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.
The heavily wooded, 36-acre hill makes for a quick quiet place just off the bustle of Haight Street. The interior paths of San Francisco’s first city park curl around the 589-foot incline toward an idyllic outlook typically just enjoyed by locals.
Developer Abbot Kinney modeled the canals and bridges in this historic district on those in Venice, Italy.
From the outside, the brick facade of The Bradbury Building—the oldest commercial building in the city center—looks fairly unremarkable, but walk inside and you’ll be rewarded by architectural treasures inspired by an 1880’s science fiction story and a Ouija board.
For over a century, locals have flocked to Molinari for Italian specialties: olive oil, fresh pasta, and the plump, house-made salami dangling over the counter. Take a number for a heaping sandwich on fresh focaccia.
Part of a group of Robert Redford-owned cinemas, the Kabuki location offers excellent independent and international fare. Booze is available from one of the cinema’s two bars at over 21 shows, and reserved seating saves you from having to elbow for space.
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
When new owners took over this beloved independent bookstore in 2007, they added over 100 new events annually, launched a Berkeley-based lecture series, and designed a brighter and more pleasant place for books.
The Paley Center is a repository of nearly 100 years of television and radio history that aims to examine the relationship between these art forms, as well as emerging media platforms, and society.
This atmospheric bar at the edge of the Venice Beach Boardwalk is one of the city’s oldest—it began as Menotti’s saloon in 1915 and wound up decades later as a dive bar catering to the likes of Jim Morrison. Today, under new ownership, Townhouse is reviving its vintage Prohibition-era allure.
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.