20 Best Things to Do in California

Live life to the beat of California. A state with plenty to offer.
best places to visit in california
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Last Updated
November 26, 2023
Editorial Staff
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Are you ready for an adventure in sunny California? Whether you're planning a vacation with family and friends, or just looking to explore new places on your own, there are endless opportunities for fun and excitement throughout the Golden State.

From exploring bustling cities like Los Angeles to escaping into nature in the High Sierras and Redwood National Park, California has something to offer everyone. So what are the best things to do while visiting California?

In this article, we'll be exploring all of the must-see destinations and activities that should be added to any traveler's bucket list. Read on to discover some of the most amazing experiences that this incredible state offers!


Golden Gate Bridge

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Address: Interstate 80, Richmond, CA 94804

While you are in the Golden State, you shouldn't miss seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, which is one of the most iconic sights in San Francisco. Located just a short walk from the welcome center, the bridge is a must-see. While you are there, you may also want to check out the Lucasfilm Studios, which are located in the Presidio, a former military base at the entrance to San Francisco Bay. Here, you can see a life-sized bronze statue of Yoda and a full-size Darth Vader.

Another amazing experience is bicycling across the Golden Gate Bridge. A guided bicycle tour can take you from Fishermen's Wharf through the waterfront to the Golden Gate Bridge. Along the way, you'll get to see breathtaking views while cruising alongside speeding traffic. From there, you can continue on to the coastal community of Sausalito. There, you can enjoy quaint shops, restaurants, and parks.

The Golden Gate Bridge is also the tallest suspension bridge in the world. Visitors should start their tour at the second concrete pillar, where they will get spectacular views of the bridge. The bridge stands 746 feet tall, which is a pretty impressive feat. It was the world's longest suspension bridge when it was built.


Hollywood Sign

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Address: Mount Lee, Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, CA 90068, United States 

There are many things to do near the Hollywood Sign. From catching a glimpse of the sign from a distance to catching a spectacular photo, the Hollywood & Highland complex is a must-see. Inspired by the movie Intolerance, the Hollywood & Highland complex features multiple viewing areas and a number of restaurants.

Visitors can take advantage of the Griffith Observatory, which has a rooftop terrace. The Observatory also features a trail that takes hikers up Mount Hollywood to Captain's Roost, which gives the best views of the Los Angeles area, including the Hollywood Sign. The climb is well worth it and offers spectacular views of the Hollywood Sign.

For those interested in getting closer to the sign, there are many free activities. The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is the largest collection of marine life in Southern California, and it is located next to Cabrillo Beach Coastal Park. Another popular free activity near the Hollywood Sign is to hike Runyon Canyon Park, a 160-acre park located in the Santa Monica Mountains. It is a popular hiking and running destination that offers breathtaking views of the city.

The Hollywood Museum is also a must-see. It's a four-story structure that has an amazing collection of Hollywood memorabilia, from classic Batman movies to modern classics. The building's first owner, Max Factor, was responsible for creating Marilyn Monroe's onscreen look. Another must-see is Mel's Diner, which has been serving homestyle American food for over 50 years.


Griffith Observatory

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Address: 2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027, United States

If you're a stargazer, you'll want to know all about Griffith Observatory in California. Located on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood, the observatory commands a commanding view of Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, and the Pacific Ocean. It also commands a breathtaking panorama of the Los Angeles Basin. There are many reasons to visit Griffith Observatory, including its unparalleled views. If you're a history buff, you can learn about the history of the observatory and the people who built it.

During the summer, the Observatory is open to the public. The Observatory has a free, public-access star party on the third Saturday of every month, from 2:00 pm to 9:45 pm. The event is organized by the Los Angeles Astronomical Society, Los Angeles Sidewalk Astronomers, and The Planetary Society. The best thing to see at the Observatory is the spectacular view of Los Angeles, the Hollywood Sign, and the San Gabriel Mountains.

You can even use your laptop to see what the stars and planets look like in the night sky. This observatory is open late nearly every night, making it a great option for a night out. The telescopes are also free to view during the evening, and there are free public programs held in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. The Observatory also has one of the largest refracting telescopes in the world, and more than 6 billion visitors have viewed live programs in its Samuel Oschin Planetarium.


