California

California Travel Guide

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.

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

The shelves of this petite, independent book boutique are crammed to bursting with travel volumes covering every global destination imaginable, including an array of guidebooks along with travel literature from essay collections to poetry.

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.

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.

Insider favorite The Runway is an ideal spot for ladies to score some locally minded togs on a budget—they carry samples and overstock exclusively from L.A. designers at discounted prices.

Nest is a kooky but cultivated mix of precious objects. Little shoes are on display next to dragonfly plates, locally made note cards and lotions disguised as elixirs.

No beige money belts or quick-drying underwear here. Flight 001 approaches travel with a future-forward style. Their selection of brightly colored suitcases, cheeky luggage tags, and indulgent grooming products brightens up the business of getting somewhere.

The Paley Center is a repository of nearly 100 years of television and radio history that aims to examine the relationship between these art forms, as well as emerging media platforms, and society.

This atmospheric bar at the edge of the Venice Beach Boardwalk is one of the city’s oldest—it began as Menotti’s saloon in 1915 and wound up decades later as a dive bar catering to the likes of Jim Morrison. Today, under new ownership, Townhouse is reviving its vintage Prohibition-era allure.

When new owners took over this beloved independent bookstore in 2007, they added over 100 new events annually, launched a Berkeley-based lecture series, and designed a brighter and more pleasant place for books.

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.