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Sports Fans, Golf Nuts, Wine Lovers & More Enjoy California Bus Charters

California is a playground for adults and children. It’s captivating past is waiting to be discovered in the old Spanish missions and dusty ghost towns. There’s shopping for any budget as well as great restaurants and a myriad of cultural attractions. Outdoor adventures, beaches, professional sporting events and amusement parks offer thrills and chills.

And don’t forget all those wineries.

US Coachways provides bus charter rentals to locations throughout California, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Palm Springs, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Fresno, Monterey, Lake Tahoe and Sacramento. It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking to rent a party bus for a bachelor party or a 56-seat coach for a school trip or sport team travel, our drives and dispatchers can be counted on to deliver a smooth ride. Our great customer service, reasonable prices and an extensive fleet of vehicles makes US Coachways a great choice for all types of community groups and church organizations as well as special events such as birthdays and wedding activities.

California Awaits! Call US Coachways for A Charter Bus Rental

Our professional and experienced account specialists are available 24/7 to help with your travels plans. Set your itinerary and leave the driving to us.  You just enjoy the ride on one of our charter bus rentals featuring luxury amenities. For a free quote or to book a trip, contact us today at 1-855-BUS-CHARTER (1-855-287-2427).

Entertainment & Amusement Parks

  • Disneyland — It’s the granddaddy of all theme parks. Opened by Walt himself in 1955, the park has grown in size to become a major resort with hotels and restaurants as well as several theme parks with new rides and attractions.
    • Location: 1313 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim
    • Phone: 714-781-4565
    • Costs: Admission prices to the park vary. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Park hours can vary seasonally. Call for more information.  
  • The Sunset Strip — This two-mile section of West Hollywood has for decades ranked among the best places to tap into the West Coast music scene with venues like the The Roxy, Viper Room, and Whisky a Go-Go.

  • Universal Studios — Combine a theme park with a studio tour. Explore Hollywood’s most famous back lot on a tour that includes Wisteria Lane from the ABC hit "Desperate Housewives," the legendary Bates Motel and the original shark from Jaws.  The park also includes theme park rides based on hit movies and television shows such as "The Simpsons" and "Jurassic Park."
    • Location: 1000 Universal Studios Blvd., Universal City
    • Phone: 818-622-8000
    • Costs: Call for more information on admission prices.
    • Hours: Hours of operation vary seasonally. Call for more information.
  • LA Live — Huge video screens surround an expansive plaza that has emerged as one L.A.’s favorite new gathering places, featuring top restaurants, nightclubs and a major concert venue.
    • Location: 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles
    • Phone: 213-763-5441
    • Hours: Restaurant and night club hours vary. Call for more information.  
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain — Located north of Los Angeles in Valencia, this thrill-ride haven has more than 100 rides, games and attractions. among the incredible roller coasters. are Apocalypse, the ultimate wooden coaster, and  Full Throttle, the world's tallest and fastest looping coaster.
    • Location: 26101 Magic Mountain Pkwy., Valencia
    • Phone: 661-255-4100
    • Costs: Admission price vary according to age. Discount tickets and season passes are available. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Days and hours of operation vary seasonally. Call for more information
  • Six Flags Hurricane Harbor — The water park located adjacent to Six Flags Magic Mountain includes the Black Snake Summit water slide complex and Lizard Lagoon.  
    • Location: 26101 Magic Mountain Pkwy., Valencia
    • Phone: 661-255-4527 or 818-367-5965
    • Costs: Admission prices vary according to age. Discount tickets and season passes are available. Call for more information.
    • Hours: The park’s season starts in May. Days and hours of operation vary seasonally. Call for more information.
  • Pacific Park — Located at the end of the Santa Monica Pier, Pacific Park is iconic. In fact, it’s the West Coast’s only amusement park located on a pier.
    • Location: 380 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica
    • Phone: 310-260-8744
    • Costs: Ride prices run between $5 and $3 each. Wrist bands allowing unlimited rides cost between $22.95 and $15.95. Parking lots are controlled by the City of Santa Monica and rates range from $6 to $15.
    • Hours: Park hours can vary due to private events. Please call to confirm park hours before your visit.
  • Staples Center – Home of the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Sparks and the Los Angeles Kings the sports arena is also a major concert venue.
    • Location: 1111 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles
    • Phone: 213-742-7575
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming events
  • Six Flags Discovery Kingdom — Located 30 miles outside San Francisco, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom combines marine life, wildlife and amusement rides and attractions on a 135-acre location. Highlights include the Superman Ultimate Flight launch coaster, Medusa and V2 Vertical Velocity.
    • Location: 1001 Fairgrounds Drive, Vallejo
    • Phone: 707-644-4000
    • Costs: Call for more information
    • Hours: The park is open year-round. Hours and days of operation vary seasonally. Call for more information.  
  • Fillmore — The fabled music venue is where artists like Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead got their start lstill rocks with an impressive lineup of performers.
    • Location: 1805 Geary Blvd., San Francisco
    • Phone: 415-346-6000
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming events.
  • San Francisco Nightlife — San Francisco’s nightlife is as diverse as the city itself, and each district’s selection of bars, clubs and lounges has its own distinct flavor. For electronic music clubs, hip-hop or chill art lounges, head to San Francisco's SoMa neighborhood. The Mission District is primed for everything from dive bar hopping to small dance clubs. The Marina District sports slick watering holes. Gay-friendly bars and clubs exist all over the city, with the Castro, SoMa and Polk Street areas leading the way.

  • Wild Water Adventure Park — Located outside Fresno in the beautiful town of Clovis, Wild Water Adventure is the largest water park in Central California with water slides, wave pools and Adventure Bay for younger children, and fishing.
    • Location: 11413 E. Shaw Ave., Clovish
    • Phone: 559-299-9453
    • Costs: Call for information about ticket prices.
    • Hours: Open May through September. Hours of operation vary seasonally. Call for more information.
  • Camelot Park — This amusement park, located in Fresno, caters to youngsters with traditional amusement park rides.
    • Location: 7354 N. Abby St., Fresno
    • Phone: 559-432-9687
    • Costs: Call for more information.
    • Hours: Call for more information.
  • Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino — Located a 45-minute drive up Freeway 41 from downtown Fresno in Coarsegold, the Chukchansi features world-class entertainment and dining.
    • Location: 711 Lucky Lane, Coarsegold
    • Phone: 866-794-6946
    • Hours: Call for more information.
  • Gilroy Gardens — This low-key theme park caters to families with small children and features a water play area and acres of lush gardens perfect for a game of tag.
    • Location: 3050 Hecker Pass Hwy., Gilroy
    • Phone: 408-840-7100
    • Costs: Call for information.  
    • Hours: Hours and days of operation vary seasonally. Call for more information.
  • Cannery Row Nightlife — When night falls on Monterey’s Cannery Row, the district made famous by John Steinbeck draws martini-sipping hipsters, playful pub-goers and wine connoisseurs. Visitors can find live jazz, blues, rock and pop music acts nearly every night of the week.

  • Oldtown Salinas — Located 34 miles east of Monterey, Oldtown is home to the Frist Fridays Art Walk. On the first Friday of every month, 50 venues offer live music, artist receptions, dance performances, food and wine tastings. The event takes place year-round, rain or shine, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Monterey Jazz Festival ­— The famed jazz festival caps off the city’s “festival season” every September by bringing the country’s best jazz musicians to town for three days of swing, bebop, and everything in between.
    • Location: Monterey Fairgrounds, 2000 Fairground Road, Monterey
    • Phone: 831-373-3366
  • Wet ‘n’ Wild — Formerly Knott's Soak City, this popular family-friendly water park boasts 20 water rides and attractions, with 13 water slides, a big wave pool, a lazy river inner tube ride and a children's activity area.
    • Location: 1500 S. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs
    • Phone: 760-327-0499
    • Costs: Admission prices vary by age and method of purchase. Call for more information.  
    • Hours: Open daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day.  Call for information regarding hours of operation.
  • Spa Resort Casino Famous for its natural mineral waters and full-service spa, this resort in the heart of Palm Springs features a 24-hour casino with slot machines and table games, live entertainment and fine dining.
    • Location: 401 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs
    • Phone: 888-999-1995
  • Casino Morongo — Located 20 minutes west of Palm Springs in the Morongo Indian Reservation, the Morongo Casino features 2,000 slot machines, 79 table games and a private 22-table poker room .
    • Location: 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon
    • Phone: 800-252-4499
    • Hours: Call for more information
  • The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies — A high-stepping, high-energy show draws raves in Palm Springs by celebrating the music and dance of the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s with performers old enough to have first heard the songs on the radio.
    • Location: 128 S Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs
    • Phone: 760-327-0225
    • Costs: Ticket prices vary from $29 to $95. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Shows run Wednesday (sometimes Tuesday) though Saturday. Matinees begin at 1:30 p.m. and evening performances begin at 7 p.m. Call for more information.
  • Pioneertown — Built as a movie set in 1946 where films starring Gene Autry, the Cisco Kid and Annie Oakley were shot, Pioneertown is a step back into the Old West. Kick up dust along Mane Street with its liveries and wagons and hitching posts and watch the Wild West gunfights staged in the street on weekends.
    • Location: 53441 Mane St., Pioneertown
    • Phone: 760-365-7543
    • Costs: Free admission
    • Hours: Call for information about weekend shows
  • Tahoe Amusement Park — The only amusement park in Lake Tahoe, the park has 10 rides, including a carousel, Tilt-A-Whirl, miniature train and roller coaster.
    • Location: 2401 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe
    • Phone: 530-541-1300
    • Costs: The park is free, with rides priced individually. Call for more information.
    • Hours: The park is open May through October. Call for more information
  • Tahoe Treetop Adventure Park — The first aerial treetop adventure park in California is comprised of a series of courses linking tree platform to tree platform with a variety of bridges and zip lines.
    • Location: 725 Granlibakken Road, Tahoe City
    • Phone: 530-581-7563
    • Costs: Call for more information
    • Hours: Days and hours of operation vary seasonally. Call for more information
  • Midtown Sacramento — This neighborhood runs from the city’s Sutter district to the Handle, and provides an eclectic mix of boutiques, bars, galleries and restaurants that attract a younger crowd.

  • Sleep Train Arena — The 17,000-seat arena is home to the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and also serves as a major concert venue, hosting shows that range from the Black Eyed Peas to Disney on Ice. 
    • Location: Sports Parkway, Sacramento
    • Phone: 916-928-6900
    • Costs: Call for information about ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information about upcoming events. The box office is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Capitol Casino — Located in downtown Sacramento, this casino offers Texas Hold ‘Em, Pai Gow Tiles and attracts many people for late-night eating.  
    • Location: 411 N. 16th St., Sacramento,
    • Phone: 916-446-0700
    • Hours: Call for more information.
  • Thunder Valley Casino Resort — Recent expansions at Thunder Valley Casino have turned it into the largest in the Sacramento area with a 300-room hotel, spa, pool, fitness center and outdoor concert venue. The gaming area now holds 3,000 slot machines and 125 different table games.
    • Location: 1200 Athens Ave., Lincoln
    • Phone: 916-408-7777
    • Hours: Call for more information
  • Raging Waters — This water park features more than 25 exhilarating water attractions, breath-taking slides and crystal clear pools. Thrill slides include the Splashdown, Hurricane, Cliffhanger Speed Slides and the Shark Attack Waterslide complex.
    • Location: 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento
    • Phone: 916-924-3747
    • Hours: Open May through September. Days and hours of operation vary seasonally. Call for more information.
    • Costs: $30.99 for general admission.
  • The Gaslamp Quarter — Encompassing 16 blocks in downtown San Diego, the Gaslamp Quarter has modern skyscrapers sitting next to historic Victorian-era buildings that house trendy boutiques, cafes, galleries and museums. After dark, people crowd into rooftop bars, nightclubs and great restaurants that spill onto sidewalk patios.

  • Belmont Park — Located right on San Diego’s Mission Beach, Belmont Park features dozens of attractions such as the wooden Giant Dipper Roller Coaster, one of only two original oceanfront roller coasters still in operation on the West Coast.
    • Location: 3146 Mission Blvd., San Diego
    • Phone: 858-228-9283
    • Costs: Parking and admission to the park are free, but you must buy ride tickets. Call for more information. 
    • Hours: Call for more information.
  • SeaWorld — This marine life park is famed as the home to the world-famous killer whale Shamu as well as dolphins, sea lions, sharks, penguins and turtles.
    • Location: 500 Sea World Drive, San Diego
    • Phone: 800-257-4268
    • Costs: SeaWorld offers various admission packages. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Park hours vary seasonally. Call for more information.
  • LegoLand California — LegoLand California is a theme park dedicated to the interactive toy and featuries more than 60 rides, shows and attractions such as Miniland USA, where 20 million Lego bricks recreate American cities and landmarks.
    • Location: 1 Legoland Drive, Carlsbad
    • Phone: 760-918-5346
    • Costs: Admission packages are available at varied prices. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Hours and days of operation vary seasonally. Call for more information.
  • Casinos — Located 45 minutes from downtown San Diego, a variety of area casinos provide Las Vegas-style action all day and all night. Developed by Native Americans on their tribal lands, they include Sycuan Casino, Viejas Casino, the Golden Acorn, Barona Valley Ranch Casino, Harrah’s Rincon Casino, Pechanga Casino, Valley View, Casino Pauma, Pala Casino and Santa Ysabel Casino
  • Santa Barbara Bowl — Nestled in the hillsides above Santa Barbara, this concert venue hosts roughly 30 events annually. Past shows have included Radiohead, Michael Buble, Alicia Keys, Santana, Ben Harper, James Taylor and Luis Miguel.
    • Location: 1122 N. Milpas St., Santa Barbara
    • Phone: 805-962-7411
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on performances. Box office hours are Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Chumash Casino — The Chumash Casino offers an array of popular slot machines and table games such as blackjack and poker.
    • Location: 3400 E. Highway 246, Santa Ynez
    • Phone: 805-248-3274
    • Hours: Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • State Street Nightlife — When State Street lights up after dark, so does the Santa Barbara nightlife with live entertainment of nearly every sound and style.

  • San Manuel Amphitheater — The San Manuel Amphitheater (formerly Hyundai Pavilion), located in Glen Helen Regional Park, is the nation’s largest outdoor amphitheater with 65,000 seats. Headliners like Tim McGraw, Tom Petty and Cher have strutted across this stage.
    • Location: 2575 Glen Helen Pkwy., San Bernardino
    • Phone: 909-880-6500
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming events.
  • Castle Park — Founded in 1976, this Inland Empire amusement park features 27 rides suitable for all ages, four miniature golf courses, carnival midway games, a water playground, retail shops and a video arcade.
    • Location: 3500 Polk St., Riverside
    • Phone: 951-785-3000
    • Costs: Several admission packages are available. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Hours and days of operation vary seasonally. Call for more information.
  • San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino — Along with big name entertainers, the casino also boasts 2000 slot machines, 100 table games and a spacious high-limit poker room.
    • Location: 777 San Manuel Blvd., Highland
    • Phone: 888-777-7402
    • Hours: Call for more information.
  • Pechanga Resort & Casino — California’s largest casino boasts 3,400 slot machines stretching across approximately 188,000 square feet of gaming space as well as live entertainment, a posh nightclub and restaurants.
    • Location: 45000 Pala Road, Temecula
    • Phone: 877-711-2946
    • Hours:  Call for information.

