California

California Travel Guide

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.

Since opening in 1957, this renowned live music club has helped launched the careers of some of rock’s most famous names, from Elton John and James Taylor to Guns N’ Roses and Metallica.

Formerly a private beachfront estate that William Randolph Hearst built for actress Marion Davies, the Annenberg Community Beach House is now open to the public as a place to enjoy the Santa Monica sand in style.

So what if riding a cable car brands you a tourist? The snub-nosed icons are terrific fun to ride, with their bay views from the north side of Nob Hill. Two lines have a terminus just below Union Square, where cable cars sedately spin on a turntable before starting back up the hill again.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.