Need help with LV, LA, San Diego itinerary!

Sep 10th, 2003, 07:48 AM
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Need help with LV, LA, San Diego itinerary!

OK gang, I need the help of those of you who been there, done that, live there, etc. I'm going to have about 11 days vacation next year and since I have to start saving NOW I may as well start planning too!

I plan on visiting the following cities in no particular order:
Las Vegas (2 days tops)

Los Angeles (open)

Anaheim / Orange County (open but not checking out Disney!)

San Diego (3 days)

I am flexible on my days in California. Also wondering the following questions:

1. Am I better off having a rental car the entire time and taking the 4 hour drive between LV and LA? Or better off flying then getting a car in LA?

2. Since Anaheim and LA are about a 1/2 hour apart, should I just get a hotel halfway between these cities or split my time between both?

3. What other cities are not to be missed in between LA and San Diego? And PLEASE NO MENTION OF SAN JOSE!!! ;-) I do not plan on going north!
The things I'm looking for are interesting things to do, I'm not the museum and art type, so don't list those! More of a beach and shop during the day, relax and go out to funky places at night type of person! I'm more interested in the off the beaten path places.

4. Which hotels should I check out in the $150 a night range? Looking to go for less than that in LV if I can swing it.

5. Should I put LV for the beginning of my trip or the end? I would be leaving on a Thurs morning and returning the following Sunday.

6. And while I'm at it, which areas should I be avoiding???

I know this is a tall order, but I am trying to get an idea and start some serious planning as time does tend to fly before you know it! Thanks to all that can help!
missjanna is offline  
Sep 10th, 2003, 07:53 AM
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I wouldn't miss Newport Beach I suppose. In fact I would probably suggest staying there in between LA and OC.
Eat at villa nova and stroll the shops and beach.

The drive from LV to CA is boring. I would think fly. You can get a good deal on airfare and it may end up being less then gas depending on if it is just you or you are traveling with alot of people.

L'Auberge hotel in Del Mar is very nice and there is some great shopping and dining there as well. I prefer it for a more mellow time then say La Jolla.
MoniqueU is offline  
Sep 10th, 2003, 09:11 AM
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You can safely skip Anaheim-- other than the theme park(s), there's nothing there. In Orange County, Newport/Balboa are good points to visit. Huntington Beach is Surf City, so it's worth going just to say you did. Laguna Beach is laid-back and artsy (I know you say "no art", but this is a cool place!), and if you go in summer you can hit the Festival of the Arts, the Sawdust Festival, the Pageant of the Masters (wonderful show of tableaux vivants), etc.

OK, that's a lot of art, but c'mon, it's fun stuff!

A day to hike on Catalina Island might be nice too (boats out of Long Beach and Newport, as I recall).

Shopping? Beverly Hills/West Hollywood, of course (with an afternoon hitting the funky shops on Melrose), Fashion Island in Newport, South Coast Plaza (a mall, yes, but a good one), the village in Newport (little shops).

If I think of anything else, I'll post it-- this is all off the top of my head and not at all organized. Hope it helps a teensy bit! Oh, and I'd put Vegas at the beginning, so you'll have the California time for chilling out after all the glitz and overstimulation.
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Sep 10th, 2003, 09:58 AM
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Thanks for the tips so far...I should mention that I plan on doing this in September / October next year (yes I know it's a ways off, but I have 3 trips planned between now and then, (DC, VT, PR) and this will be the biggest and longest of all of them!)

I was thinking from Thursday afternoon until Saturday afternoon in Vegas, then fly into either SNA, LGB or LAX (depending on which is cheapest) and then go from there, spending about 6 days in LA / Newport Beach and then the last 3 or 4 days in San Diego.

And hey, rjb, didn't know you were hiding under a bunch of aliases to bash San Jose! LOL ;-)
missjanna is offline  
Sep 10th, 2003, 10:11 AM
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Are you interested in going down into Mexico?

Driving down on a weekday afternoon, staying the night in Ensenada and then driving back to SD the next morning is very easy & fun.

(For now, let's postpone the discussion about driving down to mexico in a rental car, mexican car insurance, blah, blah)
scurry is offline  
Sep 10th, 2003, 10:12 AM
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Really, it's a lot harder to suggest reasons to go to SJ than to try to post under multiple logins....