Dodgers Stadium

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Address: 1000 Vin Scully Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012, United States

Dodger Stadium is one of the best places in Los Angeles to watch a baseball game. The stadium is over 50 years old and has undergone a number of renovations, including the addition of suites and new scoreboards. The field level was also renovated a few years back. Its latest renovations, however, are more ambitious and will transform the stadium into a modern and high-tech baseball venue. The stadium will feature a new sound system and HD video screens, along with a state-of-the-art Wi-Fi network.

The stadium is located near the San Gabriel Mountains, which makes it a great place to watch a baseball game. The Angels and Dodgers used it early in their history, and the stadium has even hosted the World Baseball Classic final. The stadium is absolutely beautiful, and visitors will love the experience of watching a baseball game here.

If you plan on visiting Dodger Stadium, plan to get there early. The stadium is designed for evening games, so you can see the sun setting over the city. Depending on when you visit, you can catch a game with some spectacular views of Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Mountains. The smog in the area has also been reduced, and the palm trees cast a comforting silhouette against the skyline.


San Diego Zoo

san diego zoo

Address: 2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, United States

If you want to learn more about the zoo's zoo animals, you can take an early morning or late afternoon guided bus tour. These tours take you through most of the park and can help you determine which exhibits to visit. You can also take advantage of the zoo's 4D movie theater, which screens educational wildlife films.

The zoo has several different areas you can visit, but most are on level ground. However, there is one fun way to get from one end of the park to the other: by taking the Skyfari aerial tram. This ride offers panoramic views of the zoo and is recommended for people over eight. However, it's not recommended for families with small children.

You can also visit the San Diego Zoo's 4-D theater, which airs popular animal movies for $7 each. These movies are ideal for families with young children and those who want to experience a different type of movie.


The Getty Center Museum

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Address: 1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049, United States

The Getty Museum is located on the beautiful campus of the Getty Trust and the Getty Center. It opened its doors to the public on December 16, 1997. The campus is beautiful and has views of Los Angeles. While you are at the museum, you may also want to see the gardens. The grounds offer a breathtaking view of the city. There are many things to do in Los Angeles, including seeing the Hollywood Sign and the Griffith Park Observatory.

The main building, the Exhibitions Pavilion, houses the museum's special/temporary exhibitions. The West Pavilion features the Getty's permanent collection of art after 1800. The interior is a museum that will delight art lovers of all ages and backgrounds. Located in Malibu, the complex is easily accessible by car. The grounds are landscaped to create an interesting atmosphere. The surrounding park is also beautiful, and the views are amazing.

The Getty is a detachment from the rest of Los Angeles. Although it is one of the largest museums in the world, it rarely gets crowded. Its diverse collections attract a wide range of visitors, so the experience is a unique one. The museum's hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:30 pm, and Saturdays, 10:00 am to 9 pm. There is also a special schedule for holidays.


Presidio of Santa Barbara

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Address:123 E Canon Perdido St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, United States

The Presidio of Santa Barbara or officially known as El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park is a historical site that holds a lot of cultural and architectural significance. From its Spanish colonial architecture to the beautiful gardens, there are numerous things to do in this historic place.

Here are some of the best activities you can enjoy while visiting Presidio of Santa Barbara.

Firstly, take a stroll through the beautiful El Cuartel garden which was originally used as a vegetable garden by soldiers stationed here during 1782-1856. The garden has now been turned into an oasis with fountains and benches where visitors can sit back, relax and enjoy nature's beauty.

You can also visit La Casa de la Guerra courtyard which is famous for its unique Mexican-style tilework and beautiful fountain. The Presidio of Santa Barbara is also home to the famous Morro Rock which rises sharply from the beach and overlooks the sea.

The rock is a popular place for photographers and is a great spot for watching sunsets. The Presidio of Santa Barbara is a great place to visit for history and nature lovers.

Its small size means that you can see everything on foot but if you're not feeling particularly energetic, there are also guided tours available. The Presidio of Santa Barbara is open every day except Christmas. There is also a small gift shop on-site.


