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Trip to CA - need some ideas

Joined
28 May 2008
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Wife is interested in us taking a trip to Southern CA for about a week or two at most. She's identified the following possibilities:

Catalina Island
San Diego
Los Angeles
Long Beach

I'm personally interested in Hollywood, Universal Studios, etc. Hoping to see what you all might suggest as some fun things to do and great places to go. We're still in the very early stages of planning, so any suggestions are much appreciated! :)
 
Two things you should not miss when visiting SoCal:

1) USS Midway Aircraft Carrier in San Diego. Mind-boggling.

DSC_4338.jpg


2) Leucadia Donut Shoppe on 101 in Encinitas. To die for.

DSC_4103.jpg
 
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Wife is interested in us taking a trip to Southern CA for about a week or two at most. She's identified the following possibilities:

Catalina Island
San Diego
Los Angeles
Long Beach

I'm personally interested in Hollywood, Universal Studios, etc. Hoping to see what you all might suggest as some fun things to do and great places to go. We're still in the very early stages of planning, so any suggestions are much appreciated! :)

I'll write a more in depth recommendation list next time I'm at a computer.

Have you decided what time of the year you'll be going? Summer is always a great time to go to SoCal.

Catalina isn't really worth going to IMO.

San Diego is a great city with lots of good food. I've spent a good amount of time down there, and I can give some good restaurant recommendations!

If you're going to go from SD to LA, I'd recommend perhaps stopping for a night or two in Laguna Beach.

There's also Cars and Coffee every Saturday morning in Irvine (which is about half way between SD and LA) which is a must see for car enthusiasts. There's also Supercar Sunday in LA.

Disneyland is always great.

LA has a good amount of cool things to see. The Getty museum is pretty awesome. If you're coming in the summer, maybe you can catch a show at the Hollywood Bowl which is always a great experience.

I'll write more later.
 
We were planning for October/November as a 5-year anniversary.

By then we'll be in the heart of winter. It may only get up into the 60s.:biggrin:

SD is a great city with lots of good energy. The drive up to LA is ok, but crowded. If the wife likes good drives, go up the 15 to wine country, then cut across the Ortega highway to Orange County.

Miner
 
San Diego Zoo is real nice and we loved nearby La Jolla when we were looking at some colleges in 1999.
 
I'd skip Long Beach all together (trust me, I live there). It's a neat city, but with San Diego and LA, there's more than enough to do in those two cities. Long Beach is probably only worth checking out during the Grand Prix...

For LA:
Touristy stuff is Hollywood, Universal Studios, Disneyland, the Getty, the Malibu Getty, Griffith Park Observatory (Excellent views of all of LA, including the Hollywood sign), hanging out in Downtown LA, Santa Monica (including 3rd Street), Venice Beach

For San Diego:
The San Diego Zoo & Balboa Park, Sea World & the Big Bay, Old Town, Downtown/Gaslamp Quarters, Coronado Island (Hotel Del Coronado), La Jolla..
 
San Diego to LA is about 120 miles, and is not too bad of a drive if you work around traffic hours. SD is great because you have plenty of things to do, but a few days will do.

Just rent a car and drive around.
 
I've been to SD before, it was a business trip and I stayed in La Jolla. Not much happened, business during the day, dinner, then I was at the hotel. I've flown into LA and went to West Covina where I bought the NSX, then back to the airport - again, not much happening.

Lastly, 13 years ago, I was stationed at 29 Palms when I was in the US Marines. From there, my trips were mostly to the Palm Springs areas.

Depending on what we plan out, a car rental is certainly an option. Another approach I'm considering is flying into LA and doing whatever, then we drive to Vegas hitting some random stops on the way, and fly home from LA.
 
I live in san Diego and there is not much going on here. I was going to suggest visiting the uss midway museum. Pretty impressive. Standing on the aircraft carrier with all the aircrafts gives you the idea of how big the US military machine is, but since you are from Virginia and former military, I am sure you already know it. My suggestion is to stick to the Los Angeles area and visit tourist places like universal studios, Hollywood and the likes.

If u have never been to Catalina, go there just to see what it's like for once but if u r press for time, skip it.
 
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I would go to the San Diego Wild Animal Park over the San Diego Zoo. Although the zoo is great and "world famous," the Wild Animal Park is a much more unique experience.
 
I would go to the San Diego Wild Animal Park over the San Diego Zoo. Although the zoo is great and "world famous," the Wild Animal Park is a much more unique experience.

My wife was just reading about that late last night and mentioned it to me, it sounds like she's putting it up high on the list of things to do. I'll certainly pass along your note as well, thanks!
 
When I visit LA for pleasure, not work, I try to skip LA proper, and either spend time in Orange County (Newport Beach, Venice Beach, Hungtington Beach are awesome), or up north near Malibu area.

I often though will head down to my favorite area - Carlsbad / Oceanside, just to relax as well. I really don't like downtown San Diego all that much, too much traffic, too jam packed, and not enough attractions.
 
Catalina is always fun for a couple of days. If you decide to go, take the Catalina Flyer. The slow boat is a drag. Once you get there you can rent bicycles or golf carts and cruize around Avalon. Its pretty fun. You can take in a glass bottom boat ride or do some snorkling. There isn't a large beach area there, but there are some decent bars and resturants.


catalina_flyer_05s.jpg



Depending on what your wife likes to do, you can go on a 2 hr Hornblower cruise in San Diego Bay. It takes you under the Coronado Bridge.

