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Itinerary Suggestions: San Diego to Long Beach

Itinerary Suggestions: San Diego to Long Beach

Old Sep 11th, 2004, 06:28 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2004
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Itinerary Suggestions: San Diego to Long Beach

I am in the preliminary stages of planning a trip to Southern California from 12/26 to 12/31 (first trip for myself, boyfriend has been a few times, but not recently). This is what I have in mind so far, any comments would be appreciated.

Day One: Arrive San Diego 9:30 AM(cheapest to fly here). Drive to Long Beach (looks like a two hour drive). Visit Queen Mary.

Day Two: Visit Catalina Island.

Day Three/Four: Leave Long Beach and drive to Laguna Beach area to visit friends. Visit Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano.

Day Five/Six: Depart Laguna and drive to San Diego. Visit Old Town, Cabrillo Nat'l Monument. Depart on Day 6 at 6:30 pm from San Diego Airport.

Thanks!

Lamchop is offline  
Old Sep 11th, 2004, 12:20 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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A few ideas to offer (I live in Long Beach):

-- Drive from San Diego north on I-5, then head to San Juan Capistrano (you can go back there later) and from there catch PCH (CA-1). Lovely ocean views on your way to LB. Stop for lunch in Newport Beach's Corona del Mar neighborhood. Continue up PCH, then turn left on Second Street in Long Beach. Follow this to Ocean Blvd., then to Shoreline Drive (the Queen Mary will have signs leading you there). BTW, where will you be staying in LB?

-- There are some very fine restaurants on Pine Avenue in LB, so you should plan a nice dinner there. Then, follow up with drinks and music at Blue Café.

-- Plan a spin through Newport Beach's Fashion Island for the after-Xmas sales. If you REALLY want to indulge a shopping jones, go to South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa.

-- You should plan on a long spin through Laguna's downtown-- galleries, museum, little shops, restaurants, etc. It's a fun town.

If I think of anything else, I'll repost.
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Old Sep 11th, 2004, 12:51 PM
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I have lived in San Diego for 5 years and still haven't seen everything it has to offer. I would suggest spending more time there. Some ideas: world famous San Diego Zoo, Seaworld, Balboa Park, Old Town, historic Gaslamp District (downtown), Coronado Island (home of the famous haunted Hotel Del Coronado), Seaport Village, Wild Animal Park, La Jolla Cove, any of the beaches- personally I like Mission Beach(rollercoaster, couple rides, lots of shops) and Ocean Beach (has a hippie vibe, cute little shops and bars, lots of vegetarian/vegan dining options, and a long pier that gives you a spectacular view of the Pacific). I grew up in Los Angeles, but I have to say I think San Diego is a million times nicer.It's nickname is "America's Finest City", and after spending some time there, I'm sure you'll agree. Hope this helps, and have fun!
kristeng is offline  
Old Sep 11th, 2004, 01:30 PM
  #4  
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Thanks for your responses. We are considering staying on the Queen Mary actually.
Lamchop is offline  
Old Sep 11th, 2004, 01:36 PM
  #5  
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If not the Queen Mary, then maybe the Coast Long Beach Hotel.

BTW, we'll be in Long Beach on my birthday, where would be the best restaurant to celebrate (i.e. a fun but not too casual place)?

