West Coast in November

#1
Hi folks, just hoping to get advice from the California locals. I'm planning a trip to the West Coast in late October/early November. Just wondering if that's a decent time to visit or should it be avoided as a tourist? In terms of how nature will look and all I guess. Thanks for the help!
 

Capt. Factorial

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
Staff member
#2
It probably depends on what you're planning to visit, but I'd say that the biggest concern is probably weather rather than how nature looks (Oct/Nov the grasses won't be green, but the trees should still mostly be leafed out, and California at least doesn't have a lot of trees that turn interesting colors in the fall). The weather can be variable temperature then, but not extremely hot or cold inland (say, maybe 17-27 C for a high temperature?) though the coast will be much colder than you might expect coming from Singapore. Early November is before our rainy season kicks in, so it will likely be dry and probably not too cloudy. If you want to go to the mountains, there shouldn't really be any snow yet (which is either good or bad depending on what you want to see!) But all in all it's probably a good time to visit - you'll probably miss both heat and rain. I'm not sure what else to say.

If you have any more specific questions I'm sure that I or somebody else will be happy to chime in.
 

kingsboi

Hall of Famer
#3
I visited Sacramento in November last year and I found it pleasant, the weather was nice in the day and at night it gets chilly but nothing to worry about. Also less tourists so it's not the worst time to visit Cali
 
#4
It probably depends on what you're planning to visit, but I'd say that the biggest concern is probably weather rather than how nature looks (Oct/Nov the grasses won't be green, but the trees should still mostly be leafed out, and California at least doesn't have a lot of trees that turn interesting colors in the fall). The weather can be variable temperature then, but not extremely hot or cold inland (say, maybe 17-27 C for a high temperature?) though the coast will be much colder than you might expect coming from Singapore. Early November is before our rainy season kicks in, so it will likely be dry and probably not too cloudy. If you want to go to the mountains, there shouldn't really be any snow yet (which is either good or bad depending on what you want to see!) But all in all it's probably a good time to visit - you'll probably miss both heat and rain. I'm not sure what else to say.

If you have any more specific questions I'm sure that I or somebody else will be happy to chime in.
Sounds pretty decent! I reckon we'll be there for two weeks or so, do LA, grand canyon, San Francisco, Vegas? If time allows would love to visit Sac for a home game (assuming they don't go shortening the season and whatnot).

Thanks all for the help :)
 

Warhawk

The cake is a lie.
Staff member
#5
Not sure what you are "into" as a tourist, but unless there are things like Disneyland or a beach you were wanting to see in LA/OC, I'd skip the concrete jungle of that area and go to places like Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Gold Country (Jackson/Ione/Sonora/Placerville, etc.), Monterey/Carmel, etc. SF is kind of cool in it's way, and go check out the Marin Headlands on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge if you get a chance. GREAT views of The City, good hiking areas, and from there you can easily walk across the GG Bridge and back if you like. If you like wine, don't forget to hit up the Napa area (including the very cool Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville if you love movies - look it up and you will see what I mean).

That's the real California you can't see anywhere else. The concrete and masses of people in SoCal have no draw for me personally, but YMMV. :)
 
#6
Not sure what you are "into" as a tourist, but unless there are things like Disneyland or a beach you were wanting to see in LA/OC, I'd skip the concrete jungle of that area and go to places like Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Gold Country (Jackson/Ione/Sonora/Placerville, etc.), Monterey/Carmel, etc. SF is kind of cool in it's way, and go check out the Marin Headlands on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge if you get a chance. GREAT views of The City, good hiking areas, and from there you can easily walk across the GG Bridge and back if you like. If you like wine, don't forget to hit up the Napa area (including the very cool Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville if you love movies - look it up and you will see what I mean).

That's the real California you can't see anywhere else. The concrete and masses of people in SoCal have no draw for me personally, but YMMV. :)
Probably be there 2.5 weeks at best, think we'd like a good mix. Nature, Disney, Hollywood.. honestly not too keen on activities in Vegas but feel obligated to drop by for a night or two.
 
#7
People have mentioned visiting ‘wine’ country, but, if you’re into craft beer at all, NorCal and the Sacramento area has developed into a kind of a hotbed. There are tons of great breweries and tap rooms to visit.

Let me know if that’s an interest at all and I can provide you with a comprehensive list of places to check out, not only in the Valley and foothills but also in the North Bay near the wineries.
 
