14 nights in California & Las Vegas

Old Sep 30th, 1998, 11:58 AM
  #1  
Osmar Sholl
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
14 nights in California & Las Vegas

My wife and I are visiting California (by car) in the two first weeks of November. We are from Brazil and we would also like to visit Las Vegas. I'm looking for advice about hotels, places to visit and the number of days to spend in each city. Information about the weather would be valuable too.
 
Old Sep 30th, 1998, 01:49 PM
  #2  
kam
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
We need to know where you will start and where you will end as well as whether your trip will be "one way" or round trip. What are your interests and do you have a budget in mind? The only thing I can actually answer at this point is that the weather should be nice in Las Vegas--cooler than summer, nice through the desert, nice in southern CA (SD and LA) probably 70s, and anything north of Santa Barbara might be getting the first storms of the winter. That would be Monterey, Carmel, and the bay area as well as San Francisco. SF will probably be high in the mid 50s but could reverse and be glorious. That is the turning point for our weather. It will be quite cold in Yosemite and possibly in Tahoe as well. It looks like it might be another strange year as we've already had very light rain twice in the bay area with another small storm for this weekend. If this becomes a pattern, we're in for another wet year. If you include some more details, I'm sure the people on this Forum will be happy to help.
 
Old Oct 1st, 1998, 01:14 PM
  #3  
Osmar Sholl
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thank you, Kam, for your reply. I'll try to be more specific. Excuse for my bad English (I'm a Brazilian). I'll arrive by plane at San Francisco on Oct.31st. I'll rent a car and leave the United States on Nov.14th. via L.A. (which makes a one-way trip from SF to LA). I'm planning to visit the coast between SF and LA and possibly, Las Vegas and/or San Diego and surroundings. As I stated before, I've got 14 nights for that. I'm looking for hotels in the range of $70 to $80.
 
Old Oct 1st, 1998, 02:14 PM
  #4  
dave
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
The cities and the coast are great spots, but give some great thought to visiting Yosemite Valley. It will be one of the highlights of your trip!
 
Old Oct 2nd, 1998, 05:08 AM
  #5  
Cal
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
As Kam mentioned, the weather will have a lot to do with your choices. You will be traveling in off season so the room rates should be pretty reasonable. The first two weeks of November could have beautiful weather or you may get some rain. Southern California and the desert areas will be pretty good. The desert areas will get pretty cool at night.

If the weather is nice then you should drive down Hwy 1 from Santa Cruz to Morro Bay. At that point you cut over to 101 and proceed south. Allow 2-3 days for the drive so you can enjoy it. I would not recommend driving on Hwy 1 from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. It is not bad but not really worth the time. Drive south from San Francisco on Hwy 280 to Mountain View then on Hwy 85 south to Hwy 17 to Santa Cruz.

You should allow a few days for visiting in and around San Francisco. It all depends on your preferences. I would probably skip Yosemite because of time limitations and the time of the year. I agree that it is very spectacular but you can only see so much in 14 days.

Make sure that you include some time for San Diego. It is much different and nicer than Los Angeles. Many great attractions there.

One last note about Las Vegas. I definitely believe that you should include Las Vegas in your trip. Doesn't matter if you are not a gambler. Las Vegas is like no other place in the world and is very specatacular. Travel to Las Vegas during the mid-week as hotel prices are much cheaper than on the weekend. The only exception is if there is a large convention which happens frequently. You will be there before Comdex so you should be OK.

Have a great trip and welcome to our beautiful state of California.
 
