Top 5 Weekend Getaways

Summer may automatically kick vacation daydreams into high gear but sometimes a weekend away is all it takes for the Soda Pop PR team to reset and refresh. When a long holiday isn’t on the horizon, escape the concrete jungle with a quick trip to one of our favorite getaways.

1Zion National Park

Just a few hours from Vegas, adventurous hikes and unbelievable views await at Zion National Park. After all, you can only hike Runyon so many times.

Stay: The beautiful Cable Mountain Lodge is just steps from the park’s main entrance. Surrounded by mountains, the lodge provides grills for BBQ’ing as well as a pool and Jacuzzi to enjoy the views after a long day of hiking.

Play:  Majestic canyon walls and a shallow winding river will make hiking The Narrows a weekend highlight. Get there early to avoid the crowds and you’ll want to rent water shoes and a walking stick for this National Geographic rated stunner.

Sip: With the high temps and altitude, it is easy to get dehydrated in Zion so always have water on hand. When happy hour rolls around, the Zion Canyon Brew Pub offers inventive season brews and a convenient proximity to the Cable Mountain Lodge.

Eat: Enjoy organic, local food and gluten free options at Café Soleil. Added bonus: their delicious pizza and paninis are made with our favorite cheese: Tillamook cheddar!

Big Sur2

A drive up the coast from L.A. to Big Sur is the quintessential California road trip. We’ve all seen the gorgeous images on Instagram but the scenery of Big Sur cannot be done justice by photos or a secondhand account. Cell reception is spotty at best which makes it easy to disconnect, relax and begin that novel you’ve always talked about writing.

Stay:  The rustic yet modern boutique motor lodge Glen Oaks Big Sur is a great alternative to high-end properties, like Ventana Inn and Post Ranch Inn, or the various local camping sites. You’ll love all of the charming details such as fireplaces, heated bathroom floors, Pendleton blankets, and complimentary yoga cards and mats.

Play:  Big Sur is packed with hiking trails for all skill levels. A few favorites include: Andrew Molera State Park, McWay Falls (easy) and Ewoldsen Trail (moderate-difficult) at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

Sip: You can’t leave Big Sur without watching the sunset at Nepenthe with a glass of wine or a Nepenthe Bloody Mary, made with their house-made mix, in hand.

Eat:  Big Sur Bakery deserves a post of its own. If possible, go with a group so you can order half of the menu and not feel guilty. Don’t leave without trying their famous Breakfast Pizza or grabbing some addicting granola for the trip home.

3San Diego

San Diego may be known for beaches and beer but the laid back locale has a growing food and cocktail scene that refuses to be written off.

Stay: The pool parties are legend at the retro LaFayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows and its North Park location puts you walking distance from trendy stores, coffee shops, and microbreweries.

Play: Watch your favorite flicks poolside at The Pearl Hotel‘s free “Dive-in Theater.” Food and cocktails are available throughout the weekly showings with films ranging from Weekend at Bernies to Sex and the City.

Sip: For tropical drinks and Instagram-worthy design head to Fairweather, a vacation inspired bar that overlooks the ballpark.

Eat: Old books and clever signage line the walls of gastropub Craft & Commerce which offers bites like bone marrow or mini corn dogs along with off-the-menu mixologist masterpieces.

Santa Ynez4

We won’t blame you if you sneak in a couple Instagrams as you “unplug” and unwind with a wine weekend away from the city.

Stay: For storybook architecture that feels worlds away, stay in the Danish Village of Solvang. Wine Valley Inn and Hotel Corque are comfortable options with plenty of charm.

Play: If you occasionally dream about lavender fields, you’re not alone. The flower fields at Clairmont Farms usually hit full bloom in July and are open to the public from 10am to 4pm.

Sip: For a unique tasting experience, visit Saarloos & Sons’ tasting room in idyllic Los Olivos where you can pair your wine with a cupcake flights from Enjoy Cupcakes.

Eat: Treat yourself to cocktails and fresh fare at S.Y. Kitchen or go casual with beer, BBQ and bikers at Cold Spring Tavern which began as a stagecoach shop in 1886.

5Lake Arrowhead

Detox on crisp mountain air and lakeside views at peaceful Lake Arrowhead, a getaway that goes heavy on the rustic-charm.

Stay: Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa is located in the San Bernardino National Forest, thousands of feet above the city. You’ll come for the cozy rooms and stay for s’mores on the beach.

Play: Get up close and personal with California wildlife at Wild Haven Ranch, a grown-up zoo featuring snakes, hawks, raccoons and even bears.

Sip: If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that ice cream is always a good decision. Stop by Cedar Glen Malt Shop for one of their infamous malts, a perfect pairing to the shop’s Nomad burger: a bacon cheeseburger with peanut butter!

Eat: Authentic deli sandwiches and friendly service make the Hungry Bear Sandwich Shack the ideal stop to pack your basket for a lakeside picnic.

24 Hours in Las Vegas

Stressed from a long work week and tired of the LA scene? Get a group of your friends together and escape to Las Vegas for a weekend to remember (well, hopefully…)

7:30 AM

Vegas

Leave early to beat the traffic and enjoy the view as you make your escape.

