Your Guide to a 3 Day Weekend Adventure in the Sun – Exploring Los Angeles, Temecula, and San Diego
So you have a long weekend to fill? Whether taking an extra day off work or taking advantage of a Monday holiday, three day weekends are the perfect opportunity for adventure!
Exploring Southern California is full of the things dreams are made of. The infamous glorious weather and picture-perfect scenery are surreal. There’s a reason that this area is one of the most sought after vacation destinations.
From Los Angeles to Temecula Valley, to San Diego, you can easily travel about the southern part of The Golden State and see the best of what it has to offer.
Sure, there’s a ton to do, and that can be overwhelming. But this guide can help you narrow down the great things that SoCal is known for so you can get started planning.
Los Angeles – The Iconic Jewel of The West Coast
Los Angeles is one of the most famous cities in the world. Home to celebrity sightings, eclectic dining, and endless options for retail therapy. Not to mention the stunning, sunny beaches!
All of this makes Los Angeles the perfect jumping-off point for your Southern California adventure. With tons of flights, LAX is convenient to fly into. Or, take in the beautiful scenery on your pleasant ride if you plan to drive into town.
Once in Los Angeles, it can be overwhelming when trying to decide what to do. Luckily, planning ahead can ensure you get the most of your day in the city. Check out these amazing attractions.
Things to Do in Los Angeles
There is plenty to do in LA for every interest and skill level. What’s great about the city is its diverse choices of activities. You can experience both serene nature and posh shopping, all in one day!
Get Galactic at Griffith Park and Observatory
Getting to the city early can pay off in great hiking weather. Lace-up some comfy shoes and explore Griffith Park. From the parking lot, you can see the infamous Hollywood sign. The 45-foot tall letters will tower above you as you explore the parks fifty-three miles of trails.
Not only will you get to experience some of the most beautiful forestry areas in the state, but you might encounter a furry friend too! Foxes, deer, and rabbits are some of the native animals frolicking through the area.
After your hike, check out the famous Griffith Observatory. Stroll through the interesting exhibits as you learn all about the world of space. Don’t leave without catching a show in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium! Here in the peaceful dome, you can learn about the northern lights or search for life beyond Earth.
Universal Studios Hollywood for Thrill Seekers
For those looking for a little (or a lot of) excitement, Hollywood Studios is the place to be! This world of rides and attractions is sure to create some fun and lasting memories. A visit to this park can put you face to face with your favorite characters.
Whether you’re a Hufflepuff or a Ravenclaw, the park’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a great experience! You can explore the infamous Hogwarts castle and listen to tunes sung by the Frog Choir. Using, simulation technology, the unforgettable Harry Potter ride allows you to soar above the world and explore the magical grounds.
Spend the day on thrill rides inspired by films like The Fast and the Furious and Jurassic World. For a calmer pace, check out the Simpsons ride or live show featuring animal actors. And keep your eyes peeled as you move about the park. Your favorite character might just be hanging out around the next corner, ready for a meet and greet!
Retail Therapy on Rodeo Drive
It’s no secret that LA is home to some amazing shopping. Taking a walk down Rodeo Drive is the best way to get a little retail therapy while enjoying the great weather.
Whether you’re just window shopping or planning on a huge spree, the iconic street has something for everyone. Plus, it gives you an opportunity for some awesome people watching.
Buy yourself a shoe souvenir at Gucci or the world’s most coveted bag at Hermes. Pour over the glistening jewels at Tiffany & Co. and Rolex. Or, check out the vibrant clothing lines for the whole family at DSquared2.
Unique Places to Eat in LA
All of this activity is sure to rev up your appetite. Fortunately, Los Angeles is home to some of the best food around. No matter what you’re looking for, the city has the perfect meal for you!
Have a Magical Time at Black Rabbit Rose
Are you looking for a truly unique dining experience? Black Rabbit Rose delivers. Enjoy a delicious meal and a memorable magic show at this popular hangout.
You can enjoy a delicious dinner in the Black Rabbit Lounge. With a fresh, Asian inspired menu with dishes like fried rice, jade noodles, and dumplings, you’ll be well fueled to enjoy some magic. The super creative cocktail menu doesn’t disappoint.
Then, head over to the theatre for an amazing magic show. The stunning scarlet space is the perfect scene for the mysterious acts. With skilled illusionists and burlesque dancers, you’re sure to be entertained.
Food By a Truly Top Chef
Many have seen Tom Colicchio offering his critique on Top Chef. However, a visit to LA gives you the chance to try dishes created by the man himself. Craft LA is a delicious seasonal kitchen focused on using the freshest locally grown ingredients.
The rotating menu is full of colorful produce and the finest cuts of meat. The amazing dishes can be enjoyed in either the sleekly decorated dining area or on the patio, surrounded by greenery and twinkling lights.
Where to Stay in LA
Staying in LA is made simpler by the huge number of choices. There are some great options to fit nearly every budget. From boutique inns to towering hotels, the city has no shortage of options.
