Me and a mate (we are both 27 years old) are planning a trip around the US. Our itinerary is:
18th Jan to 20th Jan - LA
21st Jan to 27th Jan - San Francisco
28th Jan to 31st Jan - Las Vegas
1st Feb to 9th Feb - New York
10th Feb to 14th Feb - Washington DC
15th Feb to 18th Feb - New Orleans
19th Feb to 23rd Feb - San Diego
24th Feb to 25th Feb - LA
Our accommodation is all organised and we are going to bus / fly between the cities (already organised). Where required we shall hire a car for a day or two.
What we were wanting to know is what are the must see big tourist attractions and some unknown must see attractions that the average tourist misses out on.
So far we plan to go to places like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, Hoover Dam, Death Valley, and Alcatraz. Were possible we would like to see some sporting events like basketball and ice hockey. We might even look at a day trip down to Mexico.
When we are in Vegas we would like to catch a show or two and are wondering what would be the best to see. Also we would like to catch some live music somewhere in a small venue. We listen to a lot of different kinds of music, but steer clear of dance music, rap and commercial stuff like Britney Spears.
We know it will be winter there at this time of year and will be wet / cold, but it was the only time that we could organise around work.
Any help that you can give will be much appreciated.
Sounds like an ambitious awesome trip Yab Yab. I have a few ideas for you.
21st Jan to 27th Jan - San Francisco-I see you are interested in Yosemite. I hate to tell you, but before you leave San Fran you may want to see if the park is open. A majority of the park is shut down due to snow. Yosemite Village is probably going to be awesome, but it does not shine to the whole park itself. Still worth the 6 hour drive. I highly recommend renting a car and driving down Hwy 1 toward Santa Barbara. Even in the rain and drizzle of the winter this coastline is some of the best in the world. Have you thought about maybe taking Amtrak up to Seattle, Wa? My son and I recently did this. It was only 75.00 apiece, but did take 24 hours to get there...and 24 hours to get back. Well worth the trip. You were able to sit back and relax while someone else did the driving. That is just a thought. 6 days is a lot of time in San Fran alone.
28th Jan to 31st Jan - Las Vegas- Vegas is a site to see in itself. I do recommend Grand Canyon, but again the snow may close down part of the Canyon. It is an awesome site to see. It will take you at least 4-5 hours to get to the Canyon from Vegas. I did a search and you have several choices for Las Vegas shows. The average prices are $66-160. I highly recommend a Cirque themed show...you have three choices. KA' by Cirque Du Soleil, ZUMANITY by Cirque du Soleil, Le Reve - Aquatic Spectacular, Disney's the Lion King, Blue Man Group, and Carrot Top (Comedian).
I do not think you can go wrong with any of the shows. I hope you got a good price for your hotel room in Vegas. This is the only place that it is cheaper to stay in a Casino than staying in a hostel. You can sometimes find a room for $12.00 a night. I could not find a hostel cheaper than that. At least not at the per person price. It is definately worth staying on "The Strip". The walking that you will be doing up and down the strip is tiring.
1st Feb to 9th Feb - New York New York is one of my favorite cities! I highly recommend the 48 hr hop on hop off double decker Sightseeing bus that includes Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Tickets for $83.00. I provided the link- http://www.newyorksightseeing.com/tourpage.php?item=ENS . NYC will be freezing by that time so definately dress in layers and appropriately. I would recommend a Broadway show while you are there. You can go to the Tickets box office in Times Square and get awesome same day sometimes half price tickets.
Washington DC is a place I have not spent much time besides the basics. There are numerous free museums there that you can get lost in. Maybe take in an IMAX movie? How are you getting from Washington, DC to New Orleans? Renting a car or driving? Considering I am a true Southerner I would be disappointed if you missed our great Smokey Mountains which are located in Tn, NC, SC, and Eastern Ga. If you are flying I guess you can't help it. Just promise to some day come see us .
New Orleans is a nice enough place. I wish you could of seen it before its Hurricane Katrina days. It is working very hard to restore itself. You will definately have to try a Shrimp PoBoy or some grits while you are there. Not to mention Benets (I know I didn't spell it right) and some Chikory coffee.
