San Diego or San Francisco

Old Mar 14th, 2016, 01:09 PM
  #1  
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San Diego or San Francisco

Hello All:

My boyfriend and I want to plan a trip to California in July. We have never been to California. We are debating on either going to San Diego or San Francisco. I want to possibly do some sightseeing, beach for a day, maybe Napa Valley and some outdoor activities. What do you guys think? San Diego or San Fran? Can anyone recommend any hotels, Restaurants, etc. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
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Old Mar 14th, 2016, 01:21 PM
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Let me get this started: mentioning San Diego and Napa in the same sentence makes me wonder if you have looked at a map.
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Old Mar 14th, 2016, 01:27 PM
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Beach = San Diego

Napa Valley = San Francisco.

I grew up in Southern Calif, but moved up to San Francisco when I was 28 years old. I'm 68 now.

I enjoyed the beach scene when I was in my teens & 20s. But I hated all the freeway driving to get elsewhere.

I enjoy the diversity of things to do in the SF area. No beach scene in July, however. Obviously, we've never moved back to Southern Calif - we love it up here.

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 14th, 2016, 03:26 PM
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As far as hotels and restaurants go, you'll have to give us some information - what is the maximum amount you'll spend for a night in a hotel for example, or for an entrée at a restaurant - some people think a $300 a night hotel is very expensive, others think that's "budget".
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Old Mar 14th, 2016, 03:38 PM
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It seems that neither of the respondents above really comprehended the OP's questions.

Nothing about the OP's statement suggested she hadn't looked at a map, or believed that San Diego and Napa Valley had anything to do with one another.


But it IS challenging to answer the query ideally for the OP, whose individual tastes certainly cannot all be listed here.


I'd say, that IF you select San Diego, you would get the warm weather on which California's reputation is based. And you would have much of what L.A. offers something near to 110-120 miles away, juuuuuuuuuuust in case

San Fran is probably more expensive than it should be, and while San Diego isn't cheap, you might get better value for your money there.

IF traveling in July, it makes sense to book accommodations in San Diego well in advance, especially on the weekends (as that is where L.A. goes for a weekend getaway).


It wouldn't be a terrible idea to have a home base somewhere in between San Diego and L.A., and in so doing you would open up a whole additional world of sightseeing.

Don't know where the OP is from, but IF, by chance, it is the midwest or somewhere similar, then the things you can see in L.A. are those which you've been told about all your life. It's your first trip to California, so don't you maybe want to see some of those traditional things and places?

Basing yourself between San Diego and L.A. would also offer the option to survey numerous airports for the very best rates for both car and flight.

(Long Beach airport, while very basic, is quite handy for missing lots of the L.A. population mass, and darting away to the south fairly quickly - even on a slower path with nice ocean views in many areas)


For my vision to work ideally, you'd maybe find an area in the San Juan Capistrano/San Clemente area, with rooms that fit your budget, and then plot day trips in both directions during your time there.

From San Juan Capistrano to Disneyland is a do-able 30 miles, and it is 68 miles from SJC to the San Diego Zoo (for example)... and 65 miles from SJC to Hollywood, where surely you'd want to wander up and down Hollywood Boulevard looking at the stars on the (actual) sidewalk (The "Walk of Fame").


So again, I don't know where you're coming from, or whether you have an aversion to L.A.... but if you want an idea which offers some thoughtful convenience, at least think about that scenario.

Be sure to price rental cars at all potential airports beFORE booking your plane ticket and match the least expensive flights with the least expensive rental cars, for the most affordable match for you.

(and hopefully it is easier to land free hotel/motel parking at spots in between San Diego and L.A. than it might be in either of those cities {and San Fran as well} )

Food for thought...
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Old Mar 14th, 2016, 04:09 PM
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If warm weather and beaches are important to you, then San Diego is where you should go. An interesting Old Town, and Balboa Park is beautiful.

If you're interested in a great cultural city and visiting wine country, then you should consider San Francisco.

San Francisco is often very cold and foggy in summer, but you can travel north (Napa/Sonoma) or south (Santa Cruz beaches) and be back in the sun. There are plenty of great outdoor activities - redwood forest, hiking, biking, etc. - outside SF.