#8
Probably be there 2.5 weeks at best, think we'd like a good mix. Nature, Disney, Hollywood.. honestly not too keen on activities in Vegas but feel obligated to drop by for a night or two.
Assuming your driving for some of the trip? Vegas is a 4 hr drive from LA and to get to the Grand Canyon from Vegas is roughly the same. My sister and nieces just visited Vegas back in December when my bro in law was working on a project there and they went on a day trip to the Canyon.

Honestly, I get your hesitation about visiting Vegas, but it’s worth visiting even if you’re not into gambling. The strip is very touristy because it’s cool to look at if you’ve never been. Lots of other cool things to see in and around the area too.

If you want to save drive time, there are helicopter flight packages from Vegas over to the Canyon. Not cheap, but possibly worthwhile if you’re pressed for time.
 
#9
Personal opinion from someone that did a lot of consulting work in casinos early in my career is skip Vegas from November through the Superbowl. Halloween and New Years are the only thing happening outside of the rodeo in December.
 
#10
It’s been awhile since I have been in Northern California But I have taken family on a few trips that they enjoyed.
Frisco is or was nice fishermans wharf and a boat ride to Alcatraz. Then lunch and a ride on the trolley car might be a interesting day. Then head north and get a room up on highway one and then you can hit a beach if you wish with lunch in bodega Bay. Cut across and stop for a few hours in Napa on your way home.

You just seen some of best tourist spots that are nice and interesting. Or go east into the Sierra’s.
Head up 50 to lake Tahoe and stay the night then over to Virginia city in the morning and comeback threw north shore and truckee on the way home. You will see some of the prettiest country ever and some historical places.
 
#11
I don't think there's really a bad time to visit California. It can be wet December to April, especially in Nor Cal but it's still nothing like the weather they have back East or in the Midwest. Also there's just a lot of people here all the time so the long lines and traffic are pretty much unavoidable. LA has the bad reputation for it but I've been in equally bad jams in San Francisco and in Sacramento. It just it what it is. The big tourist draws like Dinseyland are a little better on weekdays but then you might get a school trip or something if you go on a week day and it's actually worse so who knows. You're on a Sacramento fan board so there's some regional bias here... having lived in the SF area, the Sacramento area, and the So Cal area for significant stretches I would say that there's great things to see in all three. Here's how I would break it down:

Bay Area:
1] I also recommend Marin Headlands. The hiking there is easy (my parents would take my brother and I when we were toddlers) and there's a lot of cool history with all the WWII bunkers and gunhouses.
2] You can walk along the Embarcadero to Pier 39 which has a ton of restaurants and Fisherman's Wharf where you can get fresh sourdough and chowder at the Boudin Bakery.
3] If you're a movie fan, you might want to drive down Shady Lane in the town of Ross (near Marin Headlands) where they filmed some scenes for The Godfather. Coppola and Lucas are based in the area so they filmed a lot of scenes around here to substitute for other places. Ross is like a little hidden wooded grove with moss growing on the fences everywhere and trees that reach way out over the road so it feels like a tunnel. By October/November the trees should be full of Fall colors. There's also a short hike you can take here to Phoenix Lake. Speaking of Lucas, the Forest Moon of Endor is only a couple hours drive up the coast but that's probably too far out of the way for you. It'd be worth it though! The coastal redwoods are one of the highlights of California's natural beauty.
4] Check out Fort Point at the Southern base of the Golden Gate Bridge if you get a chance. It doesn't cost anything and it's one of the best views of the bridge (as seen in Hitchcock's Vertigo)

Sacramento:
1] If you do make it to Sacramento, get there early and go to Old Town on the river. You can learn about the history of the city there or just pop in and out of all the cool little novelty shops. At night they'll have live music and light shows certain times of year.
2] This is most likely out of the way, but Sunflower Drive-In in Fair Oaks is the first place I always go when I go back to visit my family. Get a Nutburger! You won't regret it! Also walk down Bridge Street over the pedestrian bridge to the American River bike trail. You can also rent a raft in Fair Oaks to float down the river nearby but that's more of a summer activity. In October/November I would think it'll be too cold. This is a really beautiful place to go for a walk though if you have the time.

