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The 7 Best Places to Visit on the West Coast
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The 7 Best Places to Visit on the West Coast

Have you always needed a roadmap to the best places to visit on the West Coast? Well, you now have nothing to worry about.

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5 min read

October 21, 2021

The U.S. is as diverse as a box of chocolates—with every location, you never know what you’re going to get. In fact, we’d go as far as to say that you’ll have totally contrasting experiences in places that are located right next to each other, especially when we’re talking about the West Coast. The region brims with bustling metropolises, breathtaking national parks, scenic drives, and all the In-N-Out burgers you could ever dream of—it’s time to pack those bags and get road-trippin’. 

Have you always needed a roadmap to the best places to visit on the West Coast? Well, you now have nothing to worry about; just don’t forget to bring us a souvenir.

The Major West Coast Cities to Check Out Now

Los Angeles has a diverse and robust economy, and hosts businesses in a broad range of professional and cultural fields.

Los Angeles, California 

A movie lover’s paradise, an art fanatics haven, a place where all dreams come true—La La Land has been called every name in the book. But if we had to break down the main reason why Los Angeles is one of the best cities to visit on the West Coast, we’d have to go against the age-old phrase and actually judge a book by its cover.2

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The first thing you notice about L.A. is how huge it is—that’s something you can’t truly comprehend until you actually visit this West Coast city. And when we talk about ‘size’ here, we don’t mean it in an intimidating way; it’s quite the opposite. Los Angeles’ massiveness only speaks of its endless possibilities; the city itself feels like a cluster of smaller communities that fit together like puzzle pieces, complimenting each other until that bigger picture fully reveals itself via the views.

Portland is home to a range of classical performing arts institutions, including the Portland Opera, the Oregon Symphony, and more.

Portland, Oregon

Hipsters, indie food scene, and funky neighborhoods—what better trio could you ask for for a first-time visit? Portland means exploration for hours on end, midday pick-me-ups at independent coffee shops, and bike tours that take you to quaint street corners you wouldn’t find with a regular guide. And just as you feel you’ve earned that calorie intake, go and find the amazing (and cheap) food carts like Aybla, Bing Mi, and Koi Fusion. Satisfy that sweet craving at the iconic Voodoo Doughnut, and slowly meander to the city’s next draw, bookshops.

If you’re a literary fiend, then you’ll be delighted to know that Powell’s bookshop has every book under the sun. Scour their collection, find your perfect printed companion, and head to the impressive Multnomah Falls to bask in nature’s bounty. To say that Portland is one of the best cities to visit on the West Coast is truly an understatement. 

In addition to being a popular tourist and resort destination, Santa Barbara boasts a diverse economy.

Santa Barbara, California

Nestled in the heart of Central California, Santa Barbara is a much-anticipated stop on a Pacific Coast Highway trip. A West Coast staple, this gorgeous city has something for everyone. Whether it’s a rich selection of shops and boutiques, an array of farm-to-table restaurants, or buildings that epitomize the genius of Spanish-Colonial architecture, you’re going to find an activity tailor-fit to your vacation needs—and that’s a guarantee.

One of the main draws of the American Riviera is perhaps its proximity to California’s wine regions; all your drives will turn into unforgettable, Instagrammable road trips. But, if you don’t particularly feel like driving all the way down to Santa Ynez Valley, you have ample tasting room opportunity right here, walkable settings squeezed between the shoreline and the city streets.

Speaking of the shore, Santa Barbara also boasts a number of beaches, with miles upon miles of sand and pier tailor-fit for all your splashing around needs.

San Diego is frequently referred to as the "Birthplace of California," it was the first site settled by Europeans on what is now the West Coast.

San Diego, California 

Uncharacteristic of West Coast’s major cities, San Diego’s an all-around laid-back vibe. It sports mild temperatures pretty much all year, which means at any point in time, you can choose to abandon your worries and get caked in the sunshine. With windswept beaches, whale watching cruises, ample splashing around, and the historic harbourfront district, San Diego proves that living life in the slower lane packs in more fun than you’d ever imagine

Not to mention, your culinary options here are endless. But if there’s one thing that truly makes America’s Finest City outstanding, it’s their fajitas and fish tacos. Don’t believe us? Pop by Casa Guadalajara and see for yourself—it’s the Mexican eatery experts are calling Old Town San Diego’s finest.

Today, Seattle has high populations of Native, Scandinavian, Asian American, and African American people, as well as a thriving LGBT community.

Seattle, Washington

Labeling Seattle as an ‘alternative’ West Coast city would be missing the point. While often described that way, the city has way too much to offer to fit an archetypal box. Boasting an impressive coffee culture that doesn’t just limit itself to Starbucks, Seattle is also home to an amazing art scene and renowned culinary hotspots.

If this visit to Seattle is going to be your first, make sure you spend time at the Pike Place Market, sip a cappuccino at a coffee shop that opened in 1971, and pop to the top of the Space Needle for killer views and clam chowder.

San Francisco is known for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, and historic landmarks.

San Francisco, California 

No list of West Coast’s California cities is complete without the mention of San Francisco. Is this going to be your first time? You’ll want to see popular spots like the Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz, Haight and Lombard Streets, and, of course, the Golden Gate Bridge. However, limiting yourself to these touristy attractions would mean missing out on a whole lot that makes the Bay Area truly spectacular.

For instance, you could drive to the Golden Gate Bridge and then head to the Muir Woods to see the most miraculous redwood trees. The trails here are aplenty, so if you’re looking to get a good workout in, this is the place. Alternatively, you could head out and wander around Haight Street and stop by the Castro District for a light lunch—being a pedestrian haven, S.F. has much for you to explore.

Big Sur has been called a sublime "national treasure that demands extraordinary procedures to protect it from development."

Big Sur, California 

Considered one of the most beautiful places on the West Coast for scenic rides, Big Sur comprises 90 miles of rugged beauty while being the region’s biggest attraction. And if you’re ever wondering as to why that is, let’s paint you a picture. Imagine the towering Santa Lucia Mountains traversing the Pacific, making for a scenic landscape that’s all rugged hills and hidden coves.

Predictably, you should expect to be treated to natural treasures such as the Pfeiffer Beach, Keyhole Rock, McWay Falls, Point Lobos, and the stunning vistas at Ragged Point. To milk the region of all its photo-op potential, we recommend popping by Bixby Creek Bridge and basking in all of nature’s glory.

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