Social Question

shrubbery's avatar

So we're headed to the States. Where should we go and what should we do?

Asked by shrubbery (10212points) April 1st, 2010

Fellow Australian jelly, bluemukaki and myself will be flying into LA later this year. We will have limited funds and will be basically backpacking across the country. We have a rough outline of a plan:
LA → SF → split up, I go → Davis → Portland, angus goes → Vancouver → Yellowstone → we both meet up in NY → VA → DC → Boston → then on to Europe(?).
So. Does anyone have any advice on how to execute this plan the most efficient way possible?
Got any recommendations for things to see and do in these places?
Got any tips on where the best places to stay are? (think really low budget!)
Anywhere we’ve missed that we really really should go?
Any other advice?
Anyone know anything about which visas we should get?
How is the public transport system?
And, most importantly, does anyone want to meet up?!

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57 Answers

davidbetterman's avatar

L.A. has the Metro now, making travel fairly simple and fun. There are buses (Greyhound may no longer exist, but I think Trailways still does {or vice versa}...and Amtrak trains can get you to Frisco from L.A. Go online and check them out.

When in L.A. check out the beaches (Santa Monica, Malibu, Zuma, Venice, Manhattan) and Hollywood of course. The subway (Metro) takes you to some huge underground mall right by the old Grauman’s Chinese Theater

The Planetarium and Griffith Park Observatory are pretty cool, and you may get to see a laser light show

YARNLADY's avatar

There are hostels here, so be sure to do your research on them. Your itinerary looks fun, but will require a lot of transport, by plane or train (which adds about triple the time to your trip). Be careful about the weather, since the high altitudes will be snowy, and the lower areas can be very warm. Remember, the highest altitude in the U. S.(cold Mt Whitney) is just a few miles from the lowest (very hot), desert.
Davis, California is only about 40 miles from my house, so if you want to stop in, just let me know when.

cazzie's avatar

hahaha. Telling aussies to go to beaches in Cali is like telling Inuits to go to the walk in freezer at the supermarket….

cazzie's avatar

Isn’t there an amazing Guggenheim in LA! I would beeline there.

lilikoi's avatar

Hostels! Hostelling International! I’ve stayed at the HI hostels in San Fran and Portland and they were great, especially the Portland one (in this cute house with a small green roof). There is also a hostel near San Jose that is a lighthouse. I’d like to stay there one day. Public transit is great in SFO, just get on the Bart. Portland and Vancouver also have good transit systems. LA, I’d rent a car, too much sprawl. Things to see/do depends what you’re into. I’d like to spend some time at YVR – I’ve only seen their airport – and also hike @ Yellowstone.

davidbetterman's avatar

Too true, except of course for one thing…They will be California beaches!

lilikoi's avatar

Sorry, California beaches suck.

jrpowell's avatar

I have Portland covered and I assume allie is why you are going to Davis. You have a free place in Portland and I will show you where I like to get drunk.

I would seriously look into the Greyhound Discovery Pass. It is like a bus pass for the nation. And 539 for 60 days of travel between any city is awesome.

FutureMemory's avatar

@timlilikoidrewen Sorry, California beaches suck.

Only if you’re lucky.

Ohhhhh…that joke was so bad it’s as if ChazMaz or DarkScribe said it.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

In Boston you can get around pretty well on the T. If you’re in New England in the autumn, you’ve got to get out into the country to see the natural color display of the leaves. From Boston. you’ll have to go north or west by car, depending on the exact date. “Peak” color in central New Hampshire is last week in September, in the lattitude of Boston I think it’s mid October. The further north you go, the earlier “peak” color.

Cruiser's avatar

If you drift through Chicago you have to see the new Sears Tower sky deck and I can take you boating!

Fred931's avatar

Crap, that’s a huge itinerary! I think ringing a travel agent would be your best bet, considering he/she is less likely to screw up the arrangements, considering that this is his/her job, not that you guys just suck at planning, which isn’t true or false because I have never witnessed your planning skills. Just trying my best not to be rude here.

JLeslie's avatar

How many weeks will you be here? I mean our country is HUGE, so trying to give you advice is very difficult.

Major cities like NY and DC have very good public transportation systems. You can stay in Bethesda, MD if you go to DC, which will be less expensive hotels than downtown, and there are nice restaurants and shops nearby and the metro can take you right into the city. Also if you fly into DC, National airport, not called Ronald Reagan Airport (DCA) has the metro system right there, so you can take that to your hotel. If you want to tour the White House (where the president lives) from what I understand you have to get advanced tickets now). Laguardia airport (LGA) in NY you can take the bus to the subway for just $2 to get into Manhattan.

Vancouver by the way is Canada, so you might need a separate Visa for there?? Not sure. Vancouver is a fantastic city.

tb1570's avatar

If you don’t know about it or haven’t heard of it yet, you should check out Great travel website and great way to get to know the locals.

JLeslie's avatar

I have a typo above that I just noticed, Washington National airport is NOW called Reagan Airport.

free_fallin's avatar

The couchsurfing website is a great way to start. Definitely check it out. Most cities have Super 8 motels (they’re kinda sketchy, but way cheap).

