Tips for October visit to LA and SF?
September 16, 2005 1:08 PM   Subscribe

First time visiting California - any tips on current events in LA, San Francisco October 5-15?

I'll be in California, my first time, from October 5 thru 15.
Fixed dates are LA: 5th - 8th, and SF: 12th -15th, with very likely two or three days in Yosemite in between. Hopefully a nice two-day drive along the coast (HW1) to connect it all.

Staying in Venice Beach as a base for LA and near Glen Canyon Park for SF.

I can easily find out the touristy attractions, but it's trickier to know about current goings on, like the nicest little diners, expositions, festivals and other non-permanent or less popular events.

Any tips on where and what to do and see are very much appreciated.

I purposely will not list any specific interests I might have, because I certainly do not want to limit myself, nor your input.

Tell me something that YOU find worthy of attention.
posted by Grensgeval to Travel & Transportation around California (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
the los angeles county museum has an exhibit of artifacts from king tut's tomb (and other ancient egyptian artifacts) if you're interested in that sort of thing.

the la brea tar pit museum is neat too, and right next door (and they let me in free once when it was a half hour before closing).
posted by clarahamster at 1:39 PM on September 16, 2005

I'm an outdoors kind of guy, thus most of my suggestions. In LA, take the opportunity to take a drive down the length of mulholland (and do yield to all who want to pass). If you can get tickets (box seats and a dinner is very cool) to the Hollywood Bowl, that's a unique LA experience. Catch an opening night or weekend movie at Grauman's Chinese. Hike to the Hollywood sign. A hike/scramble through Malibu Canyon is very rugged but amazingly scenic. It is also the site of exteriors for MASH and the oasis in Planet of the Apes.

On the drive up the coast, if you are looking to eat early I love Cafe Bariloche Chilean empanadas for lunch (Exit California St. in Ventura, turn Right to Main, its on the corner). The Palace in Santa Barbara is a great dinner spot (best call for directions, its confusing). The Monterey Bay Aquarium is worth a stop on the way.

In Yosemite, if you are up to a long hike take the Mist trail to the top of Nevada, the Panorama trail to Glacier Pt. and the 4-mile trail back down the Valley. Or the trails to Half-Dome and/or Cloud's Rest are also fantastic. Cloud's Rest from Tenaya Lake is easier, if less scenic.

The drive up the coast is spectacular, but doesn't put you near Yosemite. If you decide to drive more directly from LA to Yosemite the 395 to Tioga Pass through Tuolumne meadows is couple hours longer, but also has fantastic scenery. Have a look at the Manzanar Japanese internment camp. Get some chili cheese bread from Schatts. Stop at the Mobil Station in Lee Vining for a meal. Yes, I said the gas station. You won't regret it.

Whatever you do, don't miss Yosemite. If you get a chance, have a look at Hetch-Hetchy to see what the fuss about restoring that canyon is about.
posted by Manjusri at 1:49 PM on September 16, 2005

Santa Cruz is between SF and LA if you take HW1. Take a brief stroll down Pacific Ave. in downtown Santa Cruz and check out Bookshop Santa Cruz and Logos, two fantastic independent bookstores. If you walk down Union St., you might find the hole-in-the-wall record shop next to Goodwill called Metamusic.

Next to Bookshop Santa Cruz is a tiny little spot called Chocolate, which has some of the most excellent desserts you will likely encounter. Specifically, try their hot chocolate, which comes in six different varieties. If you really feel like skipping a meal in favor of sweet things, drive up Soquel Ave. until you see The Buttery, an all around great bakery.

If you want to actually eat lunch or dinner, try Charlie Hong Kong's on Soquel (Vegan Asian, $), Sabieng on Mission (Thai, $$), Asian Rose, just off Pacific (lunch only, Vegan Sri Lankan, $), Malabar, on Soquel (dinner only, Vegan Sri Lankan, $$), Pizza My Heart, on Pacific ($), Hoffman's, on Pacific (vaguely French American, $$), Gabriella on Cedar (French?, $$$).

If you have time, also check out the great independent offerings at The Nickelodeon and Del Mar theaters.

Skip the Boardwalk and the tourist traps, if you can. If you want to see a beach, stop somewhere north on the 1. Here's what I would do: If you feel like taking a mountain drive, drive briefly around the UC campus, entering at the main gate and exiting right at the west gate. Drive up Empire Grade into the Bonny Doon mountains. If the vinyard is open. Take Empire Grade to Ice Cream Grade to Pine Flat Grade to Bonny Doon Rd. You'll be spit out back onto HW1 North, and you'll see parking spots for a cool beach. Park, climb up the hill, and enjoy. Alternatively, sans-mountains, just drive north and stop at the Bonny Doon Rd. intersection. Honestly, though, most places along that road are gorgeous.

Have fun.
posted by rfordh at 2:23 PM on September 16, 2005

Too bad, you're leaving LA just before the Brewery Art Walk, which I always enjoy a great deal.

Anyway, as you get closer to the date, you could check out:
posted by willnot at 2:33 PM on September 16, 2005

Wow, i didn't even come close on "Annoyingly". Teach me to type and work at the same time.
posted by willnot at 2:35 PM on September 16, 2005

There is a Jade festival at Pacific Valley School the weekend of Oct 8 If you are driving the PCH, highly recommended.
posted by hortense at 3:43 PM on September 16, 2005

Tickets are still available for Sigur Rós at the Hollywood Bowl, October 5.
posted by hilker at 4:09 PM on September 16, 2005

A couple of San Francisco notes:

The neighborhood restaurant for the Glen Canyon Park area is Chenery Park, and it's good. Chef Gaines Dobbins learned his trade under Paul Prudhomme, so have the gumbo and shed a tear for NOLA.

October 15 is opening day for the fabulous and long-awaited De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.
posted by rdc at 8:28 PM on September 16, 2005

"Tickets are still available for Sigur Rós at the Hollywood Bowl, October 5."

Dang, I may have to jump on that one myself!
posted by Manjusri at 8:43 PM on September 16, 2005

posted by autojack at 4:19 AM on September 17, 2005

October is the most beatuiful time of year in San Francisco-one of only two or three months when the weather is not likely cold and foggy-so plan to go to some of the lovely beaches in the area. If you don't go to Yosemite, Drive up Hwy 1 from San Luis Obispo on, going through some of the most famous bridges and cliffs around, also Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey and Santa Cruz. It takes a WHILE, but if you like driving, there's nothing like it. Also, I second everything rfordh said about Santa Cruz, except do go to the Boardwalk and ride the Giant Dipper-a wooden rollar coaster built in the 1920's. Have fun!
posted by slimslowslider at 8:14 AM on September 17, 2005

you should visit a redwood forest -- either Coast redwoods at Henry Cowell State Park, six miles inland from Santa Cruz along highway 9 or Muir Woods about half an hour north of San Francisco, or Sierra redwoods (bulkier but not as tall) in the Yosemite region. Probably other places, but those are the ones I know.
posted by anadem at 11:21 AM on September 17, 2005

I'm coming to USA to tour aruond then playing improvised electro-acoustic music. If you like or are curious about current developments in music, email me at rasbliuttoATgmail d o t com.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 12:26 PM on September 17, 2005

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