Travel plans – version 1 – I need your help!

Travel plans – version 1 – I need your help!

US trip

It has been a while since I have been on a far (ok further) away trip, so this year I have decided to cross some items of my “would love to see” list.

(Here is a bigger version of the map on Google)

But I need your help dear readers.

But first, the plan. Here are the places I want to visit:

1. Boston
I want to go to Boston to do a Whale watching boat trip. I have long been wanting to see whales from up close and Boston seems to be a perfect place for it.

I also want to do this Lighthouse tour, this area is about an hour north of Boston.

But apart from that, is Boston worth a visit?

2. Niagara Falls
I want to do the Maid of the Mist tour and just see these impressive falls. (Am planning to stay here for one day and then move on)

3. Chicago

I don’t know anything about Chicago, but it is just one of these places that sound so familiar.
Question to you reader: is it worth visiting? And what to see there?

4. San Francisco
I know what I want to see here: the Golden Gate bridge. And it is on the coast, so I am sure there is a beach too. And light houses.
And there is some more whale watching to do here as well. Wait a minute, do I actually need to go to Boston at all?

Has any of you ever been in San Francisco? What area is good to stay? And what to see and do there? How much time would you spend here?

5. Los Angeles
This is a bit the same thing as Chicago. I have heard the name so many times before. I know they have the “HOLLYWOOD” letters on the hill there. But is Los Angeles worth a visit? What to see and do there? How much time would you spend here?

Any tips and hints and comments are highly appreciated!

(I am planning on spending about 2 weeks in the US)

I can hear you think – where is New York on the map! I know, I know, but Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman did not have time to see me before November, so New York is scheduled then. Honestly, I am not even sure I will survive watching both Craig and Jackman on one stage.

12 Comments

  1. Marieke · 07-08-2009

    It seems a bit much to me, both the Atlantic coast and the Pacific coast on one trip?

    Why not leave New York, Boston and Niagara Falls for next time and enjoy the Washington/Oregon/California side this time? I have heard that the coast is stunning, especially around Olympic NP and scenic highway 1, and both Seattle and San Francisco are very interesting cities (from what I have heard). Bonus: there are many whales, so that leaves plenty of opportunities for whale watching trips. :-)

    I have been to Los Angeles, but I did not find it particularly interesting (but as a future filmmaker, you should definitely go and see the Hollywood sign and Universal Studios).

    We are going to the US of A soon – to the Colorado Plateau – and I found a lot of tips and tricks on the Alles Amerika forum: http://www.allesamerika.nl/forum/. :-)

  2. thegirlinthecafe · 07-08-2009

    @Marieke – you might be right. When I plotted Boston on the map, I didn’t realise that San Francisco has whale watching trips too. So I might drop Boston (New York wasn’t planned on this trip by the way).

    I have my doubts about LA too (and about me being a future film maker but that is another thing!) :)

    Thanks for the tip on Seattle, that looks interesting!

    I am going to rethink this a bit.

  3. daithaic · 07-08-2009

    Ingrid,

    Like most Girls you like your shopping lists! – let me help you with the first three as I haven’t been to the west coast.

    Boston is wonderful, the harbour is on 3 sides and gives the whole set up great athmospherics. The Common is great with redcoats and bluecoats roaming around as if it’s the most natural thing in the world and Beacon Hill above it is like an Olde English town only nicer. Real sense of history here and lively bars on the waterfront as well as the wonderful Aquarium of New England. If you have the time a trip down to New Bedford opposite Nantucket is worth it but plenty to do in Boston including a quick metro trip across the river to Harvard. It is the most European of American towns.

    Niagara is far better from the Canadian side but the Maid of the Mist operates from both the US and Canada. If you go up the Niagara George to Lake Ontario, Niagara-on-the Lake is just chocolate box lovely with a six month George Bernard Shaw festival every year and loads of antique shops.

    Chicago is (to european’s) America’s hidden secret where the Great Lakes connect to the Missisippi, Ohio and Red Rivers and every railway line went into (including the one which carried “The Spirit of New Orleans”). It is where America did real business and is well worth catching with a superb lakefront setting. This is an important place and do see the Art Institute, the “Golden Mile” of Madison Avenue, the entertainment district around Rush and Division streets and the Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in Oakpark not to mention the downtown shopping around the Watertower Centre.

