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CONTENTS Get Your Bearings 6 California Map 8 Editor’s Note 10 Discover California Dreaming

12 History A Home for Immigrants and Entrepreneurs

Discover the Golden State 16 CA.Cities Surprising California Cities

20 CA.Cuisine Scene and Be Seen

24 CA.Wine Country 30 CA.Museums & Art

»

EXPLORE CALIFORNIA’S TOURISM REGIONS

82

San Francisco Bay Area

Infinite Creativity

34 CA.Performing Arts On With the Show

37 CA.Architecture & Gardens Harmonious Building

40 CA.State & National Parks Design Your Escape

94

A State of Perpetual Motion

102

48 CA.Winter Sports

San Francisco

172

88

Berkeley

176 Lodi

90

Sonoma Valley

92

Healdsburg

San Jose & Silicon Valley

California’s 10 Best Hidden Gem Golf Courses

53 CA.Family Fun

116

Nothing but Fun

56 CA.Theme Parks

124

Loads of Excitement

60 CA.Movies

130

Shooting on Location Shopping Heaven

138

Retreat and Reinvigorate

71 CA.Casinos Rolling High

144 149

110 West Hollywood

186 Resources

112

General Information

You Can Hear That Whistle Blow

78 CA.Road Trips Hop in the Car and Go

4 2015

T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

Redondo Beach

San Diego County

California Welcome Centers

122 San Diego Zoo & Safari Park

Quick Reference Guide to Travel

Orange County

Convention & Visitors Bureaus

128 Laguna Beach

Holidays

Monterey Bay & Big Sur

Climate/Temperatures

135

Medical Care & Travel Insurance

Gilroy

Central Coast North Coast Shasta Cascade 152

74 CA.Railway Journeys

154 164

Inland Empire

108 LA Waterfront

142 Ventura

68 CA.Spas & Wellness

Deserts

Find Useful Information

Los Angeles County

136 Monterey

64 CA.Shopping

178 183

Central Valley Cities

Santa Clara

Not a Time to Hibernate!

50 CA.Golf

Central Valley

86

98

44 CA.Summer Sports

169

Redding

Driving Regulations Resources for the Disabled Air Distances Between Selected Cities Driving Distances National Parks & Historic Sites

High Sierra

Art Museums

160 Lake Tahoe South Shore

COVER: The Huntington Beach Pier at sunset Photo: Atom Wang/Shutterstock

Gold Country

Santa Monica Pier, top

HOLBOX/SHUTTERSTOCK

Festivals in Wineland


199

Tulelake

Dorris

Fort Dick

Willow Ranch

96

Klamath R.

Crescent City

Del Norte

139

Yreka

Clear Creek

Montague Bray

Lake City

Modoc

Siskiyou

Hackamore

Klamath

299 299

Alturas

Etna Weed Mount Shasta

Orleans

Callahan

Orick

3

Dunsmuir

96

Likely

89

Cecilville

SHASTA CASCADE

Nubieber 299

Sacramento R.

Trinidad Lamoine

139

Eureka

Blue Lake Arcata

Trinity

299

299

Hat Creek

Humboldt

Lassen

Weaverville

Big Bar

Shasta Lake

395

Shasta

Fortuna

44

Redding

Ferndale 3 36

44

44

273

Rio Dell

89

Susanville

Anderson Platina

36

Mineral

36

Blocksburg

Honeydew

Termo

89

Westwood

36

Eel R.

Milford

89

Red Bluff Taylorsville

Te h a m a

Whitethorn

5

32

Quincy

Corning Paskenta

Leggett

NORTH COAST

70

Plumas

101

Portola Paradise

Orland

Dos Rios

32

49 89

Chico

Loyalton 1

Glenn

Sierra

Downieville

Butte

Willows

89

Oroville

Fort Bragg

49

Biggs

Willits

70

20

Colusa 20

128

Yu b a

Sutter

Marysville

Yuba City ento Sacram

253

Lakeport

R.

1

Colfax

Wheatland 49

113

29

Roseville

50

49

Sonoma

Placerville

Folsom

Calistoga

Windsor

Sebastopol

Davis

Napa

Santa Rosa

Saint Helena

89

Coleville Amador

16

Napa

5

1

Alpine

Sutter Creek

Sacramento

Vacaville

Ione

4 182 108

Jackson

395

Calaveras

88

Galt

HIGH SIERRA

88

80

Dixon

Rohnert Park

Markleeville

Sacramento

Woodland

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA

El Dorado

Rocklin

Yo l o

South Lake Tahoe

Auburn

Lincoln

16

Cloverdale

Lake Tahoe

Placer

70

Clearlake

128

Point Arena

Nevada City Grass Valley

Colusa Williams

Truckee

80

Live Oak

45

Lake

Ukiah

Elk

Nevada

Gridley

Mendocino

160

Petaluma

Vallejo

San Rafael

Lodi

Rio Vista

Angels City

Martinez

Berkeley San Francisco

92

Contra Costa

Lathrop

Livermore

Lee Vining

Modesto

Alameda

Waterford

Stanislaus

49

140

132

Mono

Yosemite Village

Oakdale Riverbank

Mammoth Lakes

Mariposa

6

Turlock

Mariposa

Madera

Patterson

Sunnyvale

140

Livingston

Santa Clara San Jose 1

120

120

120

Ripon

Fremont

Milpitas

SAN JOSE & SILICON VALLEY

Tuolumne City

Manteca 99

Hayward

San Mateo Redwood City

Sonora

Stockton

Alameda

Daly City

167

San Joaquin

Concord

Oakland

San Francisco

Tuolumne

49

12

Solano

37

Bridgeport

San Andreas

Fairfield

Novato

Marin

THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA has 58 counties, whose boundaries are shown on this map. The state’s tourism regions sometimes spill over several counties and in some places jump borders to include portions of counties. The colored sections on the map show where these regions are.

GOLD COUNTRY

70

99

208

Atwater

99

Newman

Bishop

Merced

Los Gatos

Merced

Morgan Hill Santa Cruz

168

Coarsegold

San Mateo

Santa Clara

Chowchilla

Lakeshore

168

41

Los Banos

Fresno

152

Capitola

Dos Palos

Gilroy

Santa Cruz Watsonville

Trimmer 41

Fresno

Mendota

Kings

R.

Owenyo

Parlier

San Benito

245

Selma

198

145

Lemoore

190

Visalia

Hanford 43

King City

Death Valley

Woodlake

Greenfield Big Sur

198

Cartago Exeter

Tulare

Huron

1

136

Dinuba

Kingsburg

Soledad

Inyo

Reedley

San Joaquin 33

DESERTS

Independence

Clovis

180

Sanger 25

Seaside Gonzales

MONTEREY BAY & BIG SUR

99

Firebaugh

Salinas

Marina

Monterey

395

Madera 33

Hollister

190 190

Tulare

Lindsay

127

Haiwee

Coalinga 41

Corcoran

33

198

Monterey

Porterville

178

Johnsondale

Avenal

101

Shoshone

99

Kings

Tecopa Delano

5 1 46

El Paso de Robles

Mountain Mesa

33

Atascadero 41

Ke

Shafter

99

178

Bakersfield

Buttonwillow

San Luis Obispo

Ridgecrest

rn R.

43

Morro Bay

127

178 65

Wasco

41

58

Kern

119

Cima

Arvin

227

Arroyo Grande

Tehachapi

Taft

Grover Beach

California City

14

99

Maricopa

Afton

1

58

Santa Maria

166

Boron

33

Guadalupe

58

Barstow Santa Barbara

Needles 14 138

Helendale

Lancaster

Lake Hughes Lompoc Solvang Buellton

Lake Havasu

Hesperia

Simi Valley

118

Oxnard

orad Col

Glendale

Chubbuck

247

Big Bear Lake

La Canada Flintridge

Thousand Oaks 1

18

138

Santa Clarita

Santa Paula

San Buenaventura

Victorville

Los Angeles

Fillmore

Bagdad

Apple Valley

Palmdale

Santa Barbara

40

Adelanto

Ve n t u r a

33

Essex

Ludlow 247

15

1

San Bernardino

Frazier Park

101

CENTRAL COAST

15

C a l i f o r n i a

Saltdale

58

San Luis Obispo

o R.

CENTRAL VALLEY

Searles Valley

McFarland

San Simeon

Pasadena Fontana

Agoura Hills

Los Angeles

Yucca Valley

San Bernardino

30

Riverside

62

62

Twentynine Palms

62

Rice

Desert Hot Springs 177

Torrance

LOS ANGELES COUNTY

Anaheim

Palos Verdes Estates

Moreno Valley

Corona

Santa Ana

Long Beach

Palm Springs

Hemet

Irvine

Cathedral City

Riverside

Indio

Desert Center

Palm Desert

Lake Elsinore

10

Orange

Huntington Beach

Costa Mesa

Blythe

74

Laguna Niguel

371

1

Oasis Avalon

ORANGE COUNTY

5

79

78

Carlsbad

Salton Sea

Calipatria

Escondido

Encinitas

15

Poway

Westmorland 79

San Diego Coronado

Brawley

78

Imperial Reservoir

Imperial

Santee

SAN DIEGO COUNTY

Imperial

86

San Diego

San Marcos

78

111

Borrego Springs

Vista

Oceanside

El Centro

El Cajon Lemon Grove

Chula Vista

8

98

Holtville

Calexico

Imperial Beach

INLAND EMPIRE

INSIDER’S

» TIP

6 2 015

T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

coastal Highway 1. You won’t go wrong if you stop at Nick’s Cove on Tomales Bay in the whistle-stop village of Marshall. Try their renowned oysters, dine overlooking the bay, or better yet, book a cottage and enjoy after-hours cocktails in the boat shack by candlelight. You’re a short hop from Point Reyes National Seashore for hiking and beach activities, so you can really make a day of it. nickscove.com

FANKENYIMAGES.COM

FOOD & NATURE LOVERS Many fine watering holes dot California’s famous


>> EDITOR’S NOTE

2015 TRAVEL GUIDE TO

CALIFORNIA PRESIDENT & GROUP PUBLISHER

Joseph P. Turkel

EDITOR

Larry Habegger

EXECUTIVE EDITOR ART DIRECTOR WRITERS

As the water flowed around the kayaks, sparks flew. The waters of Tomales Bay at Point Reyes National Seashore looked like a skyful of shooting stars when we stroked with our paddles or swirled the water with our fingers. I had seen this before in Thailand and the Philippines, had heard about it in Puerto Rico and Mexico, but until recently, I didn’t know we had it in California: phosphorescent plankton that light up when disturbed and cast a happy glow on the evening’s activities. It was just one in a series of surprises this year that reminded me how much California has to offer. Another was, coincidentally, a kayak tour of McCovey Cove in San Francisco Bay. I’d booked it months in advance for a date in October, and who could have known that we’d be paddling around AT&T Park a few hours before Game 5 of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals? Another surprise enlivened a camping trip in Calaveras Big Trees State Park, when we arrived late to a campsite back in the woods and a large cat rushed across our path. It stared back at us from the bushes, its glowing eyes in our headlamp beams showing the face of a mountain lion (or maybe a bobcat, we learned later). And then there was the swimming hole at Natural Bridges near the Gold Country town of Angels Camp. I expected a simple place to cool off in Coyote Creek, but what we found was a stupendous cavern of stalactites in a tunnel the creek has carved through the karst over millennia. It was like swimming in an enchanted world. 8 2 015

T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

If a multi-decade resident of the state can be delightfully surprised at every turn, how about you? In California, we have easy access to the ancient natural world of the giant sequoias, Death Valley National Park, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park. We also have access to all that’s new, in technology, architecture, design, art, theater, opera, music, film, food, sports, you name it. We have the Pacific Ocean to play in and its beaches to comb, the Central Valley and its bounty of fruit, nuts and vegetables to enjoy, desert oases to bask in, manicured golf courses to challenge our skills, mountains to ski down or climb up, some of the best restaurants in the USA, some of the world’s finest wines and, of course, the World Series champions three of the last five years. So when you’re looking for surprises in California, you can find a deserted beach, a theme park for the kids, a romantic urban adventure, an escape to a desert or seaside resort. In these pages we help you get ready, with profiles of the state’s main tourism regions, essays on history, cuisine, museums, theme parks and many other topics, plus resource pages with information on visitors bureaus, driving distances, average temperatures, California Welcome Centers and much more. As you make your plans for a trip to the Golden State, you’ll have a lot to look forward to. California offers a profound richness of experience, and once you’re here, you can expect the surprises you encounter to be happy ones. —L A R RY H A B EG G E R , Editor

CIRCULATION MANAGER DIRECTOR OF FINANCE CALIFORNIA OFFICES

Judi Scharf Mark Tzerelshtein David Armstrong Christopher P. Baker Susan Brady (Resources) Laura Del Rosso Bill Fink John Flinn Don George Marcy Gordon Jeff Greenwald Lenore Greiner Robert Kaufman Maribeth Mellin Laura Ness Jill K. Robinson Michael Shapiro Bonnie Smetts Lavinia Spalding Matt Villano Peter Watts Jacqueline Yau Julia Wall

Gloria Mungo 54791 Shoal Creek La Quinta, CA 92253 1288 Columbus Ave., Suite 292 San Francisco, CA 94133 TEL: 1-888-700-4464 • FAX: 416-497-0871 E-MAIL: tigc@rogers.com californiatravelguide.travel

ACCOUNT MANAGERS

Collier C. Granberry Dexter Taylor Joe Turkel The Travel Guide to California is published by Globelite Travel Marketing Inc., a leading lifestyle media company and publisher of The Travel Guides to Canada, The Travel Guide to Florida, The Travel Guide to California, and Dreamscapes Travel and Lifestyle Magazine.

CANADIAN OFFICE

Globelite Travel Marketing Inc. 3 Bluffwood Drive Toronto, Ontario M2H 3L4 TEL: 416-497-5353, 1-888-700-4464 FAX: 416-497-0871 E-MAIL: tigc@rogers.com californiatravelguide.travel No part of this publication can be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of Globelite Travel Marketing Inc. The opinions in this magazine are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Globelite Travel Marketing Inc. Publications Mail Agreement 40047932. Contents © copyright 2015 Printed in Canada ISSN 1926-304X (Print) ISSN 1927-7245 (Online)

ÉRNE Mc CABE

There’s Always Something Surprising


DISCOVER BY DON GEORGE

California Dreaming The Golden State is a special place with a world’s worth of experiences to be savored THE SEDUCTIVE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

For boaters, birders and fishermen,

is large in every sense of the word. It’s the

there’s Lake Shasta, home to an abundance

PACIFIC OCEAN

most populous state in the U.S. and the third

of fish and fowl. For whitewater fans, more

The world’s largest ocean, the fabled

largest in terms of geographical size. Its

than a dozen rivers, including the mighty

Pacific, embraces California’s entire

economy ranks eighth in the entire world.

American

western boundary. It’s a place to dream,

When it comes to visitor attractions, Cali-

thrilling rides. Kayakers and canoers find

to ponder life’s possibilities and endless

fornia presents travelers with as wide a range

paradise in Point Reyes National Seashore

mysteries, and a place to play. Surfers

of riches as many countries. Whether you’re

in the north and watery wonders at Morro

ride the sea’s prodigious waves; sailors

passionate about natural activities, cultural

Bay on the central coast.

ply her waters; boogie boarders and

pursuits or dining and wining, the Golden

body surfers splash in her surf;

State has diverse delights to entice you.

and

Sacramento,

provide

In the southern part of the state, visitors savor the sere splendors of the Mojave

breaks; children of all ages wade in her

Outdoor Adventurer

in North America, 282 feet below sea level.

froth and comb her beaches. Life

If you’re a nature lover and active adven-

If tidepooling tempts you, Shaw’s Cove

happens on the edge of the Pacific,

turer, you’ll be dazzled by the state’s

Tidepools in the Laguna Beach State

where the sun shines, and sets in

spectacular spectrum. On the western edge

Marine Reserve and the Terranea Tide-

ethereal colors.

there’s the Pacific Ocean, the largest body

pools in the Point Vicente State Marine

of water in the world, perfect for surfing,

Conservation Area in Rancho Palos Verdes

sailing and swimming. In the east there are

showcase sea anemones, crabs, urchins,

the magnificent mountains of the Sierra

sea slugs, sea stars and more. The five

Nevada, a haven for skiers and snow-

islands of Channel Islands National Park,

boarders in winter and hikers and

accessible only by boat or plane from Ven-

bicyclists in summer. This region is home

tura and Oxnard, provide a peaceful,

to Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in

pristine home for more than 2,000 plant

the “Lower 48” and a mecca for climbers,

and animal species, including 145 found

topping off at 14,505 feet. Among Cali-

nowhere else on the planet.

fornia’s most moving experiences are

10 2 01 5

T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

walking through the natural cathedral of

Cultural Connoisseur

Muir Woods and camping in the granite

If you love culture, you’ll find a treasure

grandeur of Yosemite National Park.

trove of activities in the Golden State, from

IRINA MOS/SHUTTERSTOCK

Desert and Death Valley, the lowest point

kayakers explore her coves and shore


museum and art gallery exhibitions to

From the Siskiyou County Museum in

even offer travelers the chance to stay and

shops showcasing contemporary handi-

Yreka to the San Diego Museum of Art,

work, which reveals from the inside the rites

crafts and timeworn antiques, and from

museums and galleries celebrating his-

and rhythms of modern farm life.

performances of theater, dance and music

tory, human endeavor and artistic heritage

California is the birthplace of California

to displays at aquariums and hands-on

abound throughout the state. Creative

cuisine, of course, a culinary revolution

education centers.

exploring will yield access to small-scale

spearheaded by Berkeley’s Alice Waters—

For music, the world-class concert halls of

museums that specialize in everything

whose Chez Panisse is still serving

Los Angeles and San Francisco are well-

from comics and cable cars to surfing and

extraordinary food 43 years after it opened.

known, but equally appealing are smaller

sewing. Other outstanding educational

That revolution has spawned numerous

sites such as the Redlands Bowl in the Inland

institutions that focus on interactive expe-

other channels of creative culinary freshness

Empire city of Redlands, where an elegant

riences

Bay

and fusion, blending Asian, European and

amphitheater spotlights California’s oldest

Aquarium, the California Academy of Sci-

Latin American ingredients and traditions,

free concert series, presenting everything

ences and the Exploratorium.

which are showcased throughout the state.

include

the

Monterey

As Alice Waters and her followers focused

from classical music to bluegrass bands each summer, or the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall

Food Aficionado

attention on local purveyors, food-related

on the California State University Sonoma

For food aficionados, California is a wonder-

opportunities for travelers expanded. One

campus, where warm-weather concert-goers

land of tastes, textures and innovative

result today is the California Cheese Trail,

can spread a blanket on the terraced lawn for

culinary creations. One of the most

which connects artisanal cheese makers in

an alfresco music fest.

delightful and enlightening experiences is

Sonoma County, from Point Reyes and

A lively variety of performances,

visiting a farmers market, where fresh-

Bodega to Santa Rosa and Sonoma.

including ballet, theater, variety shows,

from-the-farm produce will be on delicious

Wine trails have long drawn travelers to

comedy and even onstage conversations,

display and fresh-from-the-field farmers

California, but these have expanded as

are presented at Oakland’s ornately Art

will be happy to offer samples and stories.

well in recent years. In addition to world-

Deco Paramount Theater. Another multi-

Farmers markets can now be found

renowned regions such as Napa and

faceted venue lovingly restored to its

throughout the state. As a further outgrowth

Sonoma, up-and-coming areas that offer

former glory is Fresno’s Warnors Center for

of the popularity of these markets, more and

their own winery routes include Liver-

the Performing Arts, listed on the National

more farms are now offering visitors the

more, Paso Robles, Madera and Temecula.

Register of Historic Places  and distin-

opportunity to pay to pick their own straw-

Whatever interest has drawn you to Cal-

guished by a pipe organ that replicates the

berries, peaches or plums and savor the

ifornia, you’ll find almost infinite reasons

sound of a full orchestra.

sweetness of just-plucked fruit. Some farms

to be seduced and stay.

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T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

11


HISTORY

BY DAVID ARMSTRONG

A Land of Immigrants and Entrepreneurs

ALCATRAZ ISLAND Alcatraz dominates San Francisco Bay beyond the former Coast Guard Station, which is now restored as part of Crissy Field in the Presidio, itself part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), the largest urban national recreation area in the USA. Alcatraz has been present in the popular culture since its time serving as a maximumsecurity federal prison from 1934 to 1963. Both Alcatraz Island and the Presidio of San Francisco are National Historic Landmarks.

12 2 0 15

T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

The Spanish Franciscan friar blessing an

The United States is said to be a place

adobe church at Mission Basilica San Diego

where the world comes to begin again—to

Alcata in 1769; the Chilean miner trying his

reinvent itself, in the current coinage. If so,

luck panning for gold in a cold Sierra

California is the “America” of America. This

cataract in 1849; the Chinese laborer

was so even in pre-history, when the first

crossing the heaving Pacific to work on the

migrants from Asia crossed the land bridge

transcontinental railroad in 1869; the

between Siberia and Alaska, hung a right,

African American leaving the South to

walked southward, found pastures of plenty,

build warships on the Oakland waterfront

rich marine life and heart-stoppingly beau-

in 1942; the Haight-Ashbury hippie with

tiful mountains and either decided to keep

her wakeful dreaming in San Francisco’s

walking or stop right where they were.

Summer of Love in 1967; the Indian engi-

The place wasn’t called California then,

neer launching a high-tech startup in Palo

of course. That came later, the name taken

Alto in 2015, all have something in

from a 16th-century Spanish novel and used

common: starting over.

by explorers, soldiers and missionaries, who

SONGQUAN DENG/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: MARIUSZ S. JURGIELEWICZ/SHUTTERSTOCK; LOWE LLAGUNO/SHUTTERSTOCK; ANDREA VISCONTI/SHUTTERSTOCK

Innovation and starting fresh are embedded in California’s cultural DNA


THE EXCLAMATION “EUREKA!” —“I have found it!”—is first attributed to the ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes.

»

1848: EUREKA!

Eureka has been the name of several TV series, movies and early automobiles. Evoking the discovery of gold in 1848, Eureka is inscribed on the Great Seal of California as the state motto. It’s also the name of the largest town on California’s northwestern coast.

were themselves starting over in the New World. The Spanish built 21 Roman Catholic missions, from San Diego in the south to Sonoma in the north, from 1769 to 1823. In converting native communities

to

Christianity,

the

newcomers

overwhelmed native cultures. Of necessity, the Native Americans started over in a bewildering new world. In 1821, Mexico, with its remote northernmost province, Alta California, wrenched itself free of the Spanish Empire. In 1833, the missions were secularized by the Mexican government and abandoned. Their buildings moldered, their pioneering vineyards and olive groves were eventually overgrown

MISSION BASILICA San Diego Alcata, above; rigging of the tall ship Star of India in San Diego, right; Bodie ghost town, below.

and forgotten. Not until the 20th century were the missions restored and revived. Many flourish today as redoubts of history and contemporary worship, handsome, evocative reminders of the first major European presence.

The Gold Rush Alta California grew slowly in its isolation. That changed on January 24, 1848, with the discovery of gold on the American River. The California Gold Rush, beginning in earnest in 1849, gave fortune-seekers a second—some said a last—chance to make good. Half-a-million newcomers—many from Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa— globalized California in a hurry. The Mexican descendants of Spanish settlers—the Californios, with their sprawling ranchos and lives attuned to the slow turning of the seasons—were swept aside, left to start over. Many 49ers stayed on and found another kind of gold: richly productive new lives in a place where beginning afresh—personally, financially, even spiritually—was already a common rite of passage. In 1850, pried loose by the U.S. victory in the Mexican War and accelerated by the Gold

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T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

13


HISTORY Rush, California became the 31st state of the

dream-weavers of Hollywood. In the 1940s,

United States. New Californians brought

creative people from Europe such as Billy

the new Golden State into being, plowing

Wilder and Thomas Mann, fleeing fascism

its fields, founding its great universities,

and war to begin anew, lent the movies an Old

building its cities.

World artistic sensibility.

California’s lustrous reputation was tar-

California’s story since World War II has

nished on the morning of April 18, 1906,

featured growth and more growth. Com-

when

rocked

bined with in-country migration, global

Northern California and leveled much of

immigration made California the most

San Francisco; what the rolling, rumbling

populous state in the Union in 1962.

a

massive

earthquake

ground didn’t knock down, the ensuing firestorm burned down. Some 3,000 people

A Center for Change

died. Now, it was San Francisco’s turn to

From the 1960s on, California has been, in a

start over. San Francisco dramatized its

positive sense, the most disruptive state in

recovery, and celebrated the new Panama

the nation. Student political activism, the

THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN on Mount

Canal linking the Atlantic and the Pacific,

hip counter-culture and early awakenings

Lee in the Hollywood Hills area of Los

with the splendidly showy Panama-Pacific

of the New Age movement found fertile

Angeles, above; Jefferson Airplane and

International Exposition of 1915.

ground in California. The in-season, sus-

Grateful Dead concert poster and

tainable, slow-food movement arguably

The Rise of Hollywood

took root fastest in California. American

Just two years after that optimistic display, the

environmentalism in large part began in

nation plunged into World War I. After the war

California, when Scottish immigrant John

ended in 1918, still more migrants rushed to

Muir founded the Sierra Club in San Fran-

California. In 1920, Los Angeles (and much

cisco back in 1892 and took President

later San Diego and San Jose) surged past San

Theodore Roosevelt camping amid the nat-

Francisco in population. The orange groves

ural wonders of Yosemite Valley in 1903.

and dusty byways of old Los Angeles began

From the 1980s on, Silicon Valley has

morphing into “LA”—more specifically, and

joined Hollywood as a creative lodestar for

more mythically, “Hollywood.”

the whole planet. The high-technology world

Actors, writers, directors and producers

has enshrined risk-taking, innovation,

streamed to Los Angeles, growing a quiet cot-

learning from failure and—you guessed it—

tage industry of silent motion pictures into a

starting over. Quoting another California

technologically advanced business. Stars

innovation, the 1960s Whole Earth Catalog,

were born in a place that came to be called

Apple’s Steve Jobs urged Stanford University

“the dream factory.” Not a few of the Dust

graduates in a commencement speech in

Bowl migrants who left the drought-stricken

2005 to “stay hungry, stay foolish.”

Midwest for California in the 1930s got their first impressions of their new home from the

» 14 2 01 5

1960s: WE BUILT THIS CITY ON ROCK ’N’ ROLL

T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

Californians, across centuries and cultures, always have.

AMERICA’S MOST FAMOUS psychedelic rock bands, Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead, lived in San Francisco’s hippie haven, the HaightAshbury district, in the mid-to-late 1960s. The Airplane soared in a colonnaded 1904 Colonial Revival mansion at 2400 Fulton St. The Dead jammed at 710A Ashbury St. in an 1890 Queen Anne building. The houses survive as eye-pleasing private residences, rich with sidewalk photo opportunities, and are featured on city walking tours.

SUPANNEE HICKMAN/SHUTTERSTOCK

Grateful Dead’s 45 rpm single, below.


CA.CITIES

BY DAVID ARMSTRONG

Surprising Cities

California’s golden cities—Los Angeles,

Public Market, with its locally sourced,

San Francisco, San Diego—are celebrated

seasonal bounty. The Napa Valley Wine

around the world, and rightly so. But the

Train rumbles north and south on three-

NAPA

Golden State has an engaging range of

hour excursions, offering full meals on

Known primarily for its wine, Napa is a city, too, straddling the Napa River at the foot of the world famous Napa Valley. Its downtown streets, above, are home to appealing restaurants and shops. The city was founded in 1847; the first business establishment was a saloon; by the 1850s, gambling halls and saloons were numerous; the first commercial winery was established in 1859.

things to see and do in less-well-known

wheels and, of course, California wines.

locales, as well. In cities ranging in size

Michelin-starred La Toque in the Westin

from barely 3,000 inhabitants to more

Verasa Hotel highlights refined in-city

than 300,000, a surprising, eclectic menu

dining. First Street showcases a still-devel-

of food and drink, art and architecture, his-

oping

tory and sports is available to visitors.

eye-catching public art pieces. Napa’s ren-

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T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

cluster

of

art

galleries

and

ovated Uptown Theatre presents pop, folk

NAPA: More Than Wine

and blues music and pours premium

Napa is three places: city, valley and

wines, while the spruced-up 1880 Napa

county. Time was, Napa city was a place

Valley Opera House is a jewelbox venue for

visitors stopped only for gasoline. No

music, stand-up comedy and theater.

longer. The city is brimming with fine-

Moreover, center-city Napa is speckled

dining, new hotels, happening bars, a

with lovely bed and breakfast places in art-

handsome promenade downtown along

fully restored Victorian fantasias of

the Napa River and foodie favorite Oxbow

turrets, stained-glass and burnished wood.

VISITNAPAPVALLEY.COM. OPPOSITE: ERIC WAGNER/CREATIVE COMMONS/FLICKR; YOU TOUCH PIX OF EUTOCH/SHUTTERSTOCK; SUSAN SCHMITZ/SHUTTERSTOCK

Urban delights flourish in pioneer towns, wine country redoubts and desert oases


THE NEW EASTERN SPAN of the San Francisco Bay Bridge appears to merge with the old span, with the Port of Oakland in the background, left; Pismo Beach bluffs, San Luis Obispo County, below; oak wine barrels at a San Luis Obispo County winery, bottom.

OAKLAND: There’s a “There” There Few California cities are as surprising as Oakland. Long in the shadow of glamorous San Francisco, the East Bay city of 390,000 has a mix of vibrancy, energy and diversity all its own. Jack London Square is a hive of restaurants, shops and bay ferries and home to premier jazz club and Japanese restaurant Yoshi’s. Right nearby, Ninth Street’s lovingly renovated Victorian buildindependent retailers and vintage archi-

SAN LUIS OBISPO: Mission, Vineyards & the Outdoors

tecture. City center’s Lake Merritt offers

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean 11 miles

boating, waterside walking and jogging

to the west and the San Lucia Mountains just

and a fast-growing cluster of cafés, bars

to the east, this central-coast city of 45,000

and shops, plus the engaging Oakland

is located midway between San Francisco

Museum of California and gloriously old-

and Los Angeles. Easily accessible by train

school Grand Lake Theatre movie palace.

on Amtrak or via U.S. Highway 101 and

For nightlife, head to the Uptown district’s

famously scenic California Route 1, the his-

colony of restaurants and bars, the gor-

toric core of the city clusters around the 1759

geously restored 1928 Middle Eastern

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. This is

fantasia the Fox Theatre and 1932 Art Deco

the place to find restaurants, cafés and

Paramount Theatre, which book headline

shops. Music and theater productions are

sometimes-chilly, foggy coast with their

performers. Still-more great cuisine can be

mounted on the campus of California Poly-

wetsuits for surfing, kayaking and wind-

found in foodie favorite Rockridge at

technic Institute (“Cal Poly’’). Outdoorsy

surfing. South of the city is prime territory

accomplished eateries such as Wood

visitors and locals hike and bike the Nine

for winery touring and tasting: the expan-

Tavern, and in the Rockridge Market Hall.

