Californian roadtrip: any recommendations?

California here we come! From mid April my boyfriend and me will be going to California for a month. We are very much looking forward to it and it would be great to get some recommendations from locals and other California connoisseurs. I would love to know the hidden (and not so hidden) gems: where can we get the best coffee & food, where are the great (little boutique) shops and design shops, what are nice neighborhoods to stay in, tips for hotels, what to see and where to stop etc. Here is some information about our trip.

We will start in San Francisco from where we will leave for our road trip. Our route will roughly be: Yosemite NP, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree NP, LA, and along the coast (with stops in for example Santa Barbara, the wine country, Santa Monica, Big Sur, Carmel etc.) back to San Francisco.

Your advice is very much appreciated. You can leave a comment or contact me directly at To return the favor, I am working on a detailed guide for Amsterdam. This will be featured here on the style files very soon and will contain great addresses for (design) shopping, eating and sleeping.


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  • Sounds like so much fun! Reminded me of my Pacific Coast Roadtrip.. 🙂

    Morro Bay.
    And Vista Points… you have to stop and take a few photos! At one of the Vista Points a long the PCH are some elephant seals. I’m not sure if they’re around this season, but it’s pretty awesome to check out.

    You can also check out this website for food in the LA area.

    have fun. Looking forward to pictures!

  • hello! i live in san francisco and recommend: Zinc Details and Nest, both on Fillmore Street. Walking up and down Valencia in the Mission, between 16th and 22nd streets. The Candy Store on 16th between Valencia and Guerrerro. The DeYoung is gorgeous, and the MOMA is worth a visit. In Los Angeles, go to Silverlake and 3rd street between the Beverly Center and Fairfax is crammed with great shops. And of course the Getty. Enjoy!!!

  • Hope you have a great time! While in LA, be sure to check out 18th street coffee shop at 18th and Broadway in Santa Monica, the Pacific Design Center off San Vincente near Melrose and Main Street in Santa Monica. There is so much here in LA to see and do I hope you can fit a lot of it in! Just don’t breathe the air and you will be fine…

  • you should spend lots of time in Hayes valley! It is a small area (a few blocks) stop by Friend, azalea boutique, Nida (best clothing store in SF) actually, all the shops on Hayes st are great. make sure to have dinner at Suppenkuche. delicous german food and incredible beer, family style seating, very northern german feel, almost scandinavian. you will have a great time! just avoid union square!

  • Ooh, an Amsterdam guide, exactly what I need! I’m saving up to go there as soon as possible, to check out if it’s a city I could imagine living in… The reason for that is the Artemis Academy for Fashion and Styling. Have you heard about that school? Is it supposed to be any good (good enough to learn dutch and switch country for?)

    And of course, have a lovely journey, it sounds fantastic!

  • my husband and i did a road trip between SF and LA just last november! i would highly recommend driving along highway 1, it is absolutely gorgeous. i’ve got a couple of hotels and such to recommend, i’ll send in an email. happy travels!

  • Thanks for all your comments and email! I appreciate this very much.

    I am sure we will have a great time, thanks to all your wonderful recommendations. They are very helpful!

  • When at Yosemite, try to visit the Ahwahnee. It’s a fun place to stay, very historic, but they also have an amazing gift shop (or at least they did when I was there) with beautiful Native American pottery and amazing, amazing Kachina dolls. And have fun!

  • In LA: YES to the Getty and all the adorable shops on 3rd Street (Plastica is great). In Malibu stop at Neptune’s Net (on the PCH) and in Santa Monica Babalu (on Montana)