Old Oct 2nd, 1998, 09:22 AM
  #6  
kam
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Osmar, I think your English is super. I can only say thank you in Portuguese!! I would plan 3 days in SF (a recommended, charming hotel is the San Remo in North Beach which was the former mansion of the Gianini family who founded Bank of America--it should also fit your budget, but you should reserve ahead Fax (415) 776-2811) and then I agree with everything Cal says above, except if it is raining (and we're supposed to start in the north this weekend) I would NOT drive Hwy 1 through Big Sur. Not only is it tedious driving, but you won't see anything! Instead, drive from Santa Cruz to Monterey/Carmel and spend one day--you might have difficulty with your budget for hotels in Carmel, but should find something in Monterey for sure. Then cut in east to 101 through St. Luis Obispo (careful--speed trap through here) and then over to Cambria for another night. Stop anywhere after Salinas in any of the small towns for an excellent Mexican lunch. If you know the American author, John Steinbeck, this is the area he wrote about. From Cambria make advanced reservations to see Hearst Castle just north of there (first timers take tour #1). A nice little B&B in Cambria is the J. Patrick House with very helpful owners who can give you some great advice. There are some nice little restaurants in town and antique stores as well as galleries. Continue south through Morro Bay, Solvang, to see and maybe have lunch, to Santa Barbara. In Sta. Barbara see the mission and if you are a wine lover, take the wine route north and inland (map at Visitors Bureau in town) Many nice hotels and B&Bs in Sta. Barbara--the Biltmore is premier and on the beach, but Bath Street Inn, Glenborough Inn & Cottage are more affordable. Write to the Santa Barbara Visitors Bureau at 504 State Street, S.B. or call (805) 966-9222. They have a wealth of material. From Sta Barbara take 101 south but near Ventura continue on Hwy 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) through Malibu and Santa Monica. I would recommend staying in Santa Monica. On day 9, I would drive through L.A. stopping if you want in Bev. Hills, Rodeo Drive, Venice Beach, etc. if you want, to Laguna Beach. Day 10 enjoy Laguna art galleries, have lunch and then drive to San Diego, stopping along the way to see the Mission San Juan Capistrano where the swallows will NOT be as they won't return until March! Days 11,12,13 spend in San Diego. If you must go to Las Vegas, to satisfy your curiousity, take one of these days to do that, but I personally wouldn't bother. Yosemite is gorgeous, but will be very cold in late November, perhaps with certain roads closed because of snow. If you wanted to see the Sierra you could drive to Tahoe from SF (about 4 hours, one way--it's up to you if that's worth it--again, depending on the weather you could be required to use chains on the car and there could be big delays with traffic--certainly don't go to Tahoe on a weekend as all the rest of us Bay area dwellers will be on the road with you!) Two things in general: October 31st is Halloween which means the citizens of SF might be dressed up and looking a bit odd--they'll be back to "normal" the next day. Also, the chances of rain diminish greatly after you have passed Point Concepcion which is that elbow looking piece of land just north of Santa Barbara. From there south I would bet on no rain. Have a wonderful trip.
 
Old Oct 3rd, 1998, 12:18 AM
  #7  
Kate
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
San Francisco tip: I'd recommend taking the Evening Tour of Alcatraz. It's a new program that started about a year ago where you can visit the Island after dark. It's much less crowded than during the day, special tours that aren't offered during the day, and spectacular views of SF all lit up. My nephews are Brazilian and they LOVED it. To purchase tix, check the website "www.blueandgoldfleet.com". The evening tix are a few dollars more than the day program ($18.50 compared to $11.00) but well worth it for the views and the many fewer people. Eerie yet beautiful atmosphere at night!

Also, for hotels in SF, there are a number of reasonably priced hotels on Lombard Street in the Marina District. There is a Days Inn, a Travelodge, and a Motel 6 I think. I do NOT recommend staying in the Fisherman's Wharf area: expensive, tacky, and no atmosphere at all. We locals avoid that area like the plague (except to go to Alcatraz). Have fun!
 
Old Oct 3rd, 1998, 03:13 PM
  #8  
Gina
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I'm sorry, but I would have to disagree with Kam on the number of days spent in Los Angeles! One day would not be enough to see anything! The Getty museum in Brentwood is a must see. I don't know the web address, but reservations are a must. I would pass on the art galleries in Laguna if faced with a choice between the two. And what about Disneyland? If you have never been, it is also a must. Osmar, if you are interested in the Hollywood/Los Angeles experience, you must spend at least three days here. Two days for San Diego should suffice. I also must disagree with the opinion on passing up Vegas. It is tacky, to be sure, but that is what makes it so wonderful! The beautiful hotels, the great food (there is a wonderful Cajun restuaurant at the Rio Hotel), and the twenty-four hour atmosphere make it unlike anything else in the U.S.! Two days in Vegas should be adequate, for hotels and buffet information the website lvol.com is excellent. For information on Los Angeles events and places calendarlive.com is also a good site. The site for Triple A for California is aaacalif.com which also has some valuable info (At least I think that is it, sorry if I am wrong). For a first time visitor, I would have to also disagree with the trip to Cambria/Hearst Castle. I think the time would be better spent elsewhere. It's only my opinion, but here is how I would recommend the breakdown of your trip: 3 days in S.F., 2 days going down the coast, 3 days in L.A., 2 in Vegas, and two in San Diego. That leaves two days for traveling time to Vegas and San Diego. The last three destinations could be switched around per your preference. Please e-mail if I can help you any further.
 