Thanks!
Lamchop is offline  
Old Sep 12th, 2004, 01:23 PM
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Hi - I would like to know what your interests are? It sounds like you want to see tourist spots. I can give you advice for your trip if you want to see more quaint - locations. I realise that you first trip you may want to see some standards. i will say that long beach is not the best of southern cal coast locations. the Queen Mary us ok. Hotel is not nice.
it's not cheap either. i would reccomend the beach house in Hermosa Beach. it is on the beach and really nice. Look on line. You can bike ride on the strand, to manhattan beach. I agree about san diego. I only like la jolla for a short time. everyone loves laguna you will want to stay with your friends forever! catalina island is a wonderful spot - i am looking at it right now it is
my view from my house. 26 miles across the sea. 1. if you must go for only the day. take dramamine 1 hour before you leave. It is fun but I think you don't really get in the mode for just a day trip. Go the Desconso Beach and pay the entrance fee. Rent kyaks. Golf cart is fun to cruise around. There isn't a lot of sand. Depending on where you are from and what you want. Hermosa Beach will be really fun. I live only 15 minutes from there and like to go with my hubby for a special get away. San Juan Mission is interesting. My all time favorite resturant is The Ramos House in San Juan. I go the San Juan for antiquing and the ramos house. (tiny housei n the old district- park at the train station and cross the tracks) not expensive - and delicious!
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Old Sep 12th, 2004, 01:29 PM
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When you decide where you are staying I can give you advice on a birthday restaurant. I am sorry if I sound like a know it all this is just my neck of the woods. I love when I get tips from locals when I travel. It makes all the difference.
ggfinds is offline  
Old Sep 12th, 2004, 03:21 PM
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MaureenB
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I second the suggestion to stop in Newport Beach in your travels. Also, visit its next-door neighbor, Balboa Island, for a glimpse of nice little multi-million dollar homes and yachts. And grab lunch or a very informal dinner at The Crab Cooker-- best grilled lobster anywhere. It's a fun and funky place that gets very crowded at mealtimes, but it's worth the wait. Good value for what you get, too. Also, agree that San Diego is such a great city it would be a shame not to see much of it. Oh, well, you can only fit so much in and there's a lot to do in southern Cal. Have fun and enjoy your b-day there.
 
Old Sep 13th, 2004, 07:10 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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A few comments on previous posts:

-- The Queen Mary Hotel is NOT the Ritz-Carlton, that's true. It's not supposed to be. The accommodations reflect the amenities of an oceanliner of the 1930s, after all. It will also be roughly half the price of the lovely but pricey Beach House in Hermosa Beach. Hermosa itself is great fun.

-- I must stick up for poor Long Beach (where I live). It's not set up specifically for tourists, other than the Queen Mary and maybe the Aquarium of the Pacific. But parts of Long Beach are wonderful to live in-- and getting to be overpriced due to demand. It's a gritty little town, and you WILL find that Laguna Beach is much, much prettier. I'll give you that.

-- Special dinner? Sir Winston's on the Queen Mary is a highly-regarded restaurant (quite formal). The Sky Room at the Breakers is very good, and has great views. 555 East is a steak house, very old-school, wonderful. If you just want superb food in comfy rooms, Christy's (as in Christy Bono, Sonny's oldest daughter) or Lashers in Belmont Heights.

