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Introduction

San Clemente, California is the southernmost city in Orange County. It is on the north border of San Diego County as well as Camp Pendleton. San Clemente is home to beautiful weather and beaches.

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Sights and Activities

The beach is the largest attraction in San Clemente. Local teens tend to venture north to the Kaleidoscope or the Irvine Spectrum for entertainment, but the local movie theater, the Krikorian, is relatively cheap and well-run.

  • Beach Trail. It is easier to exercise when you have a view like this to look at. From Riviera Beach to the pier is one mile, and from the pier to North Beach is one mile. If you’re looking to step up the rigor of your work out, you can run the stairs along the way.
  • Leslie Park, 1910 Calle de Los Alamos. Some inexpensive ways to enjoy what SC has to offer is to check out the scenery. Leslie Park is a small park that overlooks a beach where most locals visit. From this point, you can see all the way down to the edge of State Beach, the Pier, and even down to Dana Point.
  • Stewart Surfboards, 2102 S El Camino Real, ☎ +1 949 492-1085. 9-6 7 days a week. Stewart Surfboards is a fixture in the surfing community, A great place to get started with surfing they offer surf lessons as well as surfboard rentals.Legendary longboard shaper, Bill Stewart creator of the modern longboard still owns and runs the store.

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Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

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Getting There

By Plane

San Clemente is located about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego of Interstate 5, which has 7 exits in the city. The nearest airport is John Wayne Airport, 25 miles north of San Clemente. Further airports include Los Angeles International Airport and San Diego International.

By Train

There are two train stations in San Clemente, one at the pier, and one at North Beach. Both San Clemente Pier and San Clemente is served by Metrolink via its Inland Empire - Orange County Line and Orange County Line services between Los Angeles, Oceanside and San Bernardino and cities in between, only on weekends. Additionally, San Clemente Pier is also served by Amtrak and its Pacific Surfliner service, with two trains south in the late morning and two trains north in the early evening daily. One of these trips each way extends to/from the Santa Barbara area. The Pacific Surfliner operates 12 trips daily through the area, but most trains don't stop here.

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Getting Around

It is possible to walk around the center of the town although it is a little bit of a slope up from the beach and pier to Avenida Del Mar shopping and restaurant area. There is free 2 hour car parking around the area although close to the beach expect to pay and display.

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Eat

There are a variety of local restaurants that are fairly priced and simply delicious.