Sisters hills. The marine-minded head to the

sive Edna Valley wine-producing region.

ings

are

destinations

for

food,

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T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

17


CA.CITIES

FOX THEATER in Bakersfield, above; Geoff Pugh dusts his 1937 Oldsmobile convertible for the judges at the Cruisin’ for a Wish Car & Motorcycle Show, right; the Carson Mansion, built in 1884-1885 in Old Town Eureka, is considered the finest example of Queen Anne style Victorian houses in America, opposite; Saint Andrew Catholic Church in Pasadena, opposite bottom.

»

FIND YOUR CITY FUN

Napa visitnapavalley.com, 707-251-5895 Oakland visitoakland.org, 510-839-9000 San Luis Obispo visitslo.com, 805-781-2777 Bakersfield visitbakersfield.com, 866-425-7353 Nevada City nevadacountygold.com, 530-265-2692

BAKERSFIELD: Buck Owens & Basques

diners. Fans of country music can drop by

Calling all honky-tonk angels: Bakersfield

Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, with its

may just be a must-stop. Once home to

mementos of Owens and his band, the

country-music legends Merle Haggard and

Buckaroos, and catch a show by contem-

the late Buck Owens, this San Joaquin

porary country musicians. It’s a fine place

Valley community’s workaday, unpreten-

to listen to a swooning steel guitar by the

tious facade masks a city of surprises.

light of the juke box.

Located inland and northwest of Los Eureka redwoods.info, 800-346-3482

Angeles, Bakersfield is reached via California routes 99 and 58. The city of 323,000

NEVADA CITY: Postcard from the Gold Rush

Palm Desert palm-desert.org, 800-873-2428

is home to one of the largest and most

In 2010, this postcard-pretty inland com-

vibrant Basque communities in the United

munity in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada

States. Family-style Basque restaurants

counted 3,068 residents—1,000 fewer than

like Wool Growers and the Pyrenees Café

it had in 1880 in the afterglow of the 1849

add diversity to the downhome cooking of

California Gold Rush. These days, travelers

Bakersfield’s truck stops and roadside

journey to Nevada City’s woodsy setting on

Pasadena visitpasadena.com, 800-307-7977

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T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A


the western slopes to admire impeccably th

of a staggering 1,500 Eureka buildings listed

restored 19 -century buildings, take in

on the National Register of Historic Places.

scenic hillside views, ski the nearby moun-

One-million-acre Six Rivers National Forest

tains, and head to High Country attractions

is a near neighbor.

RUSSELL SHIVELY/SHUTTERTOCK; ANGEL DIBILIO/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: RICHARD THORNTON/SHUTTERSTOCK

such as Lake Tahoe. The Gold Rush is memorialized at the Miners Foundry Cul-

PALM DESERT: Low-Profile Oasis

tural Center and by historical mining

Eleven miles from high-profile Palm Springs

exhibits in City Hall. Eye-pleasing and

is sunny Palm Desert, a city of 48,000 in the

walkable, much of downtown Nevada City

Coachella Valley. Palm Desert combines the

is listed on the National Register of Historic

manicured lawns, golf courses, tennis courts

Places. The Nevada Theatre, a smartly

and swimming pools of a manmade oasis

restored heritage building, hosts a variety

with rugged cycling, off-road hiking and 4-

of live entertainment.

wheel-drive excursions in the surrounding desert. Golf is available at 10 city-owned golf

EUREKA: Redwoods & Victorians

courses, plus prime links such as the J.W.

the annual Rose Bowl football game, its

Tucked into the northwestern corner of Cal-

Marriott Desert Springs Resort’s 18-hole Palm

ever-popular Tournament of Roses Parade

ifornia, Eureka, 270 miles north of San

Course. The city displays more than 130

and delightful parody the Doo-Dah Parade.

Francisco on Humboldt Bay, has the largest

public-art pieces, many clustered along El

Some 800 restored early 20th-century

deep-water port between San Francisco Bay

Paseo or Fred Waring Drive. Culture is on-

wooden bungalows, clustered in the Bun-

and Washington’s Puget Sound. The city of

stage at the 1980s McCallum Theatre for the

galow Heaven Historic District, give

27,000 also serves as the unofficial capital

Performing Arts, and visitors can view mid-

Pasadena a signature architectural look.

th

of the state’s Redwood Empire. Once famed

20 -century commercial buildings and

Shopping and dining are abundant along

for its timber, mines and fisheries, Eureka

homes on free architectural tours.

pedestrian-friendly South Lake Avenue, in the Playhouse District and in revived, 22-

is a leading West Coast purveyor of succulent farmed oysters. Most significantly for

PASADENA: Rose Bowl & Bungalows

block Old Pasadena. The Huntington

visitors, Eureka is an attractive preserve of

Located 10 miles northeast of Los Angeles

combines a distinguished library complete

Victorian architecture such as the grand

at the foot of the imposing San Gabriel

with a Gutenberg Bible, centuries of priceless

1886 Carson Mansion at 2nd and M streets.

Mountains, this pretty city of 140,000 is

fine-art pieces and extensive and beautiful

Shops, restaurants and B&Bs occupy some

best-known for the Granddaddy of ’em All:

botanical gardens all in one place.

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T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

19


CA.CUISINE BY LAURA NESS

California Cuisine Scene and be seen

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA FOOD

OLIVE OIL PRODUCTS from Victorine Valley Farms of Livermore, above; chef Jarden Richardson serving at Pebble Beach Food & Wine festival, above right.

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T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

Like everything else in California from

If the Midwest is the bread basket of

politics to entertainment, food is a

America, California is its dairy queen, its

celebrity-driven business. From the rock

grape goddess, its almond alma mater, its

star antics of Guy Fieri to the farm-to-table

greenhouse fairy godmother, and, sorry,

phenom that took the country by storm,

Texas, its meat locker. Yes, California does

the culinary scene is a mix of where to be

have happier cows, with dairy being its

seen and those unseen farmers and field

largest export, followed by grapes,

laborers who actually do all the dirty work

almonds, nursery plants, cattle, strawber-

necessary to put food on tables. Thanks to

ries, lettuce and walnuts.

garden-to-table pioneer Alice Waters, who

Between the Salinas Valley—America’s

made growing your own green the new

Salad Bowl and top strawberry producer—

black before that was even an expression.

and the Imperial Valley for tomatoes,

Today, California is the largest producer

California farmers really put out. In record

of agricultural products in the country,

numbers they are forming CSAs (Community

with more than 400 commodities. Nearly

Supported Agriculture organizations) and it’s

half of USA.-grown fruit, nuts and vegeta-

no surprise that California has upwards of

bles come from the Golden State.

800 farmers markets, the most nationwide.

KIM FAULKNER; LAURA NESS. OPPOSITE: CHEESE THERAPY; LAURA NESS; BREWERY GULCH INN; VISIT LAGUNA BEACH

San Francisco has more restaurants per capita than any other U.S. city, and most of them are good. Old standards that have been around for decades still hold their own against innovative new arrivals. SF’s Mission district has become a foodie haven and surrounding communities from Berkeley to Palo Alto to Napa and Sonoma all bring exquisite food to the table.


GOAT CHEESE strata woodboard, fresh buratta and prosciutto, California benedict, left; seafood dining at Laguna Beach, below.

Apple lovers can rejoice in Sebastopol,

Top Dining Destinations

home of Gravensteins, and in Apple Hill,

LA & Environs

where 50 farms welcome you to pick. On

Trendy dining spots in star-studded LA

the coast, berry farms (Swanton) and

include Animal, Bestia, Faith & Flower,

pumpkin patches (Arata’s in Half Moon

Gjusta, Maude, Mozza, Petit Trois, Pot

Bay, complete with corn labyrinth) beckon,

Commissary Café, Providence, Rivera, Red

and Duarte’s Tavern in Pescadero will

Medicine, Sqirl and Trois Mec.

warm you on foggy days with cream of artiSan Diego

choke and chile soup. California’s olive oil production has

San Diego’s food scene is buzzing over Baci

skyrocketed, with favorites like Stella

Ristorante, Bottega Americano, Comun

Cadente (Fort Bragg), Victorine Valley

Kitchen & Tavern, Cucina Enoteca, Juniper

Farms (Livermore) and Olea (Paso Robles),

& Ivy, Prado, PuestoTidal and Trulucks.

all producing decadent flavor-infusions, San Francisco

along with balsamics. Restaurants with farm-to-table partnerships

are

prevalent,

including

San Francisco is a constant blender bender

The

of change, with restaurants opening and

Restaurant at Wente in Livermore with its

closing weekly. New on the scene are Lazy

sustainable gardens, and Michelin darling

Bear, Le Clos, Monsieur Benjamin, Quince,

Manresa, in Los Gatos, whose relationship

Tradesman, Urchin Bistro and Michael

with Love Apple Farms is legendary. Cham-

Mina’s latest, his first Japanese foray,

inade, in Santa Cruz, holds a series of

Paubu, along with The Ramen Bar. Classics

farm-to-table wine dinners featuring local

still at the top of their game include NOPA,

wineries and farm-fresh produce.

Gary Danko, Slanted Door and Jardinière.

Sustainability is the keyword in all things agriculture, and we can tip our hat to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for its impactful Seafood Watch program that helps diners make informed choices, whether selecting fish at Whole Foods or dining at classic Pacific Grove spots like Passionfish and Fandango. Niman Ranch, a pioneer in hormone free, humanely raised meats, set the stage for conscious consumption. Look for it on finer menus everywhere. Sonoma and Marin counties have become the Cheese hub, with names like Barinaga (Marshall), Cowgirl Creamery (Point Reyes) and Harley Farms (Pescadero) consistent award-winners. Check out cheesetrail.org.

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T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

21


CA.CUISINE WINE TASTING in Lodi; Cheese Therapy truck, right; everything’s fresh in farm-to-table dining, opposite.

YOUR » FIND NEXT MEAL

Silicon Valley In Los Gatos, gem of Silicon Valley, Dio Deka (Greek), Forbes Mill (steakhouse) and Nick’s Next Door (creatively exquisite comfort food) are top drawer, while in Saratoga,

seafoodwatch.org

it’s The Plumed Horse (Michelin-starred)

passionfish.net

and Sent Sovi, along with Nemea and Grill

the Grid, a Bay Area network offering just

on the Alley in San Jose.

about every imaginable international cuisine, now includes an artisan cheese truck called “Cheese Therapy.”

Think Mendocino for some of the most

nimanranch.com barinagaranch.com cowgirlcreamery.com harleyfarms.com cheesetrail.org

romantic and isolated coastal dining estab-

Food & Wine Extravaganzas

gravensteinapplefair.com

lishments with drop-dead gorgeous views

True epicures should not miss the defini-

applehill.com

and zero traffic. North Coast stars include

tive food and wine events put on yearly by

swantonberryfarm.com

Chef Marc Dym, of Little River Inn and

Pebble Beach’s Coastal Luxury Manage-

aratapumpkinfarm.com

Chef Nicolas Petti of Mendo Bistro, mul-

ment. First, there’s Pebble Beach Food &

duartestavern.com

tiple winner of the Dungeness crab cake

Wine in April, a multi-day extravaganza

stellacadente.com

cookoff held each January during Mendo-

showcasing the hottest new chefs doing

cino’s Crabfest. The gourmet cuisine of

live cooking demos. And the wine selection

Chef Peg Davis at Brewery Gulch Inn makes

is so unbeatable, you’d best learn to spit.

victorinevalleyfarms.com oleafarms.com wentevineyards.com/restaurant manresarestaurant.com

it the finest B&B in Mendocino, and new-

LA Food & Wine follows in August.

comer The Wild Fish in Albion sets new

Seminars at both bring world-class educa-

chaminade.com

standards for white linen seaside dining.

tors, chefs and winemakers together to

summit2seawinetrail.com

create learning experiences that will open

littleriverinn.com

Carmel & Monterey

your eyes to the incomparable scope of the

mendobistro.com

Michelin-starred Aubergine, where Chef

culinary cosmos.

mendocino.com

Justin Cogley and Pastry Chef Ron Men-

Dorothy Maras-Ildiz, “Chef Whisperer”

doza work wonders, and Carmel Valley’s

in charge of coordinating chefs for the

Marinus at Bernardus Lodge, home of

aforementioned events, notes, “Octopus is

esteemed Chef Cal Stamenov, continue to

the protein darling of the year and ramen

wow diners.

is the hottest trend. The immersion circu-

loveapplefarms.com

bernarduslodge.com postranchinn.com cheesetherapytruck.com offthegrid.com pbfw.com lafw.com

In Big Sur, superstar Chef John Cox

lator has become so prevalent that no one

makes any meal at clifftop Sierra Mar an

even dares to print the words ‘sous vide’ on

otherworldly experience, with views

a menu: everyone is utilizing these precise

Mouthwatering News

plunging to the Pacific deep.

cooking tools.”

chow.com

testarossa.com

This year’s hottest new event is Tes-

slofoodbank.org

Food Trucks Bring It On

tarossa Winery’s Wine & Food festival on

tastingtable.com

Trending skyward, food trucks have gone

May 17 in Los Gatos, featuring Michelin-

seriouseats.com

from flash mob craze to commonplace. Off

starred chefs.

22 2 01 5

T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

ANTHONY MCCAMMON PHOTOGRAPHY; CHRISTINE MCCALL. OPPOSITE: VISIT SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY

Seacoast Stars

fandangorestaurant.com


CA.WINE COUNTRY

BY MARCY GORDON

Festivals in Wineland

MENDOCINO WINE TASTING Sampling local wines is a popular activity, whether in Mendocino, above, or in the many wine growing regions up and down the state. California wines became famous when a Chardonnay from Chateau Montelena in Napa Valley won the Judgment of Paris in 1976. It was an event that rocked the wine world, and the quality of California wines has only grown since then.

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T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

There are so many wines, varieties and

the casual wine fan seeking a few hours of

regions in California (the fourth largest

food and fun, as well as to the experienced

wine producing area in the world after

wine enthusiast determined to discover

Spain, France and Italy) that figuring out

the next great grape producer.

where to go and what to taste can be

area is by attending a local wine festival.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA COAST Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Livermore, Santa Cruz Mountains

Think of it as Wine-Recon, a most

The most famous California wine region

delightful way to gather insight and infor-

by far is in Northern California. Napa

mation on local wineries in a short span of

Valley is known around the world for

time. From large-scale food and wine fests

its exceptional wines, and draws more

to small, quirky events focused on specific

visitors than any other area. The quintes-

wines such as Pinot Noir, sparkling, or

sential wine country experience was

Rh么nes, wine festivals can cater to both

perfected here, with more than 300

daunting. Aside from taking a tour, one of the best ways to get acquainted with an

ERIC LINDBERG. OPPOSITE: ALEXEY U/SHUTTERSTOCK; LEONARD ZHUKOVSKY/SHUTTERSTOCK; VICTOR MASCHEK/SHUTTERSTOCK

A year-round celebration


Stone & Embers, a casual trattoria featuring wood-stove pizzas, house-made breads and preserves. Anderson Valley hosts two exceptional festivals, the highly regarded Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Fest in May, and the Alsace Fest in February, focusing on Alsace-style white wines including Rieswineries vying for your taste buds along

at the The Madrones, a wine-tasting and

ling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot

Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail.

luxury lodging “suite spot” that showcases

Blanc and Muscat. Farther inland, Passport

Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are

local wines from Drew, Bink, Knez and

to Hopland, a true locals event, is held

the signature grapes grown in the valley,

Signal Ridge. The Madrones is also home to

twice a year in spring and fall.

but other varieties have been making a strong showing in the last decade. While the majority of visitors go to the big-name wineries such as Robert Mondavi, Beringer and Sterling, those in the know are heading for Coombsville. Located just minutes from downtown Napa, Coombsville’s unusual cool climate results in sensational Cabernets from grower/producers such as Meteor, Sodaro, Caldwell and Farella. Most are open by appointment only, but well worth the effort to call and go. Foodies and wine lovers will want to check out Flavor! Napa Valley, an annual event featuring world class Napa Valley wines alongside food prepared by the master chefs and graduates of The Culinary Institute of America at the Greystone Campus in St. Helena. The Valley’s most famous event, Auction Napa Valley is the place to hob-nob with serious wine collectors in a weekend of intimate soirees, casual luncheons and grand tastings, culminating with the auction, where bids on exclusive wine lots reach the stratosphere for a worthy cause. Prefer something more pastoral? Wind your way up Highway 128 in Mendocino County to Anderson Valley, the premier

BERINGER BROTHERS WINERY historic building in Napa Valley, above; California grapes ripen on the vine, top; the wares of Castello di Amorosa, a Tuscan-style castle and winery in Napa Valley, on display, left.

growing region in Mendocino, and stop in

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25


CA.WINE COUNTRY PICKING GRAPES in Sonoma near Sebastopol, below; the grape harvest, right; toasting life in Pismo Beach, opposite.

great wine too with several tasting rooms in

from groves of giant sequoias to caves and

the new Barlow complex featuring bou-

caverns makes this region the perfect stop

tique wines from Kosta Browne, LaFollette,

for the active oenophile.

Wind Gap, MacPhail, and Marimar Estate.

The main street of Murphys is lined

Just beyond the Barlow you’ll find Claypool

with Gold Rush-era buildings and more

Cellars located in a restored rail car, and

than 20 tasting rooms equal parts rustic

Hook and Ladder, two blocks away on Main

and sophisticated. If possible, time your

Street. Sebastopol is also home to West of

visit to coincide with the Barbera Fest in

West Wine Festival, a small focused vint-

June, or the Rocks & Rhones Weekend on

ners event with sublime cool-climate wines

Memorial Day weekend.

Local favorites include Stark, Cartograph,

One of the oldest regions, Livermore, is

and Banshee. Healdsburg is also home to

just 30 miles east of San Francisco and best

one of the most eclectic wine events of the

known for its Chardonnay production and

CENTRAL COAST Monterey, Santa Lucia Highlands, Chalone, Carmel Valley, Paso Robles, Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande, Santa Clara Valley

year—the uber hip 7% Solution Fest dedi-

the well-established winery estates of

The Central Coast is one of the largest and

cated to rare, lesser grown grape varieties

Wente and Concannon. In March, you can

most diverse wine growing regions, and

with extremely limited production.

meet the winemakers and taste wine right

Monterey is home to the granddaddy of

out of the barrel during the Livermore

all wine festivals, the Pebble Beach Food

Valley Annual Barrel Tasting Weekend.

and Wine Classic in April, where you can

the king of the tasting rooms in California.

Visiting Northern Sonoma in January? Warm up a chill winter day with new

relatively new event is generating insider buzz and is a winemaker favorite.

sip fine wines and enjoy small plates by

releases, barrel tasting and food pairings

star chefs.

tour that’s the toasty event of the season.

SIERRA FOOTHILLS El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras

For a veritable movable feast of food, wine

The mining towns of the Sierra foothills—

the highlands, the Santa Lucia Highlands, an

and vineyard vistas, head to Jordan

Placerville, Amador City and Sutter

appellation with many noteworthy wineries

Winery, just outside of town on Alexander

Creek—used to draw prospectors in search

such as Morgan, Mer Soleil, and Hahn.

Valley Road, for the three-hour Estate Tour

of gold. Now wine lovers come in search of

Santa Clara Valley is one of the oldest

and Tasting experience.

at Winter WINEland, a self-paced winery

If you are a Pinot or Syrah fan, head for

riches in liquid form, such as Grenache,

wine regions in California. Founded by

Sebastopol, an area previously noted for

Sangiovese and particularly Old-vine Zin-

Italian immigrants in the early 1800s, this

its apples, is gaining ground as a place for

fandel. The proximity to natural wonders

region has now grown to approximately 23

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LUKASZ SZWAJ/SHUTTERSTOCK; GALINA BARSKAYA/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: PISMO BEACH CVB

from the Sonoma Coast appellation. This In Sonoma County, Healdsburg reigns as


wineries featuring such varietals as

world class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay,

Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and harder-

Tercero for Rhône varietals, and the stun-

to-find varietals such as Barbera, Sangiovese

ning Riesling at Fess Parker. But if you are

and Pinot Blanc. Follow the new, 28-mile-

a hardcore pork and pinot lover, make

loop Wine Trail for a taste of this

plans to be in Los Olivos in July for the

re-emerging wine region.

Bacon & Barrels Festival.

Paso Robles is said to be the region

Zinfandel grows well in the Central

with the most potential, and wineries

Valley, a major agricultural region that

here range from large commercial pro-

runs down the middle of the state from

ducers to small boutiques making limited

Sacramento to Bakersfield, and Lodi Zin is

quantities. Peachy Canyon, Gray Wolf,

the most famous and longest running fes-

J. Lohr and Tablas Creek are some of the

tival for Zin lovers, proving Lodi is more

standouts along the wine trail. Looking to

than just bulk wine territory. Two popular

meet the next great winemaker? The Garagiste Fest in Paso Robles will introduce you to the small guys with bright futures. And if bubbles make you happy,

» WINE FESTIVALS

BubblyFest by the Sea in Pismo Beach is one of the only festivals in the county dedicated to sparkling wines.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA & CENTRAL VALLEY Santa Barbara, Santa Rita Hills, Santa Ynez Valley, Los Olivos, Temecula, Lodi, Madera, Clarksburg The Southern California coastal region vineyards in Santa Barbara, Santa Rita Hills and Santa Ynez Valley produce primarily Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah, the new emerging star. Santa Ynez Valley became the poster child for wine tourism when the 2004 film Sideways confirmed

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA COAST NAPA Auction Napa Valley—June 4-6 auctionnapavalley.org Flavor! Napa Valley—Nov. 18-22 flavornapavalley.com SONOMA Winter WINEland—Jan. 17-18 wineroad.com/events/winter_wineland 7% Solution (Healdsburg)—May 6 bergamotalley.com/seven-solution

heat). But the ghosts of Sideways’ Miles and Jack are long gone and it’s safe to drink Merlot again. Fall brings the annual Celebration of Harvest with Santa Barbara Vintners offering free wine tasting over Columbus Day Weekend along the wine trails of Buellton, Foxen Canyon, Lompoc, Los Olivos, Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Rita Hills and Solvang. In search of the ideal town to spend the day tasting, shopping and dining? Tiny Los

The Barbera Fest—June 13 barberafestival.com CENTRAL COAST Passport Weekend—March 28-29 santaclarawines.com Pebble Beach Food & Wine Classic—April 9-12 pbfw.com

Taste Alexander Valley—May 16-17 tastealexandervalley.org

BUBBLYFest by the Sea (Pismo Beach)—Oct. 2-4 bubblyfest.com

West of West Wine Festival—Aug. 1-2 westsonomacoast.com/west-of-west-festival

Garagiste Festival (Paso Robles)—Nov. 5-8 garagistefestival.com

MENDOCINO The International Alsace Varietals Festival—Feb. 7 avwines.com/alsace-festival

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA & CENTRAL VALLEY Zin Fest (Lodi Lake)—May 15-17 zinfest.com

Hopland Passport—May 2-3 & Oct. 17-18 destinationhopland.com/hopland-passport

Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine—May 29-31 tvbwf.com

Anderson Valley Pinot Fest—May 15-17 avwines.com/anderson-valley-pinotnoir-festival

Bacon & Barrels (Los Olivos)—July 17-19 baconandbarrels.com/the-event

its status as a Pinot Noir hot spot (or cool spot, as Pinot grapes don’t like too much

SIERRA FOOTHILLS Rocks & Rhônes Weekend—May 23-24 pleasantvalleywineries.com

LIVERMORE Livermore Valley Barrel Tasting Weekend—March 21-22 lvwine.org/event/1192/Barrel_Tasting_ Weekend.html

San Diego Zoo Wine and Food—Sept. 26 sandiegozoo.org/zoo/celebration Santa Barbara Celebration of Harvest—Oct. 9-12 celebrationofharvest.com

Olivos is the place. Don’t miss Alta Maria’s

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CA.WINE COUNTRY SIDEWAYS picnic at Solvang, from the major motion picture featuring Paul Giamatti, right.

producers are the Berghold Estate Winery and Michael-David Winery, best known for its 7 Deadly Zins blend. Vineyards inland in Southern California’s mostly hot and arid region are gaining notice, and Temecula in particular is gener-

wine too. The two primary growing

Food Festival where you can stroll the

ating an ardent following for its wines and

regions, San Pasqual and Ramona Valley,

grounds and sip wine in the midst of the

sheer determination to grow grapes in a chal-

continue to develop with many wineries

wild kingdom.

lenging location. Get an overview of the wine

offering tastings and tours. One standout

California wine festivals and events fill

scene, literally, during the Temecula Valley

in San Pasqual is Orfila, an ultra-premium

the calendar all year long, like a roulette

Balloon and Wine festival.

boutique winery making Rhônes, Zin-

wheel of juicy prospects. Whether you plan

San Diego usually means sun and sand,

fandel, and Merlot. Animal lovers will

ahead, or spin the big wine wheel and see

but just an hour north you’ll find there’s

enjoy the annual San Diego Zoo Wine and

where it lands, the odds are delicious.

» FIND A WINERY WINERIES & VINEYARDS Northern California Coast robertmondavi.com beringer.com sterlingvineyards.com meteorvineyard.com farella.com sodarowines.com caldwellvineyard.com binkwines.com knezwinery.com drewwines.com signalridge.com bansheewines.com starkwine.com cartographwines.com jordanwinery.com kostabrowne.com lafollettewines.com marimarestate.com windgapwines.com macphailwine.com hookandladderwinery.com claypoolcellars.com Central Coast & Santa Lucia Highlands mersoleilvineyard.com hahnestates.com morganwinery.com clos.com guglielmowinery.com sycamorecreekvineyards.com

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Paso Robles peachycanyon.com greywolfcellars.com jlohr.com tablascreek.com Southern California & Central Valley altamaria.com fessparkerwines.com tercerowines.com Lodi bergholdvineyards.com michaeldavidwinery.com San Diego orfila.com TASTING ROOMS themadrones.com WINERY ASSOCIATIONS Anderson Valley Wine Growers Association avwines.com Coombsville Winery Members coombsvillenapa.org El Dorado County & Sierra Foothills eldoradowines.org Hopland destinationhopland.com/wineries/

Livermore Valley Wine Growers Association lvwine.org Lodi Wineries lodiwine.com/wineries Mendocino Wine Country mendowine.com Napa Valley Vintners napavintners.com Paso Robles Wine pasowine.com Pleasant Valley Wineries pleasantvalleywineries.com San Diego/Ramona Valley Vineyard Association ramonavalleyvineyards.org Santa Barbara Vintners Association sbcountywines.com Sonoma Wine Road Association wineroad.com Temecula Wineries temeculawines.org/wineries-vineyards West Sonoma Coast Vintners westsonomacoast.com

SOLVANG CONFERENCE & VISITORS BUREAU

GUIDE TO CALIFORNIA WINE californiawineryadvisor.com


CA.MUSEUMS & ART

BY JEFF GREENWALD

Infinite Creativity

SAN FRANCISCO FINE ARTS The Legion of Honor, above, commands a dramatic setting atop Lincoln Park with views of the grand Pacific Ocean. Combined with the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, they form the largest public arts institution in San Francisco.

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Few places in the United States—few

Saturn, California has a museum that will

countries in the world, in fact—offer the

enlighten and inspire you.

astonishing

variety

of

California’s

museums. From the famous Tactile Dome

The Arts

in San Francisco’s Exploratorium to the

Visiting Los Angeles? It’s easy to spend

sensuous Asian gods and goddesses at

hours gleefully lost in the galleries at the

Pasadena’s Norton Simon Museum, there’s

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

a gallery for every interest and obsession.

(LACMA). The museum always features

California has provided fertile ground for

some great temporary exhibitions, but don’t

artists of every stripe, whether their

miss their permanent collections of Asian,

medium is oil paint or HD video displays.

African and Japanese art. Deeper down-

And because it’s such a diverse state,

town, the Museum of Contemporary Art

California’s museums promote and cele-

(MoCA) and Geffen Contemporary show-

brate a broad spectrum of cultures.

case the best in 20th- and 21st-century

Whether you’re inspired by Diego Rivera’s

painting, sculpture and conceptual artwork.

murals, Rodin’s Thinker or the moons of

But the biggest art event of 2015 will cer-

STEVE WHITTAKER, FINE ARTS MUSEUMS OF SF. OPPOSITE: JORG HACKEMANN/SHUTTERSTOCK; ORHAN CAM/SHUTTERSTOCK

California’s museums celebrate the human spirit


ZEISS TELESCOPE at Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, right; details of the Getty Center, Los Angeles, below.

tainly be the opening of the architecturally dazzling Broad Museum, featuring more than 2,000 works of contemporary art. One highlight of a California visit is often the renowned Getty Museum— which includes both the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu. The Villa’s 2015 offerings will include an

San Francisco’s two most important art

exhibition of Roman silver treasure, while

museums are as architecturally different

the more contemporary Center (which

as two buildings can be. The Legion of

spans the Medieval period to the present)

Honor—set in Lincoln Park, on a hill over-

will celebrate Flemish painter Paul

looking the Golden Gate Bridge and Pacific

Rubens, gift giving in the Middle Ages,

Ocean—is a ¾-scale recreation of Paris’

and—not to be missed—a century of

Palais de la Légion d’Honneur, and holds

animal photography.

an extraordinary collection of drawings as

Pasadena’s wonderful Norton Simon

well as changing exhibitions from around

exhibits on themes ranging from the Day

showcases a spectrum of European and

the world. At the entrance, surrounded by

of the Dead to “A Cinematic Study of Fog.”

Modern artists, and includes two of this

Beaux-Arts columns, sits The Thinker—one

The museum’s beautiful new wing on Cal-

writer’s

Picasso’s

of 70 Rodins in the museum’s permanent

ifornia’s Natural History opened in 2013

Woman with a Book (1932), and Diego

collection. In nearby Golden Gate Park,

and includes displays of life and work

Rivera’s The Flower Vendor (1941). The

meanwhile, the reimagined de Young is lit-

from the Gold Rush to Hollywood, from

sculpture garden is beautiful and serene.

erally a pillar of modern architecture.

the Beats to the Tech Boom. And while

In nearby San Marino, the impressive

Featuring a 10-story observation tower, the

you’re in the East Bay, check out the

Beaux-Arts mansion and grounds of finan-

de Young is Northern California’s premier

Berkeley Art Museum—on the campus of

cier Henry E. Huntington are now The

metropolitan art museum, showcasing the

UC Berkeley—with its often odd mix of

Huntington Library, with its 120 acres of

arts of Africa, Oceania and the New World.

super-contemporary, Abstract Expres-

botanical gardens. Here you can admire

Special exhibits in 2015 will include Keith

sionist and traditional Asian art.