Rodeo Drive

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Address: 360 North Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, United States

Rodeo Drive is best known for its rich and famous residents. The street is a three-block-long shopping district in the city of Beverly Hills, California. It is home to luxury brands such as Gucci, Prada, Chanel, and Cartier.

If you're looking to do a little shopping while in Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive is the place to go. However, be prepared to spend a lot of money. Most of the stores here don't offer sales or discounts.

Rodeo Drive is also home to some of the best restaurants in Beverly Hills. Make sure to check out places like Mastro's Steakhouse and Spago.

The best time to visit Rodeo Drive is during the day. The street can get pretty crowded at night, especially on weekends. You'll also find that a lot of the stores are closed on Sundays.

Rodeo Drive is best experienced when you stop in to walk around and have lunch. The best time to visit Rodeo Drive is during the week, so keep that in mind when planning your trip.


Malibu Beach

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Location: 24056 Malibu Road

What is the first thing you should know about Malibu Beach in California? There are a number of great things to see and do in the area. Many tourists arrive at the pier and head right over to the sand. Once they arrive, they can then wander the streets of Malibu, which are lined with lovely restaurants and cafes. There are a variety of attractions in this charming town, including the Farm Cafe, where customers can enjoy organic food.

One of the great things about Malibu Beach is that it is known for its glamorous lifestyle. It is the home of many Hollywood celebrities. While you are in the area, you may run into some of them. The beaches are world-class, and you can enjoy the famous surf scene, and you can even watch the stars during your visit. The only downside is that access points are not always immediately obvious. You should plan accordingly.

Despite its upscale image, Malibu is still a very simple beach town. It is a great place for sunbathing and swimming. It has been used in a number of movies, including The Fast and the Furious, The Hills, and People Like Us. You can walk the three miles of golden sand in the sunshine while basking in the rays. You can also go for a stroll down the boardwalk and check out some of the celebrity homes.

There are many interesting things to do in Malibu. You can enjoy the surf and the waves at nearby beaches. There are many great surfing spots. The best ones are Point Dume State Beach and the Pacific Palisades District. While the views of the Pacific Ocean from Malibu are stunning, the natural environment is a great place to visit. The ocean and the cliffs are so beautiful that they're a must-see on your California trip.


Griffith Park

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Address: 4730 Crystal Springs Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027, United States

Griffith Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. It's located in the Hollywood Hills and covers more than 4,210 acres. The park was founded in 1896 by Griffith J. Griffith and has been open to the public since 1919.

Since its opening, the park has been a popular destination for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. It's best known for the Griffith Observatory, Hollywood Sign, and the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round. The Griffith Observatory is open to visitors from Wednesday through Friday from noon to 10:00 pm, Saturdays from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm, and Sundays from noon to 7:00 pm. Admission is free, but you will have to pay for parking.

Griffith Park is best experienced in the summer. It's best to visit during the day when it's nice and sunny outside. The park can get very crowded on weekends, especially when there are events like Easter or Christmas picnics in the park.


Hollywood Walk of Fame

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Address: Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90028, United States

The best place on Earth for movie fans, the Hollywood Walk of Fame is a must-see attraction when in Los Angeles. The famous sidewalk features more than 2,600 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street.

The stars are dedicated to celebrities who have made a significant contribution to the entertainment industry. They include actors, musicians, directors, producers, theatrical groups, fictional characters, and more.

You'll find stars from all types of popular culture that you know well. The best time to visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame is during the day when it's not too crowded.

If you are planning on taking pictures of the stars with your favorite celebrities, come during the week when they are usually available to take pictures.


San Francisco's Chinatown

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If you haven't yet visited San Francisco's Chinatown, you're missing out on a wonderful experience. The city has more than 150 years of history and a thriving, authentic Chinese culture that's worth exploring. While there's plenty to do in Chinatown, it's best to take your time and enjoy each moment.

There are four Chinatowns in San Francisco. The Autumn Moon Festival is a great time to go and enjoy a free Chinese festival. You can also explore the city's cable car system, which is one of the last manually operated cable car systems in the world. In its heyday, there were 23 lines. Nowadays, there are three lines, with most of the riders being tourists.

Whether you're a history buff or a foodie, the city offers something for everyone. From historic landmarks to world-class cuisine, San Francisco is a city of contrasts. You can experience the cosmopolitan culture while enjoying world-class food, entertainment, and sports.