San Diego I called home for ten years. It was and still is my favorite city in the World. Please do bypass Tijuana, Mexico and go to Rosarita or Ensenada, Mx. Tijuana is full of crime. You will enjoy the other two cities just 30 minutes south of TJ.
I do wish you a lot of fun and nicer than normal weather. Any questions feel free to ask.
You do have a chance to see Vegas shows at a discount. There are ticket brokers on the Strip. They offer half priced tickets if the show does not sell out. Worth stopping by when walking the Strip. I get free shows, give me a shout just before you arrive and I will see what I can do for you.
Bring warm clothes. DC and NY is best seen by walking around quite a bit and in Feb you should be prepared for below freezing temps. The good news about DC is most of the stuff you want to see is fairly centrally located. But lodging in both cities, especially NY, will be expensive.
I agree with passing on Tijuana and going straight to Rosarito or Ensenada in Mexico. However, if you plan to drive this route, be aware of three things:
(1) American insurance is not valid in Mexico--so buy Mexican insurance either from your car rental place in San Diego or else at the US-Mexico border before crossing over;
(2) The best road from the border to Rosarito and Ensenada is a toll road (ruota cuero). Don't even think about taking the regular road (which will take forever). The tolls can be paid in American money and are fairly reasonable (like $2 to get to Rosarito and about $8 or so to get to Ensenada); and
(3) Rosarito is only 30 miles south of the border, but Ensenada is 90 miles south--and takes about 2 hours (at least) to drive to.
[ Edit: Spelling errors ]
I STRONGLY recommend that you hit up Boston as well... seriously I'm not biased because that is where i'm from but the people are lots of fun and they have an amazing pub scene. I live in DC right now and it's amazing... make sure to hit up U Street, the Waterfront, and Georgetown. But please try to head to Boston.
Thanks for the info so far. I would of got back to reply earlier but work has been insane. A couple more quick questions.
Calcruzer - Between Rosarito and Ensenada which would be the better place for a day visit? Driving the extra distance is not something that will bother me.
Vegasmike6 - Thanks for that info. I will check that site out. If I get a chance I might drop you a line a couple of days before I land.
Kimee129 - As you have lived in San Diego for a while, what would you recommend to do there that the average tourist will miss out on?
And people, thank you for your suggestions of other cities to visit, but I will have to leave them for another visit. For while I would like to go see these places (Washington defeated Boston in a coin toss) I have decided to limit it to these places on this trip and the accommodation has been book, as have the flights / Bus tickets.
The Staten Island ferry is free and makes for a great photo shoot of NYC,about half an hour each wayhttp://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g156/jambo101/36660004.jpg
you don't say when or where you will take the bus or rent a car, but if you rent a car in SF to travel to Yosemite, a little out of your way would be Sacramento. The old town is great, a must see for anyone interested in California history. Then you can travel down the main artery of California the heart of the San Joaquin Valley the breadbasket of the WORLD, Highway 99, to Merced where you can turn off on Hwy 140 to go to Yosemite. Highway 140 is the easiest and lowest elevation access into the Park. As stated you will only see the valley, as everything else will be closed, but the valley is enough! It is breathtaking in the winter. Go ice scating underneath Half Dome at Curry Village... you won't want to leave! Don't exit Yosemite Valley without getting a deli sandwich at Denigan's (a must eat), and visiting the Ahwahnee Hotel.... it's a must see!
If the weather permits you can exit the park without chains (if chains are needed just exit the park the way you came, Hwy 140) via Hwy 41 through Fresno, and back onto Hwy 99 to Bakersfield, home of Buck Owens and the Buckaroos (bygone days) where you can catch Highway 58 that is a shortcut to Las Vegas. While on Highway 99 stop in any one of two dozen or more little towns and seek out a Taqueria for authentic Mexican food or a red neck truck stop for biscuits and gravy! You might even want to take in a cattle auction and mix with some real cowboys... this isn't the outback, it's the grapes of wrath.....
Fair point gcorridore I haven't been specific about exactly how I will be getting around. To travel between cities I will be flying between Las Vegas & New York, Washington & New Orleans, New Orleans & San Diego. Between the rest of the cities I will be taken the bus. In the cities I will be using the public transport systems (Yes I know LA will be a pain). When required for a day trip is when I shall be hiring a car, but only if there is no feasible alternative.