This is part of a two-part post on our lovely family trip to California this February. Click here for the first part of our Cali trip. Happy Reading 🙂
Los Angeles, CA
On our fourth day in San Diego, we drove 1.5 hour to Los Angeles, and stayed overnight for two nights before our flight to San Francisco. We just had to see Hollywood and all the celebrity spots in LA, even if it was just driving through it. Because of the kids, a lot of our destinations were consolidated during nap times. So for example, we took a chunk of one day to see Rodeo Drive, the Hollywood sign, Griffith observatory, Beverly Hills, Hollywood Blvd and Walk of fame, and we saw it all from the inside of our rental car while our girls napped in their car seats. Hey, we had to work around the kids’ schedule! If you’re easily starstruck, like me, then you will thoroughly enjoy all of these viewings, even from the passenger window.
Venice beach is a definite must-see if you’re in LA. Not only is it a nice beach & boardwalk, but it is so unlike any other beach because of its eclectic culture. I have never seen so many different people, different languages spoken all along this boardwalk. There are artists, yoga, fitness training, skateboarding, ethnic foods, and much more to see. This is another spot that has been filmed and seen in many movies/shows.
Santa Monica Pier
When we were in Los Angeles, everything just looked so familiar because we’ve seen this placed filmed so much, and SMP is no different. This pier is that classic, wooden waterside with that iconic ferris wheel. We dined at the Bubba Gump restaurant and enjoyed the fabulous fresh seafood and casual, beachy atmosphere. I wouldn’t spend too much time here, because the pier is pretty small, so you can plan another activity.
San Francisco, CA
We spent over a week in Fremont, California where my husband’s relatives are, and my brother’s family also lives in Dublin, CA. When deciding how to go about the commute between south and north CA, we were very tempted to do the beautiful, scenic drive. However, the age of our daughters kept us from making that decision, and so we decided on flying from LAX to SFO, a mere one hour flight at $58/each. To make this trip easier, while we were in LA we stayed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites LAX, which made a very easy access to LAX airport.
Fisherman’s Wharf & Ghirardelli Square
Fremont is an hour’s drive from San Francisco, so we were able to make day trips to the city a few times, and thoroughly enjoyed them. Ghirardelli square is located at Fisherman’s wharf so you can easily do both together. The coffees, ice cream sundaes and treats are all decadent, but pricey. It’s definitely worth going. Fisherman’s wharf was my absolute favorite spot in SF, it is a beautiful waterfront with lots of cute shops, shows and a very charming carousel that my daughter loved. We dined at the Fog Harbor Fish House, which was sort of a fine restaurant located on the upper level of the boardwalk, with breathtaking views of the water and scrumptious seafood. I especially enjoyed the Biscoff Coffee Corner, which was a hole in the wall coffee shop with all things Biscoff. The hot cocoa was perfect! And they give a free small packet of biscoff cookies with every hot cup. When you’re there you can enjoy a cable car ride, or a ferry boat to Alcatraz island.
Painted Ladies & Lombard Street
Like I said before, I’m a movie junkie and became very starstruck with all these iconic points of interest that I’ve seen before, and the Painted Ladies was at the top of my list of things to see in SF. I’m a 90’s kid and grew up watching Full House among other family sitcoms throughout my childhood. The Painted Ladies is named for a row of houses along one of the streets in San Fran that is pictured in the opening credits of Full House. We did a drive by of both the Painted Ladies and the actual home used in the show. The houses in SF in general are all very beautiful, with their intricate designs, they resemble little dollhouses. Lombard Street is a windy, loopy street that you can drive through. It is worth seeing, if you’re brave enough to drive then go for it. I would never, luckily my husband is more adventurous than I am.
Santana Row, Silicon Valley & Monterey Bay Aquarium
Santana Row was a nice, upscale shopping area with lots of trendy stores and of course Pinkberry, which is our favorite frozen yogurt spot. And we did spend half a day driving through Silicon Valley to see Google, Yahoo!, Snapchat and Apple. Lastly, we spent an entire day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. (Side note: this aquarium is the inspiration for the Marine Life Institute in Finding Dory) This aquarium is just beautiful, and it was a really nice way to spend the day with the kids. I would definitely recommend you to check it out if you’re in the area.
Hope you enjoyed reading all about my California trip! It truly was one of the most memorable and enjoyable trips we’ve taken. And we were pleasantly surprised at how well the kids took the trip. Not changing their sleeping routine from Eastern time definitely worked for us. Read on here for a post on all the [halal] eateries that we tried while we were in Cali 🙂