If I want to describe going to a place how is it determined whether I am going up or going down? Thanks Matt.
Could you give a more specific example?

One goes up a hill, up a tree, up a mountain.

Things go down a drain, down a sewer.

I think you mean something more than this. What is it?
As Califjim said it would help if you were a bit more specific but I think it is safe to assume that if you are gaining height you are going up, if you're losing it then you're going down!
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Also if you were heading north you would say going up. If you were heading south you would say going down.
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Well I think this post is going down....but my intention was in I'm going down to California or I'm going up to California. Is proper grammer really dependant upon my current location? I was under the impression that there was another rule?
Yes, the word choice is dependent on your current location! Pretty weird, isn't it?

If you are in Alaska, Canada, Washington (state), or anywhere north of California, you will say "I'm going down to California."

If you are in Mexico, you will say "I'm going up to California."

You don't have to say either 'up' or 'down', of course. You can just say, "I'm going to California."Emotion: smile

"We're going up north." and "We're going down south." are very common expressions.
Obviously, it's just an arbitrary choice based on the way maps are published. By tradition, north is always up higher on the map, and south is always down lower on the map. Emotion: geeked