SAN DIEGO — Although we live in one of the most beautiful places in the country, it’s nice to get out of town from time to time and enjoy other places. Luckily, there are plenty of destinations within driving distance of San Diego.  

These News 8 throwback videos feature our reporters taking road trips to a variety of locales in and near California. So, buckle up and enjoy this ride through the past!

Decades before the movie “Sideways” put the Santa Ynez Valley on the map for wine tasting, tourists flocked to the area to visit the Danish village of Solvang. News 8 reporter Jesse Macias made the trek in 1978 to feature the attractions of the walkable streets which were lined with bakeries, restaurants and shops with (mostly) local goods. Jesse’s piece showcased the quaint scenes of the village - complete with a windmill, the ideal weather and the ever-present scent of Danish pastry.  

Solvang was also a destination for reporter Paula Zahn - yes, that Paula Zahn - for a summer travel series she did with News 8 in 1980.

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Another destination for News 8 in 1978 was the city of Avalon on Catalina Island. It took more than just a road trip to reach this location and the clip opens with reporter Carol Kendrick aboard a ferry with a gaggle of tourists. Carol explored the area’s glamorous history as a destination for wealthy Hollywood elites in the 1930s. The beautiful scenery and architecture of Avalon are also captured in this vintage video. Avalon Bay may look a bit different 40+ years later, but it remains a popular destination with some of the same attractions seen in our feature including the Tuna Club – now a historical landmark, and the Catalina Casino.  

In the fall of 1978, News 8’s Dave Cohen showcased some unique attractions in Downtown Los Angeles. Dave and his crew started the day extra early with stops at the Central Market and Los Angeles Flower Market to capture all the action that went down before the sun came up. After breakfast at The Pantry (which is still around today) Dave headed to El Pueblo de Los Angeles where he featured several historical buildings and attractions. One of the last stops was an architectural landmark – The Bradbury Building.    

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A quintessential road trip from San Diego must include Las Vegas, Nevada, as a stop – or the destination. In October 1993, News 8’s Larry Himmel set out to see what the latest attractions were in “Sin City” - and it turned out they were a lot less sinful. In part 1, Larry talked about how “Disneyland for adults” was becoming more family friendly with theme park-like rides, décor, and activities for kids. In part 2, Larry took an in-depth look at Luxor Las Vegas which had just opened that month and also included lots of features for those under 21. For the finale of the series, Larry got a look at the MGM Grand which was under construction at the time. One feature of the resort discussed with Larry was a theme park which didn’t turn out as they hoped in 1993 – the area has since become a hotel-condo project called The Signature at MGM Grand.  

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