Arts & Cultural

  • The Getty Center — The Getty Center is one of the nation’s premiere art museums, famed for its architecture, gardens and views. The Getty boasts a wide-ranging art collection, from Renaissance paintings to David Hockney. On a clear day you can see a huge swath of Los Angeles and the Pacific.
    • Location: 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles
    • Phone: 310-440-7300
    • Costs: Admission is free. Parking costs $15 per car ($10 per care after 5 p.m.).
    • Hours: Tuesday through Friday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Mondays as well as holidays.
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art — Located in Hancock Park, the museum is one of the world’s leading art campuses with a permanent collection topping 100,000 works that span the globe. The museum is especially renowned for its Latin American art.
    • Location: 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
    • Phone: 323-857-6000
    • Costs: $15 for general admission; $12 for seniors and students; Free for children, age 17 and younger.
    • Hours: Monday and Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • George C. Page Museum — Located in L.A.’s Hancock Park, the museum houses discoveries from one of the world’s best-known fossil sites, the La Brea Tar Pits, also within park boundaries.
    • Location: 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles
    • Phone: 213-763-DINO
    • Costs: $12 for adults; $9 for seniors, college students and teenagers, age 13 to 17; $5 for children, age 3 to 12, Free for children, age 2 and younger.
    • Hours: Open daily, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Hollywood Bowl — The largest outdoor amphitheater in the United States has hosted symphonies, operas, ballet, rock concerts and presidential addresses. During the summer, the Los Angeles Philharmonic calls the Bowl home. During the daytime, visit the Hollywood Bowl Museum.
    • Location: 2301 Highland Ave., Hollywood
    • Phone: 323-850-2000; museum 323-850-2058
    • Costs: Open to the public during the day. Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming performances.  
  • The Getty Villa — Sitting on an oceanfront bluff in Malibu, the museum is modeled after a 1st Century Roman country estate and is filled with priceless antiquities.
    • Location: 17985 Pacific Coast Hwy., Pacific Palisades
    • Phone: 310-440-7300
    • Costs: Free admission, but advanced reservations are required; Parking is $15 per care ($10 after 5 p.m.).
    • Hours: Wednesday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Closed Tuesdays.
  • Walt Disney Concert Hall — This iconic structure in the heart of L.A. is the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.
    • Location: 111 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles
    • Phone: 323-850-2000
    • Cost: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming performances.
  • De Young Museum — Located in Golden Gate Park, the de Young showcases American art from the 17th through the 21st centuries and international contemporary art, textiles and costumes as well as art from the Americas, the Pacific and Africa.
    • Location: Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco
    • Phone: 415-750-3600
    • Costs: $10 for adults; $7 for seniors; $6 for children, age 12 to 17, and college students; Free for children, age 12 and younger, and military personnel.
    • Hours: Open Tuesdays through Sundays, 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.; Closed on Mondays.
  • The Legion of Honor — The Legion of Honor houses a collection of ancient and European art that spans 4,000 years in an exquisite Beaux-Arts building that overlooks the Golden Gate Bridge.
    • Location: Lincoln Park, 100 34th Ave., San Francisco
    • Phone: 415-750-3600
    • Costs: $10 for adults; $7 for seniors; $6 for children, age 12 to 17, and college students; Free for children under 12, and military personnel.
    • Hours: Open Tuesdays through Sundays, 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.; Closed on Mondays.
  • San Francisco Asian Art Museum — Housed in the building that once served as the city’s main library, this is one of the largest museums in the Western World that focuses exclusively on Asian art.
    • Location: 200 Larkin St., San Francisco
    • Phone: 415-581-3500
    • Costs: $12 for adults $12; $8 for seniors, college students and children, age 13 through 17; Free for children, age 12 and younger.
    • Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday through Sunday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Closed on Mondays.
  • San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center – Also called SFWMPAC, this landmark cultural institution is home to many of the Bay Area's most dynamic performing arts organizations, including the San Francisco Ballet, the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Symphony.
    • Location: 401 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco
    • Phone: 415-621-6600; San Francisco Ballet, 415-865-2000; San Francisco Opera, 415-864-3330
    • Costs: Call about ticket prices.  
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming events.
    • Other: Tours of the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center are scheduled every Monday, except holidays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the hour and cost $7 or $5 for students and seniors.
  • Di Rosa — Located on 217 acres in the Carneros region of Napa Valley, the di Rosa houses the foremost collection of contemporary Bay Area art, with nearly 2,000 works by 800 artists.
    • Location: 5200 Carneros Highway, Napa
    • Phone: 707-226-5991
    • Costs: The Gatehouse Gallery is open to drop-in visitors with a suggested donation of $5. Those interested in seeing the permanent collection, historic residence or Sculpture Meadow must be on a guided tour. Tours costs $12 to $15. Call for details on tour fees and times.
    • Hours: Open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Closed on Monday and Tuesday.
  • The Hess Collection Winery & Art Museum —The Hess Collection winery is part of a historic site where wine was first produced in the 1860s. A native stone building was hewn by masons in 1903. The original stone structure is now joined by The Hess Art Collection.
    • Location: 4411 Redwood Road, Napa
    • Phone: 707-255-1144
    • Costs: Call for more information
    • Hours: Tasting Room, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Art Museum, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Winery & Vineyard Tours, 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • The Fresno Philharmonic — The Fresno Philharmonic has grown to become among the best of American regional orchestras.
    • Location: William Saroyan Theatre, 2377 West Shaw Ave., Fresno
    • Phone: 559-261-0600
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information in upcoming performances.
  • Fresno Art Museum — The museum has a focus on modern and contemporary works by American artists, including painting, sculpture, prints, photographs and other media. Pre-Columbian works from Mesoamerica and the Andes comprise a significant part of the collection along with both modern works and folk art of Mexican origin.
  • Sam District — This region of Fresno, bordered by Tuolumne Street on the south, H Street on the west and Divisadero on the north and east, is home to an eclectic mix of artist studios, galleries and architecturally striking residences such as the Vagabond Lofts.

  • Warnors Center for the Performing Arts — This performing arts venue plays host to a variety of acts and events, from silent films to concerts.
    • Location: 1400 Fulton St., Fresno
    • Phone: 559-264-2848
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming events.
  • Arte Americas — This museum celebrates the arts in Mexico, Latin America, the Southwest and California.
    • Location: 1630 Van Ness, Fresno
    • Phone: 559-266-2623
    • Costs: Call for more information.
    • Hours: Call for more information.
  • Haggin Museum — A visit to Stockton's Victory Park isn’t complete without stopping at this early-19th Century structure to see masterworks by Albert Bierstadt, whose panoramic paintings of Yosemite Valley include one that once hung in the White House. The galleries also display works from Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jean Beraud, William Bouguereau, Rosa Bonheur, George Inness, and Jean-Leon Gerome and others.
    • Location: Victory Park, 1201 N. Pershing Ave., Stockton
    • Phone: 209-940-6300
    • Costs: $8 for adults; $7 for seniors; $5 for children, age 10 to 17 ,and students; Free for museum members and children, age 10 and younger.  
    • Hours: Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday, 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Monterey Museum of Art — The Monterey Museum of Art has two locations, MMA Pacific Street at 559 Pacific St. It showcases masterpieces of early California painting and photography and includes works by Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. The MMA La Mirada at 720 Via Mirada exhibits works by the greatest artists of the 20th century and today.
    • Phone: 831-372-5477
    • Costs: $10 for adults; $5 for students and military personnel; Free for children, age 12 and younger, and members.
    • Hours: Monday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Closed Tuesday and Wednesday; Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Golden State Theater — A gorgeous 1926 movie palace and live entertainment venue in the heart of downtown Monterey. Acts ranging from Willie Nelson to B.B. King have graced the stage. The theater is also the only place to see classic films such as Casablanca and a Wizard of Oz sing-a-long!
    • Location: 417 Alvarado St., Monterey
    • Phone: 831-372-3800
    • Costs: Call for more information.
    • Hours: Call for more information.
  • Sunet Cultural Center — This former school has been transformed into a state-of-the-art performing arts center with 718-seats, stunning gothic architecture and incredible acoustics. The venue is home to the Monterey Symphony and the renowned Carmel Bach Festival.
    • Location: San Carlos St. and Ninth Ave., Carmel
    • Phone: 831-620-2048
    • Cost: Call for more information
    • Hours: Call for more information.
  • Museum of Monterey — Open since 1971, The Museum of Monterey holds more than 50,000 artifacts, costumes and textiles, photographs and historic papers in its collection.
    • Location: 5 Custom House Plaza, Monterey State Historic Park, Monterey
    • Phone: 831-372-2608
    • Cost: $8 for adults; $5 for military personnel, students and seniors; Free for children, age 12 and younger.
    • Hours: Call for more information.
  • Steinbeck Center —The Steinbeck Center in Oldtown Salinas is where the era and works of author John Steinbeck come to life in artifacts, exhibits and clips from Steinbeck films. The center hosts a Steinbeck festival every year.
    • Location: 1 Main St., Salinas
    • Phone: 831-775-4726
    • Cost: $14.95 for adults; $10.95 for county residents; $8.95 for seniors; $7.95 for children, age 13 to 17; $5.95 for children, age 6 to 12; Free for children, 5 and younger.
    • Hours: Open seven days a week year-round. Call for more information.
  • Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands — Located in Rancho Mirage, Sunnylands was the winter home of Ambassador Walter Annenberg and his wife, Leonore. Today, it serves as an important retreat for high-level decision makers, earnings it’s nicknamed the “West Coast Camp David.” When retreats are not scheduled, you can join a guided tour.
    • Location: 37977 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage
    • Phone: 760-202-2283
    • Costs: Call for information on tour prices
    • Hours: Call for information on tour schedules.
  • Palm Springs Architecture — Palm Springs boasts a large concentration of mid-century modern architecture. Guided tours are available year-round, or embark on your own journey and take a self-guided tour of these masterpieces. Simply pick up a map of mid-century modern landmarks at the iconic Tramway Gas Station, an Albert Frey and Robson Chambers original that now serves as the official Palm Springs Visitors Center.

  • Palm Springs Art Museum — Located in the heart of downtown Palm Springs, the museum’s collection -- loaned or donated by the area's affluent residents -- includes works from Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Ansel Adams.
    • Location: 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs
    • Phone: 760-322-4800
    • Costs: $12.50 for adults; $10.50 seniors; $5 for students; Free for military personnel, members and children, age 12 and younger.
    • Hours: Closed Monday; Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday through Sunday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, noon to 8 p.m.
  • Valhalla Boathouse Theater — This Lake Tahoe theater hosts an assortment of theatrical productions and acts.
    • Location: State Hwy 89, South Lake Tahoe
    • Phone: 530-541-5227; 530-541-4975 for tickets
    • Costs: Ticket prices vary, with pricing for adults, seniors, students and children. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Call for a schedule of upcoming performances.
  • Tallac Historic Site — The site is home to several historic mansions and plays host to numerous festivals throughout the year, including the Gatsby Festival, as well as art and photo exhibitions and theatrical performances at the Baldwin Boat House.
    • Location: State Hwy 89, South Lake Tahoe
    • Phone: 530-541-5227
    • Costs: A number of tours are available of different houses at varied prices. Call for more information.
    • Hours: The entire site is open daily during the summer months. Call for more information about dates and tour schedules.
  • Crocker Art Museum — The Crocker Art Museum started as a private art collection of one of California’s wealthiest families and has grown into a must-see institution. The museum also exhibits master drawings, international ceramics and striking displays of European, African, Asian and Oceanic creations
    • Location: 216 O St., Sacramento
    • Phone: 916-808-7000
    • Costs: $10 adults; $8 for seniors and college students; $5 for children, age 7 to 17; Free for children, age 6 and younger.
    • Hours: Tuesday Wednesday and Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • B Street Theater — Since bursting onto the Sacramento scene 25 years ago, the B Street Theatre has earned a reputation as one of Northern California’s top professional theatres staging  contemporary productions ranging from popular classics to first time debuts.
    • Location: 2711 B St., Sacramento
    • Phone: 916-443-5300
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sacramento Memorial Auditorium — Listed on the National Historic Register, the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium has drawn audiences to a variety of events, ranging from Big Bands and violin virtuosos to the Beach Boys and comedians George Lopez, Mike Epps and Ron White.
    • Location: 1515 J St., Sacramento
    • Phone: 916-808-5291
    • Costs: Call for information about ticket prices.
    • Hours: The box office is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Charge-by-phone line operates Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Murals in Chicano Park — Known locally as "the museum without walls,” this park contains murals that celebrate Mexican history, folklore and culture painted on the pylons of the Coronado Bay Bridge.
    • Location: San Diego State University, Coronado
    • Phone: 619-437-8788
  • Museum of Contemporary Art — The museum has an impressive collection of paintings, sculpture, prints, photography, video and multimedia works produced since 1950.
    • Location: 1100 & 1001 Kettner Blvd., San Diego
    • Phone: 858-454-3541
    • Costs: $10 for general admission; $5 for seniors and college students.
    • Hours: Daily, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Closed on Wednesday.
  • Balboa Park — The largest urban cultural park in the nation, Balboa Park is home to 15 museums, performing arts venues, more than eight beautiful gardens and many other cultural and recreational attractions, including the world-famous San Diego Zoo. Hike more than 65 miles of trails, roam magnificent gardens or take a free guided tour.
    • Location: 1549 El Prado St., San Diego
    • Phone: 619-231-9494
  • The Old Globe Theater — Located in Balboa Park, the Tony Award-winning theater is among the most esteemed regional theater companies in the country, producing 15 plays and musicals annually and a renowned summer Shakespeare Festival.
    • Location: Balboa Park, 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego
    • Phone: 619-23-GLOBE
    • Costs: Call for information regarding ticket prices.
    • Hours: The box office is open Tuesday through Sunday, noon until curtain time.
  • The Arlington Center for the Performing Arts — Built in 1930 in true mission revival style, the Arlington Theatre is the principal performing arts venue in Santa Barbara. To this day, the theatre contains a famous Robert Morton pipe organ and its iconic ceiling is filled with twinkling stars.
    • Location: 1317 State St., Santa Barbara
    • Phone: 805-963-9589
    • Costs: Call for more information on ticket prices
    • Hours: The box office operates Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Santa Barbara Museum of Art — The museum’s collection includes ancient art, French and English 19th and early 20th century artists, international modernism, photography and contemporary art.
    • Location: 1130 State St., Santa Barbara
    • Telephone: 805-963-4364
    • Costs: $10 for adults, $6 for seniors, students and children, age 6 through 17; Free for children, ages 6 and younger. No admission on Sunday.
    • Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History — The museum has 12 exhibit halls focusing on regional natural history, Native Americans and antique natural history art. Highlights include a life-size Blue Whale skeleton.
    • Location: 2559 Puesta del Sol, Santa Barbara
    • Phone: 805-682-4711
    • Costs: $12 for adult; $8 for seniors and children, age 13 to 17; $7 for children, age 2 through 12; Free for children, age 2 and younger.
    • Hours: Open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Santa Barbara Historical Museum — Founded in 1932, the museum is located in Santa Barbara’s El Pueblo Viejo district and features exhibits focusing on 500 years of history with collections from the Chumash, Mexicans, Spanish and American periods.
    • Location: 1130 State St., Santa Barbara
    • Telephone: 805-963-4364
    • Costs: Admission is free but donations are appreciated.
    • Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; Closed Monday
  • Granada Theater — This landmark theater in the city’s downtown is a year-round performing arts venue and serves as home to the Santa Barbara Symphony, State Street Ballet and Opera Santa Barbara
    • Location: 1214 State St., Santa Barbara
    • Phone: 805-899-2222
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: The box office operates Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
  • Downtown Santa Barbara’s Historic Arts District — Located in the heart of the city, this neighborhood is home to a variety of cultural venues including galleries, performing arts spaces, historic sites and museums.

  • Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art — RAFFMA is the only accredited art museum in San Bernardino with exhibits that include ancient Egyptian artifacts, ancient Mediterranean ceramics, Asian ceramics, African art an contemporary art.
    • Location: Address: 5500 University Pkwy., San Bernardino
    • Phone: 909-537-7373
    • Costs:  Admission is free with a suggested donation of $3.
    • Hours: Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • California Theatre of Performing Arts — Built in 1928, this historic venue in downtown San Bernardino features Broadway plays, musicals and performances from the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra. Take note of the enormous outdoor mural on the east side of the building that recalls Will Rogers' last stage performance, which took place at this very theater in 1935 just before his death in a plane crash in Alaska.
    • Location: 562 W. 4th St., San Bernardino
    • Phone: 909-885-5152
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming performances.
  • Sturges Theater — This theater is home to the Sturges Family Playhouse, the Canto Bello Master Chorale and hosts numerous other theatrical performances.
    • Location: 780 N. "E" St., San Bernardino
    • Phone: 909-384-5415
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming performances.
  • San Bernardino County Museum — This museum offers fascinating facts about the area’s wildlife and indigenous people. Permanent exhibits include a covered wagon that crossed the Mojave Desert from Salt Lake City and a Wells Fargo stage coach.
    • Location: 2024 Orange Tree Lane, Redlands
    • Phone: 909-307-2669
    • Costs: $10 for adults; $8 for seniors and active military personnel; $7 for college students; $5 for children, age 5 to 12; Free for children, age 4 and younger.
    • Hours: Open Tuesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • San Bernardino History and Railroad Museum — See unique railroad memorabilia and one-of-a-kind artifacts surrounded by hundreds of historic photographs and numerous model trains.
    • Location: 1170 W. 3rd St., San Bernardino
    • Telephone: 909-888-3624
    • Costs: Free
    • Hours: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Court Street Square — An oasis in the midst of bustling downtown, Court Street Square hosts festivals, concerts and outdoor activities such as the annual Route 66 Rendezvous, which attracts more than 500,000 classic car enthusiasts from around the world in September.
    • Location: Corner of Court and E St., San Bernardino
    • Phone: 909-663-1044

Restaurants & Shopping

  • Old Pasadena — Centered around the city’s historic Colorado Boulevard, Old Pasadena spreads out over 22 blocks with sidewalk cafes, a mix of local boutiques and national retailers, fine dining and entertainment. Inviting alleys and hidden courtyards offer quiet retreats.

  • Venice Beach — This L.A. neighborhood is more than just is a beachfront district. Located on the west side of Los Angeles, it is famed for its canals, funky artist colonies, contemporary restaurants, eclectic shops and galleries, boutique hotels and, of course, its beaches and the circus-like Ocean Front Walk

  • The Grove — A glamorous notch above the average shopping experience, this multi-story outdoor shopping complex provides an array of designer shops, boutiques, restaurants and entertainment venues. There are fountains that splash in choreographed displays, live concerts and an electric trolley.
    • Location: 189 Grove Drive, Los Angeles
    • Phone: 323-900-8080; 888-315-8883
    • Hours: Hours of operation vary for individual stores. The mall is open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Santa Monica’s Third Street — Combining urban sophistication with a laidback beach-town vibe, the pedestrian-only promenade offers a fantastic array of restaurants, shops and entertainment venues not to mention an endless supply of high-quality street performers. 
    • Location: 1351 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica
    • Phone: 310-393-8355
    • Hours: Store hours vary. Call for more information.
  • Melrose — The heart of L.A.’s fashion scene lies along Melrose Avenue and Robertson and Beverly boulevards. In addition to high-fashion imports, West Hollywood is home to many homegrown designers and eclectic boutiques.

  • Rodeo Drive — See fabulous boutiques, and watch for celebrity shoppers, along this iconic shopping district located in Beverly Hills.
  • The Lab in Cost Mesa —This is a retail destination for anyone looking for an alternative shopping experience. Dubbed the "anti-mall,” the site features poetry  readings, dancers and live music in addition to hip stores.
    • Location: 2930 Bristol St., Costa Mesa
    • Phone: 714-966-6660
    • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Orange County’s Little Siagon — The Orange County town of Westminster is home to a thriving Vietnamese community. Little Saigon's heart lies along a mile-long stretch of Bolsa Avenue. The Asian Garden Mall is a collection of boutiques, cafes and the largest gold jewelry mart under one roof in the United States.
    • Location: 14491 Beach Blvd., Westminster
    • Phone: 714-898-9648
  • The Outlets at Orange County — Orange County’s only outlet shopping destination is home to more than 120 outlet and value retail stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Last Call by Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom Rack, DKNY, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and more.
    • Location: 20 City Blvd., Orange
    • Phone: 714-769-4001
    • Hours: Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Ghirardelli Square — San Francisco iconic Ghirardelli Square is one of the classiest former factory sites in the world. The 1893 complex once served as the manufacturing center for all things chocolate. While you can still buy Ghirardelli’s signature chocolates, the handsome brick buildings now house shops and restaurants. For the classic San Francisco experience, arrive at Ghirardelli Square by cable car and take a free tour of Ghirardelli Square each Wednesday and Thursday at 9:30 a.m. starting at the concierge booth in the center of the square.

  • San Francisco’s China Town — The oldest Chinatown in North America, San Francisco's vibrant Chinese neighborhood almost feels like you've traveled to a distant country. Countless bustling shops sell unique souvenirs on overloaded shelves. The neighborhood is also home to stores that sell precious jewels, jade, hard-to-find cooking and art supplies. Follow the locals to find some of the most memorable Asian cooking outside of China.

  • The Haight — Counter-culture meets boutique shopping on historic Haight Street. Once ground zero for the peace-and-love hippie days of the '60s and '70s, "the Haight" as it's called by locals still has an alternate air with smoke shops, tie-dye retailers and music stores along with an array of clothing shops, cafes and gift stores.

  • Pier 39 — Looking for souvenirs? Go to San Francisco's Embarcadero waterfront and browse an incredible array of shops and boutiques at Pier 39. Here you can get candy and quick snacks, sit down for a meal with a million-dollar view of San Francisco Bay or enjoy street performers and musicians. If that's not enough, watch California sea lions as they lounge, play and bark in the marina.

  • Fishermen’s Warf — Craving seafood? Although famous for its historic scenic waterfront, shopping and friendly California sea lions, the wharf is actually all about the food. San Francisco classics such as sourdough bread and Irish coffee all began here.

  • Mission District — The most diverse neighborhood in San Francisco has an eclectic dining scene with hip and ultra-chic (but approachable) restaurants and late-night taquerias filled with the sound of ranchero music.

  • Union Square — The grand epicenter of San Francisco shopping, Union Square also dishes out a variety of upscale and casual San Francisco dining options from swank eateries to epic hotel restaurants.

  • Napa Premium Outlets —  This outlet center boasts 50 outlet stores including Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Barneys New York, BCBG Max Azria, Brooks Brothers and Calvin Klein.
    • Location: 629 Factory Stores Drive, Napa
    • Phone: 707-226-9876
    • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Sausalito — Located across the Golden Gate Bridge, the seaside town features world class dining, galleries and boutiques. Located just minutes from San Francisco, it is also the gateway to the legendary California wine country, majestic redwoods and wild northern coast.

  • St. Helena — This Napa Valley town is famed for shopping and award-winning restaurants. Shop for one-of-a-kind keepsakes in boutiques and galleries or simply pamper yourself a spa.

  • Figs Garden Village — This outdoor shopping center is home to several dozen stores from J. Crew to Coach and Eddie Bower.
    • Location: 5082 N. Palm Ave., Fresno
    • Phone: 559-226-4084
    • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market — Operated by Fresno State University, this farmers' market boasts food products made by students. Load up on award-winning wine, olive oil, nuts, honey, sausage and other meats, organic produce and even ice cream.
    • Location: 5638 N. Chestnut Ave., Fresno
    • Phone: 559-278-4511
    • Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Basque Cuisine in Bakersfield — The history of transplanted Basque sheepherders runs deep in Bakersfield. For visitors, this means an unexpected host of fine Basque restaurants.

  • San Joaquin Certified Farmers’ Market ­— This market operates at Stockton’s Weberstown Mall every Sunday morning with Asian vendors selling produce unrecognizable to many Western shoppers. Spring through fall, the market is also open on Thursdays.
    • Location: 4994 Claremont Ave., Stockton
    • Phone: 209-487-4242
    • Hours: Hours vary depending on the location. Call for more information.
  • Fresno County Fruit Trail — From May through September, follow the Fresno County Fruit Trail to tour the many farm stands that litter the region.  These friendly farms, many of them family-run, host lively festivals and seasonal events where you can pick your own produce and taste and buy delicious pies, preserves and other treats straight from the farmers' kitchens.
  • Cannery Row — Made famous by author John Steinbeck, Monterey’s Cannery Row has reinvented itself into a lively destination. Many old buildings have been refurbished as restaurants, galleries and shops. Between browsing and nibbling, stop to sample local wines.
    • Location: Cannery Row & Wave Streets, Monterey
    • Phone: 831-649-6690
  • Monterey Wineries — There are more than 65 wineries in Monterey County, 30 of which have individual tasting rooms.
  • Gilroy Premium Outlets — Though a bit of a hike from Monterey, this outlet center houses 145 stores, ranging from JCrew to Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth, Timberland and Tommy Hilfiger.
    • Location: 681 Leavesley Road, Gilroy
    • Phone: 408-842-3729
    • Hours:  Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m;, and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Shopping in Carmel — Carmel has been in the Top 10 Visitor Destinations as named by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine for the past eight years due in part to the fantastic shopping. There are more than 80 art galleries and dozens of unique shops selling gifts, books, cameras, jewelry, toys, pet accessories and surf boards.

  • Barnyard Shopping Village — This landmark on the Monterey Peninsula features more than 45 merchants, ranging from couture fashion shops to art galleries, jewelry designs, women’s golf apparel, equestrian wear, shoes and home furnishings.
    • Location: 26400 Carmel Rancho Lane, Carmel
    • Phone: 1-877-MONTEREY
    • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Restaurant hours vary.
  • Palm Canyon Drive — Palm Canyon Drive, located at the heart of Palm Springs, features shops, galleries, restaurants and numerous home furnishings stores selling mid-century modern pieces.

  • Cabazon Outlets — Only 20 minutes west of Palm Springs, this 65,000-square-foot, open-air retail oasis features 19 specialty retailers such as Columbia Sportswear, Adidas and Le Creuset.
    • Location: 48750 Seminole Drive, Cabazon
    • Phone: 951-922-3000
    • Hours:  Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Desert Hill Premium Outlets — Here shoppers will find 130 outlets for high-end brands including Eli Tahari, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and Prada.
    • Location: 48400 Seminole Drive, Cabazon
    • Phone: 951-849-6641
    • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Palm Desert — Located 13 miles southeast of Palm Springs, Palm Desert was best known for its El Paseo Shopping District, a mile-long street that locals dubbed “the Rodeo Drive of the Desert.” Elsewhere, the Gardens on El Paseo is home to Saks Fifth Avenue, Brooks Brothers and Tommy Bahamas as well as more than 20 jewelers, home furnishing stores and restaurants. Westfield Palm boasts more than 180 stores and more than 20 galleries.

  • The Shops at Heavenly Village — The Shops at Heavenly Village is Lake Tahoe's best shopping venue with local and national brands and popular restaurants as well as ice skating and mini golf at the seasonal outdoor pavilion.
    • Location: 1001 Heavenly Village Way, South Lake Tahoe
    • Phone: 775-265-2087
    • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Restaurants hours vary. The skating area is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the winter months.
  • Shopping in Truckee — This small town located a short drive from Lake Tahoe offers diverse boutique stores and home furnishings and locally made jewelry and art.

  • The Village at Northstar — Don't miss out on the fashions available at these high-end stores that feature everything from ski and snowboard equipment to designer shoes to hand-made jewelry.
    • Location: 5001 Northstar Drive, Truckee
    • Hours: Call for more information.
  • Cobblestone Center in Tahoe City — Rather than the chain stores and everyday names, Cobblestone Center has privately-owned and operated shops that feature anything from t-shirts to fine furniture.
    • Location:  495 North Lake Blvd., Tahoe City
    • Hours: Hours of operation vary by store
  • Old Sacramento — Located along Sacramento’s waterfront, this 28-acre state historic park captures the flavor of the Gold Rush era. The cobblestone streets are filled with quaint boutiques, galleries and places to grab a quick bite or settle in for a fancy meal.

  • Nevada City — A hamlet of regal Victorian homes and narrow, maple-lined streets, Nevada City  sports restaurants and antique shops housed inside impeccable 19th-century buildings adorned with wooden awnings and elaborate wrought-iron balconies.

  • Folsom Premiums Outlets — Visit 80 outlets ranging from Coach to BCBG and Kenneth Cole to Calvin Klein.
    • Location: 13000 Folsom Blvd., Folsom
    • Phone: 916-985-0312
    • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Downtown Plaza — Connected to Old Sacramento through a pedestrian tunnel covered with colorful murals, this open-air mall features department stores, a bookstore and specialty clothing stores. Plaza shoppers are entertained by strolling musicians, jugglers, acrobats and mimes.
    • Location: 547 L St., Sacramento
    • Phone: 916-442-4000
    • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • North Sacramento — Located across the American River from Sacramento, this old neighborhood centered on Del Paso Boulevard has more than a dozen galleries. Today, spiffed up and known as Uptown, the area has also attracted interesting restaurants and cafes. To the east is Arden Fair Mall with theaters, restaurants and a multitude of shopping opportunities.

  • The Gaslamp Quarter — This 16-block area of downtown San Diego is very walkable. Amid the modern skyscrapers sits historic Victorian-era buildings housing trendy boutiques, cafes and galleries and restaurants spilling onto sidewalk patios.

  • Bazaar del Mundo — The Bazaar del Mundo is regarded as one of the best shopping areas in San Diego. This colorful entry to the city’s Old Town community includes colorful boutiques, home accessories and collectibles, handcrafted jewelry plus crafts and folk art from Mexico.
    • Location: 4133 Taylor St., San Diego
    • Phone: 619-296-3161
    • Hours: Sunday and Monday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Fiesta de Reyes – Located within Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, the “Courtyard of Delights,” boasts world-class restaurants, 19 unique shops and an outdoor stage with free entertainment.
    • Location: 2754 Calhoun St., San Diego
    • Phone: 619-297-3100
    • Hours: Open daily, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • The Old Town Market — Two dozen stores and four restaurants provide local flare and flavor with hand-made jewelry, handcrafted items from Mexico, leather goods, art and dolls.
    • Location: 4010 Twiggs St., Old Town State Historic Park, San Diego
    • Phone: 619-220-0692
    • Hours: The market opens at 10 a.m. Closing times vary throughout the year. Call for more information.
  • Carlsbad Premium Outlets — Located north of downtown San Diego, the outlet center boasts 90 discount stores from Barney’s NY to Ralph Lauren.
    • Location: 5620 Paseo del Norte, Carlsbad
    • Phone: 760-804-9000
    • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Funk Zone — Don’t be thrown by the name. This storied area located between the Pacific Ocean and Highway 101 in downtown Santa Barbara doesn’t have a funk so much as a fun vibe with winemakers, surfboard shapers and up-and-coming chefs housed in old warehouses and scuba shops.

