21 Uniquely American Habits That Baffle the Outside World

(Last Updated On: )

From quirky habits to cultural norms, America has its fair share of characteristics that might raise eyebrows elsewhere. Here’s a humorous exploration into 21 of those peculiarities, including some less typical ones.

1. Refusing the Metric System

shutterstock 2354165571 1 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Nuva Frames

America clings to inches, feet, and pounds with patriotic fervor, leaving the rest of the world calculating conversions.

2. The Great Ice Cube Obsession

shutterstock 1033381774 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock /AN Photographer2463

Why have a drink when you can have a glass of ice with a splash of drink? The colder, the better, even in winter.

3. Super-Sized Everything

shutterstock 2173715843

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ant DM

From cars to meals and even soft drinks, bigger always seems to be better.

4. Wearing Shoes Indoors

shutterstock 1981659098 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Konstantin Aksenov

In many American homes, shoes that tread outdoor ground find their way onto indoor carpets, to the horror of many international visitors.

5. Sweet Breakfasts

shutterstock 661637488 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / marco mayer

Pancakes, waffles, and cereals so sugary they could be desserts in other countries start the day in America.

6. Advertising Prescription Drugs

shutterstock 1960571929

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Hrendon

Where TV commercials regularly suggest asking your doctor if a specific drug is right for you, side effects listed hurriedly at the end.

7. Using Red Plastic Cups at Parties

shutterstock 587469095

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Africa Studio

A staple of every American party scene, recognized worldwide thanks to American movies, but still puzzling to many.

8. The Love for Peanut Butter

shutterstock 413028919

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Justyna Pankowska

Peanut butter on everything, from sandwiches to desserts. It’s a love affair that many outside the U.S. just can’t grasp.

9. Patriotic Everything

shutterstock 1457262536

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Daniel Avram

Flags on houses, cars, and t-shirts. Patriotism is worn proudly, and often.

10. The Drive-Thru Culture

shutterstock 2344619067

Image Credit: Shutterstock / InveStock

Banks, pharmacies, and even liquor stores with drive-thru services. Why leave your car if you don’t have to?

11. Talking to Strangers

shutterstock 1507709276

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ground Picture

Striking up conversations with people in line, on the bus, or anywhere in public is common and often bewildering to visitors.

12. The Baby Gender Reveal Phenomenon

shutterstock 1020093661 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jacob Lund

Parties dedicated solely to revealing the gender of an unborn baby, sometimes with explosive results—literally.

13. Black Friday

shutterstock 485414590

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ground Picture

The day after Thanksgiving when Americans brave crowds and chaos for sales, turning shopping into a contact sport.

14. Squirting Lemon on Everything

shutterstock 753521986 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dawn Damico

Seafood, salads, water, and even beer aren’t safe from a lemon squeeze, a zesty American habit.

15. Clapping When the Plane Lands

shutterstock 1168222177

Image Credit: Shutterstock / bdavid32

A round of applause for the pilot landing the plane, as if it wasn’t expected.

16. The Obsession With Pumpkin Spice

shutterstock 2061444029 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Rimma Bondarenko

Come fall, pumpkin spice flavors invade every possible food and drink item, a seasonal mania that puzzles many.

17. Sales Tax Surprise

shutterstock 2381541869 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / ViDI Studio

The price you see isn’t the price you pay. The added sales tax at the register continues to surprise and confuse.

18. Jumbo-Sized Beverages

shutterstock 1064110565 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sampajano_Anizza

Where a ‘small’ drink elsewhere is a ‘large’ in America, and free refills abound.

19. The Homecoming Tradition

shutterstock 2145919195 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Gorodenkoff

High school football, a dance, and the crowning of a king and queen—it’s a uniquely American teenage rite of passage.

20. 24/7 Shopping

shutterstock 604008209

Image Credit: Shutterstock / George Rudy

The concept of stores, especially grocery stores, being open 24 hours is a convenience that amazes international visitors.

21. Garage Sales

shutterstock 1772819564

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dmytro Zinkevych

Turning one’s driveway into a temporary store, selling off used belongings to neighbors and strangers alike.

American Quirks

shutterstock 1486465109 1

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Varavin88

Embracing the uniqueness of American habits adds color to the cultural tapestry. From striking up conversations with strangers to indulging in excess ice cubes, these quirks contribute to the charm of the land of the free. Diversity in customs and habits enriches our global exploration.

More Articles Like This…

Mastering Underwater Photography on Your Travels

One Day in…Ayutthaya, Thailand

Top 10 Honeymoon Destinations According to Tripadvisor 2024

The post 21 Uniquely American Habits That Baffle the Outside World was republished on Passing Thru with permission from The Green Voyage.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Olena Yakobchuk.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

Tips for Trip Success

Book Your Flight
Find an inexpensive flight by using Kayak, a favorite of ours because it regularly returns less expensive flight options from a variety of airlines.

Book Your Hotel or Special Accommodation
We are big fans of Booking.com. We like their review system and photos. If we want to see more reviews and additional booking options, we go to Expedia.

You Need Travel Insurance!
Good travel insurance means having total peace of mind. Travel insurance protects you when your medical insurance often will not and better than what you get from your credit card. It will provide comprehensive coverage should you need medical treatment or return to the United States, compensation for trip interruption, baggage loss, and other situations.Find the Perfect Insurance Plan for Your Tripimage 9133145 14418597

PassingThru is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

To view PassingThru’s privacy policy, click here.

+ posts
+ posts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.