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Advice for Trip to California


Down by the River

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I'm going to be in California for a month (October-November), kind of a working vacation. I've never been to California before and so am looking for advice.

San Diego- I'm staying in the Gaslamp district. Things to do?

LA Area- I have four days to spare between San Diego and San Francisco. I want to stay around Long Beach, Santa Monica, Newport Beach, etc. Any preferences for one of those different places? I'll be working most of the time, so something quite and near the beach is preferable

Berkeley- I'll be at the university for two weeks. Anyone been? Things to do.

San Francisco- I've found a house to rent in the Fillmore area. Has anyone been to this area? Is it relatively safe to walk around late at night? Is it walkable to the downtown Mission district area? Any recommendations for SF?

I live in LA and it's probably the least appealing place to be in all of California, but that doesn't mean there aren't some great things to do and check out.

Don't bother with Long Beach honestly. Go to Malibu (either the beach or the State Park, which is massive, and if you hike for about 30 minutes you can get to the set of MASH, where there are still some prop army trucks and beautiful views), Zuma Beach (near Malibu), Hermosa Beach.... Santa Monica is OK but overrated and very touristy.

Downtown LA has gotten a LOT better than it used to be. LMAO at the poster saying LA sucks cause they went there 17 years ago... check out:

- The Standard, downtown. One of the best pools in NA, 360 degree view of donwtown.

- The Ace Hotel

- Wurstkuche (if you like german sausage, belgian fries, great beer and great atmosphere)

- The Edison (really cool underground bar, but you have to wear a collared shirt, and drinks are pricey)

- The Blind Barber in Culver City (if for nothing else than the neat factor of entering a bar through a closet in a barber shop)

- Any of the museums, there are tons in LA. LACMA is a good one. The Getty Museum in Malibu is gorgeous.

- Near LACMA is the Grove shopping center which has an awesome farmers market.

- The Hollywood farmers market on Sundays from 9am-1pm. HUGE famers market, great food, cool musicians.

- Speaking of Hollywood, the Piano Bar, and Hemmingways are two great bars to check out.

- Other random food mentions: Umami Burger and Stout Burger. Stout has a wicked weekday happy hour, half priced burgers deal.

That's all I got for now.

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I also live in LA. It seems you got a lot of good info.

And I'll join in to say LA really is the least appealing of all cities in this state.

Stay in Santa Monica, for sure. It's a great balance of boutique-style places (restaurants, cafes, etc.) and quietness and things to do. If you go to other beach cities, you'll give up stuff like lack of eating options, because they really are just small towns. Santa Monica is the biggest out of all of them. Downtown Long Beach is miserable.

Your next stop in LA, if you venture off the beach city, is Hollywood and West Hollywood (known as a gay city, kind of like our Davie St). These cities have the most restaurants, things to do, things to see densely packed than other cities in LA.

The beaches are nicer south more. But Malibu is great, as well.

Loved Stout Burger last time I was there, as well.

How long are you staying in LA?

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^ it's true that Hollywood has a lot of restaurants and stuff, but I lived in Hollywood, literally on Hollywood and Vine right by the Pantages Theatre for just over a year...and let me tell you..do not plan to spend more than one afternoon there. You've got about 6-7 blocks worth of stuff to see and then it is just some of the most awful, pee smelling, homeless and dangerous people filled areas you can ever imagine.

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I also live in LA. It seems you got a lot of good info.

And I'll join in to say LA really is the least appealing of all cities in this state.

Stay in Santa Monica, for sure. It's a great balance of boutique-style places (restaurants, cafes, etc.) and quietness and things to do. If you go to other beach cities, you'll give up stuff like lack of eating options, because they really are just small towns. Santa Monica is the biggest out of all of them. Downtown Long Beach is miserable.

Your next stop in LA, if you venture off the beach city, is Hollywood and West Hollywood (known as a gay city, kind of like our Davie St). These cities have the most restaurants, things to do, things to see densely packed than other cities in LA.

The beaches are nicer south more. But Malibu is great, as well.

Loved Stout Burger last time I was there, as well.

How long are you staying in LA?

Think I'm going to scrap Long Beach. A friend lives there, but I wasn't going to stay with her anyway. Would rather pick a nicer destination. As stawns mentioned, Orange County will be another place I will have to consider.

I have from Nov. 1-5 before I need to be in Berkeley, so I'll be in that area for four nights.

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^ it's true that Hollywood has a lot of restaurants and stuff, but I lived in Hollywood, literally on Hollywood and Vine right by the Pantages Theatre for just over a year...and let me tell you..do not plan to spend more than one afternoon there. You've got about 6-7 blocks worth of stuff to see and then it is just some of the most awful, pee smelling, homeless and dangerous people filled areas you can ever imagine.

Absolutely. I agree 100%. My girlfriend used to live on the border of Hollywood and WeHo, and I basically lived with her. So I know all about Hollywood. We were close to La Brea and Hollywood Blvd, but she lived in a small street around there.