  • Santa Barbara Waterfront — Find souvenirs at Santa Barbara’s Waterfront and Stearns Wharf. The Santa Barbara Harbor features a variety of seafront shops, restaurants and museums. Arlington Plaza is all about high-end shopping. Each Sunday, more than 200 artisans set up along Cabrillo Boulevard from 10 a.m. until dusk for the revered Arts and Crafts Show.

  • Paseo Nuevo — Head to the area around State Street to explore more than 50 stores surrounded by bubbling fountains and lush greenery.
    • Location: 651 Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara
    • Phone: 805-963-7147
    • Hours: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Presidio District — Located off the beaten path in Santa Barbara, you'll find stores that specialize in everything from gourmet cheeses and breads to handmade jewelry.

  • SoCo — South of Cota Street in Santa Barbara you'll find a hip district that specializes in clothing from top Hollywood costume designers to retro gems at consignment stores.

  • Historic Downtown Santa Barbara — Wander along brick-lined sidewalks, through outdoor plazas and hop from boutique to boutique at your own pace. You'll find major retailers such as Lucky Brand and Banana Republic as well as high-end boutiques like Betsey Johnson and Juicy Couture. There are also fun local specialty shops selling comics, rugs and jewelry.

  • Seafood Dining in Santa Barbara — Make the most of your soiree in Santa Barbara with a stop at the Santa Barbara Harbor and Stearns Wharf. Here you’ll find authentic fish ‘n chips-style dining. Follow that up with a visit to State Street where many downtown restaurants specialize in California coastal cuisine.

  • Ontario Mills — It’s the largest outlet mall in California with more than 200 stores selling clothing, jewelry, sporting goods, footwear and more.  Stores include Neiman Marcus Last Call, Coach Factory Store, Michael Kors, Lucky Brand Jeans Outlet and Nordstrom Rack.
    • Location: 1 Mills Circle, Ontario
    • Phone: 909-484-8301
    • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Inland Center Mall — Located off Interstate 215, the mall hosts major department stores like Macy’s as well as many specialty shopping stores like Victoria’s Secret and Hallmark.
    • Location: 500 Inland Center Drive, San Bernardino
    • Phone: 909-884-7268
    • Hours: Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Hospitality Lane — This entertainment and dining district is located just a few miles away from San Bernardino’s downtown area along the street bearing the same name.

  • Victoria Gardens — With the motto “One Destination. Countless Experiences” this Rancho Cucamonga park boasts a mixture of fine restaurants, high-end stores, cafes, entertainment venues and professional offices housing cultural services.
    • Location: 12505 N. Main St., Rancho Cucamonga
    • Phone: 909-463-2828
    • Hours: Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Golf Courses & Sports Venues

  • Staples Center — This famed concert venue is also home to numerous professional sports teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Sparks and the Los Angeles Kings.
    • Location: 1111 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles
    • Phone: 213-742-7575
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming games.
  • Dodgers Stadium — Home to the famed Los Angeles Dodgers, the stadium is a treasured southern California landmark that has also played host to rock legends and a papal visit.
    • Location 1000 Elysian Park Ave., Los Angeles
    • Phone: 323-224-1507
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming games and events.
  • Angel Stadium — Located just minutes outside Los Angeles in Anaheim, the stadium underwent a major renovation in 1996 and today seats more than 45,000 spectators.
    • Location: 2000 Gene Autry Way, Anaheim
    • Phone: 714-940-2000
    • Costs: Call for information regarding ticket prices.
    • Hours: all for information regarding future games.
  • The Ducks — Owned by the Walt Disney Company, the Anaheim Ducks got their inspiration from the studio’s hit film “The Mighty Ducks” staring Emilio Estevez. The team’s home ice is the Honda Center.
    • Location: 2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim
    • Phone: 877-WILD WING; 877-945-3946
    • Cost: Call for information regarding ticket prices
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming games.
  • Rancho Park Golf Course — Operated by the city of Los Angeles, this par-71 public course has hosted PGA, LPGA and senior tournaments.
    • Location:10460 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles
    • Phone: 301-838-7373
    • Costs: Greens fees start at $33 for city residents and $38 for non-residents. Cart rental fees vary by day of the week and time of day. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Call for hours of operation and tee times.
  • Trump National Los Angeles — Situated high atop the bluffs of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles ranks as one of the world’s most beautiful courses and has earned comparisons to Pebble Beach. While it is considered the most expensive golf course ever built at $250 million, but the course is open to the public.
    • Location: 1 Trump National Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes
    • Phone: 310-26-5500
    • Cost: Golf rates vary by time of day and time of year. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Open seven days week starting at 7 a.m. until dusk.
    • Other: Proper golf attire and footwear is required. Collared shirts only, no denim materials of any type.  Metal spikes or cleats are prohibited.
  • Santa Anita Park — Home to the celebrated Breeder’s Cup race, Santa Anita’s race season runs from December through June. Tour the stalls and barn used by the famed racehorse Seabiscuit.
    • Location: 285 W. Huntington Drive, Arcadia
    • Phone: 626-574-RACE
    • Cost: Admission can vary so call for more details.
    • Hours: Call for information on race schedules.
  • Sea Ranch — Located along the San Francisco coast, this challenging Scottish-style golf course sports excellent ocean views.
    • Location: 42000 Coast Highway, Sea Ranch
    • Phone: 707-785-2468
    • Cost: Call for information regarding greens fees and cart rentals.
    • Hours: Call for information regarding tee times.
  • Levi’s Stadium Due to open in 2014, the stadium is the new home field for the San Francisco 49ers, replacing Candlestick Park.
    • Location: 4900 Marie O. Debartolo Way, Santa Clara
    • Phone: 415-GO-49ERS
    • Costs: Call for information regarding ticket prices.
    • Hours: call for information on upcoming games.
  • AT&T Park Located on San Francisco’s waterfront, this major league ball park features breathtaking views and is home field for the San Francisco Giants.
    • Location: 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco
    • Phone: 415-972-2000
    • Costs: Call for information regarding ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming games.
  • Ovestock.com Stadium — Also known as O.com Coliseum, it’s the home field for the NFL’s Oakland Raiders and the NBL’s Oakland Athletics.
    • Location: 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland
    • Phone: Stadium, 510-569-2121; Oakland A’s tickets, 501-638-4900; Oakland Raiders, 510-864-5000
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: The box office operates Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Oracle Arena — Renovated in 1997, this 19,596-seat indoor arena is home to the Golden State Warriors, Oakland’s NBA franchise since 1997.
    • Location: 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland
    • Phone: Arena, 510-569-2121; Golden State Warriors tickets,510-986-2200
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: The box office operates Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Mesa Marin Raceway —This NASCAR racetrack offers a range of races from March through October.
    • Location: 11000 Kern Canyon Road, Bakersfield
    • Phone: 661 366-5711
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices
    • Hours: Call for information on races dates and times.
  • Chukchansi Park — After opening its gates on May 1, 2002, this 12,500-seat minor league baseball park features incredible sight lines from every seat and dramatic views of the downtown skyline and nearby Sierra Mountains.
    • Location: 1800 Tulare St., Fresno
    • Phone: 559-320-TIXS
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming games.
  • Riverside Golf Course — Known as "Big Muni," this 18-hole public course sits along the scenic San Joaquin River with wide, tree-lined fairways and very small greens.
    • Location: 7672 N. Josephine, Fresno
    • Phone: 559-275-5900
    • Costs: Call for information on green fees.
    • Hours: Call for information on tee times.
  • Banner Island Ball Park — Located in Stockton, the waterfront ballpark has been home to the Stockton Ports since 2005. The division A minor league ball club is a farm team for the Oakland A’s.
    • Location: 404 W Fremont St., Stockton
    • Phone: 209-644-1900
    • Costs: Call for information regarding ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming games.
  • Stevinson Ranch — Located an hour outside Fresno, this immaculately conditioned golf course is considered one of the best in the state and attracts visitors from around the globe.
    • Location: 2700 N. Van Clief Road, Stevinson
    • Phone: 209-668-8200
    • Costs: Call for information regarding greens fees and other costs.
    • Hours: call for information regarding tee times.
  • Pebble Beach Golf Course — A golf course of legendary status, Pebble Beach is renowned for the challenge and panorama of its links.
    • Location: 1700 17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach
    • Phone: 831-625-8518
    • Costs: Call for information regarding green fees and other costs.
    • Hours: Call regarding information on tee times.
  • Monterey Pines Golf Course — Monterey Pines golf course is operated by the Navy Post Graduate School but open to the public.  It is located next to the Monterey County Fairgrounds
    • Location: Fairground & Gardens Road, Monterey
    • Phone: 831-656-2167
    • Costs: To play 18 holes it costs $18 for military personnel and $34 for civilians.
    • Hours: Call for information regarding tee times.
  • Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca —The racetrack hosts five world-class race weekends each season, with elite road racing series from around the world visiting the Monterey Peninsula every year.
    • Location: 1021 Monterey-Salinas Highway, Monterey,
    • Phone: 800-327-7322
    • Costs: Call for information regarding ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information regarding races days and times.
  • Monterey Bay Derby Dames — Yup, They’ve got roller derby in Monterey. Five teams take their names from Steinbeck novels (sort of) -- Babes of Wrath, Beats of Eden, Dread Ponies, Steinwreckers and Cannery Rollers.
    • Location: Water City, Monterey
    • Phone: 831-272-2489
    • Costs: Call for information regarding ticket costs.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming matches.
  • Furnace Creek —Situated in Death Valley National Park, Furnace Creek Golf Course lies 214 feet below sea level. As one of the lowest courses on the planet, golfers face the challenges of slightly greater gravitational pull and barometric forces that can make the ball behave in unexpected ways. Golf Digest has called Furnace Creek one of America's 50 toughest courses.
    • Location: Death Valley National Park, Highway 190, Death Valley
    • Phone: 760-786-2345
    • Costs: Call for information regarding green fees and other costs.
    • Hours: Call regarding information on tee times.
  • PGA West  — These championship courses are home to the famed Humana Challenge golf tournament. Hollywood’s most high profile celebrities, presidents and numerous PGA Tour pros have enjoyed PGA West’s six legendary courses. The PGA Stadium course is one of the toughest public courses in the country.
    • Location: 55-955 PGA Blvd., La Quinta
    • Phone: 800-742-9378
    • Costs: Call for information regarding green fees and other costs.
    • Hours: Call regarding information on tee times.
  • Escena Golf Club — This 18-hole, par 72 course is rated the sixth best public course in California by PGA Tour online thanks to wide fairways and great views.
    • Location: 1100 Clubhouse View Drive, Palm Springs
    • Phone: 760-778-2737
    • Costs: Call for information regarding green fees and other costs.
    • Hours: Call regarding information on tee times.
  • Lake Tahoe Golf Course — This mountain meadow course is scenic and fun. Though flat, it has enough trees and creeks in play to hold a player’s attention.
    • Location: 2500 Emerald Bay Road, South Lake Tahoe
    • Phone: 530-577-0788
    • Costs: Call for information regarding green fees and other costs.
    • Hours: Call regarding information on tee times.
  • Northstar at Tahoe Golf Course — Located near Lake Tahoe, Northstar features two nine-hole courses with distinct challenges. The resort has a driving range and offers adult, family, women and junior golf lessons.
    • Location: 168 Basque Drive, Truckee
    • Phone: 530-562-3290
    • Costs: Call for information regarding green fees and other costs.
    • Hours: Open daily, May 18 through mid-October from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call for information on tee times.
  • Old Greenwood Golf Course — Located on Lake Tahoe’s north shore, this Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course was rated among the “10 Best New Public-Access Courses in the Country” by Golf Magazine and placed fourth among “America’s Finest New Upscale Public Courses” by Golf Digest.
    • Locating: 12915 Fairway Drive, Truckee
    • Phone: 530-550-7010
    • Costs: Call for information regarding green fees and other costs.
    • Hours: Call regarding information on tee times.
  • Tahoe Paradise Golf Course — Tucked among towering pine trees just four miles from South Lake Tahoe, Tahoe Paradise Golf Course is beautiful, serene and affordable. The course itself is an 18-hole challenge for players of all abilities.
    • Location: 3021 US Hwy 50, South Lake Tahoe
    • Phone: 530-577-2121
    • Costs: Rates vary seasonally and by time of day. Discounts are available for seniors and juniors. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Call regarding information on tee times.
  • Sleep Train Arena — This 17,000-seat arena is home to the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. Nearly two million fans visit every year for events such as NBA games, concerts and Disney on Ice. 
    • Location: Sports Parkway, Sacramento
    • Phone: 916-928-6900
    • Costs: Call for information regarding ticket prices.
    • Hours: The box office operates Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call for information on upcoming games and events.
  • Saddle Creek — Ranked as one of the top 10 courses in the state by Golf Creek Magazine, the resort located in the foothills of Calaveras County is just a two-hour drive from San Francisco and one hour from Sacramento.
    • Location: 1001 Saddle Creek Drive, Copperopolis
    • Phone: 800-611-7722
    • Costs: Call for information regarding greens fees and other costs.
    • Hours: Call for information regarding tee times.
  • Alister MacKenzie — This well-maintained course is one of two at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex. A 100-stall, driving range is open 24 hours from May through September.
    • Location: 3645 Fulton Ave., Sacramento
    • Phone: 916-808-2525
    • Costs: Call for information regarding greens fees and other costs.
    • Hours: Call for information regarding tee times.
  • Torrey Pines Golf Course — Tiger and Roco thrilled the golfing world here at the 2008 U.S. Open Championship. Torrey Pines has long been recognized as one of the nation's best municipal golf facilities and is often described as a “golfer’s paradise.”
    • Location: 11480 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla
    • Phone: 858-581-7171; 858-552-1662
    • Costs: Call for information regarding greens fees and other costs.
    • Hours: Call for information regarding tee times. The administration offices are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Rancho Bernardo Inn — The public golf course here has hosted both PGA and LPGA Golf events and is sought out by golfers in search of a memorable round. 
    • Location: 17550 Bernardo Oaks Drive, San Diego
    • Phone: 858-675-8470
    • Costs: Call for information regarding greens fees and other costs.
    • Hours: Call for information regarding tee times.
  • Maderas Golf Club — Play one of San Diego’s only two courses on Golf Digest’s Top 100 list for 2013.
    • Location: 17750 Old Coach Road, Poway
    • Phone: 858-451-8100
    • Costs: Fees vary according to day of the week, with city residents afforded lower rates. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Call for more information regarding tee times.
  • Petco Park — Home field for the San Diego Padres since 2004, this open air ball park seats more than 42,000 with breathtaking views of San Diego.
    • Location: 100 Park Blvd., San Diego
    • Phone: 619-795-5000
    • Costs: Call for more information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Box office hours run Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  
  • Qualcomm Stadium — Home to the NFL’s San Diego Chargers, this football stadium seats 71,000 in the heart of Mission Valley just minutes from downtown San Diego. The stadium is host to the Holiday Bowl, the Poinsettia Bowl, Street Scene and more.
    • Location: 9449 Friars Road, San Diego
    • Phone: 619-641-3100; Chargers tickets, 858-874-4500
    • Costs: Call for more information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information regarding upcoming games and events.
  • Del Mar Racetrack — When the historic Del Mar racetrack opened in 1937, Bing Crosby was at the gate welcoming guests. Today, the ornate hallways are lined with vintage black-and-white photos and old-school vending machines with bags of warm nuts. Catch a race during the season, which runs July through September.
    • Location: 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar
    • Phone: 858-755-1141
    • Costs: $6 for admission to the Stretch Run and $10 for clubhouse.
    • Hours: Call for information regarding race schedules and other events
  • Sandpiper Golf Club — Named one of the top 25 public courses in the country by Golf Digest, this course, designed by William F. Bell and opened in 1972, features rolling fairways and challenging greens in a seaside links style layout.
    • Location: 7925 Hollister Ave., Goleta
    • Phone: 805-968-1541
    • Costs: Call for information regarding greens fees and other costs.
    • Hours: Call for information regarding tee times.
  • Rancho San Marcos Golf Course — Designed by legendary golf architect Robert Trent Jones Jr., this world-class par 71 course sits on 300 spectacular acres with stunning views of the Santa Ynez River Valley, distant furrowed peaks and eagles soaring above Lake Cachuma.
    • Location: 4600 Highway 154, Santa Barbara
    • Phone: 805-683-6334
    • Costs: Call for information regarding greens fees and other costs.
    • Hours: Call for information regarding tee times.
  • Auto Club Speedway — Formerly called California Speedway, visitors can watch funny cars, dragsters and monster trucks do their thing as well as NASCAR races. For extra excitement, get pit passes that let you down onto the track level where you can mingle with drivers, crews and cars.
    • Location: 9300 Cherry Ave., Fontana
    • Phone: 909-429-5651
    • Costs: Call for information on admission rates.
    • Hours: Call information regarding upcoming races and events.
  • San Manuel Stadium — As far back as 1899, professional baseball has been played in San Bernardino. This 5,000-seat stadium is home to the Inland Empire 66ers, the class “A” affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels. Team alumni include Ken Griffey, Jr.
    • Location: 280 South E. St., San Bernardino
    • Phone: 909-888-9922
    • Costs: Call for information regarding ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming games.
  • Glen Helen Raceway — This raceway hosts motocross and grand prix racing.
    • Location: 18585 Verdemont Ranch Road, San Bernardino
    • Phone: 909-384-9342
    • Costs: Call for information regarding ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming events.
  • Orange Show Speedway — Beginning in April, weather permitting, the speedway runs stock car, ministocks, super modifieds and more.
    • Location: 689 South E. St., San Bernardino
    • Phone: 909-888-6788
    • Costs: Call for information regarding ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming events.
  • Shandin Hills Golf Club — The public golf course is rated as one of Southern California's top 20 golf courses.
    • Location: 3380 Little Mountain Drive, San Bernardino
    • Phone: 909-886-2322
    • Costs: Call for information regarding greens fees.
    • Hours: Call for information on tee times.

