A Dreamy Drive from San Francisco to San Diego [9 Must-See Stops on the PCH]

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Looking to knock California off your bucket list? Have you always dreamed of driving a convertible along California’s Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and don’t know where to start?

Look no further.

California has one of America’s best road trips. Read on to learn about the nine “must-see” stops on the drive from San Francisco to San Diego along with what each destination has to offer.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article in October, 2022 to keep it fresh.

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Best U.S. Road Trips: From Chicago to California (LA) on Route 66

chicago to california road trip

If you’re thinking of a Chicago to California road trip, the most iconic experience will be to travel on route 66. This is one of the best US road trips and perhaps the best road trip from Chicago.

It’s southern route goes through eight states with many must-see attractions along the way. Find out what you should know to begin planning your trip from Chicago to LA, below.  

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3 Spectacular Botanical Gardens I Love at The Huntington Museum

Travel Visit The Huntington Los Angeles California United States Cactus Garden 3

I grew up in New England, a fickle region for gardening. The summers are short and unpredictable; the winters involve a deep freeze and frost heaves; springtime—if we have one at all—is wet and fleeting. Despite these tricky conditions, I am an avid gardener. My visit to the spectacular Botanical Gardens at The Huntington Museum was a highlight of my trip to Greater Los Angeles. My daughter and I explored three of sixteen themed gardens: The Desert Garden, The Rose Garden, and The Japanese Garden. Each was spectacular in its own way.

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Are you Missing Hollywood’s Amazing Unsung Hero?

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Hollywood Superstar and Architectural Landmark

If you’re looking for a free attraction in downtown Los Angeles, you won’t want to miss Hollywood’s unsung hero: The Bradbury Building. Built in 1893, this Hollywood superstar and architectural landmark is on the National Register of Historic Places. In fact, it’s one of the most filmed buildings in L.A., having starred in hundreds of movies, TV Shows, and works of fiction.

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6 Hidden Gems in L.A., California

Travel Visit The Huntington Los Angeles California United States Japanese Garden 2

Maximizing One Day in Los Angeles

With less than a full day to spend together in Los Angeles, California, my daughter Alison and I wanted to make the most of our quality time. We sharpened our pencils and crammed an ambitious itinerary of hidden gems in L.A. Since Alison was now a Los Angeles native, I had an expert guide.

There are endless things to do and see in Los Angeles, but these six (6) hidden gems in L.A. made our short-list. You’ll find they’re great takes if you’re time-pressed, and a few are free if you’re on a budget. I might have taken a more leisurely pace on a few, but these six will whet your appetite.

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California’s Largest Used and New Book and Record Store [Photo Tour]

California's Largest Used and New Book and Record Store

In the heart of downtown Los Angeles, I discovered a reservoir of quietude. It’s a peaceful refuge for Creatives and others longing to escape from the city’s frenzied pace, if only for a moment.

I joined the dreamers and writers, book lovers and music enthusiasts, artists and eclectics, and curious travelers who passed through the oversized door on 5th Street.

This oasis was The Last Book Store. Turns out, it’s California’s largest used and new book and record store. It’s also one of the largest independent bookstores in the world.

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High Above “The City of Angels” at Skyspace Los Angeles

best views of downtown Los Angeles - OUE Skyspace Los Angeles

The Best Views of Downtown Los Angeles

My daughter, Alison, showed me around L.A. while I visited for her college graduation. Following our excursion to The Last Book Store, we checked out one of the best views of downtown Los Angeles at The OUE Skyspace Los Angeles. It was the perfect pinnacle from which to get a bird’s-eye view of Los Angeles’ expansive cityscape.

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