My partner’s work (Yelp) HQ is in San Francisco, and she goes there for a week every year. This being her second year I might tag along for two weeks before she goes into her conference, seeing how one of our flights from Australia will be paid for.
I’m interested in thoughts of what to do and see for 2 weeks in the USA. I love design and furniture obviously, and we both love surreal and contemporary art, natural history museums, extreme metal, bizarre rock and electronic music… haha.
My partner loves 1980’s toys and cartoons. We’re into the macabre and weird (taxidermy, skulls, dungeons, historical weird buildings etc…)
Oh yeah, we both love food too.
Really roughly, I’m thinking of starting in NY/Boston/Chicago and then Portland/San Francisco/Las Vegas. She has explored SF last year but didn’t hit any design spots.
I feel with the cities you’ve already listed, you won’t run out of things to explore. I find old cities with rich histories to be great for exploring, and I feel New England has it’s own type of weird that is worth a visit. Check out Providence, RI (an hour or so from Boston), take a ghost tour and learn a bit about EA Poe or HP Lovecraft’s time there. Plenty of old buildings and tunnels to explore.
Savannah, GA or Charleston, SC, down in the southeast corner of the country has some rich history, plenty of music, and a style of food you wont find many other places. Great place for haunted houses and ghost stories as well.
One state you may want to look into is Texas. It’s not a state that springs to mind for many, but there’s plenty of old ghost towns to explore, lots of taxidermy, and an established art scene, in certain cities/towns. Look into Marfa, Denton, or Austin. No shortage of metal/rock music there either.
Speaking of ghost towns, there’s a few in the Pacific North West (PNW) however they get overgrown fairly quickly, compared to those you find in the desert.
Do you listen to podcasts? “Last Podcast on the Left” is a great one if you’re into macabre, UFOs, cults, etc. Presented by a few comedians in NYC, it’s always a fun listen, and may give you some ideas of places to visit!
Have fun! And let me know if you end up in Seattle!
If you are flying in and out of LA I certainly wouldn’t recommend trying to see both coasts of America in 2 weeks. As mentioned, it’s a 6 hour flight from LA to NY which means you’ll effectively waste 2 days in the crappiest airports in the country.
Since it will be the middle of the summer and you’re willing to entertain some driving I’d recommend:
Land in LA, and take R66 and head to Vegas. There are some very old and interesting (if not depressing) sites of old America along the way which might be interesting, and it will help your jetlag since you can stay up all night and party in Vegas. During the day it will be too damn hot to do anything besides sit by a pool, but you can make a trip out to see the Grand Canyon.
From there you can head north to Lake Tahoe which is beautiful (and breaks up the trip) then head up to Portland. Portland IMO you could probably get a pretty good taste of in about 2 days. It’s a very small walkable city and any events going on will give you a good fill of weird.
From there I’d suggest heading down and picking up RT 1 along the coast - beautiful twisting views of the Pacific (hence the convertible. Also because we drive on the right side of the road, driving south means you’ll get the best view).
From there you can hit up any number of sites in CA. Napa wine country, SF, and LA all have a lot to do. If you migrate down the coast that way you should be able to break up your trip in a couple day chunks with plenty left to see.
Without coming across as an askhole, I think I’d shoot myself if I visited the USA without going to New York and now we’re flying into LA and out of SF.
How does this sound?
Fly into LA - arrive at 12:45pm
Day 1 afternoon is written off with jetlag. Maybe visit a cool craft beer bar or something.
Day 2 kick around LA.
Day 3 Disneyland (my partner insists).
Day 4 Bus to Vegas, night out there
Day 5 Grand Canyon/Route 66 bus Trip, Vegas at night
Day 6 Fly to NY - See City Lights/Times Sq
Day 7 NY - Manhattan
Day 8 NY - Brooklyn
Day 9 NY - Staten Island/Statue of Liberty
Day 10 - Fly NY to Portland. Night out there
Day 11 - Portland
Day 12- Portland to SF. Night out there
Day 13 - SF - GG Bridge, Alcatraz, The Mission
Day 14 SF - Fly out at 9:45PM
Maybe skip Portland? I’m not sure. Also, how do you get from Portland to SF? I’d love to visit Rogue or Sierra Nevada Breweries while I’m there, but not sure of buses or how much a hire car would cost. I’ve driven RHD in crazy Switzerland roads, so I know I can do it. Will I need a special license?