Historical Sites & Landmarks

  • Grauman’s Chinese Theater — Opened in 1927, it operated as a movie theater and is today a sought after venue for Hollywood premieres. It is also home to hand and foot prints left by 150 celebrities, ranging from Marilyn Monroe to Johnny Depp.
    • Location: 6925 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
    • Phone: Phone: 323-464-8111
    • Costs: Call for information on movie tickets.
    • Hours: Call for movie times and information on upcoming events.  
  • Old Pasadena — In addition to great shopping, this section of Pasadena is a dynamic mix of century-old brick buildings and Spanish Revival structures and is included on the National Register of Historic Places. The local Pasadena Heritage group offers walking tours of the district.

  • Venice Canal District — Noteworthy for its man-made canals built in 1905, the canal district running between Venice and Washington Boulevards attempts to  recreate the appearance and feel of Venice, Italy in Southern California. The area surrounding the remaining canals was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

  • El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument — Los Angeles's oldest neighborhood is a vibrant testament to the region's colorful Mexican heritage with 27 historic buildings and a traditional plaza. The Avila Adobe, built in 1818, is the oldest building in L.A. and now houses an excellent museum. The central plaza hosts festivals and celebrations.
    • Location: 845 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles
    • Phone: 213-680-2525
  • Griffith Observatory — Located on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood, the observatory holds the largest astronomical image ever created, a 3,040-square-foot porcelain enamel wall that captures 1.7 million galaxies, stars and asteroids—all compiled from actual observation. Other intriguing exhibits include planetary models that whirl above the circular, 200-seat Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater.
    • Location: 2800 E. Observatory Ave., Los Angeles
    • Phone: 213-473-0800
    • Costs: Admission is free, but there is a nominal charge to see shows at the Samuel Ischin Planetarium.
    • Hours: Open Tuesday through Friday, noon to 10 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Mondays.
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame — There are more than 2,500 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street bearing the names of actors, musicians, directors, producers and others.
    • Location: Hollywood Boulevard at Vine Street, Los Angeles
    • Phone: 323-469-8311
  • Hollywood Sign — Situated on Mount Lee in the Hollywood Hills area of the Santa Monica Mountains, the nine-letter sign spelling out the city’s name is one of the world’s most evocative symbols.
    • Location: 3204 Canyon Lake Drive, Hollywood
    • Phone: 323-258-4338
  • The Mission at San Juan Capistrano — Located mid-way between L.A. and San Diego, the mission is a monument to California's multi-cultural history. It has extra cache as the site of an annual pilgrimage, of sorts. Thousands of swallows nest here in spring and summer, and then leave on almost the same day every year (October 23) to fly to Argentina and then return on March 19.
    • Location: 26801 Ortega Hwy., San Juan Capistrano,
    • Phone: 949-234-1300
    • Costs: $9 for adults; $8 for seniors; $6 for children, age 4 to 11; Free for children, age 3 and younger.
    • Hours: Open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Closed at noon Good Friday and Christmas Eve.
  • Ghirardelli Square — Iconic Ghirardelli Square was built on the site of a former woolen mill and formerly served as the center for all things chocolate. A free guided walking history tour of Ghirardelli Square starts every Wednesday and Thursday at 9:30 a.m. at the concierge booth in the center of the square.

  • Alcatraz Island — Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Alcatraz Island is one of California’s best known landmarks. The famous prison that once housed the likes of Al Capone and George "Machine Gun" Kelly features one of the best views in the Bay Area. You'll also find rotating exhibits and stories about the island's challenging living conditions. Audio tours are excellent.
    • Location: Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco
    • Phone: 415-556-0560
    • Costs: Access to the island is through a private ferry company under contract with the National Park Service, Alcatraz Cruises. Tickets include the ferry ride and the cell house audio tour. For schedules, prices and to purchase tickets in advance, please call Alcatraz Cruises atl 415-981-7625.
    • Hours: Alcatraz is open every day except Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Hours of operation vary seasonality. Call for more information.
  • Jack London State Historic Park — Located outside San Francisco in Glen Ellen, the bucolic ranch is where the author wrote some of his famous adventure stories.
    • Location: 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen
    • Phone: 707-938-5216
    • Costs: Park admission - $10 per vehicle; $5 per bike or walk in. Cottage entry fees - $4 for adults; $2 for seniors and students; Free for children, age 11 and younger.
    • Hours: The park operates 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., but the days of operation vary seasonally. Call for more information.
  • Golden Gate Bridge — Walk or bike across one of the world's most famous spans. Built in the mid-1930s, the bridge stretches almost two miles across San Francisco Bay to Marin County.
    • Location: 1011 Andersen Drive, San Rafael
    • Phone: 415-455-2000
    • Other: A viewing area at the south end of the bridge is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Nob Hill — Located up a very steep hill from Union Square, the prestigious Nob Hill neighborhood is beset with mansions and elegant hotels overlooking San Francisco.

  • Cable Car Museum — A museum to San Francisco's beloved cable cars has a subterranean walkway that lets visitors see the moving cable.
    • Location: 1201 Mason St., San Francisco
    • Phone: 415-474-1887
    • Costs: Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.
    • Hours: Open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Ride a San Francisco Cable Car — Nothing is more San Francisco than riding a cable car. The city is served by three routes. The Powell Mason line starts at the Powell Market turntable and travels over Nob Hill and ends at Fisherman’s Warf. The Powell Hyde line runs over Nob Hill ending at Ghirardelli Square. The California Street line runs east toward the financial district through Chinatown and Nob Hill.
    • Costs: Tickets are $6 each way. Pay $15 for a one-day pass, $23 for a three-day pass and $29 for a seven-day pass. Children under age 4 ride for free.
  • The Palace of Fine Arts — Built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Expo in San Francisco, the original structure was torn down and reconstructed in 1964.  Today, the Palace of Fine Arts remains a beautiful picturesque oasis that lures tourists in with its simplistic beauty.
  • Coit Tower — Built to honor the city's volunteer firemen, the monument has an observation deck that provides a 360-degree views of the city and bay, including the Golden Gate and Bay bridges. Tickets can be purchased in the gift shop.
    • Location: Telegraph Hill Blvd., San Francisco
    • Phone: 415-362-0808
    • Costs: Admission varies for city residents and non-residents. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Renovations to be completed April 2014. Call for hours of operation.
  • Kearney Mansion Museum — Located in the 225-acre Kearney Park, the museum was the home of one of Fresno's most prominent early residents. Today the mansion exhibits some of the original furnishings, wallpaper and art nouveau light fixtures.
    • Location: 7160 Kearney Blvd., Fresno
    • Phone: 559-441-0862
    • Costs: Call for information on admission prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on hours of operations.
  • Forestiere Underground Gardens — Using only hand tools, Sicilian immigrant Baldassare Forestiere spent 40 years creating the extraordinary subterranean maze of rooms, grottos and patios known as Forestiere Underground Gardens. The complex also features unique trees, shrubs and vines all growing underground.
    • Location: 5021 W. Shaw Ave., Fresno
    • Phone: 559-271-0734
    • Costs: Call for information on admission prices.
    • Hours: Call for information regarding hours and days of operation.
  • Meux Home Museum — This museum was once the home Dr. T.R. Meux, a Civil War surgeon who became a renowned Fresno area physician. The home has been restored with furnishings to portray early Fresno family life. Guided tours are available daily.
    • Location: 1007 R St., Fresno
    • Phone: 559-233-8007
    • Costs: Call for information on admission prices.
    • Hours: Call for information regarding days and hours of operation.
  • Cannery Row — Made famous by author John Steinbeck, Monterey’s Cannery Row has deep historic roots. Many old buildings have been refurbished as restaurants, galleries and shops. For Steinbeck lovers, the street is a novel come to life. The Bear Flag Building (where bordello owner Dora ran a restaurant) is has a distinctive “dragon” roof. The structure at 800 Cannery Row was once the Pacific Biological Laboratory, the workplace of marine biologist and ecologist Ed Ricketts who was the inspiration for Steinbeck character Doc Ricketts.
    • Location: Cannery Row & Wave Streets, Monterey
    • Phone: 831-649-6690
  • Monterey State Historic Park — The state park in Monterey operates tours of its gardens and historic buildings that date back to the 17th century.
    • Location: 20 Custom House Plaza, Monterey
    • Phone: 831-649-7118
    • Costs: Call for information on admission prices and other fees.
    • Hours: Call for information on hours and days of operation.
  • Hearst Castle — Located 65 miles away from Big Sur, the castle was built over 28 years by architect Julia Morgan for newspaper king William Randolph Hearst. It includes ornate swimming pools, lavish gardens and priceless art. To see some of the 165 rooms, book one of four different tours.
    • Location: 750 Hearst Castle Road, San Simeon
    • Phone: 800-444-4445
    • Cost: $25 for adults; $12 for children.
    • Hours: Call for information on hours of operations.  
  • Point Sur Lighthouse — Now part of a state park located 19 miles south of Carmel, the lighthouse is the only turn-of-the-century light station open to the public in California.
    • Location: Big Sur Station 1, Big Sur
    • Phone: 916-653-6995
    • Cost: Call for information about fees and reservations.
    • Hours: Call for information on hours and days of operation.
  • Carmel Mission — Founded in 1770, Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo is considered one of the state's truly outstanding historic monuments. The gardens are popular spot for artists. The mission houses a number of artifacts in five distinct museums on site.
    • Location: 3080 Rio Road, Carmel
    • Phone: 831-624-1271
    • Costs: $6.50 for adults, $4 for seniors, $2 for children, age 7 and older; Free for children, age 6 and younger.
    • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Mission is closed Easter Sunday and Monday, Thanksgiving and over the Christmas holidays.
  • Henry Miller Library — The Henry Miller Memorial Library is an arts center championing the late writer, artist and Big Sur resident.
    • Location: Highway One; 1/4 mile south of Nepenthe restaurant.
    • Phone: 831-667-2574
    • Costs: call for more information.
    • Hours: Open daily, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Calico — Back in the 1880s, Calico was the home of the largest silver strike in California's history. Today, visitors can explore Maggie's Mine, the Lane House Museum with historic photos and memorabilia, the old school house and the Chinese section where Asian laborers once lived. Calico also has a variety of shops and restaurants, many in original buildings and others in structures built to fit into the ghost town theme.
    • Location: 36600 Ghost Town Road, Yermo
    • Phone: 760-254-2122
    • Costs: Call for more information.
    • Hours: Open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Scotty’s Castle — Hidden in Grapevine Canyon in far northern Death Valley, the Death Valley Ranch, or Scotty's Castle as it is more commonly known, harkens back to the Roaring '20s and Depression '30s. It was an engineer's dream home, a wealthy matron's vacation home and a man-of-mystery's hideout and getaway.
    • Location: Death Valley National Park
    • Phone: 760-786-2392 ext.231
    • Costs: Ranger-guided tours are the only way to see the inside of the house. Same-day tour tickets are sold at the Scotty's Castle Visitor Center. Prices vary by age, so call for more information.
    • Hours: The castle grounds are open daily, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call for information on tours.
  • Harmony Borax Works — Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, the plant played an important role in Death Valley history by producing tons of borax before it closed in 1888 when its founder suffered financial ruin. The company is famed for creating the 20-mule team to haul double wagons of borax through the Mojave Desert.
    • Location: Furnace Creek area of Death Valley National Park.
    • Phone: 760-786-3200
  • Twin Palms — Sinatra built his first major home, known as Twin Palms, in Palm Springs in 1947, cementing a genre known as Desert Modernism. Today, the house is rented out for vacations and functions, but it isn’t cheap as stays run several thousand a night and there’s a three-night minimum.
    • Location: 2901 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs
    • Phone: 760-778-8418
  • Movie Colony — Get a look at the homes of Jack Benny, Cary Grant and other luminaries. Located in central Palm Springs, within walking distance to the downtown, the Colony is comprised of approximately 170 homes and two parks.

  • Tallac Historic Site — Stroll through the former summer homes and gardens of four wealthy gilded-age families on the shores of Lake Tahoe, including the Baldwin Estate, the Pope Estate and Valhalla. A variety of tours are available. The Gatsby Festival is a two-day event at the Tallac Historic Site held each year the second weekend in August.
    • Location: State Hwy 89, South Lake Tahoe
    • Phone: 530-541-5227
    • Costs: A number of tours are at varied prices. Call for more information.
    • Hours: The entire site is open daily during the summer months. Call for information about tour schedules.
  • Vikingsholm — Located at the head of Emerald Bay State Park on Lake Tahoe, this magnificent "castle" was built as a summer home by Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight in 1929. A steep, one-mile trail leads from the parking lot to Vikingsholm and offers many scenic views.
    • Location: Hwy 89 at Emerald Bay State Park, South Lake Tahoe
    • Phone: 530-541-3030
    • Costs: $10.00 for adults and $8.00 for children, age 7 to 17. Children under 7 are free. Parking costs $10 per car.
    • Hours: Tours are available daily from Memorial Day weekend until the end of September. Tours run from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Gatekeepers Museum — This small museum documents the history of the area’s native peoples and its settlement in the 18th and 19th centuries.
    • Location: 130 W. Lake Blvd., Tahoe City
    • Phone: 530-583-1762
    • Costs: Call for more information.
    • Hours: May to mid-June, Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; mid-June to mid-October; open daily, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Watson Cabin Living Museum — The Watson is the oldest building in Tahoe City, sitting above Commons Beach.
    • Location: 560 North Lake Blvd., Tahoe City,
    • Phone: 530-583-8717
    • Costs: Call for more information
    • Hours: Hours vary seasonally. Call for more information.
  • Hellman-Ehrman Mansion — In 1897, San Francisco businessman I. W. Hellman began buying property at Sugar Pine Point and by 1913 had acquired nearly 2,000 acres. His grand but informal summer home, called Pine Lodge, was completed in 1903 and was considered to be one of the finest in the High Sierras.
    • Location: Highway 89 at Pine St., Tahoe City
    • Phone: 530-525-7982
    • Costs: $10 per person.
    • Hours: Call for more information.
  • Old Sacramento State Historic Park — Located along the city’s waterfront, the 28-acre state historic park is the first historic district in the West. The Gold Rush-era buildings have been beautifully restored into a hive of shops, eateries, comedy clubs, nightlife and historic sites and museums. For a personal touch, you can learn historic tidbits from volunteers dressed in period costumes who often stroll the boardwalk.

