Myself and a couple of friends are planning a trip from the UK to the west coast US around September time. We are just at the very early stages of looking into it at the moment, ideally we want to spend 3 weeks taking in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
At the moment we are unsure which is the best order to visit them in, we plan to book a hotel for our first and last destination, but inbetween be pretty flexible, we plan to rent a car to travel between the cities and stop off wherever takes our fancy on route.
Has anyone any suggestions on what they think would be the best order to visit these cities, and how long to spend in each? We are thinking at least 4 nights in Vegas, a week in San Francisco, a week in LA and a couple of days for travelling. But after reading a few posts im thinking maybe a week is to long in LA?
Any suggestions gratefully recieved.
I would say the best order would be with LA in the middle--if you started in San Francisco, you could drive down the Pacific Coast Highway to LA, which is a gorgeous drive. Then the drive to Las Vegas from LA is only a few hours through the desert.
San Francisco is definitely my favorite city of the three--so much to do and very accessible by walking and public transport once you are there. Definitely do Alcatraz and Fisherman's Wharf. LA is so spread out and you need to drive everywhere (slooowly, as the traffic is awful!). My faves there are Santa Monica Pier and the Getty Center. Vegas is an entirely different world and its just fun to hop from casino to casino. The Bellagio water show is fun
We went on a cross-US road trip a few years ago and did a Vegas, LA, San Fran loop. Entries start here if you want more info/pics: http://patrinadoestheusa.blogspot.com/2006_12_10_archive.html
I'd say Fly into LA, immediatley rent a car, you NEED a car to around LA. and drive out to Vegas, then go see the grand canyon and drive back to san diego. stay there for a bit maybe walk down to mexico for a day or two. then drive up the coast through LA again and on to san fran.
I did LA for four days before and thought that was a day too long. but I didn't have a car and was stuck in hollywood that whole time.
Hi, I just got back from SF, LA and LV last week, I would agree with katrinab on doing San Fran first then LA and then LV.
My fav city is San Fran, I've been there twice already. You should try the clam chowder in Fisherman's Wharf, it is yum! Just walk around, it is the most beautiful city I’ve seen.
I would also highly recommend the farmer's market in LA, it has the most amazing spread of cuisines, a great place to meet people from all over the world. It was definitely a very interesting place, a must see.
Vegas is a totally different ball game, hop around the casinos but don't ever take the cab there, they are so expensive, it is not funny. If you want to get from one end to the other try using the monorail and you'd probably reach there faster by rail too. The Venetian is gorgeous, wine is also quiet inexpensive there. You should try one of the buffets in any casino, they are good value for money most of them range between 12-15 bucks if you get there before 11.00 am. Another tip, don’t order room service, I paid 20 bucks for a cup of coffee which included all the possible taxes you can come up with !!!!
I’d say you have definitely chosen to visit the 3 best places in the West Coast, have a great time !!!
Hi, thanks for your advice, you have given us some good info to think about.
For no particular reason we had been thinking of Vegas first, LA then San Fran, but as a couple of you have suggested doing it the other way round we will take that on board when we are planning it.
I think we just thought of Vegas first as it seems like a party city and we wanted to go there while we were still full of energy!
I was reading up a bit on car rental as we are thinking about driving between the cities, i read this can work out quite expensive especially if we're picking up a car in one location and dropping it off in another. Would internal flights be a cheaper way of getting between the places?
By the sounds of it its useful to have a car in LA so we could still rent a car for a few days while we're there.
Thanks again for your advice
Vegas is a party city and could potentially be the cheapest place you visit. Lodging there is actually remarkably cheap. However, actually DOING anything isn't. Almost every club will have a cover, and not a small one either. Of course, Vegas might just be the highest concentration of attractive people in the US, nightlife anyway. So that is a plus! There are a couple free shows outside the casinos. I haven't been in a few years and a couple new places have gone up since then, so there might be more, but I always loved Treasure Island's show . You could honestly spend a day walking around all the casinos and checking out the structures. They are pretty impressive.
Like others have said, make sure to do the Pacific Highway if you do drive. It is really amazing and there are some things you could do in SLO if you wanted to get out of a "major" city. It is somewhat of a college town as well, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding a good time there if you wanted. From SF to LA, you are looking at about 9 hours drive if you can avoid traffic. LA to Vegas is about 4 hours if I am not mistaken. If you go direct from Vegas to SF, I think it is about 12 hours.
I would say skip LA and hit up San Diego instead. I know that is probably not something you will do, but it is a MUCH nicer city. They are relatively close, so you could probably pop down there if you get tired of LA.
Internal flights can be cheap, but they can also get unexpectedly expensive. Southwest Airlines is probably going to be your most consistent bet. You shouldn't have much trouble getting from LAX to SFO airports, as they are both major hubs. Vegas has a decently sized airport as well. You could consider flying into either Vegas and driving to LA and back (or vice versa) and then flying up to SF. You might be able to score a ticket for $49, but I would expect a little bit more.
Hope it helps!
Ah yes the excitement of planning a trip to the West Coast, i remember those days
San Fran is phenomonal, the amount to do there and general feel of the city is amazing.
Alcatraz, walk across Golden Gate bridge, find a decent city tour to take in some of the smaller but lovely sites, visit AT&T Park to watch the baseball (Assuming you can stand the sport, most English can't, i however love it) Fishermans Wharf is great, the restuarants and city performers make it so much, plus of course the seals down on the pier.
LA is a strange place, it is spread out, you need to drive to get places and some of it is very dodgy and not nice, but other parts are great.
I really enjoyed an open top mini bus tour of the celeb homes which also included trips down Rodeo Drive and up to see the Hollywood sign, the tour guide was great fun and very informative about all of LA, not just the area we were in.
I'd say The Sunset Strip is worth a visit, along with a tour of the star homes which includes the above and maybe, depending on time, walk the later part of the walk of fame, finishing at the chinese theatre (Which is were most of the tours go from)
Six Flags theme park nearby is fantastic, what a park, the most rollar coasters you'll ever see, HUGE ones too!
The beaches are the main pull of LA, Malibu, Laguana etc
Vegas, wow, now this place is crazy, you wont believe it till you see it, no matter what people say or you've seen on tv you wont be prepared for Vegas.
So hot, day and night, the strip is ALOT longer than you think, people everywhere, the casino's are huge and you struggle to find your way out, the clubs are expensive but man its a must on the list of places to visit.
There is a booth next to M&M world that sells half price show tickets, i'd recommend Blue Man Group and a Circue show (I did KA).
But just everything from the indoor rollar coasters and log flume to the dolphins and in casino lions, to the buffets and the huge array of casino's, it's all amazing.
Make sure you catch the fountain display outside the Bellagio, every 30mins i believe.
And see as many casinos as you can, even if you just walk in, around and out.
Also don't be afraid to spend the day chilling by your hotel pool, at night Vegas comes alive and stays alive all night long.
Thanks everyone for all your advice, keep it coming, its all helpful and welcome
Its certainly given us a lot to think about when we're planning, I cant wait to get over there, all this talk of it makes it more exciting, ive always wanted to go to Vegas, it looks amazing.
It sounds like we've got a lot to plan out before we go, wether to drive or fly etc, id like to get it all sorted out before we get there.
Thanks again for all the info
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