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  • gregvalentyne

The Ultimate Trip to California

California is one of my favourite travel destinations. There is so much to see and do!

On my last trip to California, I was visiting a friend and ended up doing so much more than planned! We explored Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. If you ever have a chance to visit these cities, I’d recommend driving along the Pacific Coast Highway and making stops at each one. You can plan the ultimate 4 or 5 day road trip that starts in Los Angeles, continues to San Diego, and concludes in San Francisco. You will truly enjoy the beauty that each city has to offer!

Keep reading for a list of things I enjoyed when I last visited California!

Los Angeles

Hike to the Hollywood Sign

Go hiking at your own pace and see the infamous Hollywood sign. There are a variety of authorized hiking trails to discover, and they all provide a perfect view of the sign. The hiking trails range in difficulty from beginner to advanced. You’ll definitely be able to find your speed and capture the perfect selfie with the Hollywood sign in the background!

Tour the ‘Friends’ Set

If you’re like me, you love the 90s sitcom Friends. Over the years, Monica, Rachel, Ross, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey taught us a lot about friendship. As a fan of the show, you’ll enjoy getting up close and personal to the actual Central Perk Set and reliving some of your favourite show moments.

Attend a Taping of the ‘Ellen DeGeneres’ Show

Everyone loves Ellen! You can see her in action on her daytime talk show by getting free tickets to a live taping. When I attended, I saw Hugh Jackman. It was so much fun! You can secure your tickets in advance via reservation, or wait in a standby line for same day tickets.

Pantages Theatre

The Pantages Theatre in Hollywood is one of Los Angeles' leading venues for live theatre. I had the pleasure of seeing Hamilton at this picturesque theatre. Be sure to check out what Broadway musicals are in town and visit this historic beauty when you’re in L.A.

Santa Monica Pier

The Santa Monica Pier is a very large pier that contains an amusement park, restaurants, arcade, aquarium, and so much more! The solar-powered Ferris wheel is the only one of its kind in the region. This is a must-visit destination! I really enjoyed it.

Venice Beach Boardwalk

The Venice Beach boardwalk is Southern California’s number one visitor attraction for a reason! The area really embodies the spirit of bohemian style. When you visit, you’ll experience artistic expressions brought to life. Street performers entertain on-lookers with break-dancing, juggling, and even broken glass walking! You’ll also find plenty of dining and shopping options.

San Diego

The San Diego Zoo

Housing upwards of 4,00 animals, the San Diego Zoo is one of the world’s largest zoos. I love this zoo because of their open-air, cage-less exhibits that re-create natural animal habitats. They have over 800 species, and many of the species are bred in captivity for release into their native habitats.

Bikes and Scooters

San Diego is the perfect city for hopping on a rental bike or electronic scooter, and cruising around town. These publicly shared modes of transportation are all over the city, and getting your hands on one is super easy. Not only is the price right, but they can be used for up to 24 hours.

San Francisco

The ‘Full House’ Home

Another sitcom that I enjoyed in the 90s was Full House. Do you remember the iconic red door from the opening credits? Well, if you happen to visit San Francisco, be sure to pass by the real-life home that served as the exterior of the Tanner residence, and see the door in person.

Ride a San Francisco Trolley

Did you know that the San Francisco cable car system is the world's last manually operated cable car system? Neither did I, but they’re super fun to ride! Traveling up and down the steep hills of San Francisco, the iconic cable cars start running as early as 6 a.m. and continue until midnight.

Pier 39

Pier 39 is a popular attraction built on a pier in San Francisco. With plenty of water attractions, the possibilities for having fun at this pier are endless! The pier has so many things to see and do! There are sea lions, a rollercoaster, restaurants, local shops and more. It’s the perfect setting for spending time with your kids, friends, significant other, or even on a first date!

Golden Gate Bridge

Everyone recognizes the Golden Gate Bridge. Its name comes from the fact that it spans the Golden Gate: a stretch that connects the San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. If you’re up for it, you can even walk or bike across the bridge. Walking or biking is a great way to experience it.


Many people don’t know this, but I’m obsessed with any and everything crime related. Being able to tour the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary made visiting San Francisco the trip of a lifetime! For me, the tour was unbelievable! The tour is guided by the voices of the previous prisoners and guards. As you tour the penitentiary, the voices narrate stories about the prison cells and things that happened while they were there. You even get to go into the prison cells. If you’re also fascinated by crime stories, I highly recommend getting tickets to Alcatraz Island, cruising on the San Francisco Bay and touring Alcatraz.



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