Hi, I'm Judith and I'm in the middle of planning a trip for next summer before I head off to university instead of taking a full gap year.
I'm going to visit family in Australia before spending a month doing voluntary work and travel in New Zealand, then I was thinking of flying home via the USA as it's relatively easy to get flights from Auckland to Los Angeles and I've never been to the West coast - I've only travelled New York to Washington DC.
After that, I'll have about 2 weeks or so in the US before I'd have to get back home to sort out stuff for uni and I was wondering if anyone would have any tips on how to spend my time. I would like to see Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, but I'm unsure how long I'd need to spend in each - I'm travelling on my own and I won't be able to hire a car as I'll only be 19, despite having a valid licence here.
I'd also be open to any other suggestions of places to go instead in California or elsewhere, prices of flights/buses depending of course. And lastly, I was wondering if it would be worth taking a couple of days in Chicago on the way home, as I'd most likely be flying via there to Dublin.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions
Not sure what you like but here are some common tourist attractions
warner bros studio tour
santa ana botanial gardens
los angeles county museum of art
los angeles zoo
hollywood wax museum
grauman's chinese theatre
san francisco zoo
ripley's believe it or not museum
san francisco cable cars
friends of photography [ansel adams center]
san diego zoo
san diego maritime museum
With any event in California that you are interested in make sure reservations are not recommended in advance
San Diego and San Francisco are quite nice with a great deal to see, but I try to warn tourists away from LA. Unless you want to rent a car and spend most of your time on the freeways, LA is not for you. I would head to the Northwest if I were you (Seattle and Portland) - much less crowded and generally cheaper and nicer. California is much too crowded for me.
It really depends on what is important to you and of interest. San Francisco is easier to get around WITHOUT a car. Public transportation is great there. Do go downtown, the international district (China town). I love the art museums there, and of course there is a wharf. San Francisco, along with other larger cities, have city pass books.
This "go pass" will give you discounts for several places. Have to see the Golden Gate Bridge (better yet, walk across it -it's a breeze, or rent a bike to explore what's across the water). The Go Pass gives you discounts for attractions. A ride in a boat on the Bay was very pleasant too.
I do advise coming up to Seattle, particularly if you love the outdoors. Downtown/Space Needle is fun to go up. EMP - The Experimental Music Project is unique. If you can go on a day trip go to the Olympic Penninsual and go to Olympic National Park. Further away is the Hoh Rain Forest - one of my favorites.
Mt. Ranier is closer travel-wise, and is beautiful, and the landmark of the Seattle area.
I'd do online research for the places you're interested in, and think about what you love to do as well.
Chicago is cool. It started a school of architecture in America long ago.
Hope this is some help.
Yes, S.F. is easily the most transit-friendly city, although it is not impossible to take public transportation in LA. It just isn't as easily accessible as in S.F. You can take a combination of Greyhound bus and Amtrak/Metrolink train from S.D. to S.F. though.
you can lookup California in TripTipTop and get some tips and ideas of where to hang out and what to see.
have a great trip!
Glad you're coming on out here! Many suggestions on here are good! If you are at all interested in seeing the natural sites of California, I would definitely suggest trying to make it over to Yosemite National Park. It's really beautiful. There's a ton of great hiking, fishing, and a lot of nice people to meet. I would also suggest driving up the Pacific Coast Highway and stopping at the various small towns and cities along the way, including Big Sur, which is known for it's beautiful water and massive trees (150 miles south of San Fransisco).
If you're looking for a California-style beach city to appreciate, I would have to suggest Santa Monica. Santa Monica has a great night life, and much to do during the day including the famous Santa Monica pier. Have fun!
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos or personal details please. ]