A Trip Down the Golden Coast of California

Laura Francavilla, Layout Assistant

When my parents asked me if I wanted a trip or a big party for my Sweet 16, I chose to take a trip. I could go anywhere. Where did I pick? California.
On June 23, we flew into San Francisco, a very windy city next to the water.
A definite highlight was Alcatraz Island. There is an audio tour that takes you throughout the old prison and learn the history dating back to the Civil War.
My favorite part of the island was definitely seeing all the cells. They were tiny and dated, but they were considered state of the art for 1934. There is also a cell to see where three prisoners escaped using spoons and were never found.
For people who like sports, there is a recreation yard. However, it’s not as interesting as it would seem. It’s very overgrown with weeds, and the stairs leading up to it are steep and nerve-wracking.
They say that the prison was placed where it is so that the prisoners could see the city, but know that they could never reach it until they’re released. When standing by the edge of the island, you begin to sense the same dispirited feeling that hundreds of criminals saw everyday when the prison was in operation.
Just a short boat ride off of the Stone Island is Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s full of cool restaurants and interesting stores that aren’t easy to come across on Long Island.
There is never a dull moment at the Wharf. The first day there, an amazing Beatles cover band was performing. There were also tons of people dancing and reminiscing about their days from the 60s while listening to great music. San Francisco is a perfect vacation spot!
After San Francisco, my family and I took a drive down the coast to Los Angeles. One part of the highway, there was a rock slide, so we had to detour through the mountains on twisting roads.
Being the launching place of many of the rich and famous, LA was an amazing and exciting experience!
Our hotel was about two hours from the city with traffic going both ways but the drive was definitely worth it. When arriving to the city, there’s plenty to do and many celebrity hotspots to visit, such as Pink’s.
There are plenty of other celebrity hotspots in Los Angeles.
Another interesting attraction in LA was the Warner Brothers’ Studio Lot tour. This tour was absolutely fantastic and takes you around the studio. The sets for Pretty Little Liars, Grease Live, Gilmore Girls, and other shows are there.
Nearby there is a huge building where you get to see costumes and props from movies such as Wonder Woman, Harry Potter, and other films.
The tour bus also takes you beyond the studios where many famous shows were, and still are, being filmed. The studios where Friends, Ellen, and the Big Bang Theory are filmed are there.
At the end of the tour, there is a museum where one can sit on the Friends couch and see all the Pretty Little Liars costumes and props.
There are many more things to see on the tour that change depending on what’s filming there at the time.
Have you always wanted to see the Hollywood Sign up close? Well tough luck because it’s pretty hard to get a good picture of it up close. There is a pretty good view from the Walk of Fame, however.
Many stars are on the Walk of Fame, including Vivien Leigh and Rob Lowe. It’s also really easy to find some of your favorite stars’ houses that are in residential areas.
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is also on the Walk of Fame. This world famous theatre is known for holding many movie premieres. When I was there, there was a movie premier for a movie called The House.
There are also great places to eat, The Nice Guy is an amazing choice. It has a no-picture policy due to the fact that it is one of the biggest celebrity hotspots in LA.
Another good restaurant is Gratitude, a chain of vegan restaurants located throughout cities in California. Though vegan food is their only option there is something for everyone.
Original vegan dishes paired with the fun menu item names, like the “Cool” for the mint shake, make this restaurant truly one of a kind.
We didn’t do much in San Diego. The San Diego Zoo was one of the best zoos I’ve ever been to, with different animals than New York zoos.
To finish off our trip, we went to Disneyland. My family and I are huge Disney people so this was one of the best parts of the trip. It’s much smaller than Disney World in Florida but the wait times are much shorter.
Disneyland uses the old fastpass system, the first-come-first-serve time slot. If you happen to go, keep an eye for celebrities. Jamie Foxx was about 10 feet in front of me!
Disneyland was a great way to end a perfect vacation, and should be part of anyone’s trip.
California was an amazing trip and I plan to go back soon. This was a very memorable trip for me and my entire family.

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