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Old 06-02-2013, 10:48 PM   #1
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5 1/2 weeks in the USA/Canada

Hey everyone, I'm going to the states for 5 1/2 weeks starting from October 13th till November 20th. We have a "rough" in between itinerary planned out so far.

Basically our first day once landing in LA after about 3 months (16 hours) on a plane we're spending even more time on a plane and going to spend 2 nights in Seattle before taking a ferry to Vancouver. Spend 5-6 days in VAN (depending on the Canucks schedule!) before driving from Van to Calgary over a couple of days (I guess this depends on weather conditions?) Then from Calgary we fly to Toronto. Spend 3 days in Toronto before taking the Train to New York.

We plan to spend probably 10-14 days around that east coast area which might include a few days in Boston, Jersey, Philly and Washington. Before we spend out last two or so weeks driving back across to LA/Vegas via...well we aren't sure yet. Dad wants to see New Orleans or head down past Houston. Hopefully we get 3-4 days to chill in LA before the flight home.

In summary, the point of this thread would be if anyone can provide advice on places to see, things to do ect ect I'll take anything on board. Nothing is locked in so we aren't stuck to a schedule just yet. Thanks
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Old 06-02-2013, 10:59 PM   #2
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What if U2 start their tour in Australia at that time?

Glad to hear you're driving from Vancouver to Calgary, that took my breath away. I say go to Banff if you can.
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Old 06-02-2013, 11:13 PM   #3
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I recommend maximizing your time in Seattle and Vancouver. Also, San Francisco is a glaring omission. I'd recommend looking into a train from Vancouver to Calgary, and you may want to stop in Banff National Park on the way. Montréal is another omission for something rather unique in North America (Québec City may be worthwhile too). Of the Northeast cities that you mention, I enjoy Boston and Washington more than New York, but a first visit to New York can be incredible (would it be?). I have incredible memories of the city from when I visited it for the first time at the age of 12. I've never been to Philadelphia. New Jersey is New Jersey. If you visit NYC and have some money to drop, I'd recommend going to the top level of the Empire State Building. Not just the main observation deck, but the little pod on the 102nd floor. That's a really cool, if really touristy, experience. Overall, NYC has tons more to do than any other city in the country, but it's far from my favorite. There are also some cool towns in New England that can be worth a quick stop (see: Newport, Rhode Island), but they're probably better for summer than fall.

The south has really nice weather that time of year. New Orleans is an incredibly interesting city with a ridiculous amount of income inequality. Houston has some nice cultural stuff, but it's still Houston. Austin and San Antonio are great, but neither has that much to do, although you'll probably be traveling during the formula one race in Austin (sorry, just had to plug my wonderful home city). Avoid Dallas like the plague, other than D/FW Airport. The other big southern cities of note are Atlanta and Miami, but they're out of your way.

One city you may want to consider is Chicago. It sometimes has a bad reputation, but I love the place. It's probably tied with San Francisco and maybe LA (in my opinion) for the title of "most cultured city" in the US. I detest Los Angeles, however, and I find Chicago much friendlier and cleaner than New York. And I just like it better than SF for reasons that are probably more sentimental than anything else

Also, if you are going to be spending any significant time in SoCal, you may want to drive to San Diego. It's a rather gorgeous city not far at all from LA.

Have a great trip.
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:13 AM   #4
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I can't recommend a plan but just want to say I'm heaps jealous and hope you have a rad time.

I suspect that San Diego would be worth the trip, a few people I know absolutely swear by it as their favourite city in California.
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:28 AM   #5
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I'm always going to be fond of the east coast, as I spent 16 years of my life in Maryland, so I can't add a great deal to your plan besides affirming that it's going to be great. Boston is an attractive city with a great history and you never run out of things to do in NYC. DC makes for a historically enlightening visit but you'll only need an afternoon to get the gist, if you're doing the tourist thing.

I would say that it's a shame you're visiting in the fall because Delaware and Virginia have some knockout beaches, but the fall is astoundingly beautiful in the east. Spend some time in Vermont and do some hiking while taking in the foliage, it's out of this world. By the time you get there it will likely be a bit past peak, but that shouldn't lessen the experience for you.

Have a great time, I wish I could go back, but it won't be for a while.

