Earlier this summer, my mom and brother drove in from New Mexico to drop off my oldest niece for a two week visit. While they were only here a couple of days, we decided to capitalize on my central location so they could visit two of California's finest tourist traps in one long weekend (it's a good thing I live within driving distance to both!).
Our first trip was a long day trip to one of my favorite California cities - San Francisco! I first visited the city by the bay back in 2004 during a road trip with one of my best friends, and I instantly fell in love! I talked about it often with my family, so it was nice to finally show it to them.
Brother, mom, and niece just outside of Pier 39. We had fantastic fish & chips for lunch here!
The famous Fisherman's Wharf, where my mom unsurprisingly spent a lot of time looking for souvenirs.
The beautiful Golden Gate Bridge!
Never noticed this door before... brother went in for a closer look.
Holy crap! It opens! And people went inside (including a teenage girl... Is this a tour? How do I go on it?)
Sutro Bath Ruins near the Cliff House. Stunning.
The Painted Ladies of Alamo Square. These are commonly referred to as the Full House houses, but the Tanner house was actually located elsewhere. I love these houses, but parking is nearly impossible here.
Following our trip to San Francisco, my mom really wanted to visit a warmer beach in Los Angeles. Her favorite is Venice Beach - I rented us a condo on the beach here on vacation a few years ago (before moving to CA), and she has loved it ever since. She also wanted to visit Olvera Street in downtown LA, a place she hadn't seen in decades. So we packed up and headed south to the City of Angels for the day.
On the way to LA, we came across my favorite SoCal lake - Pyramid Lake. It's so beautiful!
Despite visiting several times before, mom had never seen the Venice canals (also known as the Venice Canal Historic District). She loved it!
Brother was more excited about seeing the life sized Transformers on the Venice Beach boardwalk.
Historic and beautiful Olvera Street, the oldest area in downtown Los Angeles.
Mom had visited Olvera Street as a kid and was so excited to be back. She even bought me a painted piggy bank like she had as a child! Niece enjoyed it too, almost spending all of her allowance while she was here.
While their visit was short, we packed in so much fun! I really enjoyed having them here, and am excited to see mom again in October for my birthday. I know we'll pack in even more adventure when she gets here. This has certainly been a busy year for traveling, but I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
Until next time...