Journeying to the West Coast to sip wine with your sweetie in Napa, visit Disneyland with your family or indulge in a solo spa holiday can be fun, but a West Coast vacay is way better with your BFF. Let us count the ways.
Getting to know you
There is nothing like traveling that can make – or break – a friendship. Taking a trip offers the perfect opportunity to bond with your bestie. We’re sure the two of you will like these options.
Los Angeles: Make a Spotify playlist and drive the Pacific Coast Highway, a sun-drenched road that hugs the California coastline. On one side of the PCH are golden beaches populated with surfers and sun worshippers and on the other side are magnificent multi-million dollar homes.
San Francisco: Take (your friend) out to the ballgame. Originally the New York Gothams, the city’s baseball team moved to San Fran in 1958. The San Francisco Giants have won eight World Series championships, most recently in 2014, and play at scenic AT&T Park. You’ll have nine innings to catch up at a Giants game or during a tour of AT&T Park.Search for flights to California
No need to argue
You probably already go everywhere with your BFF anyway, so why not go on a vacay together? You’re less likely to fight over where to eat, sleep and play. Order up some food and fun in these flavorful favorites.
Los Angeles: Eat at iconic eateries like legendary Pink’s Hot Dogs, family-owned Jewish deli Canter’s Delicatessen and Philippe The Original or Cole’s, where you can indulge in French Dip sandwiches (a hearty sandwich piled high with oven-roasted beef, pork, turkey or lamb served with or without cheese on a French roll and dipped in au jus, the juice of the roast). The French Dip sandwiches are so big you’ll be happy you have a friend to help you out.
Portland: Eat at a food cart. It’s estimated that Portland has more than 600 food carts in the city – nearly one cart for every 1,000 residents. The creative and delicious cuisine is incredibly affordable with most food carts costing around $6-$9 for a complete meal. The carts still typically stay in the same spot day-to-day and congregate in village-like areas called pods. You can find these pods all over the city on Food Carts Portland. Bring a friend so you can each order from a different cart and share the meals.
Sharing is caring
Traveling with your BFF means you get a plus one to join you for meals and drinks. Not only will you be afforded entertaining dinner conversations, but also you’ll get to try twice the number of local dishes and drinks (if you’re both willing to share, of course!).
Portland: Drink some locally made craft beer or craft coffee or craft soda or craft tea or craft Kombucha or… you get the idea. Craft beverages are all the craze in Portland, which has more craft breweries than any other city in the world. Try the fruit sodas at Hotlips and black, green and herbal teas at Smith Teas. Most breweries offer a pint of craft beer for around $5 to $6 and the other drinks are even less expensive. It’s better with a friend because no matter what the beverage, no one likes to drink alone.
San Diego: Explore San Diego’s craft beer with your BFF on a beer tour. There are more than 100 unique breweries to explore, and, with your BFF by your side, you’ll get to taste incredible craft beers, share notes and toast to your everlasting friendship. Tours to try include: Brew Hop, a custom brewery tour starting at $75; Brewery Tours of San Diego, public and private day and evening tours starting at $75 and San Diego Beer and Wine Tours, which include a brewpub lunch, beer games with prizes and a guided historic walk, starting at $88.
San Francisco: If you ate out at a new restaurant every day, it would take years to try all the eateries in San Francisco, which has the most restaurants per capita in the U.S. – 39.3 restaurants per 10,000 households, according to real estate website Trulia. Try AL’s Place in the Mission District. Named for Chef Aaron London, the popular restaurant serves a short menu of “snackles” like chickpeas a la Catalan with Romesco, blue dane radish and preserved bergamot butter and French fries with smoked apple sauce; cold dishes like lightly cured trout, crispy potato, smashed turnip and bagna cauda (a warm dip of garlic, anchovies, olive oil and butter); and hot dishes like pear curry, black lime-yellow tail, persimmon and blistered squash.
Be a money-saving groupie
Booking a trip for two means you both can share in the planning and logistics, plus save money by splitting the costs for accommodations, giving you more spending money for these fun activities.