I had the chance to do it last year. Only that I flew to Phoenix from Atlanta and stopped back in ATL from SF for Business reasons. My reasoning was the other way round as I did not want to visit the US and miss California… By touching down in PHX instead of SF I saved a full usable day. When making your schedule take also into account the time differences. To me your schedule looks stressful, not like a holiday, but to each his own.
There was a great TED talk I watched a couple of years ago where a young lady talks about traveling and expectations vs reality. The gist of it talks of when we travel somewhere we HAVE to see certain landmarks, but in reality they are far from the images we have seen thousands of times in tourists guides and the likes - often leading to disappointment.
For the life of me I can never find it but in all honesty Cyberdemon’s trip sounds a lot better and more achievable than your version. I get that you want to see landmarks, I really do and we are all guilty of that when we travel but everything on your list is so catered to tourists that you can get as much information from Googling it as you can standing next to it.
I can’t speak for the West Coast as I haven’t properly been but I did live in NY for two years and I can say Brooklyn is boring as an area, what makes it is taking your time, eating in a restaurant and mingling with the local hipster folk, I guarantee visiting it for the day you’ll be underwhelmed for sure. The same with Manhattan, once you leave the tourist traps of mid-town (if you ever do) you’ll find a different vibe if you’re in the West Village to the East Village or even if you start on the Upper East Side and wonder across the park to the UWS. My advice would be not to try and fit everything in to the trip and try make it your own.
No problems wanting to see NYC. Great place, many levels better than LA. And since you are flying in and out of major cities, flights should be OK. And that is my only advice, plan your flights carefully making sure you get the times you want. Check nearby airports like Newark when flying out of NYC, it will open up time opportunities.
As far as the asshole thing, I was in Berlin in early 1990. Got in the afternoon, drank until 6:00am the next day. The following day I was catching a 6:00am train to Geneva. I was so hung over on my free day in Berlin, I really considered not going to the wall. I decided if I didn’t go (I did go, it was painful), I would have been truly an asshole. Wanting to go to NYC would not be anywhere near in the same league.
Ok. I hear everyone’s advice about pushing it and here’s what I’m thinking.
Day 1 Land in LA at midday. get a nice lunch and dinner
Day 2 - Kick around LA
Day 3 - Disneyland (no choice here)
Day 4 - Bus to Vegas - night out
Day 5 Grand Canyon Tour
Day 6 - Fly to NY early
Day 7 - NY - Times square, 1WTC, Empire State, touristy stuff
Day 8 - NY - Museums
Day 9 - NY - Free exploring
Day 10 - Fly NY to SF
Day 11 - SF - City, Bridge, Alcatraz, etc
Day 12 SF - off the beaten track
Day 13 - Yosemite or Lake Tahoe
Day 14 - SF and fly out at 9pm
So, after much deliberation, looking at flights etc and where we want to visit, here’s my final itinerary.
Any recommendations of what to see in Portland would be great.
Sun 7th Land in LA – check in at 4pm – dinner
Mon 8th Universal or Disneyland
Tues 9th – 6 flags Coaster park
Wed 10th – Museums and Galleries/Venice beach
Thurs 11th – Check out 11am – Fly to Portland in morning (night 1 Portland)
Fri 12th - Portland – Breweries and food (night 2 Portland)
Sat 13th – Portland Saturday market then Fly to SF in afternoon (1 night in SF)
Sun 14th – Drive to Yosemite (Wawona) - 4 hour drive (Yosemite night 1)
Mon 15th – Yosemite exploring – Half dome etc. (Yosemite night 2)
Tues 16th – Drive to Lake Tahoe - 5 hour drive through Yosemite (night 1 lake tahoe)
Weds 17th Back to SF via Chico – Lunch and brewery tour at Sierra Nevada Brerwery (night 1 SF) (2hr 45 mins drive to chico, 3 hours drive to SF)
Thurs 18th SF – Mission etc (night 2 SF)
Fri 19th SF – Alcatraz (Night 3 SF)
Sat 20th SF – Chill Day - Leave at 9:45pm