  • California Capitol — Home to the California Legislature, this 19th century granite building was modeled after the U.S. Capitol.
    • Location: 10th St., Sacramento
    • Phone: 916-324-0333
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Weekends, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tours are available hourly.
  • Governor's Mansion — Built in the late 19th century, this mansion was the official residence of the state's governor through the late 1960s. Today, guests see marble fireplaces, gold framed mirrors and handcrafted hinges and doorknobs.
    • Location: 1526 H St., Sacramento
    • Phone: 916-323-3047
    • Costs: $5 for adults; $3 for children, age 6 to 17; Free for children, age 5 and younger.
    • Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
  • California State Rail Road Museum — It’s a great destination even it you’re not a train buff. Exhibits include an enormous collection of vintage toy trains (numbering a staggering 1,000) and the golden spike driven into the completed Transcontinental Railroad on May 10, 1869.
    • Location: 111 I St., Sacramento
    • Phone: 916-445-6645
    • Costs: $10 for adults; $5 for children, age 6 to 17; Free for children, age 5 and younger.
    • Hours: Open daily, 0 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sacramento History Museums — The museum is a reproduction of the 1854 City Hall and Waterworks and offers the perfect starting point for exploring Old Sacramento State Historic Park.
    • Location: 101 I St., Sacramento
    • Phone: 916-808-7059
    • Costs: $6 for adults; $4 for children, age 6 to 17; Free for children, age 5 and younger.
    • Hours: Open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Gold Bug Mine — Get a feel for California's Gold Rush history. Tour real mines and hear stories of the men who risked their lives to strike it rich.  
    • Location: 2635 Gold Bug Lane, Placerville
    • Phone: 530-642-5207
    • Costs: $5 for adults; $3 for children, age 10 to 17; $2 for children, age 3 to 9; Free for children, age 2 and younger.
    • Hours: Tours run April through October. The park is open limited hours in winter. Call for more information.
  • Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park — Located near Nevada City, the park recreates a bygone era in the reconstructed town of North Bloomfield. Restored buildings and exhibits reconstruct life during California’s Gold Rush. Time your stay for the full moon, then pitch a tent in the campground.
    • Location: North Bloomfield Road, Nevada City
    • Phone: 530-265-2740
    • Costs: $8 for admission to the museum. Call for information on parks fees.
    • Hours: The park is open every day from sunrise to sunset. The museum is open Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tours of the town are offered at 1:30 p.m. on days the museum is open.
  • The Leland Stanford Mansion — Located in the middle of a state historic park, the Leland Stanford Mansion is a stunning example of the splendor and elegance of the Victorian era in California.  The 19,000-square-foot mansion was built in 1856 by Gold Rush merchant Sheldon Fogus and later purchased and remodeled (twice!) by Leland and Jane Stanford. Leland Stanford served as governor of California from 1862-1863. 
    • Location: Corner of 8th and 'N' streets, Sacramento
    • Phone: 916-324-0575; 916-324-9266
    • Costs: Free of charge
    • Hours: Tours offered Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Closed Monday and Tuesday.
  • Mission San Luis Rey de Francia — Founded in 1798 and known as the “King of the Missions,” Mission San Luis Rey de Francia is the largest of California’s 21 missions and includes extensive gardens and architectural beauty.
    • Location: 4050 Mission Ave., Oceanside,
    • Phone: 760-757-3651
    • Costs: $5 for adult; $4 for seniors, military personnel and children, age 6 to 8; Free for children, ages 5 and younger.
    • Hours: Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Whaley House — Topping Travel Channel's list of America’s most haunted houses, it is one of only two California houses recognized by the U.S. Commerce Department as being haunted.
    • Location: 2476 San Diego Ave., San Diego
    • Phone: 619-297-9327
    • Costs: Admission prices vary seasonally. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Hours and days of operation vary seasonally. Call for more information.
  • Old Town Historic State Park — In 1769 in what is now Old Town San Diego, Father Junipero Serra established the first mission in a chain of 21 throughout California. Today, Old Town Historic State Park offers a look back at the past with 17 museums and historical sites.

  • Old Mission Santa Barbara — The tenth to be established of the 21 missions eventually built in California, this building dates back to the 1700s when Spanish padres came north from Mexico. The nearby gardens make a lasting impression. Visitors can stroll among 10 acres of landscaped gardens. If you find a docent, see if you can get a peek at the glazed terra-cotta sculpture of St. Barbara watching over Mary and Jesus.
    • Location: 2201 Laguna St., Santa Barbara
    • Phone: 805-682-4713
    • Cost: $6 for adults; $5 for seniors; $1 for children, age 5 to 15; Free for children, age 4 and younger.
    • Hours: Summer hours - Daily, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Fall and winter hours - Daily, 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
  • El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park — This state historic park preserves the site of the last of four military outposts built by the Spanish along the coast of Alta California. Two buildings of the original presidio, which protected the Spanish missions, have been restored, others have been reconstructed and archaeological excavations and additional reconstructions are continuing.  
    • Location: 123 East Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara
    • Phone: 805-965-0093
    • Costs: Call for more information.
    • Hours: Open daily, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Casa del Herrero — Designated in 2009 as Santa Barbara's fourth national historic landmark, the Casa del Herrero was built in 1925 by St. Louis industrialist George Fox Steedman and remains a fine example of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture.
    • Location: 1387 E. Valley Road, Montecito
    • Phone: 805-565-5653
    • Cost: Docent-led tours cost $20 per person.
    • Hours: Tours are by reservation only on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
  • Historic Homes in Redlands — With the tagline "City of Beautiful Homes," Redlands, located outside San Bernandino, has entire neighborhoods filled with beautifully maintained Victorian and Arts and Crafts-era houses, ranging in size from bungalows to mansions. Some of these handsome homes were built by wealthy citizens wintering in the city, while others belonged to early residents who struck it rich in the burgeoning citrus industry.

  • County Court House — Located in downtown San Bernardino, the courthouse was the site of the Mormon Stockade. In 1851 Mormons built a 300-by-720-foot, 12-foot-high stockade when the town of San Bemardino was threatened by an Indian attack.

  • The First McDonald’s — Did you ever wonder where the fast-food chain got its start? The McDonald brothers opened their first "McDonald Restaurant” in San Bernardino, selling hamburgers for just 15 cents and fries for a dime.
    • Location: 1398 N. E St., San Bernardino
    • Phone: 909-885-6324
    • Costs: Call for more information
    • Hours: Call for more information
  • Temecula’s Old Town — The history of downtown Temecula traces back to 1858, when it was designated as a stop on the Butterfield Overland stage route. Annual events include Western Days in the spring with Old West skits and high-noon shootouts performed by costumed cowboys and a farmers' market.

Parks & Outdoor Activities

  • Hancock Park — At 23 acres, it is the largest public park in Los Angeles and plays home to major museums and the La Brea Tar pits.
    • Location: 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
    • Phone: 323-857-6594
  • Griffith Park —Griffith Park is in many ways a classic city park filled with family and cultural attractions, including the Griffith Observatory and Los Angeles Zoo as well as a network of trails for hikers, mountain bicyclists and equestrians.
    • Location: 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, Los Angeles
    • Phone: 323-913-4688
    • Costs: Free admission to the park.
    • Hours: Griffith Park is open to the public from 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Call for information regarding upcoming events.
  • Manhattan Beach — If you’re heading to Manhattan Beach, make sure to bring a volleyball. This is where the pros practice on one of the many public courts along the beach. Aside from volleyball, you can catch some rays, swim, rollerblade or bike on this clean stretch of beach.

  • South Bay Bicycle Trail — The world’s longest beach bike path stretches 22 miles from Pacific Palisades to Torrance and makes a curving sweep along Santa Monica Bay.
    • Location: 15330 Antioch St., Pacific Palisades
    • Phone: 310-459-7963
  • Venice Beach — Though famed as a hip and bohemian community, Venice Beach is just that: a beach.  The area’s sandy beaches receive high water testing scores for cleanliness. Cast your fishing line off the recently renovated Venice Pier.

  • Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area — This 80,000-acre protected space stretches from Hollywood into Ventura County in the Santa Monica Mountains. Beautiful and diverse, the area encompasses a number of parks and beaches, including the Will Rogers National Historical Park and Zuma Beach and Runyon Canyon.
    • Location: 401 W. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks
    • Phone: 805-370-2301
    • Costs: Though there are currently no costs or fees for entering the park, there is a charge for camping and special park use permits. Call for more information.
    • Hours: The National Park Service visitor’s center is open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Park lands are open year-round.
  • Santa Monica Pier — A southern California icon, the pier is famed for its entertainment. It’s also a great place to watch suffers or fish.
    • Location: 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica ‎
    • Phone: 310-458-8901
    • Hours: Open year-round. Call for information on upcoming events.
  • The Newport Harbor and Beach — Located in Orange County, the area features miles of paths, fresh seafood, two piers and an old-fashioned amusement park.
    • Location: 1600 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach
    • Phone: 800-942-6278
  • Cleveland National Forest — Beyond the beaches and the malls, Orange County has a mountainous side. Cleveland National Forest comprises nearly 40,000 acres with wild lands, steep canyons and meadows. In the higher elevations of the Santa Ana Mountains, there are pine forests.
    • Location: Trabuco Ranger District Office, 1147 E. 6th St.,  Corona
    • Phone: 951-736-1811
    • Costs: Most national forest lands are open, free of charge. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Call for information on hours of operation.
  • The Wedge — Looking to body surf? The Wedge is an expert-only spot on Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach
    • Location: The Wedge is accessible from Balboa Boulevard, Newport Beach
    • Phone: Call 949-673-3371 for a surf report.
  • Huntington Beach — Though this Orange County beach town is celebrated as Surf City USA, it may just be the world's bonfire capital too. With nearly 600 fire rings available on a first-come, first-served basis, bonfires are a city tradition along with surfing and volleyball.

  • Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk — Located between San Francisco and Monterey, the boardwalk is over a century old and boasts one of California’s last beachfront amusement parks.
  • Mavericks — The world's big-wave mecca sits just north of Half Moon Bay near San Francisco. Make no mistake, riding Mavericks is dangerous. So unless you’re a skilled big-wave surfer, it’s best to watch from the safety of the beach at Pillar Point.

  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area — Among the world's largest urban national parks, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area hugs the California coastline for nearly 60 miles around the San Francisco Bay Area and includes a number of national parks. Muir Woods National Monument is one of the easiest places to see old-growth coast redwoods.
    • Location: The park’s information center is located at Fort Masin
    • Phone: 415-561-4700
    • Cost: Call for information regarding admission costs and fees.  
    • Hours: Call for more information.
  • Año Nuevo State Reserve — Located in San Mateo County about 55 miles south of San Francisco, the preserve boasts the largest mainland breeding colony of northern elephant seals in the world. But there's even more to see. Año Nuevo is also home to many other land mammals, birds, and reptiles.
    • Location: North of Davenport, Off Hwy 1
    • Phone: 650-879-2025
    • Cost: $10 per car
    • Hours: Open daily, the park opens at 8 a.m. and the gates are locked at sunset.
    • Others: December through March is birthing and breeding season for the elephant seals, and visitor access to the wildlife protection area within the reserve may be closed or restricted to guided walks only.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson State Park — The author of Treasure Island spent his honeymoon here in 1880. Although nothing remains of Stevenson’s cabin, the site is identified on the trail to the summit of Mount St. Helena, the tallest peak in Napa County. Views from the summit are spectacular.
    • Location: Calistoga
    • Phone: 707-942-4575
    • Costs: Free admission
    • Hours: Call for information.
  • Petrified Forest — Step back in time, about three million years, and follow the trail of majestic petrified redwood giants.
    • Location: 4100 Petrified Forest Road, Calistoga
    • Phone: 707-942-6667
    • Cost: $10 for adults; $9 for seniors and children, age 12 to 17; $5 for children, age 6 to 11; Free for children, age 5 and younger.
    • Hours: Hours of operation vary seasonally. Call for more information. The trail is open for self-guided tours throughout the day. Docent-led tours occur at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at no additional charge.
  • Woodward Regional Park — Located in Fresno, Woodward Park boasts more than seven miles of paved trails, as well as a BMX track and jumps, a mountain bike progression park and a small pond for fishing.
    • Location: 7775 Friant Road, Fresno
    • Phone: 559-621-2905
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Call for more information.
  • Kings Canyon National Park — The park boasts giant canyons with towering rock walls, countless lakes, waterfalls and mountain meadows.
    • Location: The entrance is 55 miles east of downtown Fresno on Highway 180. Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon share the same park entrance gates.
    • Phone: 559-565-3341
    • Costs: Call for more information.
    • Hours: The park is open 24/7.
  • Sequoia National Park — Sequoia is home to the General Sherman tree and Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States.
    • Location: The entrance is 55 miles east of downtown Fresno on Highway 180. Sequoia and Kings Canyon share the same park entrance gates.
    • Phone: 559-565-3341
    • Costs: Call for more information.
    • Hours: The park is open 24/7.
  • The Sierra National Forest — Located on the western slope of the central Sierra Nevadas, the park is known for its spectacular mountain scenery. The Sierra National Forest encompasses more than 1.3 million acres between 900 and 13,986 feet in elevation.
    • Location: Oakhurst-North Fork, CA 93634
    • Phone: 559-297-0706
    • Costs: Call for more information.
    • Hours: The park is open 24/7.
  • 17 Mile Drive —The scenic drive offers spectacular views of the mountains, beaches and the famous Pebble Beach golf course. You get to see the 21 points of interest including underwater rock formations that cause wave turbulence and a fan shell overlook that attracts harbor seals and sea lions.

