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San Diego or Anaheim?

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San Diego or Anaheim?

Hi everyone

We were originally planning to stay in San Diego for 4 or 5 nights as part of our 6 week trip to America this year. It will only be me & my husband travelling and it is the first time there for both of us. While staying in San Diego we want to go to Seaworld and Legoland, we are not interested in the zoo lol. And the rest of the time we just want to look around the city and perhaps do a tour down to part of Mexico or something. Alot of people have been suggesting to us to not stay in San Diego and that we should just stay a few extra nights in Anaheim and do day trips to Seaworld and Legoland from Anaheim. What are your suggestions? Do you think its worth staying a few nights in San Diego to see the city? Or would it work out better staying longer in Anaheim and doing day trips for Seaworld & Legoland and not see the city of San Diego?

Would love your opinions

Thank you

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San Diego...
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1. Re: San Diego or Anaheim?

Legoland was really designed for children, particularly those under 10. I don't really know if you would find a visit there all that interesting or fulfilling, without having any kids with you. Sea World can certainly be of interest to all ages.

Anaheim and San Diego are about 90 miles (144 km) apart, and the driving time between them is a minimum of 90 minutes if there is no traffic, but more realistically a 2-hour drive. So visiting anything in the city of San Diego as a day trip from Anaheim will involve up to 4 hours of driving that day. In my opinion, you should only make that drive once, not repeatedly.

Yes, it's possible to see something in San Diego as a day trip from Anaheim, and people will recommend that, but frankly I think the quality of your vacation will be more relaxed and pleasurable if you stay at a hotel in San Diego before and/or after your days in San Diego.

San Diego
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2. Re: San Diego or Anaheim?

IF Disney parks are your main interest then I suppose staying in Anaheim is probably a good idea. I of course think that San Diego has a LOT to offer besides animal/theme parks but of course this is your vacation and you can certainly choose where you'd like to stay and what you'd like to see!

Newport Beach, CA
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3. Re: San Diego or Anaheim?

Personally, I'd rather stay in San Diego. If you arn't going to Disneyland then there is really no reason to go to Anaheim unless you are attending a convention.

As for Legoland, if you're older than 10 yo then there is no reason to go there either.

San Diego is a beautiful city with many, many things to do. Depending upon your visit dates there are a lot of things like food festivals, music festivals,, museums, etc., great restaurants, the Midway Tour, and so on.

If you're thinking of going to T J then I wouldn't recommend it. If you are taking a bus tour to say, Ensenata then that might be OK.

Another option to staying in San Diego or Anaheim would be staying in Orange County at the beach, (Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach). Lot's of activities, great restaurants, food and music festivals, art festivals, easy access to San Diego if you want to go there but it's tough to make a recommendation without knowing the dates of your visit.

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4. Re: San Diego or Anaheim?

Anaheim is primarily one big suburb in a huge metro area. Unless you are going to Disney or Knotts Berry Farm, there's not a lot to do for 4 or 5 days.

In San Diego, you spend a day in Point Loma at the national monument and nearby tide pools, shop / browse in La Jolla, hang glide over the ocean in a tandem ride at Torrey Pines, day trip to Julian (mountain town an hour away), day trip to Anso Borego park for a day in the desert (two hours away), lots of nearby Indian casino's if thats your thing, a trip to the Mount Palomar telescope at 6000 feet, visit lots of great micro breweries. I know you said no zoo, but you should consider the Wild Animal Park 35 miles away -- 1500+ acres and like few zoos on the world. Then you have San Diego county wineries, or an hour away more wineries in Temecula. Then you have Old Town, Coronado, Balboa Park and its many museums, Gaslamp district, Little Italy, other neighborhoods. And a whole lot less congestion that Anaheim / Orange County.

Bottom line, my recommendation, San Diego.

Los Angeles
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5. Re: San Diego or Anaheim?

Everything else being equal, I'd suggest staying in San Diego - San Diego is a scenic, beautiful beach town. Anaheim has Disney but other than that its just a chunk of a huge, urbanized area, and sort of dull. Plus, as others have mentioned it would save you about 4 hours of driving back and forth to San Diego every time. On the other hand, for some the inconvenience of the drive would be outweighed by the need to change hotels, so its up to you.

Anaheim, California
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6. Re: San Diego or Anaheim?

OK, to those who say Anaheim is just for Disneyland are full of something... Anaheim has 2 major Professional sports teams (and some minor ones), the largest convention center on the west coast, museums, shopping, dining and much more. Add the surrounding area, and there are plenty of non-Disney things to see and do to last weekes.


Ballina, Australia
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7. Re: San Diego or Anaheim?

We stayed in Anaheim for a week, mainly for Disneyland and outlet shopping. We decided to spend 3 nights in San Diego and discovered what a beautiful place to go. I wished we had stayed longer in San Diego. There is so much to discover there. We went to Seaworld and the zoo, loved the zoo. Went on a tour of the Midway. Went on a sunset cruise. Had some great meals. Definately spend some time there. Just walking along the water front, stopped and listened to some great jazz musicians.

We are from Australia and first time visit to San Diego as well.

Edited: 30 January 2012, 04:40
San Diego...
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8. Re: San Diego or Anaheim?

I have lived in both areas and appreciate them both. If you're going to Disneyland Anaheim makes sense. But after that for a the rest of your vacation I would head to San Diego.

Re: LegoLand, my sister is there right now I didn't know and I called her and her only comment was "You're not missing anything. We only came because we got free passes." I have never been.

SOME things to do in San Diego











Berkeley, California
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9. Re: San Diego or Anaheim?

Outside of Disneyland and nearby Knott's Berry Farm, Anaheim itself does not have too much to offer. Most of the other attractions in Orange County are similar to those found in San Diego--beaches, sports venues, etc.--and some of those are not in/near Anaheim.

On the other hand, San Diego is a thriving city and one of the 10 largest in the country. It has a variety of non-theme park attractions, and there are good dining and nightlife options too. (Anaheim's nightlife revolves around Downtown Disney.)

While you will undoubtedly hear several people suggest you pick one location (Los Angeles, Anaheim, or San Diego) and visit the others as day trips, I think this makes for an unpleasant vacation. Even in situations where driving distances are not too great, traffic can make for a taxing experience unless you are very careful to travel in the dead of night.

tl;dr Only stay in Anaheim for the days you have allocated to Disneyland and/or Knott's Berry Farm.

San Diego...
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10. Re: San Diego or Anaheim?

Darkbeer wrote

>>>>OK, to those who say Anaheim is just for Disneyland are full of something...

I am sorry but such attacks on the TA community are uncalled for and downright insulting. This is a forum where I think people can express their views and they all do not have to agree and do not need to be insulted for that.

While the DE does have a point that there is more to do in Anaheim that Disneyland, my personal opinion is to stay in Anaheim just for the theme parks and then move to San Diego.