling Heritage Center sign is on the building's facade
Ucg / UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

25.And: "I met an old couple running a family-run horse ranch. They talked about their history and how their great-grandparents acquired that land as their two daughters and son taught us horseback riding. The way they talked about nature, freedom, and their dreams was so different from our home country and our own culture while still sounding faintly familiar as if he was talking about a really old dream I used to have. It's hard to put into words, but that scene, the surroundings, the air, and every sensation never left me. It allowed me to understand the Americans a little more for a brief moment. I truly hope they all are doing well and that America never loses this special way of striving for a new frontier. It probably sounds ridiculous, but it was very special to me."


Obviously, this post conveys some more colorful and extreme American stereotypes that are definitely not indicative of the entire country or all its people. Still, it's always really interesting to get an outsider's perspective. If you're not from America but have visited, what surprised you the most? Tell us in the comments or submit anonymously using this form.

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.