The Iconic Beverly Hills Hotel
This five-star property is the ultimate in luxury. Though, it’s stunning beauty and amenities come at a price. However, if you’re looking to splurge, a stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel isn’t a bad way to do so. It’s no wonder that countless celebrities have walked through the welcoming doors.
A stay here gives you access to world-class service. Hang out and recharge from your day under the towering mature palm trees. Take a dip in the crystal blue pool. Retreat to your luxurious room to rest up for your next day of adventure.
A Budget-Friendly Los Angeles Stay
Don’t let traveling on a budget cramp your style. You can still have a great time and find conveniently located accommodations. Check out the HI Los Angeles Hostel in Santa Monica for their low rates and flexible options.
Here, you can rent a private room or really save and just rent a bed for the night. Enjoy private bathrooms and shared community spaces. Relax in the outdoor area, swapping stories of your day with other guests. Who knows? You might just meet a lifelong friend.
The Temecula Valley – A Relaxing Place to Play
Nestled in the Southern California hills is the serene region of the Temecula Valley. With some of the world’s best wines, it’s a perfect place to stay and play. Located between Los Angeles and San Diego, it’s an ideal place to spend the second day of your trip.
Temecula Area Attractions
There’s a ton to do and see in the Temecula area. Selecting a variety of activities ensures that you’ll have a chance to experience all the area has to offer.
Check out the Wineries In Style
Of course, you can’t miss visiting the area’s awesome wineries and vineyards. However, a tour is the best way to get around to these locations safely and enjoyably. A unique tour gives you a fun experience.
A cable car tour is a perfect way to get from winery to winery. You’ll have an expert guide leading you through your itinerary. Not only will you get to visit carefully selected wineries, but you’ll also learn about the area along the way.
At each unique stop, you’ll meet expert winemakers and learn about their well-honed process. You’ll try some of the most amazing wines and mingle over glasses. Each winery, with its unique scenery, will give you memorable experiences.
Float Weightlessly Above the Valley
One of the most popular sightings in Temecula is hot balloons soaring high above the valley. Take a flight of your own with A Grape Escape Hot Air Baloon Tour. Your early morning will take you high into the sky with views of the sprawling wineries and citrus trees.
Take in the sunrise as you float through the sky. When you land, you can toast with a mimosa back on the patio. Make sure to take tons of pictures to remember this once in a lifetime adventure.
Discovering New Tastes
Sure, your love of wine may have led you to Temecula, but the city has much more to offer! Visit Batch Mead to try out their selection of meads and ciders. They also have sweet to dry versions to suit a wide range of palettes. Take a tour and try a flight to discover your next favorite drink!
Looking for something a little sudsier? Karl Strauss Brewing Company can fit the bill. Their locally-crafted beers are delicious and refreshing. Choose from their rotating selections of small-batch brews like IPAs and stouts. Can’t decide? Try a flight to test out a few.
Temecula Valley’s Best Eats While on a Road Trip in Southern California
Temecula offers a wide variety of food options. So whether you’re in the mood for steak or pizza, there’s a great spot to fit your cravings.
Dinner with a View
A top a 1500 foot slope sits the Pinnacle Restaurant at Falkner Winery. This amazing eatery has large windows, allowing you to gaze down over the vineyards as you eat. The spacious dining area is the perfect place to enjoy a meal at sunset.
The view isn’t the only thing great at Pinnacle. The huge menu is delicious too. With a variety of salads, burgers, steak, and seafood, there’s something for everyone. And don’t forget to wash it all down with a glass of the winery’s well-crafted vino. Each menu item has a wine-pairing, expertly selected.
Fresh and Local Ingredients while on your Southern California Road Trip
If you are looking for a unique meal bursting with fresh and local produce, head over to Cork Fire Kitchen. The farm-to-table spot is a great place to grab a bite. With a spacious patio and beautiful dining room, the atmosphere at Cork is on point.
Not only does the menu focus on seasonal ingredients, but there’s also a chef garden, providing the freshest produce. The creative menu is full of items like Butternut Squash Salad with pistachio and mint as well as a Black Quinoa Cake. It’s no wonder that Cork has been showered with awards.
Places to Stay in the Temecula Valley
Your valley adventures will surely have you ready to rest. From quaint to opulent, there are some great places to stay in Temecula.
Say “Hola” to Spanish Charm
If you are looking for the perfect combination of luxury and character, Bolero at Europa Villiage is it! This resort hotel is the ultimate in style and relaxation. The rooms, or casitas, are well-appointed with the finest finishes. With high ceilings and great views, you’re sure to be impressed by the quality of your stay.
Enjoy the outdoors with your private courtyard or walk the perfectly manicured grounds. Sip a glass or flight from one of the three nearby wineries. Savor a delicious meal of tapas at the Bolero restaurant.
Get Cozy at a Quiet Escape
Sometimes a little retreat is just what you need. At The Vine House Bed and Breakfast, you’ll get the rest and relaxation you desire. These adorable accommodations are the perfect balance between luxury and charm.
