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15 of the Best Things to Do in California




California is a place known for its beauty, annual days of sunshine, and culturally diverse community. If you want to experience what it’s like to live here, check out our suggestion of the best things to do for the most memorable Golden State experience:

1. Be Amazed at Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze

Journey into the most psychedelic place in the city that is open for seven days a week. The colorful glow reflected in the dark labyrinth of mirrors will trip you out in the most amusing way! Just be careful not to bump into too many mirrors, though.


2. Take an Alcatraz Tour

Alcatraz Federal Prison
Source: Alcatraz Prison | Alcatraz Tickets

Alcatraz is a former high-security federal prison found in the waters of San Francisco Bay, which housed some of the most notorious felons in America. Some of these criminals include Scarface Al Capone and George ‘Machine Gun’ Kelly, which were sent to Alcatraz during its operation from 1934 to 1963. To date, the prison has become one of the popular attractions in South Francisco, California.


3. Make Your Dreams Come True at Disneyland

We’ll tell you what – you shouldn’t leave California without first visiting the happiest place on earth – Disneyland! It’s practically a rite of passage for locals and tourists alike. Even if you’re not a fan of films and fairytales, you’ll be sure to enjoy the attractions and rides. Not only that, the park’s set-up will transport you to a different world – one that’s big on happy dreams and undeniable magic.


4. Take a Stroll Around The Grove

The Grove Outdoor Shopping
Source: The Grove, California | TripAdvisor

Shop, dine, stroll, or be a lowkey paparazzi waiting for a celebrity sighting! It’s safe to say that The Grove is a well-loved hangout spot of family and friends. The place is already an aesthetic masterpiece, but it also has a great selection of shops and street performers. We doubt you won’t have a splendid time!


5. Strike a Pose With the Hollywood Sign at the Background

Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles California
Source: Hollywood Sign | Wikipedia

Are you somewhere around Los Angeles? Sooner or later, you know you’d be going to see the iconic ‘Hollywood’ sign, which is pretty much the movie industry mecca. They say the best place to take pictures of this sign is from Canyon Lake Drive. You can snap a photo with an illusion you’re only a few feet away from it and achieve shots with the homes and hills in the foreground.


6. Have a Good Time at Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco
Source: Fisherman’s Wharf | Shutterstock

This one-stop place for shopping, dining, and unique attractions will give you the ultimate San Francisco experience. The Fisherman’s Wharf is also known as one of the busiest tourist areas, and it has everything to do with the plethora of activities you can do when here. Believe me. You don’t have to worry about being bored.


7. Check out Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain
Source: Salvation Mountain | AvoidingRegret

Make things more interesting by visiting the Salvation Mountain, a hillside visionary environment made of straw and adobe. Its artist, Leonard Knight, believed that God wanted him to spread messages of love in the hostile desert environment. So this is his way of completing his mission. Travelers can find Salvation Mountain south of I-10 and about 900 minutes away (by car) from Palm Springs.



8. Take Your Partner on a Romantic Drive Through Big Sur

When looking for free things to do in California, this one shouldn’t be too far down your list. Be enthralled with the picturesque ocean views and the rugged mountains, which look like a photo straight from a postcard! You’ll believe it when you see it – a drive down California is nothing without going through Big Sur. You’ll have plenty of beautiful places to stop along the way such as Santa Cruz, Bixby Bridge, and McWay Falls.


9. Commune With Nature at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

The Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is a testament to nature’s outstanding beauty, size, and diversity. Here you can find the world’s largest trees and thriving wildlife. It is estimated that more than 1.5 million people enjoy the park each year and it is only expected to rise as time passes. Don’t miss out on this place if nature is your go-to destination!


10. Snap Photos With the Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge
Source: Golden Gate Bridge when lit up | VisitUSA

Maybe you’re thinking, “it’s just a bridge and there’s nothing special about it.” Well then, let us give you a piece of history. It had long been thought that building a bridge at the said location was impossible due to the strong currents, water depth, and harsh winds and fog. But everyone got proved wrong when the Golden Gate Bridge was made to connect the city of San Francisco to Main County, California. It is hailed as the longest suspension bridge main span in the world. So it’s no wonder why this spot keeps appearing in every “best things to do in California” lists posted online.



11. Feel Like a Movie Star at Universal Studios

Do you want to reminisce about the best films you’ve watched as you were growing up? Consider Universal Studios your answered prayer because you can check out what goes behind a camera’s lens through a Studio Tour. Some of the most iconic film sets you can visit include Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Transformers. There are also rides and attractions, shows, and merchandise shops available to give you the best Hollywood experience!



12. Visit the Monticello Dam Morning Glory Spillway

Monticello Dam Morning Glory Spillway
Source: Monticello Dam | Atlas Obscura

The largest drain hole in the world is a 72-foot whirlpool that acts as a drain for the Monticello Dam in Napa Valley, California. It can hold 526 billion gallons before excess water is drained away. It has a couple of nicknames like “morning glory spillway,” or the “glory hole” but its water and power operations manager Kevin King says these nicknames have become less common today.


13. Play Monopoly in the Park

Monopoly in the Park is exactly what it is – a larger-than-life-sized version of the popular board game, Monopoly. Players may wear wearable game accessories (car, boot, etc.) and use scale models of houses and hotels, and even a 3’x3’x3′ game dice for a truly fun experience! It is also the only Guinness Book of World Records attraction in the area.



14. Make a Stop at the Lowest Point in North America

Badwater Basin in Death Valley
Source: Badwater Basin | Wikimedia Commons

Badwater Basin is a large salt flat and is considered the lowest elevation in North America at -86m below sea level. How did this place get its unique appearance? Well, heavy storms caused water to form temporary lakes, and as the water evaporated, only the salts remained. Thousands of years later, the salts have settled creating the vast, otherworldly scene.


15. Go Wine Tasting at Napa Valley

Napa Valley Wine
Source: Domaine Carneros | Napa Valley

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a place to stay or get away. If you are a lover of great wine and beautiful views, then Napa Valley is the perfect place for you!

Go on countless adventures, eat unforgettable meals and do sightseeing. This place is yours to explore!

A writer big on nature, travel, and dogs. If you can't find Errot with her furry pal, then she's probably out exploring.

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