Audubon’s bird drawings, view an actual

Haring, J. M. W. Turner, and a dazzling dis-

Gutenberg Bible, and wander through one

play of “Royal Hawaiian Featherwork.”

favorite

paintings:

of the West Coast’s most surreal displays of flowering cacti and succulents.

Science

The San Francisco Museum of Modern

The marvelous California Science Center in

Art (SFMOMA) is in the midst of renova-

Los Angeles’ Exposition Park claims to be

Ninety miles north of LA, the Santa Bar-

tions, and will remain closed until 2016.

the largest hands-on science museum on

bara Museum of Art is renowned for its

Their motto is, “We’ve temporarily moved...

the West Coast, with ongoing exhibits on

ambitious and imaginative exhibitions. An

everywhere.” Check their website (see

invention, space travel and life sciences.

equal distance to the south, San Diego’s

sidebar) for their satellite exhibitions at

Visitors can get up close and personal with

Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa

various locations around the Bay Area.

the Space Shuttle Endeavor or explore some

Park is California’s only museum dedi-

A short BART ride (or drive across the

of the Earth’s harshest ecosystems, from

cated exclusively to photography, film and

Bay Bridge) from San Francisco, the Oak-

boiling sea vents to the polar zones. The

video. MoPA’s 2015 exhibitions will include

land Museum of California is dedicated to

most amazing thing of all? It’s free!

the groundbreaking 7 billion Others: video

the arts, history and ecology of California.

Ten years and half a billion dollars in

portraits filmed in 84 countries by 20

This handsome gem is one of the state’s

the making, the California Academy of Sci-

directors.

finest museums, offering temporary

ences in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park

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31


CA.MUSEUMS & ART

» FIND YOUR ART

features a walk-through rainforest with free-ranging birds and butterflies, the world’s largest all-digital planetarium and a “Living Roof” with 1.7 million native California plants: a world unto itself. In 2013, after nearly 45 years at the Palace of Fine Arts, the legendary Exploratorium moved to a brand new building at Pier 15 on San Francisco’s Embarcadero. Founded by

museums to choose from. We wish we

atomic

could include them all!

scientist

Frank

Oppenheimer

(brother of J. Robert), the vast new space

In Sacramento, the California Museum

includes more than 600 interactive

features the California Hall of Fame, cele-

exhibits—including an amazing “Tinkerers’

brating local legends from John Muir to

Clock,” mind-boggling optical illusions and

Sally Ride.

popular “After Dark” event the first Thursday

In San Francisco’s North Beach, the Beat

evening of every month. The crawl-through

Museum is affectionately known as “The

Tactile Dome, recently refurbished, remains

House Jack (Kerouac) Built.” Downtown,

a highlight (reservations required).

the Contemporary Jewish Museum and

The Tech Museum of Innovation in San

nearby Museum of the African Diaspora

Jose (the heart of Silicon Valley) is the

(MoAD) provide fascinating insights into

country’s first museum dedicated to the

two of California’s most creative ethnic tra-

digital revolution, with exhibits on Artifi-

ditions. Visiting the Asian Art Museum, in

cial

San Francisco’s former Public Library, is

Intelligence,

Robotics

and

the

bone-rattling Earthquake Platform. Two hours south of San Francisco by car,

the next best thing to a trip along the ancient Silk Road.

the Monterey Bay Aquarium deserves to be

For a taste of luminous California kitsch,

included among the Wonders of the World

the Museum of Neon Art—recently located

for its astonishing displays of sea otters and

in Glendale’s new Cultural Arts District—

jellies, its mesmerizing three-story kelp

offers June through September “Neon

forest and a staggering million-gallon

Cruises” through the high-voltage land-

“Outer Bay” tank as fascinating as any IMAX

marks of downtown Los Angeles. Also in

film. Give yourself a full day to enjoy Mon-

LA, the Mexican Museum showcases “more

terey’s iconic Cannery Row and explore this

than 12,000 objects representing thousands

marvel of a museum.

of years of Mexican art and culture within the Americas,” while in Long Beach, the

Culture

Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA)

California is a rare and enduring alloy of

features modern and contemporary work by

more than 50 different ethnic groups. Its

artists from the New World. In Little Tokyo,

museums reflect the racial diversity and

the Japanese American National Museum

cultural history of this melting pot in

features exhibitions ranging from the World

microcosm. What follows is but a sample;

War II incarcerations to a sprawling show

there are many, many more cultural

on Hello Kitty.

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THE ARTS Fine Arts Museums of SF famsf.org SF MOMA sfmoma.org Oakland Museum of California museumca.org LACMA lacma.org MoCA moca.org Geffen Contemporary moca.org The Broad Museum thebroad.org Norton Simon Museum nortonsimon.org The Huntington Library huntington.org Getty Center & Getty Villa getty.edu/visit Santa Barbara Museum of Art sbmuseart.org Museum of Photographic Arts mopa.org SCIENCE California Science Center californiasciencecenter.org The Tech Museum thetech.org Monterey Bay Aquarium montereybayaquarium.org California Academy of Sciences calacademy.org Exploratorium exploratorium.edu CULTURE The California Museum californiamuseum.org Beat Museum thebeatmuseum.org Contemporary Jewish Museum thecjm.org MoAD moadsf.org Asian Art Museum asianart.org Museum of Neon Art neonmona.org Japanese American National Museum janm.org Mexican Museum mexicanmuseum.org MoLAA molaa.com Muzeo muzeo.org

RITU MANOJ JETHANI/SHUTTERSTOCK

MUSEUM OF MAN in Balboa Park, San Diego, right.


CA.PERFORMING ARTS

BY JEFF GREENWALD

On With the Show For Californians, performance is a passion

waste to the notion of spending a quiet evening (or even an afternoon) at home. What would one expect, though, from the birthplace of I Love Lucy and the home of the San Francisco Mime Troupe? The performing arts are one of California’s great attractions, with a variety of choices—sacred, profane and everything in between—that is both inspiring and maddening. A full accounting is impossible, but here are some suggestions to consider if you are visiting any of the state’s urban hubs.

Regional Theaters In San Diego, near the Mexican border, the La Jolla Playhouse has seen 24 of its productions move across the continent to Broadway, earning 35 Tony Awards. The Old Globe Theater presents the plays of Shake-

SAN FRANCISCO OPERA The world-renowned San Francisco Opera is the second largest opera company in North America. Founded in 1923, the company’s first performance was Puccini’s La Bohème. Opera had been popular in San Francisco since Gold Rush days, but until 1923 had only been performed by visiting opera companies. Today, opening night is a festive occasion, with the War Memorial Opera House always packed, above. A scene from a recent production of La Bohème appears above right.

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Performance is the lifeblood of Cali-

likes of Arthur Miller and an annual

fornia. From the Barbary Coast docks to the

Christmas production penned by a late

Paramount studio lots, theater and music

local resident: Dr. Seuss.

have always been an indelible part of the

Los Angeles, naturally, features dozens

“Left Coast” spirit. It makes perfect sense

of small theater companies—such as Santa

that, in the classic 1936 film San Francisco,

Monica’s Open Fist, the Actor’s Co-op, the

Mary Blake (Jeanette MacDonald) is singing

diverse Cornerstone and Hollywood’s pro-

her heart out when the Great Earthquake

found Blank Theater (which hosts the

strikes. Today, nearly every town in Cali-

Young Playwrights Festival in June 2015).

fornia boasts a stage of its own—from the

The city’s star attraction is the Center The-

Lighthouse Repertory Theater in Crescent

atre Group, with three stages: The Mark

City to San Diego’s Coronado Playhouse.

Taper Forum, Kirk Douglas and Ahmanson

The state’s scores of concert halls, sym-

theaters. Here you’ll find everything from

phony orchestras, jazz clubs, dance

top-shelf classics (including Noel Coward’s

companies, comedy troupes, cabarets,

Blithe Spirit in 2015) to cutting-edge solo

operas, fringe festivals and circuses lay

performance.

DREW ALTIZER/SF OPERA. OPPOSITE: KRISTEN LOKEN; JOAN MARCUS/FLIICKR

speare (of course), as well as works by the


It is San Francisco, though, that qualifies as California’s theater epicenter. Home of the legendary American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T., which premiered Cole Porter’s High Society in 1997), the city offers live performance for every taste. The Eureka (which premiered Angels in America), the Magic Theater (which established playwright Sam Shepard), Z Space, Aurora and Shotgun are just a few of the city’s native companies—not to mention the politically charged San Francisco Mime Troupe, now in its 57th rabble-rousing year. For superb solo performance, check out both Intersection for the Arts and The Marsh (“A breeding ground for new performance”), which has built an enviable reputation with its four intimate theaters in both San Francisco and Berkeley. A terrific recent addition to the Bay Area

MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS conducts the San Francisco Symphony at Davies Symphony Hall, above; California Musical Theatre’s Broadway Sacramento presentation of Jersey Boys at the Community Center Theater, Sacramento, left.

theater scene is WE Players, led by visionary artistic director Ava Roy. In collaboration with the National Park Service, WE Players have performed Hamlet on Alcatraz, The Odyssey on Angel Island and Macbeth at Fort Point. Check their website (see sidebar) for their upcoming site-specific shows. Half a dozen California regional play-

than five cutting-edge Fringe Festivals—

the pride of every major city in the world

houses have won Tony Awards—the highest

Google “Fringe Festival California” to find

was its opera house. Opera still maintains

distinction in American theater. These

up-to-date listings.

a huge following in California, with nearly 30 companies across the state—five in the

include the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 30 minutes by car or a short BART ride from

Symphonies, Opera & Ballet

LA area alone. The San Francisco Opera and

San Francisco. They continue a tradition of

Designed by visionary architect Frank

Los Angeles Opera are two of the largest in

inspired experimentation, with a roster that

Owen Gehry, the Walt Disney Concert Hall

North America, with global reputations for

has included works by artists such as Mary

in downtown LA was designed to be one of

set production and excellence. Kudos as

Zimmerman and Green Day, and solo shows

the most acoustically perfect performance

well to the renowned Long Beach Opera,

by artists including Rita Moreno, Anna

spaces on earth. It’s also one of the planet’s

now in its fourth decade.

Devere Smith and many others.

most striking buildings, inside and out—

But California’s two most prominent

And while you’re in the East Bay, don’t

as well as the home of the renowned and

cities don’t have a monopoly on great

overlook “Cal Shakes”—the California

innovative Los Angeles Philharmonic. Cal-

music. San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland,

Shakespeare Company—with its gorgeous

ifornia’s other preeminent orchestra is of

Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara all support

open-air venue in the Orinda hills.

course the San Francisco Symphony, under

superb orchestras of their own.

Other terrific theaters include the South

the musical direction of Michael Tilson

Ballet in the Golden State has an equally

Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, the San Jose

Thomas, at home in the Louise M. Davies

impressive pedigree. The San Francisco

Repertory and the Sacramento Theater

Symphony Hall.

Ballet, founded in 1933, was the first pro-

Company. Finally, the state hosts no less

There was a time, not too long ago, when

fessional ballet company in the United

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35


CA.PERFORMING ARTS JOHN McVIE (L) and Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac perform at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, November 2014, right; Circus Vargas poster, below.

A » FIND PERFORMANCE Berkeley Repertory Theatre berkeleyrep.org We Players weplayers.org

Potato and Catalina in Hollywood; Charlie

Center Theatre Group centertheatregroup.org

Blues) in Sacramento. In LA, find the hottest

O’s in Van Nuys; and The Torch Club (for new offerings at the Jazz Bakery.

California Shakespeare Company calshakes.org

Rock ’n’ Roll

The Marsh themarsh.org

From the Doors to the Dead, California has

Aurora Theater Company auroratheater.org

Here are a few of California’s legendary

San Francisco Mime Troupe sfmt.org

great live music, check out what’s on at the

Blank Theater theblank.com

well as the Fox and glorious Paramount

been Ground Zero for great live music. Rock ’n’ Roll haunts, still going strong. For

Theater in Oakland. A bit north, Sweet-

San Francisco Symphony sfsymphony.org

States. The California Ballet Company in

water in Mill Valley, Marin County often

San Diego has attained a stellar interna-

has great artists. Looking to rock it in

Los Angeles Philharmonic laphil.com

tional reputation, and remains the largest

LA? Check out the Troubador, Roxy and

professional ballet company in Southern

Whisky a Go Go, an LA institution since

California Ballet Company californiaballet.org

California. Celebrating its ninth season in

1964. Some other great venues include the

2015, the Los Angeles Ballet is a relatively

Catalyst in Santa Cruz and “the Brick”

SF Jazz Center sfjazz.org

recent addition to the scene, while the

(Brick by Brick) in San Diego.

Kuumbwa Jazz Center kuumbwajazz.org

its golden 50th anniversary.

Yoshi’s Jazz Club yoshis.com

Jazz & Blues

Originally founded in 1969 by the late Clif-

Here’s a quick sampler of the state’s best jazz

ford Vargas, the Circus Vargas is California’s

The Jazz Bakery jazzbakery.org

and blues clubs. Working-class Oakland is a

largest home-grown circus, featuring a vast

hotbed of jazz, with clubs like Yoshi’s (in Jack

Big Top that covers two acres and requires

Catalina catalinajazzclub.com

London Square), Geoffrey’s Inner Circle and

30 people to put up and pull down. The

Birdland leading the pack. Across the bay in

Cirque du Soleil is also a frequent visitor to

Brick by Brick brickbybrick.com

San Francisco, don’t miss the SF Jazz Center,

the state, with scheduled appearances in

and visit The Saloon and Club Deluxe for

most of the major cities. Their 2015 shows,

Circus Vargas circusvargas.org

blues; in Santa Cruz, it’s the Kuumbwa Jazz

in northern and southern California, will

Center; in Fullerton, Steamers; the Baked

include Kurios and Varekai.

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T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

reinvigorated Oakland Ballet is celebrating

Circus & Cabaret

RANDY MIRAMONTEZ/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: MICHAEL WARWICK/SHUTTERSTOCK; EURNGKWAN/SHUTTERSTOCK

Fillmore and Warfield in San Francisco, as


CA.ARCHITECTURE & GARDENS

BY DAVID ARMSTRONG

Harmonious Building Californians have always embraced the new and environmentally attuned

The Spanish-flavored colonial buildings fell into disrepair after the newly independent Mexican government desanctified them. After moldering for years, many were reconstructed in the 20th century, opening to the public for tours, history lessons and, of course, worship. Today, you can find information about all things Mission online at the California Missions Resource Center.

Missions to Victorians to Beaux Arts The missions influenced California archi-

Architecture in California and the lush

tecture and design for years to come. The

public gardens that add grace notes to the

abundant open spaces, arches, tile-roofed

Golden State began to take shape in the late

buildings and breezy arcades of Stanford

th

CONSERVATORY OF FLOWERS Completed in 1878, San Francisco’s Conservatory of Flowers is a greenhouse and botanical garden inspired by the Kew Gardens in London. It’s the oldest building and one of the most visited sites in Golden Gate Park, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the California Register of Historical Places.

18 century, when the Spanish advanced

University’s main quad are legacies of the

north from Mexico City to the rustic,

Mission colonial era. The ornately elabo-

remote province of Alta California.

rated Casa de Balboa, in San Diego’s Balboa

The California missions, 21 Roman

Park, is another design legacy of the mis-

Catholic churches built from 1769 to 1823 on

sions, as is the splendid 1927 San Gabriel

a north-south axis, set the tone. The adobe-

Mission Playhouse.

walled, orange-tile-roofed churches erected

By the 1860s, long, deep, narrow, high-

by the Franciscan friars, eventually formed

ceilinged wooden row houses populated

the heart of major cities such as San Diego,

boomtowns like San Francisco. The Victo-

Los Angeles and San Francisco. The mis-

rians were built from the 1860s to the

sions’ gardens were strictly utilitarian,

1910s. In the 1970s, the once-modest

intended to produce food. Eye-pleasing

houses were reborn as gentrified, vibrantly

garden design blossomed later.

hued Painted Ladies. Surviving California

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37


CA.ARCHITECTURE & GARDENS Victorians are especially numerous in San Francisco, clustered on Alamo Square and in the Haight-Ashbury, Western Addition and Mission districts. Urban eye candy, they are featured on City Guides San Francisco walking tours. By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, other, newer styles began catching on in Beaux Arts architecture lent grandeur to

and beams, glass and stone reflected Cali-

The streamlined power of early 20th-

citadels of commerce and government

fornians’ deep feeling for nature. Such

century technology found mesmerizing

buildings, bequeathing to San Francisco its

buildings, exemplified by the 1908 Gamble

form in the Art Deco style of the 1920s and

majestic, domed 1915 City Hall, and the

House in Pasadena, seemed to grow organ-

1930s. Perhaps the noblest example of Art

classically graceful, open-air Palace of Fine

ically out of the earth. The cedar brown

Deco in North America is the 1937 Golden

Arts. But Beaux Arts was a European

shingle wooden homes of Berkeley, fea-

Gate Bridge. With its taut suspension

import, not essentially Californian.

tured on Berkeley Architecture Heritage

cables, thrusting towers and trademark

Association walking tours, are pleasing

International Orange color, the Golden

Arts & Crafts to Computer Contemporary

examples of the American Arts and Crafts

Gate Bridge dramatizes the energy, ambi-

American Arts and Crafts became closely

style. Berkeley affords glimpses of the Bay

tion and power of Art Deco.

associated with California at the turn of

Region style, a version of Arts and Crafts

The next breakthrough for architecture

the 20 century. The use of natural mate-

practiced by Bay Area architects Bernard

in California came around the turn of the

rials such as warm, burnished wood panels

Maybeck and Julia Morgan.

new millennium with what could be called

th

Computer Contemporary style. Here, too, the Golden State shines. Frank Gehry’s brilliantly realized 2003 Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, with its swooping roofs and shining metallic exterior, is a fantasia that couldn’t have been designed without sophisticated computers or built without modern alloys. The perforated copper exterior of San Francisco’s 2005 de Young Museum is of a piece with the contemporary, cutting edge work inside. For an artful fusion of modern technique and naturalism, the environmentally attuned 2008 home of the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park is a must-see.

Gardens North & South GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, San Francisco, top; Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, above and right; garden at the Getty Center, previous page.

Major formal public gardens in the modern sense blossomed in California in the early 20th century, often in association with great private fortunes, enormous mansions and expansive public parks.

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California.


JAPANESE TEA GARDEN in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, left.

cisco. Debuting in 1975, Filoli is known for lovely paths and ponds, a charming rose garden, 250-year-old live oak trees and 16th-century English Renaissance Garden. In 1985, Palo Alto opened its 2.5-acre Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden. In 1993, the former estate of Polish opera singer and socialite Ganna Walska opened near Santa Barbara as Lotusland, featuring fruit orchards, a The Asian splendor of Hakone Garden,

winding Highway 1 at Fort Bragg. In fairly

opened in Saratoga in 1915, showed the way.

quick succession, more major public gar-

Hailed as the oldest Japanese and Asian

dens followed.

estate garden in the Americas, Hakone is a

Among them: 654-acre Filoli, nestled in

loving replica of a traditional Samurai or

the hills of Woodside south of San Fran-

succulent garden and a butterfly garden. Each garden has its own charms and particularities, but every one shares California’s passionate embrace of the new, the innovative and the environmentally attuned.

Shogun estate garden. Spreading over 18 hilly acres, serene Hakone Garden is known for koi ponds, waterfalls and strolling and meditative walks.

» FIND YOUR STYLE & DESIGN

A decade later, in 1925, Casa del Herrero (House of the Blacksmith) opened its decorative Spanish Colonial Revival mansion, a style still hugely popular in host city Santa

ARCHITECTURE California Missions Resource Center missionscalifornia.com

Barbara. Today, the estate is also celebrated for its Moorish garden with its water foun-

Main Quad, Stanford University stanford.edu/dept/visitorinfo/tours

tain and hedged outdoors “rooms.” Both Los Angeles and San Francisco host distinguished public botanical gardens. San Francisco debuted the erstwhile Strybing Arboretum in 1940 on 55 acres in Golden Gate Park. Now called San Francisco Botanical Garden, it is renowned for its rhododendron glen, magnolia collection, redwood grove and native California plants. The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden was opened in 1956 in aptly named Arcadia, with a lovely waterfall, Queen Anne cottage and garden of perennials. By mid-century, great gardens were blooming around the state. The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens (1961) shows

Casa de Balboa balboapark.org San Gabriel Mission Playhouse missionplayhouse.org Walking Tours of San Francisco sfcityguides.org The Gamble House gamblehouse.org Maybeck Houses Tour of Berkeley (Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association) berkeleyheritage.com

de Young Museum deyoung.famsf.org GARDENS Hakone Garden hakone.com Casa del Herrero, House of the Blacksmith casadelherrero.com San Francisco Botanical Garden (formerly Strybing Arboretum) sfbotanicalgarden.org Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden arboretum.org Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens gardenbythesea.org Filoli filoli.org

Golden Gate Bridge goldengatebridge.org

Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden gamblegarden.org

Walt Disney Concert Hall laphil.com

Ganna Walska Lotusland lotusland.org

off an inspired profusion of blooms on

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39


CA.STATE & NATIONAL PARKS

BY BONNIE SMETTS

Design Your Escape

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK This renowned park in the Southern California deserts region is famous for its Joshua Trees, above. They got their name from a 19th-century group of Mormon settlers who, upon seeing these trees with spiky, upturned branches, were reminded of the Biblical story of Joshua raising his hands in prayer. Joshua Tree National Park has surreal geologic formations and is a popular place for rock climbing.

Hike under the veil of a thundering

when the waterfalls thunder to the valley

waterfall. Visit a lighthouse as gray whales

floor. Come in summer when the park is

frolic off shore. Spend a day snapping

abuzz with visitors to explore by tram, bike

close-ups when the desert floor explodes in

or on foot. Choose a gentle half-hour hike

wildflowers. Whatever your passion, Cali-

or reserve a spot for the all-day climb to

fornia’s 279 state parks and 32 national

Half Dome. Junior Ranger Walks are pop-

parks, seashores and monuments—whose

ular with kids. Backpackers can enjoy the

mission is to protect the state’s natural and

solitude of the park’s high country and

cultural treasures—are the gateway to expe-

expert rock climbers have dozens of

riences as varied as the state’s geography.

granite walls to scale. Don’t leave the park without stopping at Glacier Point with its

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Yosemite & the Sierra Nevada

views of Half Dome and Yosemite Valley or

Yosemite National Park, with its glacier-

at the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias to

sculpted valley and granite peaks, has

marvel at its 2,700-year-old Grizzly Giant.

something for everyone. Come in spring

To see a really big tree—the world’s

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Rev it up or slow it way down at a California park


FLOATING ON THE MERCED RIVER, Yosemite National Park, left; hiker in a giant sequoia forest in Redwood National and State Parks, below; Roosevelt elk bulls lock antlers during the September breeding season, also in Redwood National and State Parks, bottom.

largest by volume—head south to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and marvel at the weighty General Sherman. While still in the mountains, take a trip to Lake Tahoe, North America’s largest alpine lake. Along the lake’s west shore, D.L. Bliss, Emerald Bay and Sugar Pine Point state parks offer camping, hiking and white sand beaches. Farther north at Lassen Volcanic National Park, watch California take shape in the roaring fumaroles, thumping mud pots and boiling pools.

Giants in the Mist While the Sierras are home to the heftiest redwoods, the state’s fog-shrouded coastal range from Oregon to Big Sur boasts the loftiest—several are taller than the Statue

Farther north and closer to the coast, the

of Liberty. These rare trees, once logged to

Redwood National and State Parks is a col-

near extinction, are now protected within

lection of four parks with miles of

California’s redwood parks.

unspoiled coast and hiking trails. The

At Humboldt Redwoods State Park,

tallest recorded Coast Redwood hides here,

home to the largest continuous old growth

its location kept secret to protect it. How-

redwood forest on earth, drive the 31-mile

ever, you can visit the remote Tall Trees

Avenue of the Giants and make stops along

Grove if you have a day to spare and want

the way to stroll among the titans.

to nab one of the 50 daily permits. But all

Founders Grove with its majestic 346-foot

the parks provide easy access to magnifi-

specimen is always a favorite. Visit in

cent groves as well as picnic sites,

spring to see the pink redwood lilies and

campgrounds and trails for hikers, cyclists

purple calypso orchids in bloom.

and horses.

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41


CA.STATE & NATIONAL PARKS Burning Sands & Delicate Wildflowers Miles from the coast, California’s deserts are lands of extremes. Vast Death Valley National Park holds the record for the hottest temperature, driest climate and lowest elevation in North America. It is also famous for its explosion of wildflowers after winter rains. For a bird’s-eye panorama, stop at Dante’s View. On the valley floor, walk the Badwater Salt Flats or take an afternoon drive to Zabriskie Point to snap the garishly colored badlands. At Scotty’s Castle, take a living-history tour to sample the life of one of the valley’s most colorful settlers. Trips to Titus Canyon and the Racetrack take you deeper into the park’s unique landscape, but only for those nace Creek Campground, one of nine in the park, with sites for RVs, groups and tents, makes for a central location for exploring the park. Because of favorable weather and temperatures, fall to spring is the park’s busiest time. The Mojave National Preserve is famous for its singing sand dunes and seven-million-year-old volcanic cinder cones. Joshua Tree National Park, a favorite with rock climbers, mountain bikers and birders, is home to the gangly tree that gives the park its name. While both have spring wildflower displays, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is legendary. Its flowers are usually the first to burst into color—catching the park’s cactus bloom is the prize.

To the Beach A HIKER assesses the salt in Death Valley’s Badwater Basin, above; Castle Peaks sunrise in Mojave National Preserve, right.

A visit to California is incomplete without spending time on the beach, but not all of them are the iconic white sandy kind. You will find black sand at Sinkyone Wilderness State Park on the north coast. At the Mendocino Headlands State Park, bundle up and enjoy a beach walk with a view of the Victorian village.

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MARIDAV/SHUTTERSTOCK; SIERRALARA/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: DAN SCHREIBER/SHUTTERSTOCK; LUCKY-PHOTOGRAPHER/SHUTTERSTOCK

with proper vehicles and preparation. Fur-


THE NEPTUNE POOL at Hearst Castle, designed by Julia Morgan, below; it’s a long way down to the lighthouse at Point Reyes National Seashore, north of San Francisco, right.

Closer to San Francisco, the sweeping arc of Point Reyes National Seashore is home to a dozen beaches, with drive-up Drakes Beach and hike-in Limantour as favorites. Make your way to park headlands

Rocks to Castles

dents, publishing luminaries and Holly-

in early spring to view the gray whale

California is more than its geography.

wood stars who gathered there.

migration. Edging the entrance to San

Living history programs bring the past to

Whatever kind of experience you seek,

Francisco Bay, the beaches and cliff trails

life in many parks. Indian Grinding Rock

from a city adventure to a high country

of the Golden Gate National Recreation

State Historic Park features a reconstructed

trek, California’s parks have just what

Area are the gateways to urban adventures

village with a ceremonial roundhouse and

you’re looking for.

and historic sights such as Alcatraz Island.

presentations by descendants of the

Continuing down the coast to Santa

Miwoks. The 21 missions founded by the

Cruz and Monterey, surfing spots alternate

Spanish along El Camino Real, or the

with quiet coves home to sea otters and

King’s Highway, preserve the arrival of

seals. At Año Nuevo State Reserve, witness

non-natives to California. Imagine mis-

elephant seals in breeding season. In

sion life at La Purisima Mission State

Carmel, whose beauty has been long

Historic Park, one of the best along the His-

favored by plein air artists, Point Lobos

toric Mission Trail. Old Town San Diego

State Natural Reserve is a must-visit for

State Historic Park, with its restored plaza

everyone. Big Sur’s Julia Pfeiffer Burns

and adobes, captures the period when San

State Park offers stunning views of the

Diego grew from a Mexican pueblo into an

rugged coast from its cliff-side trails.

American town. And then there’s gold

Access to Pfeiffer Beach, a day beach, is just

fever. Pan for gold at Marshall Gold Dis-

south of the Big Sur Ranger Station.

covery State Historic Park where the

At mid-coast, rocky cliffs finally give

mineral was first discovered. Imagine a

way to warm water and California’s famous

miner’s life at Bodie State Historic Park, an

endless flat beaches. Movie buffs can camp

intact ghost town from the era.

at Malibu Creek State Park where M*A*S*H

No place reflects California’s big

and Planet of the Apes were filmed. And

dreamers better than the Hearst San

then there’s Huntington Beach, aka Surf

Simeon State Historical Monument, a tes-

City USA. Huntington State Beach’s soft

tament to publisher William Randolph

sand, safe swimming and good surfing

Hearst and architect Julia Morgan. Tour the

make it the California classic.

115-room castle and imagine the presi-

»

FIND YOUR PARK

Individual State Parks parks.ca.gov National Parks nps.gov/state/CA Campsites & Lodging Reservations reserveamerica.com recreation.gov Lighthouses (many open to the public, some offering accommodations) nps.gov/maritime/inventories/ lights/ca.htm Wildflower Updates at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Wildflower Hotline 760-767-4684 Or check the park’s website at parks.ca.gov.

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CA.SUMMER SPORTS

BY BILL FINK

A State of Perpetual Motion

SAILING CALIFORNIA California’s long coastline and hundreds of harbors and coves make it one of the world’s best places for sailing. San Francisco Bay near the Golden Gate, above, was the setting for the 2013 America’s Cup, and local sailors have plied its blue waters and harnessed its brisk winds for generations. In fact, the area along Crissy Field just inside the Gate offers exceptional windsurfing and kiteboarding, drawing athletes from far and wide.

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The California ideal of sun, surf, and

Strand and sailors out at sea. Drive the hills

sand has been popularized in decades of

near San Francisco on a sunny day, and in

film and TV shows, from Beach Blanket

a matter of minutes you’ll pass pelotons of

Bingo to Baywatch. But visitors to Cali-

road bikers, and hikers, horseback riders

fornia in the summer can discover even

and mountain bikers launching onto trail-

more of the state’s natural beauty heading

heads. In the shadow of the Golden Gate

inland to majestic national parks.

Bridge, the wind powers kiteboarders and windsurfers into acrobatics, while mellow

Sports

joggers enjoy the scenery along shoreline

Take a walk to the pier in Manhattan Beach

paths with their dogs. North and south,

in Southern California on any given day

young and old, Californians love their

and you’ll see surfers whipping around the

sports, and the state provides limitless

waves, volleyball players diving in the

opportunities to ply your favorite or try a

sand, bikers and rollerbladers cruising the

new one.

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California’s summer sunshine, seashores and soaring mountain summits serve as inspiration to get outdoors and play


DISTRICT ROAD RACE CHAMPIONSHIPS, Bakersfield, right; skateboarding at the Venice Skate Park, middle; paragliding just before the sunset, Silicon Valley, bottom; sailboats in San Francisco Bay between Tiburon and Angel Island, opposite.