But...we're talking about LA...I mean, downtown LA is the same, and every other city/town here smells, including Marina Del Rey, which is supposed to be a nice, expensive beach city.

EDIT: I will say you have to drive around for the interesting places. You have cool restaurants on Cahuenga, then Melrose, then the Grove is on Fairfax and 3rd. Canters is a piece of crap but an LA "staple", so people/tourists feel the need to go. Same with Norms, Pink's, etc. There are some okay places on La Brea.

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Thanks for all of this. CDC is far more helpful than reading reviews of neighborhoods on taveladvisor, etc. Appreciate the time you took to post and help out.

I still haven't book my place in SF. I have actually found some nice places near Nob Hill, so I might just visit Fillmore to listen to some jazz music.

Dude there's an incredible place in Santa Monica if you're into that kind of scene (Jazz) Ended up there one night and the featured player was Mike Garson, he;s the guy who played piano on David Bowie's "Time" and most of Aladin Sane,

Needless to say I had a major fan boy moment, but I ended up hiring him to play on a few song for our record,

Can't remember the name of the place...I think it's Blue something, really close to the pier. If you google santa monica Jazz blue, you'll probably find it.

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Absolutely. I agree 100%. My girlfriend used to live on the border of Hollywood and WeHo, and I basically lived with her. So I know all about Hollywood. We were close to La Brea and Hollywood Blvd, but she lived in a small street around there.

But...we're talking about LA...I mean, downtown LA is the same, and every other city/town here smells, including Marina Del Rey, which is supposed to be a nice, expensive beach city.

EDIT: I will say you have to drive around for the interesting places. You have cool restaurants on Cahuenga, then Melrose, then the Grove is on Fairfax and 3rd. Canters is a piece of crap but an LA "staple", so people/tourists feel the need to go. Same with Norms, Pink's, etc. There are some okay places on La Brea.

Wait a sec, what cool restaurants are on cahuenga? I can't think of one, unless you're counting that place Suge Knight got punched out at?

BTW

I'm surprised (and also not surprised) at how many people aren't impressed with LA, I live there and it's mostly the same stuff I don't like about it. Kind of an eye opener....

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^ it's true that Hollywood has a lot of restaurants and stuff, but I lived in Hollywood, literally on Hollywood and Vine right by the Pantages Theatre for just over a year...and let me tell you..do not plan to spend more than one afternoon there. You've got about 6-7 blocks worth of stuff to see and then it is just some of the most awful, pee smelling, homeless and dangerous people filled areas you can ever imagine.

I guess you lived there in the late 90's?

It's cleaned up a lot since then,

Now it's just touristy and boring, I never go there, actually I avoid it.

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Went to SF recently over the past summer, spent a good week there seeing the sights. From what I experienced, I'd say generally the areas were all pretty nice during the day, but when the sun starts setting some areas certainly seemed a bit more sketchy. Maybe I'm just not used seeing so many people out and about at night time but yeah.

As for attractions you may want to go to, I got the City Pass for SF when I was there. it was pretty sweet. We got to go to a lot of different places for the price of like $100 or so. Some places we hit up that may interest you: Alcatraz, California Academy of Sciences, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and The Exploratorium. It also includes 7-day free access to their Muni transit. I think each place had their own merits, just depends on what you like. I enjoy learning about different things so I was really impressed with the California Academy of Sciences. It's everything packed into one. Great place. As for the City Pass, I believe Southern California also has it as well, so you can check that out too. The link for the SF one is here: http://www.citypass.com/san-francisco

For eating, one cool little place I visited was Smitten Ice Cream. I think it might not be terribly far from where you'll be. Great ice cream there, and it was really neat cause they use their own patented machines to make ice cream to order using liquid nitrogen.

Have a safe trip.

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I'm going to be in California for a month (October-November), kind of a working vacation. I've never been to California before and so am looking for advice.

San Diego- I'm staying in the Gaslamp district. Things to do?

LA Area- I have four days to spare between San Diego and San Francisco. I want to stay around Long Beach, Santa Monica, Newport Beach, etc. Any preferences for one of those different places? I'll be working most of the time, so something quite and near the beach is preferable

Berkeley- I'll be at the university for two weeks. Anyone been? Things to do.

San Francisco- I've found a house to rent in the Fillmore area. Has anyone been to this area? Is it relatively safe to walk around late at night? Is it walkable to the downtown Mission district area? Any recommendations for SF?

Berkeley- I really wish I could remember the name of the restaurant I went to that was in the vicinity of Berkeley's campus...pretty sure it was a just a few blocks from a Trader Joe's haha I think it a salvadoran place...it was phenomenal though. Filling, delicious, cheap, top notch service! You'll know it if you stumble upon it.