If you're only coming for a short (week to ten days) vacation, you would likely be best off choosing one or the other ... don't try to do both or you'll be too rushed.
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Old Mar 14th, 2016, 06:46 PM
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Thank you all very much for your quick responses. I actually have looked at the California map, just interested in both places and trying to get feedback. I am from Philadelphia. Northwestmale and scdreamer I appreciate you taking out the time and providing me with your suggestions. This will definitely help me in making my decision.
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Old Mar 14th, 2016, 06:58 PM
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I personally would lean toward San Francisco, Napa, Mendocino kind of thing, but we are always looking to escape the heat. As mentioned above San Diego will probably give you more of a sunny California experience. I prefer Lagina Beach , Dana Point area myself, but not sure what you'd like to spend your time doing. Pageant of the. Masters and the Sawdust Festival are fun experiences in Laguna.
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Old Mar 14th, 2016, 07:00 PM
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Oops. Laguna Beach
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Old Mar 14th, 2016, 07:11 PM
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Thanks Cjar.
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Old Mar 14th, 2016, 07:41 PM
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I love San Francisco. I feel more at home in terms of culture and like one of the other posters I am always trying to escape the heat.


That said- for a first visit I'd suggest Southern California. But if you don't do both San Diego and LA, my vote would be LA with a few days in Santa Barbara, which has beach AND wine tasting There is so much to do in LA. There's a lot to do in SF as well, of course, and amazing food, but LA is like a little, strange universe of American/Western cultural icons.

And also, I'll admit, I found SF pricier. So if that's an issue, look at hotels first before deciding.
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Old Mar 15th, 2016, 10:40 AM
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Thank you very much marvelousmouse. I appreciate your suggestions and will do just that.
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Old Mar 15th, 2016, 12:21 PM
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When in July are you coming? There is a huge convention there in mid July called Comic Con and lots of the hotels near the convention center and elsewhere will either be booked or have very high prices.
San Diego is not too far from Temecula which has pretty nice wines (and much lower tasting fees). You could stay overnight if you did not want to drive after tasting. Temecula Creek Inn is nice and close to Pechanga casino. Embassy Suites was nice also.
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Old Mar 15th, 2016, 01:02 PM
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San Francisco is one of those unique cities of the world that rank with London, Paris, NYC, etc. as a very special tourist destination.
I love San Diego and have visited often but San Francisco would rank much higher on my bucket list.
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Old Mar 15th, 2016, 08:26 PM
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added note:

jamie99 IS correct, but seems to slightly understate how much impact "Comic Con" has on local San Diego hotel rooms.


Furthermore, July in the north San Diego area brings horse racing at Del Mar, and that does a whammy on hotel rooms in THAT wide area... so here again, plotting a spot perhaps between L.A. and San Diego would let you have many options.

Shop around and see what you can get.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2016, 02:49 PM
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Thanks to all for the great advice!
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Old Mar 23rd, 2016, 05:17 PM
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SF hotels under $300.. Handlery Hotel (off Union Square) ask for one of their specials (KGO special is one) which include free parking which saves you about $40 a day and gives you $20% off at the Daily Grill which is a good restaurant. PARC 55 just off Powell and Market also sometimes has Park and Stay packages which include parking. Fishermans wharf area perhaps the Sheraton. JULY in SF bring sweater, light jacket as it is NOT warm usually. Once you leave the City for Wine Country then you will hit the heat. Rent a bike and ride across the Golden Gate Bridge I hear is fun - not for me as I hate bridges! There are Segue (I think that is what they are called) tours, walking tours of Chinatown and Victoria House Walking tours. Pick up a neighborhood walking book and walk some neighborhoods yourself. Ferry boat over to Sausalito, Alcatraz tour (sells out quickly) I love this City but I also enjoy the warm summer weather in San Diego but think that SF is so much more cosmopolitan and diverse.
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Old Mar 24th, 2016, 05:00 PM
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San Diego's Comic Con is July 20 thru July 24, 2016.


And the Del Mar Racing Season starts July 15 and ends the first week of Sept. 2016 But it doesn't run every single day.

I don't think it will impact hotel reservations. A lot of people come down from LA for the weekend races and a lot are locals that just go for the day.

If you are concerned you could plan your trip to San Diego from July 1st thru July 14. But the races won't really be a problem.

Each city is so different. It really depends on your interests.
San Francisco, very lovely - stunning views. The city's beauty will take your breath away (IMHO).
San Diego is lovely too but is more an active town, with surfers, beach goers, kayaking, boating, hiking, etc.
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Old Mar 24th, 2016, 08:55 PM
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>>San Diego.... is more an active town
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Old Mar 25th, 2016, 04:06 AM
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I would suggest San Francisco as it's one of the most romantic places to visit with your partner. Don't go for hotels they are quite expensive, you can simple book any hostel near bay area that will be completely in your budget. Wish you good luck for your trip.
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