12:30 PM

Vegas2

Take a drive down the Las Vegas strip before checking into your hotel.

Recommended Hotel: Cosmopolitan

1:00 PM

Vegas3

Grab a celebratory cocktail at the Cosmopolitan’s Chandelier Bar and take advantage of the open container laws by strolling the strip, drink in hand.

1:30 PM

Head next door to the Bellagio to check out the casino and enjoy a quick bite at the food court.

3:30 PM

On to amazing shopping at Caesar’s Palace. With every store and designer under the sun, a must stop is the three-story H&M with a fantastic collection.

5:30 PM

Now back to the Cosmopolitan to freshen up for drinks and dinner.

7:00 PM

Vegas4

Meet for a pre-dinner drink at the posh lounge, Lily, in the Bellagio hotel.

8:30 PM

Take a quick walk across the street to Todd English’s Pub for gourmet pub food and craft beer.

10:30 PM

Next stop the Bellagio’s Hyde nightclub with masked dancers and an open balcony overlooking the fountains.

12:00 AM

Last stop of the night is Marquee nightclub at the Cosmopolitan hotel. Use your connections if you have them to avoid a 2 hour line and $50 cover charge for guys. An elevator takes you to the Cosmopolitan rooftop where an energetic crowd on an outdoor patio admires the view of the strip. The DJ is the life of the party on an open air dance floor.

11:00 AM

Vegas5

Sleep in, pack up and indulge in Simon Las Vegas brunch buffet. All you can eat with everything from fresh fruit smoothies to sushi. Make sure to try the Frosted Flakes crusted Brioche.

1:00 PM

Get extra coffee to go. The drive home always seems longer then the ride there.

~Kelly

24 Hours in San Diego

For those of us living in crowded, busy LA, a weekend in San Diego feels like a true getaway.  Only a little over two hours away, the relaxed vibe, friendly locals and proximity to the beach are just what any Angeleno needs to get away and come back feeling refreshed. Here’s your guide to get the most out of a quick trip.

Saturday

7:30 AM – EARLY BIRDS

Start your drive early to avoid traffic and head for Mission Beach to enjoy the morning sun. Grab coffee and a yummy pastry at The Olive Cafe across from Mission Beach (805 Santa Clara Place. www.olivecafe.biz).

 11:00 AM – SURFIN’ USA

Try a new sport and get a great workout by taking a surf lesson at the Pacific Surf Co. Classes are about two hours and can be group or private. (858.488.2685. www.pacificsurf.org)

Image

1 PM – GET CRAFTY

Drive a short way to Old Town San Diego to stroll through the Old Town Artisan Market on Harney Street to check out handmade crafts, art, jewelry, pottery and more (www.oldtownsandiegoguide.com).

2 PM – IT’S 5 O’CLOCK SOMEWHERE

Enjoy traditional tortillas, lunch and margaritas at one of the many Mexican restaurants in Old Town. Miguel’s Cocina has fresh food, outdoor seating and delicious margs! (2444 San Diego Avenue. 619-298-9840. www.brigantine.com/miguels_cocina/)

Image

Image     Image

3 PM – GO GASLAMP

Check into your hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter. The Hilton Gaslamp has a beautiful view of downtown, nice rooms, friendly front desk and street parking available to avoid the hefty hotel parking fee. (619-231-4040. 401 K Street. www3.hilton.com).

Image

6 PM – HAPPY HOUR

The Gaslamp Quarter seems to have an endless supply of restaurants and bars. Easy to walk and explore, find a bar or pub to enjoy happy hour before dinner. Try The Hopping Pig for a relaxed atmosphere and delicious cocktails (619.546.6424. 748 5th Ave. www.thehoppingpig.com).

8:00 PM – DINNER TIME!

Dinner at Searsucker is a must. Be sure to make reservations for this popular restaurant owned by Brian Malarkey, Executive Chef and Top Chef Season 3 contestant. Try the Kobe Carpaccio with hearts of palm and shitake bacon and Cheddar Puffers to start.  The Tuna wrapped in prosciutto with balsamic and basil is AMAZING or the Baquetta “Baja” with drunken cherries and smokey almonds will have you licking your plate clean (619.233.7327. 611 Fifth Avenue. www.searsucker.com).

10 PM – NIGHT CAP

 Head to Quality Social, only a few blocks away for after dinner drinks. A fun late night atmosphere with a photo booth and a delicious cucumber cocktail (619) 501-7675. 789 6th Avenue. www.qualitysocial.com).

Sunday

10 AM – DON’T HIT SNOOZE

Time to pack up and head to Hillcrest for breakfast. Have a small coffee and snack on the way because you are in for at least an hour wait at the uber popular Snooze Eatery. From dishes like Havana Daydreaming (Free-range house pulled pork, sliced ham, jack cheese, homemade pickles and a sunny side egg with Dijon hollandaise served open face on a hoagie roll) to OMG! French Toast (Fresh brioche stuffed with mascarpone and topped with vanilla creme, salted caramel, agave soaked strawberries and toasted coconut) and Pancakes galore, this is the place to pig out before heading home. (619.500.3344. 3940 5th Ave. www.snoozeeatery.com).

– Kelly