California

California Travel Guide

The terracotta-hued complex at this famous intersection is “ground zero” of Silver Lake hipsterdom.

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.

This “secret” subterranean bar is hidden below a popular wedding and events venue and offers a sultry speakeasy vibe for cocktailing and live music. The entrance—through the parking lot behind The Victorian and down a flight of stairs—is appropriately hard to find.

The biggest and oldest (opened in 1978) of three linked Haight Street vintage shops, Held Over carries garments, hats, and shoes from the 40’s through the 90’s.

This vibrant museum and cultural center uses the history of the Jewish experience as a starting point to tell larger stories about multiculturalism in America and the progress of democratic ideals throughout the world.

Climb aboard the historic ships docked at the Hyde Street Pier, such as the three-masted Balclutha (1886) and the schooner Alma (1891). Keep walking west and the crowds fall away as you reach the Art Deco Bathhouse Building, with its collection of ship models.

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.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s first foray into Californian architecture was this impressive “California Romanza” residence he designed in 1919 for oil heiress Aline Barnsdall.

Though there’s more than a hint of pessimism for the printed book’s future in the name of this indie bookshop, The Last Bookstore may actually restore your faith in its survival.

The Clay is a sweet single stream theatre, distinguished for being one of San Francisco’s oldest. It’s a mix of classic and contemporary programming in a deco setting.