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Things to Do in California - page 4

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Pier 39
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One of the most visited sights in San Francisco, the multilevel Pier 39 complex is home to shops, restaurants, street performers, and a video arcade. Its waterfront setting on the San Francisco Bay means visitors can take in panoramic bay views, breathe fresh sea air, and watch sunbathing California sea lions.

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North Beach
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Despite its name, San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood does not border the water and has no sandy spots. But its position between Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, and the Embarcadero makes it one of the city’s most popular areas for visitors and locals, all of whom enjoy its Italian eateries, Beat history, quiet park, and nightlife scene.

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Old Town San Diego
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Dating to 1769, Old Town San Diego is the site of California’s first European settlement. To see the district's prime attraction, stop at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park with its preserved adobe buildings and living history demonstrations such as blacksmithing. The area is also home to restaurants, shops, and live entertainment.

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Ansel Adams Gallery
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Ansel Adams is known for his striking black-and-white photos, capturing and preserving the wild beauty of nature’s monuments. Through his poignant images of Half Dome and Vernal Fall, Yosemite became a symbol for the evocative drama of the American West, and the park took its place in the hearts and consciousness of the American public.

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Vernal Fall
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This towering flow of water is one of Yosemite’s best known waterfalls, accessible on the ground by a moderate hike. Its volume depends on the season, though it generally runs year-round.

Depending on the amount of water, there is either one massive waterfall or several smaller strands falling across the rock to the valley below. Vernal Fall flows from the Nevada Falls above before plunging over the rock. The waterfall is about 317 feet tall, so it’s impressive (and often a bit damp) standing right at its base. Aside from the water there is often lots of greenery surrounding the falls, which adds to its scenery. The falls also produce a fine mist that can create rainbows.

The steep hiking trail that leads to Vernal Fall is mostly rock steps, but the views are worth the climb. There is also plenty of natural scenery, of Merced River and Yosemite Valley, to enjoy on the way up. If you’d rather see it from a distance, Vernal Fall is also visible from the Glacier Point overlook.

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Montecito
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Montecito is a small but wealthy town along California's coast. The town started out as a popular vacation destination more than 100 years ago because of the pleasant climate and natural beauty. Some visitors loved it so much they didn't want to leave, and they decided to move to Montecito. Today many celebrities call this town home. It's still a popular place for a relaxing escape, and there are plenty of hotels, shops, and restaurants with outdoor patios.

One of Montecito's big draws is its natural landscape and environment. This small town's coastline is home to some of the area's most beautiful beaches including Miramar Beach, Fernald's Point, Hammonds Point, and Butterfly Beach. Some areas boast calm waters while others are well known for their waves. Popular activities include surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, swimming, sunbathing, and boating. Since the coast faces west, it is also the perfect place to watch the sunset.

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Point Loma
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Point Loma sits on a hilly peninsula west of Downtown San Diego, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay. This seaside community is best known for its tide pools, historical landmarks, and sweeping views of the bay and the San Diego skyline. With plenty to do and see, it’s no wonder it’s one of the city’s most photographed spots.

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Universal Studios Hollywood
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One of the world's oldest continuously operating movie studios, Universal® Studios Hollywood presents an entertaining mix of thrill rides and live action shows, plus a tram ride. The large California theme park cleverly integrates the shows and rides with behind-the-scenes presentations on movie-making.

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Seaport Village
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A harborside hub buzzing with shopping, dining, and entertainment, Seaport Village attracts tourists and locals alike. The historic-style waterfront has everything from upscale eateries to vendors selling fresh fish. Stroll the boardwalk, ride the carousel, or indulge in seafood while listening to live music.

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Bay Bridge
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Though it doesn’t often get the attention of its famous sibling, the Golden Gate, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is spectacular in its own right. Once the largest and most expensive bridge of its time, in 75 years the Bay Bridge has proved critics wrong – the dream of connecting San Francisco to Oakland would not be stopped by anything. Logistics, cost, and politics couldn’t stop the expansion, and now the Bay Bridge has made history yet again my becoming the world’s largest self -anchored suspension bridge. Safely transporting the 280,000 automobiles that transverse its roads every day, the Bay Bridge connects San Francisco to Oakland, with a little stop at Yerba Buena Island along the way.

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More Things to Do in California

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

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One of the United States’ most popular national parks, Yosemite National Park is packed with natural beauty and views that never cease to amaze. From the majestic mountain peaks to the green meadows on the valley floor (plus all the waterfalls and groves of tall Sequoia trees in between), there’s no shortage of outdoor and leisure activities set against the park’s epic views. And whether you spend a single day or stay for a multi-day camping trip, you’ll feel a deeper appreciation for the nature at this national treasure.

