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Thread: Tourist advice needed

  1. #1
    Super Member woody's Avatar
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    Tourist advice needed

    My DD will be going to the States in January 2014 with a school trip and has the option of staying in one of the following cities with a host family

    Seattle>> San Diego>>
    Portland>>
    Sacramento>>
    San Francisco>>
    Phoenix *Extra $250 per person>>
    Valdosta (Georgia) *Extra $250 per person

    They will also be going to San Diego, and San Francisco as part of the trip as well as Disneyland, Universal Studios and Knott's Berry Farm.

    Given that they are going in January and that most of the kids will be around 16 years old is there any one destination that stands out as a must see, or one that they probably wouldn't find that appealing, (I don't think most of them are especially interested in history or quilt shops LOL).
    Any must see tourist spots in these cities?
    We would be grateful for any information as we have just been informed that they will need their preferences submitted by Tuesday, so it hasn't given us much time to do our research. Although they put in their preferences, their favourite is not guaranteed so just being able to narrow it down will help.
    > >
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  2. #2
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    San Diego is my favorite of the ones I have been to on your list. wonderful climate, lots to do. The San Diego Zoo is great, Sea World, Old Town, professional sports, probably too early for the whales.

  3. #3
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    In San Diego - there is the Hotel Del Coronado - part of it was wired by Thomas Edison! I believe it was where the original Wizard of Oz was written. And the beach there is beautiful!

    I love the SD Zoo, it is world famous, and it lives up to that description. There is also Seaworld - very touristy, I enjoy it. But many do not. There is Scripps aquarium too - haven't been there in many years. And here in Chula Vista we have the Nature Interpretive Center - it's part of the City Parks and Recreation Department.

    Can't believe they wouldn't all be thrilled with a trip to Rosie's Calico Quilt shop - she has over 10,000 bolts of fabric, so maybe they would be over whelmed.

  4. #4
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    I don't think Sacramento will thrill teenagers that much. San Francisco has China Town, lots of history, very pretty.
    Portland is right on the river, will they be able to go skiing on MT Hood? It's smaller but very nice. Valdosta has the Wild Adventures Theme Park, antibellum homes, old Southern charm, I'm not sure what the teenagers would be interested in. How much time will they have? It isn't that far from Orlando, Florida where the theme parks are so much better than in California. Surely your school has gathered all this info for the kids and parents. Are they flying everywhere or traveling overland so they can see the US? I hope they really enjoy their trip.

  5. #5
    Super Member woody's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies, keep them coming LOL
    They will be in the States for 20 days, and with their host family for 10 of them. The rest of the time will be Disneyland etc.
    We were supposed to get more time to make up our mind about where they wanted to go, not sure what happened there? But I think it's always good to get some local knowledge
    How cold does it get in Portland and Seattle in Winter? 'We don't live in an area that gets snow so I don't know if they would have enough warm clothes.
    The biggest risk is the one not taken

  6. #6
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    That would be one consideration ... the weather and temperatures in the areas they will be as they might need different clothing packed. Though wouldn't that be part of the fun to experience "snow"? I'm sure if your child does not have the proper clothing, the host family will not let them freeze!

    You mentioned that this portion is a home-stay, so I wouldn't be factoring into it the tourism options. A home-stay usually means to experience life of the other ... and chances are the family includes a mate about the same age and interests. Host families are notorious for taking good care of their charges ... and finding lots to do and giving lots of experiences beyond the tourism realm ... and often far better ones!!!
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  7. #7
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Considering all the potential choices... San Diego! Beautiful weather , ocean, mountains in the back, reasonably close to other areas of interest.

  8. #8
    Super Member Tink's Mom's Avatar
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    Phoenix in winter is lovely weather wise....BUT...that is where the Snow Bird's roost in winter (senior citizens).

    I agree that Sacramento probably would not appeal to teens all that much...Portland could be an issue with cold weather, but check with a local. Several board members are from that area.
    Tink's Mom (My name is really Susie)

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    I live 80 miles from Portland and have lived in Seattle. Winter is faint season with good cancer of lousy weather. I'go to SanDiego..the kids will have a lot to see and do..

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    Gotta love the automatic spell thingy! Inwanted to say its the rainy season! It is chance..not cancer. Thank goodness its Friday!