Portland: Shop ‘til you drop – tax free! With a legion of local boutiques offering locally made goods from shoes and backpacks to high-quality leathers and couture fashions, Portland offers endless opportunities to shop. You will need a friend with good taste to help you decide on all the things you will want to bring home.
San Diego: Learn how to surf in the beautiful beaches of La Jolla San Diego with Surf Diva. Surf Diva Surf School offers surfing and standup paddleboard (SUP) lessons year-round for men and women, boys and girls. Located at La Jolla Shores, arguably the most beautiful beach in San Diego, friends can share a private lesson. Not only will you get to partake in this fun activity with the most fun person you know, but splitting the cost of a private lesson makes it more affordable. Later, hike the trails of breathtaking Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. Friends can exercise together and enjoy spectacular Torrey Pine tree and ocean views.
You’ll be able to perfect your selfie photo skills and also have someone to take your photo with when you want it.
Los Angeles: Pose in front of the Hollywood sign. What was once an outdoor ad campaign for a housing development called Hollywoodland has turned into an iconic sign for the city. While the Hollywood sign’s grounds are barred from public access, there are some nearby hikes that allow for great photos. The Department of Recreation and Parks has collaborated with the Griffith Observatory to operate a shuttle on Saturdays and Sundays that takes visitors to an unobstructed, panoramic view of the iconic Hollywood sign, the mountains, the city below and on to the observatory.
Later, take selfies at the Hollwood Walk of Fame. Since the 1960s, more than 2,482 terrazzo and brass stars have been unveiled on Hollywood’s major sidewalks as part of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Administered by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, the public sidewalk that stretches along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street in Los Angeles is a tribute to all who have worked to develop the city as a tourist attraction.
San Francisco: Walk or bike the Golden Gate Bridge, which connects San Francisco to California’s northern counties, for enviable photo ops. The orange, Art Deco suspension bridge has grand 746-foot tall towers and attracts more than 10 million visitors each year. Blazing Saddles offers bike rentals and tours.
Seattle: Take your friendship to new heights by ascending the Space Needle and help each other conquer acrophobia! Built for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, the futuristic, 605-foot Space Needle is an icon of Seattle. There is an observation tower 520-feet up, which affords a 360-degree view of the Seattle skyline, Puget Sound and the Cascade and Olympic mountains.
Traveling with your BFF means you get to make new memories together, providing dozens of stories and experiences to reminisce about for years to come.
Portland: The best way to see Portland is by bike. Period. With hundreds of miles of bike lanes, bike boulevards and bike paths, a bike ride is a safe and inexpensive alternative to driving (even though the city has an expansive public transportation system). Get a little exercise and live like a Portlander on two wheels. Bring a friend so you can share the memory and have someone to help you explore or at least motivate you to pedal a little harder. Most hotels in the city offer free bike rentals for guests and a bike can be rented for about $20 a day – the cost of a single cab ride.
San Francisco: Take in a performance of the ever-changing, always-hilarious Beach Blanket Babylon, the world’s longest-running musical review. Nearly 6 million people have experienced the show’s spoofs on pop culture, stunning costumes and gigantic hats at Club Fugazi in the North Beach district.
Seattle: Strolling Pike Place Market is more fun with a friend. One of the oldest farmers markets in the U.S., the nine-acre Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle is an iconic attraction. From vendors throwing fish to colorful produce stands to street performers, this lively market is a must. Grab a coffee at the original Starbucks, which opened here in 1971. No visit to Pike Place Market is complete without stopping to see Rachel the Pig, the mascot of the market. She is located beneath the “Public Market Center” sign and clock at the corner of Pike Place. Sculptor Georgia Gerber created the 550-pound bronze cast pig after a real prize-winning 750-pound pig. Rachel is actually a piggy bank; her coins provide funds to the five social services located in the historic district, including a food bank, senior center, childcare center, medical clinic and assisted living facility. Since 1986, more than $200,000 has been raised. Folks put coins in Rachel the Pig and rub her snout for luck.
Feature image: iStock.com/wundervisuals