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Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa

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Fashioned after a 13th-century Tuscan castle, Castello di Amorosa looks like it belongs on an Italian postcard instead of in the heart of California wine country. The vineyard produces several varieties of red and white wines, but many visitors are drawn by the eight-level structure itself, which includes five defensive towers, a drawbridge, and a moat.

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San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

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The San Diego Zoo Safari Park, part of the larger San Diego Zoo, is an 1,800-acre (728-hectare) open-range park housing some 3,500 animals from about 430 species. The park’s open layout allows herds of giraffes, zebras, rhinos, and other animals indigenous to Africa to roam the re-created valley floor.

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Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park

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The 1,000-plus acres (412 hectares) of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park are home to museums, picnic sites, lakes, golf, hiking and biking paths, concerts, and more. From the attraction-laden east end to the wilder west side where bison roam, the park offers plenty of ways to relax, get a culture fix, exercise, or gather with friends.

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Painted Ladies

Painted Ladies

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Made famous by the opening credits of the late-’80s TV showFull House, San Francisco’s Painted Ladies are a prime example of the city’s candy-colored Victorian architecture. Also known as Postcard Row, the houses stretch uphill, boasting a view of the downtown skyline beyond.

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Lombard Street

Lombard Street

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Lombard Street runs more than 20 blocks across northern San Francisco, but only one block—between Hyde and Leavenworth streets—gives the thoroughfare its nickname, “the crookedest street in the world.” Lined with well-manicured flowers and trees and tidy million-dollar homes, the red-brick-paved road zigzags its way down Russian Hill.

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Haight-Ashbury

Haight-Ashbury

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The heart of San Francisco’s 1967 Summer of Love, the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood will forever be associated with the hippie movement and American counterculture. Today the district’s mix of boutiques, smoke shops, vintage stores, restaurants, and bars makes it a favorite among locals. It also has a high concentration of the beautifully restored Victorian homes the city is known for.

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Children's Pool Beach

Children's Pool Beach

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As the name suggests, this stretch of sand in San Diego’s upscale La Jolla neighborhood was once a swimming spot for families, thanks to a seawall that shelters the cove. Nowadays, Children’s Pool Beach is a favorite resting and breeding ground for harbor seals and a popular wildlife-watching area.

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V. Sattui Winery

V. Sattui Winery

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Located in St. Helena, V. Sattui Winery dates back to 1885 and produces small-batch wines with a focus on organic and sustainable farming practices. Learn more about about how its wines are made on a tour of the Italian-style property, or stop by for a tasting.

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Los Angeles the Grove

Los Angeles the Grove

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One of Los Angeles’ most popular shopping destinations, The Grove is an open-air retail and entertainment complex. Stretching across 575,000 square feet (53,419 square meters), the mall hosts dozens of shops, restaurants, and even a movie theater. A trolley serves the complex—ride it for fun or to rest your feet.

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Oxbow Public Market

Oxbow Public Market

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Oxbow Public Market—with dozens of restaurants, food stalls, and shops—brings the bounty of Napa’s famed wine, food, and organic produce under a single roof. Open all day, it’s a one-stop shop for great food, to quickly experience the best of Napa Valley, or relax for a moment at this local gathering place before exploring the region.

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Presidio

Presidio

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Since it was founded in 1776, the Presidio of San Francisco has had many lives, from a Spanish military site to an American Army post to a National Park Service location. Today, it draws visitors for its cultural sites, hiking trails, public art, restaurants, and views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay.

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Palm Springs Air Museum

Palm Springs Air Museum

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One of the world’s largest collections of vintage airplanes from World War II fill the hangars at the Palm Springs Air Museum.

Wartime memorabilia, combat photography, murals, uniforms and documentaries provide educational insights into aviation and combat history.

Planes in the museum’s three hangars focus on Army and Navy aircraft, and the mighty B17.

If you visit on a Saturday you might catch demonstration flights and World War II audio-visual displays.

There are flight simulator games for kids, and a children’s calendar of events and activities.

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Dolby Theatre

Dolby Theatre

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Formerly known as the Kodak Theatre, the 180,000-square-foot, 3,400-seat Dolby Theatre now showcases Dolby Laboratories' state-of-the-art sound technologies. Situated in the popular Hollywood & Highland mall complex, the elegant Dolby Theatre hosts the famed Academy Awards.

Periodically, the Dolby also plays host to charity benefits, movie premieres, special events and other televised award shows. The theater's soaring stage, one of the largest in the United States, has featured the national premiere of Pixar's Brave, the American Idol finals, the Daytime Emmys, the American Ballet Theatre and even President Barack Obama, while out on the campaign trail.

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