EDIT: And yes, do come to Chicago if you can find the time. There's loads to do, and I'll be sure to buy you a beer.
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Old 06-03-2013, 03:38 PM   #6
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I recommend maximizing your time in Seattle and Vancouver. Also, San Francisco is a glaring omission. I'd recommend looking into a train from Vancouver to Calgary, and you may want to stop in Banff National Park on the way. Montréal is another omission for something rather unique in North America (Québec City may be worthwhile too).
This is what I noticed as well.

Coming from Australia, you'll find a city like Montreal (French speaking, European sensibilities) quite different from the rest of North America. It's certainly worth the trip (perhaps you can shorten your time in Toronto -- it's a nice town but you can get something similar in New York).

Likewise, San Francisco really is unlike most other American cities -- it has such a wonderful vibe, geography, architecture, food scene, etc. If you have time I'd try to squeeze it in.

That said, this continent is enormous, and you will not have time for everything. Whatever you decide, you'll have a great time and we'll be happy to have you. Enjoy!
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:09 PM   #7
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Have to concur on Montreal and, if possible, Quebec. Hard to imagine visiting North America and skipping these.

I may be a bit biased, tho
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:35 PM   #8
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Why so much LA hate?

As a Californian, I have to say a road trip between San Francisco and LA would be amazing, especially if you take the Pacific Coast Highway.

In LA, I'm a huge fan of Griffith Park, with panoramic views of LA and a trail with great views of the Hollywood Sign.
Also love the Getty, which is in West Los Angeles and a top notch museum.

Have fun!
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:24 PM   #9
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On your way back from the East Coast, consider stopping at Grand Canyon. It'll be cold in mid-to-late November, and possibly snowing, but it's a place that is magical, no matter what time of year. You'll be there before our Thanksgiving week, so it shouldn't be too full of people, and the snow shouldn't be too bad, either. It's just off Interstate 40, which is one way back from the South, although a snowy way.

If you'd like to continue the Texas part of your trip, consider Big Bend National Park, down at the western end of Texas. It won't be snowy there, and it's a lovely, uncrowded park full of Western scenery.
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Old 06-03-2013, 11:11 PM   #10
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See SF and Yosemite Park as well.
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobl04 View Post
What if U2 start their tour in Australia at that time?

Glad to hear you're driving from Vancouver to Calgary, that took my breath away. I say go to Banff if you can.
It's a risk I'm prepared to take We're all very been on staying in Banff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by digitize View Post
I recommend maximizing your time in Seattle and Vancouver. Also, San Francisco is a glaring omission. I'd recommend looking into a train from Vancouver to Calgary, and you may want to stop in Banff National Park on the way. Montréal is another omission for something rather unique in North America (Québec City may be worthwhile too). Of the Northeast cities that you mention, I enjoy Boston and Washington more than New York, but a first visit to New York can be incredible (would it be?). I have incredible memories of the city from when I visited it for the first time at the age of 12. I've never been to Philadelphia. New Jersey is New Jersey. If you visit NYC and have some money to drop, I'd recommend going to the top level of the Empire State Building. Not just the main observation deck, but the little pod on the 102nd floor. That's a really cool, if really touristy, experience. Overall, NYC has tons more to do than any other city in the country, but it's far from my favorite. There are also some cool towns in New England that can be worth a quick stop (see: Newport, Rhode Island), but they're probably better for summer than fall.

The south has really nice weather that time of year. New Orleans is an incredibly interesting city with a ridiculous amount of income inequality. Houston has some nice cultural stuff, but it's still Houston. Austin and San Antonio are great, but neither has that much to do, although you'll probably be traveling during the formula one race in Austin (sorry, just had to plug my wonderful home city). Avoid Dallas like the plague, other than D/FW Airport. The other big southern cities of note are Atlanta and Miami, but they're out of your way.

One city you may want to consider is Chicago. It sometimes has a bad reputation, but I love the place. It's probably tied with San Francisco and maybe LA (in my opinion) for the title of "most cultured city" in the US. I detest Los Angeles, however, and I find Chicago much friendlier and cleaner than New York. And I just like it better than SF for reasons that are probably more sentimental than anything else

Also, if you are going to be spending any significant time in SoCal, you may want to drive to San Diego. It's a rather gorgeous city not far at all from LA.