Old Oct 4th, 1998, 10:19 AM
  #9  
Gina
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Correction to the above post, Triple A web site for California is: aaa-calif.com. Sorry about that!
 
Old Oct 5th, 1998, 08:10 PM
  #10  
cramer
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
You have received some good information. I have a hotel suggestion for Las Vegas. First, do not skip Las Vegas. It is a must see! It can be very spendy for a hotel. But we always stay at the new Monte Carlo on the strip. It is beautiful and centrally located to all the big casinos. They have a pool area, shopping, great restaurants, gambling, a great magician show, Lance Burton, and a fun brewery with live music. You will pay $80 weekday and $130 weekend. This is a fantastic price for such a glamorous casino in comparison to others. Go with the Monte Carlo, you will not be sorry. Have a wonderful trip.
 
Old Oct 6th, 1998, 01:21 AM
  #11  
Dii
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
You should have a great time in California and the weather (at least in Southern Ca.) should be nice. We have cool nice but nice days this time of year. I would definitely skip Yosemite (too cold there and not enough time) and I would not skip Big Sur, Carmel, Hearst Castle and all down the coast to L.A. Do spend a few days in the L.A./Orange County Area as there is lots to see. Most other people posting gave you some great ideas of what to see and do. I would spend as little time in Vegas as possible, unless you love to gamble. It is something to see, but I could do it up in 2 days easy. Have fun!!
 
Old Oct 30th, 1998, 02:12 PM
  #12  
John
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I live in L.A.
When here, visit the Getty Center. You will probably not be able to get reservations to park, so you will have to take a cab or a bus there. (Admission is free but you need reservations to park there) Don't miss it! Go to Venice Beach on a sunny weekend.
Go to Las Vegas, but make sure you stay on a Sunday-Thursday night. Those are the days you get the best rates. I would recommend the Luxor, MGM Grand, Tropicana, Monte Carlo, New York-New York. If you want to splurge, try Caesars Palace or Mirage (if you're really rich, the brand new Bellagio). If you want to stay more reasonably, try the Holiday Inn/Boardwalk or Imperial Palace. When you arrive in Los Angeles, look in the Calendar section of the Sunday Los Angeles Times newspaper. There is a whole advertising section on Las Vegas with great midweek deals.
 
Old Nov 1st, 1998, 04:46 AM
  #13  
Cal
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Don't pay any attention to the Las Vegas nay sayers. I am a native Californian and live in both San Diego and the San Francisco Bay area. As much as I love San Francisco and San Diego, Las Vegas ranks right up there with them.

We just got back for a fabulous week in Las Vegas. There is no other place like it in the world. You don't have to be a gambler to enjoy the sights. It is spectacular with all of the new mega resorts such as Bellagio, New York New York ( my favorite ), etc. Vist the downtown area for the Fremont experience, Caesar's Forum shops. There are many free shows such as the pirate battle at Treasure Island. The list goes on and on. We were invited to spend 4 nites for New Years at the Flamingo Hilton and are anxiously awaiting it.
 
Old Nov 18th, 1998, 09:22 AM
  #14  
Osmar Sholl
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hello, everybody. I've just come back from my trip to California & Vegas. I want to thank everybody - your advices were great. Without it the trip would not be so wonderfull.

The breakdown was similar to Gina's recommendation - 4 nights in S.F., 2 days travelling down the coast (night spent at San Luis O Bispo), 3 nights in L.A., 2 nights in S.D., 3 nights in Vegas and 1 last night in L.A. only to catch the plane back to Brazil.

Highligths of the travelling:

S.F. - It was very cold but fortunately it only rained a little in one of the days. The (DAY) tour to Alcatraz was marvellous. The two-hour cruise in the Bay was wonderfull too (The Golden Gate is gorgeuos). MISS SAIGON in the Orpheum Teathre is a must. In my opinion (and my wife's) it's better than CATS and PHANTOM OF THE OPERA that we've seen in New York two years ago.(can someone tell me how the sound is so perfect that it seems that the actors are dubbing ??). Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, Golden Gate Park, Alamo Square are all great spots. The Museum of Natural History was a bit dissapointing (maybe because of the visiting to the New York version two years ago). Unfortunately I didn't have time to go to the Wine Country and Yosemite - maybe next time.