You will love San Diego-- a great city. I enjoy myself every time I go and it's true, there's always something new to discover.
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Old Sep 13th, 2004, 07:46 AM
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The Mission at San Juan is lovely, and as someone else mentioned, the Ramos House is fantastic. However, it's not open for dinner if you're there at that time.
A very casual local favorite is ElMaguey Mexican restaurant on Camino Capistrano a couple of blocks north of the mission. Best Mexican food in south Orange County! And cheap!
For a nicer dinner, L'Hirondelle, also on Camino Capistrano is a lovely Belgian (French) bistro. Great charm, good food and service.
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Old Sep 19th, 2004, 01:17 PM
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We just spent several days in Long Beach (Sept.8th-12th) and had a wonderful time and will go back t LB. We stayed at the Hyatt and everything went perfect. We were there for a big coin show/convention and the location was perfect. We ate at Sir Winston's on the Queen Mary and enjoyed our food. We also enjoyed the tour. Shoreline Village, the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Queen Mary were all nearby and easy to get to. Parker's Lighthouse was great. For a city that is not necessarily a touristy city, it really does have a lot to offer. I highly recommend ALL of rjw_lgb_ca suggestions. The Sky Room was great and the view was awesome. We had lunch at Tequila Jack's. There are so many restuarants all around the Hyatt. Any type of food you would want to eat or try...it's there. We rented a car but didn't use it much since the Hyatt is attached to the convention center where the coin show took place at. We enjoyed our walks to Shoreline Village, etc. We got a rate of $135.00 per night at the Hyatt. I plan to post more about our trip but haven't had the time to get all of thoughts together. Like I said earlier...we plan to go back. We will probably stay longer so that we can venture out to other nearby places. The coin show we went to was incredible, if you are in to that sort of thing. Long Beach really puts on an incredible International Coin, Stamp and Collectibles Show, 3 times a year. Have a great time.
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Old Sep 19th, 2004, 10:06 PM
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Hi, I am amazed that you like Long Beach so much. I live in Rolling Hills which is over the bridge from Long Beach. I know the whole coast of California very well. I guess the natives see it all differently. I think there are so many places in So. Cal better than Long Beach. I like going to 555 or Le Opera in Long Beach for dinner. Belmont Shores is ok every few years for
shopping. Hands down Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Laguna Beach, Corona del Mar, Newport Beach, Malibu and La Jolla are so much more interesting. Ther Queen Mary was nice when they first brought it here when I was a kid. Over the years it has really gone down hill. Most of the rooms with the original glamorous interior have been redone to Holiday Inn quality. I have organized corporate events there so I know the Queen Mary. The brunch is very average. Sir Winston's is good. A quick tour may be interesting for the first time viewer. My hubby and son where really into Titanic so we went when the movie came out. Try Manhattan Beach park by the pier which is at the end of Manhattan Beach Blvd. There are a lot of great stores up Manhattan Beach Blvd. The Bee Hive, Lulu's, Utterly Perfect, Wrights, Baby Wrights - on Highland Ave - Manhattan Avenue. Rockn'Fish is a fun spot. "Town" is a great resturant. Fonz's is awesome owned my Mike Dodd Olympic Volley ball champ.
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Old Sep 19th, 2004, 10:22 PM
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Lamchop, while reading messages I noticed that ggfinds mentioned the restaurant LaOpera in Long Beach. Some time ago I dined there and it is a restaurant and dinner that I will always remember. Ggfinds can correct me if I am wrong but think the building was originally a bank. Beautiful buildidng and at least when I was there a fantastic dinner.
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Old Sep 20th, 2004, 07:07 PM
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ggfinds - Thanks for your input and suggestions about Long Beach. I would imagine all of what you suggest are very accurate. Each day we were there, we didn't really have our days totally free since our primary reason for our trip was the coin show that we flew out there for. We really did enjoy Long Beach. However, with that said, I know we will go back especially for the coin show but I would like to see other places besides Long Beach which is why I want to spend a few days prior to the coin show elsewhere. I truly appreciate your input about other areas and will keep those suggestions in a file for the next time we go.
luvlondon is offline  
Old Sep 21st, 2004, 07:29 AM
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ggfinds: I'm actually glad you don't like Long Beach all that much. It's bad enough for us locals trying to find parking in disgusting old Belmont Shore (all those $1,000,000 dumps!) without out-of-towners taking up the spaces on the street. I do admit that I cannot explain why my condo's market value has quintupled in the last 6 years. Since it's so boring and yucchy in coastal Long Beach, it must be the great restaurants that inexplicably set up in my ugly neighborhood (Lasher's and Christy's are very highly-rated eateries in Zagat and chowhound.com).

But I will have to say: Manhattan Beach "more interesting"? It's prettier up there, absolutely. But what in Manhattan Beach is remotely "interesting"? Now La Jolla-- that's a perfectly interesting little town. Great to visit!
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Old Sep 21st, 2004, 05:17 PM
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Thanks to all of the comments from everyone regarding Long Beach and the like. A special thanks to Luvlondon for her trip report.

I have revised our itinerary since I first posted; we are now going to Long Beach to see the Queen Mary on day one of trip, but then drive up to Beverly Hills and do the Warner Bros studio tour on Monday (day 2). Will then drive down on day 3 to stay with friends in Laguna Beach area. So now I need to do research to find a fun place in BH area to have my birthday dinner. Upon reviewing BH hotel prices, I think I will try my luck with Priceline, though I have never used it before.

Thanks again!
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Old Sep 21st, 2004, 06:56 PM
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Lamchop: please be sure to post a report about your trip. I'm sure you'll have a great visit with your friends and most of all ... Have a wonderful and Happy Birthday!
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