We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Suggestions for things to do

Which San Diego hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
3 posts
Save Topic
Suggestions for things to do

I'm headed down to LA for three days in July with my wife, 9 month child, and my parents. We're flying into LA on Friday and we're wondering what we should do and where we should stay.

We're thinking about spending Saturday in LA, visiting the Hollywood, Santamonica, Rodondo beach area and spending the night at one of the beach-side hotels.

On Sunday, we were thinking about heading down to SanDiego and checking out the aquarium and the local sights, including the beaches.

On Monday, we were going to head back to LA and spend the day in LA and fly out that evening.

My question: Is it worth drigin down to SanDiego for a day? Do you have a suggested itinerary for the few days we are spending in LA and possibly SanDiego? And do you have hotel suggestions in SanDiego and possibly LA? And could you please suggest a restaurant for a birthday celebration dinner for my parents.

Thanks so much for your help!

San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
Level Contributor
60,695 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Suggestions for things to do

I am the kindof traveler that goes to France for 10days and spends all but 3 of them in Paris. Sooo when you talk about visiting a city fo r3 days and really trying to visit 2 cities in those 3 days I say STOP!!

You live in Seattle. It is not as if you cannot come back to California easily sooo maybe 'chilll out" a bit and think which city you'd REALLY like to visit. The drive back and forth is at least 2hrs each way and not really fun. In my opinion it is too rushed and trafficy to do the trip you describe in 3 days.

Yucaipa, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
Level Contributor
18,521 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Suggestions for things to do

San Diego is absolutely worth visiting. In fact, San Diego has a nicer feeling to it, as big cities go, than LA. Don't be fooled into thinking you are going to drive down for Sea World and be satisfied! It sounds like you want to to visit either Sea World or the Scripps aquarium (don't know which you meant) plus see the beaches and other local sights. You may be able to visit Scripps and the beaches in La Jolla in one day and some sights downtown, if you rush around. Sea World will defininately take all day itself.

Remember too, you are going in July, a popular time to visit Southern California. Even locals do a lot of traveling around So. Cal at that time.

There is too much to do and see in San Diego. Unless you really, really want to go to LA it would be better to spend all three days in San Diego.

Because you wrote in the San Diego forum and because I happen to like San Diego much better than LA - I admit I'm biased-I am going to suggest you think about possible changes your itineray. One thing you could do is flying into John Wayne airport in Orange County and visit Laguna Beach first. Stay overnight if you like or just spend the day and have lunch. Travel down the coast and perhaps stay in Carlsbad, which is close to San Diego and, from what I have heard, has more hotels on the beach. You could make that your base to travel to and from San Diego. It is still quite a distance.

You could fly into San Diego Airport and stay downtown at the Holiday Inn On the Bay, request a bay view. No beach there, but a great view of San Diego Bay and the Maritime Museums (i.e. Star of India Sailing ship and others). Outdoor restaurtant there at the Holiday Inn gives you a nice atmosphere. You will be down the street from sights such as the USS Midway, and Seaport Village. Seaport is a very good place for a child your age and there are restaurants good for families there. Very close to that is the Gaslamp area with lots of good restaurants. A trip over the nearby Coronado bridge and you are in Coronado Island which has an entirely different feel than downtown San Diego. Visit the Hotel Del Coronado and walk along the beach in front of the hotel. This is where I would suggest you have your birthday celebration. At the Sheerwater in the Hotel Del Coronado, with outdoor seating overlooking the ocean.

Your itinerary in San Diego, besides what is mentioned, can include a trip to La Jolla where the aquarium is and a visit to the beach there. There is a beach that is preserved for seals and you could go see that as well. Also on your visit you could include Sea World, San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park (right next to the zoo). Balboa Park has a miniture train and an old fashioned carousel as well as pretty archetechture, fountains, and sometimes children's entertainers.

If you really want to do LA and you are going to fly into LAX, just visit Hollywood for a day and stay in Santa Monica. Have breakfast near the beach somewhere and then travel down to San Diego and stay there as long as you can. If you can fit it in, stop into Laguna Beach, on your way back to LAX. Personally, I would cut a lot of time out of the LA visit and spend most of the time in San Diego.

Just my opinion. Hope it helps and doesn't confuse!

Level Contributor
34,979 posts
898 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Suggestions for things to do

We loved the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego. There is a very nice restaurant there called 1500 Ocean that would be nice for dinner. Another very nice place for a birthday celebration would be George's at the Cove (George's California Modern) in La Jolla, a very pretty and upscale area of San Diego. Have fun! :)

San Marcos, CA
Level Contributor
260 posts
87 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Suggestions for things to do

I would have to agree with riffsmom and to not rush things and stay in LA for your trip, especially since you don't seem to have a major attraction (Zoo/Sea World) you want to see. The beaches are the same in LA and are not worth a 4 hour drive. There is also a great aquarium in Long Beach called the Aquarium of the Pacific that you could check out.


Yucaipa, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
Level Contributor
18,521 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Suggestions for things to do

Pachyderm, I have to disagree with the above post.

The beaches in San Diego are by far more beautiful than the beaches in LA. Coronado Beach, and I believe La Jolla as well, was on the top 10 best beaches in America list several times. Santa Monica, though I believe it is beautiful as well as an interesting and exciting beach city, has just been rated one of the most polluted beaches in California (unfortunately). If you don't want to go down to San Diego, I suggest visiting an Orange County beach. Laguna Beach in Orange County is considered to have the most beautiful beaches in Southern California.

Remember, San Diego is not a four hour drive, simply at the most 2 hours down and 2 hours back - you will not be driving four hours straight to get from LA to San Diego. And staying overnight will certainly give you a rest and a good time.

New York
Level Contributor
161 posts
1 review
Save Reply
6. Re: Suggestions for things to do

I spent 6 nights in San Diego last summer and my family didn't get to do everything we wanted, so we're heading back again. San Diego is definitely a worthy place to visit.

just to name a few:


San Diego Zoo

Padres Baseball Game

Wild Animal Park

Torrey Pines State Beach

Coronado Beach


Seaport Village

7. Re: Suggestions for things to do

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 01 September 2009, 17:18