or Connect
Styleforum › Forums › Culture › Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel › California travel tips
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

California travel tips

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi there

I will be in California between 14 and 26 June this year, flying in to LAX from Switzerland. Looking to gather suggestions as to what could be a sensible itinerary, places to visit, food and so on. We were thinking of flying on to SF and then drive back down to LA maybe, but really nothing is fixed yet.

Thanks!
post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 
Let me be a bit more specific: we will be in SF from 17 to 19 June (restaurants, sights?) and then drive south. We were thinking of going to Santa Barbara next (doable in 1 day, recommended? Hotels in Santa Barbara?) and spend 4 nights there, then another two nights somewhere in LA (?) before flying home. I just thought there might be quite a few people on here that know this area(s) very well.

Thanks!
post #3 of 17
You can get from SF to SB in about 6 hours. Traffic will be worst getting out of SF and the Bay Area, but after that it's pretty easy.

What's your budget for hotels? I'd spend more time in LA than in SB if you are doing the touristy thing. There are many threads here for SF and LA restaurants and sights.

Alternatively, you can drop by Monterey and Santa Cruz on the way down from SF, and spend a couple of days there. They are pretty beautiful places. Both are maybe 1.5 hours from SF. A nice drive might be heading to Santa Cruz from SF, and then driving down PCH (Highway 1) to Monterey, and then down to SB and LA on the 101 and/or 1. The PCH through SC, Monterey, and down to Morro Bay is just stunning.

edit: SB restaurant recommendations: Root 246 in Solvang, which you will pass on the way down to the city of SB; Julienne in SB itself; and La Super Rica, also in SB. There are others, but those are some of the best in this area. Check to see if they'll be open the days you're here. There are also a lot of good wineries in the area.
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot. We are actually thinking of shifting more days to LA and SF and just pass through SB. In SF, we are at the Argonaut, though I'm still a little unsure about that choice. We want to do PCH and stay one night on the way. Unsure whether we should stay in Santa Monica or somewhere else while in LA. My girlfriend is sort of tempted by the Bel Air, though I'm not sure if it is a little too secluded for our taste.
post #5 of 17
Stay in Santa Monica. Shutters on the Beach. Maybe the Georgian if you want closer to the promenade or whatever.
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xericx View Post

Stay in Santa Monica. Shutters on the Beach. Maybe the Georgian if you want closer to the promenade or whatever.

I'd recommend Santa Monica as well, I love that place (there relatively often)

What are you looking to do in LA? relax or absorb as much as possible? or maybe both?
post #7 of 17
yeah, one day in santa barbara is enough to get the flavor of the place. lunch at super rica, dinner at julienne. unless you're a wine geek, but the wine country is about an hour north of their in buellton, so not terribly convenient. my advice would be to drive from san francisco to santa barbara, going through monterey and following route 1 along big sur, that's really spectacular. santa monica is a good recommendation for a place to stay in southern california. very "typical". and lots of stuff to do. if you want more recommendations, feel free to pm me.
post #8 of 17
You can do the Central Coast or Santa Ynez wine regions after driving the Big Sur coast but before getting to Santa Barbara. In particular, Edna Valley has some terrific wineries and prices are generally better than Santa Ynez / Santa Barbara.

I spend a lot of time in the San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach area, some of my favorite places to eat and drink in the Central Coast, in no particular order:

Ruddell's Smokehouse in Cayucos (fantastic smoked fish and pork)

Avila Wine and Roasting Co, Avila Beach (nice little wine bar specializing in Central Coast wines)

Blue Sky Cafe, San Luis Obispo

Vinoteca Wine Bar, Paso Robles

Steaming Bean, Shell Beach (best coffee in the Central Coast and just off of an exit on 101)

San Luis Fish and Chips (super fresh seafood)
post #9 of 17
i'll second the rec for big sky in slo. love that place. mr. atlas, is old port inn any good in avila beach? i used to go there a lot, but that was 10-15 years ago. the area has changed a lot since then. I agree generally about the quality of wines from edna valley v. central coast, but the santa rita hills area (just around buellton) is pretty cool (and a great, pretty reasonably priced local wine list). there's also hitching post II there. if you want a taste of REAL california, stop for a steak at the original hitching post in casmalia or Jocko's in Nipomo
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by imatlas View Post

Steaming Bean, Shell Beach (best coffee in the Central Coast and just off of an exit on 101)

Hmm. I've never visited there, but have you been to The French Press or Handlebar Coffee in Santa Barbara? Both are excellent coffee shops in the 3rd wave coffee tradition (but without the pretension).

Anyway, if we're encouraging people to go off the 101, then the Lompoc wine ghetto is definitely worth a visit, with many tasting rooms from the various Santa Rita Hills wineries. They have a website, but it appears to be down right now. Lompoc is a little bit west of Buellton --- basically where the 101 meets 246, take the 246 west into the hills. In that area, Babcock and Melville are great places to visit since they're right next to each other, and are very pretty to boot.

And if you take the shortcut down to Santa Barbara, you will pass by Los Olivos, which has many good wineries and tasting rooms nearby, too. The shortcut is taking highway 154 off 101, a little bit south of Los Alamos. It's the exit you take to Lake Cachuma, and I think that's what it says on the sign. You can't take the shortcut if you're going on to the 246.

It will drop you right into Santa Barbara, and saves about 10 minutes. The drive down the pass can be spectacular since you are looking south at the ocean almost the whole way down but keep your eyes on the road!
post #11 of 17
i really like both babcock and melville. babcock was one of the first guys in the area (the first is Richard Sanford ... his Alma Rosa is very good and worth a stop, and if it's open for visitors his old Sanford Winery --now owned by terlato -- is a spectacular site). Melville is co-made by greg brewer who is one of the local heroes (he helps make brewer clifton, which was a huge parker favorite and a really interesting small winery). i particularly have liked melville's syrah and the inox chardonnay, which is made without oak. the santa rita wines are capable of great expression, though it often comes with high alcohol. hte good ones are mind-blowing.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hey, thanks a lot for all the information. We are now actually thinking of staying in Santa Monica and have one overnight stop on the way from SF (where we will stay for two nights after having been in Las Vegas for three nights). Shutters looks nice, but seems crazy expensive for what you get. What do you guys think about getting an oceanfront room in the Shore Hotel instead?
post #13 of 17
don't know anything about it, but it looks nice. it's in a really good area. make sure you're on the side away from teh 10. that's a great walking area, so you should be able to find anything you want around there.
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by tazmaniac View Post

Hey, thanks a lot for all the information. We are now actually thinking of staying in Santa Monica and have one overnight stop on the way from SF (where we will stay for two nights after having been in Las Vegas for three nights). Shutters looks nice, but seems crazy expensive for what you get. What do you guys think about getting an oceanfront room in the Shore Hotel instead?

The shore has a busy street in front of it. Its new ish so dont know much about it. Le merigot, viceroy or the fairmont miramar are also good.

{Poasted via palm pilot}
post #15 of 17
if you're going to stop one night between sf and la, it's a coin-flip as far as Monterey or Santa Barbara. they both have strong attractions, but they're very different, despite being kind of the same. both of them are old mission towns that have long been nesting grounds for what some (certainly not the swiss!) might call the "idle rich". both have nearly perfect climates and extreme physical beauty. monterey has the aquarium, which is really remarkable. santa barbara probably has marginally better shopping (i.e.: not all that great). again, if you want real california, you can't do much better than the stretch between the two along route 1 ... big sur is simply spectacular, if you don't mind twisty rides along steep drops to the ocean. it's best done in the morning rather than later.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Styleforum › Forums › Culture › Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel › California travel tips