Helpful Tips, Travel

5 Weekend Trip Ideas Outside Los Angeles

February 16, 2017

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5 Weekend Trip Ideas Outside Los Angeles

Time for a weekend trip or two!

I’m itching for some travel here. How do I fix this? Well, I can’t take any big trips across the country or ocean sadly, so I need to make the best of what’s nearby. Since I’m putting it out there in the universe, now I have to commit to going on a weekend trip or two a month. I think that’s a psychological trick or something… I should google that to see if that’s true. (Side note: Word still doesn’t think google is a verb, c’mon Microsoft it’s 2017.)

Ahem. Anyway, I don’t like Los Angeles very much, but a lot of people seem to like visiting this city. I don’t understand why they do, but I will always try to point them in the right direction. After all, tourists eventually get to leave so they should at least have a few positive experiences or whatever. Plus, I refuse to be a bad hostess. This conclusion made me want to explore LA more. That way I can sound a little more informed when someone plans on visiting.

Sure, we have beaches, gold stars on an avenue, and pretty people, but traffic is unbearable and most of the citizens are nice until you drive next to them. Then it’s everyone for himself/herself, and you find yourself wanting to chuck that $10 green juice you just bought into the open window of that blue fiat that just cut you off. Another point, I usually plan on going grocery shopping before 9:30 AM on Sundays because if you don’t go before then, good luck getting a parking spot and getting out in a timely manner. Plus this is the time of year where the girl scouts come out in droves. (Side note: I saw a mom with a credit card scanner on her iPhone and that opened a whole new world! But not good for my thighs or credit card…)

This is suddenly turning into a rant about LA, not helpful. Sorry, I’ll probably have to keep reeling myself in here from time to time. Those people looking to visit are probably not planning on living here, so all of the above can be taken with a grain of salt.

I am actually working on a post that will detail parts of LA that I would recommend, but this post is going to focus on what’s outside of LA.

On that note. Behold! 5 places I can visit in a weekend.

1. San Diego

I’ve never really been to a zoo before, so on this particular future weekend trip to San Diego, I’m going to visit one. Not just any old zoo, the famous San Diego Zoo! We’re lucky because Eric’s family lives in North San Diego, so we’re in familiar territory, and Eric is a native. Shame on him for not bringing me to the zoo sooner, though, let’s be honest. I also want to visit a favorite stomping ground of mine – Seaport Village. They have this bookstore called: The Upstart Crow. Okay, I’m a huge sucker for bookstores, so I HIGHLY recommend visiting them, if not for the books, then go for their iced chai tea. It’s divine. I’m not even a chai tea person, and it’s incredible.

If we have time, I’ll go back to the Gaslamp District. I’ve only been during San Diego Comic-Con and well, SDCC is a beast and there are so many people. Plus all the restaurants’ price gouge the crap out of you. So I’d really like to visit when I can walk at normal speed and not in a herd.

Gaslamp Quarter - Downtown San Diego

Definitely worth a trip to the Gaslamp Quarter!

2. Santa Barbara

My sister-in-law, Nikki went to the University of California in Santa Barbara, but all I’ve really seen are the freeway exits as we drive through. So this will be a learning experience and a totally new place to explore. I’ll have to ask Nikki for some of her recommendations, but TripAdvisor also has some interesting ideas as well. If we want to go the historical route, then we’ll definitely need to check out Old Mission Santa Barbara.

Old Mission Santa Barbara

Photo Credit:

I do appreciate Spanish architecture, and this really is a stunning landmark. In addition, we’ll have to check out the waterfront and beach areas, I know they’re highly rated. Plus, we’re foodies and this means there is some serious eating that can be done here. I’m always excited to try new restaurants and for sure will have to report back on where we end up going!

3. Big Bear

So, another thing I have yet to do is ski. Or snowboard. Or even sled… I was a sheltered child.  My mother hates snow since she grew up in it in New York. Growing up in Las Vegas, we only got a light powder every 4 years or so, but barely enough for half a snow man. Eric’s family has a cabin in Big Bear which is a huge win, let me tell you! Except we’ve missed all the major snow fall this year, and this needs to be remedied ASAP! Plus, I’d really LOVE to try skiing or rolling down a mountain somehow, you know?

I’m pretty clumsy outside of a ballet studio, so I’m sure Eric will record my first time on two flat pieces of wood careening down the mountain. We’ll all get a good look and laugh, and I’ll have had my chance! Plus there’s like a fireplace and a reason to light it. These are all huge pros for me.

4. Palm Springs

So my one trip to Palm Springs was several years ago when I attended what could best be described as a “model” camp. I was 12 years old, 5 ft 8 3/4 inches (this matters, because if you want to do runway you need to be at least 5’9″, go figure) and a stick. So why not?

My mom drove us out there from Las Vegas and when we got there, the humidity was incredible. It had to have been 110 degrees and 100% humidity because my mom was instantly ill, and I wasn’t far behind. I was shoved into a conference hall for two days straight and forced to march around in heels.

Needless to say, I have not really experienced Palm Springs, and Eric thinks we should visit to let me form some new, fun memories. Plus, I have a friend who grew up there, and she told us about Palm Springs Aerial Tram and it sounds pretty epic! Plus, a bunch of really rich and famous people keeps moving there, so it must be a special place or they wouldn’t keep going.

Palm Springs Tram Way

See! I could be in that little contraption very soon! (Photo Credit:

5. Las Vegas

Ahh, home sweet home. Yes, I grew up in Las Vegas. No, I did not live in a hotel. No, my mother was not a stripper. Yes, I went to school. No, it was not in a casino. I think that sums up the majority of the questions I get. Growing up in Las Vegas is just like growing up in any other major/famous city, except I was exposed to a lot of billboards featuring half naked, or even mostly naked women from a very young age. Oh well, it’s not like I knew that was strange or anything. And the education system is a tad bit… lacking (read: desperately needing improvement).

It was pretty cool, though. My mother was a meat vendor to many of the major hotels and restaurants, so I got to see the inside of a lot of gourmet kitchens growing up. The chefs would sneak young Natalie eclairs and other tasty things if I tagged along with my mom.

Now that I’m older, though, I honestly don’t have many, if any, photos of the strip. It really is spectacular when it’s all lit up at night, and it’s always fun to visit. I feel like every time we return, a new hotel has sprouted out of the desert, so it’s kind of a cool surprise each visit. We had an awesome stay at the Palms Place. We book through because it does have a nice rewards program if I do say so myself.

I hope these are helpful ideas for some people, I’ll have to report back on my findings once I get out there. Thanks for reading, ’til Sunday!

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