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.
Mamma Mia sing alongs, double features, and hard to find films aren’t the only things that make this theatre one of the city’s most special. The two-tiered historic building and Wurlitzer organ player secure the setting as a destination in its own right.
It’s now become a Southern California chainlet, but this original Kitson location was what started the phenomenon.
This historic neighborhood theatre offers one of the best movie-going experiences in town.
This busy commercial strip teems with souvenir shops, antiques dealers, herbalists, and gawkers. You’ll find several treasures among the tat, like the bright kites at the Chinatown Kite Shop (717 Grant Ave.). Be sure to sample a moon cake at Golden Gate Bakery (1029 Grant Ave.).
Deep within Los Padres National Forest, Pfeiffer Beach is a surreal mix of purple sand, giant redwoods, sycamores, and oaks. Offshore, a smattering of sea stacks are scattered like biscuit crumbs across the ocean.
A recent, next-door edition to Toscana (a celeb-beloved trattoria and neighborhood institution), Bar Toscana is a sleek, Milan-inspired lounge specializing in Italian cocktails and stuzzichini (small plates).
In 2011, the onetime Zeum morphed into a more inclusive children’s museum, now geared for kids age three to twelve. The expansion added updated technology activities, like green-screen video-making—but the 1906 carousel out front spins with old-school charm.
Silver Lake takes its name from this picturesque stash of water that glistens amid the neighborhood’s hilly slopes.
This hulking campus of interior design showrooms cuts a striking figure in the neighborhood—it’s been nicknamed the “Blue Whale” for the outsized scale of its main blue-tinted building relative to surrounding structures.
A line of hanging Hot Cookie-emblazoned underwear hangs above the store’s the famous penis and Venus-shaped macaroons. The store, which has been selling x-rated cookies (as well as more traditional baked goods) since 1996, will hit the spot any night.
What began as a handcrafted soap shop in the early 1970’s has today become a cult purveyor of pop ephemera and a counterculture art gallery.
Locals do their shopping here, in a welter of groceries; follow your nose among the exotic fruit, dried mushrooms, mysterious spices, and buckets of shellfish. The Chinese Six Companies building (843 Stockton St.), once a politicians’ hub, is a vivid example of the neighborhood’s architecture.
Affiliated with Barndiva, Artists & Farmers carries artisan-made objets such as quilts stitched from antique saris and burled-wood bowls.