The general itinerary you're envisioning sounds good, actually. Your airport choices between LAS and SoCal can be driven by price (JetBlue to LGB, Southwest to LAX or SNA)-- note that the major auto rental companies have desks right at LGB (but not Dollar or Alamo).

The time you're picking should have great weather (still nice and hot in the desert!), and you'll have time to leisurely explore each area, so it sounds really good!
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Sep 10th, 2003, 10:20 AM
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I would consider Mexico if I hadn't already been there! Does it make sense to get a hotel in say, Long Beach or Huntington Beach to have access to both LA and Laguna?
missjanna is offline  
Sep 10th, 2003, 10:23 AM
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missjanna-we did a similar trip last april.If you like the beach, check out the Beach House in Hermosa Beach.Its a great hotel about 7 mi. south of Lax.,and we found it to be a convenient location in which to take days trips, including Catalina Island. Next April we are flying into LAX -staying at the Beach House for a few days, then to Palm Springs and flying home from Las Vegas. Dollar rent a car lets you pick up in LA and drop off in Las Vegas.Then you only have a one way drive to Las Vegas, and you can save money on a flight there and back.
jd is offline  
Sep 10th, 2003, 10:32 AM
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I've vacillated on the issue of "central location" versus "stay x days in LA, y days down the coast" many times, and in this case, I'd go for a few days in the LA area, then taking a leisurely drive to a new hotel down the coast. It just saves you "car time"-- freeways can be a pain here, why not minimize the heartache?

Also (and you have to believe me on this, I live in Long Beach) the fact is that the good hotels in Long Beach are in downtown, not as easily accessible to anywhere as you'd think. And the hotels that ARE easily accessible in Long Beach aren't that nice, frankly.

Say you stay in Beverly Hills for three days-- there are nice, not too expensive places up there. You can then move down to Newport Beach-- or, for that matter, Huntington Beach (not quite so genteel, but a bit cheaper vis-à-vis lodging)-- for the OC stuff. These will be central to your Orange County coastal points of interest (and actually not far from a couple of things of interest in Long Beach-- the Queen Mary and the Aquarium of the Pacific; these are NOT must-sees for your stated interests, but...). And oh the beaches down there!! Make sure you get down to Laguna and maybe get drinks at Splashes (in the Surf and Sand) and dinner at Las Brisas. The views are spectacular.
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Sep 10th, 2003, 11:53 AM
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If you fly into LV and are reserving a one-way car rental to California, make sure you remind car rental company at every opportunity you have that you need a "California car". We ran into delays getting car in LV as they had to "find" a California car - has to do with auto emission standards in Calif and their inability to rerent a non-California car from a California location. It is done all the time, but they can't just dump you in any car on the lot.
gail is offline  
Sep 10th, 2003, 01:18 PM
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Ok I decided not to rent a car in LV. Might be better to cab it or I am a wanderer, after all! Plus airfare from LV to CA is between 50-70 which isn't bad at all.

Too many good hotels in LV and hard to choose. It looks like my Thurs - Sat jaunt there would be a lot cheaper if I push it back a day. Looking at Riviera, Treasure Island, Mirage, NY NY (although I live here, so it's not my first choice).

I have plenty of time, but would like narrow my hotels and such so that when I am ready to book I will have no hesitations!
missjanna is offline  
Sep 10th, 2003, 01:27 PM
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Of the list you give, I'd have to put the Mirage at the top. It has the best reputation for service, the pool area is one of the best, and it's reasonably located (not extreme north or south Strip). I've always relied on cabs in Vegas (or broke down and walked) and never regretted not having a car. And yes, the rates drop considerably if you forego weekend dates.

Since you're coming from NYC, you can possibly do JetBlue the entire way! You might be able to piece together the trip quite nicely with three non-stops (JFK/LAS, then LAS/LGB, then LGB/JFK).
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Sep 11th, 2003, 12:49 PM
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When it comes to the hotels you listed - I'd have to agree that the Mirage is the best, and also Treasure Island. Skip the Riviera - it is old and hasn't had anything done to spruce it up in the years I've lived here (8). Also, we have a pretty good bus system, as well as some shuttles (depending on where you want to go & from where) and of course gillions of taxi cabs, so you really don't need to rent a car.

