Los Angeles -> San Francisco Road Trip

Los Angeles -> San Francisco Road Trip

One weekend me and my friends decided to drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco, spend one night there and drive back the next day. It was absolutely amazing trip, even though not everything went quite as planned. We found out google lied to us, but we were ok with it. We did so much in these two days, to really take advantage of where we were. Here’s a couple of things we did and what we learned.

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First, we decided to take the PCH and the 101 up. So we drove right along the coast from Santa Monica, to Malibu and Oxnard. Unsurprisingly we were the only people driving up the coast after the “monster storm” that came to LA the day before. And even though it was still raining a little, the view was absolutely amazing and worth it. We had fallen in love with Malibu in the few weeks we have been here, so we enjoyed driving through the town again. The coast is gorgeous and I definitely recommend taking the Pacific Coast Highway for at least this part of the trip.

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Right before we hit Oxnard, we hit a very rural part of California, which actually surprised us. Lots of farms that spanned forever. In Oxnard we got a little lost. We turned off the GPS and assumed we would just continue going straight and we would hit the PCH headed north again. Well, we were wrong. Somehow we ended up heading east through more fields and driving through orange groves. It was gorgeous and worth the extra time. But eventually we turned the GPS back on, now to get on the 101 heading towards Santa Barbara.

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As we drove down the 101 we were constantly in awe. The landscape was surprising to us. We drove through mountains, hills, on cliffs along the coast. It took us a little over 3 hours to get from West Hollywood to Santa Barbara, so the perfect time to stop for a break and some food. Quick suggestion: a small cafe called The Shop Cafe. Amazing brunch food and you get the food pretty quickly, making it a great stop on a long trip. Also the food is AMAZING!

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We hopped back onto the 101 heading north. I don’t know what I imagined the Californian countryside to look like, but I was surprised. The rolling, velvety hills just kept going as we drove north. It was beautiful. Eventually vineyards started popping up and the highway straightened and flattened. At this point we hit a bit of a rough patch. The trip was getting long, we had already driven for 6 hours out of the expected 6.5 and according to Google Maps we had another 3 hours to go. So we ate a lot of snacks and stopped at a rest stop in San Miguel, a really cute town. What also woke us up was a small patch of forest with lots of pine trees, something you would find in the North East.

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After 9 hours, around 4:30pm, we finally hit San Francisco. We parked the car ($45 overnight parking), checked into our hotel, Union Square Plaza Hotel. After 9 hours in the car, we decided to walk to Fisherman’s Wharf. So up, over the hill and down Powell street we went. And when we reached our destination, we were rewarded with a beautiful sunset. We walked along the Wharf popping into different stores. Most importantly we bought a bunch of saltwater taffy, something I have never tried. So worth it, it was amazing! They had many flavours, anything you could think of, from cherry to sangria to pina colada!

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We walked down the road to Ghirardelli Square and started looking for a place to eat dinner. By chance we walked by The Pub BBQ and decided to share a bunch of appetizers and it was an amazing choice. The food was great paired with their drinks, so I definitely recommend! For dessert we went to Ghirardelli and got their famous hot fudge sundaes and sea salt caramel hot chocolate. And it was the best hot chocolate and sundae I have ever had! I will definitely have dreams about them.

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The best part of the trip came next. I finally took the cable car in San Francisco from Fisherman’s Wharf to Market Street! So worth the $7 ticket! It was too cold to hang on to the side of the car, but I will definitely do it in the future! This time we enjoyed the heated cabin.

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The next day we went to one of my favorite brunch places, Honey Honey Cafe and Creperie. Such delicious food and countless options! Just in the line we all changed our mind about what to get three times. One of the reason I like this place so much, other than the food, is that no matter how busy they get, you never feel like they are pressuring you to leave.

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After brunch we found the Painted Ladies, which is a must in San Francisco. They are gorgeous and I would move in, if I could! Naturally, the Fuller House house was next! Another house and neighborhood I loved. So we drove around a little and looked at more houses.

 

Golden Gate Bridge was next. We drove over it, in pouring rain. You could barely see the bridge as we drove over it, but that didn’t matter. We still had the experience and it was great. We drove to Sausalito, which is the most adorable town! There, we stopped for lunch at The Spinnaker, which was quite fancy, but totally worth it. Though the view from the restaurant was non-existent when we got there, soon it stopped raining and the fog cleared up, so we were rewarded with an amazing view of San Francisco! This, of course, meant that when we drove back over the bridge, the experience was even better! The view was beautiful, so we decided to drive through the Presidio, stop for a little and get a few pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge from there.

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After that, it was time to get back onto the highway and head home. We took the I-5 this time, since google promised a shorter amount of time.  Since we drove in the evening and at night, we couldn’t enjoy the view as much. But before it got dark, we got a quick look at Dublin and Pleasanton, where we stopped for gas before the long journey home. They were both really cute towns surrounded by great country. IMG_3904

We ended up getting back to LA at around 11:30pm and decided to get milkshakes as a reward and as a nice cherry on top of the road trip. Mel’s Drive-In was the perfect way to end the road trip, their milkshakes were so delicious as were their fries.