On Land California has some of the world’s best golf, including the legendary seaside Pebble Beach Golf Links, home of Bill Murray’s favorite annual event, the AT&T National Pro-Am tournament. Or try any one of the hundreds of public and private clubs scattered across the state. If you aren’t into the clubs, grab a frisbee and try some disc golf at one of the dozens of California courses. Mountain and road biking are great ways to get a workout while experiencing the state’s landscape, whether it be from tricky single-track downhill trails around Lake Tahoe, flatter cross-country trips or perhaps a rental in San Francisco’s new Bike Share program. Skateboarding is practically the state sport, with skateparks seen everywhere from the sport’s birthplace at Venice Beach to the smallest inland town. For a different sort of ride, make like native son John Wayne and saddle up for some horseback riding on trails near cities, around dude ranches or on multi-day wilderness journeys. If desert sands don’t appeal to you, try those on the beaches of Southern California that are lined with volleyball nets for pickup games and professional tournaments. California sunshine is good for year-round tennis, be it on public courts or at a posh resort.

In Water California has more than 840 miles of coastline facing the Pacific Ocean, a prime launching spot for every manner of water sport, including surfing, sailing, SCUBA and sea kayaking. California has fully embraced the newly popular stand-uppaddleboarding, with many rental shops

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45


CA.SUMMER SPORTS

CLIMBING in Southern California, above; surfing a big wave in La Jolla, right.

bordering lakes and the ocean. Catalina Island and the kelp forests of Monterey Bay are popular diving spots, but be sure to wear a wetsuit in the chilly Pacific waters. Surf breaks range from 50-foot

Moving inland, gentle streams and scat-

A trip to the bubbling volcanic pools at

monster waves in Half Moon Bay to more

tered lakes provide fertile sport-fishing

Lassen Volcanic National Park or to the Dr.

gentle rollers around Manhattan Beach.

grounds, while melting mountain snow

Seuss-like trees of Joshua Tree can make

Marinas dot the coast from north to south,

can create raging rapids for kayaking and

visitors feel they’re on another planet,

where experienced sailors can rent power

rafting enthusiasts, but those looking for a

while sunset in Yosemite Valley with views

yachts for deep-sea fishing or sailboats to

gentle river float on an inner tube with a

of towering waterfalls can make you feel

ride the winds.

beer cooler can still find their spots.

like you’re in heaven.

»

FIND YOUR FUN

Boating is popular with waterskiers and

California’s many mountains mean

wakeboarders across the Sacramento Delta

climbing is a popular activity, be it a hike

and at a huge number of marinas on lakes

up 14,505-foot Mount Whitney (the highest

and reservoirs throughout the state.

point in the continental U.S.) or technical

Biking bikecal.com labikepaths.com sfbike.org

extreme in legendary areas such as

California boasts 32 national parks,

Yosemite, Joshua Tree and Pinnacles

seashores and monuments, 279 state parks

national parks.

and a plethora of wilderness areas, nature

California’s state flag features a bear,

Boating dbw.ca.gov

preserves and other outdoor playgrounds.

and you may see some among the wildlife

With landscapes ranging from the sheer

during your outdoor journeys. Black bears,

Climbing rockclimbing.com/routes/North_America /United_States/California rockclimbing.org

cliffs of Yosemite to the searing deserts of

mountain lions, rattlesnakes and coyotes

Death Valley and the scenic shorelines of

put the “wild” in California wildlife, but

the Channel Islands, California offers a

careful visitors should have no problem

lifetime of outdoor opportunities for the

with them. Abundant migratory and native

Disc Golf pdga.com

visitor. Exploration options range from

birdlife makes California a prime birding

multi-day backpacking trips for the hardy

destination, while at sea, whale watching

Horseback Riding horseandtravel.com /states/california

in remote areas such as Lake Tahoe’s Des-

is a perennial tourist favorite. Even

olation Wilderness to relaxed hour-long

without an organized tour, visitors can

walking tours through the gentle winding

walk to view sea lions on San Francisco

paths of Muir Woods, easily accessible

and Santa Cruz piers, and observe sea

from nearby San Francisco.

otters playing in the surf at Monterey.

Surfing surfline.com/travel surfingcalifornia.com

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JOSHUA RAINEY PHOTOGRAPHY/SHUTTERSTOCK; KAT CARNEY/SHUTTERSTOCK

rock climbing routes from the easy to the

The Great Outdoors


CA.WINTER SPORTS

BY BILL FINK

Not a Time to Hibernate! While California’s bears may be hibernating in winter, the state’s many winter activities provide plenty of reasons to get outdoors

Snow play isn’t usually foremost in people’s minds when they think of California, but the state has some of the best skiing in the West, with the area around Lake Tahoe offering more options than anywhere in North America.

Southern California has long been

earth than the mountains surrounding

known as a year-round winter play-

Lake Tahoe. The area hosted the 1960

ground, with sports and outdoor activities

Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley and con-

centered in San Diego and Los Angeles.

tinues to be home base for many U.S.

But the mountains of Lake Tahoe, Mam-

Winter Olympians who bang moguls, rip

moth Lakes and Yosemite beckon winter

the half-pipes and bomb down downhill

visitors who want to embrace snow-based

runs at more than a dozen area ski resorts.

sports and recreation.

For the non-extreme, plenty of beginner runs, group lessons and smaller hills offer

Sports

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T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

a safe introduction to the sport.

In winter, Southern California is still an

Tahoe resorts including Squaw Valley,

oasis for outdoor sports and adventure,

Northstar and Heavenly feature ice skating

from golf to tennis, hiking and horseback

rinks and innertube runs for those looking

riding, whether in the still-baking desert

for something less extreme, with toasted

around Palm Springs or the perpetually

marshmallows by a fire for dessert. Cross-

pleasant vacationland of San Diego or Los

country skiing and snowshoeing courses

Angeles. But for those seeking winter

dot the Tahoe area, offering a brisk aerobic

sports, there may be no better place on

workout amidst pine forests and sweeping

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PLAYING IN SNOW


SKIING WITH VIEWS of Lake Tahoe at Heavenly Mountain Resort, right; climbing in snow on Mount Shasta, below; snowboarding off-piste at Donner Pass, opposite.

mountain scenery. South of Tahoe, Mam-

activities in California. The bears may be

moth Mountain boasts a world-class ski

hibernating but that doesn’t mean you

resort, while Big Bear offers skiing within a

have to as well. Avoiding the hot summer

reasonable commute from Los Angeles,

months means visitors can enjoy tem-

enabling the highly motivated to surf and

perate

ski in a single day. Outside of the ski resorts,

opportunities in desert parks such as Death

snowmobiling provides high-octane motor

Valley, Joshua Tree and around Palm

sport fun, while dogsledding is a way to

Springs (but be forewarned that the nights

clomping sound of guided snowshoe tours.

enjoy a different sort of ride with some furry

can still get frigid). Prior to snowfall, the

Hot springs around Mammoth Lakes pro-

friends. For the adventurous, remote back-

Sierra Nevada mountain forests are ablaze

vide some toasty outdoor relaxation with a

country skiing, the increasingly popular

with colorful fall foliage, making a drive

view of snowcapped mountains. Or, per-

“sidecountry” Alpine Touring connected to

through the hills a prime “shoulder

haps bundle up and climb a mountain for

the ski resorts, ice climbing and hut-to-hut

season” activity.

some prime star-gazing opportunities in

hiking in the Sierra Nevada mountains can feed one’s hunger for adrenaline.

winter

hiking

and

camping

Wintertime means an escape from the

the crisp mountain air, then add a few

summer crowds in famed Yosemite

more layers and try some ice fishing on a

National Park. Visit the near-empty wilder-

high alpine lake.

The Great Outdoors

ness to enjoy a quiet blanket of snow

Winter also is the time when visitors

Step away from organized resort sports and

covering towering cliffs, the sun glistening

can spot many animals migrating south to

there’s still a wealth of winter outdoor

off frozen waterfalls and the muffled

follow the sun. From massive gray whales to miniature monarch butterflies, flocks of birds in the central wetlands and pods of seals come to mate on the shores of the Pacific, the world’s wildlife also seems to think that California’s outdoors is a great place to visit in winter.

YOUR » FIND SPORT Skiing skilaketahoe.com mammothmountain.com bearmountain.com xcski.org Hiking/Camping yosemitepark.com nps.gov/state/ca parks.ca.gov Wildlife whalewatching.com/california birding.com/wheretobird/california.asp dfg.ca.gov/wildlife

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CA.GOLF

BY ROBERT KAUFMAN

California’s 10 Best Hidden Gem Golf Courses Under the radar landscapes are magnificent places to swing away

Northwood Golf Course, above, uniquely runs entirely through a redwood forest. Other excellent places to play in Northern California include Half Moon Bay Golf Links, San Francisco’s Harding Park and Presidio, San Ramon’s Bridges, Napa Valley’s Silverado and Sonoma’s Sea Ranch. And we can’t forget, of course, top tier courses such as Pebble Beach, Spyglass, Pasatiempo and Bayonet.

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While there are myriad coveted bucket-

north to south will reveal a right-to-left

list venues such as Pebble Beach Golf Links

dogleg fairway bordered on the west side

and Spyglass Hill Golf Course on the Mon-

by a 1,264-mile water hazard and a 400-

terey Peninsula, Torrey Pines Golf Course

mile stretch of High Sierra mountains on

on the Pacific coastal bluffs in San Diego or

the east. Covering the entire golden terrain

PGA West in the Palm Springs desert, there

between these borders is enough yardage

is a staggering list of distinct golf courses

of golf holes to stretch from the Pacific to

open year-round that fly under the golfer’s

the Atlantic Ocean.

radar but are as golden as the nuggets dis-

With Mother Nature’s help planting

covered during the Gold Rush!

landscapes of mountains, valleys, forests,

There are far too many golf courses to

coastline and desert, it’s no surprise the

highlight—currently, more than 600 are

Golden State is considered one of the most

public accessible—but here are some

attractive destinations in the world. When

standouts that will help unlock a golf expe-

it comes to teeing up the little white ball,

rience of a lifetime.

these geographical wonders have produced backdrops for an incredibly diverse collec-

Northwood Golf Course

tion of golf courses to suit every golfer’s

Renowned golf course architect Alister

taste and budget.

MacKenzie

(Cypress

Point,

Augusta

ROBERT KAUFMAN

NORTHWOOD GOLF COURSE

Viewing a satellite image of California


THE COURSE AT WENTE VINEYARDS, right; hole #13 at Greenhorn Creek Golf Course, below.

National) built this enticing nine-hole course in 1928 for the exclusive Bohemian Club. Northwood’s fairways weave their way through a majestic redwood forest along the Russian River in Northern California’s Sonoma County. Ranked by Golf World Magazine as the #3 Nine-hole course

18 diverse golf holes. With on-site accom-

Coyote Moon Golf Course

in America, the challenging 2,893-yard (par

modations, the resort is a perfect jumping

Nestled in a serene setting among tow-

36) layout will put your shot-making skills

off point to scenic drives, 32 local wineries,

ering

to the supreme test with narrow fairways

plus a wide variety of outdoor activities in

outcroppings at 6,800 feet above sea level

and small greens.

the heart of the Gold Country.

in Truckee (Lake Tahoe), this upscale daily-

pines

and

enormous

granite

fee course provides generous fairways

Greenhorn Creek Golf Course

Yocha Dehe Golf Course

along with dramatic elements of risk.

Robert Trent Jones, Jr. re-designed one of

Approximately 90 minutes northeast of

Without a single home to spoil the views,

Northern California’s finest golf experi-

San Francisco, this pristine layout at Cache

the 7,177-yard Brad Bell design covers 250

ences, taking full advantage of the

Creek Casino in the Capay Valley provides

acres and serves up one of the best moun-

panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada

up to 7,337 yards of championship golf for

tain golf experiences in the country.

foothills. Located near historic Angels

players hoping to cash in on birdies and

Camp, where Mark Twain scripted his

jackpots. The par 72, Brad Bell design, void

The Course at Wente Vineyards

famed Jumping Frog short story bringing

of any housing and surrounded by spectac-

Wente Vineyards, America’s oldest, contin-

the mining camp to prominence during

ular views of rolling hills and vineyards,

uously operated family-owned winery (1893)

California’s Gold Rush, the 6,749-yard

has hosted qualifiers for the U.S. Open, U.S.

teamed with Greg “The Shark” Norman to

course meanders around ancient oaks with

Amateur and U.S. Mid-Am.

create a premier destination championship golf course in the Livermore Valley Wine Country, 45 minutes east of San Francisco. Playing through vineyards, rolling hills, and natural grasslands, the 7,181-yard layout hosted the PGA Tour’s Nationwide Tour (now Web.com Tour), 2006-2008.

Pacific Grove Golf Links Located along the famous 17-Mile Drive of the Monterey Peninsula, this well-maintained municipal course has been dubbed “the poor-man’s Pebble Beach.” Crafted by the famous course’s same architect, Jack Neville, the front nine at the 18-hole, 5,732yard layout is tree-lined and requires accuracy, while the back nine, surrounding the Point Pinos Lighthouse, is more

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CA.GOLF SURF’S UP AT PACIFIC GROVE Golf Links, right; Yocha Dehe Golf Course, below.

La Purisima Golf Course

course with magnificent ocean views.

Blended beautifully among oak groves and rolling terrain in the middle of Santa Bar-

The Links at Terranea

bara’s wine region, this scenic Robert Muir

Set along the coastal bluffs of Rancho Palos

Graves design opened in 1986, and eventually

Northwood Golf Course northwoodgolf.com

Verdes, south of Los Angeles, this nine-

distinguished itself as one of the country’s

hole, 1,239-yard, par-3 course offers

best public courses (“Top 100 Public Courses

Greenhorn Creek Golf Course greenhorncreek.com

stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and

in America,” Golf Magazine, 1996-2004). This

Catalina Island. Golf course architect Todd

7,105-yard, pure golf experience has played

Yocha Dehe Golf Course yocha-de-hegolfclub.com

Eckenrode designed championship-caliber

host to the PGA Tour and USGA for quali-

par-3 holes ranging from 173 yards to 104

fying, and the LPGA Santa Barbara Open was

yards that integrate masterfully with the

played here in 1987 and 1988.

Coyote Moon Golf Course coyotemoongolf.com Course at Wente Vineyards wentevineyards.com/course

natural surroundings adjacent to the Terranea Resort, one of Southern California’s

Indian Wells Golf Resort

premier oceanfront resort destinations.

This 36-hole resort, consisting of the John Fought-designed Players Course (7,376

Pacific Grove Golf Links playpacificgrove.com

Tustin Ranch Golf Club

yards) and the Clark Clive Celebrity Course

The 6,842-yard, classic Ted Robinson-

(7,050 yards), is the only facility in

Links at Terranea terranea.com/los-angeles-golf-courses

designed course embraces a natural beauty

Southern California with two courses

and intimacy all its own to make it one of

ranked in Golfweek’s “Top 20 Public Access

Tustin Ranch Golf Course tustinranchgolf.com

Orange County’s finest treasures. The course

Courses.” Different in design but similar in

is very playable for all levels, yet challenging

character, both courses share jaw-dropping

La Purisima Golf Course lapurisimagolf.com

enough to interest even the lowest handicap

views for golfers and television viewers

players. Four lakes come into play on eight

who watched the 15th season of Golf

Indian Wells Golf Resort indianwellsgolfresort.com

holes and the rolling fairways are lined with

Channel’s Big Break. Also on property is a

palm trees at the beautifully landscaped,

53,000 square-foot clubhouse and night-lit

well-conditioned course.

nine-hole putting course.

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ROBERT KAUFMAN. OPPOSITE: PISMO BEACH CVB/CLASSICCALIFORNIA.COM

»

FIND YOUR GOLF

revealing and plays like a links-style


CA.FAMILY FUN

BY JILL K. ROBINSON

Nothing but Fun Pleasures for kids of all ages

CALIFORNIA’S BEACHES Up and down the state, the sea draws people of all ages to play in its surf, paddle in its foam and, of course, frolic on its sandy beaches. From the sunny, warm-water stretches of Southern California to the fog-shrouded, cooler climes of the north, the beaches are a natural playground for all manner of fun, whether organized volleyball, sandcastle competitions or simply digging with a plastic shovel and bucket. Bring the kids!

California may be big, but the state

places to go outside and play. Start with

needs all that space to pack in an endless

Yosemite National Park, the jewel of the

list of fun for families, which ensures that

High Sierra. Famous for waterfalls,

there’s always something for everyone.

camping, wildlife and granite monoliths,

Choose from theme parks for fantasy and

the park is accessible for light experiences

wild fun, natural wonders for an escape

as well as serious outdoor activities. Junior

from civilization, historical spots for edu-

Ranger programs are available for eager

cation

young naturalists.

and

discovery,

and

famed

landmarks for a little extra sparkle. It’s easy

From Mount Tamalpais State Park near

to find the magical combination that fits

San Francisco Bay to the giant Anza-Bor-

your family perfectly.

rego Desert State Park on the east side of San Diego County, the state parks cover ter-

Natural Wonders

rain from desert to alpine forest. The

California’s 279 state and 32 national parks,

second-deepest lake in the U.S., Lake Tahoe

countless wild wonders, and more than

lures visitors to its shores with its ethereal

840 miles of coastline all combine to give

blue color no matter the season for water

visitors and locals alike a vast selection of

activities, hiking or winter snow fun.

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CA.FAMILY FUN A MOMENT OF CONTEMPLATION in Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve, Mendocino, left; the historic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, middle; ATV fun in Pismo Beach, bottom; families enjoy Pismo Beach, previous page.

While wildlife is plentiful in California’s

in the adobe buildings in Monterey, which

wild spaces, one place to get a guaranteed

still remain in what was once the capital of

close experience is at the Monterey Bay

Alta California under Spanish and Mexican

Aquarium, which inspires conservation of

rule. The California Gold Rush brought for-

the ocean with its rich collection of ani-

tune seekers and workers from around the

mals and learning opportunities. But don’t

world to Sacramento and the Sierra

forget to walk on the beach anywhere in

foothills, and a handful of attractions—

the state, as the varied habitats are home to

from Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park to the

tide pools, places to explore and play and

town of Columbia to the ghost town of

spy wildlife from migratory birds to ele-

Bodie—bring that exciting era to life.

phant seals and whales.

Built up heavily during the Gold Rush, the city of San Francisco suffered a devas-

Historical Highlights

tating earthquake and fire in 1906, and the

History is far from boring in California,

curious can experience the sustained

and there’s plenty to go around. It’s evident

tremors at the California Academy of Sciences. The growth of Los Angeles from fruit orchards to film powerhouse can be Los Angeles. The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose celebrates inventive Silicon Valley, inspiring visitors and letting them make technological creations of their own. Above all, the history of the entire state, from life before the explorers to modern day, can be traced at Oakland’s Museum of California.

Notable Landmarks History blends with fun at a wealth of California’s landmarks. Rent bicycles in San Francisco (Blazing Saddles and Bike and Roll are two popular shops) and ride from Fisherman’s Wharf through Fort Mason, the Marina and the Presidio past Crissy Field. All along the way, you’ll get amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge. But why just look when you can extend your ride and cross it? In San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz Island is the site of the first lighthouse and U.S.-built fort on the West Coast, as well as the noted

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MENDOCINO COUNTY CVB; KEN WOLTER/SHUTTERSTOCK; PISMO BEACH CVB. OPPOSITE: LONG BEACH CVB; SANTA CLARA CVB

traced at the Natural History Museum of


SEGWAY TOUR at Long Beach waterfront, left; bunny suits in the Intel Museum, above.

» FIND YOUR FUN federal penitentiary. Gardens, tide pools,

Without a Cause. Public programs range

bird colonies and bay views add to the

from planetarium shows to free public tel-

prison history. The San Francisco Maritime

escopes. Plan a visit around the monthly

National Historical Park gives a glimpse

public star party on the lawn and side-

into the days when sailing ships were one

walks outside the observatory.

of the only ways to get to this region. Com-

For a different view, look out from the

mute from there through San Francisco on

observatory’s parking lot at the panorama

the city’s beloved cable cars (the world’s

of Los Angeles and the Hollywood sign.

largest manually operated cable car system)

You can’t visit the sign, but you can see it

to the San Francisco Cable Car Museum.

from a variety of other vantage points in

Combine California beaches with a car-

the area, such as Mulholland Drive and the

nival atmosphere at two spots along the

intersection of Hollywood and Highland.

coast: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and the

Other viewing areas are accessible by

Santa Monica Pier. Whereas the boardwalk

hiking trail: the Mount Hollywood trail,

has two National Historic Landmarks (the

Canyon Boulevard trail, Lake Hollywood

Giant Dipper roller coaster and the Looff

trail and Cahuenga Peak.

Carousel), the pier has a trapeze school and the amusement park juts out above the

Theme Parks

ocean. To get the best of coastal family fun,

With a treasure of attractions across the

you should really try both.

Golden State, families aren’t limited to tra-

Space fans flock to the Griffith Observa-

ditional venues like theme parks for fun.

tory in Los Angeles, one of Southern

But there’s a reason why they’re popular

California’s most popular attractions. It

with children of all ages, and California

even has a little bit of Hollywood history

has plenty of choices. See CA.Theme Parks

with iconic scenes from movies like Rebel

for more information.

National Parks nps.gov California State Parks parks.ca.gov Monterey Bay Aquarium montereybayaquarium.org California Academy of Sciences calacademy.org Natural History Museum of Los Angeles nhm.org The Tech Museum of Innovation thetech.org Museum of California museumca.org San Francisco Cable Car Museum cablecarmuseum.org Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk beachboardwalk.com Santa Monica Pier santamonicapier.org Griffith Observatory griffithobs.org Hollywood Sign hollywoodsign.org

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55


CA.THEME PARKS

BY MATT VILLANO

Loads of Excitement

AMUSEMENT PARKS Europeans started the concept of amusement parks centuries ago with fairs and pleasure gardens created for people’s recreation. The world’s oldest amusement park is Bakken, just north of Copenhagen, Denmark, which opened in 1583. The oldest theme park in the United States is Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari (called Santa Claus Land from its opening in 1946 until 1984) in Santa Claus, Indiana. California’s theme parks date from 1950.

Diversions are as plentiful as sunshine in

Lake Merritt in Oakland. The place opened

California. One of the most popular out-

in 1950 (original admission started

lets:

These

between 9 and 14 cents), making it the first

attractions are meccas to amusement, each

official theme park in California, as well.

focusing rides and exhibits around dif-

According to some, it was one of Walt

ferent concepts such as fairies, film,

Disney’s inspirations for the eponymous

plastic blocks, sea life and an inimitable

park he created five years later.

original

theme

parks.

mouse. Most of the parks are situated in

Today, Fairyland includes small rides

the southern part of the state (where the

such as a mini Ferris wheel and carousels,

weather is generally warmer), but the

and life-sized sets depicting scenes from

granddaddy of them all is up north. Each

timeless storybooks (Pinocchio’s castle and

of the parks is worth a closer look.

the Humpty Dumpty wall are two favorites). The theme park also is home to the Story-

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Fairyland

book Puppet Theater, which opened in 1956.

Believe it or not, the first theme park in the

A number of the country’s most famous

U.S. to cater to families with young kids

puppeteers got their start here, including a

was Children’s Fairyland, a blink-and-

teenager by the name of Frances Oznowicz.

you’ll-miss-it theme park on the shores of

You likely know him as Frank Oz.

SSRAY/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: JON DELOREY/CREATIVE COMMONS/FLICKR; KEN WOLTER/SHUTTERSTOCK; CDRIN/SHUTTERSTOCK

There’s fun for all at California’s theme parks


Universal Studios Hollywood This film-themed park got its formal start in the 1960s when walk-throughs of Universal Studios soundstages and sets were expanded to include peeks at actual production. Over the years, the studio added a tram to shuttle visitors through the back lot; today, this tram remains the best way to experience stunt demonstrations and staged events (such as an encounter with the shark from Jaws). The rest of the park is divided into two

SWIRLING TEACUPS in

areas connected by escalator: the Upper and

Disneyland, above; Six

Lower lots. Transformers: The Ride 3-D is a

Flags Magic Mountain in

fan-favorite on the Lower Lot. On the Upper

Los Angeles, right; Stuart

Lot, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, a 3-D

Minion from Despicable Me

simulator ride, and Super Silly Fun Land, an

2, below, and Krustyland at

outdoor family-friendly playground, both

Universal Studios

opened in April 2014.

Hollywood, opposite; Children's Fairyland,

Disneyland

bottom.

If the lovable (and life-sized) Mickey Mouse and friends don’t pique your interest and attention at California’s most famous theme park, surely the rides will. The park, which opened in 1955, features rides for all ages, including some of the most ballyhooed roller coasters anywhere in the state (one favorite is Space Mountain, which speeds along almost entirely in the dark). Overall, Disneyland is divided into eight themed areas, or “lands.” Some of these areas focus on actual history: Frontierland recreates the setting of the American frontier, while Main Street U.S.A. is patterned after a small Midwestern town (many believe Walt Disney got his inspiration from his own boyhood town of Marceline, Missouri). The park opened with one hotel, but since the 1990s, it has grown exponentially, adding a new theme park (Disney’s California Adventure), a shopping district (Downtown Disney) and two additional hotels. One of the newest attractions, Cars Land, was inspired by the Cars movies, and opened in June 2012. The famous Alice in Wonderland ride was revamped in early 2014.

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57


CA.THEME PARKS GOLD STRIKER ROLLER COASTER at California’s Great America, Santa Clara, below.

dozens of different species of marine life, including dolphins, sea lions, walruses, polar bears and beluga whales. It also is one of only two places in the world where emperor penguins are kept in captivity. In the nearby community of Carlsbad, Legoland is dedicated to tiny plastic bricks (dubbed “Legos”), and boasts mind-boggling Lego replicas of famous architectural icons (the Statue of Liberty and the Taj Mahal among them) as well as dioramas of seven areas of the U.S. The park incorporates rides and eateries, and is home to the Model Shop, the headquarters for the

Other Bay Area Parks

from scream-inducing (Flight Deck, a roller

park’s 10 master builders (a window allows

The San Francisco Bay Area is home to two

coaster, has one 360-degree loop and a zero-

guests to witness these professionals at

other popular parks: California’s Great

gravity roll) to family-friendly (the Carousel

work). In the summer of 2013, the park also

America (in Santa Clara) and Six Flags Dis-

Columbia is the world’s tallest double-

opened a hotel; the lobby has a giant pit of

covery Kingdom (in Vallejo).

decker carousel). In the summer of 2013, the

Legos with which children can play.

Great America, next to the new Levi’s Sta-

park opened the Gold Striker, the tallest and

dium, is all about rides. Diversions range

fastest wooden roller coaster in Northern California. The coaster climbs over 108 feet and sends passengers shooting at freeway

»

FIND YOUR FANTASY

speeds of up to 54 m.p.h. The vibe at Discovery Kingdom is more eclectic. In addition to rides such as the Medusa roller coaster and SkyScreamer (a

Children’s Fairyland fairyland.org

swing ride), the park also is home to a

Universal Studios Hollywood universalstudioshollywood.com

walrus, who starred in the 2004 movie, 50

CityPASS

First Dates, and Brandon the reticulated

Once you’ve decided where to go, try City-

giraffe, who was named after San Francisco

PASS for saving some money: In Southern

Giants slugger, Brandon Belt. In 2015, park

California, it knocks as much as one third

officials are expecting to add Dare Devil

off the price of admission to Disneyland,

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom sixflags.com/discoverykingdom

Chaos Coaster, a roller coaster that takes

Disney California Adventure Park, Universal

passengers upside-down in both forward

Studios Hollywood and SeaWorld. The

Legoland California california.legoland.com

and backward directions.

Southern California CityPASS is a single-

SeaWorld seaworldparks.com/en/ seaworld-sandiego

San Diego Area Parks

period and allows you to skip most ticket

San Diego and its surrounding suburbs

lines. In San Francisco, CityPass offers sim-

also comprise a great region for theme

ilar discounts (for attractions such as the

parks; two family favorites are SeaWorld

California Academy of Sciences and the

and Legoland.

Exploratorium), and is good for nine days.

California’s Great America cagreatamerica.com

Knott's Berry Farm knotts.com CityPASS citypass.com

admission card that’s good over a 14-day

Out near Mission Bay, in San Diego proper, SeaWorld is a sprawling homage to

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Buy your CityPASS at any of the above attractions or online at citypass.com.

SANTA CLARA CVB

Disneyland disneyland.disney.go.com

number of animals, including Jocko the


CA.MOVIES

BY JACQUELINE YAU

Shooting on Location Many of your favorite films were made in California, at a location near you

It’s the movies that have really been running things in America ever since they were invented. They show you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how to feel about it, and how to look how you feel about it.

SAN FRANCISCO For decades, San Francisco has been a popular location for films because of its breathtaking setting and equally beautiful architecture, as seen here in a row of iconic Victorian houses on Alamo Square. Countless films have been shot in the city and tours visit as many as 70 movie locations.

For more than a century, filmmakers

one word…plastics,” from The Graduate

have been inspired by California’s polyglot

(1967) and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s line in

culture, striking landscapes and laid-back

The Terminator (1984), “I’ll be back.” There’s

lifestyle to create a breathless diversity of

a symbiotic relationship between the film

movies representing the human condition.

industry and the state, and many cities have

A Paramount Studio location map from 1927

benefited economically from films shot in

shows what locations in California could

and around them.

stand in for places across the country and

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around the world—from Wyoming cattle

Film Locations by the Hundreds

country to the Nile River to the Swiss Alps

So many movies have been filmed in Cali-

to Sherwood Forest in England. These

fornia that cottage industries have cropped

movie-making master illusionists have

up guiding tourists to film locations. There

shaped perceptions of the Golden State and

are hundreds of places to visit in Holly-

influenced attitudes and dress globally

wood and greater LA, the cradle of the

through such memorable quotes as, “Just

movie business. One of the better-kept

SOMCHAIJ/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: SONGQUAN DENG/SHUTTERSTOCK; SHIPPEE/SHUTTERSTOCK

—Andy Warhol


HOLLYWOOD’S DOLBY THEATRE interior, below; Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, location for Some Like It Hot (1959), right; Alamo Square, San Francisco, opposite.

secrets is Greystone Mansion and Park in

state and visit the locations of your

Beverly Hills. This estate is part of a public

favorite movies shot in California.

park that sits on 16 acres of land and is the

Perhaps you’re nostalgic for classic films

setting for dozens of movies, including

such as American Graffiti (1973), shot in

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), The Social

downtown Petaluma in Sonoma County,

Network (2010), the Spiderman series

and East of Eden (1955), filmed in Mendo-

(2002-2007) and X-Men (2000).

cino, or Some Like It Hot (1959) filmed at the

If you are hungry, snack on an apple

Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. Or you

fritter at Randy’s Donuts, the oft-filmed

want to retrace Tippi Hedren’s steps in

and iconic 24-hour drive-thru bakery, seen

Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic suspense film, The

in Iron Man 2 (2010) as protagonist Tony

Birds, shot in Bodega Bay and other parts of

Stark munches on the sweets reclining

Sonoma County and in San Francisco.

inside the giant donut sign. Take a tour of

Beyond these coastal film locations, the

the Walt Disney Concert Hall featured in

Sacramento River Delta has been used

The Soloist (2009) in downtown Los

many times as a movie location, especially

Angeles. Or join Dearly Departed Tours for

as a stand-in for the Mississippi Delta. In

their special Halloween Horror Film Loca-

the late 1950s, at least seven major movies

tion Tour around Hollywood and Pasadena.

were filmed in the Stockton area, such as

LA isn’t the only place movies are shot.

