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.

The terracotta-hued complex at this famous intersection is “ground zero” of Silver Lake hipsterdom.

There may be a bit of stair climbing involved, but the views from the hilltop park are some of the best in the city. To the South: a bowl of neighborhoods leads up to Sutro Tower on the horizon. To the North: a view of the Marina opens up to the Bay beyond.

Karaoke is more kicking with an enthusiastic audience, and the Mint certainly has one. The bonus: Lots of fans. The drawback: It often takes a long wait and a big tip to gain stage time.

Whether you’re hiking or summiting, stop at the U.S. Forest Service’s ranger station for a free wilderness permit and—if you’re doing for it—a $20 summit pass.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s first foray into Californian architecture was this impressive “California Romanza” residence he designed in 1919 for oil heiress Aline Barnsdall.

A whiff of vanilla leads you to this cramped shotgun space. Workers deftly pull warm, golden discs off the spinning machines, then flip and fold them into fortune cookies.

Running is practically a religion in Brentwood, where the coral-tree-lined center divider of San Vicente Boulevard doubles as a running path. The fleet-footed will find all manner of on-trend, performance running shoes here and über-knowledgeable staff to help them make the perfect selection.

On this narrow street branching east from Union Square, chic boutiques close ranks. The highlight, though, is the Xanadu Gallery’s Frank Lloyd Wright building (140 Maiden Lane). Its stern brick façade conceals a graceful interior with a Guggenheim-esque spiral staircase.

This sunny boutique specializes in “free-range design” that roams both around the world (there’s a Scandinavian emphasis) and close to home (local designers are represented).

More eclectic and accessible than Design Within Reach just a few doors down, the independently owned Zinc Details has been selling contemporary furniture, lighting, and objects—from Normann Copenhagen’s Grass Vase to Blue Dot’s Buttercup Rocker—since 1991.

In a space flanked by unfinished wood panels and a hanging rope ceiling, patrons enjoy mason jars filled with Churchill’s custom cocktails. The Cape Daquiri’s mix of rum, rooibos syrup, lime, angostura and orange peel, especially, suits the setting.

In the summer, cool off in the Navarro River swimming hole beneath Philo Greenwood Bridge.