  • Hapa J's, 2016 S El Camino Real, ☎ +1 949 276-6657. Unique cuisine with a Hawaiian influence. Family owned and affordable. Very tasty "Man Fries" and "Khalua Pig Nachos".
  • Velvet Yogurt, 111 S El Camino Real, ☎ +1 949 276-4625. Creamy frozen yogurt that is perfect after a long day spent at the beach. And it's a healthy indulgence!
  • Selma's, 218 Avenida Del Mar,, ☎ +1 949 276-2828. Best deep dish pizza in town. Also must try the "mothership" cookie and ice cream for dessert.
  • Cafe Calypso, 114 Avenida Del Mar, ☎ +1 949 366-9386. Open for breakfast and lunch. Home of San Clemente's famous Acai Bowls and amazing Chinese Chicken Salad. Prices range from $8-$10 for a salad, and about $7 for the Acai Bowl (this is fairly standard in comparison to other restaurants of this nature).
  • La Rocco's, 113 S El Camino Real, ☎ +1 949 366-8890. Famous for their "Whitestone" Pizza. Inexpensive and informal dining.
  • La Tiendita, 114 Avenida Victoria, ☎ +1 949 366-2924. Family owned and operated, delicious Mexican food made by locals who are originally from Mexico.
  • Cafe del Sol, 3817 S El Camino Real, ☎ +1 949 492-7120. Another great place for Mexican food. Very affordable and tasty, and theres a drive-through window for your convenience.
  • Antonio's, 218 S El Camino Real, ☎ +1 949 492-1763. Great breakfasts on Camino Real in the heart of the village.
  • The Fisherman, 611 Avenida Victoria, ☎ +1 949 498-6390. For good seafood in the best location in town on the pier. Expect a bit of a wait in summer.
  • Iva Lee's, 555 N El Camino Real (El Camino Real just north of Palizada), ☎ +1 949 361-2855. For San Clemente's take on Cajun cuisine.
  • Tina & Vince's, 221 Avenida Del Mar (on Del Mar), ☎ +1 949 498-5156. Italian deli with great pizza and homemade specialties.
  • Pedro's, 550 N El Camino Real, ☎ +1 949 498-5908. For the best burritos in town.
  • La Siesta, 920 N El Camino Real, ☎ +1 949 498-3094.
  • Nick's, 213 Avenida Del Mar,, ☎ +1 949 481-2200. This is a rather formal restaurant and the prices tend to be high, but there are also items on the menu that are less expensive.
  • Mongkut Thai, 212 Avenida Del Mar.
  • Sonny’s Pizza, 429 N El Camino Real (Corner of Palizada and El Camino Real.), ☎ +1 949 498-2540.
  • Carbonara’s Trattoria, 111 Avenida Del Mar, ☎ +1 949 366-1040. Warm friendly service, great food and family atmosphere makes it a San Clemente locals' favorite for Italian food.
  • Schmid's Fine Chocolates, 99 Avenida Del Mar, ☎ +1 949 369-1052. For dessert, chocolate dipped strawberries or a special treat.
  • South of Nick's, 110 N El Camino Real, ☎ +1 949 481-4545. This restaurant branches off of the southern California favorite "Nick's" which is detailed above. South of Nicks differs because it features a high class Mexican menu with items that originate from south of the border. Keeping consistent with the fairly high pricing of Nick's, this place is of a more formal nature than most Mexican restaurants in the San Clemente area.
  • Cafe Mimosa, 243 Avenida Del Mar, ☎ +1 949 481-6780. French style food.

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Drink

  • Molly Blooms Irish Bar, 2391 S El Camino Real, ☎ +1 949 218-0120.
  • Oles Tavern, 127 S El Camino Real, ☎ +1 949 498-9400. sports bar
  • The Cellar, 156 Avenida Del Mar, ☎ +1 949 492-3663. wine bar
  • Duke's, 204 S El Camino Real, ☎ +1 949 481-2040. A sports bar and restaurant. They serve a plethora of dishes ranging from enchiladas to cheeseburgers. A standard bar scene. There are also a few Billiards tables as well as video games. People of all ages gather here. It is a family restaurant that usually transforms into a place only for adults later into the night.
  • OC Tavern, 2369 S El Camino Real, ☎ +1 949 542-8877. A bar where many youngsters congregate. Sports bar with multiple TVs, Billiards tables, video games, and a restaurant in the back. OC Tavern also offers amazing appetizers and happy hour specials.

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Sleep

  • Beachcomber Inn, 533 Avenida Victoria, ☎ +1 949 492-5457.
  • Best Western Casablanca Inn, 1601 N El Camino Real, ☎ +1 949 361-1644, fax: +1 949 361-3825.
  • Comfort Suites, 3701 S. El Camino Real, ☎ +1 949 361-6600.
  • Holiday Inn Express San Clemente North, 35 Via Pico Plaza.
  • Rodeway Inn San Clemente, 1301 North El Camino Real, ☎ +1 949 361-0636.
  • Hampton Inn and Suites San Clemente, 2481 S.El Camino Real, toll-free: +1-800-308-5306, fax: +1 949 366-1030. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. This hotel has a rather confusing format to it, but the employees are all very friendly and accommodating. It is right next to the San Clemente Golf Course. It has a weight room and a pool.
  • Holiday Inn, 111 S. Ave. De La Estrella, ☎ +1 949 361-3000.
  • Casa Tropicana, 610 Avenida Victoria, at the pier (Avenida Del Mar to the pier), toll-free: +1-800-492-1245. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11:30AM. $225-$475.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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Contributors

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This is version 6. Last edited at 13:06 on Jun 14, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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