God’s Little Acre, The Big Country (with Gre-

San Francisco has been the backdrop for

gory Peck and Charlton Heston), Miss

countless films. San Francisco Movie

Brooks, Porgy and Bess (Sammy Davis, Jr.

Tours’ three-hour bus excursion visits

and Pearl Bailey), Cool Hand Luke (1967)

locations where 70 movie scenes from

starring Paul Newman and Raiders of the

more than 55 movies were filmed (e.g.,

Lost Ark (1981).

Vertigo, Mrs. Doubtfire, Basic Instinct, The Rock, Contagion, The Pursuit of Happyness).

Studio Tours, TV Audiences & Extras

Down the coast a bit, the Monterey Movie

Other ways to get a glimpse of the enter-

Tours wind through Monterey, Pacific

tainment business are to take a studio

Grove and Carmel, spotlighting locations

tour, attend a live taping of a TV show or

of other films; still farther south, a more

sign up to be an extra in a movie.

active tour put together by the Santa Bar-

Although there are movie studios in

bara Bicycling Coalition cycles along two

other parts of California, including Pixar

Sideways (2004) routes. You can also

Animation Studios and Lucasfilm in the

devise your own itinerary up and down the

San Francisco Bay Area, most are located in

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61


CA.MOVIES TO » GO THE MOVIES

and around Los Angeles. Those that offer behind-the-scenes studio tours include Warner Bros. (peek into the costume and prop room for the Harry Potter movies), Universal (Hollywood’s most famous backlot, 13 city blocks on four acres in the world’s largest working movie studio), Sony Pictures (formerly the historic MGM studios famous for Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz) and Paramount studios (the one remaining studio that is still located in Hollywood). Many movies that are shot on location outside LA also often have scenes shot on a studio soundstage.

Watch a Movie

Check for tickets before going on a studio

While in LA, consider doing what Angelenos

tour because many require advance tick-

love to do: watch movies. During the

eting or reservations. Ask your guide if you

summer, enjoy a classic film under starlight

can take a peek into a current movie shoot

with the dead and the living at the Hollywood

and you may spot a celebrity walking by.

Forever Cemetery, going on its 14th season.

Game shows, talk shows and TV

Catch a movie where many directors

comedy shows often need a live audience.

screen their films and sometimes key off

Free studio audience tickets are handled

audience reactions to tweak a scene or two

through distributors such as Audiences

at the AMC/IMAX Century City 15 Theatres

Unlimited and Audience Associates.

at Westfield Century City shopping center.

Becoming a film extra isn’t as easy as it

Pay homage to the pioneers of the motion

might seem. There are a number of serv-

picture era by watching a silent film on the

ices that do casting calls for extras such as

first Saturday of the month at The Silent

Central Casting in Los Angeles or Casting

Movie Theatre, a recently restored, Art Deco

Networks in San Francisco. Often you are

cultural landmark built in 1942.

required to sign up and provide a head-

When you next watch a movie filmed in

shot. If you do get cast as an extra, it

the state, remember that not only are you

requires patience as you can stand around

experiencing the drama of life, you’re also

all day with nothing to do.

getting a taste of California.

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STUDIO TOURS Paramount paramountstudiotour.com Sony sonypicturesstudiostours.com Universal universalstudioshollywood.com Warner Bros. wbtour.com JOIN A STUDIO AUDIENCE Audience Associates tvtix.com Audiences Unlimited tvtickets.com BECOME AN EXTRA Central Casting centralcasting.com/LA/actors Casting Networks home.sfcasting.com/casting-calls Be in a Movie beinamovie.com FILM BUFF Hollywood Forever Cemetery summer movie screenings cinespia.org Pacific Film Archive bampfa.berkeley.edu The Silent Movie Theatre cinefamily.org/films/ the-silent-treatment Westfield Century City westfield.com/centurycity/movies

WARNER BROS.; PE3K/SHUTTERSTOCK

HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD, above; Batman exhibit at Warner Bros. studios, left.

MOVIE LOCATIONS Beverly Hills greystonemansion.org Inglewood randys-donuts.com Los Angeles hollywoodmovietours.com dearlydepartedtours.com ultimatehollywoodtours.com Monterey montereymovietours.com San Francisco sanfranciscomovietours.com Santa Barbara sbbike.org/region/rides/rides Sonoma County sonoma-county.org/film Stockton riverboatdaves.com/docs/cmovies.html Regional Film Offices film.ca.gov Statewide movie-locations.com


CA.SHOPPING

BY LENORE GREINER

Shopping Heaven

SHOPPING MALLS Fashion Valley in San Diego, above, is an outdoor shopping center with some 200 shops and restaurants and an 18-screen movie theater. Top department stores include Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. Other popular malls are the Irvine Spectrum Center in Orange County, Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade and the Westfield San Francisco Centre in, naturally, San Francisco..

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The Golden State’s iconic malls, bohemian

bargains behind the walls of a recreated

shops and posh boutiques can astound

Mesopotamian palace. And super shop-

even the most jaded sophisticate. An

ping opportunities entice savvy shoppers

enticing range of California’s eclectic cre-

in millions of square feet of retail space.

ativity awaits visitors throughout the state, from theme park collectibles to home-

SoCal Glamour

grown surfing gear to fine wine. Foodies

Malls sprawl throughout Los Angeles,

can sample fresh-made cheeses in arti-

crowned by Rodeo Drive’s stratospheric

sanal food shops. Fashionistas will love

price tags. But you’ll find significant bar-

San Francisco’s luxurious haute couture

gains in rings, necklaces and other pieces in

haunts. And art lovers can bring home an

the historic Jewelry District at prices up to

original California landscape from a red-

70 percent less than those in Beverly Hills.

wood-scented artists’ enclave.

More than 3,000 jewelry showrooms stand

California shopping safaris may entail

on 6th and 8th streets between Olive Street

sighting a celebrity in a Los Angeles bou-

and Broadway Avenue. Behind a facade of

tique, arriving at a mall by boat or hunting

bas-reliefs of Babylonian princes and

SIMON MALLS. OPPOSITE: MARINA DEL REY CVB; LONG BEACH CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

From outlet bargains behind the walls of an Assyrian palace to a watery arrival at a bayside mall, California shopping always surprises


SHOPPING AT MARINA DEL Rey, left, and Long Beach, below.

heraldic griffins, the Citadel Outlets holds

Nordstrom and Macy’s.

700,000 square feet of retail bargains inside

Fashion Island, with its casual resort

a one-time 1929 tire plant modeled on an

setting featuring splashing fountains and

ancient Assyrian palace. And between the

a koi pond, overlooks the Pacific. Leading

Farmer’s Market and The Grove shopping

with Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, this

center, the Grove Trolley provides shoppers

coastal center has more than 100 shops

free rides along First Street.

and 36 restaurants.

The West Hollywood Design District fea-

Beyond the malls, Laguna Beach’s

tures high-end fashion, interior design,

stylish art galleries line streets sloping to a

furniture, decorative arts and luxury brand

pretty beach. And, if heading to Palm

stores on Melrose Avenue and Robertson and

Springs, stop at the 130-store Desert Hills

Beverly boulevards. Sunset Boulevard’s world

Premium Outlets in Cabazon for luxury

famous Amoeba Music is the nation’s largest

designer brands.

boutiques showcase the city’s European

music emporium, stocking an overwhelming

Southward in San Diego, begin your

style. Join the Prada-clad parade circling

selection of vinyl, CDs, tapes, posters and col-

shopping trip with a delightful morning

downtown Union Square to max out your

lectibles—at rock-bottom prices.

at waterside Seaport Village. Then, hop on

platinum card in the upscale department

In Santa Monica’s breezy, outdoor Third

the Coronado Island ferry and cruise to

stores. Stroll down nearby Maiden Lane,

Street Promenade, find the usual mall sus-

the Ferry Landing Marketplace for more

once lined with Barbary Coast brothels, for

pects, Anthropologie and Gap, as well as

sunny shopping.

more luxury.

celebrity-soaked Fred Segal and Zara, a trendy European chain.

San Diego’s own Rodeo Drive—Prospect

Nearby, the Westfield San Francisco

Street in La Jolla—has art galleries, bou-

Centre is an architectural gem with 200

Artsy shoppers should head to nearby

tiques and sweeping Pacific views. In the

stores, restaurants and two food empo-

Venice Beach’s hip art galleries, bookstores

city center, the 16½-block Gaslamp Quarter

riums under a stunning 1908 dome.

and vintage shops. For bargains, drive

features mall chains as well as hip shops

Don’t miss San Francisco’s great shop-

north to Camarillo’s giant 160-store Camar-

and art galleries occupying restored Victo-

ping neighborhoods. On Chinatown’s

illo Premium Outlets.

rian buildings.

Stockton Street, you can pick up Asian

In Orange County, quintessential SoCal

You’ll find San Diego’s two regional

antiques, silk clothing bargains or rare tea.

shopping experiences await in huge open-

outlet malls on Carlsbad’s coast and south

Herbal pharmacies proffer Chinese medic-

air malls, complete with valet parking.

at the U.S.-Mexico border.

inal remedies, ginseng, deer antlers or herbs costing $100 per pound.

Inspired by Spain’s Alhambra, the Irvine Spectrum Center holds 130 stores, restau-

Northern California Elegance

rants and a 21-screen cinema, anchored by

San Francisco’s massive malls and quirky

Near Pacific Heights, Sacramento Street houses fancy consignment shops, luxury

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65


CA.SHOPPING YOUR » FIND FASHION WESTFIELD HORTON Plaza clock and exterior.

Mendocino Shopping mendocino.com Napa Premium Outlets premiumoutlets.com/Napa St. Helena’s Main Street sthelena.com West Hollywood Design District westhollywooddesigndistrict.com Citadel Outlets citadeloutlets.com The Grove thegrovela.com Coronado Ferry Landing coronadoferrylandingshops.com

boutiques. Hippie culture thrives in Haight

Farther Afield: North Coast, Yosemite & Theme Parks

Street shops selling incense, used records

California’s wild North Coast inspires the

and vintage San Francisco postcards,

handcrafted furniture and handicrafts,

which make great gifts.

pottery or jewelry found in artsy Mendo-

North Beach and Jackson Square are

cino’s ocean view lanes.

famous for the legendary City Lights book-

Yosemite Valley’s majesty and history

store, Italian cafés and antique stores.

inspire the gifts and mementos in the

Japantown offers authentic Japanese

Yosemite Museum’s Gift Shop, including

goods, tansu chests, bonsai and antique

authentic Native American-woven basketry.

kimonos. Finally, Hayes Valley, a hipster

The Ansel Adams Gallery sells photographic

haven, has trendy stores and nary a chain

reproductions or collectible prints.

store in sight.

Shopping in theme parks goes beyond

Two hours south, in Carmel-by-the-

sunscreen or souvenirs. In San Diego Zoo

Sea’s storybook village, shops display fine

Safari Park, The Bazaar stocks authentic

French linen and European antiques. Big

African artifacts and unusual jewelry. In

Sur’s rugged coast inspires the art found in

Disneyland’s Downtown Disney District,

small art galleries.

you’ll find surf gear and jewelry. Finally, the

North, in the wine country, discover artisanal food shops, olive oil producers and

world’s largest selection of LEGOs awaits in Carlsbad’s LEGOLAND California Resort.

cheese makers on Sonoma’s main plaza.

From sun-splashed malls to sophisti-

Napa Valley wineries offer fine vintages,

cated art galleries, even the most

and there’s seasonal abundance in local

experienced shopaholic can score the per-

farmers markets. Or explore Saint Helena’s

fect gift or memento during a delirious

historic main street for vintage luxuries.

California shopping experience. And it’s all

Three outlet malls—in Petaluma, Napa

located on stage sets of ocean views,

and Vacaville—offer brand names and

mountain majesty, innovative architecture

mall time.

and quiet redwood groves.

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Seaport Village seaportvillage.com Irvine Spectrum Center shopirvinespectrumcenter.com Fashion Island shopfashionisland.com Carlsbad Premium Outlets premiumoutlets.com/carlsbad Westfield San Francisco Centre westfield.com/sanfrancisco Santa Monica Third Street Promenade 3rdstreetpromenade.com Carmel Village carmelcalifornia.com Sonoma’s Main Plaza sonomavalley.com/sonoma.html Los Angeles Jewelry District jewelry-los-angeles.com Amoeba Music amoeba.com Fred Segal fredsegal.com Downtown Disney District disneyland.disney.go.com/ destinations/downtown-disney-district Yosemite National Park nps.gov/yose San Diego Gaslamp Quarter gaslamp.org

WESTFIELD MALLS

goods retailers and haute couture children’s


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CA.SPAS & WELLNESS

BY LAVINIA SPALDING

Retreat and Reinvigorate California’s spa culture is the new R&R

This celebrated region and neighboring Sonoma Valley are known primarily for their wine, but their appeal runs deeper than that. You can pamper yourself at luxury spas—such as Meadowood in Saint Helena, above, or the Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, opposite page—dine at some of California’s (and the USA’s) best restaurants, shop at trendy boutiques or live a little rougher and explore wild state parks.

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In San Francisco’s vibrant Japantown dis-

demanding, perpetually wired world, a

trict, buses and bikes whiz by, teens

true vacation requires more than just a

congregate and people text as fast as they

break from the office; it takes unplugging,

walk. But inside the Kabuki Hot Springs, the

purifying and restoring. Luckily, this is

city vanishes. The only sounds in the dimly

practically the state motto.

lit, Japanese-style communal baths are the

California has been a resort destination

gentle splashing of water and occasional

since the early 20th century, beckoning

strains of soothing music. In the sauna, you

travelers with its year-round warm

can lie back and detoxify as you treat your

weather, spectacular geography and min-

eyes to chilled cucumber slices. Then hit the

eral springs. The 1950s brought yoga to the

steam room and exfoliate with lemon and

state, and the 1960s ushered in a wave of

sea salt. Follow with a long, lazy soak in the

young hippies passionate about all-natural

hot tub, and if you’re brave, a cold plunge.

food and intentional living. Today, Cali-

When you’re finished, start all over again. In

fornia is the nation’s vortex of personal

fact, linger all day: it only costs $25.

health and self-improvement, with spas

For people around the world, the name

and wellness centers almost as ubiquitous

“California” means escape and conjures

as scenic views. From five-star luxury

images of sunny beaches. But in today’s

resorts and posh day spas to holistic

MEADOWOOD SPA. OPPOSITE: SONOMA MISSION INN & SPA

NAPA VALLEY


healing programs and “hippie hot springs,”

area’s natural mineral waters, and today’s

the array of retreats will dazzle even the

spa menus overflow with treatments using

most experienced serenity seeker. Here are

grape seeds and skins, rich in antioxidants

some of our favorite spots for the new

and polyphenols. For first-class pam-

R&R: Retreat & Reinvigorate.

pering, lavish accommodations and a three-star Michelin dinner, visit the spa at

Taking the Waters

Meadowood and order the Cabernet Crush,

Home to numerous large geothermal areas,

a warm grape-seed body wrap, followed by

California has for centuries been a cele-

a grape-seed oil massage or facial.

brated mineral springs destination, with

But it’s not all about grapes in wine

myriad spas statewide. Two hours inland

country. At Sonoma’s Osmosis, an innovative,

from Los Angeles, Desert Hot Springs offers dozens of options, from the glamorous, sprawling Two Bunch Palms (featured in the movie The Player) to cozy boutique inns like Hacienda Hot Springs. The Central Coast also boasts famous baths, such as Esalen (equally known for its extensive list of alternative-education workshops) and Tassajara, the first Zen monastery built outside of Asia. But small, funky Calistoga in the north is the state’s oldest spa town, renowned not only for hot springs but also abundant volcanic ash used for therapeutic mud treatments. Eight thousand years ago, the Wappo Indians named the area “Ta La Ha Lu Si,” meaning “Beautiful Land” or “Oven Place,” and today spa facilities run the gamut from luxurious to laid-back. The oldest in Calistoga—and likely California—is Indian

SONOMA MISSION INN & SPA: Yoga Studio, top; Watsu pool, middle; couple’s spa treatment, bottom.

Springs, opened in 1862 by Sam Brannan, the first Gold Rush millionaire. The property features an Olympic-size heated mineral pool (complimentary with spa treatment on weekdays; $30 extra on weekends), an adults-only saltwater pool, mud baths, steam rooms steeped with eucalyptus, and a meditation pond. (Tip: in the winter season, book a hotel stay between October 26 and March 26 and get two free mud baths.)

Wine Country Wellness Californians are known to soak up a lot more than wine in Napa Valley and Sonoma. Residents have long enjoyed the

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69


CA.SPAS & WELLNESS

PRACTICING YOGA in Joshua Tree National Park, below; spiral walk at Meadowood, right.

a canyon with ocean views, hiking through old-growth oaks, meditating in an underground Hopi-style kiva and swimming in natural stone pools. Massages are available, gourmet vegetarian fare is served, and sleeping quarters are private accommodations, heated yurts or creekside camping under the stars. (Tip: Yurts 1 and 2 are closest to the center and, more importantly, to the hot tub and sauna.)

»

FIND YOUR SPA

Kabuki Hot Springs kabukisprings.com

cedar enzyme “bath.” Guests immerse

Health First

themselves to the chin in warm, finely

When the sublime Golden Door opened in

ground cedar, rice bran and plant enzymes.

Escondido in 1958, it was a pioneer among

Heated by natural fermentation, the treat-

American spas. It’s since become one of

ment is said to aid digestion, improve

the world’s finest health resorts, regularly

circulation and relieve muscle tension.

hosting Hollywood’s biggest stars. Golden

Or visit the 40,000-square-foot spa at

Door specializes in fitness, Eastern philos-

Sonoma Mission Inn atop an ancient

ophy, relaxation and opulence. Guests

Hacienda Hot Springs haciendahotsprings.com

thermal mineral spring that flows from

pre-arrange completely customized four-

1,100 feet below and was revered by Native

to seven-day packages with fitness options

Esalen esalen.org

Americans for its healing powers. Soak in

as diverse as Pilates, fencing, dance and

the mineral baths and Watsu pool, indulge

archery. Best of all, each stay includes

Tassajara Hot Springs sfzc.org/tassajara

in a signature spa treatment or just relax by

facial treatments, herbal wraps, mani-

the fireplace.

pedis, and daily in-room massages.

Two Bunch Palms Resort & Spa twobunchpalms.com

Indian Springs indianspringscalistoga.com

Another excellent (and more affordable)

Om Sweet Om

option is The Oaks at Ojai, where healthy

Meadowood meadowood.com/spa

When yoga came to America, some of the

weight loss and conscious eating are

first studios appeared in Hollywood and

emphasized, and activities include hula

Osmosis osmosis.com

San Francisco. The practice has since

hooping, Qi Gong, hiking and roller blading.

become a way of life for countless Califor-

Indulge in a seasonal sugar rub (think Pixie

Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa fairmont.com/sonoma

nians, and hundreds of top-notch centers,

tangerine, pumpkin, or fig), lemongrass

from ritzy to rustic, cater to beginners and

lavender pedicure or river-rock massage.

White Lotus whitelotus.org Golden Door goldendoor.com The Oaks at Ojai oaksspa.com

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T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

gurus alike.

Ultimately, California’s spa culture prom-

One of the world’s most renowned yoga

ises visitors far more than relaxation; it

retreats is tucked into the Santa Ynez

ensures that this time you won’t need a vaca-

Mountains above Santa Barbara. At the

tion from your vacation. You’ll return home

White Lotus Foundation Center, guests

refreshed and recharged—that is, if you can

spend their days doing sun salutations in

bring yourself to return home at all.

GREG EPPERSON/SHUTTERSTOCK; MEADOWOOD SPA. OPPOSITE: PECHANGA CASINO

eco-conscious day spa, the specialty is a


CA.CASINOS

BY MATT VILLANO

Rolling High Look out Las Vegas, California has become a gambling destination, too

just about anywhere. Of all the states that now offer gambling, the best (and most plentiful) options are in California. The Golden State has two choices for people looking to place bets: Native American casinos, and card rooms (which are glorified bars where gambling is legal, so long as the house doesn’t win). The Native American outposts tend to be farther from major cities but offer nicer digs. They have slots. They have table games. They even have bingo. Many of these wagering wonderlands are “Vegasstyle” resorts, complete with luxury hotels, top-notch restaurants and indulgent spas. A few of the properties even have their own golf courses. Card rooms are smaller, quieter and, in many cases, more geared toward locals. Games here are far less varied—in most cases, as the name suggests, only card games are available. The upside? Gambling action is usually loose (and that’s a good thing). We’ve divided California’s gambling scene into four distinct geographical regions. Wherever you go, bet wisely, and remember to stay within your means.

San Francisco Bay Area & Beyond

PECHANGA CASINO The Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula opened in 2002, and is still the largest casino in California. The resort is the biggest employer in the Temecula Valley, a place the Pechanga people have called home for more than 10,000 years.

Without question, the Bay Area is the most exciting region of California for gambling, with more options than any

In the olden days—the days of Frank

other part of the state. It also is home to

Sinatra and Bugsy Siegel—U.S. gamblers

the newest major spot to let chips fly:

looking for a date with Lady Luck had one

Graton Resort & Casino.

option: Las Vegas. Nowadays, with changes

This attraction, located in Rohnert Park,

to gambling laws in many states, it’s a safe

is a hulking casino built and operated by

bet that bettors can throw down their cash

Station Casinos, one of the largest casino

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71


CA.CASINOS GRATON RESORT & CASINO entrance, right; Richard Thompson (R) performs with Peter Frampton at Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, middle; romantic dinner in Pechanga Casino, below.

companies in Las Vegas. Bettors cheer the

ways. Many, including Cache Creek

swanky gambling floor, which boasts a 20-

(Brooks) and Thunder Valley (Lincoln),

table poker room, more than 130 table

have full-service hotels. Red Hawk, in Plac-

games, and thousands of slots. Foodies

erville, offers child-care services for tykes

flock to the place, too—the restaurant

while mom and dad play.

lineup includes a Chinese bistro from Chef

Most of the other gambling options in

Martin Yan, and a food-court outpost of

the Bay Area are card rooms, and many

Tony’s Neapolitan-style pizzeria.

are located in the suburbs of San Fran-

Other Native-American casinos in this

cisco and Sacramento. The two most

region are small but superlative in other

popular: San Jose’s Bay 101, which hosts throughout the year, and Colma’s Lucky Chances, which doles out nearly $1 million in cash prizes (not to mention lots of seats to the annual World Series of Poker) over the course of every year. Casino M8trix, in San Jose, distinguishes itself with a thumping nightclub.

SoCal and L.A. Southern California—from the northern edge of the San Fernando Valley to the Mexico border, the Pacific Ocean to I-15— is

home

to

some

of

the

biggest

Native-American casinos in the state, including Harrah’s Resort Southern California in Valley Center; Pala Casino Spa Resort in Pala; Barona Resort & Casino in Lakeside; and Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula. All of these properties boast Vegas-style hotels with eateries, shopping and spas. In 2014, after a $160-million renovation, Harrah’s opened up a new

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GRATON RESORT & CASINO; RANDY MIRAMONTEZ/SHUTTERSTOCK; PECHANGA CASINO. OPPOSITE: TONY LYLE (LTVA)

a number of World Poker Tour events


HARVEYS LAKE TAHOE, below.

403-room hotel tower and a pool deck that

Lake Tahoe

features a lazy river and weekend parties

Okay, okay, so the casinos that ring Lake

with live deejays.

Tahoe are on the Nevada side of the state

Closer to Los Angeles, the name of the

line. Still, they’re close enough to most

game is card rooms. Two facilities are

other destinations in California that they

worth visiting for their grandeur alone:

deserve a mention here.

» KNOW THE RULES Just because California has casinos

The Commerce Casino (Commerce) and

Excluding those in Reno, the most

doesn’t mean games there play the

the Bicycle Club (Bell Gardens). Both

accessible venues are located in South Lake

same way they’d play in Las Vegas or

venues have expansive poker rooms and

Tahoe. Here, the Montbleu (formerly a Cae-

host some of the most popular tourna-

sars property) is by far the swankiest, with

ments in the area.

ultra-modern lounges and a steakhouse that makes Ruth’s Chris seem like

Atlantic City. Perhaps the biggest differences: craps and roulette. State gaming laws expressly prohibit the outcome of a game to be determined by dice or a ball. While the

The Desert

McDonald’s. The new Hard Rock Hotel &

Package deals abound for stay-and-play

Casino Lake Tahoe, with 500 hotel rooms

ments of dice and a ball, the games

vacations at casino resorts in and around

and a 25,000-square-foot casino, opened

themselves hinge on overturning dif-

the Coachella Valley and Palm Springs. At

in January in the old Horizon Casino

ferent types of cards.

Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon,

Resort space located down the street.

games incorporate traditional ele-

For novices (or those just looking

for instance, $179 per night gets guests a

Of course the best thing about casinos

for a good time), these differences

room plus a $25 food credit and a 50-

around Lake Tahoe is that because they’re

are minimal. For hard-core craps and

minute massage. Similar deals are available

in Nevada, they play by Nevada rules (see

roulette players, however, they make

at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa

sidebar). Since sports books and dice

the games so foreign that adjusting

(Rancho Mirage). Most area casinos have

games are illegal in the state of California,

their own golf courses, but locals rave about

this means Tahoe is the place to place

Eagle Falls, the course at Fantasy Springs

those kinds of bets.

Resort Casino in Indio. The 18-hole course was designed by architect Clive Clark.

Big spenders, consider yourselves

becomes tough. Ask the croupier to review the rules before buying-in. If a game seems confusing, don’t bother; there are dozens of other options throughout the casino.

warned. And good luck.

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73


CA.RAILWAY JOURNEYS

BY JEFF GREENWALD

You Can Hear That Whistle Blow Climb aboard for panoramic views and historic adventure

Californians love their trains, and not just for nostalgic reasons. They’re a great way to take in some of North America’s most iconic landscapes: from towering mountains to coastal cliffs. Some of the routes are short, scenic excursions. Others are more practical, ferrying commuters between the capitals of California commerce.

Amtrak Adventures The gold standard of California rail trips is arguably Amtrak’s Coast Starlight. Before it crosses the border into Oregon, northbound passengers experience the full spectrum of California’s greatest hits. Whether you board at Los Angeles’ Union Station or Oakland’s Jack London Square, you’ll pass snow-capped peaks, gorgeous

AMTRAK Founded in 1971 to provide intercity passenger train service across the country, Amtrak serves 46 of the 50 states and three Canadian provinces on 21,000 miles (34,000 km) of track. Passengers wait to board at Union Station, Los Angeles, above; Union Station interior, above right.

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T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

full trip, from Los Angeles to Seattle (or

tage wines in the dining car of the Coast

reverse), takes 35 hours.

Starlight—or blasting the undead with

But accolades for the “most beautiful

laser rifles from the platform of the

train trip in North America” are lavished on

Zombie Train? California offers railway

Amtrak’s California Zephyr, a 51-hour adven-

experiences for every taste, and all of them

ture linking the Bay Area with Chicago. The

come with unforgettable scenery.

daily departure boards in Emeryville (right

The Golden State’s railway history has

across the bay from San Francisco), and

been part of American legend for 140 years.

crosses two mountain ranges—the Sierra

On June 4, 1876, the first express train con-

Nevada to Reno, and the Rockies to Denver

necting the east and west coasts reached the

(you can get off at Truckee, and explore Lake

city of Oakland—after a seemingly miracu-

Tahoe). If you’re drawn to a desert crossing,

lous journey of less than four days.

Amtrak’s Southwest Chief connects LA with

Before that milestone, a New York to

Chicago via the Mojave. The Sunset Lim-

San Francisco trip had taken months—and

ited—Amtrak’s most southern route—joins

might include births, deaths and attacks by

LA with New Orleans via Tucson, San

bandits or Indians.

Antonio and Houston.

JORG HACKEMANN/SHUTTERSTOCK; FILEDIMAGE/SHUTTERSTOCK

forests and shimmering shorelines. The

What’s your pleasure? Uncorking vin-


CA.RAILWAY JOURNEYS VINTAGE YOSEMITE RAILROAD steam train, right.

ated by Amtrak. The Capital Corridor runs

dinner train schedule, please visit their

Angels Flight Railway in downtown LA,

website (see sidebar).

dating from 1901, is probably the most fun (and definitely the most funicular) you can

from San Jose to Sacramento, crossing the

Departing from Woodland, the Sacra-

state’s agricultural Central Valley. The Pacific

mento RiverTrain features beer, wine, fine

Surfliner, a six-hour run that skirts the

food and live music as it follows the Sacra-

Pacific, joins San Luis Obispo and San Diego

mento River on a three-hour, 32-mile trip.

Second Childhood

(via Santa Barbara and Los Angeles). It offers

There are several specialty rides, including

Speaking of super-short train rides, a peren-

bicycle and surfboard racks, as well as free

Sunset Dinners, Great Train Robberies (on

nial favorite is the Redwood Valley Railway

Wi-Fi. Trips to Yosemite can be arranged via

Saturdays) and Murder Mysteries. The

in Tilden Park, Berkeley. The 12-minute

the San Joaquin line to Merced, where a

same railroad also offers the Zombie Train:

ride—with hand-built steam locomotives

waiting luxury bus takes visitors into the

“One part passenger train, one part zombie

pulling open-bed flatcars—chugs through

national park.

killing machine.” Just sayin’.

rustic tunnels and around wooded curves,

Another dinner option is the Sierra Rail-

with (season permitting) panoramic views

Excursion Favorites

road, one of several rail lines built in the late

of San Francisco Bay. Tickets are $3, a five-

th

have in Los Angeles for 50 cents.

Until 1930, tourists visiting Mt. Tamal-

19 century to link the Gold Country with the

ride ticket only $12. It’s a real family

pais—the Bay Area’s signature 2,574-foot

Central Valley. Today, the excursion “pro-

experience—even dogs are welcome!

peak—could board the Mt. Tamalpais &

vides visitors an opportunity to travel on the

Muir Woods Railway: “The Crookedest

historic Sierra Railroad while enjoying a deli-

Railroad in the World.” Though that line

cious meal, beautiful countryside and a wide

was sadly dismantled, there are still plenty

range of entertainment.” Passengers board in

of unusual excursions available to the 21st-

Oakdale, 90 miles east of San Francisco (70

century

miles south of Sacramento).

traveler.