San Francisco- Can't really comment on walking around late at night in the Fillmore as I was only there during the day. My guess is most of it is probably fine. I stayed at a hostel in the Tenderloin (I heard the Tenderloin got it's name because it was such a rough area so the police officers working that area got paid more and could afford the tenderloin steaks) when I went. It was an area full of poverty, despair, drug abuse, and gangs. I never had any problems and I walked through the heart of it every night for about three weeks. There was just one street I was told not to walk down...I think it was Leavenworth?

Can't remember how long it takes to walk from Fillmore to the Mission. You should definitely seek out 2 places in the mission district though. The first is the main park...on a nice day all the young people lounge about and play games as if they were at a beach and everybody is drinking in the park (it's legal to do that down there) and having a good time. There is also a gourmet ice cream place right there that has some pretty adventurous flavours. My highlight though was this place called Clarion Alley. I just stumbled across it was just covered in beautiful, empowering street art.

You should DEFINITELY bike across the golden gate bridge, it is truly awesome. Bike on over to Sausalito until you find the little mexican food shack that makes unbelievable food. Pretty sure you can catch a ferry back over to San Fran from there at the end of the day too, if you get tired.

Also...yes the House of Air appears to be for children, but it is the most fun you will ever have. Just a warehouse where the walls and floors are trampolines. There is also a smaller trampoline dodgeball arena full of bloodthirsty little animals (aka children) which was just an absolute ridiculous time.

For more fun things to do in San Fran, check out this site. I think it is the one that a girl working at the hostel told me about...

http://sf.funcheap.com/

Basically just avoid the tourist hot spots, they're not that exciting and they're super expensive. Maybe go once just to say you have been (Although Alcatraz is apparently definitely worth checking out). I roamed that city by foot for weeks and just soaked it all in. There are many different neighbourhoods with their own cultures and vibes. Lots of good food and lots of funky bars.

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Wait a sec, what cool restaurants are on cahuenga? I can't think of one, unless you're counting that place Suge Knight got punched out at?

BTW

I'm surprised (and also not surprised) at how many people aren't impressed with LA, I live there and it's mostly the same stuff I don't like about it. Kind of an eye opener....

Cahuenga and Hollywood Blvd. I mean, I'm being kind of flexible and nice, haha.

Hollywood is not that great, but Stout is actually on the corner of Selma and Cahuenga, a block away from Hollywood Blvd. That area is okay.

When I first moved here three years ago, I didn't like LA at all. But I forced myself to explore and have been pretty much everywhere now. It's okay. I am a lot less harsher on LA now, :)

Still, can't wait till I leave! :)

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Dude there's an incredible place in Santa Monica if you're into that kind of scene (Jazz) Ended up there one night and the featured player was Mike Garson, he;s the guy who played piano on David Bowie's "Time" and most of Aladin Sane,

Needless to say I had a major fan boy moment, but I ended up hiring him to play on a few song for our record,

Can't remember the name of the place...I think it's Blue something, really close to the pier. If you google santa monica Jazz blue, you'll probably find it.

Was it Harvelle's Blues club?

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Just spent 5 weeks in SF.

1. Go to La Taqueria in the mission. It's on mission and... 23rd I think. Best tacos ever.

2. Go to Tony's pizza napolenta. It's up on stockton/columbus. Best pizza ever. Go and put your name down (there'll be about an hour's wait), and then head over to the rogue pub just a block or two away across columbus.

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I'm going to be in California for a month (October-November), kind of a working vacation. I've never been to California before and so am looking for advice.

San Diego- I'm staying in the Gaslamp district. Things to do?

LA Area- I have four days to spare between San Diego and San Francisco. I want to stay around Long Beach, Santa Monica, Newport Beach, etc. Any preferences for one of those different places? I'll be working most of the time, so something quite and near the beach is preferable

Berkeley- I'll be at the university for two weeks. Anyone been? Things to do.

San Francisco- I've found a house to rent in the Fillmore area. Has anyone been to this area? Is it relatively safe to walk around late at night? Is it walkable to the downtown Mission district area? Any recommendations for SF?

San Fran - Visit the Alcatraz, Fisherman's wharf, take picture of the golden gate bridge, visit china town

LA - lots to do, from events at staples center, Universal studios, Disneyland, six flags to the botanic gardens and museum,

hollywood walk of fame, beverly hills, long beach etc.

San Diego - The San Diego Zoo and Seaworld are the main attractions along with going to the beach to surf

Berkeley university is popular but never been there before, maybe you can chat with some gorgeous co-eds there

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Cahuenga and Hollywood Blvd. I mean, I'm being kind of flexible and nice, haha.

Hollywood is not that great, but Stout is actually on the corner of Selma and Cahuenga, a block away from Hollywood Blvd. That area is okay.

When I first moved here three years ago, I didn't like LA at all. But I forced myself to explore and have been pretty much everywhere now. It's okay. I am a lot less harsher on LA now, :)

Still, can't wait till I leave! :)

The LA Kings aren't that bad either...2 Stanley cups in 3 years and maybe the current generation dynasty team if they win another one this year.

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