California

Things to do in California

It’s nearly impossible to run out of things to do in California. The state has so much going on, from its bustling urban centers -- most notably Los Angeles (which includes all the razzle-dazzle of Hollywood) and San Francisco (where tourists can visit Silicon Valley, widely considered the innovation epicenter of America) – to its rustic, rugged, sprawling national parks.

Nature-lovers wondering what to do in California have an extensive list of available options at their disposable. From skiing in Lake Tahoe, to surfing in Santa Barbara, to hiking in Yosemite, to touring Napa Valley, the option of outdoor things to do in California is truly endless.

Foodies should also rejoice: Anyone wondering what to do in California need look no farther than the state’s incredibly diverse, eclectic, authentic, adventurous, ambitious, and downright delicious culinary scene. From five-star, Michelin-reviewed establishments to corner delis, food carts and fast food joints, the golden state truly has something for every palate.

Though there’s more than a hint of pessimism for the printed book’s future in the name of this indie bookshop, The Last Bookstore may actually restore your faith in its survival.

The Clay is a sweet single stream theatre, distinguished for being one of San Francisco’s oldest. It’s a mix of classic and contemporary programming in a deco setting.

When True Sake opened in 2003, it was the first wholly dedicated sake shop outside of Japan. Their most popular offering is “Nama Ginjo Genshu,” an unpasteurized sake packaged in a stylish can.

Cable cars have competition for Most Endearing Public Transit. These early-20th-century streetcars trundle along the Embarcadero. You might glimpse an orange Milanese number or the olive green “streetcar named desire” from New Orleans.

Six blocks from the town courthouse, this weekly market is the perfect place to watch gray-haired hippies, dreadlocked surfers, and well-heeled natives hunt for Central Coast olive oils and zingy lemon-flavored pistachios.

For that chic L.A. jeans-and-a-t-shirt look, American Rag is the de facto headquarters—the “World Denim Bar” annex stocks designer denim in every color and fit imaginable.

Developer Abbot Kinney modeled the canals and bridges in this historic district on those in Venice, Italy.

The heavily wooded, 36-acre hill makes for a quick quiet place just off the bustle of Haight Street. The interior paths of San Francisco’s first city park curl around the 589-foot incline toward an idyllic outlook typically just enjoyed by locals.

From the outside, the brick facade of The Bradbury Building—the oldest commercial building in the city center—looks fairly unremarkable, but walk inside and you’ll be rewarded by architectural treasures inspired by an 1880’s science fiction story and a Ouija board.

For over a century, locals have flocked to Molinari for Italian specialties: olive oil, fresh pasta, and the plump, house-made salami dangling over the counter. Take a number for a heaping sandwich on fresh focaccia.

Part of a group of Robert Redford-owned cinemas, the Kabuki location offers excellent independent and international fare. Booze is available from one of the cinema’s two bars at over 21 shows, and reserved seating saves you from having to elbow for space.

A few blocks inland from the Embarcadero, this historic district was once the rowdy Gold Rush–era waterfront. Now the mid-19th-century buildings hold genteel antiques dealers, art galleries, Thomas E.

Mani Niall works the ovens at the light-filled Sweet Bar Bakery. Our pick: the pumpkin-ginger cupcakes with salted caramel. BART stop: 19th Street/Uptown Oakland