Laguna Beach

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If you've ever wondered where the name Laguna Beach comes from, it's a little coastal city in Orange County, California. Known for its beautiful beaches, coves, and art galleries, Laguna is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region.

Laguna Beach has seven miles of coastline and over 20 sandy beaches. The main beach, known as Main, is the most popular, with a boardwalk and play areas for children. Main Beach is known for its tide pools, while Aliso and Heisler Parks are great spots for surfing enthusiasts.

The town's two other beaches, including Santa Ana and the San Juan Capistrano, are more private. The town has more than a dozen unique coves and beaches, so you can easily find one that matches your tastes. It's the perfect beach destination for a day trip.

Although many visitors to Laguna Beach head to its famous oceanfront, many of them are not aware of the city's other attractions. For instance, there are more than a dozen museums, galleries, and shops geared toward art lovers. The beach town's culture and artistic community are well-known and vibrant. But what's truly special about Laguna Beach is that it offers a relaxed atmosphere and a distinctly Californian flair.


Disneyland Resort

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Address: 1313 S Harbor Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92802, United States

There are many things to do at the Disneyland Resort, including dining, shopping, and the famous theme parks. You'll also find many activities and dining options in Downtown Disney District. Here's a list of 101 Things to Do in Disneyland Resort. Whether you're traveling with your family or on your own, this resort is sure to delight everyone.

The Disneyland Resort offers many attractions, from Spiderman shows to resort hotel pools. You can even ride the famous Mickey Wheel, complete with moveable cages! In addition to riding the rides, you can also get a good workout by hiking the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail in California Adventure. If you're staying at the Disneyland Hotel, you can sign up for a 6:00 a.m. 2-mile power walk through California Adventure!

While in Disneyland Park, don't forget to play some fun games. If you're feeling a bit adventurous, try out one of the many escape games. If you're looking for a more challenging activity, you can take a mission in the Disney 'Escape Room', which is a high-tech room simulation.

If you're visiting the Disneyland Resort with kids, you can enjoy a visit to Pixar Land. Pixar is a popular theme in Disneyland, and the Pixar Pier is home to the Incredicoaster, a ride-themed after the Incredibles. This theme park also features the Toy Story Midway Mania! and the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters.


Santa Monica Pier

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Address: Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401, United States

The Santa Monica Pier is filled with activities for the entire family. There are amusement rides, music festivals, and a variety of restaurants to choose from. It is also home to Pacific Park, which is a world-class amusement park with colorful rides and rollercoasters. Visitors to the pier can also explore the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, a world-famous aquarium that can be found right under the pier.

When Santa Monica Pier first opened, it was a huge gamble for the city. However, it has continued to be one of the most popular things to do in the area and is now an official historic landmark. The pier is also part of Route 66, which was once considered the Mother Road and Main Street of America.

Another place to visit on Santa Monica Pier is the Heal the Bay Aquarium. This aquarium features more than 100 species of local animals and provides an educational experience for visitors. Visitors can touch the fish, see the kelp forest, and learn about the many different species of fish in the aquarium.


Universal Studios Hollywood

universal studios hollywood

Address: 100 Universal City Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 91608-1002, United States

One of the best things to do in Universal Studios Hollywood is taking the tram tour. The tour takes you on a journey through the history of the park. You'll learn about the movie sets that made Universal Studios famous. The tram ride takes you past sets from films such as Jaws, War of the Worlds, and Psycho. You'll also get a chance to see the set of Peter Jackson's King Kong 360 3D.

WaterWorld is another great attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood. The attraction brings your favorite movies to life in a spectacular new way. Experience pyrotechnic effects and see film sets from the latest blockbuster and classic films. You'll also get a chance to see your favorite movie stars performing stunts and performing tricks with their trainers.

Single-rider lines are also available. These lines are perfect for older children and teens who don't want to share a ride with a large group. Single-rider line guests are usually chosen to fill any empty spots in a ride car. This option isn't always available, so make sure to ask a park employee when you arrive to see if the ride is open to single riders.