The time of year is one of the nicest - it's still warm enough to enjoy the pool, but not so bloody hot as the summer months. The evenings are absolutely beautiful.
bashfulLV is offline  
Oct 18th, 2003, 05:59 PM
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Random thoughts ...
I used to go to LV several times a year for business and found it only became fun once I started staying at the Luxor - get a room in the towers where you can look out at the desert views past the pyramid - and you can often get wonderful rooms there for $100 or less (try expedia or hotwire and the lasvegas tourist www site) I like absurdity of the Luxor - LV is all about excess and they do that very well - plus you can hop the little tram to Mandalay Bay for the House of Blues and pool. In LV, there's no need for a car (except to add parking charges!) - cabs will do fine. I always spend one late aafternoon/evening shopping at the Venetian and picking a spot there to eat .

I'm heading to LA next month but don't have any favorites there - except a meal at Chaya. I had a super stay at the Sofitel but I don't see them mentioned much these days so maybe they have declined? Again, I was happy to not have a car in LA - the traffic was overwhelming.

One travel option worth investigating - last San Diego/LA trip I took, I took a train between the 2 cities - for $3 extra, I had a "Business Class" seat which was very comfortable, complete with wine, good snacks, and great luggage handling.

In San Diego, I enjoyed the Paradise Island resort near Sea World - and was glad I had a car. And don't miss the Zoo! it's wonderful and I've spent great afternoons there with business colleagues and with kids!

One more random tip - if in Anaheim area, go to Mr. Stoxx for dinner - I still dream about their warm apple tart (made while you eat dinner) with cinnamon ice cream!

Have a great time!
siun is offline  
Oct 18th, 2003, 08:53 PM
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Yes I am still doing research, although right now I am checking into hotels for my DC trip next month....although I found some irony.

I realized JetBlue may be my option. I just recently booked a trip for my bosses to LV and California, and I had to book them at the Mirage, so I guess I'll wait to see how they like it and go from there!

So now I'm confused. Some say you shouldn't rent a car, and others say I should for LA to SD. So now what???
missjanna is offline  
Oct 19th, 2003, 04:00 AM
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I would fly jetBlue from JFK to SAN. Rent a car in S.D. and (at the beginning of September) go to the race track in Del Mar on the drive up the coast. Then up to Hermosa Beach or thereabouts and visit L.A. Then either drop the car at LGB and fly to LAS or drive to L.V., then jetBlue back to JFK. And visit the Grand Canyon.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Oct 19th, 2003, 05:57 AM
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You just turned my trip in reverse....I would have to do LV FIRST because since I am returning on a Sunday, and I only plan on 2 days there, I would end up paying jacked up weekend rates there which make no sense to me. Plus since I already said I plan on flying from LV to California, seeing the Grand Canyon may not be an option! I don't want to deal with the "needing a California car from Nevada" or dropping a California car in Nevada that was mentioned option. I'd rather not have any hassles!
missjanna is offline  
Oct 19th, 2003, 01:22 PM
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Two more tidbits ...

For your DC trip, try hotwire for the hotel - I had to book several different groups of us into DC hotels for spring meetings and we got rates of between $70 and $90 for the Watergate Swissotel which was great.

Also for LV hotels - when I used to go, colleagues from Germany also would be there for the same meetings and they *always* stayed at Treasure Island and found it very nice indeed - having drinks in the pirate bar watching the show is a lot of fun!
siun is offline  
Nov 11th, 2003, 11:59 AM
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Thanks Siun, I'm usually hesitant to bid on hotels, but may do it next year. However, I landed the Omni Shoreham in DC for $99 and after a 50% discount coupon, it's now $49.50. Thw winning bids on priceline for this same hotel was around $80!!!

Now, my CALIFORNIA people!!!
After meeting with Marilyn on Halloween, she suggested I might be better off in San Francisco instead of San Diego. Any thoughts on this? I'm pretty open on my California itinerary and willing to shave some days off LA as it seems I may only need 3-4 days there.

Any help would be appreciated!
missjanna is offline  
Nov 11th, 2003, 12:43 PM
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Who is Marilyn & how can you "do better" in SF vs SD for beach and shopping in October?? I love SF but IMO there's far more to see & do in SD, especially in Oct. While you can't swim in the ocean then, you can swim in a pool in SD. I was just there for the first time 2 weeks ago & was awestruck at the beauty. Stay on Coronado Island or in La Jolla. Easy to drive everywhere. If you want to add SF, drop LV!
mclaurie is offline  

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