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California Road Trip

California Road TripTrip Plan

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Trip Plan Tags: 
design + architecture,
road trip,
arts + culture,

I can't believe we did all this in less than a week! We started in San Francisco, went up to Napa, and then drove back down the coast. The best meal was at Chez Panisse, of course, and if you are in Napa you have to do a tour of Frog's Leap. The highlight for me was the Hearst Castle. Love those Gilded Age mansions. We sadly had to skip Big Sur since it was prime wildfire time. That meant going back north and driving inland for a while. But road trips are all about going with the flow, right?


Shop M.A.C. (Modern Appealing Clothing), San Francisco

Rich hipsters with a hankering for avant-garde Belgian and Japanese designers shop with the big dogs at M.A.C., the longtime Hayes Valley mainstay for... more

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Shop Gump's, San Francisco

Founded in 1861 by Solomon Gump to introduce Gold Rush parvenus to the decorative arts, the famous Gump's purveys costly, beautiful, and unusual housewares in... more

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Cable Car Rides
See + Do Cable Car Rides, San Francisco

Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964, the San Francisco cable cars are crowded but worth riding at least once for the gorgeous views and... more

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The Mission
See + Do The Mission, San Francisco

Home to the city's Latino community and popular with artists and yuppies, too, the gritty Mission District has taquerías and thrift stores, hip bars and... more

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Shop Wilkes Bashford, San Francisco

A San Francisco original since 1966, Wilkes Bashford is the city's priciest and most exclusive department store, catering to local elite hungry for upscale... more

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Golden Gate Bridge
See + Do Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Opened in 1937, Golden Gate Bridge is named after the Golden Gate Strait, the entrance to the San Francisco Bay. Its color, "international orange," was selected... more

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Eating Chez Panisse Restaurant and Café, San Francisco

When Alice Waters opened Chez Panisse in 1971, she sparked a "green" revolution that spread around the world. And though focusing on local, artisanal... more

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Frog's Leap
See + Do Frog's Leap, Napa + Sonoma

Frog's Leap provides a playful counterpoint to Napa Valley's stuffier wineries. Built around a big red barn, Frog's Leap feels like exactly what it is: a farm.... more

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Domaine Chandon Winery
See + Do Domaine Chandon Winery, Napa + Sonoma

One of the first French-owned wineries in California, Domaine Chandon opened with a splash in 1975 and is best known for its wide range of sparkling wines,... more

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Eating Redd, Napa + Sonoma

When you want to don high heels and rock your new Marc Jacobs dress, book a table at Redd. On most nights, a who's who of the local wine industry gathers to... more

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Carneros Inn
Hotel Carneros Inn, Napa + Sonoma

If you prefer Wallpaper over Town & Country, and Minis over Bentleys, you'll love the modernist-meets-farmhouse aesthetic of the Carneros Inn, located in... more


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Eating Bouchon, Napa + Sonoma

An offshoot of the celebrated French Laundry, Bouchon is a classic French brasserie, right down to the mosaic tile floor, zinc bar imported from France, and red... more

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Treebones Resort
Hotel Treebones Resort, Big Sur + Monterey

Green is the watchword at this cushy Mongolian yurt camp, set on a steep hillside midway between San Simeon and Big Sur. The 16 yurts have been constructed with... more


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See + Do Henry Miller Memorial Library, Big Sur + Monterey

The brilliant and controversial writer was a native New Yorker, but his archive is here, in the town where he lived for 18 years and wrote some of his best... more

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Post Ranch Inn
Hotel Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur + Monterey

The hype is true: This place really is spectacular. It sits on a narrow ridgeline 1,200 feet above the crashing surf, and its architecture brings out the best... more

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See + Do Hearst Castle, Big Sur + Monterey

Publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst's monument to himself is by far the best-known attraction on the California coast. Perched high atop La Cuesta... more

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Eating The Counter, Los Angeles

This mod-style diner in Santa Monica serves fun burgers with grown-up appeal. Choose a beer or wine chaser, customize the toppings to your liking, and get ready... more

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Shop Decades, Los Angeles

This fabulous vintage couture shop has supplied red-carpet gowns for the likes of Cameron Diaz, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, and Sheryl Crow. The designers... more

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See + Do Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Los Angeles

The "resting place of Hollywood's immortals" is L.A.'s answer to Père Lachaise in Paris; here, loyal fans can visit the tombstones of everyone from Rudolph... more

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Getty Center
See + Do Getty Center, Los Angeles

This is architect Richard Meier's masterwork, a stunning 110-acre modernist complex in the Santa Monica Mountains housing the Getty Museum and other foundation... more

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Griffith Observatory
See + Do Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles

This 72-year-old Greek Revival landmark on a hilltop in Griffith Park is one of L.A.'s most recognizable icons, forever enshrined in the zeitgeist by the movie... more

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Millennium Biltmore Hotel
Hotel Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles

Set in a neighborhood of striking architectural landmarks (including MOCA and the Walt Disney Concert Hall), the 1923 Biltmore is a sprawling hodgepodge of... more


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