LV, SD & what other city should we include?

Mar 9th, 2004, 08:06 PM
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LV, SD & what other city should we include?

Hey gang!! Need help from those of you who live in or have done the SW.

BF and I are definitely doing a 10-11 day trip in September-October which will include Vegas and San Diego. Originally I had included LA in this itinerary, but the more I speak to people from NY who have been there, the more I'm convinced I should switch to another city.

Since we are already doing 3 days in Vegas, and about 4-5 in San Diego, what other city should I include? We are flexible on the schedule, and we're more the relax by the beach, then go out at night to fun and interesting places types. Amusement parks, sporting events, etc. is our speed. NOT the museum and antique types AT ALL. He's 31, I'll be 30, and we're both born and raised New Yorkers if that helps! (We're far from yuppies, and not much for frou frou stuff! LOL)

What I need on this mainly is:

Hotel recommendations (trying to be under $100 for Vegas, and around $150 for San Diego)

Restaurant recommendations in the moderate range. We don't drink, so that's not an issue. Maybe one good romantic restuarant in either location.

Areas to stay in and areas to avoid like the plague.

Any help is appreciated! Thanks!
missjanna is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 07:47 AM
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Personally, I wouldn't spend 5 days in SD. Go to the Zoo, Balboa Park, see the Hotel Del Coronado Hotel & surrounding area. Naval yard. We made the same trip 3 years ago. If you have extra time, take the scenic drive from Lake Elsinore to Mission Viejo. I think it's highwat 74. Great views! Try the Del Maar area-horse track, great beach. La Jolla-golf. Might even head east to Palm Springs for a day or 2. LaQuinta, Indian Wells. It's a nice trip, I'm just not that big of a SD fan, I guess.
tommyd is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 08:49 AM
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more LA envy from ny'ers? typical.
malvado is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 09:11 AM
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Now malvado, let's not immediately attribute the anti-LA attitude to simple envy. Just because for the last four days it has been in the upper 80s and spectacularly beautiful (I'm writing this from the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel down in Dana Point)....

But missjanna, I think that doing San Diego and Vegas this trip will give you plenty to see. You can devote 10 days to two weeks to the LA area on a subsequent trip. Have fun!!!
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 09:42 AM
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I second the idea of a day or 2 in the Palm Springs area but....

Are you flying into AND out of Vegas? Either way, I would wedge Palm Springs between the 2. The drive from Vegas through the Mojave is quite entertaining but desolate if you take the non-highway route. I also am not a huge SD fan but did enjoy Sea World and the Zoo there. Not sure what I would do with 5 whole days there. Maybe catch a Padres game? I was going to suggest La Jolla but it is rather artsy IMHO.

Personally I would spend my time visiting the parks of Southern Utah and perhape the Grand Canyon if you have never been there.
placeu2 is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 10:26 AM
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Not sure if it's envy, I've never been to LA so can't say, but have been warned about that it's just another big sprawling city, easy to get lost, lots of traffic, etc etc. Basically I was told since I live in a big city, it's going to look like - just another big city.

I'm thinking Sept. 10-19, and throwing Vegas either in the beginning or the middle of the trip (Maybe that Mon - Wed or Tues - Thurs) and leaving San Diego at the tail end either way.

Most I would leave for San Diego would be the last 4 days, Vegas would be 3 days tops, and the other 3 are up for options. We will have a car anyplace it would be deemed necessary.

Was contemplating Grand Canyon / Red Rock Canyon. Would this work?
missjanna is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 10:46 AM
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missjanna, I would respectfully disagree with those friends that say LA is "just another big city" like NYC (which, I hasten to add, is a city I love!!). LA is completely and totally unique, and completely different from NYC. Big and sprawling, yes. Easy to get lost? If you're not used to driving in cities with simple grid streets and well-marked signage, sure. It's a difficult area to get one's hands around due to its vast size. But it's definitely worth a lengthy visit.

I still maintain that doing a San Diego/Las Vegas trip now is an excellent idea. One taste of southern CA and you'll want to come back. You can do LA then!
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 12:09 PM
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ljw lgb ca,

I respectfully disagree with you and agree with missjanna's friends. Skip LA. It is a large sprawling town. To compare it to real cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco is a fiasco.

If you miss it, you haven't missed a thing. On top of this, August-September are the months that has earned LA the title of Smog Capital of the US.

To each their own.

Curious is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 01:01 PM
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Curious, as you said, to each his own, so we'll just have to respectfully agree to disagree.

One thing though, missjanna, you wrote you were told that since you live in a big city, LA is going to look like that -just another big city. Well, whether you hate it or love it, do it now, later, or never, believe me, LA is not like NY. I grew up in NY, now live in LA and love both cities for completely different reasons. I love NYC for its energy, LA for letting me be laid back. NY for its fall, LA for its mild winters. NY for its museums and broadway, LA for its great beaches and fun amusement parks. NY for not needing a car, LA for the freedom of driving my car. Both cities are also great in terms of having lots of different communities and good sports options (though I'll always be a Yankees/Knicks fan first.) I could go on and on, so I'll stop now. I'm not saying LA is a must for you, just suggesting you not summarily discount it for the future!
jv827 is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 01:22 PM
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I've known New Yorkers who have only gone to LA on business or for a convention. They stayed in big hotels downtown and went home wondering what the big deal was about LA. LA, totally unlike New York, is not about "downtown". It's all about the various areas around it. I return time and time again, but can count on one hand the number of times I've even been to "downtown" LA. I usually stay in West Hollywood/Beverly Hills area. I love the areas of Westwood and Santa Monica. LA is a great city. In fact, we're going for a full month again this year just for "fun".
Patrick is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 01:24 PM
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Some thoughts on the Vegas part of your trip: midweek plans will make finding $100 rooms easier than if it were the weekend. I'd suggest mid-strip -- Paris would probably be a good option. I like Mandalay Bay also, but it's a little further down the strip. For decent rooms and central location at that price, I'd check Paris and Bally's (though it's probably too soon to get the best rates.)
jv827 is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 01:25 PM
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And now I see that Curious has probably also convinced you that you should see LA. As cleverly pointed out by curious, LA does not compare with true "big" cities, so to avoid it because you think it will compare unfavorably to other cities or would just seem like another big city would be a mistake. It is totally different.
Patrick is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 01:28 PM
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Well, if you did consider LA, I would stay in Santa MOnica. Lovely area. Nice neighborhood, by the beach. You can walk around the place to restaurants and shopping, the pier is fun. Great seafood, sushi, Mexican food, cocktails. The Getty isn't real far away. The Getty is beautiful, the museum and the grounds. Take a book, enjoy the day there. And of course, there is always Hollywood. That is a special town.

