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May 11, 2017updated Dec 20, 2023

Things to do in California

By Olivia Cuccaro

Home to the redwood as well as Hollywood, California is a diverse state blending natural beauty with high-end, contemporary attractions. The sprawling state encompasses everything from lively beaches to the most luxurious shopping on the West Coast. With miles of coastline and expansive natural parks to explore, we’re narrowing it down to the best things to do in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a cultural hub and the center of American cinema. Paramount Studios is one of the oldest surviving film studios in the world and epitomizes Hollywood’s golden age. Visit the studio for a VIP Tour, where you’ll go behind the scenes to view the studio’s archives and production facilities. After the tour, enjoy a live performance outdoors at Hollywood Bowl, LA’s famed concert venue.

The ultimate photo-op awaits at the Hollywood sign, visible from Griffith Park. Hit the hiking trails by day, then observe the alluring night sky from the Griffith Observatory. Runyon Canyon also offers a variety of trails to wander along for views of the Californian landscape.

In the ultra-luxurious Beverly Hills neighborhood, the Rodeo Drive shopping district is the pinnacle of high-end retail. Rolex, Bulgari, Chanel, Fendi and Harry Winston are just a few of the designer stores in this legendary area.

San Francisco

The Golden Gate Bridge is synonymous with San Francisco, and therefore a stroll along its pedestrian pathway is essential when visiting the city. See the bay from above, then take to the water for an America’s Cup sailing experience. Board USA 76 for a race or a sunset cruise, an unforgettable experience for the yachting enthusiast. Or, take the ferry across to Alcatraz Island for a tour of the infamous property that once housed some of the most notorious criminals.

Get your fill of San Francisco’s natural beauty at the Conservatory of Flowers, where you’ll be surrounded by gorgeous greenery, blooms and maybe even some butterflies. For the best views, embark on the Twin Peaks trail or hike to the top of Bernal Heights Park.

San Diego

Hosting the Breeders’ Cup in 2017, San Diego boasts an equestrian epicenter at Del Mar racetrack. Reserve a spot for trackside dining and watch the races go off. Entertainment can also be found at the San Diego Symphony, which hosts concerts under the stars during the summer season.

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Beach-bound visitors can revel in the warm Californian climate at the sparkling Coronado Beach. The bluffs of Del Mar, reefs of La Jolla and boardwalk of Mission Beach are also local favorites for catching some rays.

The gardens of Balboa Park, such as the Japanese Friendship Garden, are inviting outdoor attractions. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park astonishes with its display of wildflowers, while Torrey Pines State Reserve offers the best of coastal wilderness in San Diego.

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