Sunday, March 31, 2013

West Coast Trip


I made a west coast trip with my wife.  The west coast trip covered
Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.  Our trip was splitted into
three parts.  Part2 was a 6-day tour organized by a travel company
where we were part of a bigger group and were guided by our travel
guide.  Part1 (3-day LV) and Part3 (1- day LA) were self exploration.

Chronological order:

20121118 (Sun) - Reached LV and checked in hotel. Got an upgrade.
20121119 (Mon) - Hotels, Shows and Buffets.
20121120 (Tue) - Hotels, Shows and Buffets.
20121121 (Wed) - Arrival in Las Vegas (We were already in Las Vegas at Flamingo)
20121121 (Wed) - Moved to Startosphere.
20121122 (Thu) - Grand Canyon Visit. Eagle Point, Guanna Point.
20121123 (Fri) - Moved from LV to LA on the bus.
20121124 (Sat) - LA to SanJose
20121125 (Sun) - SanJose to SFO, Stanford, Golden Gate, Twin Peaks,
20121126 (Mon) - Yosemite, SanJose to LA.
20121127 (Tue) - LA, Walk of fame, Wax Museum, Chinese Gruman, Kodak Theatre, Holly wood tour, Holly wood sign.
20121127 (Tue) - Evening flight from LA to LV.
20121128 (Wed) - Back in RDU.


Tour cost:
682 for 2 people + 12 $ tip everyday for 2 people. Tour included hotel stay and commute.
Attraction admission fee was not included. Total Cost = 682 + 12 * 6 = 682 + 72 = 754.

Plane Tickets:
LA - RDU  = 340.80 for two people including taxes.
RDU - LV =  241.20 for two people including taxes
Flamingo Hotel Prices: 100 $ for 3 days. Interestingly they gave us an upgrade as well.
LA hotel for a single day (Nov 26) costed us 96 $.

Hotel Addresses:
LV: Flamingo on the strip
LV: Stratosphere on the strip.
HolidayInn: SanJose (provided by tour company)
Hampton Inn: LA (provided by tour company)
LA: Best Western Airport Plaza Inn, 1730 Centinela Avenue, Inglewood, CA 90302

LA experience:

The hotel we stayed was far away from the walk of the fame but there
was a bus.  People scared us that it will take too much time with the
bus, but we were able to reach walk of fame within an hour.  Although
we started early in the morning around 8:00 AM.  Walk of fame address
is "6801 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028"

LA has two major attractions Universal Studios and Walk of fame. Walk
of fame is street with things around it. Since I have already been to
universals in Orlandao, we opted for walk of fame. We bough the city
pass which covered the most and was value for money.

Free things to do at walk of fame:
* Chiness Gruaman's theatre - this place has hand imprints of hollywood stars like Marlyn Monroe, Arnold and others.
* Near to Chinese Grauman's theatre, they have piano stairs which make music when someone walks on them.
* There is also a shopping complex which was used as a set for some
  movie. Shopping complex has the oscar theatre where the oscar awards
  are given. From the shopping theatre, you can also see the hollywood
* There are multiple start signs on the street and you can take a lot of pictures.

Things in the city pass:
* Madam Tussad's wax museum
* Oscar Theatre visit. A person will show you the oscar theatre from inside.
* Walking tour of walk of fame and places around and old chinese theatre.
* Tour of the LA on the open air jeep. They should us beverly hills, rodeo drive and mansion of hollywood stars.

You should buy city pass only if you want to see Madam Tussad's and
want to cover everything in a day.  If I had more time, exploring
beverly hills and rodeo drive on self would be more fun.

San Francisco:

I love this city. But you how the guided tours are, you just spend 5
minutes at a place. If you have time and money, explore on your own.
This was my second trip to SFO. The first trip was with bachelor
friends and was a self exploration. Self exploration was fun.

Our guided tour included these:
* Stanford university - saw Rodin "The Burghers of Calais"
  Not much here except for Rodin sculptures. The Burghers of Calais is
  multiple sculptures of war heros.
* Crooked street, fisherman wharf and cable cars
  This is a nice place to explore on foot. Ghiraddelli is also near
  by. Coit tower is also neary by. We also tried Boudin sour dough
  bread which is nice.
* Boat tour to alcatraz island and  golden gate bridge - nice but like other boat tours.
  You can see Golden Gate bridge from the boat. Also saw the alcatraz
  island from the boat.
* Palace of fine arts - nothing much but nice to click pictures.
* Golden Gate bridge - awesome.
  You can easily spend 2 hours here.
* Saint Mary's Cathederal
  This is nice church and they have those big musical instruments made
  out of pipes.
* Alamo sqare - saw painted ladies.
  There is also a wishing tree at the alamo square.
* Twin peaks - magnificient view from here.
* City Hall - just saw this from outside but was nice.

Las Vegas:

My wife loved this place than any other places where we have been. The
best things about vegas is that if you feel tired you can just go and
take rest at your hotel, so make sure you stay at strip.  Strip also
has a lot of cheap hotels.

Free things to do in LasVegas:
* Bellagio fountain.
* Mirage volcano
* TI pirates show
* Forum shops has two free shows.
* Flamingos at Flamingo.
* Hotels to see - all
** Wynn
** Encore
** Bellagio
** Caesar Palace
** Forum shops. Apple store has free wifi.
** Luxor
** Flamingo
** New York New York
** And lot others.

More paid things to do in LasVegas
* Go on top of Paris Effel tower.
* Go to to the stratosphere top. Entry is free if you are staying at the hotel
* Cars show. Old vintage car. Not much to see here.
* Titanic museum in luxor.
* Crazy rides at Stratosphere
* New York New York roller coaster.

Shows we saw (we bought a 110 $$ coupon using TotalRewards card in
which we can watch multiple shows in 48 hours)
* Divas
* Mac King - magic
* Anthony cools - crazy hypnosis show. We liked it.
* Jubilee
* Juggler show - jeff Civillico.

The show pass included the paris and the cars museum.

If you have the money watch any Cirque show.  We never saw because
never had all the money :). But we did heard a lot about them.  We
will try them next time.

Grand Canyon:

Grand Canyon is awesome. Our travel guide took us to eagle point and
guanna point where we were able to take some breath taking pictures.

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