The well-maintained house is home to five beautiful guest rooms. Sit in front of the crackling fireplace to wind down from your day. You’ll also enjoy a delicious, organic breakfast with views of the vineyards.
The Perfect Coastal City – Sunny San Diego
Perched on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, San Diego is the perfect end to a great getaway. The sprawling city is full of wonderful sights and sounds. Visiting here will give you a taste of the quintessential Southern California lifestyle!
Fun San Diego Activities
Rounding out your trip can be bittersweet. Luckily, San Diego has plenty of attractions to help you avoid that end-of-vacay sadness.
Beautiful Boardwalks, Beaches, and Bays
The coastline of San Diego is spotted with great things to do by the water. And you simply can’t end your SoCal getaway without a trip to the beach! Mission Bay and Beach are the perfect places to stop and get your toes in the sand.
Grab your towel and sunscreen and hit Misson Beach. The boardwalk has all kinds of exciting things to do from riding roller coasters to checking out the arcade. Rent a bike and coast up and down the boardwalk, taking in the amazing view of the Pacific Ocean.
For a break, hop on over to Mission Bay. These peaceful waters are the perfect backdrop for a relaxing picnic. Rent a sailboat for an outing to enjoy the bay breeze.
A Wildly Good Time
Another amazing can’t-miss attraction is the San Diego Zoo. Ranked as one of the best zoos in the entire world, it’s perfect for visitors of all ages. Exploring this animal haven will give you some great photo ops.
The zoo is home to animals from all over the world. From arctic foxes to zebras, there’s so much cool wildlife to observe. Watch a hippo swim through the water and check out polar bears as they slide across the ice. There is also an abundance of diverse plant life to see and learn about.
There’s no shortage of things to do at the San Diego Zoo. You can take a Skyfari ride above the treetops or ride along on a guided bus tour. Check out a show at the 4D theater or an exciting live animal show. You can even make the drive to the San Diego Safari Park to check out the animals in a setting that mirrors their natural habitat.
Enjoy a Night on the Town
Wrapping up your trip with a night out on the town is the perfect way to seize every moment. Take a visit to the Gaslamp District is a great opportunity for some fun. The streets, lined with bars, pubs, and nightclubs, give you the perfect setting to dance away the last evening of your getaway.
Pop in and out of some of the city’s greatest spots. Grab a few drinks and delicious bar food to refuel. Discover live music and even take in a comedy show. You can even enjoy a drink at a rooftop bar to soak up the view and toast to your amazing time in the city.
Great Places to Eat in San Diego
San Diego’s coastal location makes it a hotspot for diverse and amazing dining options. Everything from cheap eats to fine dining can be found all over the city.
A Market Bustling with Choices
In a city full of fabulous food choices, it’s hard to pick just one. Luckily, you don’t have to! The Liberty Public Market allows you to sample and snack your way through the booths, checking out some of the amazing local offerings.
A smorgasbord of ethnic choices awaits at the market. Check out everything from rich New England lobster dishes to colorful Bangkok street foods. Seize the opportunity to try spicy Peruvian dishes, followed by sweet, delicious French crepes. Wash it all down with a brew from the market’s craft beer shop.
City and Ocean View Dining
Island Prime is one of the highest-rated restaurants in the city, and for good reason. It’s incredible views partnered with its delectable menu make it a perfect spot. Enjoy a suburb meal overlooking the stunning water and impressive architecture of downtown San Diego.
The menu features everything from sea scallops to bone-in steak. There’s also a selection of vegetarian sides, served family-style for the table. Plus, the wine list is full of quality vino from all over the world. Indulge in one of the restaurant’s rich desserts for a perfect ending to your meal.
Spots to Stay In San Diego
The last night of a getaway creates lasting memories. Choosing a great place to stay can allow you to make the most of the last evening of your trip.
Exotic Seaside Escape
If you want to spring for the ultimate luxury experience, then the Hotel del Coronado is perfect for you! The sprawling property overlooks the ocean and the immaculate grounds offer plenty to explore. Snag a room here, and you’ll be treated like royalty.
Soak in the relaxing pool, gazing out onto the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy nightly s’mores roasts and the sunset over the water. Take a morning trot down to the beach to enjoy the Southern California sunrise.
Immerse Yourself in Historic Charm
If you want a true feel of the classic San Diego lifestyle, book yourself a room at The Pearl Hotel. This historic property is a favorite to many travelers. But its twenty-three rooms fill up fast so reserve early.
The stunning guest rooms have a relaxed vibe with plenty of amenities. The onsite restaurant, Charles and Dinorah, presents some seriously creative cuisine. Enjoy a drink next to the serene pool for a perfect afternoon.
Your Amazing Getaway
This is just a small sample of what Southern California has to offer. Plan wisely and you’ll get the most out of your three day weekend.
Whether you want exhilaration or relaxation, there’s something in the area for you. With delicious food, amazing activities, and relaxing accommodations, you’ll embark on an adventure you won’t soon forget. You’ll arrive with excitement and leave with memories that will last forever.
Grab your sandals, sunglasses, and suitcase – SoCal is waiting!