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Los Angeles: Three month adventure!

Los Angeles: Three month adventure!

The next couple of months I will be exploring Los Angeles as I finish up my last semester of college. I’m excited to experience a new city that I have never been to before and I want to document and share what I find! I will continue to update this article, with new places to see, where to eat, photos and more information on LA!

My first week in LA has actually been very rainy, which no one prepared me for. To be fair, no one here actually seems prepared either. So, a TIP for anyone coming to LA, it is very possible that January will be cold and rainy. It might not happen that often but be prepared for this possibility. Also, it is desert climate, so it gets quite cold in the night! 

Sights

Griffith Observatory

To go up to the Griffith Observatory you have a couple of options, you can either drive up there or you can hike. For the hike there are also a couple trails you can take up there, some are easier and some are more difficult. The one we took was a shorter one, about 1.5 km each way. At the top you are rewarded with a view of the city on one side and the Hollywood sign on the other side. It’s a great place to walk around, take pictures and even pet some dogs, because a lot of people take their dogs on walks in that area.

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Walk of Fame

This is always a must. Just go to Hollywood/Highland and stroll down Hollywood Boulevard and look for your favorite celebrities. It is an extremely busy, so if you want to take a picture of any particular star, just watch out for people walking by, because you don’t want to annoy people by blocking their way. Also, quick TIP, there are some pickpockets there, someone almost tried to steal my phone from my pocket, luckily my friend noticed and stopped them, so just keep an eye on your things.  

 

Hollywood/Highland

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Like mentioned earlier, this is the place to go if you want to go the best part of the Walk of Fame. You can also do a lot of shopping around there. Most importantly, the Dolby Theater is there, so if you want to go see where the Oscars take place, this is a must. The Chinese Theater is also in that area, only a block away from the Dolby Theater. This is the place where many stars have their hand and footprints. So, if you want to see the Harry Potter, Star Wars, Hunger Games or Twilight cast or Meryl Streep, Julie Andrew and others’ handprints and signatures, this is the place to go.FullSizeRender Highland is also where Jimmy Kimmel shoots his show, so if you get tickets to see that you will go there.Also, there is the El Capitan Theater, where most of the Disney movie premiers happen. They usually have some costumes from the current big Disney movies, like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and they have stormtroopers you can take pictures with. They also have fun screenings, like a sing along version of Moana.

 

Hollywood Farmer’s Market

IMG_3217This farmer’s market is Ivar Avenue & Selma Avenue. I’ve been there a couple of times now and it is definitely worth it! They sell all sorts of fruits and vegetables, that are a) cheap and b) delicious! And if you are not sure if you want to buy something, they usually have samples of the fruit they sell, but fair warning, you will walk out with that fruit. Also be sure stop by the creperie, where they even have gluten-free crepes!! This is obviously very exciting for me, but definitely try these crepes, they are amazing and very filling! Also check out the pastries they sell at the market, because it’s also delicious!

 

 

Universal Studios

This is definitely worth a visit. If you want to see Hogwarts and take the Forbidden ride, drink butterbeer or buy a wand at Olivander’s than Universal Studios is a must for you! But the fun doesn’t end there, they also have the Walking Dead attraction here, where you literally step into the world of The Walking Dead and zombies jump out at you from around each corner! Another great aspect of the Hollywood Universal Studios are the tours of the studios themselves. So many films were shot there, including How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the set of which is still up. IMG_3358

 Another must is the Jurassic ride and the Mummy ride, if you like rollercoasters. The CityWalk to Universal is also a great place. You can go shopping, eat food, drink, or just go to the movies. One place I recommend right now for food, is Karl Strauss Brewery, when we went we shared a bunch of plates, and it was amazing! Definitely spend some time just exploring the CityWalk, not just the theme park itself. One quick tip: if you are planning on going to Universal more than once, buy the seasonal passes, it will definitely be worth it.

 

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Santa Monica Pier is a must when going to LA, not just for the roller coasters and the entertainment on the pier, but definitely for the view of the ocean and the city. It is gorgeous, even though on warm, sunny days it’s extremely crowded. From the beach you can also walk a couple of streets inland, to the Third Street Promenade, where you can do a whole lot of shopping or get coffee or frozen yogurt! Just walking around the area is a lot of fun, it’s a very cute part of town that you can explore for a couple of hours.FullSizeRender 2

 

Malibu

We went to Malibu kind of by accident. We were heading to Santa Monica, but we missed the exit, and since Malibu was just another 6 miles or so from where we were, we were like why not. IMG_3441We all wanted to go anyway, so we continued driving down the Pacific Coast Highway. Malibu is gorgeous. The beaches are beautiful and there seems to be a lot of nice places to stop and eat, if you can afford it. We walked around a beach for a while and then just drove around a little. I definitely want to go back and actually explore the town a little.

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This is it for now! I will update with more places to see and where to eat!


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