  11. #11
    Super Member Sierra's Avatar
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    I've been in all those cities except the one in Georgia. I think the most exciting for tourist is San Francisco. It will be a little foggy, possibly, but that burns off by mid morning. You can walk from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Embarkadero to Coit Tower to China town, and if that gets tiring you can take the bus (the famous trolly is fun, but the wait can be long, but maybe not so much in winter). There is Golden Gate Park, fabulous museums, including The Exploratorium that isn’t just a museum, but "an ongoing exploration of science, art, and human perception—a vast collection that feed your curiosity" and in nearby San Jose is a TECH museum which is astounding. Is is a world-wide cosmopolitan city with representation of an incredible number of cultures. We have taken a lot of people to San Francisco (and we live 2.5 hours away) and every one of them has been impressed. Across the Golden Gate is a wonderful fishing village with a lot of arts and crafts places, and of course the Bay itself which is a thrill to tour by ferry and includes Alcatraz (an old prison) and Angel Island (which was a "clearing" place for Asian immigrants; both are full of incredible history. Do you get the feeling I could go on and on.....?

    Yes, San Diego is probably warmer, and it is lovely, is near the lego museum, etc., but it is not compact and you would spend more time on buses while in San Francisco you can mingle more.

    Portland and Seattle will be rainy for sure, although both are nice cities. Phoenix is the one I can tell you to skip! It is essentially a series of towns and it is totally geared for the retired. It has very few interesting places to visit (we go biking there in the winter because they have wonderful biking trails and we've looked for "places of interest"). It is close enough to take day and two day trips to some astounding canyons, but frankly, that would mean hours on buses because it is so far flung between places that even people from the eastern U.S. are "dismayed" at the "wide open spaces."

    Hope this is helpful! If you do deicde on San Francisco, pm me and I'll send your husband a list of places which would be expecially fun for teens.
    Last edited by Sierra; 10-19-2012 at 07:04 AM.

  12. #12
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    I live in the Sacramento area and think teenagers would find it boring. I think San Diego would be the best choice, so much to see and do there. My second choice would be San Francisco. I have teenage granddaughters and these are their favorite places also.

  13. #13
    Super Member willferg's Avatar
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    I'd say any of the four on the coast: Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, San Diego. The first two don't have the best weather, it's true, but they are not bad choices. With the last two, you can't go wrong.
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    Super Member purplemem's Avatar
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    Definitely San Diego or San Francisco. The weather will be warm and sunny. Lovely attractions.
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  15. #15
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Since they will be visiting San Diego and San Francisco anyway ... I would choose one of the other cities!!

    What does daughter like to do? Does she like hiking, does she want to see flora and fauna, does she like (need) shopping? Is there any climate that she dislikes??

    Portland and Seattle can be quite *wet* in January/February - but if it were me I would still choose one of these cities. I like the Pacific Northwest - one of my favorite places to hike. Even if she's in the City - you don't have to travel far to be in the wide open spaces. Seattle has all of the waterways to explore, and Vancouver Island a short trip across the border and well worth the trip (she can add Canada to her list of countries - if this is possible on her VISA). Portland has *The Hood* and several other isolated volcano's that are sooo beautiful - and Columbia River Gorge is AWESOME scenery/hiking/fishing!!! Portland is a smaller city than Seattle.

    Phoenix doesn't interest me at all, too hot and dry and too populated (with population pretty wide spread - you have to go further from the center to get to "breathing space"). But it does offer some great hiking adventures in the surrounding desert.

    I've not been to Valdosta, the closest I've been is Macon - but I'm not a fan of the South East ... just not.

