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.

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.

This intimate rock club has a hefty legacy on its shoulders: Spaceland, the club that previously occupied this space from 1995 to 2011, was legendary in giving rise to the Silver Lake indie music scene, hosting the likes of Beck, The Foo Fighters, and The White Stripes.

Want salon-grade hair without the cut? The Dry Bar specializes in blowouts only, and caters to locals and visitors alike. Its menu includes weekend-ready styles like the Mai Tai (loose curls billed as “messy, beachy hair”) and the Straight Up (sleek with a touch of body).

This standout modern design showroom stocks gold-painted piggy banks, angular Bensen furniture, and lighting options that include a paper chandelier by Moooi.

ABH

ABH stands for “Above Beverly Hills,” and this hot insider rooftop lounge really does feel above it all.

Housed in a converted Craftsman bungalow, the flagship store of casual-cool clothier Alternative Apparel fits perfectly with the Venice lifestyle.

Bankers, first dates, and everyone in between find their way to the softly lit spot in this Beaux Arts hotel. The namesake Maxfield Parrish mural glows over the bar.

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.

Climb up to the fourth floor to the country’s oldest Chinese temple, a shrine to Tien Hau, the Goddess of Heaven and the Sea. Fringed red lanterns throng the ceiling, and Taoists send up puffs of incense with their prayers.

Howard Backen’s barnlike complex near the town of Sonoma houses several salons and lounges; choose between a flight of four, a five-course food-and-wine pairing, or a picnic by the pond.