These

include

Mendocino’s irresistible Skunk Train. Starting at the coastal town of Fort Bragg,

Historic Revivals

the Skunk navigates some 30 bridges, tres-

A variety of shorter train rides lace through

tles and tunnels on its 40-mile journey

the California landscape, recreating (more

between Fort Bragg and Willits. Following

or less) a taste of what travel was like for

an old redwood delivery route, it’s said to

settlers of the 1800s. Santa Cruz’s Roaring

be one of the “Ten most scenic train rides”

Camp Railroad offers a Beach Train from

in North America.

Felton to the Santa Cruz beach, or a steam

Book your tickets early for the popular

train into the Bear Mountain redwood

Napa Valley Wine Train, with three-hour

forests. Departing at 11 every morning

round trips in “meticulously restored rail

(plus 12:30 on weekends), the Yosemite

cars” between Napa and St. Helena in Cal-

Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad boasts a

ifornia’s wine country. Back on track after

narrow-gauge reminder of the days when

the 2014 Napa Quake, proceeds from wine

logs harvested in the Sierras were deliv-

sales benefit quake victims. Enjoy a la carte

ered to the fast-growing settlements in the

or gourmet dining, depending on your

Central Valley. And though it’s “The

class of ticket. Lunch trains run daily, with

Shortest Railway in the World” (just 298

winery tours available. For the frequent

feet!), a ride up the incline served by the

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» CATCH A TRAIN! Amtrak amtrak.com Skunk Train skunktrain.com Napa Valley Wine Train winetrain.com Sacramento RiverTrain sacramentorivertrain.com Sierra Railroad: Oakdale sierrarailroad.com Roaring Camp Railroad roaringcamp.com Angels Flight Railway angelsflight.com Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad ymsprr.com Redwood Valley Railway redwoodvalleyrailway.com

MICHAEL WARWICK/SHUTTERSTOCK

Three other popular train routes are oper-


CA.ROAD TRIPS

BY JOHN FLINN

Hop in the Car and Go

17-MILE DRIVE This scenic coastal drive around the Monterey Peninsula hugs the Pacific and passes legendary golf

Californians didn’t invent the car, but

“Pacific Coast Highway”—or, simply, the

courses including Pebble Beach,

they like to think, with some justification,

“PCH”—but there’s no doubt that the

Spyglass Hill and Cypress Point.

that they invented the automobile lifestyle.

road that hugs the state’s remarkable

Because most of it is owned by

With drive-thru grocery stores, drive-

coastline, often close enough to feel the

the Pebble Beach Company, there’s

thru pharmacies, drive-thru churches and

salt spray, is one of the world’s classic

a nominal toll for non-residents,

even drive-thru mortuaries, one gets the

driving trips.

but it’s the best way to see this dramatic peninsula.

feeling that if Californians could only

From the sun-splashed Southern Cali-

invent a drive-thru delivery room they

fornia beaches to the misty redwood

could happily go from cradle to grave

forests near the Oregon border, the journey,

without ever having to pull over to the curb.

which includes a few stretches on other

California is a land of supersized dis-

highways, is a touch over 1,000 miles.

tances, jumbo landscapes and big-gulp

The sights are so numerous we can

vistas, and the best way to see it all is on a

barely scratch the surface: The Hotel Del

road trip, or, better yet, a series of road

Coronado, where Marilyn Monroe frol-

trips. Here are a few of our favorites.

icked in Some Like It Hot; classic surfing beaches made famous by the Beach Boys;

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Up the Coast

star-studded Malibu; Riviera-like Santa

Northern Californians call it “Highway 1”

Barbara; Hearst Castle; Big Sur; Santa Cruz,

and Southern Californians call it the

with its old-timey beach boardwalk; San

JEROME KUNDROTAS/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: ASIF ISLAM/SHUTTERSTOCK; SUPPAVUT VARUTBANGKUL; RADOSLAW LECYK/SHUTTERSTOCK

Explore California’s highways and byways


McWAY FALLS in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, left; Avenue of the Giants, Redwood National Park, middle; tufa formations at Mono Lake, bottom; 17-Mile Drive on the Monterey Peninsula, opposite.

Francisco; Point Reyes National Seashore;

you’ll probably encounter members of the

artsy Mendocino; Redwood National Park.

Washoe and Paiute tribes.

A few tips: Allow far more time than you

Highway 395 grazes the shore of enor-

think you need; besides the frequent diver-

mous Mono Lake, which is so alkaline Mark

sions, the road is so winding in places it’s

Twain once joked he could do his laundry

hard to average more than 30 miles per

merely by dragging it behind him in a boat.

hour. If you’re prone to carsickness, this

In Bishop, the studio of the late photogra-

isn’t the trip for you. Keep your gas tank

pher Galen Rowell has become a major

full and your bladder empty. In some areas,

attraction. Stop at Manzanar, just off the

particularly Big Sur, it’s more than 40 miles

highway, for a poignant visit to the site of a

between gas stations—and restrooms.

relocation camp for Americans of Japanese heritage during World War II. In Lone Pine,

Cowboys & Indians

the Indian Trading Post sports autographs

East of the Sierra Nevada the green, popu-

on the wall from Gary Cooper, John Wayne

lated West Coast ends and the brown,

and other cinematic cowboys who filmed

sagebrush-covered West begins. This is

Westerns in the nearby Alabama Hills.

the Old Frontier of our imagination, a

A few tips: Springtime, when the Sierra

realm of real cowboys and real Indians

is still clad in snow, is the prettiest time for

(and also, as we shall see, of cinematic

the drive, although some side trips may be

cowboys and Indians.)

limited. For an overnight stop, the town of

Highway 395 hugs the state’s eastern border, and the 264-mile stretch of high

Bishop offers the largest selection of motels and restaurants.

desert from Reno to Lone Pine, which passes

tumbleweeds,

swinging-door

saloons and ghost towns beneath the breathtakingly sheer eastern wall of the Sierra Nevada, is one of California’s most iconic drives. The northern stretch traverses ranchland that was once—and sometimes still is—the domain of Basque sheepherders, and in the town of Gardnerville, just over the border in Nevada, you have your choice of excellent Basque restaurants. As you drive south, keep an eye out for cowboys, although these days they’re as likely to be riding an all-terrain vehicle as a horse. Farther south, as you approach Mono Lake,

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79


CA.ROAD TRIPS

Follow Highway 1 to Point Reyes National Seashore, where you might catch tule elk grazing on misty hillsides above the wavebattered coast. West Marin County, with its organic farms, artisanal bakeries and gourmet cheesemakers, is the breadbasket for San Francisco’s foodie culture. Stop for lunch at the Hog Island Oyster Farm, where you can munch on bivalve mollusks pulled straight out of Tomales Bay. The long, narrow bay, incidentally, is a submerged section of the notorious San Andreas Fault. Farther north on Highway 1 you’ll come to Bodega Bay, a sleepy fishing village where Alfred Hitchcock unleashed avian terror in The Birds. The Tides restaurant, where terrified townspeople took shelter, is still there, although hardly recognizable in its current form. A few miles inland, in the separate town of Bodega, you can find the

»

PICK YOUR HIGHWAY

Day Trips

familiar schoolhouse and church from the

You don’t have to spend days or weeks on

movie. Continue on to Sebastopol,

the highway to see the best of California.

renowned for its juicy Gravenstein apples

Within easy reach of major cities are exqui-

and an outpost of Sonoma County’s wine

site road trips you can do in less than a day.

country. Turn south on Highway 101 and head back to San Francisco, stopping for a

San Francisco

celebratory cocktail in Sausalito, with the

Head north, across the Golden Gate Bridge,

lights of the city twinkling across the bay.

to sample some of Northern California’s CA-1 The Coast pacific-coast-highway-travel.com

most bucolic scenery. Almost within sight

Los Angeles

of San Francisco’s skyscrapers you’ll come

On a day trip along the Angeles Crest Scenic

US-395 Eastern Sierra aaroads.com/California/us-395_ca

to Muir Woods National Monument, a

Byway you’re more likely to spot a bighorn

cathedral-like preserve of old-growth red-

sheep than a Kardashian. As you wind up

woods at the foot of Mount Tamalpais.

and over narrow ridgetops in the San

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PHOTOGOLFER/SHUTTERSTOCK; TURTIX/SHUTTERSTOCK; ROBERT CICCHETTI/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: DANCESTROKES/SHUTTERSTOCK; ROGER SWIFT/SHUTTERSTOCK; VICTOR MASCHEK/SHUTTERSTOCK

GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE in San Francisco, right; Volkswagen surfing van in Los Angeles, middle; historic Route 66 sign in Santa Monica, bottom.


Gabriel Mountains, above the smog, your vistas can range from the vast, chocolatebrown Mojave Desert to Catalina Island. Also known as State Highway 2, the 66mile-long Angeles Crest Scenic Byway was built 100 years ago to be “the most scenic and picturesque mountain road in the state.” Access it from the suburb of La Canada Flintridge at the western end of the San Gabriel Valley. The popular side-trip hike to the summit of 6,164-foot Strawberry Peak has reopened after being closed due to a 2009 fire. As you drive east on the narrow two-lane road, keep an eye out for bears, mountain lions and bighorn sheep. Another side trip brings you to the Mount

San Diego

Wilson Observatory, where astronomers

Cross the Palomar Mountains to soak up

found the first observational evidence for

the vast and colorful Anza-Borrego desert

the Big Bang theory. If you’ve brought

on a daylong drive from San Diego. Make

along your fishing rod, try your luck in

your way north on I-15 and east to Ramona,

Little Rock Creek near the Mt. Waterman

and then continue on to the ridgetop town

Ski Resort. Farther east, the road crosses

of Julian. A beautifully preserved relic of an

the 2,665-mile-long Pacific Crest National

1870s gold rush, Julian these days is

Scenic Trail: From here you can hike south

renowned for apples. You’ll smell the

to Mexico or north to Canada. From the

aroma of baking pies as soon as you step

road’s end at Highway 138, head southeast

out of your car. Stop for a slice, just out of

to Interstate 15, which will whisk you back

the oven, warm and gooey with a scoop of

to the Los Angeles Basin.

French vanilla ice cream. The air here is so

VIEW OF DOWNTOWN from San Diego Pier, above; Palomar Observatory on Palomar Mountain, below; cyclist on the Venice Beach promenade, bottom left.

clean, and the views so extensive, that the California Institute of Technology built the Palomar Observatory a few miles away. Continue east, downhill, on Highway 78 to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, a 937square-mile preserve that encompasses the eastern fifth of San Diego County. If it’s spring, and the winter has been wet, you’ll be treated to one of the most vivid and sweeping displays of wildflowers in the United States. If the flowers aren’t up,

scenes from California history: a Spanish

there’s still plenty to see. A local landowner

padre, a gold miner and farmworkers. One

commissioned artist Ricardo Arroyo Bre-

of the latest is the undisputed highlight: an

ceda to produce more than 130 giant

enormous sea serpent that undulates so far

sculptures in the desert, everything from

across the desert that it spans one of the

life-size replicas of gomphotheres (ele-

main roads. From here you can retrace

phant-like creatures that once lived there)

your route or take the long way home via

to prehistoric camels and ground sloths to

the Salton Sea and Palm Springs.

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81


SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA The Bay Area’s diversity, cultural amenities and scenic beauty make it a top destination

BY LAURA DEL ROSSO

TOP CITIES San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, San Jose, Napa, Sonoma, Palo Alto, Santa Rosa, Sausalito INTERNATIONAL GATEWAYS San Francisco International Airport (SFO), 12 miles (19 km) from downtown San Francisco; Oakland International Airport (OAK), 8 miles (13 km) from downtown Oakland; San Jose International Airport (SJC), 4 miles (6 km) from downtown San Jose

T

he San Francisco Bay Area never disappoints visitors: the

majestic towers of the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco skyline and other cities of culture and great dining, ancient

redwood groves, acres of vineyards and a coastline of rocky cliffs and sandy beaches. Combine those with a Mediterranean climate and a

TOURISM WEBSITES sanfrancisco.travel visitnapavalley.com santacruzca.org sanmateocountycvb.com visitberkeley.com

dynamic environment of high-tech entrepreneurs and it’s no wonder visitoakland.org santaclara.org sanjose.org visitmarin.org sonomacounty.com

POPULATION 7.35 million

the San Francisco Bay Area encourages a seductive, can-do way of life that revolves around the high energy of its residents and the great outdoors at its doorstep. The hub of the area is San Francisco, a city of diverse neighborhoods, world-class cuisine and a welcoming spirit of openness and tolerance in the most European of American cities. Besides the landmark bridge, other popular attractions draw millions each year to what boosters call “Everyone’s Favorite City” at the center

North Bay: Marin, Sonoma & Napa Across the Golden Gate to the north lies Marin County, one of the most beautiful and affluent areas of the U.S. Sausalito, Tiburon and Mill Valley are among its many inviting towns. The mountain bike was SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA

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invented here to maneuver the twisty trails on Mount Tamalpais. On the Marin coast, one ruggedly gorgeous beach follows another, including along spectacular Point Reyes National Seashore.

SUPAVADEE BUTRADEE/SHUTTERSTOCK

of the Bay Area.


THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE spans the entrance to San Francisco Bay, opposite.

MUST

»

SEE, DO

Also in the North Bay, Sonoma and Napa counties are home to acres of vineyards and dozens of wineries producing some of the world’s finest wines. Among the small towns full of boutiques, shops and tasting rooms is the Napa Valley hamlet of Yountville, a foodie dining mecca, with several Michelin-starred restaurants.

South Bay: Palo Alto & Santa Cruz In Palo Alto on the peninsula south of San Francisco, lies the bucolic campus of Stanford University, one of the country’s leading universities. Neighboring San Mateo County’s coastline still shows its traditional fishing and agricultural roots. It’s within a short drive of major population centers yet a world away, with its sprawling artichoke fields and miles of pristine beaches. Santa Cruz County to the south offers visitors a wealth of attractions, including parks and wineries in its redwood-covered mountain range, and laid-back beaches where surfers polish their technique.

DRIVE

» TOUR Start by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge driving north, stopping in SAUSALITO. Head northwest to MOUNT

TAMALPAIS STATE PARK and take the steep, twisting road to the Pantoll Ranger Station and drive the PANORAMIC

HIGHWAY for ocean, city and mountain views. Drive to

MUIR WOODS NATIONAL MONUMENT for a short walk among redwoods. Head back toward Sausalito and Highway 101 and drive north to the wine country town of SONOMA. Explore its shady plaza, surrounded by shops, wine tasting rooms and historic sites. From Sonoma, it’s a short drive to California’s other major wine region, Napa Valley, and the city of NAPA.

»

San Francisco’s Waterfront Spend a morning strolling the Ferry Building and its food hall, starting with a cappuccino at Blue Bottle Coffee and explore the city’s waterfront, including bayfront promenades, piers and parks. There’s the Exploratorium interactive science museum, vintage streetcars that whisk you to Fisherman’s Wharf for a fresh sourdough sandwich lunch at Boudin’s café, and the historic ships at the Maritime Museum. Finish the day with a walk over the Fort Mason hill for spectacular Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz views. › sanfrancisco.travel

»

Wine Country During Crush Sample Northern California’s top-rated wines during the height of the harvest, known as “crush,” in September and October. You can even join in at wineries such as Napa’s Grgich Hills Estates, which offers a day of stomping grapes from Labor Day to Halloween. Or, for a more sedentary time, have lunch or dinner on the Napa Wine Train that takes visitors through vineyards turning reds and golds during the harvest, the season when the wine country’s weather is at its best. › napavalley.com

»

The San Mateo Coast Plan a trip to the San Mateo County coast during the height of whale watching season December through May or to the elephant seals’ breeding grounds at Ano Nuevo State Park, where docents offer guided tours December through March. In October, orange pumpkins dot the fields and Half Moon Bay’s Art and Pumpkin Festival rocks the town. › sanmateocountycvb.com

»

Marin County and Point Reyes A drive through Marin County to Point Reyes National Seashore is an unforgettable day excursion. Stop at the charming hamlet of Point Reyes Station and sample local cheese at Cowgirl Creamery. At park headquarters on Bear Valley Road, rangers direct you to a variety of outdoor adventures on this unique geologic peninsula that straddles the San Andreas Fault. The park’s coastline is a prime point for whale watching mid January to early May, especially spectacular from the 1870 Point Reyes lighthouse perched atop a remote cliff. › nps.gov/pore

»

Sample Local Food The Bay Area is heaven for food lovers and farmers markets thrive year round, including at Marin’s Civic Center and in San Francisco where three of the most impressive are the Ferry Building, Civic Center and Alemany markets. The food truck boom also puts the area’s food loving culture on display with Off the Grid events, including a popular evening event at Fort Mason on Fridays. › sanfrancisco.travel › offthegridsf.com

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83


INSIDER’S

» TIP

With a little planning, visiting Bay Area museums can be inexpensive and full of surprises. Almost all offer free days: first Sundays of each month at the

OAKLAND MUSEUM OF CALIFORNIA and first Tuesdays at San Francisco’s DE YOUNG and

LEGION OF HONOR. Admission is always free at THE CANTOR ARTS

CENTER in Palo Alto. THE EXPLORATORIUM offers six free days per year and CALIFORNIA

ACADEMY OF SCIENCES several performances, food and cocktails are on hand for visitors on Friday evenings at the Oakland and the de Young museums.

variety of cuisines, different groups of

stretches over 60 miles of Bay Area coast-

people, fascinating neighborhoods, parks,

line. The area encompasses beaches,

Victorian-era houses and world-class

historic sites, biking and hiking trails and

museums and cultural activities.

vast open spaces to savor the Bay Area’s

The city is easy to explore on foot, with

varied natural beauty. Among the high-

the waterfront Embarcadero, Fisherman’s

lights are the majestic Marin Headlands

East Bay: Berkeley & Oakland

Wharf, Chinatown and Union Square (the

and San Francisco’s Presidio and Crissy

On the eastern side of the bay lies the col-

largest shopping area in the western U.S.)

Field, a popular walking area and restored

lege town of Berkeley, with its history

all within a short walk of each other. Col-

wetlands that also draws kiteboarders to the

of political idealism, University of Cali-

orful vintage streetcars rumble down the

white-capped waters at the Golden Gate.

fornia academic prestige and coffeehouse

Embarcadero and Market Street, con-

Rolling green hillsides dotted with Cali-

intellectualism. Berkeley is almost syn-

necting to public transportation that

fornia golden poppies make spring an

onymous with Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse

carries visitors to the city’s many diverse

especially ideal time to explore Mount

and the movement to organic, local and

neighborhoods and to Golden Gate Park,

Tamalpais and Muir Woods in Marin County.

seasonal food. Berkeley’s larger neighbor,

the large greenbelt that extends to the

Point Reyes National Seashore’s beautiful

Oakland, is a culturally diverse city with

Pacific Ocean.

coastal terrain contains an abundance of

vibrant neighborhoods and lovely Lake

The region’s other major cities are San

wildlife, including migrating shorebirds and

Merritt, whose three-mile path draws jog-

Jose, where revitalization has brought an

ducks, whales that are easily seen off the

gers and walkers.

urban vibe, restaurants and museums

coast in migration season (mid January to

downtown, and Oakland, which attracts

mid March) and a herd of tule elk.

City & Town

visitors with the renovated Museum of

There also is no lack of wide open

Even though it was surpassed in popula-

California, bay-front Jack London Square

spaces in the East Bay, where the regional

tion by San Jose long ago, San Francisco

and a trendy dining scene it shares with its

park district includes 65 parks covering

remains the region’s cultural hub. The city

college town neighbor, Berkeley.

113,000 acres in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. In the Santa Cruz Mountains,

draws more than 16 million travelers each year to its dense 49 square miles con-

The Great Outdoors

amid several vast open space preserves lies

taining its famously steep hills, thousands

One of the world’s largest urban parks—the

California’s oldest state park, Big Basin

of restaurants offering an astonishing

Golden Gate National Recreation Area—

Redwoods, established in 1902.

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GREGORY BERTOLINI, FINE ARTS MUSEUMS OF SF

free Sundays. Special events,


SAN FRANCISCO’S DE YOUNG Museum, above.

Heritage & Culture

Museum of Modern Art, the de Young

Early Mexican and Spanish explorers and

Museum and California Academy of Sci-

settlers in the Bay Area left their mark,

ences in Golden Gate Park. In Oakland,

mostly in place names but also in historic

there’s the Museum of California and, in

buildings from that era. San Francisco’s

Palo Alto, the Cantor Arts Center at Stan-

Mission Dolores, established in 1776, is the

ford. A lively art scene is found

oldest building in San Francisco and the

throughout the region and dozens of the-

oldest intact original Mission in Cali-

ater,

fornia. The patchwork design of its

companies are based here.

opera,

symphony

and

dance

beamed ceilings resembles local Native

Diverse cultural influences thrive in

American basket weaving. Other old mis-

pockets spread throughout the region,

sions are found elsewhere in the Bay Area:

including many from Asia: Japantown

in Sonoma, San Rafael, Santa Clara, San

and Chinatown in San Francisco, another

Jose and Santa Cruz.

Chinatown in Oakland and thriving Viet-

Vestiges of San Francisco’s colorful past,

namese and Southeast Asian communities

when the 1849 Gold Rush catapulted it from

in South Bay cities. Mexican and other

a hamlet to a large city almost overnight,

Latin American influences can be found

th

can still be seen in thousands of 19 -cen-

throughout, particularly in San Francisco’s

tury Victorians and quaint old quarters

Mission district, while Italian immigrants

such as Alamo Square and Jackson Square.

left their indelible mark in San Francisco’s

The Bay Area is home to world-class

North Beach and Sonoma and Napa wine-

museums, including the San Francisco

SPECIAL

» EVENTS 2015

growing areas.

Family Fun Spend a day at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, a century-old amusement park famous for The Giant Dipper, a 1920s-era

CHINESE NEW YEAR PARADE March 7, San Francisco chineseparade.com CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL April 11-12, 18-19, San Francisco nccbf.org

roller coaster. On the San Mateo County coast, Half Moon Bay’s mid-October festival features pumpkin

BAY TO BREAKERS May 17, San Francisco baytobreakers.com

carving and pie-eating contests, while in

CARNAVAL May 23-24, San Francisco carnavalsanfrancisco.org

nearby Santa Clara, California's Great America

ETHNIC DANCE FESTIVAL June 1-30, San Francisco worldartswest.org STERN GROVE FESTIVAL June 14-Aug. 16, San Francisco sterngrove.org

theme park thrills visitors with the most water rides in Northern California. San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf and

GAY PRIDE WEEKEND June 27-28, San Francisco sfpride.org

Pier 39 are lined with shops, restaurants,

KITE FESTIVAL July 25-26, Berkeley highlinekites.com

street performers and even a colony of sea

ART FESTIVAL Sept. 5-7, Sausalito sausalitoartfestival.org

lions that wow crowds. The pier also offers an antique carousel and the Aquarium of

HARDLY STRICTLY BLUEGRASS Oct. 2-4, San Francisco hardlystrictlybluegrass.com

the Bay, with more than 20,000 marine

ART & PUMPKIN FESTIVAL Oct. 17-18, Half Moon Bay miramarevents.com

animals. Over in Golden Gate Park, the Cal-

UNION SQUARE TREE LIGHTING Nov. 27, San Francisco macys.com FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS Nov. 27, Yountville yountville.com

ifornia Academy of Sciences draws families with its penguin exhibit, a walkthrough rainforest and aquarium with a live coral reef tank.

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85


SAN FRANCISCO The world on the tip of a peninsula

SAN FRANCISCO evening skyline with the Bay Bridge, above; cable cars pass each other on California Street, below.

IN JUST 49 SQUARE MILES, San Francisco contains more scenic beauty, neighborhood

national park filled with historic sites, B Y L Aand U Rmiles A D EofL walking R O S S Oand museums, artwork

diversity, good food and range of arts and cul-

biking trails in forests and along the bay. In

ture than any U.S. city of its size. The landmark

2014, the renovated Officer’s Club re-opened

Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, Alcatraz and

with a new restaurant and exhibits tracing the

Fisherman’s Wharf are synonymous with the

Presidio’s long history.

City by the Bay, also known for an atmosphere

Other must-sees have opened in San Fran-

of tolerance that stretches back to the Gold Rush

cisco in the last year, including @Large: Ai

when one of the largest migrations in human

Weiwei, a multimedia art installation by Chi-

history brought hundreds of thousands west.

nese artist Ai Weiwei, who used spaces on

San Francisco is one of the great U.S. cities for

Alcatraz not usually accessible to the public. The

food and dining, with renowned chefs, a wide

show is open through April 26. Visible from

variety of ethnic cuisine and restaurant-mad

many parts of the waterfront are the playful,

locals spending more on eating out than resi-

twinkling Bay Lights on the Bay Bridge’s western

dents of any other American city. Culture is

span, a unique art project that began in 2012.

abundant, with world-class museums, theater,

Nearby, a new cruise terminal is hosting ships

opera, symphony and ballet, helped by a public

on Pier 27, a former America’s Cup venue that

commitment that pre-dates the National

lies adjacent to a new waterfront park.

Endowment for the Arts. There’s a fresh vitality in the city: An influx

Art remains closed for expansion and renovation

of technology start-ups and young tech workers

until 2016, art from its collection is displayed

led to a boom in restaurants, bars and nightlife,

throughout the city, including at the Museum of

especially in the vibrant Mission and South of

the African Diaspora. Other museums with

Market neighborhoods and extending into the

notable 2015 shows are the de Young Museum,

developing Mid-Market area. At popular Off the

which is hosting Botticelli to Braque: Master-

Grid events, groups of mobile food trucks serve

pieces from the National Galleries of Scotland

up gourmet food, including at historic Fort

through May 31, and The Legion of Honor,

Mason on Friday evenings.

showing High Style: The Brooklyn Museum Cos-

In the Presidio, the former Army base continues its stunning transformation into a vast

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While the San Francisco Museum of Modern

tume Collection, through July 19. For trip planning, see sanfrancisco.travel.

SARAPORN/SHUTTERSTOCK; LUCKY-PHOTOGRAPHER/SHUTTERSTOCK

BY LAURA DEL ROSSO


BERKELEY Bastion of liberal thought, superb dining and performing arts BY DAVID ARMSTRONG rants such as the French-flavored Liaison.

DINE, » SHOP, GOLF, SEE A PLAY

free speech and 1960s counterculture,

One-of-a-kind shopping abounds on

Berkeley, on the eastern shore of San Fran-

Fourth Street, north of University Avenue

cisco Bay, has morphed into a foodie

in West Berkeley; standouts include Miki’s

destination and unique arts and shopping

Paper, which features hand-made Japanese

Berkeley Tourism Information

mecca. But it’s still Berkeley, proudly off-

stationery and wrapping paper.

visitberkeley.com UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA at Berkeley’s campus seen from Inspiration Point, above; Rasputin Music on Telegraph Avenue, below.

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T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

beat, quirky and fun to visit.

Gorgeous brown-shingle wooden homes

The Downtown Arts District on Addison

and public buildings by celebrated architects

Street showcases the Berkeley Repertory

Bernard Maybeck and Julia Morgan—who

Theatre, the Aurora Theatre Company and

adapted Arts and Crafts design to form the

the venerable folk music haven Freight &

Bay Region style in the early 20th century—

Salvage Coffeehouse, which is both a per-

enrich the city. Maybeck’s serene 1910 First

formance venue and community-minded

Church of Christ, Scientist, just east of Tele-

folk music learning center. The Pacific

graph Avenue and south of the UC Berkeley

Film Archive Theater will remain open

campus, is an architectural hymn to silence.

through summer, but its sister institution,

On campus, Cal Performances brings

the Berkeley Art Museum, is closed while

international headliners to Zellerbach Hall.

it moves into a new building in downtown

You can toast the artists and debate the true

Berkeley in early 2016. North Berkeley

meaning of art in a plenitude of craft micro-

along and near Shattuck Avenue is the

breweries that dot the area near campus and

city’s Gourmet Ghetto, with its jewel in the

beyond; the new Berkeley Brew Trail high-

crown, Chez Panisse, founded by the

lights places to sip hand-crafted suds;

doyenne of fresh, local, seasonal California

specifics are available from the city’s Visitor

cuisine, Alice Waters. The 1966 original

Information Center, 2030 Addison St. Got

Peet’s Coffee and Tea shop is right nearby,

golf? Certainly. You can tee it up at the 18-

as are excellent food markets, the Cheese

hole Tilden Park Golf Course, in the woodsy

Board cheese shop/bakery and fine restau-

Berkeley Hills above the bay.

PATTIE STEIB/SHUTTERSTOCK; VISIT BERKELEY

WORLD-FAMOUS as a historic center of


SONOMA VALLEY Fine food, superb wine and loads of history

SUNSET OVER A VINEYARD in Sonoma Valley, above; picnic on Sonoma’s plaza, below.

THE 17-MILE-LONG Sonoma Valley holds

Valley one of the finest wine producing

much that today’s travelers are seeking: a

regions in the world. Two wineries within a

“real” down-home wine country with world-

short distance of the plaza are among the

class accommodations and restaurants.

oldest in California: Buena Vista, founded by

“The Valley of the Moon,” as it is often

a Hungarian count, Agostin Haraszthy, who

called, lies within vast Sonoma County, just

planted grapes in the valley in 1851; and Sebas-

45 minutes north of San Francisco. Acres of

tiani, the oldest continuous family-run

rolling farmlands and well-tended vineyards

winery in Sonoma Valley. Both offer tours that

include the towns of Sonoma, Glen Ellen and

trace the roots of Sonoma’s wine industry.

Kenwood. There are more than 13,000 acres

The idyllic town has garnered many acco-

of parkland and more than 40 wineries,

lades, including one of the “friendliest” cities

many of which are organic and biodynamic.

in America by Condé Nast Traveler; a “Bicycle-

In fact, the area is a leader in sustainable

Friendly Community” by the League of

travel and ecotourism, including “green”

American Bicyclists; and America’s first

activities such as hiking, biking and horse-

“Slow Food” city, recognizing its wine, food

back riding.

and sustainable “slow” lifestyle.

In the heart of it all is the town of Sonoma’s

The charming town of Glen Ellen six miles

shady eight-acre plaza surrounded by

north was once home to renowned writers MFK

acclaimed restaurants, boutiques, wine

Fisher and Jack London, whose forested ranch

tasting rooms and food shops, such as the

makes up Jack London State Historic Park.

culinary store Williams-Sonoma, which

The valley’s events calendar is packed year

returned to its original location in 2014.

round with a bustling Tuesday night farmers

Among the historic sites is Mission San Fran-

market, Cinco de Mayo festivities, outdoor

cisco Solano de Sonoma, which dates from

summer concerts and NASCAR weekends.

