Basicially I along with 30 others from my rugby club in Glasgow, Scotland are coming on tour this year to the U.S. We're playing two games and the rest is open to suggestion. We spend 4 nights in Los Angeles, 1 night in Arroyo Grande (West Coast between LA and San Francisco) and 4 nights in San Francisco. So LA from 18-22 June and 24-28 June in San Fran. I think we're staying in Santa Monica as we were staying in the Hilton L.A.X. but moved as we were warned off it. I have a few general questions which I would most appreciate any suggestions with....
A) What sites are a must see in both cities?
B) Where to avoid?
C) Where's best for nightlife?
Most likely a few of us will be wearing the traditional national attire of kilts! As having worn them in previous foreign countries, they usually get a warm reception as opposed to the standard tourists with their digital cameras round their neck and maps in their hands!
A. Sites to see in Los Angeles--Disneyland or Universal Studios, TV studio tour (try NBC and go to a talk show or game show), beaches (very good during the summer months of June to mid-September--the best ones are Santa Monica or Huntington Beach or Newport Beach), Huntington Library and Gardens, Getty Museum (you have to book ahead for this). A side trip to San Diego and northern Mexico is fun if you can fit it in (but your time is quite limited).
Avoid in LA---Most of downtown, south-central, and Compton areas (although Compton is improving a bit lately).
Nightlife is best near the beach cities I mentioned--or in Beverly Hills off of Melrose Blvd and La Cienega. Too long since I lived there so I don't know specific spots.
Sites to see in San Francisco--Golden Gate Park, Fisherman's Wharf, Alcatraz, Cable Cars, Chinatown, Little Italy (along Columbus Street), Embarcadero, Pier 37, Ghiradelli Square, Golden Gate Bridge, Union Square Area for shopping
Avoid in SF--Tenderloin area or the Castro area or the area just south of market near downtown (except near the Metreon)
Nightlife can be found at any Irish or English or Scottish pub, at the restaurants along Union Street, or along Columbus Street (best). There are also many comedy clubs in town that book top-notch, well-known comedians. Beach Blanket Bingo is the weirdest show you'll ever see, and there is also opera and theatres like in London (though not nearly as many as in London).
Enjoy your trip.
Oh, and I forgot to mention--Arroyo Grande is just outside of Pismo Beach--which is where you should go for your nightlife--either that or go on up to San Luis Obispo--the local college town--which will probably be mostly empty in June, though (thus the reason to stay in Pismo).
There are many wineries all up and down the coast including many right around Arroyo Grande. The best ones are just north of there in Paso Robles (check out State Highway 46 west of US Highway 101) or south of there near Los Olivos (the wineries are just north/northwest of this town). Also check out Solvang (near Los Olivos and 75 miles north of Santa Barbara) on your way. Heading north of Arroyo Grande, check out Carmel and Monterey on your way to San Francisco.
Have a great trip.