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.
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.
This casual, organic cafe is the de facto community kitchen of Brentwood. Locals turn out in droves—especially at weekend brunch—for morning goodies like the egg dishes and stuffed French toast or afternoon fare like the enormous salads and Paninis.
This collection celebrates the cultures and histories of people of African descent scattered around the world, from the Caribbean to South America. It’s heavy on multimedia exhibits, such as videos, music, and audio narratives.
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.
The terracotta-hued complex at this famous intersection is “ground zero” of Silver Lake hipsterdom.
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.
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.
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.