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Advice on sights to see in CA

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Advice on sights to see in CA

We are embarking on a 30 day trip with our new high school graduate that will include stops in California, Vegas, Chicago, St. Louis, New York & DC (we'll be flying for the major legs, but yes, it's still ambitious).

We're planning to spend a few days to a week in California (around the 1st wk of June), before moving on for a few days between the Grand Canyon and Vegas. We're flying into San Francisco and out of LA, driving the Pacific Coast Highway in between. As we've never been there, I'm hoping someone out there can suggest some "must sees" along the way or just off the path.

Any suggestions?

Mission Viejo...
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1. Re: Advice on sights to see in CA

I'd spend a day in San Fran, try to catch a Giant's game if you can...really cool stadium. Take PCH down, any of the cities along the coast are charming and they all have their own personality. Monterrey is gorgeous, San Luis Obispo is very earthy and different, Santa Barbara is beautiful too. If you like wine, I'd recommend a trip to Napa or the Santa Barbara Wine Country. Have fun!

Seattle, Washington
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2. Re: Advice on sights to see in CA


I think I replied to one of your posts in DC. We've lived in both places, so here I am again.

I have a high school junior, and this is where I would go:

On your drive down the coast, definitely stop for at least 1 tour of the Hearst Castle in San Simeon. It is a MUST see! They have a good website.

In the LA area, with you being from Florida, skip all amusement parks- maybe try

Knott's Berry Farm, as it is unique to California. You may want to stop in at California Adventures that is part of Disneyland now, but even Disneyworld has 2 of their top attractions which are Soarin over California and the Tower of Terror. If you get to Knott's, try out Mrs. Knott's chicken dinner restaurant.

Other LA attractions would be to walk down Hollywood Blvd and look at the Walk of Fame , the Chinese Theater, and the Hollywood Entertainment Museum. Maybe take a cheesy star's home bus tour.

If your graduate is a clothes shopper, check out Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills to at least window shop, or Melrose Avenue where many celebrities shop.

For a taste of LA, have lunch at the Farmer's Market, Also seek out an In n Out Burger- they're a California institution! Pink's Chili Dogs is also an LA institution. You could wait 45 minutes in line for one of these, but it's worth the wait, imo.

For a taste of Latino culture, check out Olvera Street, even though it's tourist oriented, it's good for a taste, and there's some pretty good Mexican food and mariachis playing in a couple of the restaurants. There's an outdoor Mexican market along the street.

Along the beach in Venice Beach, there is Ocean Front Walk. For about a mile, maybe a little more if you go all the way up to Santa Monica, you can stroll along and check out all kinds of free spirited people, and "Muscle Beach". There's many places to eat here also, but I like just grabbing a Jody Maroni sausage sandwich towards the southern end of the walk.

You could go to a Dodger Game also, and have a Dodger dog, altho Pink's is better, imo

A few other places worth mentioning- Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park where you can get a closer view of the Hollywood sign and surrounding hills; La Brea Tar Pits; and the Petersen Automotive Museum (I think males would enjoy this one more) My husband and I saw a low rider exhibit here- we liked it.

I guess get a good map, pinpoint any of these sights that interest you, and take it one section a day. LA's a big place- lots to see and do. If you've never driven the freeways- they are very well designed- but pay close attention to signs and be in the right lane at all times, otherwise you'll be going somewhere you don't want to be FAST!

I hope you can use some of this info. Maybe you'll get more advice...

Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: Advice on sights to see in CA

Back to freeways- I meant "correct" lane not necessarily the "right " lane!

Seattle, Washington
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4. Re: Advice on sights to see in CA

I think I misread your question- you were looking for sights to see along the way- sorry-well maybe you'll get to do some LA stuff also. It pays to read previous posters! Have a great trip!!

Placerville, CA
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5. Re: Advice on sights to see in CA

Monterey Bay Aquarium. Definitely very cool.

San Luis Obispo Farmers Market on Thursday nights. Overnight at the Apple Farm Inn (great service, beautiful rooms, good restaurant) or Madonna Inn (very different) in San Luis Obispo (also known as SLO).

Hearst Castle in San Simeon.

Dinner at TJ McClintock's off the highway in Arroyo Grande.

Pismo Beach. You can beachwalk, or rent quads.

Santa Barbara. The artwalk on Sundays along the beach. Or shop on State Street.

Either in Santa Barbara or Ventura, a stop at one of the missions.

Stop at a farmstand in Oxnard for some very yummy Oxnard strawberries.

Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Can anyone remind me of that funny restaurant where the servers jump on the room dividers and sing YMCA, or the waitresses crack their gum? Is it Ed Debevics??

Santa Monica Beach. Lots of strange types there.

Have fun!!!!

north cali
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6. Re: Advice on sights to see in CA

In LA if you like shopping go to Melrose definately! Also Universal City Walk is cool too and has some resturants. The only resturant I really liked in LA was Jennifer Lopez's Madres which is a lil bit pricey. Take a stroll down city walk:)

In SF I really like the resturant called the Exuinox with actually rotates on top of a tall building over looking the city. Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. Go shopping in Union Square.

Yosemite has beautiful waterfalls and hiking.

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7. Re: Advice on sights to see in CA

On a tight schedule the three things I would do in SF:

Eat good food in the Mission (between Mission and Valenica, 16th and 20th - anything is good.)

Drive over the Golden Gate. Take the first exit if it is not foggy and take in the view of the city from up on the hill. $5 toll.

Drive thru Chinatown or park and walk around if you have time. Have some Dim Sum if you have never had it.

Good luck and have an amazing time!