After the thrill rides, visit the Family Center for a break or rest. Universal Studios Hollywood is huge, covering 400 acres, and features two separate levels. The two levels are separated by long escalators. The escalators are suitable for strollers, but kids should be removed from the stroller before boarding the escalator. There are elevators for wheelchairs and motorized vehicles, but they aren't available to people who are not able to use them.


Death Valley National Park

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Death Valley National Park is a mesmerizing place that offers plenty of things to do for all outdoor enthusiasts. The park covers over 3 million acres and is located in Eastern California, making it one of the largest national parks in the United States.

Visitors can enjoy various activities such as hiking, camping, stargazing, and much more.

One of the best things to do at Death Valley National Park is to explore the stunning geological formations. The park boasts some of the most unique landscapes in North America including sand dunes, colorful badlands, and even natural hot springs.

Hiking through these incredible terrains allows visitors to experience nature's beauty up close and personal. For those with limited time or mobility issues, there are many scenic drives available that offer breathtaking views without requiring any strenuous activity.


Venice Beach

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Address: 1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291, United States

If you are interested in art and culture, Venice Beach has many things to offer visitors. For example, you can check out the Venice Oceanarium, which has exhibits held on its pier each week. The Oceanarium also holds boat trips and after-school programs. A visit to the museum also makes for a great family activity.

One of the most popular things to do in Venice Beach is strolling the boardwalk, which stretches for over two miles. Along the way, you'll find plenty of restaurants and souvenir shops. The boardwalk also has bike lanes and passes by Venice Skate Park and Muscle Beach. This lively stretch of beach has something for everyone.

For those who enjoy skating, Venice Beach has a skateboard park that's perfect for skateboarding practice. You'll find talented skaters and even professional skateboarders. Another popular activity is stand-up paddleboarding. Paddle Method offers lessons for people of all levels. The lessons are offered in small groups.

Aside from the beautiful beaches, Venice Beach also features an eclectic and funky vibe. You'll find many hip restaurants and bars as well as a fun boardwalk. While you're there, take advantage of the many things to do in Venice Beach that are free of charge.


SeaWorld San Diego

seaworld san diego
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

Address: 500 Sea World Dr., San Diego, CA 92109, United States

SeaWorld is a theme park and zoo located in San Diego, California. The park was founded in 1964 and is best known for its marine life exhibits and thrill rides. Over the past 58 years, the zoological team at SeaWorld has rescued more than 38,000 animals. The zoological team at SeaWorld rehabilitates and cares for these abused animals. Plus, every guest's trip to the zoo helps rescued animals in need.

The park is open every day of the year from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm. Admission is free, but you will have to pay for parking. One can purchase a pass that includes unlimited access to all the park's attractions and activities if they plan on going more than once during their stay in San Diego.

The best time to visit SeaWorld is during spring or early summer. During this time of year, the park can get very crowded on Saturdays and Sundays in May and June, with visitors traveling from all over the world to experience the best of what SeaWorld has to offer.

Some of the best places to visit at SeaWorld include Penguin Encounter, Polar Bear Plunge, and Shark Encounter. Penguin Encounter is an exhibit where you can see penguins up close and learn about their habitat and behavior. Polar Bear Plunge is a popular attraction that simulates the experience of swimming with polar bears. Shark Encounter is an exhibit that allows guests to get up close and personal with sharks in their natural environment.


Yosemite National Park

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Address: El Portal Rd, Mariposa, CA 95338, United States

If you're looking for a spectacular nature experience, Yosemite is the place for you. You can go hiking, horseback riding, or skydiving. You can also experience art and yoga, enjoy fine wine, or get a massage. You can even stay in one of the many campgrounds to experience the natural beauty of the park without leaving your cabin.

Yosemite National Park is located approximately 200 miles east of San Francisco. It takes between three and four hours to reach the park by car. From San Francisco, take the Oakland-Bay Bridge and take Highway 80 East. From there, take Highway 205 and Highway 120 to get to the park entrance.

There are hiking trails throughout the park and you can even go hiking at Yosemite Falls. You'll need to scramble a bit to reach the top of the waterfall, but the views are truly amazing. Alternatively, you can camp in one of the backcountry huts. These huts are equipped with basic sleeping accommodations and cooking facilities.





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