San Diego: Coastal Wonders and Cultural Hot Spots
It’s easy to love San Diego. Mild breezes, 112 kilometers of coastline and a welcoming spirit, these are its obvious charms. For an instant connection to natural beauty, head out on the water in the quaint beach town of La Jolla. Kayak along rugged coastal bluffs in the beautiful Pacific Ocean and into the caves of La Jolla Cove. If you’re lucky, you might see playful sea lions. Back in the heart of the city, explore Balboa Park, recognized as the largest urban cultural park in the US. The park includes 17 museums, stunning gardens, lush landscaping, performing arts, the world-renowned San Diego Zoo, and the resplendent Spanish colonial architecture of the California Tower. Stroll through the Plaza de Panama and explore the Botanical Building and the Lily Pond. Next, grab a quick bite, craft beer or seasonal cocktail at Panama 66 inside the May S. Marcy Sculpture Court and Garden at the nearby San Diego Museum of Art.
Nothing tells the story of San Diego better than its neighborhoods. Head to Barrio Logan, a culturally rich Mexican American community and home to an extensive swath of Chicano street art. In the heart of the neighborhood, Chicano Park, a National Historic Landmark, houses an impressive collection of murals painted by Chicano artists at the bottom of the Coronado Bridge. It is the largest collection of Chicano murals in the world and one of the largest outdoor mural collections in the country. An important cultural landmark for the community, the park was founded in the 1960s by residents in protest of the urban construction that took over the neighborhood. Delve into this local spirit at Por Vida, a coffee shop and community center that is famous for its Horchata Cold Brew Coffee. Nearby at Border X Brewing, the Blood Saison beer is inspired by the traditional Mexican drink, Jamaica, and pairs perfectly with an authentic street taco from Tury’s Tacos, located inside the brewery. After enjoying yourself, rest up for the night before driving to a desert oasis.
Greater Palm Springs: Mid-Century Modern Desert Jewel
A two-hour drive east brings you to Greater Palm Springs, a series of nine resort towns surrounded by the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains in the westernmost section of the Sonoran Desert. Slow down as you explore Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs’ main thoroughfare, embodying the mid-century modern architecture the area is known for. Retro buildings stand out against stunning, rugged terrain, dotted with towering palm trees. Elegant and cultured, Palm Springs is an effervescent mix of must-see boutiques, galleries and cafes. Take time to see the spectacular wilderness of Joshua Tree National Park, just a 45-minute drive away. Another way to see beautiful scenery is a ride on the Palm Springs cable car. Hop on a tram and ascend from the desert floor to an alpine forest, watching the rocky cliffs of Chino Canyon through your window as the tram climbs skyward. At the top, stop by the Peaks Restaurant for a meal with a stunning view. Stay at La Quinta Resort & Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, where you can enjoy a therapeutic soak in a lush garden tub filled with flowers and essential oils, or hang out for a poolside happy hour. Before you leave the desert, check out the Coachella Walls, a fascinating collection of wall art in a rainbow of colors and patterns depicting the history of the community, as well as important cultural and historical figures.
Anaheim: Day-to-Night in the Center of the Magic and Fun
No trip to Anaheim is complete without a visit to the Disneyland Resort, home of the original Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure park. Here, you can explore various themed lands like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge; enjoy character experiences, live entertainment and parades; marvel at Pixar Pier and ride iconic attractions*. For a break from the parks, check out the Anaheim Packing House, a former citrus packing warehouse given new life as a modern dining hub and entertainment destination. This light and airy space welcomes locals and visitors alike. It is an absolute paradise for food discovery, with more than 20 unique restaurants and creative artisans. End your day at the Downtown Disney District, a lively pedestrian promenade offering shopping, dining, and entertainment. Check out Creole cuisine at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen for a spicy good time, and end the night by exploring the rest of the area. With a fun atmosphere all its own, the Downtown Disney District is an ideal place to grab a bite to eat, shop ’til you drop, or spend quality time with family and friends.
West Hollywood: The Trendy Heart of Los Angeles
Venture into West Hollywood and make your first stop on Melrose Avenue, a vibrant thoroughfare that has been the setting for many popular television series. Wander past brightly colored independent shops, chic boutiques like Fred Segal, and trendy outdoor cafes perfect for people-watching. You might even run into a celebrity. Near Santa Monica Boulevard, stop at Laurel Hardware, an industrial-style restaurant that was once a hardware store, and eat lunch like a local. The Citrus Avocado Salad and Skillet Branzino are sure to please. After lunch, head to the West Hollywood Design District. It is the place to discover the latest in art, design, fashion and interiors. Visit the Pacific Design Center, a dream collection of interior design, furniture and textile showrooms. As the sun sets, venture onto the famous Sunset Strip, resplendent with neon lights and lined with entertainment venues and music clubs. It helps to plan and buy tickets for shows in advance, but there may be local acts that you can catch spontaneously. Visit Whiskey a Go Go, a music club that helped launch the careers of The Doors, No Doubt, Led Zeppelin, KISS and AC/DC. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this bouncy nightclub continues to host popular bands and artists. Don’t skip The Troubadour or The Viper Room, also legendary music venues that won’t disappoint you. It will be an unforgettable experience before you take your flight home from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).