The United States may not be perfect — and it's certainly criticized often by both Americans and non-Americans — but there are some pretty great things about life here, IMHO. Recently, redditor u/Cass979 asked, "Americans (USA): What is a good thing about your country?" Both Americans and non-Americans chimed in with some really thoughtful, important, and inspiring responses. Here's what they said.
1. "The US is HUGE! You can go on pretty much any kind of a vacation you want without leaving the country. We've got beaches, mountains, deserts, snow, high culture, big cities, small rural towns, etc. The only limit is your time and your budget."
2. "It's of those rare nations that still offers you a chance of upward mobility by hard work. I know it can be contentious, but compared to many nations on earth, the opportunity is better."
3. "The fact that when you go to a restaurant, they just give you a gigantic glass of ice water for free."
4. "The US has 63 national parks and thousands of state parks. They preserve some of America’s most beautiful places."
5. "Thirty-year fixed rate mortgages. As an American living in Scotland who has to refinance in July, I can confirm this is really special."
6. "I live in Seattle, and I love that you can find any kind of food from anywhere in the world if you look hard enough. I've traveled all over the US, and each city has its own food history since most families originally came from somewhere else."
7. "I am a naturalized US citizen. I have been living here for 12 years now, and I am still in awe and disbelief on how amazing public libraries are here."
8. "Our obsession with air conditioning. I love that during the summer you walk into any store and need a coat despite the fact that it’s 100 degrees outside."
9. "Halloween season. I love the whole spooky season in America. I live in the UK now, and they just don't do it here like they do in the US. You don't see houses lit up and decorated with pumpkins, and you don't really see Halloween-themed treats. Halloween is catching on here more thanks to TikTok and other social media, so I'm hoping we adopt more of the American mindset where people aren't afraid to let out their inner child and put on a silly costume."
10. "The Americans With Disabilities act. I didn't realize how important it is to have reserved parking spots, wide and clean sidewalks, accessible bathrooms, and ramps at building entrances until my brother became wheelchair-bound."
11. "In general, despite how the media might portray it or how much the US is criticized for racism, the US is by far the most culturally diverse country. Most other countries don't have as big of an issue with racism because they are mostly homogenous and the outliers are typically well integrated. If you see a Black man, an Asian, a caucasian and an Indian all hanging out in the US, nobody bats an eye. But if you have that same group elsewhere? People would stare as if looking at a group of aliens."
12. "Innovation. The US has been home to nearly every major invention of the past couple hundred years, and as much as we're made fun of for being dumb, we still have some of the smartest people in the world as well."
13. "Our hot-smoked meats, namely central-Texas brisket, Carolina-style smoked pork, and everything in between. We make the best of the best. I’ve traveled around much of the world and eaten everywhere, and our smoked brisket is in a league of its own."
14. "Beer culture. I had a coworker who traveled with me to the Pacific Northwest from France, and he was absolutely blown away by the beer culture there. Budweiser and Coors are NOT all we have to offer. There are tens of thousands of microbreweries. Even in smaller towns you can often find a good taphouse to try the local stuff, often with 20 or more beers on tap."
15. "Road trips. Nowhere — and I mean nowhere — does road trips better than US. It’s one of most fun things that you can do if you’re here. The freeway system is superb and well connected; you can pretty much drive from Maine to California, or Barrow, Alaska to Key West, Florida. It’s one the greatest experiences of living in the US."
16. "Sure, there’s some red tape, but you still can work in any industry you want in the US. You can also switch career paths and start over at any time."
17. "Our space program! It’s so impressive that even a space nerd like me can totally forget that there’s some mission going on — I had no idea DART had even been launched until a couple of days before the mission occurred."
18. "We have Dark Sky protected national parks, which have many rules against light pollution and are amazing for stargazing and photography."
19. "American bureaucracies. I know most people like to complain about things like the DMV and the IRS. But the system of American bureaucracies are doing more to make the world a better place than they get credit for. The amount of money and manpower dedicated to data collection and deciphering is hard to fathom. The NOAA, for example, collects weather data used by every news channel, every weather agency, every government and military force, etc. The data we collect and the research we’ve done has made major impacts on billions of lives."
20. "The fact that I can piss and moan about and criticize the government and/or president and not fear official retribution is pretty great."
21. "We have soooo many breakfast cereals to choose from."
22. "It might not show on the news or even on social media, but the diversity in the US is truly amazing. I've never been out of the country, but I find it neat that here in the US you can get a taste of almost everything. It might not be perfectly authentic, but at least you can get an idea."
23. "Access to public education for children with special needs is a right guaranteed by law. And those protections are stronger and the educational service for special needs children are better than in most of the rest of the world."
24. "Restaurant substitutions and alterations. When I visited Spain, I couldn't find a place that let me substitute or change things. Everything had to be ordered as specified on the menu. No, you can't replace the ketchup on your burger for BBQ sauce. Here in the US, substitutions are generally allowed without an issue."
25. "Our hospitals. The Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic are some of the best hospitals in the world. Most of the top 50 hospitals in the world are in the United States. Our healthcare system may be flawed in so many ways, but the work that the hospitals do is second to none."
26. "You can drive just a couple of states over, and everything feels entirely different."
27. "The people in the US are almost universally friendly. It's our culture. You say hi to strangers and ask how they're doing even if you've never met them. It's our small talk to start a conversation, whether you're at a store, restaurant, or just walking on the street."
28. "I always hear complaints about the portion sizes, which is fair — they're big. But we gotta give America credit for how socially acceptable it is to take the leftover food home. As a frugal Dutch person, this mesmerizes me, and I'm very sad this is not as acceptable here."
29. "Big living spaces. I live in Hong Kong, and our average flat sizes are around 300 to 500 square feet. If you are in a flat that's over 1,000 square feet, that's considered super luxurious."
What's something that you admire, appreciate, love, or even take for granted about life in the US? Tell us in the comments.
Note: Responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.