Honeymoon Discussions

Nonhoneymoon travel to California

So the husband and I want to take  anniversary trip in March. We're trying to keep the cost below $2K which is hard for the outside of the US. So we are trying to stay within the U.S. and are looking at California. I think we are kind of stuck between San Francisco and San Diego.  We're hoping for warm (which isn't as likely with San Fran) so I guess I'm just lookin for some pros and cons of each. Perhaps things to do in each city (i've been checking trip advisor) and definetly the best area of the city to stay in as each city is HUGE.

Re: Nonhoneymoon travel to California

  • If you want to choose between the 2, since I went to both for our HM last year, I'd say San Diego. We actually stayed in Coronado Bay, which is across the bay from San Diego proper. It was lovely, and the Strands beach was voted #2 in the US. If you stay in Coronado Bay, you are surrounded by water. We stayed at Loew's Coronado Bay, which may be pricey but it's lovely. There are other hotels, check trip advisor.  Also, if you have any hotel membership advantages, use them. If not, sign up for them. Sometimes you get something even before you have a stay, like an upgrade if there are a lot of empty rooms.

    In the city of San Diego, there is Balboa Park, which is really neat, plus we went to "Old San Diego", basically an historic area of buildings from the Spanish/Mexican area. If you like Mexican/Spanish food, this is a great place to eat.  

    LA is only about 2 hrs from San Diego, a day trip. Malibu and the Hollywood area are fun if you like movies.

    San Fran won't be that warm, it's got a lot of great things to see, but between the 2, we personally enjoyed the LA-Coronado Bay-San Diego part the most. We spent 3 days in each place.

  • We went to San Francisco (with a day trip to Sonoma and 1 night in Napa Valley) this past July.  We loved it.  It was cold though--in July.  So the climate in March might not be what you are looking for.  We stayed in the Financial District (which is not popuar on TA but we loved it.)  We mainly did all the touristy SF stuff (GG bridge, boat ride on the bay, Fisherman's Wharf, Union Square, parks, painted ladies, Chinatown, Muir Woods, and Napa).  We didn't take the tour to Alcatraz but that is also very popular as is going into Sausalito.  You can also take the drive down to the Pebble Beach area which is supposed to be very beautiful.

    The cons would be that it is chilly, it's alot of walking, and it's expensive.  We went for 8 nights and spent around $5K total.
  • edited September 2012
    We did SF also this past July with a day trip to Napa and three days spent in Carmel (which was actually the favorite part of our trip). We lucked out and had pretty warm weather while in SF--it was in the 70s most days, with one day in the 60s. But you are right; it won't be warm like SD is. It definitely is not "swim in the ocean" type weather (and the ocean up there is freezing!)

    Having said that, we loved it. We did Alcatraz, rode the cable cars, explored FW and the Embarcadero, rented bikes and biked the Bridge to Sausalito, then took a ferry back, had amazing meals at wonderful restaurants, got a drink at the Top of the Mark with a gorgeous view of the city, did some shopping, walked through Chinatown and North Beach, and then our day trip to Napa was fabulous and picked us up right at our hotel. It was more of a go-go-go trip than just sit around and do nothing, but we liked it because Carmel was definitely more of a relaxing place.

    ETA: As for best part of the city to stay in, I'd recommend Union Square. We stayed at the Westin there and it was very centrally located (lots of restaurants and shops nearby) and the cable car picked up right out front. We also never had issues catching a cab, as there were always about ten lined up outside.

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  • We went to San Diego and LA over the summer. SD was really warm and beautiful.  There are a lot of beaches around and there was a lot of stuff to do.
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  • I would personally choose San Diego.  Although I live less than an hour away from San Francisco, I love San Diego a lot more.  The weather is so nice, everything is open, and the city is really clean.  San Francisco is beautiful, but despite the weather, it's pretty expensive.  Everyone once in awhile we spend a night in the city, but you have to be careful about where you stay.  There are patches in the city that are pretty sketchy, especially around Market Street.  We usually stay at The Handlery, which is right in the middle of Union Square and close to some cable car stops and the buses that can take you to Pier 39, the Ferry Building, Ghiradelli Square, etc.  My husband and I went to the city in July and it was COLD.  You also wouldn't want to drive in San Francisco.  There are too many one way streets, traffic everywhere, and construction.  
    San Diego is pretty easy to drive around in.  You can go to Coronado and/or La Jolla, which is really pretty and laid back.  Balboa Park is really huge and has a ton of museums and the zoo in it.  In San Diego you also have the beach where the water is ALOT warmer than SF.   
  • I would also choose San Diego...I'm not sure what you consider warm though because I definitely don't consider either place to be warm in March.
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  • san francisco is one of my most favorite places on earth.
    if you're not going to lay around on a beach then dont worry if it's chilly. it's a great time to go as it's less crowded. between the cable cars etc... it's not like you'll be walking from one side of the city to another.

    but you really do have to go and pick up some guidebooks at your library and read through them and just choose one. it's not like you can't ever go to CA again. save the other city for next time :)


  • I agree that San Diego is not warm in March, I lived there for several years and will be getting married there. I have visited SF once and loved it. I think you will have a great time in either, you just have to decide what sites you would rather see.
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  • San Diego is cheaper and warmer. I LOVE San Francisco, but the prices of hotels in the city are similar to Manhattan, and Napa isn't that cheap to stay in, either.

    San Diego is on the waterfront, there are a lot of hotels, there are a lot of bars and restaurants downtown in the Gaslamp district, you can go to the Zoo/Safari Park, you can go to the museums at Balboa Park, and if you like craft beer at all, there are a LOT of breweries within about 1/2 an hour drive. For your budget, I would really recommend it, especially if you want a "beachy" feeling.
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  • I love them both but in March I'd do San Diego so you don't freeze your a$$ off.  Keep in mind that San Fran gets a lot of climate stuff from the ocean so it can be freezing or boiling, depending on how the wind is blowing.  The coldest and the hottest I've ever been in my life have both been in San Fran.

    One thing I HIGHLY recommend in San Diego is visiting the zoo.  It might seem like sort of a little kid thing to do but it's one of the largest (if not the largest) in the world.  It's really fabulous... and springing for a couple tickets will give you something to do all day long, which is great on a budget.

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  • I'm just going to throw this out there even though it may not be at all what you're looking for. But if you can't decide, can you do both? Drive down the CA coast from SF to San Diego. It's a pretty popular trip to make, though you may want to take longer than a week to do it. The coast is absolutely gorgeous and you could stop in some neat places along the way, as well as see both cities. When you stop, you could choose less expensive hotels along the way and possibly splurge more in SF or SD.

    Again, might not be what you want and it would be a more active trip since you'd be driving, but I know of a lot of people who have driven the coast (including H) and absolutely loved it.

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