Have a great trip.
San Fran interests me, but Dad and the others aren’t all that interested. Perhaps I might disappear off for an overnight stop on our last couple of days in LA. I’d really like to see Montreal as well. Maybe we can re-route or trip to go from Calgary to Montreal and then down to Toronto and ‘Merica.

This will be my second trip to the states, but last time I never left California. (Anaheim, San Diego and LA) so yeah first ever visit to new york, I’m quite excited about that. Empire state building is on my definite list, and maybe the statue of liberty if we can.

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I can't recommend a plan but just want to say I'm heaps jealous and hope you have a rad time.

I suspect that San Diego would be worth the trip, a few people I know absolutely swear by it as their favourite city in California.


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I'm always going to be fond of the east coast, as I spent 16 years of my life in Maryland, so I can't add a great deal to your plan besides affirming that it's going to be great. Boston is an attractive city with a great history and you never run out of things to do in NYC. DC makes for a historically enlightening visit but you'll only need an afternoon to get the gist, if you're doing the tourist thing.

I would say that it's a shame you're visiting in the fall because Delaware and Virginia have some knockout beaches, but the fall is astoundingly beautiful in the east. Spend some time in Vermont and do some hiking while taking in the foliage, it's out of this world. By the time you get there it will likely be a bit past peak, but that shouldn't lessen the experience for you.

Have a great time, I wish I could go back, but it won't be for a while.

EDIT: And yes, do come to Chicago if you can find the time. There's loads to do, and I'll be sure to buy you a beer.
Noted!

I want to come to Chicago. I wonder if Derrick Rose will return before I get over?

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This is what I noticed as well.

Coming from Australia, you'll find a city like Montreal (French speaking, European sensibilities) quite different from the rest of North America. It's certainly worth the trip (perhaps you can shorten your time in Toronto -- it's a nice town but you can get something similar in New York).

Likewise, San Francisco really is unlike most other American cities -- it has such a wonderful vibe, geography, architecture, food scene, etc. If you have time I'd try to squeeze it in.

That said, this continent is enormous, and you will not have time for everything. Whatever you decide, you'll have a great time and we'll be happy to have you. Enjoy!
Ok I think we have definitely have to spend some time in Montreal.

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Why so much LA hate?
No LA hate from me. (aside from the Lakers ) I’ve been there before. We're gonna end our trip there and see a few sights.

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On your way back from the East Coast, consider stopping at Grand Canyon. It'll be cold in mid-to-late November, and possibly snowing, but it's a place that is magical, no matter what time of year. You'll be there before our Thanksgiving week, so it shouldn't be too full of people, and the snow shouldn't be too bad, either. It's just off Interstate 40, which is one way back from the South, although a snowy way.

If you'd like to continue the Texas part of your trip, consider Big Bend National Park, down at the western end of Texas. It won't be snowy there, and it's a lovely, uncrowded park full of Western scenery.
Grand Canyon is on my list. Dad’s done it before, I’ll see what the others think. Snowing? Awesome.....I've never seen snow aside from on TV before.

I know my responses were quite short...but I'm taking everything on board to see if we can schedule it in!
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:59 AM   #12
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New hampshire/Vermont in the fall It's the kind of awesome that I don't even take for granted, despite having lived in the north easy part of the us all my life. And besides--it's New England. We may also have snow then as well (and later that day, it will be sunny in the high 70s, only to turn into thunderstorms..followed by more snow.).
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:28 PM   #13
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Why so much LA hate?
This.

Fuck San Diego.

It's pretty, but that's about it.

As for Los Angeles, the Getty has some nice views but if you're actually going for the art you'd probably see better stuff at both LACMA and MOCA, which won't be as far out of your way.

Venice Beach is a real trip and worth the time to check out the boardwalk, as well as the canals, and the food places/boutiques on Abbot Kinney Blvd.
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:35 PM   #14
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But how are the marinas, laz?
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:59 PM   #15
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I might be alone on this but you don't need 6 days in Vancouver. The nature is beautiful but the city itself is small and unremarkable. Transfer some of that time to the Rockies. The Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper is the most beautiful drive on the continent IMO (yes, I've been to Cali), though that time of year you can get hit with nasty weather and the lakes won't be the glowing aqua colour. Not much to see in Calgary, save some time there.

I prefer Quebec City to Montreal by a healthy margin if you are looking for that Euro experience.

