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California in March

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toronto
posts: 108
reviews: 1
California in March

I'm traveling to California 2nd week in March to catch a couple of NHL games. I'm a Toronto Maple Leafs fan and I'll be at the San Jose game on March 11 and the La game on the 13th. I decided to book a hotel beside SFO for the San Jose game but I haven't picked a hotel for the La game yet. I'm looking for some suggestions on how best to approach my trip. Where to stay, best way to get around, what to see, what to avoid, where to eat, weather issues, and anything else I may not be aware of. I arrive on March 11. My plan is to check into hotel and head down to SAP centre in San Jose, watch game, and hopefully find something to do near arena for the night before heading back to hotel. I plan on visiting Alcatraz on the 12th and then spending the day in San Fran. I'll be flying to La on the 13th in time to watch the game at Staples Center. I will be in La until the 15th when I'll be flying to Vegas for the duration of my trip.

I really wanted to visit Sequoia NP to see the big trees but I've learned that there will probably be snow and me being naive, I figured Cali would be sunny all year round. So I'll have to come back in the summer for that one. Me and my pal like adventure, we don't drink much but would like some suggestions on where we can go out to hang with a more laid back crowd. He's in his mid 20's and I'm in my early 30's. Looking for best bang for the buck.

San Jose
Destination Expert
for California
posts: 9,556
reviews: 77
1. Re: California in March

I'll be at that Sharks game :) And I have to say that the Maple Leafs have some of the best visiting fans in the league.

One thing to note, if you ask people for directions to the SAP center, most people will probably not know what you are talking about - BUT - if you call it the Shark Tank (or the SJ Arena) people will know what you mean.

So how to approach the trip... You'll probably want a car to get to and from SJ. There is public transportation, but with your timing as tight as it is, you won't want to waste time. Plus getting back to SF after the game with public transportation is problematic, especially if you don't want to leave SJ right when the game ends. The other option would be to spend the night of the 11th in SJ rather than SF - then move to SF on the 12th. There are a lot of hotels in the downtown area within easy walking distance of the Shark Tank.

For things to do after the game - Britannia Arms on Santa Clara street, just down from the Shark Tank is a good place - it is a British-style pub and they often have live music. There are other bars in the immediate area too, so just go over there and see what you like.

Sequoia NP is a good 4 hours drive from SJ, a little bit farther from SF, so even if it wasn't winter time, you wouldn't have time to drive there. And yeah, the Sierras get a lot of snow in the winter time - we've even hosted the Winter Olympics :-) For weather in general, it might be rainy in SF and SJ, or it might not be. Temperatures will probably be in the 50s-70s - not warm, but not exactly cold. The boat ride out to Alcatraz can be pretty chilly though - the wind can really affect things, so make sure you have a warm layer and a windbreaker.

Manhattan Beach...
posts: 1,258
reviews: 53
2. Re: California in March

You can see redwood trees 70% as tall as the giant redwoods in Muir Woods just north of San Francisco.

March in LA is our rainy season, if we are lucky. We can either have rain or bright sunny days, possibly with a hot desert wind. Temperatures will probably range from the upper 50s to 60s.

California
posts: 469
reviews: 61
3. Re: California in March

It's about an hour drive from San Jose to Big Basin State Park. These are coastal redwoods, not sequoias, but it's a really nice park and it's not too far away. Would that work for you? Snow wouldn't be a problem although it might rain.

http://www.bigbasin.org/

Edited: 5:52 pm, November 06, 2013
California
posts: 469
reviews: 61
4. Re: California in March

Oh, duh! I'm mixing up my state parks. Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is closer to San Jose than is Big Basin

And I like it even more. http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=546

Anaheim, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
posts: 23,686
reviews: 13
5. Re: California in March

For your stay in the LA area seeing the Kings/Leafs game, I would look at the Hollywood and Highland area.

The Loews Hollywood is a good full service Hotel, but I prefer the limited service Hotels, such as the Magic Castle Hotel and the Orchid Suites, both highly rated here at TA.

tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g32655-zfn4-Los_Angel…

If you want, no need to drive to the game, just take the LA Metro Red Line to the 7th Street center and walk to Staples Center.

Enjoy your trip.

toronto
posts: 108
reviews: 1
6. Re: California in March

november_moon I've already booked my hotel so I won't be able to switch now. I find that I lose a lot of time switching from one hotel to another when I travel anyways so it kind of defeats the purpose if I'm booking 2 hotels to save time. How bad is public transit really? I've read that parking can be pretty expensive and I don't want to worry about finding a parking spot. I'll rent a car if there's something worth seeing that's out of the way like some of your suggestions on seeing some big trees that wouldn't be hampered by snow conditions.

Thanks for the feedback thus far.

San Jose
Destination Expert
for California
posts: 9,556
reviews: 77
7. Re: California in March

Parking in the downtown public garages in most of downtown is $7 on event nights. The parking lots right by the Shark Tank are $15-25, depending on the proximity. Street parking is $10-20 (electronic meters) around the Tank. There are private lots and garages in the area that run from $10-20 as well.

For public transportation, Caltrain Diridon station is across the street from the Tank. Milbrae and San Bruno stations are the closest to SFO, so one might be near your hotel - just depends on which hotel you chose. The ride takes between 45 min to 1 hour from there to SJ, depending on whether you get a baby bullet or a limited stop train. The last train of the night leaves SJ Diridon station at 10:30, arriving at Milbrae about 11:33. This means that you may have to leave the game before it ends to get that train - and definitely no hanging out after.

caltrain.com/schedules/weekdaytimetable.html

Nashville, Tennessee
posts: 4,967
reviews: 3
8. Re: California in March

Unless you really want to stay in Hollywood, I don't recommend staying there. It's tourist central (think small Times Square in NYC) and it can be seen/done in a half day. Since you're attending a game in Downtown LA at Staples Center, I'd just book a hotel Downtown. There is a lot more to do, places to eat, bars, etc. It's really the center of entertainment in LA right now, as well as the main hub for public transportation to anywhere else in the city. If you want to see Hollywood, take the subway, check it out for 1/2 day, and leave. Not much else to see in Hollywood and it gets old fast.

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 22,877
reviews: 114
9. Re: California in March

Agree with Fitz about where to stay in LA. Downtown LA is lively in parts especially close to La live and you can walk to the game.

You are staying near SFO and don't want to rent a car but you want to leave early before the game ends and then spend 90 minutes trying to get back . Would you stay near Pearson if you wanted to catch any games downtown ?

There is an article on redwood trees written by Al Tippet in the CA top questions. Please take the time to do some research so you can have a better trip

toronto
posts: 108
reviews: 1
10. Re: California in March

I will do my research thanks belomiser that's why I'm seeking advice so far in advance. I definitely won't be leaving the game early so if I have to rent a car then I will. I did look at 511.org and it seems that there is public transit that can get me back later in the night. Suggest that I take a combination of VTA, Samtrams, and the BART. Total fare cost is under $10. Is that not possible?

I'll definetly look into staying in downtown LA based on the suggestions on here. I'm not really into the touristy stuff. I'd rather do whatever the locals do.

Belomiser, your point about staying at Pearson airport if I was in Toronto to watch a game is well taken. My logic is if I were heading south of the airport to catch a game one night but then heading north to do something else the next night, then I figure I would stay near the airport since it's central to both excursions. Hotel is cheaper, offers free parking if I choose to rent a car, and there's a free 24 hr shuttle to the airport from hotel. I do appreciate everyone's advice and I'm open to all suggestions. I'll do whatever makes the most sense in the end.