Friday, May 23, 2008


The Santa Monica Pier is located where the 10 Freeway ends and Pacific Coast Highway begins. It's free but parking is currently 7:00. Actually, the pier isn't "all that" but it is still a nice place to go. There is a separate costs for entering Pacific Park which is located on the pier and includes rides. I didn't research whether there is an admission cost or you just purchase tickets for the rides but you can purchase them in advance online.

There are a few places to eat including Bubba Gump's at the beginning of the pier:

and Mariasol's at the end of the pier:

If you're looking for a place to go on a date, you'd like to throw a fishing line off the pier:

or you're someone who likes arcade games and a take in a few amusement park type rides, it's definitely worth taking a stroll on the pier.:

Another reason I recommed the pier is that who doesn't like the beach? If you don't like trekking across the sand your feet don't ever have to touch it. You can lean on the rail that lines the pier and still enjoy the breeze and the view:

watch the waves crashing and just enjoy a lovely day at the beach.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


I like to play the machines once in a while and used to hit Las Vegas once or twice a year. A friend of mine was talking about the local Indian casinos and since I ventured out to visit them my trips to Vegas are minimal. Vegas is way too expensive. If you're like to do a little gambling but don't feel like taking that four hour drive let me turn you on to some of the "local" casinos.

I'll just give you a preview of the caninos I visit. For a complete list of California casinos, links, directions and more information, check out 500 Nations website.


San Manueel is located in the San Bernardino/Highland area. I remember when San Manuel was what my friend called "the ghetto casino". It was almost smack-dab in the heart of the community, it was composed of a few building that were put together as they expanded, cramped, crowded, difficult to find parking, etc. That place is gone and a new hotel and huge casino are in its place. I miss the old casino but the new hotel/casino is something to be seen and they now host concerts of some famous entertainers.


Morongo is another one that has drastically changed since I first visited. The machines are so tight, or maybe it's just my luck (smile) that I haven't been back since their grand opening but again, it's worth a visit and maybe your luck will be different. Morongo is located right on the 10 Fwy not far from Palm Springs in Cabazon on the same exit as the Cabazon shopping outlet.


Soboba Casino is located in San Jacinto/San Bernardino (or maybe it's Riverside) not that far from Morongo. It is a large casino with no hotel. Though they haven't expanded since I first visited they have revamped and upgraded. It is ALWAYS crowded and they do have an occasional concert or comedian. The comedian Sinbad was there last year. They also have a huge non-smoking area in the back and if you take the little cart that will take you from the parking lot to the casino it will take you directly to the back so you don't have to walk through the smoky casino.


Pauma is probably the casino I have visited most. It's a smaller casino with no hotel and the odds are better than the others. I'm hoping they don't redevelop and expand. It's located in San Diego after Pechanga and Pala and before Harrah's and Valley View, all of which I'll mention following this one. All of these casinos are off the 15 Fwy and the S-16 in a 15 mile radius of each other. If you don't like the big casinos and are looking for something a little more quaint and personal, I'd recommend Pauma.


Pechanga is a monster of a casino/hotel and is another one that I haven't visited since they first expanded. For my personal taste it is simply too big but well worth a visit so you can decide for yourself. They had to expand because the casino simply could not contain the amount of people who frequented, especially on the weekend which was a complete sea of people coming, going and inside the casino. If you want a Vegas style casino/hotel without going to Vegas, this one is definitely the place to go - restaurants, karaoke, what seems like miles of casino floor. It's big and beautiful.


Pala is another hotel/casino about 6 miles past Pechanga on the S-16 if you take the two-lane windy road through the mountains. They have a nice food court, two stages where bands may play and they also continuously hold concerts of famous entertainers. If you stay at Pala you also have the option of visiting the other casinos that are within 5-6 miles - Pechanga to the north and Pauma, Harrah's and Valley View to the east.


Harrah's Rincon is another resort hotel/casino and they also have ongoing concerts of famous entertainers allbeit sometimes they are more often the less known or nostaligic entertainment. They've also done some renovating and expanding and can get quite crowded. My recommendation for any of these is that if you don't like the casinos when they're really crowded hit them early, before nine in the morning or hit them late.


Valley View is a non-hotel casino. They've just recently undergone major renovations and expandsion but personally, I miss the old casino. I personally think the machines are so tight it's not funny but again, worth the visit and trying their restaurant which is supposed to be excellent and always had a line. It's about 2-3 miles past Harrah's up the hill. I've got to say they do have the most comfortable chairs I've ever sat in but what good is comfort if you're only in them for a minute. LOL!

All in all if you're looking for something to do and want to take in a nice drive, set out early and visit a couple of "local" casinos - about an hour and a half drive from L.A.