    Hope I’ve confused you enough but I agree with Marieke that you shouldn’t try to do to much – This is what American tourists do with photo op Europe in ten days!!

  4. Marieke · 07-08-2009

    I was just browsing around for our own trip when I came across this: http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Amtrak/am2Route/Vertical_Route_Page&cid=1081256321841&c=am2Route&ssid=135. A train from Seattle via Oakland/San Francisco to Los Angeles! Via the coast!

    I think it would make a great adventure. :-)

  5. Joachim · 07-08-2009

    Just visit Chicago and SF. Both cities are well worth spending a week.
    Chcago has great outdoor sculptures, it has an elevated train (the El), which loops downtown (guess what: the Loop).
    Chicago is the city of the blues, lots of live music.
    It has a lake so big you can’t see accross the lake. You are surprised these are fresh water waves, Chicago has ART.
    Visit the Bahai temple north of Chicago.
    SF:
    The Legion of Honor has a fine exhibition of sculptures of Rodin http://www.famsf.org/legion/about/subpage.asp?subpagekey=65
    Just do the cable car thing and walk Lombard street. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lombard_Street_%28San_Francisco%29

  6. thegirlinthecafe · 07-08-2009

    @daithaic and @joachim: thanks for all your tips and info on Chicago! Sounds like a good place to go too!

    @marieke: that train trip looks amazing!! Thanks for that tip, that might be the way to do it for sure!

    OK I am going to work on plan v2 now :)

  7. Eileen · 08-08-2009

    This is too much of a trip for 2 weeks. Save some for another time.

    1. Boston — Downtown? Follow the Freedom Trail http://www.thefreedomtrail.org/ Whales? August is the time to see them here. Lighthouses? I live 45 minutes north of Portland Head Light and assure you it and others nearby are beautiful.

    2. Niagara Falls — to me, not worth the trouble of getting there. Interesting for 1 hr, then boring.

    3. Chicago — would love to go sometime

    4. San Francisco — fabulous place, so much to see and do. Consider a train tour of Napa Wine Country http://www.napawinetours.net

    5. Los Angeles — interesting from a film biz perspective, but I think a better option is the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco up to Oregon / Washington http://www.travelsense.org/destinations/pacificcoasthighway.cfm

    All depends on what you want to do!

  8. Tabula · 08-08-2009

    Chicago is probably the most beautiful city in USA. It’s completely different from the rest of the country. Well worth the visit. You can swim in the lake, visit either Sears Tower or Hancock building, Buckingham Fountain, the Indians that Mestrovic made (impressive), Navy Pier, maybe a boat ride down the Chicago River…nice to see the city from the river. The Art Institute of Chicago, and so on. Architecture is wonderful.

  9. spincks · 08-08-2009

    1-Niagara Falls: I agree with daithaic that you should definitely see them from the Canadian side. They are beautifully lit by night, by the way.

    2-San Francisco: you can visit Alcatraz from here. Highway 101, along the coast, is a highway with a good view.

    3-LA and Hollywood: I found both to be a tad disappointing, but as an aspiring film maker you should definitely see the walk of fame, the Chinese theatre, the Hollywood sign, and Universal Studios.

  10. Annerie · 08-08-2009

    Lake Michigan has beautiful lighthouses !!!
    My best friend used to live on the West coast and San Francisco is fantastic.

  11. thegirlinthecafe · 09-08-2009

    Wow, thanks so much to all of you for the comments! They are all really useful and I am more and more convinced that I should split the trip in two, doing the westcoast in one and the eastern part include Niagara in another trip.

  12. SavannahSam · 13-08-2009

    San Francisco is a pretty cool place to visit. I would definitely hit up the pier while there. On your east coast trip, I would recommend checking out the city of Savannah, Georgia. There are some really beautiful Savannah condos to stay at during your visit, and the city is a great place to stop while en route from Florida up the coast. Also, I agree that Niagara is a must-see, and the Canadian side is definitely the better side.