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Headed for a birthday milestone? Before you officially start “adulting,” here are 20 trips you must check off your list before turning the big 3-5.

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Eat a slice of NYC pizza
You’ve checked Central Park, a Broadway show and a Brooklyn Bridge selfie off your list. The only thing left to do as you stumble out of an East Village dive bar at 4am? Inhale a cheap and greasy NYC slice (folded in half, of course).

Visit Cuba (before the tourists rush in)
It’s become more difficult, but not impossible, to visit Cuba. Wander the streets of Old Havana, puff away on one of the island’s fabled cigars (we won’t tell) and see cabaret at the wold-famous Tropicana. But hurry, frequent US policy changes mean it could get much more—or even less—crowded soon.

Road trip Pacific Coast Highway
Rent a classic Mustang convertible and hit California’s Pacific Coast Highway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Along the way, marvel at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, chill out in Big Sur and ride the roller coaster in Santa Cruz—which is as twisty as the road itself!

Bare all at a nude beach
Your body isn’t going to stay young forever. Go the “full Monty” in front of the masses at popular Haulover Beach in Miami or work that all over tan sans the gawkers at less conspicuous More Mesa in Santa Barbara.

Attend an epic festival
You’ll probably hate big crowds when you’re older, so make now the time to rock hard at Coachella, booze harder at Mardi Gras or rave hardest at the Full Moon Festival in Thailand. You gotta do an epic fest at least once.

Marvel at the Northern Lights
Grab a cheap-o ticket on a discount European airline (Wow Air comes to mind), pack your heartiest winter coat and get yourself to Iceland, Scandinavia or even Greenland to see one of Ma Nature’s most sublime natural phenomena.

Take a gamble in Las Vegas
It’s a love it or hate it destination, but between the shows, the themed resorts, the pool parties and the lure of those one arm bandits, a Vegas vacay is a must. If for nothing else, at least once in life you gotta walk the Strip at night.

Hike Machu Picchu
You won’t be alone, but a visit to the Sacred Valley’s most prized attraction—ancient Machu Picchu—is a bucket list must. Best way to get to the ruins if you’re young and active? Why, hiking the 4-day Inca Trail, of course. Be sure to book your required guide well ahead of time.

Skydive into the Grand Canyon
Don’t just stand at the Canyon rim and take a selfie like everybody else. Instead, sky dive right into one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World from the second highest drop zone on earth (after Mount Everest).

Swim with pigs
This is something real, and you can only do it in one place. Swimming with the pigs in the Exumas, a chain of islands in the Bahamas, is a once in a lifetime experience. Hey, if it’s good enough to be featured on The Bachelor

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Snap a selfie in front of the White House
Regardless of your political affiliations, if you don’t take a pic in front of the most famous house in the United States, you’ll surely leave the nation’s capital feeling blue or at least red-faced. (See what we did there?)

Dive the Great Barrier Reef
Sadly, the Reef may not be around forever. That’s reason #1 to see it now. Reason #2 is that as you plunge into the azure waters of the Coral Sea a wonderland of tropical fish, neon coral sea turtles, giant clams, jellyfish and so much more awaits!

Take a Caribbean Cruise
Save Alaska for when you’re greying at the temples and Europe for when you have more time, but before you turn 35 you absolutely must surrender to the boozy, over-the-top, totally addictive experience of cruising the sun-drenched Caribbean.

Catch a wave in Hawaii
Surfing was birthed in the Aloha State and checking it off your bucket list provides the perfect excuse for a Hawaiian vacation. Best places for lessons? Check out Ukumehame Beach Park in Maui or Kahaluu Beach Park on the Big Island.

Wrigleyfield

Wrigleyfield | Photo courtesy of @darlene_baresech

Cheer on the Chicago Cubs
Why Wrigley Field over Fenway? Because the fans are nicer and the surrounding ‘hood is way cooler (sorry, Red Sox fans). Ongoing stadium upgrades have made game day even better and the team is still hot after their 2016 World Series win.

Ski Aspen
If you grew up in places like the Great Plains or Florida, skiing is probably Greek to you, but even iconic ski towns like Aspen have bunny slopes. Don’t forget: Half the fun of skiing is après ski (i.e. drinking and hottubbing afterward).

Backpack across Europe
You might’ve already done this in college, but if you haven’t yet then quit your job, get a Eurail pass and spend a summer crisscrossing the Continent making new friends and absorbing several thousand years of Western Civilization.

Have a heck of a hony tonk in Nashville
Nashville‘s all about dive bar-hopping and taking in as much live music as you can along Lower Broadway, not to mention filling up on delicious, smoky barbecue (try the white sauce). Also check out Nashville classics like the Ryman Auditorium, Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Have a few hot nights in Miami
Florida skews older, but Miami is a young person’s game, thanks to the sizzling nightlife and the way-too-fit beach bods. Look to South Beach for everything from sexy hotel pool parties to the Fontainebleau’s mega club LIV to cool cocktail patios like the Broken Shaker. Wynwood and Little Haiti boast hipper, more indie vibes.

Capture that perfect sunset shot at the Taj Majal
The potential for culture shock and sensory overload of India, plus the ever-present crowds of the Taj Majal, make this a trip to take while you’re young. If you do make the trek to this world wonder in Agra, you’ll also want to experience the Pushkar Camel Fair or the epic Holi color festival.

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Tagged: Asia, Caribbean, Colorado, Florida, India, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, Tennessee, Top 10 Lists, Washington DC

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Aly Walansky
Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer.

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