The COAST - CARMEL and SOLVANG are unforgettable. I was very curious to visit an american University - I went to Stanford and to be sincere, although it is very beautiful, it was not what I expected. SAN LUIS O BISPO is a very nice city too - I ate in a wonderfull Mexican restaurant that I forgot the name now.

Los Angeles - Hollywood was a disapointment. Hollywood Blvd. is now closed with a lot of trucks and tractors working in it. The Chinese Theater is covered with a black plastic to avoid the dust. They are redoing the urbanization of Hollywood - when the work finishes, certainly it will look much better. I stayed in the Carmel Hotel in Santa Monica just beside the 3rd. Street Promedade which in spite of being very tourist, is very nice to walk and see the street performers. The Santa Monica pier is also very pleasant. MALIBU and VENICE are very beautiful (nothing like the beaches in Brazil, but worth visiting). Universal Studios is some points below his brother in Florida although Universal City was surprisingly beautiful. Didn't go to the Getty Museum - that was a great miss, I think.

SAN DIEGO - Wonderful town. I loved SAN DIEGO. Unfortunately it rained a lot the day I arrive. I stayed in OLD TOWN which is very beautiful. I ate great seafood at BRIGANTINE. Visit Coronado Island, Balboa Park, Downtown - all extremely beautiful and pleasant. And the ZOO - a MUST see. Because of the rain I had little time in SAN DIEGO and I left the city with great sorry. But I was anxious to meet LAS VEGAS.

LAS VEGAS - As some of you have stated, it's a MUST MUST see. It's an incredible city. I and my wife loved VEGAS. If we had gone to LAS VEGAS before Los Angeles and/or San Diego, we certainly would have spent 2 or 3 days more in the city. The casinos are great - NEW YORK NEW YORK, EXCALIBUR, CAESAR's PALACE, LUXOR, TREASURE ISLAND, MGM, MONTE CARLO and the new BELAGIO are musts - it's diffiult to say which one is the best - perhaps NEW YORK and CAESAR's PALACE have the most original decoration. Next year they'll open PARIS and VENETIAN - I will come back as soon as I can. By the way, as suggested by Cramer (thank you very much) I stayed at the Monte Carlo (payed US$69 for Tuesday night and US$59 for Wednesday and Thursday - a bargain for everything the hotel and casino offered). Other 'must sees' in Las Vegas - THE STRATOSPHERE (an incredible vision of LAS VEGAS) and The FREEMONT EXPERIENCE.

LAS VEGAS (food) - Best buffet: RIO, for sure. EXCALIBUR is cheap but the service and the food are noot good. Monte Carlo has a good buffet and an excellent restaurant and pub (The Brewery PUB).
LAS VEGAS (cont.) - The Cirque du Soleil 'Mystere' show is something that everybody must see in LAS VEGAS. Although the price (US$70) it's a unique performance. We went to the show in our last night in VEGAS - if we had seen it before, we certainly would go to the new Cirque du Soleil show ('O' in BELAGIO's resort). The tickets are US$90 and US$100 - very expensive - but, as I read in the magazines, they use the water ('O' sounds 'eau' in french) to do their performances. For what I've seen in MYSTERE (without water), the 'O' show is a MUST SEE - unfortunately I didn't have more time to see it (or fortunately because I came back to Brazil with a lot of debts in my credit card account).

Thank you again for everybody. If someone ever come to Brazil and want some information, I would be pleased to help you.

 
Old Nov 18th, 1998, 11:11 PM
  #15  
Cal
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Osmar:

I am so happy that you had a great vacation. It was too bad about the weather in San Diego. San Diego is known as having the finest climate in the USA. Your comments on Las Vegas were very interesting. I am glad that you enjoyed yourself. Las Vegas is a great place.

Nex time you return, spend more time in San Diego and Las Vegas. I will let you know how to get casino rates at the hotels. You can do this without being established as a regular patron. Regular patrons like ourselves get comped for everything. The casino tates for the Flamingo Hilton, Monte Carlo, etc. are typically $45.00-48.00 during the week and $65.00-70.00 on the weekends.
 

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:19 PM.