Dr_Dredd's avatar

When you’re in NYC, try to check out a cheap Broadway show. The Theater Development Fund often has half-price tickets.

crazy_twilight_chick's avatar

Anywhere except South Carolina. It’s boring & there’s nothing to do.

marinelife's avatar

We live in Alexandria, VA, which is right outside DC. Let me know if you want to stay with us.

Sophief's avatar

You are only young. Stick together so you don’t get raped and murdered.

rangerr's avatar

@Dibley Wow.

@marinelife I’m in Manassas! we can totally party sometime. They are staying with me for… however long they stay.
Which means I’ve got the DC/VA part covered. For the most part.

@shrubbery Check out the DC page and get some ideas of what you want to do. You know… besides picture taking ;) There’s not much to do in VA besides look at how pretty this state is. And ride some horses. I’ll have a list of things by the time summer starts.

JLeslie's avatar

@timrangerrendrew Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens LOL.

rangerr's avatar

@jleslie I was thinking Kings Dominion because when she gets here, I’ll be working there for the Halloween Haunt. Busch Gardens is..meh..

JLeslie's avatar

@benrangerrdrewim Halloween in DC used to be pretty crazy.

rangerr's avatar

@jleslie They aren’t going to be with me for Halloween unless they go to KD :(

filmfann's avatar

While in the SF Bay Area, take a day touring the Napa Valley Wine Country.

JLeslie's avatar

@benrangerrim Oh, you know what I misread what you had written. I did not realize you were actually working at KD. My mistake.

chels's avatar

You best be coming to see me, that’s all I’m sayin’ <3.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

BOSTON@! We must hang out!

Michael_Huntington's avatar

We must hang out at NYC

jlm11f's avatar

PLEASE tell me you’ll at least go to Chicago (I’ll drive the 6 hours to meet you there). I have lots of ideas for you but I’ll be back later. One thing though, Vancouver is gorgeous and one of my favorite places. Seriously. I want to move there. You both should go there.

cyn's avatar


RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Missouri Botanical Gardens and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis MO. Lot’s to do in the Lou!

filmfann's avatar

In the Lou? Are you serious? Do they really call it that?
Great Wiggling Scrotumsacks! Do you know was most people are refering to when they say “the Lou”?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

You’ve never played with yourself in the Lou before?

YARNLADY's avatar

@crazy_twilight_chick South Carolina has some of the nicest beach dunes on the East Coast, a very rich history, with 8 National monuments, parks and historic sites, and State parks, and the worlds largest collection of outdoor sculpture.

I you have to be entertained, there are no major sports teams or pricey tourist traps, but the state has a lot to offer.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

That’s beautiful @YARNLADY. I’d very much like to visit that garden.

escapedone7's avatar

Is PnL gone???

Sarcasm's avatar

@escapedone7 She regularly bans and unbans herself. She needs to spend more time studying and less time fluthering.

iphigeneia's avatar

The Getty Centre in LA:

Anything else about LA/SF from a tourist’s perspective, obviously just ask :)

Plus you should be eligible for the Visa Waiver Program

Kraigmo's avatar

If you’re in Virginia area in late june/early July, go to the Rainbow Gathering in the woods, if you wanna see where the world’s magic hides out (no alcohol, no money, no weapons, no hard drugs, please).

And while you’re in DC, go to every museum there is, since they’re all free. So is the zoo. And the hostel there is fun, too, except for its (unfortunately necessary) midnight curfew.

When in Boston, visit the House of Seven Gables in Salem, and Plymouth Plantation near Plymouth Rock.

davidbetterman's avatar

You have to eat a Tommy’s Wold Famous Chili Burger when you get to L.A.

shrubbery's avatar

SO. Change of plan. We have gone with a round the world ticket, so we’ll definitely be heading to Europe after. It worked out cheapest to fly both IN to LA and OUT of LA so that’s what we’re gonna do. Our flight from Australia to LA is on the 20th of September, and on that day we’re going to fly straight across from LA to NYC and chill there, also going to DC and Boston.. about 2.5 weeks after that we’re heading to Chicago, then going to fly across to Portland. We’ll bus down from Portland to Davis and head into SF and hang there before going back down to LA. Undecided on whether to check out Vegas and the Grand Canyon yet, but we’ll be flying out of LA to London on the 1st of November.

JLeslie's avatar

Wow. Have a fantastic tour. In the end you will have seen more of the country than I have I think, and I have lived here my entire life. :)

rangerr's avatar

@shrubbery !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You just have to decide what you want to do while you’re in DC :D :D :D :D besides cuddle with me, of course.

augustlan's avatar

I want in on the DC meet-up and the cuddling, too!

rangerr's avatar

@augustlan She’s staying with me! We should all have a picnic on the mall. OMG PLEASE, EAST COASTERS?

Dr_Dredd's avatar

I’d love to meet up with you in NY…

… but I’ll be in Tahiti at the end of September. <evil grin>

augustlan's avatar

@rangerr That would be awesome. Marinelife, McBealer, Asmonet, you, me and shrub. Who am I missing? I know I’m missing someone!

shrubbery's avatar

That. Would be. Amazing.

rangerr's avatar

Ali… can I take you to Outback Steakhouse?

tragiclikebowie's avatar

@rangerr hahahahaha yessssssss

shrubbery's avatar

Psssst, over here

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