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.

This museum dedicated to the history of recorded music brings the music-making process to life through a variety of interactive exhibits.

The twin neo-Gothic spires of Joe DiMaggio’s church loom above the picnic-friendly lawn in Washington Square Park.

The only US outlet of a Japanese confection chain offers boxed goodies like the best selling Harajuku Mochi Chocolate (mini sweet rice cakes with a chocolate ganache-type filling and coated with coco powder) along side smiling candy-colored baubles.

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.

A recent revamp turned this once-indoor mall at the edge of the popular Third Street Promenade into a hip, open-air shopping and dining experience.

Though on the south side of Market Street, this megamall aligns with Union Square in its shopping fervor. Curving escalators wrap between department stores (Bloomingdale’s, Nordstom), boutiques, a multiplex, and a surprisingly good food court.

Move over cupcakes: the “faux donuts” at this artisanal bakery are L.A.’s latest sweet novelty.

Affiliated with Barndiva, Artists & Farmers carries artisan-made objets such as quilts stitched from antique saris and burled-wood bowls.

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.