Also wouldn't recommend the train from Toronto to NYC - it will take you forever, it won't be cheap and there really is nothing interesting to see on the way. Look into flying on Porter if you want to save $, otherwise go with an airline that lands at La Guardia.

I personally love the US southwest so I'd highly recommend that. I've also found Florida to be most pleasant in early November - the drive out to Key West is lovely though that type of scenery you'd be familiar with.
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Old 06-06-2013, 10:12 AM   #16
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I might be alone on this but you don't need 6 days in Vancouver. The nature is beautiful but the city itself is small and unremarkable. Transfer some of that time to the Rockies. The Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper is the most beautiful drive on the continent IMO (yes, I've been to Cali), though that time of year you can get hit with nasty weather and the lakes won't be the glowing aqua colour. Not much to see in Calgary, save some time there.

I prefer Quebec City to Montreal by a healthy margin if you are looking for that Euro experience.

Also wouldn't recommend the train from Toronto to NYC - it will take you forever, it won't be cheap and there really is nothing interesting to see on the way. Look into flying on Porter if you want to save $, otherwise go with an airline that lands at La Guardia.

I personally love the US southwest so I'd highly recommend that. I've also found Florida to be most pleasant in early November - the drive out to Key West is lovely though that type of scenery you'd be familiar with.
I agree with everything here.
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Old 06-06-2013, 11:28 AM   #17
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I might be alone on this but you don't need 6 days in Vancouver. The nature is beautiful but the city itself is small and unremarkable. Transfer some of that time to the Rockies. The Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper is the most beautiful drive on the continent IMO (yes, I've been to Cali), though that time of year you can get hit with nasty weather and the lakes won't be the glowing aqua colour. Not much to see in Calgary, save some time there.

I prefer Quebec City to Montreal by a healthy margin if you are looking for that Euro experience.

Also wouldn't recommend the train from Toronto to NYC - it will take you forever, it won't be cheap and there really is nothing interesting to see on the way. Look into flying on Porter if you want to save $, otherwise go with an airline that lands at La Guardia.

I personally love the US southwest so I'd highly recommend that. I've also found Florida to be most pleasant in early November - the drive out to Key West is lovely though that type of scenery you'd be familiar with.
If you have a chance to go to a hockey game in Montreal, do it.

Otherwise, I also agree with everything here.
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Old 06-07-2013, 08:21 AM   #18
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It may be out of the way of your rough itinerary, but the Grand Canyon is something to see. You can look at pictures all you want, but you can't fully grasp its majesty, scale, and beauty until you see it.

All the other suggestions in this thread I can concur with. There are lots of great places to see in this country.

Sounds like a fun trip, and I'm jealous because I've not been to most of those places as an American.
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Old 06-08-2013, 11:08 AM   #19
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Tennessee Williams once wrote, "America has three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland." While that's not entirely true, I think it can be said that those places should be at the top of any itinerary.

What I'd do:

1. Drive LA to SF -- I've driven the Great Ocean Road in Oz, and Big Sur is even better.
2. Listen to everyone else re: Seattle, Vancouver, Banff.
3. Fly to Montreal. After several days, drive Montreal to Boston. VT and NH are gorgeous, and though you'll be past peak leaf season, it will still be pretty.
4. Use AmTrak to go Boston to NYC. Spend several days in NYC. Then on for an overnight in Philly. Then Philly to DC. Don't bother with NJ, especially since what's left of the Jersey Shore will be closed for the winter. Other day trips in this area would be Baltimore and Annapolis.
5. I'd recommend flying DC to either Charleston, SC or Savannah, GA. Spectacular antebellum towns with delicious southern food and great weather in Nov.
6. Consider a drive across the Deep South (again, great weather there that time of year) to New Orleans. Or fly if you don't have the time.
7. Austin and San Antonio are more fun than Houston, but I didn't hate Houston the few times I've been there.
8. If you can, drive across the Southwest. The searing summer temps will be gone and you'll have big blue skies and open roads and the most unique landscape in the country. Distances are vast, though, so choose the route carefully. I haven't been, but people say the Grand Canyon is unmissable.
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Old 06-08-2013, 12:15 PM   #20
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I'm selfish in wanting you to come to Chicago, since I think it's pretty damn amazing, but what Irvine suggests sounds like a gorgeous trip.

You'll just be missing out on the unsung majesty of the great plains, which, given the time of year you'll be here, wouldn't be all that majestic, anyways
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