Los Angeles/So Cal:
1] Personally I would avoid Disneyland right now because of the Star Wars land opening this Summer. You probably don't have much of a choice if the family is set on it but everything there is expensive already and the lines are going to be long. Knott's Berry Farm is nearby and offers a similar experience for a lot less money with smaller crowds.
2] Hollywood is tough to recommend as a tourist location. It's dirty and there's nothing to see there except people trying to sell you useless junk. Check the schedule for The Hollywood Bowl though and see if you can work in a show you're interested in. It gets cold at night but you can bring blankets and food and wine. That's probably the best thing to do in the Hollywood Area. Or you could see what old movies they're playing at The Egyptian theater when you're in town.
3] Check out the Observatory in Griffith Park around sunset for one of the best views of Los Angeles. This is also free, you can drive most (all?) of the way up and it's a pretty spectacular spot (ie La La Land)
4] Also, on the other side of Griffith Park is the carousel (limited hours though so look up when it's open), the LA Zoo, the Travel Town mini train you can ride on and the Bridal Trails where you can take a guided horseback ride and look down on the San Fernando Valley -- this is my personal favorite spot in LA.
5] There's a lot of nice beaches to visit: Redondo, Newport, Laguna, etc. If you can make it all the way down there, Oceanside and Encinitas are beautiful if probably a little cold that time of year. Bring a sweater!
6] The Getty Center is a free art museum in the hills North of Santa Monica which also happens to be a masterpiece of modern architecture (you do have to pay $20 to park though). You could easily spend half a day there.
7] I'm planning a day trip for my parents around the Port of Los Angeles for early December right now which might also work out for you. You could visit the USS Iowa museum down there (a decommissioned WWII era Battleship), either the aquarium in Long Beach or the one in San Pedro, the Korean Friendship Bell overlooking the ocean in San Pedro, then drive through Palos Verdes up to Redondo Beach. A little further North, the drive up the coast through Malibu is also really nice.
9] Get yourself some street tacos! The best thing about LA is the abundance of amazing street tacos.

I'm sure there's a million other things you can do, those are just the first ones that come to mind. Vegas I don't know. I only go there when other people force me to. Walking the strip in the daytime isn't that exciting to me, but with everything lit up at night it can be pretty fun. I did just go to see the Grand Canyon a couple months ago. It's quite a long drive to get there so you might want to make that a separate trip. The only advice I have is to plan your trip so that you're there for sunset. The place really comes to life at sunset!
 
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Capt. Factorial

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
Staff member
#12
3] If you're a movie fan, you might want to drive down Shady Lane in the town of Ross (near Marin Headlands) where they filmed some scenes for The Godfather. Coppola and Lucas are based in the area so they filmed a lot of scenes around here to substitute for other places. Ross is like a little hidden wooded grove with moss growing on the fences everywhere and trees that reach way out over the road so it feels like a tunnel. By October/November the trees should be full of Fall colors. There's also a short hike you can take here to Phoenix Lake. Speaking of Lucas, the Forest Moon of Endor is only a couple hours drive up the coast but that's probably too far out of the way for you. It'd be worth it though! The coastal redwoods are one of the highlights of California's natural beauty.
4] Check out Fort Point at the Southern base of the Golden Gate Bridge if you get a chance. It doesn't cost anything and it's one of the best views of the bridge (as seen in Hitchcock's Vertigo)
And, for an additional movie/Hitchcock site, Bodega Bay is a really nice sleepy little town on the coast about an hour north of SF, and of course where The Birds was filmed.

6] The Getty Center is a free art museum in the hills North of Santa Monica which also happens to be a masterpiece of modern architecture (you do have to pay $20 to park though). You could easily spend half a day there.
Ah, the Getty! By far my favorite museum I've ever been to (now, I haven't been to the Louvre, I haven't been to the Guggenheim...etc.) and a place I could easily spend a full day and try to find a way to get locked in overnight if I weren't with people who wanted to leave after a few hours. On a clear day after a rain (something that could easily come up in your timeframe, Mac) the view from the Getty down over the L.A. basin is absolutely spectacular in the "Ah, now I understand why 10 million people want to live here" kind of way.
 

HndsmCelt

Hall of Famer
#13
I always tell people that have never been on the west coast to go to sequoia Kings canyon and see the giant sequoias. there is just no way to describe how impressive they are until you've actually stood at the foot of one. Off-season Yosemite will be pretty easy to get in and out of but regardless sequoia Kings canyon is always less crowded. Another spot we're spending some time at if you can squeeze it in is big Sur south of Monterey. Driving highway 1 North of San Luis obispo can be a real hassle but absolutely gorgeous!