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Southern Cal Theme Park Loop (with non-traditional stops thrown in)

Aug 23, 2012  Assume you have a rental car and also the Southern Cal Citipass
3.5 of 5 bubbles based on 1 vote

This is an itinerary I created for my sister who flew in from Singapore some years back. It hit all the theme parks that she wanted to go to, but I added some local flavor that were a little bit off the main path.

  • 1. Night 1&2: Hyatt Regency Century Plaza

    Valet parking was $31/day [ouch]. Self Parking is available for $20 but no in-out. High Rise building next door is THE famous building from DIE HARD. As we were all tired form our international flight, we found the grounds are very peaceful and there's a nice spa. Also mall next door for shopping and dining.

  • 2. Universal Studios Hollywood
    Universal Studios Hollywood, Los Angeles, California

    Use the Southern Cal Citipass for the first time.

  • 3. Rodeo Drive
    Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, California

    1 mile from hotel so easy to get to. Good choice for working off the jet lag.

  • 4. Hollywood Sign
    Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles, California

    Drive to Hollywood Bowl Overlook on Mulholland Dr for views of the Hollywood Sign and LA. Pretty close to sunset. From Beverly Hills, go East on Santa Monica Bl, left at La Brea up Hillside/Outpost and right on Mulholland and pull over at the sharp turn/overlook.

  • 5. Westfield Century City Mall
    http://www.westfield.com/centurycity/

    Large Shopping Mall next to the Century Plaza hotel with upscale shops, restaurants and food court. Walking distance from hotel. Good place for dinner and/or breakfast plus shopping. We liked the Baja Fresh Mexican Grill. Houston's is also nice but upscale. We also enjoyed the Sorobal korean food. There's a fresh bakery for breakfast.

  • 6. Santa Monica Pier (optional)
    Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California

    Santa Monica Pier has rides and activities but not as nice as Disney's California Adventure's Paradise Pier. Optional if you want to see the ocean and don't want to go shopping

  • 7. Scenic Drive to Long Beach
    http://goo.gl/maps/goCYS

    Scenic Drive to Long Beach via the Palos Verde Peninsula and stop at Portugese Bend and the chapel

  • 8. Rancho Palos Verdes
    Rancho Palos Verdes, California

    Highlights (besides the spectacular views are at Portugese Bend) include million dollar mansions and the Wafarer's Chapel -- a very popular place for weddings.

  • 9. Glass Church / Wayfarers Chapel
    Glass Church / Wayfarers Chapel, Rancho Palos Verdes, California

    Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and beautifully landscaped grounds. It's not a church like I know it (open to ALL faiths) but it is a very popular wedding spot -- and no wonder.

  • 10. Night 3-4: Hyatt Regency Long Beach
    Hyatt Regency Long Beach, Long Beach, California

    Sprang for the Club room. Nice views on the top floor and the evening snacks were very substantial.

  • 11. Aquarium of the Pacific
    Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, California

    This is on par with the Monterey Bay Aquarium. World Class.

  • 12. Disney's California Adventure
    Disney California Adventure Park, Anaheim

    We used the first of our California Citipass tickets. About 1/2 hour drive to Disneyland from the hotel. From Long Beach, take Rt 22 East, exit Euclid and go north, Right on Katella, Left on Walnut and right on Magic Way.

  • 13. El Pollo Loco
    El Pollo Loco, Anaheim

    Gotta try this Mexican Chain that is popular in Southern Cal. Marinated with citrus spices and grilled. A whole chicken is $10. Yum

  • 14. Night 5-6: Hyatt Regency Orange County
    Hyatt Regency Orange County, Garden Grove

    Stayed in the kids suite with bunk beds. Loved the pancakes in the morning shaped like Mickey. Parking charges were a ripoff, but there was a bus shuttle to bring us to Disneyland in the morning.

  • 15. Disneyland Park (2 days)
    Disneyland Park, Anaheim

    Happiest place on earth.

  • 16. Anaheim Coin Laundry
    https://plus.google.com/109342909159876771493/about?gl=US&hl=en-US

    Coin Laundry across the street from the Hyatt. Had dinner at Chinese Restaurant next door while waiting for our laundry to finish. What can I say, we ran out of clean clothes.

  • 17. Costco Gas
    http://www.costco.com/Warehouse/LocationTemplate.aspx?Warehouse=401&la...

    Cheap gas for Costco members on the way to San Diego

  • 18. Night 7-9: Hyatt Regency Mission Bay
    Hyatt Regency Mission Bay, San Diego, California

    Nice resort with water slides next to SeaWorld. Plus SMORES at the fire pits on the grounds.

  • 19. SeaWorld San Diego
    SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego, California

    Hotel had a shuttle so we didn't have to pay for parking.

  • 20. First Rubio's Fish Taco location
    http://www.yelp.com/biz/rubios-fresh-mexican-grill-san-diego

    Rubio's invented the fish taco - a San Diego specialty.

  • 21. Cabrillo National Monument
    Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego, California

    Interesting lighthouse and great tidepooling. We had to check for negative low tides to see the sea creatures. the alternative if low tide is not available is Abalone Cove in Rancho Palos Verdes earlier in the trip

  • 22. San Diego Zoo
    San Diego Zoo, San Diego, California

    Can't miss this World Class Zoo. Tickets not part of the Southern Cal Citipass so have to purchase tickets in advance to avoid long lines.