  • Point Lobos State Nature Reserve — Point Lobos has often been called "the crown jewel of the State Park System” with outstanding sightseeing and scuba diving as well as endangered archeological sites, unique geological formations and incredibly rich flora and fauna.
    • Location: The entrance is located three miles south of Carmel on Highway 1.
    • 831-624-4909
    • Costs: $10 per car
    • Hours: Open daily, 8 a.m. to 30 minutes before sunset.
  • Andrew Molera State Park — Located 22 miles south of Carmel on State Highway 1, the 4,766-acre park boasts miles of trails winding through meadows, beaches and hilltops and along the Big Sur River. A unique way to explore this park is by horse.
    • Location: The park is 20 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1.
    • Phone: 831-667-2315
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Open 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
  • Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park — With its dramatic ridgelines that soar to 3,000 feet above the Pacific, the park’s trails lead to waterfalls that drop into the sea and towering coast redwoods.
    • Location: 47225 Highway 1, Big Sur
    • Phone: 831-667-2315
    • Costs: Call for information
    • Hours: Open daily, 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
  • Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park — Named after a respected resident and rancher in the Big Sur region, the park is located 35 miles south of Carmel and features McWay Falls, ancient redwoods and areas for scuba diving. Visitors can watch for gray whales from Overlook Trail.
    • Location: Highway 1, Big Sur
    • Phone: 831-667-2315
    • Cost: Call for information
    • Hours: Open daily, 8 a.m. to 30 minutes before sunset.
  • Pinnacles National Park — Explore caves, look for condors and rock climb in this starkly beautiful preserve located inland from Salinas. The park's namesake rock formations are actually the remains of an ancient volcano. A popular climbing destination, the remote region is also one the few places in the world to look for the California condor, one of the world's rarest birds.
    • Location: 5000 Highway 146, Paicines
    • Phone: 831-389-4485
    • Costs: call for more information.
    • Hours: The park’s east entrance is open 24/7. The visitor’s center is open Saturday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Death Valley National Park — The hottest, driest and lowest place in America, Death Valley is one of three national parks located in the Mohave Desert with more than three million acres of wilderness and hundreds of miles of backcountry roads. The park includes an amazing variety of terrain and historic sites. Visitors can hike the Golden Canyon, view the salt flats or pose for photos near the sign marking North America’s lowest point (282 feet below sea level).
    • Location: The visitor center is located in the Furnace Creek resort area on California Highway 190, roughly 30 miles from Death Valley Junction and 24 miles from Stovepipe Wells Village.
    • Phone: 760-786-3200
    • Costs: $20 for each vehicle; $10 for individuals on foot or motorcycle. Call for information on other fees.
    • Hours: Death Valley National Park is open year-round. Winter hours - 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Summer hours - 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
  • Anza-Borrego Desert State Park — The park occupies more than a fifth of San Diego County, and in spring the desert's wildflowers are an unforgettable sight. There is certainly more to see and do here throughout the year. The largest state park in California, with 12 wilderness areas and 500 miles of dirt roads, Anza-Borrego boasts an array of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, mule deer, iguanas, chuckwalla lizards, red diamond rattlesnakes, kit foxes and golden eagles.
    • Location: 200 Palm Canyon Drive, Borrego Springs
    • Phone: Park Office 760-767-5311; Visitor Center 760-767-4205
    • Costs: Call for more information on park fees.
    • Hours: Dawn until dusk.
  • Joshua Tree National Park — Located in the Mohave Desert, the park consists of more than a half million acres of stark wilderness with a fascinating variety of plants, animals and geology. The park's namesake Joshua trees, actually a form of yucca, sprawl their branches like twisted arms. Night skies fill with what seems like an impossible number of stars. Climbers test their skills on the area’s dramatic granite monoliths. Hikers explore rugged canyons.
    • Location: 6554 Park Blvd., Joshua Tree
    • Phone: 760-366-1855
    • Cost: $15 for a seven-day vehicle pass; $7 a day for visitors entering the park on foot or bicycle.
    • Hours: The park is open 24/7 and may be visited any time of year.
  • The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway — Climbing 6,000 feet from the Sonoran Desert floor up into the San Jacinto Mountains, the glass-walled tram car rises 2.5 miles and traverses five climate zones in just 12 minutes. It can be 30 degrees cooler at the 8,516-foot summit building. The floor of the car slowly revolves on the ride, providing a fantastic view of craggy mountain ridges and broad desert lands dotted with towns. In winter, rent snow shoes or cross-country skis and take to the trails.
    • Location: 1 Tramway Road, Palm Springs
    • Phone: 760-325-1449
    • Costs: $23.95 for adults; $16.95 for children, age 3 to 12; $21.95 for seniors; Annual passes are available. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.; and Saturday, Sunday and holidays, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Agua Caliente Indian Canyons — Located in the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation, the canyons offer great hikes and trails, including the popular Palm Canyon Trail. 
    • Location: 38500 South Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs
    • Phone: 760-323-6018
    • Costs: $9 for general admission; $7 for seniors.
    • Hours: Open daily June through October, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Open Friday through Sunday, July through September, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Yosemite National Park — With 1,200 square miles of mountainous terrain sprawled across the Sierra Nevada area of California, Yosemite offers backpacking, bicycling, rock climbing and other outdoor activities. Glacier Point has a commanding view of Yosemite Valley, famed its impressive waterfalls, meadows, cliffs and rock formations. 
    • Location: State Highways 140 and 120 lead into Yosemite National Park
    • Phone: 209-372-0200
    • Costs: Entrance fees: $20 per car; $10 for visitors arriving on foot, horseback, bicycle or motorcycle; Free for visitors age 15 and younger. Entrance fees are waived on certain holidays. Call for more information.
    • Hours: The park is open year-round, 24/7. The Hetchy Entrance Station is open only during daylight hours and some roads are closed due to snow from November through late spring. Call for more information.
    • Other: The National Parks Service does not recommend using GPS in and around the park. The directions are not accurate.
  • El Dorado National Forest Located west of Lake Tahoe, El Dorado was first made famous by the California gold rush discovery along the American River and later by the legendary Kit Carson, who led expeditions across the Sierra Mountain ranges. Today the forest offers visitors hiking trails, fishing holes and camping sites.
    • Location: 3070 Camino Heights Drive, Camino
    • Phone: 530-644-6048
    • Costs: Call for more information.
    • Hours: Call for more information.
  • D. L. Bliss State Park — Nestled on the shores of Lake Tahoe, the park offers swimming and scuba diving as well as hiking. Lester Beach is a popular location for kayaking and canoeing. The Balancing Rock, tons of granite resting precariously on a slender stone base, is the feature attraction of a short, half mile self-guided nature trail.
    • Location: South Lake Tahoe
    • Phone: 530-525-7277, summer 530-525-3345
    • Costs: Call for more information
    • Hours: The park is closed during the winter. Call for information on summer hours.
  • Emerald Bay State Park — Located on the California side of Lake Tahoe, the park boasts hiking, kayaking, boating and scuba diving sunken wrecks.
    • Location: The park is located 22 miles south of Tahoe City.
    • Phone: 530-541-3030
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Call for information.
  • Ski Lake Tahoe — Surrounded by majestic mountains, Lake Tahoe has world-class ski resorts, thrill-inducing cliffs and run after run of epic skiing. From exciting black diamond to gentle green circle runs, resorts in Lake Tahoe offers something for every skill level. The “Big Six” resorts include Alpine Meadows, Heavenly and Squaw Valley. Snowboarders love Northstar at Tahoe and Sierra at Tahoe for their award-winning terrain parks.

  • Rafting down the Truckee — Rafting is a popular summer-time activity, with raft rental companies (prices start around $35 per person) clustered at the junction of highways 28 and 89 outside Tahoe City, located on Lake Tahoe’s northwest shore.

  • The Heavenly Gondola A 2.4 mile ride up the Heavenly Mountain Gondola offers breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Riders can hop off at an observation deck, located half way up, for even more spectacular sights.
    • Location: Heavenly Mountain, South Lake Tahoe
    • Phone: 775-586-7000
    • Costs:  $45 for adults; $37 for seniors; $27 for children, age 5 to 12; Free for children, age 4 and younger.
    • Hours: Call for information.
  • Capitol Park — If you’re a fan of trees and unusual plants, then Capitol Park is a must see in Sacramento. The park features several memorials including a Civil War Memorial Grove of trees planted from famous Civil War battlefields and the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
    • Location: Capitol Avenue and 15th Street, Sacramento
    • Phone: 916-324-0333
  • Rafting on the American River — The South Fork of the American River is the most popular stretch of whitewater in California. It is the least turbulent of the river’s three forks, with river trips available for novices as well as experts and thrill-seekers.

  • Mission Beach San Diego’s most popular beach is known by locals as “the Strand.”
  • Oceanside Pier —Take a stroll down the longest wooden pier jutting out into the Pacific. At almost 2,000 feet long, the Oceanside Pier offers incredible sunset views and fishing.
    • Location: 1 Pier View Way, Oceanside
  • Surfing in San Diego — With 70 miles of coastline, San Diego County is a surfer’s paradise. Popular spots like Pipes Beach and Encinitas offer great waves for beginners and pros alike, but are also big with the diving crowd. The strip of sand known as Swami’s, at the southern end of Encinitas, is famous for world-class surfing.

  • Carlsbad Beaches — With seven miles of pristine, sunny, sandy beaches, there is plenty to do in Carlsbad, a small town just north of San Diego. Carlsbad City Beach has a four-mile paved walking path. State Beach (aka Tamarack Beach) is a family-friendly beach. South Carlsbad State Beach boasts swimming, surfing, skin diving, fishing and camping.

  • Wreck Alley —Just a short boat ride off Mission Beach, Wreck Alley comprises several sunken ships for scuba divers to explore, including a Coast Guard cutter and a 110-foot kelp cutter. The must-see wreck is the Yukon, a 366-foot Canadian destroyer that sits 105 feet down on the bottom of the ocean.
    • Location: 1500 Quivira Way, San Diego
    • Phone: 619-523-9282
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Call for information.
  • San Elijo State Beach — Located in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, San Elijo State Beach is considered one of Southern California’s nicest campgrounds. Along the beach, you can take walks, surf fish or surf.
    • Location: Pacific Coast Highway, Cardiff-by-the-Sea
    • Phone: 760-753-5091
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Daily, dawn to sunset. Quiet hours are 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.  Visitors not staying overnight must be out by 10 p.m.
  • Balboa Park — One of 340 parks run by San Diego, Balboa offers a blend of culture, entertainment and beauty. The largest urban cultural park in the nation, Balboa Park is home to 15 museums as well as the Old Globe Theater, eight beautiful gardens, the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Museum of Art. Enjoy plays, dance and music or hike more than 65 miles of trails.
    • Location: 1549 El Prado St., San Diego
    • Phone: 619-231-9494
    • Costs: Various activities and events in park areas require the payment of fees. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Call for more information.
  • Sunset Cliff Park — Dedicated in 1983, Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is a 68-acre park stretching along the Pacific Ocean and bordering the western edge of Point Loma. The park includes intricately carved coastal bluffs, arches and sea caves. From the cliffs, watch the annual migration of California gray whales.
    • Location: 1253 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., San Diego
    • Phone: 619-525-8213
    • Costs: Various activities and events in park areas require the payment of fees. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Call for more information.
  • Mission Bay Park — Mission Bay is the largest man-made aquatic park in the country, consisting of 4,235 acres that offer a wide range of recreational activities including paths for walking and jogging and playgrounds for children.
    • Location: 3448 Crown Point Drive, San Diego
    • Phone: 619-525-8213
    • Costs: Various activities and events in park areas require the payment of fees. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Call for information.  
  • Torrey Pines State National Reserve — Torrey Pines, located on the cliffs above Torrey Pines State Beach, is a 1,750-acre coastal wilderness of pine forests and sandstone canyons with a collection of hiking trails.
    • Location: Coast Highway 101, San Diego
    • Phone: 858-755-2063
    • Costs: An entrance fee of $10 per vehicle is collected at the gate.
    • Hours: The gate is open daily from 8 a.m. until sunset. The visitor center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the summer and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during winter.
  • Inspiration Point — A jaunt to Inspiration Point offers hikers views of Santa Barbara out over the Pacific. The trek is about 3.5 miles round trip with an elevation gain of approximately 800 feet, so give yourself roughly 90 minutes to two hours to make the full trip.
    • Location: Tunnel Road and Mission Road, Santa Barbara

  • Carpinteria — Famous for what it calls the “World’s Safest Beach,” this laid-back, family-friendly town south of Santa Barbara is full of tide pools and a sea refuge as well as seaside campgrounds and a variety of fun dining options.

  • The Santa Barbara Harbor — Catch a water taxi, charter a sunset sailboat excursion or simply sit back and relax on the sandy beaches hugging the picturesque coastline of “the American Riviera.”

  • Santa Barbara Beaches Santa Barbara County offers miles and miles of beautiful beaches, many of which are home to some of the best surf breaks and stand-up paddle board zones along the West Coast. Rincon Point and Hammonds Point are known for surfing. East Beach and Leadbetter Beach offer volleyball and water sports. Butterfly Beach in Montecito is perfect for romantic strolls. El Capitan State is good for swimming and meditation.

  • Gaviota State Park — Gaviota State Park takes its name from the Spanish word for seagull, given to the area by soldiers of the Portola Expedition who supposedly killed a seagull while camping here in 1769.  Marked by a tall Southern Pacific railroad trestle, the park is a popular spot for swimming, surf fishing and camping. Ambitious hikers can climb to Gaviota Peak for a spectacular view of the coast and the Channel Islands.
    • Location: 10 Refugio Beach Road, Goleta
    • Phone: 805-968-1033
    • Costs: Call for more information.
    • Hours: Call for more information.
  • Channel Island National Park — One of the most unique and breathtaking parks in the country, there are five islands that make up the archipelago and surrounding marine sanctuary. Take a guided sea kayak tour of the islands or enjoy a hike along the coastlines. The ferry ride to and from the national park is a highlight in and of itself as the Santa Barbara Channel is home to dolphins, whales, sea lions and many sea birds.

  • Big Bear Lake Tucked in the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles, this resort region is a skiing and snowboarding heaven. Snow Summit and Bear Mountain resorts, where runs top out at nearly 9,000 feet, offer Southern Calaifornia’s best downhill action. Less aggressive visitors can trek the short but steep 2.4-mile roundtrip to the granite outcrops and lake views at Castle Rock. In summer, a lift carries bikers and hikers to trails with panoramas of the lake and San Gorgonio Mountain.
  • San Bernardino National Forest — Located 15 miles east of Redlands, the national forest makes the ultimate alpine destination. Encompassing 660,000 acres of the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains, it boasts several well-maintained forests and Mt. San Gorgonia at 11,502 feet.
    • Location: San Bernardino and Riverside Counties
    • Phone: 909-382-2600
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Call for information.
  • Lake Arrowhead - Hike, camp, rent a cabin or treat yourself to luxury in the San Bernardino Mountains. Lake Arrowhead is a pine-trimmed, all-season getaway 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Although the  lake and much of its shoreline are privately owned, you can pitch a tent at a pair of campgrounds, head out on a network of trails that lace through surrounding San Bernardino National Forest or visit with wildlife at Wildhaven Ranch, a sanctuary for endangered and indigenous species.
    • Location: 28200 Highway 189, Lake Arrowhead
    • Phone: 909-337-3715
  • Green Valley Lake —The local chamber of commerce calls this charming mountain town “the best kept secret in the San Bernardino Mountains.” Tucked between Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead, Green Valley Lake offers hiking, bird-watching, mountain biking, swimming and a regular parade of community events.
    • Location: The lake is located four miles away from State Highway 18.
  • Glen Helen Regional Park — Located at the base of the Cajon Pass with scenic views of both the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains, Glen Helen Regional Park offers 1,340 acres of recreational activities from the relaxing to the rugged. It is also home to the San Manuel Amphitheater, a 65,000-seat outdoor concert venue and the annual Renaissance Pleasure Faire in April.
    • Location: 2555 Glen Helen Pkwy, San Bernardino
    • Phone: 909-887-7540
    • Costs: $8 for cars on weekdays and $10 on weekends; $2 for pedestrians; $1 for dogs on leashes. Annual passes are also available. Daily fishing permits cost $8. Admission to the swimming complex ranges from $6 to $10.
    • Hours: Open daily, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Zoos & Aquariums

