October 24th, 2022
We awoke to our last day of this part of the trip and while this was a relocation day rally we still had a lot planned. It was to start off by heading to one of our favorite places in the world La Jolla.
Morning in La Jolla
The day started beautifully. The skies were stunningly clear and the temps fresher but still really present. We checked out of our Hotel and packed up the car ready for the next leg of the trip. La Jolla is just a short drive from where we were staying and we planned on hopping up the coast to our final destination, Downtown, L.A.
We arrived into La Jolla quite early and had very little trouble finding a parking spot. The free spots along the front can fill up pretty quickly and getting space can be tricky, but not today…or at least yet. We had planned on renting some SUP boards as part of our Pass but the surf conditions were really not suitable, at least for our beginner level of Paddleboarding skills, so instead, we just wandered along the cliff tops taking in the stunning views and observing the wildlife.
The area here really can feel like a Zoo at times. The Wildlife is so abundant and used to human presence that it feels very much like you find in captivity but obviously, these are 100% wild animals so you need to give them lots of space. Handy, I had the Zoom lens with me then! There were large pelicans hunting and pruning their feathers, Playful Sealions, and super cute harbor seals foraging in the surf. It’s such a beautiful and wonderful coastline. Especially when the weather it like this.
We stopped off at a small Cafe overlooking the ocean, the Cove House for breakfast. we ordered Fancy Eggs on toast (Avacado, and a huge helping of Baja Stone Crab) and a Classic Eggs sandwich. Both were amazing and really fresh with such a gorgeous backdrop. It was one of those times you just wanted to linger for hours. Alas, time and tide wait for no man so we reluctantly made our way back up the coast, watching the Sea Lions play with the tourists in the breakers and cursing we had backed our swimmers ready for the flight tomorrow.
Back at the car, we hit the road again, heading towards L.A. But with one more stop along the way, my personal childhood dream destination, Legoland! This was a 30min drive up the coast to Carlsbad, but it was 30mins in the right direction.
Legoland California – $99
While Katie’s childhood dreams we made of Disneyland I personally was not really interested at all. Personally, I dreamed of more creative worlds where I was the designer and the builder of my own designs. This is why my dream destination was always Legoland. It just adored Lego and a whole world made entirely from bricks was my dream.
unfortunately, as a family we had fairly modest means growing up, so were never able to visit either the original Legoland over in Denmark or any of the USA-based parks. But my means have changed and there is nothing stopping me now.
Unfortunately, unlike the magic of Disney, Legoland does not really age all that well. While Lego is definitely an ALL-AGES toy, the theme parks, at least the USA versions, are definitely aimed squarely at kids. But this does not stop us from enjoying parts of the park as best we can.
Legoland California is included on the Go San Diego Pass so it was a must-do for us on this trip to see what’s new in the park. It was nicely dressed up for Halloween but really it’s not a huge thing here like at some of the parks in the USA
We tried out a few rides but these were all very kid orientated. The Ninjago ride is very similar to Web Slingers but the tech was very basic and didn’t really work very well at all. We really enjoyed the Ferrari experience and had a go at making our own racecar.
Our favorite part of the park is Mainland USA and really this is what Legoland is all about for us and something we think they should focus more on. The replicas of various USA Cities is really incredible and the attention to detail is mindblowing. We spent ages taking in the models and you just kept finding new little details the longer you looked.
The Freedom Tower model is amazing and the whole ground Zero Replica is just astonishing. It’s really amazing to think…this is someone’s job!
We loved exploring the Cities in this area, after all this is basically what we do for a living, and our normal way of visiting is vastly expensive, time-consuming, and exhausting. Here we visited several of our favorite Cities, in 45mins and barely broke a sweat!
We then continued around the park up to the Castle area and then down through the Lego Movie location and finally through Duplo land which is for even younger audiences.
We finished the day off with the Coast Cruise, a fund boat ride with a striking resemblance to Jungle Cruise in the way the tour is narrated! There are some extra models here only visible from the cruise such as the Taj Mahal, London, and a nice replica of the California Coastline.
After a few hours of enjoying my childhood memories, we needed to move on so saddled up and hit the road one last time on this trip. Gas was becoming a bit of an issue. The Guage was reading we had 98 miles left till empty and we calculated we had about 96 miles left to do before the airport tomorrow.
The car had not been full when we picked it up so they just said to bring it back empty and we didn’t want to HAVE to put any more in as it was going to go straight to the Rental company. I don’t know why I end up being so tight, but It’s just inbuilt to try and shave money off here and there. Regardless, we knew we had the fuel to get to L.A. but just were worried about tomorrow.
