California/questions about an upcoming trip
Hi Steve, you wrote an excellent suggestion list for a woman and I wanted to ask some further details. I am planning a trip for the first week in July for my family of five, three kids aged 10 to 21. I want to do all the things on your list but have only a week. If I wanted to all the typical tourist things plus maybe some wine tasting tours and get to rodeo drive and sunset blvd, how far apart are they so that I can figure out how many hotels or if there are some that are kind of in the middle of everything. I will stay in san diego for a few days..
The thing that most people don't get is how far apart things are here in LA. For example, Universal Studios is 36 miles from Disneyland, but it can sometimes take 2 hours or more to get that distance. There really is no place in "the middle of everything", because everything is so spread out. And if you try to get into the geographic center, you'll wind up in some really undesirable place, like Commerce or Santa Fe Springs.
The real trick here will be the wine tasting. There is only one winery in the city of LA, the San Antonio Winery. All others are a considerable distance, about 100 miles away. The San Antonio Winery is in a very "urban" area of LA, which was once rural (about 150 years ago). I would suggest Googling wineries in the Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, or Temecula areas. One thing you can do to make the trip tolerable for the kids is to stop in Santa Barbara, and let the kids run around in Kid's World in Alameda Park, or Chase Palm Park (which is right across from the beach). You can aslo stop in Solvang, a cute little Danish town near highway 101. There are lots of shops with toys and treats, as well as some antique shops. That's going to take a whole day. You might also want to stop in the little beach town of Carpinteria. There are a couple of cool local joints there, like The Spot on Linden Ave. You can also bribe your kids with a trip to the old fashioned candy store, Robataille's.
As for Rodeo Drive and Sunset Blvd, they are only a few miles apart. Rodeo is a very short street in Bevelry Hills. Sunset is a long road which runs from East LA all the way to the ocean. It's interesting in Hollywood, where you can pass by "Nick on Sunset", where they shot a bunch of Nickelodon shows, like iCarly. Sunset Blvd also passest through swanky areas like Beverly Hills and goes all the way to the edge of Malibu, where you can dine at Gladstone's at the beach.
I usually recommend that people stay in Hollywood, Santa Monica, or Anaheim. In Hollywood, I recommend the Orchid Suites, Hollywood Celebrity Hotel, or Hollywood Heights (formerly Holiday Inn Walk of Fame), all near Hollywood and Highland. In Santa Monica, the Holiday Inn Santa Monica is close to the pier and reasonably priced. In Anaheim, I recommend the Howard Johnson (HoJo) Anaheim, and the Candy Cane Inn. There is also a nice place in Burbank called the Best Western Media Center, very close to Warner, NBC, and Universal Studios.