Here is the second part to our ultimate California road trip blog series! Last time we were leaving Santa Cruz and heading down the coastal Highway 1 towards the south. Our next stops will be at Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, so let’s hit the road again and get started!
After the long drive from Santa Cruz you may be in need of some relaxation, and Santa Barbara definitely hits the spot. With a rejuvenating ambiance, Santa Barbara has lots to offer. You can take in the beautiful coastline and the hills of this so-called “American Riviera” either by taking a leisurely walk or by checking in at one of the luxury resorts overlooking the beautiful scenery. Many celebrities and notable personalities have vacationed here over the years, including John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy, who spent their honeymoon here. Take a stroll around the town and admire the Spanish colonial-style buildings with their beautiful courtyards and red-tiled roofs, or indulge yourself with fresh seafood at Stearns Wharf. A place of historical interest that you should not miss is the Mission Santa Barbara, founded by Franciscan monks in 1786.
Now onto the big one – Los Angeles. The city has gained a reputation as the destination for aspiring actors in particular, as well as a playground of the already rich and famous. Los Angeles, or LA, is the largest city in California, and demands a visit of multiple days. You can start with the obvious: when in LA, you need to see the stars, or at least the famous landmarks of Hollywood’s bold and beautiful. From seeing or visiting the Hollywood sign to finding your favourite actors on the Walk of Fame, film fanatics can definitely get their fill in Los Angeles. Don’t forget to also visit the TCL Chinese Theatre, where, if you are lucky, you might even catch sight of a star-studded premiere taking place. And to get behind the scenes of all the movie magic, you should put visiting Universal Studios Hollywood high on your list. To get a taste of the “high life” yourself, go celebrity spotting in Beverly Hills by shopping on Rodeo Drive or take a quick beach break and head to Malibu!
There is much more to Los Angeles, however, than the mainstream entertainment industry. One could say that the city is as beautifully diverse as its population. Foodies will have a great time exploring the different sides of LA, from A-list celebrity chefs and their Michelin-starred establishments to the mind-blowing variety on offer around different parts of the city, starting with the unrivalled culinary delights found in Koreatown and Little Tokyo, for example. For a healthy dose of culture, head to Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA), where you will find exciting live acts and museums, as well as a great selection of dining options. Or if you interested in the more DIY-style creative side of LA, you do not need to look further than Venice, where the ubiquitous palm trees line the beachfront boardwalk, which becomes a stage for street artists and skateboarders alike.
Disneyland Resort, Anaheim
When you enter Disneyland, you are sure to feel transported to a place of magic and wonder, no matter how old you are or feel. An absolute classic among theme parks, Disneyland has been going strong since 1955, and was surprisingly only built in a year before opening. The park is divided into numerous “lands”, each with its own theme, rides, and attractions. Once you enter, you will first walk down Main Street with its old-timey charm and inviting shops, and up to the famous Sleeping Beauty Castle. From the thrilling Frontierland to the classy New Orleans Square, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Disneyland.
The internet is brimming with different guides and tips for your trip to Disneyland, and for good reason: the resort is extremely popular year round, though of course certain times are more popular than others. This popularity often results in lines that can take hours to clear. As a quick guide, here are three tips. First, get your hands on a map to make sure you know where you are going and what there is to see. Make a list of places and rides that you definitely want to get on (some personal favourites include Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean) and make sure you have enough time. Second, make sure you know how the Fast Pass system works (you can read about it ahead of time online), and use it to your advantage as much as you can. And finally, download the Disneyland Wait Time app, as this will let you know where the shortest waiting times are, without you having to run around the park. And one extra tip: allow yourself to relax and enjoy the magic of Disneyland!
In our next and final instalment, we will head to Death Valley and San Diego!