After an hour or so in really heavy traffic, we were bearing down on Los Angeles. We do not usually stay anywhere near downtown and as we were flying out tomorrow, an airport hotel would have suited us better. But we had some dining credit to use on our AMEX so we stayed downtown in order to take advantage of that.
We were booked in the Hilton Doubletree and really not expecting too much after our disappointing stay at Hilton Garden Inn San Diego, but the hotel was really excellent. On arrival, the Baggage team whipped our bags out of the car and loaded them up to take to the room while we were escorted inside as the Valet took care of the Aircraft Carrier.
At check-in, we were given a free room upgrade along with an $18 food and beverage credit. And a complimentary cookie. Once up in the room, our bags arrived moments after and we enjoy an hour or so of downtime as we watched the sunset over the stunning City Skyline!
We are quite new to the whole Hotel Rewards system and using Card Perks to get freebies and upgrades. on this trip, it had not gone too well, and this was the first time we really felt paying the extra over just staying in cheaper chain hotels was really paying off.
After some downtime, we headed down to the Hotel lobby bar to make use of the F&B credit. The Bartender here was amazing and whipped us up a really good Martini and Old Fashioned. We then summoned an Uber and headed to our Dinner Reservations
71 Above – Downtown Los Angeles
71 Above is located at the top of the U.S Bank Tower, the third Tallest Building on the west coast. It used to be the tallest having recently been surpassed by the Salesforce Bulgin in San Fran and the Wilshire Grand Center, just across the street. However it still is really the tallest building as its roof is higher than the others that rely on spires and architectural extensions to get above 100ft, the U.S. Bank is properly over 1000ft and the 71 Above the restaurant is RIGHT at the very top, 71 floors above ground level.
The views from the restaurant are really stunning and the space really showcases the fantastic views out over the City. There are several window side seats but these are not bookable and are basically pot-luck (or who you know), however, all seats take advantage of the floor-to-ceiling windows and offer a great view.
We were a bit disappointed by our seating as there was an open window table right in front of us. We asked if we could move but were fed a line about these already being assigned to someone else. However they would not have known this, and we could have easily taken the table and they being seated behind us, the early bird and all that. Annoyingly, these seats were never taken, and we left a little annoyed we couldn’t have been seated there. Still, we had a really good view and the fact no one was seated there meant a perfect unobstructed view of the CityScape!
The menu is a three-course seasonal menu with several choices for each course. This is fine dining and is priced at $92 per person. We had $200(Approx) in Dining Credit so were ready to indulge. We ordered a nice bottle of Californian Wine and got stuck in.
Wild mushroom and Truffle Pasta and Chargrilled Octopus to start, Heritage Pork and Grilled Ribeye Steak were the Entree options we chose. For dessert, we had Passion Fruit Curd and a simply stunning Chocolate Cremeux with Peanut Butter Crumble, Graham Cracker, Meringue, and Dulce de Leche Ice Cream. We like to order differently at places like this to try more of the menu and I really got the short straw with dessert as Kate had the Cremuex.
It was a really wonderful meal and with the AMEX Dining Credit felt astonishingly good value with the bill coming in at around $300 after tip and tax. With $200 off that’s one fantastic meal for $100!
After taking our time with the wine and really enjoying the view we eventually headed back down the tower and hopped back in an Uber to the Hotel.
Our time had set on our L.A. adventure for this time and it had been a wonderful end to an amazing week. It was pretty hard to come to terms that it was about to get a whole lot better!
< Part 2 – Maui Magic! >
Walking Total – 12,700 Steps – 6.9 Miles
Go City San Diego Pass – Day 4
Again on the last day, we did not go mad with the Pass. We had some pretty set things we wanted to do on this trip and the point of the pass was to allow us to expand the trip much more than we would have without.
We normally try and use Passes as any other tourist would. But in this case, it was mainly used as a cost-saving device to get us into various parks for some post-Covid updates.
- No Of Attractions – 1
- Cost of Attractions = $99
- No Of Attractions – 5
- Cost of Attractions = $417
- Cost of Pass – $279
- Total Savings – $139 – 50% Saving!
Even though we did not utilize the Pass to the best of its ability. We still saved a heap. $139 that could easily be spent better elsewhere. There were at least 3 or 4 occasions where we could have easily done other things on the pass to double or even triple those savings but these were not priorities for this trip.
The attractions we did visit were all absolutely top notch and the Pass was completely seamless just scanning the pass at the gates as described. We did need to pre-book the Dolphin Tour but this was easily done and we would not risk turning up for a tour like this without pre-booking anyway.
As always is the case with Go City Products, they allowed us to see more and pay less while doing so. We really do love these Passes.
Part 2 – Day 1 Heading To Maui – Coming Soon… – >>>