Landon Donovan

Landon Donovan attends the 26th Anniversary Sports Spectacular Benefiting Cedars-Sinai Medical Center at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on May 22, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)

Landon Donovan is the face of American soccer. An all-time leader in scoring and assists for the U.S. National Soccer team, the 29-year-old also is a star player for the Los Angeles Galaxy. Donovan, based in Southern California, is a four-time winner of the U.S. Soccer male athlete of the year.

"Living where I do provides you with the opportunity to get away to places like San Diego, Newport Beach and Santa Barbara without really having to travel that far," Donovan said. "And Big Bear Mountain is always an awesome place to retreat to in the winter or summer."

Q: What is your favorite vacation destination?

A: I have been to Bora Bora twice now, and it is by far the most beautiful place in the world. The weather is perfect, the water is beautiful, the people are nice and the food is incredible. It is the perfect vacation destination.

Q: What are your favorite hotels?

A: I stayed in an overwater bungalow at the Four Seasons Bora Bora (fourseasons.com/borabora), and it was the most at peace I have ever been on a vacation. The water is crystal clear, and you can jump in from your back porch.

On one of my few winter vacations, I stayed at the Four Seasons Jackson Hole (fourseasons.com/jacksonhole) in Wyoming. If I could paint a picture of what I wanted a hotel or resort to look like in the winter, this would be it. When I was in my early 20s, I did a Nike photo shoot in Banff (and) Calgary, Alberta, and stayed at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (fairmont.com/lakelouise). The hotel overlooks Lake Louise, and the views are incredible.

Q: What are your favorite restaurants?

A: Nobu (hardrockhotel.com/#/dine/nobu) at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas will always be one of my favorites because it was my first time going to a sushi restaurant, and I loved it. There's a little French restaurant in Manhattan Beach, Calif., called Cafe Pierre (cafepierre.com) that I absolutely love. There are items on the menu that you wouldn't generally get in other nice restaurants. Lastly, when I go home to Redlands, I always go to my favorite Mexican restaurant called Casa Maya. As its name indicates, the food is Mayan inspired, and it's more unique and authentic than other Mexican food you might find in Southern California.

Q: What are your five favorite cities?

A: Chicago in the summer and fall; Seattle in the summer; Manhattan Beach all year round. New York City in the winter — but only for three or four days max — and Vancouver (British Columbia).

Q: What city has the most vocal soccer fans?

A: LA has the best fans; Seattle probably has the most vocal. And from what I've seen on TV — I haven't played there yet — Portland is giving Seattle a run for its money in that department.

Q: Where would you like to go that you have never?

A: Fiji, Cayman Islands, Tibet, Burma, China.

Q: What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?

A: I generally let the experts tell me where to go, but I do like to go online and read as much as possible before making a decision.

For more from the reporter, visit jaehakim.com.