Oh California, you have stolen a little piece of my heart. This past summer, I traveled to San Francisco and Los Angeles with two of my friends and let me tell you – we did it all.
My best friend and I are both planners, and since this was our first time in Cali, we wanted to see everything there was to see. We scheduled four days in San Francisco and four in Los Angeles and made sure we didn’t miss anything.
Our first day in San Francisco was spent unpacking, getting accustomed to the slight time difference and heading out to some bars to start our vacation. Before heading to the Mission District, we did what any three 26-year-old girls would do: jam out to some music, sip a little bit and dance around like crazy people! After we got all our (bad) dance moves out of our system, the rest of the night consisted of dimer, drinks and just enjoying being in California.
Early the next morning we got up to go on our first tour of the week which was 11 hours long * I know. * But believe me, it was so worth it to us. First things first, we got to see the Golden Gate Bridge which duh, is a staple in San Francisco and you cannot miss it. After that, our bus headed to 17-Mile Drive, Monterey, Carmel and Pebble Beach throughout the day. Waking up that morning I was most excited to dip my feet in the Pacific Ocean for the first time. It was absolutely beautiful, and I could have stayed there all day. The beaches in California are 10x better than the ones in New Jersey (Sorry NJ!! I still love you!). We spent a few hours in Monterey and were able to walk around Cannery Row which was a cute little area. We got to do some souvenir shopping there, ate some lunch and just enjoyed the beach. Pebble Beach was awesome for me to go to because I was able to send pictures back to my dad who is a golfer. He was so jealous that now he wants to take a trip to California!
Next day, bright and early (like 7am early) my best friend and I hopped on a bus to take us to Yosemite National Park. I would recommend everyone to head their at least one time in your life. It was a super long day; the bus ride alone was 4 hours each way! 100% worth it though. We got to hike through different parts of the Park and got to see the famous Giant Sequoias. Everywhere you looked breathtaking views, from the sequoias, to the waterfalls and everything in between. Being the tourists that we are, once we met back up with our other friend, we went to ride the Cable Cars. I don’t care what you’re in San Francisco for or how long – ride the Cable Cars. It was an awesome experience and probably one of my absolute favorite things we did the entire trip. We took them down to Fisherman’s Wharf and luckily got there on time to see the sun setting. Beautiful.
The following day was our last one in San Francisco so we ended this half of the trip the way anyone would – checking out some wineries in Sonoma and Napa Valley! We went to three separate wineries and got tours of the vineyard and barrel rooms at all of them. It was just a really great afternoon spent sipping my way through the wineries, enjoying the weather and living my best life. That night we were scheduled to fly to Los Angeles, so we made a few more touristy stops before heading to the airport. We headed to Lombard Street which is famous for its steep, one-block section with eight hairpin turns. And trust me, it was nerve-wracking watching people drive down that thing. Last thing we had to do in San Fran before leaving was go to the “Full House” house. Sadly, John Stamos wasn’t there but it was really cool to see where the show was filmed. after that we went back to our Airbnb, grabbed our belongings and headed to Los Angeles.
Our days in LA weren’t as jam packed as the ones in San Francisco were, so it was nice to be able to relax a bit, the first day was spent at Hermosa Beach which was absolutely picturesque. I think we spent more time looking at the beachfront houses than enjoying the water. That night was spent hanging out in our Airbnb, having a few drinks and preparing for the next day.
The next morning brought us the ultimate tour of Los Angeles. I think we saw everything you could possible see: Venice, Muscle Beach, the Santa Monica Pier, the Hollywood Sign & Walk of Fame, Rodeo Drive and anything you can think of. We go to spend some time at the Santa Monica Pier which was great – it’s just one of those things you dream of doing. Also, why did no one tell me the Walk of Fame was so long?!? My best friend Dawn and I were trying to cover as much of it as possible but that was NOT happening. That night we went to Playhouse – we needed to see how the LA people partied! It was so small in that club (compared to NJ/NYC at least) but we had a blast nonetheless.
Following day was spent being hungover (oops), ordering food, watching Netflix and not moving too much. I was excited for our evening plans – we were going to a Los Angeles Dodgers game! I am a huge sports fan (Go Giants! Go Yankees! Go Nets!), so I wanted to see at least one type of sporting event while in California. Luckily for me, the Dodgers were playing so I made sure to tell my friends we were going to a game. Honestly, Dodger Stadium didn’t impress me as much as I thought it would. I did get a Dodger dog (yum) and it was firework night, so all-in-all I enjoyed myself. Plus, it was nice seeing another stadium other than Yankee Stadium and CitiField.
Here we are … our last day in California. How did we spend it? At the beach of course! We wanted to soak up as much as we could before heading back home to reality. It was a lovely, relaxing last day. We went to grab dinner at one of the bars by the beach, but the next thing we knew, we made some friends and were drinking the rest of the day away. This is one thing I do not recommend: don’t get drunk the night before a super early flight. You will regret it, all day, forever. And ever. Regardless of the hungover 6-hour plane ride home, it was nice spending the last day with my close friends, plus some new ones, enjoying California.
So, there you have it! My trip to San Francisco and Los Angeles. We booked all our tours through viator.com and we only did this because it was our first time and we wanted to see everything possible. We already decided that when we go back to California, we’re just going to wing it and be more open with our plans.
I loved California and if it wasn’t so frickin’ expensive, I’d probably look into moving there one day. Hope this post gave you some inspiration on what to do if you find yourself in California!