Link to my previous post: https://niceavailableprojects.wordpress.com/2017/12/07/road-trip-usa-part-i/
I think I haven’t mentioned this enough, but after election season (although some people beg to differ, sorry fam), US still has that alluring charm that attracts both tourists and immigrants alike.
I’ll be recommending some of the most spellbinding attractions on the route of Highway 1.
This rugged stretch of coastline between San Simeon and Carmel is pretty much the Amalfi coast of the US. If you’re looking for yet another getaway from the city life, be sure to give yourselves a couple of days to reach there and to unwind. Located not-so-conveniently on California’s coastal Highway 1, glide through 80 miles of uninterrupted scenery, seaside cliffs, and majestic coastal views, also dubbed as the “greatest meeting place of land and sea “. To the east lies the Santa Lucia Mountains, to the west rests the vast Pacific Ocean.
Bixby Creek is the first stop before entering Big Sur. It’s really the reason why we’re able to cross from San Francisco all the way to LA. My advice is that you don’t take anything more than 40 minutes here as there are other vantage points where you can view the intriguing scenery.
Point Lobos is a protected nature reserve with a crystal clear, turquoise lagoon nestled in its center. Dubbed as the “greatest meeting of land and water in the world” by landscape artist Francis McComas, it’s deemed the “crown jewel” in the California state park system, and it’s no wonder that they called it so. The extensive range of its habitat is startling, and what’s more its outstanding coastal scenery provides an opportune moment for recreation. Just take your time here, but not so much.
I dub this the ‘pit stop town’. There’s hardly anything here unless you like staring at vast nothingness dotted with greens, this is your place. However, spend nothing more than one day and one night here. I suggest a quick stay at an inn like Pelican Inn and take the room with the fireplace if you’re going on the winter!!
San Luis Obispo:
I like to call this one the ‘weed town’. I see people high on weed like it’s 4/20—everywhere. Besides the awesome Aaron’s Brothers shop and Jamba Juice at downtown SLO (that’s what the locals call it), I recommend spending only 1 night at an inn. It’s also super difficult to find reasonable food here so, find a nice Inn and move on.
Tiny Silicon Valley and such a lovely town! I think this was the major highlight of my trip. Shop all your fave American brands like Brandy Melville, Express etc and also department stores Nordstrom and Macy’s. The wide variety of food like Chipotle, Panera Bread at La Cumbre Plaza (Sear’s is there too) just opposite the inn that I stayed in, the Best Western Pepper Tree Inn along State street.There’s also Smart and Final, Starbucks and even Ross (haha yes for all you thrifty shoppers) at the 5 points.
You’ll need to drive along State St to downtown SB, however as it’s not walkable distance and the tram doesn’t go to that area.
Paseo Nuevo is one of the malls in downtown SB. Affordable Banana Republic, not-so-affordable Nordstrom, Express— they’re all here! Bath and Body Works as well.
Drive further to the beach (top up gas first) to catch the sunset. Due to daylight savings, sunset is between 4-4.30pm. I would recommend staying near this area (there are lots of seaside inns here which might actually be better than the one that I stayed in) This is recommended even by the locals! Side note: I had the most awesome opportunity to interact with the locals there and made friends too!
Wrap up the journey with a quick brekkie or lunch at Chick-Fil-A! The service staff is the friendliest here!
Little predominantly Danish town. You can shop all your favorite European goodies here! This is a major tourist spot, so expect crowded and sometimes impassible streets.
Park at the carpark behind the windmollen (Dutch for Windmill) and stroll through town. You can ride in the horse-drawn carriage for $5 which will take you around the town and where the tour guide who’s dressed in the traditional Danish will expound on the rich history of the Danish settlers who lived there centuries ago.
Take a stroll through the streets of Solvang where there’s an array of boutiques, antique shops, and souvenir shops. Try out the “European Fashion and Gifts” shop. Visit the Farmer’s Market every Wednesday for fresh produce too. Just walk along Atterdag Street or Copenhagen Drive or follow the tourist crowds.
There are plenty of authentic Danish restaurants like the Red Viking Restaurant and other restaurants that also serve Danish sweets.
The most stressful part of the journey. Too many cars (I mean, nothing new) and I was caught in the Thanksgiving jam too 😦
I absolutely love the Grove and the Farmer’s Market beside it because it’s trendy and has that hype. (I think I hunt down Farmer’s Markets for a living) All your American brands are situated here and it’s also the place where Jimmy Kimmel films his ‘pedestrian questions’ segment of his show sometimes.
I recommend avoiding Hollywood Boulevard because it’s super shady and warning: DO NOT TAKE A PICTURE WITH THE PEOPLE IN THE COSTUME – they’ll ask you for money! This is really dangerous because if you do take a picture with them and don’t give them their due payment, they turn pushy and violent. This comes from my first-hand experience.
The Hollywood walk of fame is another attraction, but don’t spend too long here as well. Ask your tour guide or any shop attendee over there to see the stars of your favorite actors and other famous people. Or Google it.
You can see the Hollywood Sign from 2 points: the Dolby Theatre mall or hiking up to the Griffith Observatory. Your tour guide will only take you to the first point, you have to drive for the second point. However, note that the first point doesn’t provide you with an advantageous view of the sign – when you take a picture of it, you can barely see it. Hence, check your itinerary and if time permits, you can hike up to Griffith Observatory.
I’ve been here twice before too, so I didn’t spend too much time here as well. The tour was also quite a waste because it was so fast and I’ve already visited all the places. However, the tour guide was extremely amiable! He was an African-American who knew the ins and outs of LA like the back of his hand. He even told me to try out for UCLA and give it a shot because he said it’s quite easy to go in, at least that’s what his son (who studies there) said.
I stayed in Marriott LAX so I had a pretty good view of the… highways. When or if I have the chance to go back, I will stay in Hotel Bel-Air as it’s closer to Beverly Hills.
I hoped this comprehensive guide helped you!