SDRW_RESTPIC_255.jpg


In mission bay they have the Sternwheeler boats that shuttle you between the Catamaran and Bahia hotels. I recommend eating at the Atoll resturant at the Catamaran Resort.

catamaran_resort_hotel_large.jpg


Nearby is the rollercoaster at Belmont Park and tons of shops and bars to check out along the boardwalk at Mission Beach.

belmont-park.jpg


On shelter Island is Humphries Half Moon Bay. A great place to take in a concert. Lots of great seafood places nearby also.

6122_image1_large.jpg


Downtown San Diego is the world famous gas lamp district. Well known for the niteclubs and resturants. Parking can be difficult, but you can always find something a couple blocks away.

gaslamp.jpg
 
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Catalina is always fun for a couple of days. If you decide to go, take the Catalina Flyer. The slow boat is a drag. Once you get there you can rent bicycles or golf carts and cruize around Avalon. Its pretty fun. You can take in a glass bottom boat ride or do some snorkling. There isn't a large beach area there, but there are some decent bars and resturants.


catalina_flyer_05s.jpg



Depending on what your wife likes to do, you can go on a 2 hr Hornblower cruise in San Diego Bay. It takes you under the Coronado Bridge.

SDRW_RESTPIC_255.jpg


In mission bay they have the Sternwheeler boats that shuttle you between the Catamaran and Bahia hotels. I recommend eating at the Atoll resturant at the Catamaran Resort.

catamaran_resort_hotel_large.jpg


Nearby is the rollercoaster at Belmont Park and tons of shops and bars to check out along the boardwalk at Mission Beach.

belmont-park.jpg


On shelter Island is Humphries Half Moon Bay. A great place to take in a concert. Lots of great seafood places nearby also.

6122_image1_large.jpg


Downtown San Diego is the world famous gas lamp district. Well known for the niteclubs and resturants. Parking can be difficult, but you can always find something a couple blocks away.

gaslamp.jpg

This is fantastic feedback, I'm sharing with her as soon as I get home from the office today. :)
 
Last trip to SoCal I planned ahead and got tickets to the Tonight Show. It was fun and very different. Don't know that I would do it again, but very glad we did it once. Now that Conan is in California I'd probably opt for that. Just an idea.

Leno was very 'dirty' in person, much different then the PG TV persona.

Also arranged for Scuba diving in La Jolla. That was fun as well.
 
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If your wife likes to shop then visit fashion island, rodeo dr, beverly center, melrose, south coast plaza etc.

Adrians suggestion of both getty museums are great and im adding huntington library/gardens



Santa monica third street promenade is also another popular hangout

Laguna beach is definitely nice going towards downtown laguna

For you cars and coffee sat and super car sunday in woodland hills if they have it

Theres also the petersen auto museum by the beverly center

Disneyland, magic mountain, universal studios for theme parks

Restaurants check out castaways in burbank or orange hills in orange

Balboa bay club is also a nice place to hangout and dine its right across from ferrari of newport

Huntington beach is another nice spot to walk around main st
 
Last trip to SoCal I planned ahead and got tickets to the Tonight Show. It was fun and very different. Don't know that I would do it again, but very glad we did it once. Now that Conan is in California I'd probably opt for that. Just an idea.

Leno was very 'dirty' in person, much different then the PG TV persona.

Also arranged for Scuba diving in La Jolla. That was fun as well.

I actually mentioned that idea to my wife on Saturday. I suggested tickets to the Price is Right and Late Night Show with Jay Leno. LOL!
 
I actually mentioned that idea to my wife on Saturday. I suggested tickets to the Price is Right and Late Night Show with Jay Leno. LOL!

I actually tivo'd the episode and during the return from commercial break, the camera started on me and panned out to include my wife. Very cool memento. :smile:

We did the Gaslamp district and all the touristy events, but I remember the odd activities more as they really stand out rather then getting lost in 1000's of streets I've walked down.

Hope you and your wife have a ball!
 
I'm also going to LA in May, but it's just a 14 hour layover. I arrive at 10pm, and leave at 12pm the next day. Is there anything to do there overnight? I plan to get some tacos from one of those popular taco trucks.
 
Just north of La Jolla is Torrey Pines, and there you will find a glider port near the college. You should be able to find it on google

It's a quick stop off the highway, and quite interesting since the view is very good from the second story deck. Essentially its a large grass lawn facing the Pacific ocean which ends at a massive dropoff hundreds of feet above the ocean. Folks in hang gliders, paragliders, etc... run right off the edge of the cliff and they quickly ascend on the updraft, cool thing to see in person.
There is a snack bar there too. Also, a fine place to check out the sunset.

If nearby, stop at Irvine Cars and Coffee on Saturday AM. Very large car show, been there twice and enjoyed the variety and friendly owners.

Allow time for traffic or your plans might get delayed
 
Just north of La Jolla is Torrey Pines, and there you will find a glider port near the college. You should be able to find it on google

It's a quick stop off the highway, and quite interesting since the view is very good from the second story deck. Essentially its a large grass lawn facing the Pacific ocean which ends at a massive dropoff hundreds of feet above the ocean. Folks in hang gliders, paragliders, etc... run right off the edge of the cliff and they quickly ascend on the updraft, cool thing to see in person.
There is a snack bar there too. Also, a fine place to check out the sunset.

I am not sure there is still a glider port there according to this link. Hang gliders do still go off the 300' cliff.

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=25106

The view from there is spectacular.

1438px-Torrey_Pines_State_Reserve_-_November_Sunset_180%C2%B0_Pano.jpg


There is also Torrey Pines State Reserve. Where there are some nice hiking trails. Here is a link to trail maps and directions.

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=657

torry_pines3bg_121199.jpg
 
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