1823 and was the last in the string of California

Sonoma Valley is also proud to welcome

missions constructed by Franciscan friars.

LGBT travelers with TAG-approved lodging

A combination of Mediterranean climate, ideal soil and geography makes Sonoma

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and an annual Gay Wine Weekend. For trip planning, see sonomavalley.com.

GARY C. TOGNONI/SONOMA VALLEY CVB; DOUGLAS THOMPSON/SONOMA VALLEY CVB

BY LAURA DEL ROSSO


HEALDSBURG Sonoma’s sophisticated, relaxed, wine country town BY MARCY GORDON

Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau healdsburg.com DRY CREEK VINEYARD, above; enjoying Healdsburg’s plaza, below.

homes, many in use as B&Bs. Surrounded by vineyards, and located just off Highway

beloved Spanish style plaza designed by

101, Healdsburg is the ideal home base

Harmon Heald. The one-acre quadrangle,

from which to explore the world-

shaded by towering redwoods and date

renowned wine appellations of Alexander

palms, is grand in scale but has an intimate,

Valley, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek Valley and

accessible feel. Possibly the liveliest plaza

Russian River Valley. Wine, of course, is a

in Sonoma, it was recently voted one of

main focus of the town with more than 25

“America’s Most Beautiful Town Squares”

tasting rooms and wineries within

and Healdsburg was ranked among the best

walking distance of its center.

small towns to visit in 2014.

Dining options are plentiful, from

The plaza plays host to numerous events

casual cafés to elite restaurants creating

including the Antique Fair sponsored by

sublime seasonal fare incorporating the

the Historical Society in May and the highly

bounty of local ingredients and show-

regarded Healdsburg Jazz Festival held in

casing regional wines. Although most

early June. Throughout the summer

famous for its wine, Healdsburg also has

months, on Tuesday evenings, the plaza

a lively craft beer scene and is home to the

transforms into an outdoor community

locally brewed Racer 5 India Pale Ale.

living room where locals and visitors gather for a free concert series.

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Beyond the city center, the Russian River and peaceful stands of ancient redwoods

From the plaza it’s a leisurely stroll to

are the focal point for hiking and canoeing,

the many wine tasting rooms, artisan bak-

and the mostly flat back roads that wind

eries, coffee spots, cheese shops, art

through the vineyard valleys make the area

galleries, bookshops and boutiques

a world-class bicycling destination.

offering clothing, house wares and

Sophisticated, yet rustic, Healdsburg,

inspired one-of-a-kind gifts. Or venture a

with its agrarian roots, delivers small

few blocks off Center Street to see scores

town charm and a wine country lifestyle

of

that’s both laid-back and luxurious.

colorful,

well-preserved

historic

HEALDSBURG CVB

TASTE, BROWSE, » DINE, EXPLORE

DATING FROM 1857, the centerpiece and defining feature of Healdsburg is its


SAN JOSE & SILICON VALLEY High-tech innovation hub welcomes visitors

BY LAURA DEL ROSSO TOP CITIES San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Los Altos

S

an Jose and Silicon Valley have come of age as centers for the arts,

culture and attractions. In 2014, one of the world’s leading private

INTERNATIONAL GATEWAYS San Jose International Airport (SJC), 4 miles (6 km) north of downtown San Jose

collections of modern American art, the Anderson Collection,

opened in an architecturally-striking building on the Stanford campus. Santa Clara is now home to the National Football League’s San Francisco

San Francisco International Airport (SFO), 36 miles (58 km) north of downtown San Jose

49ers, who moved into their new $1.2 billion stadium for the 2014-2015

TOURISM WEBSITES sanjose.org santaclara.org sanmateocountycvb.com

with museums, galleries and robust dining and nightlife.

season. In downtown San Jose, a vibrant urban scene continues to grow The valley has undergone a dramatic change since the mid 20th century when farms, orchards and ranches lined Santa Clara Valley, and the area the development of acres of office parks and an influx of bright, young entrepreneurs—and the new name, Silicon Valley. In the last decade, the vigorous economy led to a revitalization of cities whose residents are known more for their long workdays than nights on the town. Visitors now find pedestrian-friendly burgs, such as charming Saratoga and Los Gatos, with Michelin-starred restaurants and chic shops. Mountain View’s Castro Street and Palo Alto’s University Avenue are hop-

SAN JOSE & SILICON VALLEY

ping, and San Jose’s downtown and the Santana Row district are alive with nightlife and attractions, including the Tech Museum, which pays homage to the valley’s innovative spirit.

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SAN JOSE CVB. OPPOSITE: ASIF ISLAM/SHUTTERSTOCK

was called “The Valley of Heart’s Delight.” With the technology boom came POPULATION 1.8 million


Palo Alto, home of Stanford Univer-

Beyond tech, the valley offers much to

sity, has long been a cultural center, and

see and do, with theme parks for fami-

now offers a tiny museum significant to

lies, cultural institutions and varied

Silicon Valley history: the HP Garage, the

landscapes, from the Santa Cruz Moun-

garage where Stanford classmates Bill

tains to lively city and town centers.

Hewlett and Dave Packard founded Hewlett-Packard in 1939.

MUST

»

SEE, DO

Nestled at the foot of the Santa Cruz Mountains are Saratoga and Los Gatos, hamlets with picture-perfect Victorian homes and Craftsman bungalows. Vast stretches of parks, open space preserves and rows of vineyards and winery tasting rooms cluster in the surrounding mountains, as well as south of San Jose, along the Hecker Pass Highway and around the city of Gilroy, which is home to an annual

»

Anderson Collection Stanford University’s historic campus now includes the Anderson Collection, a private modern American art collection that includes major works by Pollock, Still, Rothko and Diebenkorn, housed in a striking 33,000-square-foot building. Next door is the Cantor Arts Center, which features 24 galleries and one of the largest collections of Rodin bronzes outside Paris. › stanford.edu

Garlic Festival that draws thousands.

» ANDROID LOLLIPOP replica in front of Google’s headquarters, Mountain View, left; Santa Clara County’s VTA light rail in San Jose, opposite.

DRIVE

Starting in PALO ALTO, take in PALO ALTO

drive the leafy lanes of the

STANFORD CAMPUS, stopping Memorial Church and the

MAIN QUAD. Head west on

SAN JOSE

SARATOGA

to see the mosaics in

LOS GATOS CASTLE ROCK STATE PARK

Sand Hill Road to Highway 280 south to revitalized downtown

SAN JOSE for a visit to the striking Tech Museum of Innovation. Take Highway 17 west to LOS

GATOS, stopping to enjoy the village-like downtown and its shady plaza, and head south on Highway 9 to the equally charming hamlet of SARATOGA, nestled at the foot of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Continue on Highway 9 up into the mountains to Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35), the crest of the range. Here you’ll find uncrowded wineries, pristine forests and many open space preserves and parks, including CASTLE ROCK STATE PARK, the most spectacular. Follow Skyline Boulevard south and rejoin Highway 17 east, which leads back to San Jose and the heart of Silicon Valley.

»

History Park Stretching over 14 acres, San Jose’s History Park conveys the richness of Santa Clara Valley’s long history. The park features 27 original and re-created buildings connected by running trolleys. Included are the ChineseAmerican Museum, the Portuguese Historical Museum and one of the first banks opened by A.P. Giannini, founder of the Bank of America, who was born in San Jose. › historysanjose.org

» TOUR vibrant University Avenue and

Santana Row Discover one of San Jose’s restaurant and nightlife hubs at Santana Row, a European-style development with chic shops and fine restaurants, across the street from one of the valley’s major attractions, Winchester Mystery House. › santanarow.com, winchestermysteryhouse.com

»

California’s Great America and Levi’s Stadium Thrillseekers find heart-stopping rides at

California’s Great America theme park, which includes Gold Striker, Northern California’s tallest and fastest roller coaster, with high-speed turns and drops, one falling 103 feet at a 50-degree angle. Levi’s Stadium, the lavish new $1.2 billion home of the NFL San Francisco 49ers, towers nearby. Public tours are available, with visits to the stadium’s 49ers Museum as an add-on option. › cagreatamerica.com, levisstadium.com

»

Computer History Museum Technology giants call Silicon Valley home and this museum explores their history and impact on society. Large-scale exhibits, including one added in 2014 tracing the creation of self-driving cars, are filled with the world’s largest collection of computing hardware, software, ephemera and photographs. › computerhistory.org

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95


DINING at Santana Row, right; San Jose Museum of Art, below.

With its Mediterranean climate of warm summers and mild winters, and location 50 miles south of San Francisco and 30 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, it’s no wonder that Silicon Valley developed as a world center for innovation, drawing some of the best and brightest engineers in the world to a quiet valley where once only fruit trees blossomed.

City and Town San Jose, the county seat of Santa Clara County, was founded in 1777 and today is the largest city in Northern California and 10th largest in the nation. Downtown has

INSIDER’S undergone significant revitalization over

Planetarium. About 10 percent of San Jose’s

the last decade, with historic buildings

population is Vietnamese, and this ethnic

and culture scene, including on

such as the California Theatre on the same

group has a strong presence particularly in

the first Friday evenings of each

block where dozens of software compa-

restaurants along Story Road and at the

month, when galleries and

nies have relocated. The adjacent city of

Museum of the Boat People in charming

museums host receptions and

Santa Clara features historic Mission Santa

History Park, which also features buildings

live music. For a peek into Santa

Clara de Asis and its lovely grounds on the

representing Portuguese, Chinese, Italian

Clara Valley’s long history (San

campus of Santa Clara University. In the

and other ethnic communities that were

Jose was California’s first

fall of 2014, the $1.2 billion Levi’s Stadium

instrumental in the city’s long history.

incorporated city, in 1850) visit

opened, the new home of the San Fran-

the PERALTA ADOBE, built in 1797,

cisco 49ers NFL team and the venue for the

The Great Outdoors

the Victorian-era FALLON HOUSE

Super Bowl in 2016.

Wherever you are in Silicon Valley, beau-

Don’t overlook downtown San Jose, which has a bustling arts

tiful open space is not far away. In

and the 14-acre HISTORY PARK. Also downtown is the TECH

Heritage and Culture

downtown San Jose, Guadalupe River Park

MUSEUM and CHILDREN’S

San Jose offers a big-city cultural scene

is a convenient greenbelt. Nearby Alum

DISCOVERY MUSEUM. Sports

with first-rate museums that include the

Rock Park offers 720 acres filled with tree-

fans might want to nab a ticket,

Tech Museum, where visitors discover

lined walking paths. Miles of roads in the

don teal and black and cheer the

what made Silicon Valley successful, the

Santa Cruz Mountains lead to a diverse col-

hometown Sharks who take to

Children’s Discovery Museum, the San Jose

lection of county and state parks and open

the ice at SAP CENTER.

Museum of Art and the West Coast’s largest

space preserves in redwood forests ideal

sjdowntown.com

collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts at

for camping, hiking, mountain biking or a

the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and

simple picnic.

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MARIUSZ S. JURGIELEWICZ; SAN JOSE CVB. OPPOSITE SAN JOSE CVB

» TIP


Family Fun For fascinating local lore, head to the Winchester Mystery House, the 160-room

SPECIAL

» EVENTS 2015

Victorian estate built by Sara Winchester, the heiress of Winchester Rifles. The huge

SILICON VALLEY AUTO SHOW Jan. 8-11, San Jose motortrendsautoshows.com

house is creepy but beautiful at the same time, with its weird “Stairs to the Ceiling” that lead to nowhere, séance chambers and fine woodwork. California’s Great America theme park offers the most thrill rides in Northern California and includes the massive Great

BLOSSOM FESTIVAL March 21, Saratoga saratogahistory.com SANTA CLARA WINERIES SPRING PASSPORT WEEKEND March 24-25, Santa Clara County santaclarawines.com DOWNTOWN FARMERS’ MARKET Fridays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., May-Nov., San Jose pcfma.com MOUNTAIN WINERY CONCERT SERIES July-Oct., Saratoga mountainwinery.com

Barrier Reef wave pool. Additional fun is found at 23-acre Raging Waters in San Jose, which bills itself as the region’s

CONNOISSEUR’S MARKETPLACE July 18-19, Menlo Park miramarevents.com GILROY GARLIC FESTIVAL July 24-26, gilroygarlicfestival.com

largest water park. San Jose’s Happy Hollow Park and Zoo and Los Gatos’ Vasona Lake County Park, a lovely oasis with a train and 1915 carousel, are two

ART AND WINE FESTIVAL Sept. 12-13, Mountain View miramarevents.com SARATOGA HERITAGE DAY Sept. 26, Saratoga saratogahistory.com

other parks that kids love.

FUN AT CALIFORNIA’S Great America, left; Obon Festival, San Jose, above.

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97


SANTA CLARA New Levi’s Stadium adds to city’s theme park fun, history and high-tech

BY LAURA DEL ROSSO

LEVI’S STADIUM, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers, above; an advertising retrospective display at the Intel Museum, below.

Francisco in the heart of tech capital Sil-

Theme Park Fun, Sports, Shopping & Festivals

icon Valley, has stepped into the national

Families find entertainment and thrills at

spotlight with the addition of new Levi’s

California’s only combination theme and

Stadium. The 68,500-seat venue, which is

water park, California’s Great America,

expandable to 75,000, is readying to host

which offers more than 100 acres of rides

WWE’s WrestleMania 31 in March, 2015

and shows. The park, open late March

th

through October, is celebrating its 40th year

SANTA CLARA, just an hour south of San

and the National Football League’s 50 annual Super Bowl in February, 2016.

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by expanding the Planet Snoopy play area

Not only is the stadium home to the San

in time for its 2015 opening. Three new

Francisco 49ers, but it also hosts college

rides will include Gr8sk8, an interactive

football, domestic and international

ride aboard Snoopy’s giant skateboard, a

soccer, concerts and other special events.

Peanuts 500 race car ride and Snoopy’s

Its 20,000-square-foot 49ers Museum cel-

Space Buggies, which will lift astronauts

ebrates the team’s history in 11 galleries

high in the air for a lunar landing. The vast

and interactive exhibit spaces devoted to

Boomerang Bay water park features water

sports history, Super Bowl Championships

slides, rivers for tubing and pools.

and the Lombardi Trophies. The museum

Elsewhere in the city, sports fans will

and the stadium are open for tours and

find plenty to cheer. The city hosts major

visits year round.

swim meets at the George F. Haines Inter-


MISSION Santa Clara de Asis, right; Santa Clara Convention Center, below; Snoopy and Friends dance in front of the double-decked carousel at California’s Great America, bottom right.

Mission Santa Clara de Asis & Santa Clara University Santa Clara has a long history that’s closely tied with that of California. The

SANTA CLARA CVB; ERIC BRODER VAN DYKE/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: SANTA CLARA CVB.

fertile valley that became known as Santa national Swim Center, and Santa Clara Uni-

Clara Valley and more recently, Silicon

versity hosts NCAA Division 1 athletic

Valley, was inhabited by the Ohlone when

competitions year-round.

Spain began colonizing California. Fran-

A visit to Santa Clara wouldn’t be com-

ciscan

missionaries

established

21

plete without a look into the high tech

missions that stretched from San Diego

giants of Silicon Valley. At the Intel

to Sonoma, choosing a spot in the valley

Museum at corporate headquarters, visi-

in 1777 for their eighth mission. They

Also on the Santa Clara University

tors have the chance to see how computer

named it Mission Santa Clara de Asis

campus is the de Saisset Art Museum,

chips are made in an automated chip fac-

after Saint Clare.

whose most significant feature is a Cali-

Visitors are welcome to visit the Mis-

fornia history collection. Artifacts that

sion Church and adjacent Mission Gardens

trace Santa Clara history include a corner-

Some of the valley’s best shopping is

located on the beautiful campus of Santa

stone uncovered in an archeological

found at Santa Clara’s Westfield Valley Fair

Clara University. Founded in 1851, Santa

excavation and 18th-century woodwork and

mall, which is across the street from the

Clara University is the oldest college in Cal-

art. The museum also houses European art

high-end Santana Row shopping district.

ifornia. The current Mission Church was

from the Renaissance to the 19th century,

Santa Clara draws thousands for popular

built in 1925 after a fire destroyed the pre-

including prints by Durer and Piranesi;

tory and how the engineers of the valley shaped and changed society.

th

events such as its annual Art and Wine Fes-

vious 19 -century building. However,

modern works by Chagall, Matisse and

tival in September, Pacific International

statues, paintings, liturgical objects, one

Picasso; and prints by San Francisco Bay

Quilt Festival in October, and the spine-tin-

bell and the flavor of the Spanish-style

Area artists Arneson, Diebenkorn, Neri,

gling Halloween Haunt in October.

architecture remain.

Thiebaud and others.

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99


LOS ANGELES COUNTY This is the place for big dreams and reinvention

INTERNATIONAL GATEWAY Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), 19 miles (31 km) from downtown LA DOMESTIC GATEWAYS Long Beach Airport (LGB), 24 miles (38 km) from downtown LA; Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport (BUR), 16 miles (26 km) from downtown LA TOURISM WEBSITES experiencela.com discoverlosangeles.com lamag.com visitwesthollywood.com lovebeverlyhills.com downtownla.com

BY JACQUELINE YAU

H

enry Rollins—journalist, punk legend, radio host, spoken

word artist and actor—once remarked, “For me, returning to Los Angeles annihilates the memories of where I have just

been with an astonishing speed.” As the land of reinvention, Los Angeles County attracts seekers, dreamers, hustlers and wannabe actors/screenwriters/directors. Most come from somewhere else and are looking for something better. A persistent optimism and selfexpressiveness permeate the air. Thanks to the Beach Boys harmonizing about California girls, beach party movies of the ’60s and TV shows like Baywatch, many people

POPULATION 9.96 million

think of LA as palm trees, endless beaches and bikini-clad women. But LA is far more complex. It’s a mix of the old and new, from cuisines to culture to ideas. The county has become an epicenter of contemporary art as LA philanthropists pour money into new museums and galleries, and it’s home to a vibrant global street art community.

The Nation’s Largest County LOS ANGELES COUNTY

As the most populous county in the nation, with almost 10 million residents, Los Angeles County comprises 88 cities with more than 100 languages spoken within its 4,752 square miles. The county is larger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware.

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SARAPORN/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: SONDRA STOCKER/SANTA MONICA CVB

TOP CITIES Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Burbank, Santa Monica, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Venice


The entertainment industry is an

City & Town

integral part of the local economy, annu-

Los Angeles, the second largest city in the

ally contributing $47 billion to the

nation, dominates the county. Writer

region. For decades, the name Holly-

Dorothy Parker once quipped, “Los

wood has been synonymous with the

Angeles is 72 suburbs in search of a city.”

movie business, but today, most studios

Now, well over 100 neighborhoods in LA

have moved into neighboring suburbs

form a rich cultural stew. Meander around

such as Burbank and Culver City.

downtown LA’s Chinatown, Little Tokyo,

»

Some of the better-known areas in LA

the Art and Fashion Districts, the Latino

County aren’t even cities but rather dis-

enclaves around Echo Park, Hollywood’s

tricts or neighborhoods within Los

Laurel Canyon, Little Armenia, Thai Town

Angeles, such as Hollywood, Silver Lake

or Melrose District where hipsters shop.

anniversary, this 22-acre, world-class performing arts center in downtown Los Angeles includes the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Mark Taper Forum and Ahmanson Theater. Take free docent-led tours of all four venues. During the summer, dance, drum or sing with locals at one of the many free events in The Music Center. › musiccenter.org

and Venice. In contrast, Beverly Hills,

When in LA, do as the celebs do and

home to the most expensive residences

start the day in downward dog at Bryan

in the world, and West Hollywood, a

Kest’s Power Yoga studio in Santa

diverse mélange of gays, Russians and

Monica. Go shopping at Fred Segal, an LA

musicians, are cities but completely sur-

institution known for cult beauty and

rounded by the city of Los Angeles.

makeup brands. Need an outfit for an

Seventy miles of beaches run along LA

awards show? Head over to Decades on

County’s southwest border. Malibu, an

Melrose Avenue, a couture vintage store

exclusive seaside community, has some

where many stylists choose red-carpet

of the most beautiful beaches in the area.

gowns for their star clients.

To the north of the city of LA, hikers and

Hungry? Eat at The Ivy, a Beverly Hills

mountain climbers can explore trails in

institution known for its casual chic

the Santa Monica Mountains. To the east,

atmosphere and the steady flow of

the San Gabriel Mountains rise up to

celebrities lunching there. Or chow down

more than 10,000 feet above sea level.

on a Chili dog at Pink’s in Hollywood.

MUST

»

»

SEE, DO

The Music Center Celebrating its 50th

Venice Boardwalk Hang out with surfers,

skateboarders, body builders, street basketball players, buskers, fortune-tellers and artists at the Venice boardwalk on Ocean Front Walk, a 1.5-mile pedestrian-only promenade. Don’t miss the Venice Public Art Walls featuring graffiti art on the sand, west of the bike path between Windward Street and Market Street. › venicebeach.com › veniceartwalls.com

»

Olvera Street Browse lucha libre (Mexican

wrestling) masks, Day of the Dead figurines, piñatas and other souvenirs in this block-long Mexican marketplace. Located in Los Angeles Plaza Historic District, this section of LA was the town center during the colonial era under Spanish and Mexican rule through most of the 19th century. Many vendors are the descendants of the original merchants in this marketplace that was established in 1930 to preserve and bring back “old Los Angeles” and its customs. Try a churro from Mr. Churro’s or a taco amidst the street stalls and old structures. › olvera-street.com

»

West Hollywood Design District

Anchored by the Pacific Design Center, this area is a great place to celebrity-watch at favorite power-lunch spots to the stars and a shopping mecca for interiors and top fashions such as Balenciaga, Christian Louboutin and Rag & Bone. This art, design, beauty and fashion destination includes Melrose Avenue, Robertson Boulevard and Beverly Boulevard. › westhollywooddesigndistrict.com

»

PLAYING ON THE BEACH by the Ferris wheel at Santa Monica Pier, above; Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, opposite.

Getty Museums in LA and Malibu

Prepare to be as awestruck by the views as by the treasures within the museums. The Getty Center in Los Angeles houses mostly European and American art, whereas the Getty Villa in Malibu focuses on arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria. › getty.edu/visit

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103


SAILING in Long Beach, left.

Explore the county’s many and varied beaches, from the iconic to the little known, but bring a sweater. In the summer, moist marine air is pulled inland and forms a misty cover till it burns off by the afternoon. Start in Malibu and show your stuff at the iconic “Surfrider Beach” at Malibu Lagoon State Beach and explore tide pools and caves at Leo Carrillo State Watch an LA Lakers basketball game at the

path that parallels the ocean, through

Park. Perhaps watch filming in progress at

Staples Center and see stars on the court

Venice and on to Marina del Rey before

Malibu’s Point Dume State Beach, often

and in the stands. End the day sipping a

doubling back. Pack a picnic lunch and

featured in movies such as the Iron Man

cocktail at Chateau Marmont on Sunset

hike Echo Mountain in Altadena or the

series (2008-2013), and it appeared in the

Boulevard in West Hollywood, where

Arroyo Seco trail system in the San Gabriel

last scene of Planet of the Apes (1968). Or

celebrities meet their agents and studio

Mountains. Sign up for rock-climbing

look out for California gray whales during

execs.

instruction, or take a surfing lesson from

their migration from December to mid

one of the many surfing centers in Santa

April. Next, wind your way down through

Hollywood

Monica. Or lounge around on the sand or

Topanga Beach and stop over for a volley-

Conceived originally as an outdoor bill-

join an impromptu beach volleyball game.

ball game at Will Rogers State Beach in

board promoting a housing development called “Hollywoodland” in 1923, the Hollywood sign sits on the south side of Mount Lee and Griffith Park—long a symbol that this is a place where dreams can come true.

DRIVE

» TOUR

The first movie studio, the Nestor fall of 1911 in Hollywood on the northwest corner of Sunset Boulevard and Gower Street. It was absorbed by the Universal Film Manufacturing Company, which later became Universal Studios. By the 1920s, 80 percent of the world’s films were shot in California. Learn more about Tinsel Town’s history,

MULHOLLAND DRIVE offers spectacular views of the HOLLYWOOD BOWL, the LA BASIN and

SAN FERNANDO VALLEY. It’s about 24 miles from the 405 freeway to Hwy 101 with overlooks all along the way. Or, drive in a loop from HOLLYWOOD. Starting at the DOLBY THEATER, home of the Academy Awards, go west on HOLLYWOOD BLVD. in Los Angeles till it ends. Turn right on LAUREL CANYON BLVD. and at the top, turn left on

and experience its memorabilia at The Hol-

Mulholland Drive. Stop at the NANCY HOOVER POHL OVERLOOK and

lywood Museum. Or participate in the

enjoy a great view of the “Valley.” Return to Mulholland Drive, going

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sci-

eastbound, past Laurel Canyon Road until you see the HOLLYWOOD

ences events and get swept up in the

BOWL OVERLOOK on your right. Park and walk up to see the

pre-Oscar buzz.

panoramic views of downtown LA, the Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Bowl Amphitheater. Continue east

The Great Outdoors

until you reach the bottom of Mulholland Drive. Turn right on

Despite its car culture rap, LA County offers

Woodrow Wilson and make an immediate right onto CAHUENGA

lots of outdoor activities. Rent a bike along

BLVD., heading south back to Hollywood.

the Santa Monica Pier and ride down the

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T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

LONG BEACH CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

Motion Picture Company, opened in the


SPECIAL

» EVENTS 2015 THE HOLLYWOOD REEL INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL Screens new feature films, documentaries, shorts and videos by emerging filmmakers who possess an independent spirit and create innovative work outside the studio system. In February at multiple venues and locations in Los Angeles. hollywoodreelindependentfilmfestival.com FESTIVAL OF BOOKS Meet hundreds of literary lights and browse the booths at one of the largest book festivals in the country. The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books celebrates its 19th year. April 18-19 at USC. events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks HERO COMPLEX FILM FESTIVAL The Hero Complex Film Festival brings together sci-fi, comic book and fantasy film fans to watch their favorites on the silver screen and hear from those behind some of the biggest hits. In May at TCL Chinese Theatres at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood. events.latimes.com/herocomplex/film-festival LA STREET FOOD FESTIVAL Follow your nose to the sixth annual fest celebrating food trucks and their delicious fare, from tacos to beignets to gumbo. Whether you’re looking for a gourmet treat or a simple repast, you’ll find something that satisfies. June 27 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. lastreetfoodfest.com 626 NIGHT MARKET Inspired by the bustling Asian night markets, this evening bazaar will spice up your senses with more than 150 food vendors (tempting your taste buds with skewers of beef, spiraled fried potatoes, stinky tofu and mango shave ice), performers and retail booths. Entering its fourth year, this Asian-food-themed festival is held in the summer in Santa Anita Park in Arcadia and its sister event—DTLA Night Market—enters its second year in downtown Los Angeles. June-September. Check website for details. 626nightmarket.com

ANDREW ZARIVNY/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: DAVID ZAITZ/LONG BEACH CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

SUNSET STRIP MUSIC FESTIVAL In its eighth year, this three-day rock music club crawl and street fest pays homage to the Strip’s musical heritage in West Hollywood. Music lovers of every stripe from metal, punk, indie, pop to hip-hop will find something that appeals. In August in West Hollywood. sunsetstripmusicfestival.com THE ABBOT KINNEY FESTIVAL Founded in 1984, this eco-conscious artisan and food festival attracts many to this bohemian-chic area in Venice. Located on a one-mile stretch on Abbot Kinney Blvd., from Venice Blvd. to Main Street. Sept. 27 in Venice. abbotkinney.org

HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME on Hollywood Boulevard, above; there are lots of ways to have fun in Long Beach, opposite.

INSIDER’S

» TIP

Mingle with good-looking LA denizens getting outdoor cardio by hiking RUNYON CANYON

Pacific Palisades. Then hop over to

addition to visiting the exhibits and

PARK. It’s a 130-acre park, just two

Venice and the Strand on Manhattan

events held Tuesday through Sunday at

blocks

Beach to people-watch.

the Samuel Oschin Planetarium and

BOULEVARD in the HOLLYWOOD

Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater,

HILLS. Enjoy magnificent views

Family Fun

go enjoy the monthly, free public star

overlooking the city of Los

Check out fossils of saber-toothed cats

parties held at the Observatory from

Angeles, the Hollywood sign,

and mammoths that roamed the LA

2:00 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. Budding

GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY, DOWN-

Basin during the Ice Age at the Page

astronomers and their families are

TOWN LA, WILSHIRE BOULEVARD,

Museum at the Rancho La Brea Tar Pits.

encouraged to try out different tele-

the PACIFIC OCEAN, SUNSET

Or if the kids are tired of trying to spot

scopes and talk to amateur astronomers

STRIP, the CAPITAL RECORDS

stars on the ground, take them to the

about the sun, moon and planets.

BUILDING and the TCL CHINESE

from

HOLLYWOOD

Griffith Observatory. Featured in many

Or for something different, head to

THEATRES. Free yoga classes are

movies including Rebel Without a Cause

Long Beach and tour the Queen Mary, a

also available. The main entrance

(1955), the observatory is set on the

retired ocean liner that sailed on the

is on Fuller Avenue by 2001

southern slope of Mount Hollywood in

North Atlantic from 1936 to 1967 and is

N Fuller Ave., Los Angeles.

Griffith Park, with a view of the Holly-

now a hotel, historical landmark and

lamountains.com/parks.asp?parkid=122

wood sign and greater LA below. In

entertainment venue.

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T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

107


LA WATERFRONT Bring the family and explore LA’s maritime past

BY JACQUELINE YAU

LA Waterfront Visitor Information lawaterfront.org facebook.com/LAWaterfront

FIREWORKS LIGHT UP the LA Waterfront during the Cars & Stripes Forever! car show, above; Banning residence, below.

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T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

“new” residents with Mexican and African backgrounds, it is also home to the first

container port and global trade gateway in

Wienerschnitzel restaurant, the world’s

the United States, is the LA Waterfront. This

largest lobster festival and the only

emerging destination encompasses LA’s San

remaining Warner Brothers theater in the

Pedro and Wilmington communities and

nation (the Warner Grand, a gorgeous Art

delights even native Angelenos, many of

Deco movie palace). Due to the work of John

whom don’t yet know that this place exists.

