We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Los Angeles or San Diego

Whitehorse, Canada
Level Contributor
1,902 posts
71 reviews
Save Topic
Los Angeles or San Diego

We are spending 5 days in Las Vegas..and have decided to spend 4 more days in either San Diego and Los Angeles..I may have mentioned this months back....!

I know this is an unfair question...about comparisons...but!

We have to do one or the other....compared across shopping, sites, live events, hotels, friendliness, hospitiality etc...

I know..I know...should not ask....I have spent the last week reading up on LA...and frankly...I not overly excited.....HELP!

Gaslamp Quarter
Gift & Specialty Shops
YOLO Board San Diego
Gift & Specialty Shops
Moment Bicycles
Gift & Specialty Shops
Level Contributor
7,749 posts
23 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Los Angeles or San Diego

"....I have spent the last week reading up on LA...and frankly...I not overly excited....."

Why ask? Go to San Diego. Chuck...

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
28,451 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Los Angeles or San Diego

Its hard to say which is better. LA is a huge sprawling city, with suburbs outside of the LA city limits that are all considered LA.

Since it is so much bigger there is more of everything. More shopping, more live events, more hotels, etc, but also more congestion, more traffic, etc.

That said San Diego is also a large city and metro area. There are about 3 million residents of SD County and 1.3 million residents of the city of SD, so for 5 days Id think there will be plenty of everything you mention to keep you busy.

San Diego is kind of an overgrown beach town, more laid back, relaxed vibe. Most of what tourists want to do is in a fairly compact area compared to metro LA, so in SD you wont spend as much time trying to get to places.

You probably need to figure out what it is you'd want to do if you went to LA and what it is you'd want to do if you came to SD and then choose based off of that.

Anaheim, California
Level Contributor
25,711 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Los Angeles or San Diego

OK, I tried this earlier, but lost my post due to TA shutting down for maintenance.

This is a Tough question to answer, but the entire Southern California is known for its tourism.

There are three main areas in the region, Los Angeles County, Orange County and San Diego County, but also Ventura Country, Riverside County and San Bernardino County.

Live Events? What type of events are you interested in? There are plenty of great Performing Arts venues in the area, so it really comes down to specifics, such as what type of plays you like, what type of music you like for concerts.

Shopping, I think both Orange County and San Diego County are the winners, both in Outlet Malls and Upscale Malls.

Here is a good article talking about Outlet Malls in Southern California.


Upscale Malls include South Coast Plaza, Fashion Island and the Irvine Spectrum in Orange County, and Fashion Valley and Horton Plaza in San Diego County.

Hotels, IMHO, the Anaheim area is the best, a lot of different types of Hotels/Motels in a compact area that compete with each other, so good pricing and lots of options.

Whatever you decide, have a great trip.

San Diego...
Level Contributor
331 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Los Angeles or San Diego

If you like Vegas perhaps you can take a flight to Atlantic City and check out the scene there or perhaps go to Branson Missouri. That may suit you better since you are not overly excited by one of the largest vibrant and multi-cultural cities in the world, the entertainment mecca and a city which has some of the best restaurants and hotels on this planet.

Millions of visitors come and visit our lovely state and the counties of Los Angeles, OC and San Diego among others and also make a trip to the Northern Part of our State.

It will take you as much time to fly there from Vegas as it will to drive to any major city in CA.

Have a great holiday wherever you go.

Goldfield, Nevada
Level Contributor
10,746 posts
33 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Los Angeles or San Diego

If you want to unwind and relax after Las Vegas, I'd choose San Diego as it is a more relaxed, slower-paced, more resort-like city, while Los Angeles is a true metropolis, with a lot going on all the time, a faster pace and more of a "big city" feel. That's the main difference, in my opinion. After spending 5 days enduring the sensory bombardment of Las Vegas, I would need a vacation and I'd go to a remote, quiet mountain resort just to feel normal again. If you're looking for relaxation, nature, leisure and recreation, San Diego is probably the better choice. If you're looking for nightlife, excitement, glamour, culture and a wide variety of events to choose from, Los Angeles would be the better choice.

colorado springs,co
Destination Expert
for Colorado Springs
Level Contributor
2,306 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Los Angeles or San Diego

San Diego!

Corona del Mar, CA
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
Level Contributor
57,120 posts
431 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Los Angeles or San Diego

To say which "Los Angeles" or San Diego is better is hard to say because "Los Angeles" isn't just one city, it is a county and a five county metro area.

Los Angeles includes Santa Monica, Marina del Rey, Manhattan Beach, Venice and the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Each would be a very different experience of a California beach town and that is without even discussing the Orange County beach cities of Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach and Dana Point.

Then Los Angeles has the Downtown area, Beverly Hills, Westwood, Hollywood and Pasadena, again area brings a unique aspect of Los Angeles to bear.

Los Angeles has more high end shopping, San Diego has more outlet malls. Los Angeles has more and better live entertainment, more and better restaurants, more and better hotels and more attractions and museums.

But all of that of irrelevant if they aren't the hotels, live events, attractions and museums that you are looking for. If you could be more specific about the experience you want, people might be able to give more detailed answers.

When you are coming is relevant too, keep that in mind.

Berkeley, Ca.
Level Contributor
4,704 posts
72 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Los Angeles or San Diego

For me, Los Angeles, no question. But it really depends what kind of experience you want. For shopping at non-chain stores, LA would definitely be better. People would probably say that San Diego is friendlier, it's certainly slower paced, which can be good or bad depending on your perspective (as someone who rides a lot of transit, I'd say that the bus drivers in San Diego are friendlier, though they face easier conditions).

Hotels are definitely cheaper in San Diego, though the prices in San Diego probably have more seasonal variation. More of San Diego's nicer hotels are in the Downtown, which is a nicer walking environment than any area of similar size in LA. San Diego's attractions are in various parts of the city, like LA's, but there is a nice cluster of them in Downtown San Diego. There's a top super-luxury layer of hotels in LA that's pretty much absent in San Diego, but that won't matter for most people.

San Diego certainly has live music and theatre scenes, but Los Angeles is a world class city in those regards. LA's got the greatest pool of actor talent in the Western Hemisphere, and many of them do live theatre while hoping for that big movie break.

I don't know what you mean by "sites."

Yucaipa, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
Level Contributor
20,791 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Los Angeles or San Diego

I see the people and the feeling of San Diego as friendlier and more down to earth than in Los Angeles.. It also seems very easy to chat with botn other tourists and locals in San Diego since locals are really just out enjoying themselves in their city and tourists (from near and far) just happen to be enjoying it along with them. I get a sense of a mixture of history, culture, and fun in San Diego that I don't feel in LA. Live events - I was recently walking through Balboa Park and had trouble choosing between an art musuem, a Shakepeare play, and a musical.

Edited: 3:18 am, December 08, 2011
laguna niguel, ca
Level Contributor
7,484 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Los Angeles or San Diego

Los Angeles is the least tourist friendly city on earth, too spread out, too much trafffic, bad public transit, a weak down town. I would do san diego, great city