    My choice would be Portland ... but a lot depends on what kind sights/sounds/surroundings your daughter wants to experience.
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    Super Member woody's Avatar
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    Thanks so much everyone, DD is so excited and says that no matter where she ends up going it will be fun ( I wish I could go too ) DD loves hiking, fishing and the outdoors, but although I would have thought Phoenix would have been great maybe it isn't the best place for a bunch of teenagers. I think the main reason she is a bit worried about going up north is that she would have to fill her suitcase with warm clothes (they are only allowed 1 suitcase with a 23kg /50lb weight limit) then she wouldn't have as much room for shopping LOL. Our winters here are usually from around -4 Celcius/24F to around 12 C / 53F during the day, so she is used to those kind of temperatures.
    We won't find out her host family until December next year, but I hope there will be a quilter in the family so that she can take DD shopping for some quilt stuff for me LOL
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  17. #17
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Woody ... Portland/Seattle do not get much colder (on average) than Canberra in the winter - but they do get WET (about 5" rain fall in the month). As far as packing *more* and having less space to bring back stuff she bought ... ship it!! Also, check into if they are allowed to bring 2 suitcases HOME. Sometimes the restrictions are just on the trip to the new home (possibly to not overburden the host family with too much *stuff*). If she can bring two home - perhaps she can buy a cheap suitcase when she's here to fill with *stuff* she bought. My husbands kids come to visit us and we always end up buying each of them a 2nd suitcase to take home. I rather suspect they have about a dozen suitcases between them now!!
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by woody View Post
    Thanks so much everyone, DD is so excited and says that no matter where she ends up going it will be fun ( I wish I could go too ) DD loves hiking, fishing and the outdoors, but although I would have thought Phoenix would have been great maybe it isn't the best place for a bunch of teenagers. I think the main reason she is a bit worried about going up north is that she would have to fill her suitcase with warm clothes (they are only allowed 1 suitcase with a 23kg /50lb weight limit) then she wouldn't have as much room for shopping LOL. Our winters here are usually from around -4 Celcius/24F to around 12 C / 53F during the day, so she is used to those kind of temperatures.
    We won't find out her host family until December next year, but I hope there will be a quilter in the family so that she can take DD shopping for some quilt stuff for me LOL
    Those are pretty much to temps in Seattle in winter. You need waterproof more than warm clothing in the Pacific Northwest. She would probably find that her host family would either have an extra waterproof jacket or umbrella she could use, if she chooses Seattle. If she has never been skiing and would have a chance to experience that head to Seattle. Most ski hills will rent snow wear. Even a day of tubing on the slopes is incredibly fun.

    My choice for my teens would be San Francisco, mostly because we live close to Seattle, it is too much like home. The Cable Cars, Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the Piers, Ghiradeli Square, China Town and so much more.
    Attending University. I will graduate a year after my son and year before my daughter.

  19. #19
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    Fisherman's Wharf was the one I liked when I was young. My vote would be for San Fran.

  20. #20
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    portland and seattle are wet in january. seattle more likely than portland to have snow and cold. That said, there is skiing and snowboarding in closer to Portland, than Seattle. there is the coast an hour away . The willamette valley is GREEN in the winter especially. Portland is a great small (400k) city, with lots of stuff to do and good public transportation. Kids can go out and about on their own for the most part. san diego is nice, more pollution though and very urban. Definitely warmer in January though

  21. #21
    Super Member k9dancer's Avatar
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    I love San Francisco. Down by the Wharf is Ghiradelli Square, and on the weekends, there are lots of street artists and craftsmen. If you get out of bed early enough, you may be lucky enough to score some almond croissants at a bakery. It doesn't matter too much which one, as the croissants are mostly supplied by one bakery, and they are awesome. But they sell out fast! You don't need a car in San Francisco, as the city is not that spread out and the public transport actually works. And don't get me started on the coffee! Wish I could be there again; it's my favorite get-away place.
    Stephanie in Mena

  22. #22
    Super Member caspharm's Avatar
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    San Diego is close to Disneyland and has a lot of fun things for young people, like Old Town, Sea World, the conservatory, the space museum, and the Zoo. In fact, the Wild Animal Park just outside of San Diego (owned by the Zoo) is very cool.

    Seattle has a lot to do with the museums, the underground city tour, and Pike Place Market, but it would be dreary in January.

  23. #23
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    San Diego is my favorite but my number one tourist place is Alcatraz in San Fransico. I so enjoyed the indivdual tour with the head phones.It has been 23 years since I went there and still remember so many things. I think San Fransico has more sights to see than San Diego, but for relaxation I would pick San Diego. Hope she enjoys her visit. Take care.
    Linda

  24. #24
    Super Member azdesertrat's Avatar
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    Phoenix will be a great place to go in the winter time,it can get down right cold ,but no snow,if they wanted snow,Show Low or any place in the White mountains will fill that need,Phoenix has a great Zoo.and museums. Of course the Grand Canyon is here. and Tucson,where I live is only an hour and a half away,where Old Tucson is a world famous studio is(where lots of old movies and shows were made.Reid PArk Zoo, International wildlife Museum.Tucson Botanical gardens and in January the Quilt show.there are lots of things to do and see in Arizona, and winter is the best time of year to come
    But its a Dry Heat!

  25. #25
    Super Member teacherbailey's Avatar
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    Valdosta GA is mostly known for I-75 (a major north-south interstate) going through it. No beaches, one small theme park and it's surrounded by lots of farmland and such. No nearby major cities or points of interest. It would be last on my list. I've been to Portland, San Diego and San Francisco. All would have a lot to offer. San Diego is close to the Mexico border so that could easily be a side trip from there. From what I know about Sacramento, it would probably be next-to-last on the list for a teenager. Let us know what she gets and we'll send our lists of "don't miss" places in that city!!!!
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