  • The Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium — Located in Manhattan Beach, the Aquarium features exhibits designed to showcase the marine life in the area such as starfish, Garibaldi, shrimp, crabs, eels and, of course, sharks.
    • Location: Located at the end of the Manhattan Beach Pier.
    • Phone: 310-379-8117
    • Costs: Admission is free, but a suggested donation is $2 per person and $5 per family.
    • Hours: Monday through Friday, 3 p.m. to sunset; and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to sunset.
  • Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens — Located in Griffith Park, the zoo has been lauded by renowned primatologist Jane Goodall for its chimp enclosure.
    • Location: 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles
    • Phone: 323-644-4200
    • Costs: $18 for adults; $15 for seniors; $13 for children, age 2 to 12; Free for children, age 2 and younger.
    • Hours: Monday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on Christmas Day.
  • Aquarium of the Pacific — This public aquarium is located on a five-acre site on Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach and houses 11,000 ocean animals that represent nearly 500 species and features a shark lagoon and a penguin habitat.
    • Location: 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach
    • Phone: 562- 590-3100
    • Costs: Admission rates vary. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Open daily, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Christmas Day and during the Grand Prix of Long Beach.
  • Oakland Zoo — Tucked in the rolling hills of Knowland Park, the Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals including elephants, giraffes and elands. Check out the zoo’s FedEx Condor Cam, the first live footage tracking these rare birds in the wild.
    • Location: 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland
    • Phone: 510-632-9525
    • Costs: $15.75 for adults; $11.75 for seniors and children, age 2 to 14; $13.75 for military personnel; $9.75 for the children military personnel; Free for children, age 2 and younger and adults, age 80 and older.
    • Hours: Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday and select holidays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • San Francisco Zoo — This diverse and entertaining zoo is located near Ocean Beach. Visitors can watch rescued grizzly sisters Kachina and Kiona, be entertained by a baby Western lowland gorilla and see the largest colony of Magellanic penguins outside the wild.
    • Location: Sloat Boulevard and Great Highway
    • Phone: 415-753-7080
    • Costs: Admission prices vary. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Open daily, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Fresno Chaffee Zoo — Considered one of the Central Valley’s finest zoos, Fresno Chaffee sports a Rain Forest exhibit, Stingray Bay where visitors can touch the stingrays and the newly opened Sea Lion Cove with its 35 foot long underwater viewing window. 
    • Location: 894 W. Belmont Ave., Fresno
    • Phone: 559-498-5910
    • Costs: Admission prices vary. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Call for more information.
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium — Located at the ocean's edge, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is home to sea otters, penguins, sharks, jellies and thousands of other marine animals and plants.
    • Location: 886 Cannery Row , Monterey
    • Phone: 831-648-4800
    • Cost: $39.95 for adults; $24.95 for children, age 3 to 12; $34.95 for students and seniors; Free for children under the age of 3.
    • Hours: Open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Living Desert Zoo and Gardens — See Arabian wildcats, golden eagles and desert iguanas at this expansive 120-acre park that showcases desert species from around the world. Kids will especially enjoy visiting the recreated African-style Village WaTuTu and getting close to critters in the Petting Kraal.
    • Location: 47900 Portola Ave., Palm Desert
    • Phone: 760-346-5694
    • Costs: $17.25 for general admission; $15.75 for AAA members, military personnel and seniors; $8.75 for children, age 3 to 12; Free for children under the age of 3. Call for information on tour packages.
    • Hours: Hours of operation vary seasonally. Please call for more information.
  • Sacramento Zoo — Open since 1927, the zoo is home to almost 400 species of wildlife.
    • Location: 3930 West Land Park Drive, Sacramento
    • Phone: 916-808-5166
    • Costs: $11.25 for general admission, $10.50 for seniors; $7.25 for children, age 2 to 11; Free for children under the age of 2.
    • Hours: Open daily, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Folsom Zoo Sanctuary — Since 1963, this small but heart-grabbing facility has offered sanctuary to wild animals that have been orphaned, injured or rejected as pets. Creatures on display include the traditional tigers, bears and birds, but what makes this facility unusual is its focus on half-wild animals, such as feral pigs, horses, sheep and deer.
    • Location: 403 Stafford St., Folsom
    • Phone: 916-351-3527
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Call for information.
  • San Diego Zoo — Located in Balboa Park, San Diego’s famed zoo is home to more than 4,500 animals, including polar bears, lions, tigers, gorillas, zebras, pandas and the ever-popular koalas. Take a guided bus tour or get above it all and ride the Skyfari aerial tram.
    • Location: 2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego
    • Phone: 619-231-1515
    • Costs: Various admission packages are available; a one day pass costs $46 for adults and $36 for children. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Open every day of the year. Hours of operation may vary seasonally. Call for more information.
  • Birch Aquarium at Scripps — Birch Aquarium at Scripps is the public exploration center for the world-renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California San Diego. Perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the aquarium features more than 3,000 fish in 60 habitats plus a museum on ocean and earth science.
    • Location: 2300 Expedition Way Drive, La Jolla
    • Phone: 858-534-3474
    • Costs: $17 for adults. $14 for teens, age 13 to 17; $12.50 for children, age 3 to 12; $12 for college students; $11 for UCSD students; Free for children, age 2 and younger.
    • Hours: Open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Santa Barbara Zoo — The beautiful Santa Barbara Zoo is the city’s top visitor attraction, boasting ocean views, 30 acres of gardens and more than 400 animals including African lions, Baringo giraffes, Humboldt penguins and Western Lowland gorillas.
    • Location: 500 Ninos Drive, Santa Barbara
    • Phone: 805-962-5339
    • Costs: $15 for adults; $10 for children, age 2 to 12; $12 for seniors; Free for children, age 2 and younger.
    • Hours: Open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas day.
  • Ty Warner Sea Center  — Located on Stearns Wharf, the Sea Center features interactive exhibits focused on the ocean life in the Santa Barbara region. Touch sharks in the shark pool and sea urchins in the touch tank. Help volunteers collect samples of ocean water and examine it for tiny and strange looking plankton. Crawl through a 1,500-gallon tidepool tank to see ocean life from a different perspective.
    • Location: 211 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara
    • Phone: 805-962-2526
    • Costs: $8 for adults; $7 for seniors and children, age 13 to 17; $5 for children, age 2 to 12; Free for children age 2 and younger.
    • Hours: Open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for holidays and special events.

Other Points of Interest

  • Sunset Boulevard — Also known as “the Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” this iconic stretch of road encompasses everything from tacky strip clubs to historic movie studios. It is a route that captures the heart and soul of L.A. as it stretches from downtown to Hollywood, twisting west through Beverly Hills and Bel Air and ending at the beaches near Malibu.

  • Autry National Center — Named after Gene Autry, this museum is dedicated to exploring and sharing the stories, experiences and perceptions of the diverse peoples of the American West.
    • Location: 4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles
    • Phone: 323-667-2000
    • Cost: $10 for adults; $6 for seniors; $4 for children, age 3 to 12; Free for children, age 3 and younger.
    • Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
  • Balboa Island — Located in Newport Harbor, Balboa features narrow streets still lined with quaint beach cottages built in the 1920s as summer getaways for rich Angelenos. The promenade that circles the island is a great spot for gawking at the yachts and big homes. Don’t miss the local boutiques or the ferry ride across the harbor to the six-mile-long Balboa Peninsula.

  • Laguna Beach — Located in Orange County, the seaside village is known for its sandy beaches, great art, great restaurants and great surf. There are countless cultural opportunities including dozens of art and music events, an art museum and well-respected live stage theater.
    • Location: Laguna Beach Visitors Center, 381 Forest Ave.
    • Phone: 949-497-9229
  • Catalina Island — Located off the coast of Southern California, the island features great water and land activities, including boating to sailing, as well as romantic hotels, great restaurants and shopping. Two boat companies provide scheduled service to Catalina Island with departures from San Pedro, Long Beach, Dana Point and Newport Beach. Helicopter service is also available with departures from Long Beach, San Pedro and Orange County Airport.

  • The Exploratorium — This hands-on museum is an inviting place to tinker and explore science with nearly 600 exhibits.
    • Location: Piers 15/17, San Francisco
    • Phone: home: 415-528-4410
    • Costs: $25 for adults; $19 for children, age 4 to 17, Free for children, age 3 and younger.
    • Hours: Tuesday through Sunday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday evening, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Closed on Monday.
  • Capotila Beach — Spend the day in this appealing beach town near San Francisco. Capitola-by-the-Sea started in the 1860s as a resort town and took on a Mediterranean feel, sprouting homes reminiscent of those found in Italian fishing villages. Stroll along the Esplanade’s “tile wall,” visit Capitola City Beach or explore the town’s historical museum.
    • Phone: Call the chamber of commerce at 831-475-6522
  • The Tech Museum — Located in San Jose, the museum explores the spirit of Silicon Valley through hundreds of hands-on interactive exhibits, an eight-story IMAX theatre and various virtual-reality gadgetry.
    • Location: 201 S. Market St., San Jose
    • Phone: 408-795-6202
    • Costs: $15 for adults; $10 for seniors, students and children, age 3 to 17.
    • Hours: Open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • California Academy of Sciences — San Francisco's breathtaking reinvention of its signature science museum in Golden Gate Park is a not-to-be-missed destination. Displays include a three-story walk-through rain forest, the world's deepest living coral reef tank and a penguin exhibit.
    • Location: 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco
    • Phone: 415-379-8000
    • Costs: $29.95 for general admission; $24.95 for seniors, students and children, age 12 to 17; $19.95 for children, age 4 to 11; Free for children under the age of 3.
    • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Napa Valley Wineries — Visit the birthplace and heart of America's finest winemakers and wineries. There are more world-acclaimed wineries here than in any other single region of North America. Drive or bike the Silverado Trail to reach dozens of wineries renowned for big-bodied reds. Charming villages include St. Helena for its shopping and Calistoga for its spas.

  • United States Aviation Museum — A privately-financed educational organization dedicated to restoring and preserving such artifacts of aviation as the B-29 Superfortress Bomber.
    • Location: 601 Skyway Road, Fresno
    • Phone: 650-654-0200
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Call for information.
  • San Joaquin Fish Hatchery — Located just 30 minutes from downtown Fresno on Friant Road, The San Joaquin Fish Hatchery is a fun place to stop. Visitors can learn about the process of breeding and raising trout for the purpose of stocking nearby lakes, rivers and streams. Best part of all, it’s free. There is also a farmers' market that runs on Friday nights. 

  • Bakersfield — The southern gateway to the Central Valley, the city is the birthplace of the country music genre known worldwide as the Bakersfield Sound and home to more Basque eateries than any other city in the nation. Take a short drive to the nearby southern Sierra Nevada for whitewater rafting, fly-fishing and hiking.

  • The Madera Wine Trail — Sample current and newly released vintages with special food pairings, local art and live music. Guests on the trail will reap the benefits of the region's rich history, knowledgeable staff and experienced winemakers.
  • Furnace Creek Inn — This elegant old hotel, with rows of date palms, tamarisk trees and a natural spring, is an oasis in the desert. Step inside to get a taste of comfortable luxury as envisioned when the inn was built in 1927 by the Pacific Coast Borax Company to try and save its newly built railroad. The railroad closed in 1930, but the luxury hotel remains to this day.
  • The Children's Discovery Museum of the Desert — The Children's Discovery Museum of the Desert features more than 50 hands-on exhibits in an 8,000 square-foot space. Escape the heat and explore themed exhibits with names like "Science Rules," "Let's Get Physical" and "How Things Work."
    • Location: 71-701 Gerald Ford Drive, Rancho Mirage
    • Phone 760-321-0602
    • Costs: $8 for general admission.
    • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and ay, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays, May through December.
  • Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway — The Alexander Estate originally was built by prolific Palm Springs developer Robert Alexander for his family.  In September 1966,the estate was leased for one year to Elvis Presley.  On May 1, 1967, Elvis and Priscilla Presley began their honeymoon at the mid-century estate. Daily guided tours are available by appointment.
    • Location: 1350 Ladera Circle, Palm Springs
    • Phone: 760-322-1192
    • Costs: $30 per person.
    • Hours: Daily tours at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. by appointment.
  • Palm Springs Air Museum — The Palm Springs Air Museum houses one of the nation’s largest collections of World War II flying aircraft.  
    • Location: 745 N Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs
    • Phone: 760-778-6262
    • Pricing $15 for adults; $13 for seniors, retired military and children, age 13 to 17; $8 for children, age 6 to 12; Free for children, age 5 and younger.
    • Hours: Open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Maritime Museum of San Diego — This bay-front museum presents seagoing vessels ranging from the world’s oldest active sailing ship to a Soviet submarine.
    • Location: 1492 North Harbor Drive, San Diego
    • Phone: 619-234-9153
    • Costs: $16 for adults; $13 for seniors, military and students, age 13 to 17; $8 for children, age 4 to 12. 
    • Hours: Open daily, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • California Surf Museum — Learn about the ultimate California sport at this intriguing museum that works to preserve the historical roots of San Diego’s beach communities.
    • Location: 312 Pier View Way, San Diego
    • Phone: 760-721-6876
    • Costs: $5 for adults; $3 for children, seniors and military personnel; Free for children, age 12 and younger.
    • Hours: Open daily, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday, open until 8 p.m.
  • Coronado Island — A simple bridge that spans a stretch of Mission Bay links Coronado with San Diego. The Hotel Del Coronado, built more than 120 years ago, has hosted presidents and kings and still has a glamorous luster harkening back to Marilyn Monroe in the movie "Some Like It Hot," which was filmed here in 1959.

  • USS Midway Museum — A naval aircraft carrier that served in the United States Navy for 47 years, the museum features jets and airplanes up on the flight deck and a free audio tour that takes visitors all around the ship. 
    • Location: 910 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego
    • Phone: 619-544-9600
    • Costs: $20 for adults; $17 for seniors; $15 for students, age 13 to 17; $10 for retired military and children, age 6 to 12.
    • Hours: Open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
  • Goleta — The sleepy town of Goleta, located about 10 miles west of Santa Barbara, is a hotbed for nurseries, intriguing farms and flower growers.

  • Ronald Regan Presidential Library — Located 50 miles south of Santa Barbara, the library lets visitors walk onboard Air Force One, act in a movie with Ronald Reagan and touch a piece of the Berlin Wall.
    • Location: 40 Presidential Drive, Simi Valley
    • Phone: 805-522-2977
    • Costs: $21 for general admission; $18 for seniors; $15 for children, age 11 to 17; $6 for children, age 3 to 10; Free for children, age 2 and younger.
    • Hours: Open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
  • Temecula Wine Country — California wines aren’t all made in Napa and Sonoma. In the Temecula Valley, more than 35 family-owned wineries grow and produce more than 50 different varietals of wine from Cabernet Sauvignon to Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot to Chardonnay.
    • Location: Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association, 34567 Rancho California Road
    • Phone: 800-801-9463
  • Fender Museum for the Performing Arts — Focusing especially on the electric guitar, for which Fender is a leading name, the museum showcases dozens of dazzling instruments used by music luminaries ranging from Merle Haggard to Kurt Cobain. Special performances and workshops are scheduled throughout the year.
    • Location: 365 N. Main St., Corona
    • Phone: 951-735-2440
    • Costs: Museum admission prices vary. Call for more information.
    • Hours:  Museum tours are by appointment only Monday through Thursday morning, and sometimes Saturday. Call for reservations.  
  • Redlands Historical Glass Museum — Redlands is home to the only museum west of the Mississippi River that celebrates the art of American glass with 7,000 works by leading American manufacturers and artists.
    • Location: 1157 Orange St., Redlands
    • Phone: 909-793-3333
    • Costs: $5 per person.
    • Hours: Open weekends, noon to 4 p.m. Group tours are available by appointment on weekdays. Call for more information.

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