You could also consider Orange Co. Newport Beach, Dana Point, and Laguna Beach. Sometimes it is fun, and we have done this, to stay a night in Santa Monica, drive down Hwy 1, stay another night in Newport or Laguna, cruise down to San Diego that way. Intersting Beach towns and you can putz away the time driving along the coast.

San Diego is a great leisurely city. Nice beach areas, beautiful parks, some very different neighborhoods along the coast. First you have Del Mar, where the race track is. Nice village small town feel. Art galleries.

Then La Jolla, more where the action is. Shopping, businesses, more gallaries. They have a village area that is very nice to walk around in for shops and cafes. Beautiful views. And then you have Mission Beach, Coronado.

Sights to see in SD...zoo, Seaworld, Balboa Park (a must see, one of my favorite places in SD), just driving around seeing the views, Del Mar Race track, Seaport Village is kind of fun (very touristy), bay cruiese, sailboar rides, jetskis, very nice beaches everywhere, lots of great restaurants, shopping, cafes to sip and people watch, golfing, tennis. It is the best city for just kicking back and enjoying the awesome weather.
Heavens is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 01:31 PM
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Curious, why don't you consider LA a 'real' city?
Mar 10th, 2004, 01:31 PM
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And if you like rides, make sure to do the Big Shot at the Stratosphere in Vegas. Great rush. Haven't yet tried the X Scream yet, but will be there in 10 days to give it a go!
jv827 is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 01:40 PM
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I think SD is a great place too. We spent 3 days there last year and had a lot of fun. We will definitely we going back. I love the laid back vibe. The beaches are great. There are museums and quite a bit of history. There is quite a bit of natural beauty. Downtown has some nice nightlife.

I can't comment too much on LA since I haven't been there in a long time, but I remember Santa Monica and Venice Beach being a lot of fun.

I think that the Grand Canyon would be a nice addition to the SD and LV trip. Maybe with a trip to southern Utah - Bryce Canyon or some place.
J_Correa is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 02:59 PM
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Funny, when I considered LA, I was thinking I would probably stay in Santa Monica!! San Diego was thrown in because BF and I both want to visit, and we agreed when we first met that if we had to move somewhere, it would probably be somewhere between LA & SD!

Now that I may throw LA back into the mix, here's my dilemma. Vegas hotels are cheaper midweek, but we would be traveling from a Friday to the following Sunday total. I found great rates on Bally's from 9/7 - 9/9 ($59) but this would involve being in LA over Labor Day weekend which will drive the cost up! Am I better off going the following week and staying at the Orleans, Flamingo, Gold Coast or Sam's Town? (BF wanted to stay at the Stratosphere, but looking for something better)

Also is it crazy to do a NYC - LA - LV - SD flight run, or am I better off driving to and from Vegas?

Thanks again, I knew I could count on my Fodors posters!
missjanna is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 03:48 PM
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The drive to LV to/from LA/SD is not a bad 4-6 hr drive w/out traffic, particularly for an Easterner who probably hasn't seen much desert.

That being said, flights to LV are cheap, frequent, and easy (30 mins from SD). Not to mention, the airport is in downtown SD, so you won't skip a beat on your leg from LV to SD.

Personally, I'd drive. You'll get an even better feel for southern CA. Especially when it's 110 degrees on the way to Vegas.
malvado is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 04:11 PM
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Since you have received so many off-topic responses - I'll try a more serious tone.

We did similar trip this past August - different situation since we are couple with 2 teenagers. But our itinerary was -

Flew into LV (from Boston). Spent one night (seems you will want to spend more). Drove to Bryce Canyon (UT) - spent 2 nights. Drove to Lake Powell, spent 1 night. (I would skip this part of the trip and use days somewhere else).

Drove to South Rim of Grand Canyon and spent 2 nights. Then the more difficult part - I wanted to spend some time in San Diego - but it is about a 12 hour drive from Grand Canyon - without stops. So we ended up spending a night in Yuma, AZ en route - I have gotten myself in trouble here for knocking Yuma, so I will make no further comments on that city.

Spent 4 nights in San Diego - but not really that long in time since we arrive in the afternoon and our flight out after 4 nights was at 7 AM.
gail is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 04:12 PM
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Hi missjanna. Just want to make sure you know both the Orleans and Gold Coast are off the strip, and Sam's Town is over 5 miles away. If that's not a problem, I'd go with the Orleans out of this group. However, I'd still suggest staying on strip if at all possible budget-wise, especially if it's your first time (though not as far north as the Strat.)
jv827 is offline  

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