Hi everyone, me again (I know i am like MR questions)
I'm currently half way through my trip around the states and hoped for some advice on things to see in certain cities im in so as to save me time wandering aimlessly to start with.
Here are my remaining cities and times in them:
Seattle- 2 days
Portland- a day
San Fran- 4 days (I have a city tour and Alcatraz tour booked)
Monterey Bay- a day
LA- 3 days (1 of the days is my friends birthday (Female) so if anyone has suggestions for that too)
Phoenix- 1 day
San Diego- 3 days
Any ideas would be gratefully appreciated.
Thanks again everyone
here goes, I'm a geezer kinda guy, so your likes and mine might not jive!
I live now in Portland, or airport code PDX, and have spent many years in both LA/LAX and SF/SFO.
Seattle: I like to ride the ferries around Puget Sound - some really neat islands and even killer whales at times in the northern waters
PDX: This is a bike town, so rent one, or ride light rail (the MAX system). In summer people go to Sauvie Island north of town for the nude beach and fresh fruit - I believe it's bus #17 (you'll need more than a day here!)
Wilammette River jet boat cruise or rent jetskis
this is also a craft beer town, and July is the time for beer festivals (this weekend 7/13 in the Pearl District)
Waterfront Park - always something going on there in summer, another beer festival, no doubt another carnival soon, weekends there's a craft market under Burnside Bridge, often fireworks too
be sure to eat at Pok Pok Thai - unusual, casual, wonderful (SE Division/32nd St)
see the city's fountains downtown - Salmon Springs in Waterfront Park/Salmon St. and various other locations
good information bureau at Pioneer Square/heart of downtown
take the MAX to Washington Sq Park/Oregon Zoo/Japanese Garden
rent a car and see the Columbia River Gorge/hike and see many waterfalls
SFO: a city of hills, be sure to see the views at top of Twin Peaks and Buena Vista Park on Haight St. - continue down Haight St. to Golden Gate Park and out to Ocean Beach-Lands End (nude beach)
Fisherman's Wharf - very touristy as is Chinatown, ride cable cars - packed in summer
take #38 Geary bus out to Clement St. for excellent Asian foods
Monterey Peninsula: Monterey Aquarium, Village of Carmel, Pebble Beach Golf
LAX: waste of time in my opinion - car needed, terrible public trans. In summer head to beaches and rent a bike (17 mile long bike path from Redondo Beach in the S to Santa Monica in the N)
San Diego: Old Town for Mexican food, Pacific Beach for surf, Balboa Park for SD Zoo and museums
Tijuana Trolley from downtown SD to the Mexican border and walk into Tijuana for souvenirs and restaurants, see Jai Alai at Fronton on Revolution Blvd and cross the street in front of Fronton and best souvenirs at Tolon Gallery (excellent ceramics, paper mache, etc.)
Phoenix: terrible place, but some like Scottsdale for golf and resorts/pools.
Las Vegas: see the huge waste of electricity on the Strip, play the slots, see the shows, and eat at huge buffets.
[ Edit: Edited on Jul 12, 2008, at 1:37 AM by Daawgon ]
Seattle: I suggest you go to the Space Needle. In addition to the "needle" itself, there are two great places at the base--the Experience Music Project and the Alien Invasion Museum. (Both are good, but the EMP is the better of the two). Go to Kirkwood and eat at one of the places close to Lake Washington, or else at the "Purple Cafe", a real popular wine bar there, or the Crab place right across the street from the Purple Cafe. There is a real nice winery called Chauteu St. Michelle just a ways north of here and they do summer concerts. Also about 12 miles east of town is the Snowqualmie Falls, which is even higher than Niagara Falls. Ferries are fun also, and all the places along the water in Seattle are good eating spots. You should also consider stopping at the Mount St. Helens museum (visitors spot) when going from here to Portland--or else take an hour and a half and watch the IMAX film on Mount St. Helens while in Seattle.
Portland: I'll leave it to Daawon to tell you where to go in Portland, since I've not spent a lot of time there.
SFO: Agree with some of what was already written (Fisherman's Wharf and Chinatown), also go to the shopping district just south of Chinatown and near Union Square. Go down Columbia Street for lots of small shops and bistros. Go to Ghiradelli Square for the chocolate, go to the Golden Gate Bridge, and visit the Palace of Fine Arts close by--and the new Science Exposition Museum. Cable cars are a must do, too.
Monterey Peninsula: Monterey Aquarium, Cannery Row (right next to the aquarium), they also have a nice Fisherman's Wharf (there are two, so go to the one farthest south), Village of Carmel, 17 Mile Drive--which takes you by Pebble Beach and Cypress Point and Poppy Hills and Spyglass Hills Golf--as well as some of the most beautiful nature you'll ever see
Los Angeles: Beaches are the best places, but it does have 4 major amusement parks (Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and California Adventure) and a great place called the Huntington Library and Gardens (in San Marino, east of town), and the Getty Museum, in the hills about 10 miles north of the airport. Also, the best place to go (in about a week--which is when you will be there) is to go to Laguna Beach way south of town and go to the three art festivals. For me, the best of these is the Sawdust Festival--which is the most fun to go to at night (get there right after dinner and stay until 9-10 PM or so)
San Diego: (As Daawan said), its' Old Town for Mexican food, Pacific Beach for surf, Balboa Park for SD Zoo and museums--also Sea World here is lots of fun, and you can go to the San Diego Hilton on Mission Bay and right behind the hotel is a place to rent either waverunners or sailboats.
Mexico is okay--but personally, I'd spend the time in San Diego unless you plan to go farther south than Tijuana. Tijuana is touristy and a massive city, while south of town another 30 miles is where the real fun begins. (Take the toll road--the routa cuota) if you are going down to these places--Rosarito Beach and its FOX Studios amusement park, and the road on down to Ensenada--with a stop at the lobster restaurant (17 of them in one tiny village called Puerto Nuevo, about half way between Tijuana and Ensenada). Note: Ensenada is a three hour drive from the border, and it will take you another two hours to get back across the border because of lines, so consider all this if going there. Also, be aware that American insurance is not good in Mexico, which means you have to get the special Mexican auto insurance when renting your car if you plan to take it across the border.
Phoenix: its nice here in the winter months, but going here in summer is a gigantic mistake. The temperatures will be around 110 to 115 everyday (43 to 46 Celsius) with no entertainment. Best to just drive north to Sedona for the views and just slightly cooler weather. (I'd say go to the Grand Canyon, but it's too far to go there and back in just one day).
You didn't say Las Vegas, but if you can go here instead of Phoenix, that would be better. It will be about just as hot, but there are lots of shows here, and it's something to definitely see if you've never been there.
Oh, and I forgot to mention the gaslight district and the exhibitions at Balboa Park (right next to the San Diego Zoo). If you are into golfing, Torrey Pines in San Diego is where they just held the US Open that Tiger Woods won three weeks ago, and right below there is the famous Black's Beach (only truly nude beach in California).
The Del Mar racecourse is just north of town--and there is a Legoland amusement park another 30 miles north in Carlsbad for those with really small kids.
Thanks guys much appreciated :-)