Olguin, San Pedro’s beloved marine life edu-

More than a decade ago, redevelopment

cator, the nation’s first commercial whale

began to turn the waterfront from an indus-

watching program for children launched

trial area to a place filled with recreational

here in 1972, and the Frank Gehry-designed

spaces, artists’ studios and restored historical

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium was established.

sites all geared for families and visitors. In

1542,

Portuguese

explorer

For an easy way to get around, hop on the

Juan

restored LA Waterfront Red Car trolley and

Rodriguez Cabrillo visited San Pedro Bay, sur-

explore more than fifty points of interest,

rounded by tidal flats and marshes. Centuries

starting with the spectacular water ballet at the

later, through the efforts of the “Father of Los

Gateway Fanfare Fountain near the World

Angeles Harbor” Phineas Banning and his

Cruise Center. Visit San Pedro’s historic art dis-

sons, the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914

trict, LA Maritime Museum, Ports O’Call Village,

and the result of shipbuilding for both World

CRAFTED weekend artisan marketplace, Ban-

Wars, LA’s working class harbor has trans-

ning Museum, the Battleship Iowa museum

formed into one of the world’s busiest ports.

and S.S. Lane Victory (fully operational World

The LA Waterfront is not only a multi-

War II era cargo ship museum). Events include

ethnic stew of descendants from the original

open art studios during 1st Thursday Artwalks,

fishing families that came from Italy, Croatia,

live music performances and annual classic car

Greece, Portugal, Norway and Japan, and of

shows and film festivals.

LA WATERFRONT

STROLL, DINE, » PLAY, EXPLORE!

TWENTY MINUTES SOUTH of downtown Los Angeles, framing the busiest


WEST HOLLYWOOD

A place to indulge your senses and let loose BY JACQUELINE YAU

BOYS’ NIGHT OUT, above; Hamburger Mary’s, below; The Roxy, opposite top; Whisky a Go Go, opposite bottom.

KNOWN FOR ITS live-and-let-live attitude since the late 19

th

Neil Diamond and Elton John, who per-

century, West

formed his first U.S. show there in 1970.

Hollywood (WeHo to the locals) has always

And Whisky a Go Go served as a rock incu-

been a little looser than its neighbors. This

bator, hosting early performances of The

central Los Angeles area, formerly an unin-

Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Blondie, Guns N’

corporated stretch known as “Sherman”

Roses and Red Hot Chili Peppers, and gave

during Prohibition, was loosely regulated

The Doors their start as the house band.

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T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

ment—an ideal place for opportunists,

Creative City

developers, mafia money and celebrities.

West Hollywood is a densely packed 1.9

Speakeasies, nightclubs and casinos prolif-

square miles, a key-shaped city within a

erated along the Sunset Strip where glam,

city, straddling the iconic Sunset Boulevard

glitz and grit rubbed shoulders. Marilyn

and Santa Monica Boulevard, part of the

Monroe had her first date with baseball

historic Route 66. Today, this cosmopolitan

Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio at the Rainbow

and self-styled “creative city” is where

Bar & Grill, right across the street from the

music, art, fashion and design intersect. A

iconic music venue, The Roxy Theatre—the

mix of Spanish Colonial Revival and Art

birthplace of many a rock legend.

Deco buildings, designer flagship stores,

The decadent era of the 1920s and ’30s

furniture showrooms, art galleries, restau-

gave way to the counterculture movement

rants and clubs vie for attention. Music

in the ’60s, bringing to the area musicians,

lovers, entertainers, fashionistas, glitterati

seekers, publishers, promoters and hippies,

and people-watchers alike indulge their

fueling a renaissance in music clubs that

senses and let loose here.

are now part of rock ’n’ roll lore and became

West Hollywood is home to a vibrant gay

landmarks including Troubadour and

and lesbian community and the largest

Whisky a Go Go. The Troubadour cultivated

Russian community in the U.S. outside of

singer-songwriters like Randy Newman,

New York. The city hosts a number of must-

VISIT WEST HOLLYWOOD

and out of reach of the LA Police Depart-


see annual events such as Halloween Carnaval, when nearly 500,000 people celebrate in the streets; Sunset Strip Music Festival, a three-day rock music club crawl and street fest in late summer, covering metal, punk, indie, pop and hip-hop; and in June, the LA

» LIVE IT UP!

PRIDE Festival, one of the largest gay pride celebrations in the country.

Tourism Websites

Get Pampered, Shop, Eat & Rock Out To prepare yourself for a packed day in West Hollywood, visit a first-class spa like

Next, head over to Sunset Boulevard and

The Gendarmerie or Voda. Then enjoy the

visit Book Soup, an independent and

finest culinary creations at one of the

beloved local bookstore known for its

renowned eateries such as Akira Back’s Yel-

celebrity readings and teetering towers of

lowtail or modern-American Church Key.

books on music, art and film.

Now fortified, walk around the West

As the evening progresses, enjoy the

Hollywood Design District, bounded by

pulse-pounding nightlife of the Strip and

Melrose Avenue, Robertson Boulevard and

stir it up at Whisky a Go Go, 1 Oak and The

Beverly Boulevard. Anchored by the Pacific

Roxy. Or, if still energized for more nightlife,

Design Center, this area is a shopping

go south to Santa Monica Boulevard to the

mecca for interiors and top fashions such

popular gay clubs like Flaming Saddles, The

as Balenciaga, Christian Louboutin and

Abbey Food & Bar and Here Lounge.

Stella McCartney. Next, head over to Santa

Finally, rest your feet and lounge at one

Monica Boulevard and see where locals eat

of the many A-list hotels such as the Sunset

and shop. Grab a sandwich at Mendocino

Tower, an elegant Art Deco building known

Farms, sangria at Café D’Étoile or coffee at

for its city views and famous former resi-

Mo Café. Don’t miss walking across the

dents including Howard Hughes, Elizabeth

rainbow-colored crosswalks at the inter-

Taylor and Frank Sinatra; or the London

section of San Vicente and Santa Monica

West Hollywood, known for its impeccable

Boulevard, a reflection of West Holly-

service, Michelin-starred restaurant and

wood’s inclusiveness.

rooftop bar.

weho.org visitwesthollywood.com facebook.com/ artbeatwesthollywood

Events visitwesthollywood.com/ halloween-carnaval sunsetstripmusicfestival.com weho.org/pride lapride.org

Spa, Food & Fashion thegendarmerie.com vodaspa.com yellowtailsunset.com thechurchkeyla.com westhollywood designdistrict.com pacificdesigncenter.com mendocinofarms.com cafedetoile.net mocafela.com booksoup.com

Nightlife thesunsetstrip.com theroxy.com troubadour.com whiskyagogo.com 1oakla.com flamingsaddles.com abbeyfoodandbar.com herelounge.com sunsettowerhotel.com thelondonwesthollywood.com

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111


REDONDO BEACH SoCal’s family friendly seaside playground

BY MICHAEL SHAPIRO

Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau visitredondo.com

REDONDO BEACH pier at sunset, above; yachts docked at Redondo Beach, below.

seafood, Mexican specialties and hot dogs.

with glorious sands and a lively pier, Redondo

And there are more choices, such as a bakery

Beach is an ideal venue for living the Cali-

and Japanese restaurant, on the adjacent Inter-

fornia dream, even if only for the weekend.

national Boardwalk.

Just seven miles from LAX and not far from

The city’s cultural anchor is the Redondo

Los Angeles’ top attractions, historic Redondo

Beach Performing Arts Center. The 1,457-seat

Beach is a destination in its own right.

venue hosts performances by the Los

Typically sunny and in the 80s in summer

Angeles Ballet, distinguished speakers such

and comfortable most of the rest of the year,

as director Ron Howard, and theatrical musi-

the beach is less crowded than better-known

cals like Ragtime.

spots like Malibu and Santa Monica. Activity

For lodging, a top pick is The Portofino,

options range from sport fishing to whale

located in Redondo Beach’s marina with soul-

watching, surfing to beach volleyball.

stirring ocean views. While staying in Redondo

Redondo Beach rose to prominence early in th

the 20 century when George Freeth came from

T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

education center (visitredondo.com/sealab.html).

Oahu and introduced surfing to the mainland.

If you’re in Redondo Beach between

Known as the “Man Who Can Walk on Water,”

November and April, be sure to look out for

Freeth attracted thousands of spectators who

gray whales migrating between California

gawked in amazement as he rode his eight-

and Mexico. You can often see the behe-

foot-long wooden surfboard from sea to shore.

moths from shore; to get closer, book a

Today the Redondo Beach Pier attracts visi-

whale watching tour on a boat such as the

tors with annual events including the 20th

112 2 015

Beach, don’t miss S.E.A. Lab, a marine science

Voyager (voyagerexcursions.com).

Annual Redondo Beach Lobster Festival (Lob-

But don’t feel you have to fill your

sterFestival.com), 37th Annual Super Bowl

schedule. Perhaps the best way to enjoy

Sunday 10k/5k (Redondo10k.com), a classic car

Redondo Beach is to simply relax in the

show and kite festival (redondopier.com/events).

sand, watch the waves curl, and enjoy some

The pier has more than 50 shops, rides and

California dreamin’ in one of the state’s pre-

restaurants, with dining options including

mier beach towns.

SAHANI PHOTOGRAPHY/SHUTTERSTOCK; JUNE74/SHUTTERSTOCK

SWIM, BIKE, » DINE, RELAX!

PERCHED ALONGSIDE the Pacific Ocean


SAN DIEGO COUNTY Warm sunshine, theme parks, museums and miles of sand and sea

BY MARIBETH MELLIN

INTERNATIONAL GATEWAY San Diego International Airport (SAN), also known as Lindbergh Field, is conveniently located on the edge of downtown TOURISM WEBSITES sandiego.org lajollabythesea.com coronadovisitorcenter.com delmarmainstreet.com visitcarlsbad.com visitoceanside.com

A

s you bask in San Diego’s warm sunshine, consider your options for fun and illumination. Beyond all its outdoor attractions, San Diego has a rich cultural and intellectual soul. Writers, artists,

musicians and scientists conjure ideas while surfing at La Jolla Shores or jogging in Mission Bay Park. The Old Globe and La Jolla Playhouse, both Tony winners, frequently send plays to Broadway. Multiple scientific landmarks including the Salk Institute and Scripps Institute of Oceanography are magnets for some of the world’s brightest minds. There are so many attractions in downtown alone there’s no chance you’ll ever be bored. The exciting Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy and East Village neighborhoods are packed with restaurants, clubs and shops.

POPULATION 3 million

The Embarcadero along San Diego Bay passes by the Maritime Museum with its iconic Star of India’s tall sails to the sweeping rooftop of the San Diego Convention Center (a proposed major expansion is under review). Cruise ships berth at the foot of Broadway, the main artery into downtown, and passengers flying to the San Diego International Airport pass

SAN DIEGO COUNTY

over high-rise business towers as they land at the northern edge of downtown. Hotels of every description and hip-quotient are scattered throughout the city’s center, making it one of the most desirable places to stay while exploring the county.

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DANCESTROKES/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: VIEW APART/SHUTTERSTOCK; F8GRAPHER/SHUTTERSTOCK

TOP CITIES San Diego, Coronado, Chula Vista, La Jolla, Del Mar, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Escondido, El Cajon, Julian, Borrego Springs


A Bridge to Coronado

and sand running past quiet lagoons and

The arcing San Diego-Coronado Bridge

pristine beaches to the southern part of

connects downtown to Coronado. Often

the county. Ferries cross the bay between

referred to as an island, the genteel city

downtown and Coronado as well, giving

with an active Navy base actually sits on

travelers a chance to enjoy the city’s

a peninsula attached to the mainland by

urban delights but sleep by one of the

the Silver Strand, a narrow strip of road

world’s loveliest beaches.

MUST

»

SEE, DO

»

Mission Bay Park Half water and half land, the nation’s largest man-made aquatic park includes 27 miles of recreational pathways plus multiple playgrounds and picnic areas and is the best place around for jet-skiing, waterskiing and kayaking. › sandiego.gov/park-and-recreation/parks/ regional/missionbay/facilities.shtml

»

Cabrillo National Monument

Breathtaking views of San Diego Bay, downtown and the horizon all the way to Mexico are part of the panorama from atop Point Loma’s bluffs. Trails lead to a historic lighthouse and lookout points where you can spot gray whales spouting out at sea in winter. A short hike takes you down (and back up) the bluff to tide pools filled with starfish and hermit crabs. › nps.gov/cabr

»

San Diego Zoo Known for its endangered animals (and its irresistible giant pandas), the zoo easily requires a full day. Allow time for the fabulous shops. › sandiegozoo.org

»

SAN DIEGO WATERFRONT with sailboats, Industrial Harbor and Coronado Bridge, above; the historic aircraft carrier, USS Midway, now a museum docked in downtown San Diego, right; downtown San Diego, opposite.

Balboa Park The largest urban cultural park in the United States, this rambling park encompasses museums, theaters, artists’ studios and gardens. › balboapark.org

» SPECIAL

» EVENTS 2015 GASLAMP QUARTER MARDI GRAS Said to be the country’s second largest. Feb. 17, Downtown San Diego gaslamp.org ART WALK @ LITTLE ITALY April 25-26, Little Italy artwalksandiego.org

Coronado Islanders revel in their separation from the bustle of downtown, preferring their quiet, small-town ambience with beautifully restored Victorian homes and rose gardens along wide streets. The Hotel del Coronado serves as a landmark and attraction for the compact community, which actually sits on a peninsula rather than an island. › coronadovisitorcenter.com

ROCK ’N’ ROLL MARATHON May 31, Central San Diego runrocknroll.competitor.com/sandiego SAN DIEGO COUNTY FAIR June 5-July 5, Del Mar Fairgrounds sdfair.com FOURTH OF JULY July 4, Coronado coronadovisitorcenter.com COMIC-CON July 9-12, Downtown San Diego comic-con.org THOROUGHBRED HORSERACING July 15-Sept. 7, Oct. 28-Dec. 6, Del Mar dmtc.com SAN DIEGO LGBT PRIDE PARADE, RALLY AND FESTIVAL July 18, Hillcrest and Balboa Park sdpride.org

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117


BOTANICAL BUILDING with the lily pond and lagoon at Balboa Park in San Diego, right; La Jolla Cove at sunset, below.

INSIDER’S

» TIP

San Diego has become one of the nation’s TOP CRAFT BEER

CITIES with more than 90 breweries. The kudos keep piling up for truly stellar beers, awarded 11 medals at the 2014

WORLD BEER CUP. Naturally, bounty. Beer bars are

Balboa Park

by surfers and escapists (who can afford

omnipresent, and restaurants

Balboa Park, the city’s cultural heart, covers

staggering housing prices), a series of

brag about the number of brews

1,200 acres on hills and canyons just east

small communities line the coast north of

they feature on tap. Restaurants

of downtown and is home to the justifiably

La Jolla’s Torrey Pines State Park.

create tasting menus matching

renowned San Diego Zoo, more than a

Dozens of cities and communities dot

suds with gourmet dishes, and

dozen museums and The Old Globe,

the canyons and mesas between the coast

publications regularly feature

winner of multiple Tony awards. The park

and a series of mountain ridges to the east.

the beer of the week or month.

turns 100 in 2015, and celebration of its

Amid the residential neighborhoods,

centennial will last all year long with

including some of the nation’s wealthiest

countless cultural events. Gourmet restau-

enclaves, are championship golf courses,

rants and gorgeous Victorian mansions

polo fields, wineries, breweries, casinos

line quiet streets in nearby neighborhoods

and the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park. The

including Bankers Hill, Hillcrest and Mis-

Laguna and Cuyamaca mountains and

sion Hills.

Cleveland National Forest rise above these

Every November, the SAN

DIEGO BREWERS GUILD presents SAN DIEGO BEER WEEK, a 10-day celebration. Festivities include a BREWERS GUILD FESTIVAL featuring 50 local brew houses, beer gardens (of course), a beer university and enough tastings to keep suds lovers buzzing along. Several companies offer brewery tours year round, and restaurants, bars, and breweries

inland attractions, and beyond the peaks,

Beach Towns, Golf & a Safari Park

highways descend to the Anza-Borrego

Beach towns line the coastline from the

Desert State Park, still within San Diego

border with Mexico (18 miles south of

County’s boundaries.

downtown) to Oceanside. Each town has

present a calendar full of special

its unique character, from Ocean Beach’s

City & Town

events. sandiegobrewersguild.org

hippie holdover vibe to classy La Jolla’s

Thanks to prescient developers and deter-

Mediterranean village sensibility. Beloved

mined preservationists, downtown San

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T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

DANCESTROKES/SHUTTERSTOCK; LEONARD ZHUKOVSKY/SHUTTERSTOCK

locals take full advantage of this


Diego has become an exciting, cosmopol-

long-awaited, architecturally stunning

remain amid modernist condo complexes,

itan city with several hip neighborhoods.

Central Library, which opened in Sep-

gourmet restaurants and trendy shops.

The heart of the action is the historic

tember 2013. The Embarcadero sidewalk

The whole downtown region throbs

Gaslamp Quarter packed with classy night-

beside San Diego Bay runs past a fleet of

with excitement day and night, and is now

clubs and restaurants of every description

vessels including cruise ships, aircraft car-

the center of San Diego’s nightlife scene.

housed in restored 19th-century Victorian,

riers, ferries, historic paddleboats and

There’s talk of a new football stadium

Baroque and Frontier buildings. Petco

handsome yachts. Little Italy, a few blocks

downtown, along with additional water-

Park, downtown’s exceptional baseball sta-

north of downtown’s core, has undergone

view hotels. The urban core continues

dium (and occasional concert venue), has

a nearly complete transformation from a

through

been the impetus for the burgeoning East

simple Italian community to a desirable

including Bankers Hill and Hillcrest, the

Village neighborhood filled with trendy

urban neighborhood. Fortunately, several

always-hopping heart of the gay, lesbian

condo complexes, boutiques, cafés and a

venerable pizza parlors, bakeries and bars

and transgender community.

established

neighborhoods

DRIVE

» TOUR OCEANSIDE

Historic Highway 101, also called the PACIFIC COAST

HIGHWAY, runs through San Diego’s idyllic NORTH

CARLSBAD

COUNTY coastal communities, passing by gorgeous long beaches and wild lagoons. You can do the trip in a couple of hours, but why hurry? Begin at the north end of La Jolla at TORREY PINES STATE PARK and descend a steep hill to Torrey Pines beach, then uphill again to DEL

MAR. Stop signs at each block force you to slow down and appreciate the Tudor-style buildings and quaint

LEUCADIA MOONLIGHT BEACH ENCINITAS

shops and cafés in town before you descend again and cruise through SOLANA BEACH, CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA,

ENCINITAS, LEUCADIA, CARLSBAD and OCEANSIDE. Each town’s main street presents an array of dining and browsing options, from funky Mexican take-out stands

CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA

SOLANA BEACH

DEL MAR

to fancy restaurants on the sand. Of the many beaches along the way, MOONLIGHT BEACH in Encinitas presents the most playtime possibilities including a playground, snack bar, picnic tables and a year-round lifeguard sta-

TORREY PINES STATE PARK

tion. Take your time and stop often. The distance between Torrey Pines and Oceanside is only 25 miles, but you can easily spend a full day exploring. When you’re ready to return to central San Diego, just hop on I-5 South at one of the many entrances along 101.

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T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

119


BEACHGOERS ENJOY a beautiful, sunny afternoon at La Jolla Cove, left; San Diego Zoo, below.

The Great Outdoors

see all these wonders during a long day’s

The Pacific Ocean casts its spell over San

drive, but golf resorts and B&Bs throughout

Diego. Surfers, swimmers, boaters and

the region offer shelter if you care to com-

anglers all find room to play in and on the

mune with nature.

water. Mission Beach has a boardwalk and Belmont Park’s roller coaster. La Jolla

Heritage & Culture

Shores offers a mile-long beach with areas

Portuguese

Rodríguez

become a treasured landmark and several of

for kayakers, divers, surfers and swim-

Cabrillo discovered San Diego Bay in 1542

the exposition’s ornate buildings house the

mers. Bright orange Garibaldi and other

but sailed on north, leaving the Kumeyaay

park’s museums.

exotic fish draw snorkelers to La Jolla Cove,

Indians alone in their warm, food-rich

while harbor seals have taken charge of the

home. Today, members of the region’s sev-

Family Fun

nearby Children’s Pool. Mission Bay Park is

eral tribes are reaping the riches of their

With the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park,

a 4,235-acre panorama of blue water and

heritage at casinos in San Diego’s East and

LEGOLAND and SeaWorld at hand, families

green lawns with manmade channels lined

North counties.

find plenty of excitement. Downtown’s New

Exposition; its tiled California Tower has Juan

Cabrillo’s arrival is now commemorated

Children’s Museum is an eco-friendly play-

at Cabrillo National Monument atop the tip

ground for all family members. Its

East and north of the center city, the

of Point Loma overlooking the bay. Euro-

multicultural, bilingual exhibits make

landscape changes dramatically. Lakes and

pean settlers returned in 1769, building a

learning fun, and the adjacent one-acre park

reservoirs offer freshwater fishing and

fort and mission church at Presidio Hill, a

gives kids a place to burn energy. Teens

serene areas for putting about in motor-

gorgeous swath of lawns above Old Town

enjoy exploring fighter planes and flight

boats. Pine trees shelter campgrounds in

State Historic Park, which contains many of

simulators at the USS Midway Museum, a

the Cuyamaca Mountains and Cleveland

San Diego’s oldest buildings. Today’s down-

1,001-foot-long aircraft carrier berthed at

National Forest. Julian, a classic mountain

town evolved in a burst of development in

downtown’s Embarcadero. For inexpensive

town, is a popular spot for lilacs in spring

1867, leaving behind the collection of his-

entertainment, try bicycling at Mission Bay

and apple pie in autumn. Beyond the

toric homes in the vibrant Gaslamp Quarter.

and Coronado, fishing off piers in Imperial

mountains, the Anza-Borrego Desert State

San Diego’s most impressive Spanish-Colo-

Beach and Ocean Beach, stargazing from

Park provides hiking trails through palm

nial buildings were constructed in Balboa

Mount Palomar and spotting cactus flowers

canyons and fields of cacti. It’s possible to

Park for the 1915-1916 Panama-California

in the Anza-Borrego Desert.

and miles of bike paths.

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JESSICAKIRSH/SHUTTERSTOCK; JUSTASC/SHUTTERSTOCK

with hotels, marinas, several playgrounds

explorer


SAN DIEGO ZOO & SAFARI PARK Wild thrills for all

THE FAMED SAN DIEGO ZOO presents

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

so many animal encounters you could

The zoo’s efforts extend 30 miles beyond

return several times and not see every-

its gorgeous Balboa Park setting to the San

thing. Nearly 4,000 animals representing

Diego Zoo Safari Park. Originally opened to

660 species play, eat and sleep in habitats

be a breeding facility for the downtown

imitating their natural ecosystems. Two

zoo, the Park was designed to give animals

mountain lions climb about in a new

vast spaces to roam and run. The Safari

exhibit replicating California’s back-

Park frequently creates ever-more exciting

country. An Asian leopard habitat for rare

habitats for the more than 2,600 animals

Amur and snow leopards opens in 2015.

living within its 1,800 acres. Visitors get

The three-acre Australian Outback Exhibit

close-up views of Sumatran tigers swim-

offers habitats for the zoo’s Queensland

ming in ponds, scratching their claws on

koalas, wallabies, wombats and 23 species

fallen trees and napping in dense grasses

of Australian birds including laughing

in the new Tiger Trail. Guests share space

kookaburras. And no visit is complete

with Ring-tailed lemurs from Madagascar

without a walk through Panda Trek, to see

as they socialize, groom and frolic freely in

the beloved giant pandas.

the Lemur Walk. The Cheetah Run gives

BY MARIBETH MELLIN

The zoo is a joy to explore, thanks to a

guests a chance to experience the cats’

guests might soar above the wild beasts on

botanical collection of more than 700,000

amazing untethered speed as the cheetahs

the exhilarating Flightline Safari, hand

plants, and pathways leading through lush

dash by on a 300-foot-long track while

feed giraffes on a Caravan Safari, or even

landscaping that adds to the zoo’s natural

chasing a mechanical lure. Close-up (but

sleep among the animals on a Roar and

settings. And as you enjoy your day, feel

not too close) encounters with herds of

Snore Safari. The zoo and park ramp up

good knowing that your visit is supporting

giraffes, crashes of rhinos and flocks of

the fun seasonally with special exhibits

one of the largest conservation organiza-

exotic birds are common during rides on

and activities, ensuring new experiences

tions in the world, working to save species

the popular Africa Tram.

to thrill even visitors who purchase

from extinction in more than 35 countries around the globe.

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For the more adventurous, there are a variety of safaris to choose from, where

annual passes and frequently visit their favorite creatures.

SAN DIEGO ZOO & SAFARI PARK

KOALA in perch with zookeeper; Amur leopard, below.


ORANGE COUNTY Laid-back surf vibe meets high-fashion style

BY MARIBETH MELLIN

INTERNATIONAL GATEWAY John Wayne/Orange County Airport (SNA), located at the juncture of Costa Mesa, Santa Ana and Newport Beach near I-405

C

elebrities and surfers congregate in Orange County’s beach cities

along a coastline reminiscent of the French Riviera. Several of Southern California’s most famous beaches with historic mis-

sions, art colonies, scenic marinas and legendary surf breaks dot the OC’s 42-mile-long coastline. From the jam-packed freeways, the county looks like a vast expanse of matching terracotta-tiled rooftops, mirrored office buildings and enormous malls. Behind the facade, the county is compact,

TOURISM WEBSITES visittheoc.com anaheimoc.org travelcostamesa.com destinationirvine.com/visit visitlagunabeach.com surfcityusa.com visitnewportbeach.com visitbuenapark.com sanjuancapistrano.org

yet amazingly diverse. Sure, it’s got Anaheim’s Disneyland, but that’s just

POPULATION 3,010,000

California campus, the Orange County Great Park and several master-

a blip on the OC map. Beyond the beaches, shopping options are legendary, with Irvine Spectrum, South Coast Plaza and Fashion Island serving as magnets for tourists as well as locals. Master-planned communities sprawl through the inland areas where thousands of acres of citrus groves once filled the air with the scent of orange blossoms, and rugged canyons sheltered coyotes and hawks. Irvine, one of the largest communities, contains a University of planned “villages” housing nearly 150,000 residents. Similar developments large and small, including some of the country’s priciest enclaves, are surrounded by more established neighborhoods and cities. The OC contains distinctive communities and neighborhoods all

ORANGE COUNTY

hosting festivals, farmers markets and annual events. The county is also filled with cultural attractions and performing arts venues, such as the Orange County Performing Arts Center and the South Coast Repertory.

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SAHANI PHOTOGRAPHY/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: ORANGE COUNTY CVB; CHRISTIAN DE ARAUJO/SHUTTERSTOCK

TOP CITIES Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Orange, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, San Clemente


MUST

»

»

SEE, DO

Crystal Cove Historic District This

collection of vintage beach cottages along with the gorgeous Crystal Cove State Park evokes visions of the early, untamed SoCal coast.

crystalcovecottages.com, crystalcoverstatepark.com

»

Laguna Beach and Pageant of the Masters Laguna Beach began as a small artists’

colony in the early 1900s and has retained its devotion to the arts with festivals, galleries, a scenic seaside park and abundant public art. A special treat is Pageant of the Masters, a 90-minute show of living art masterpieces created by people dressed as the figures they represent, held in July and August.

› ›

»

visitlagunabeach.com foapom.com

Mission San Juan Capistrano This

beautifully preserved, 18th-century mission covers LIMESTONE CANYON REGIONAL Park, top; surfing at one of Orange County’s many beaches, above; performing at the Orange County State Fair in Costa Mesa, right; Laguna Beach, opposite.

ten acres filled with gardens, fountains and adobe buildings in the center of a scenic town famous for the swallows that return every spring.

»

missionsjc.com

Disneyland Resort Before exploring Disney

California Adventure Park and Downtown Disney’s wide array of restaurants and clubs, walk in Walt Disney’s footsteps on a behind-the-scenes tour as a guide describes the imagination, vision and

SPECIAL

» EVENTS 2015

challenges the famed creator faced when developing his 1955 amusement park. Spend a night at the acclaimed Grand Californian Hotel and then return to the park in the morning for the full-

DANA POINT WHALE FESTIVAL March 7-8, 14-15, Dana Point festivalofwhales.org SWALLOWS’ DAY PARADE March 19, San Juan Capistrano swallowsparade.com

on Disney experience.

disneyland.disney.go.com

ORANGE COUNTY MARATHON May 3, Newport Beach ocmarathon.com

»

SAWDUST ART FESTIVAL June 26-Aug. 30, Laguna Beach sawdustartfestival.org

Surf City (aka Huntington Beach) celebrates surfing

HUNTINGTON BEACH 4TH OF JULY PARADE July 4, Huntington Beach hb4thofjuly.org PAGEANT OF THE MASTERS July 8-Aug. 31, Laguna Beach foapom.com

The International Surfing Museum

with memorabilia and vintage boards at this museum, a surfing Walk of Fame near the Huntington Pier and some of SoCal’s prime surf breaks.

surfcityusa.com

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125


For sports fans, the Los Angeles Angels

DRIVE

play at the Angel Stadium of Anaheim and

» TOUR

the Anaheim Ducks hockey team speeds over the ice at Anaheim’s Honda Center,

Highway 1 offers the most

which also hosts concerts with the Rolling

scenic drive following the

Stones, Bruce Springsteen, The Who and

coastline from DANA

other major acts. More than 40 champi-

POINT to LONG BEACH, a

onship golf courses and a year-round

drive best attempted on

temperate climate keep golfers happy.

weekdays between rush

Hotel and day spas help the OC’s beautiful

hours. Stop in the popular towns of LAGUNA BEACH,

people maintain their tanned and buff

NEWPORT BEACH or

bodies, and everywhere you look you’ll see

HUNTINGTON BEACH for

people jogging, walking, biking and thor-

a taste of the Southern

oughly enjoying their SoCal lifestyle.

California beach scene.

INSIDER’S

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO Mission, below; statue of John Wayne at John Wayne Airport, inset; family fun at Disneyland, opposite top; Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, opposite bottom.

The MISSION SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO is the city’s cultural hub, offering more than mission tours and religious services. The mission’s lovely courtyard lawns are transformed into a rockin’ summer concert venue with performances by cover bands mimicking famed groups including the Rolling Stones, Chicago and the Eagles. The

ANNUAL BATTLE OF THE MARIACHIS brings in top-notch bands from throughout Southern California, and families gather for campfires, overnight fun, and a pancake breakfast during the ADVENTURE

SLEEPOVER in July. Swarms of swallows are greeted with the

RETURN OF THE SWALLOWS celebration in March, and the mission’s historic bells ring out during CHRISTMAS AT THE

MISSION, the same night as the city’s tree lighting ceremony. Check the mission’s website for special events taking place during your visit. missionsjc.com

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STEPHEN FRANCIS/JOHN WAYNE AIRPORT; MARIUSZ S. JURGIELEWICZ/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE:ORANGE COUNTY CVB; RMA PHOTOGRAPHY

» TIP


Family Fun Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm make Orange County an ideal family vacation destination, and there are far more places to explore. Kids and parents get a thrill out of Sky Zone Anaheim’s indoor trampolines and more than 100 hands-on exhibits and 4D theater at Santa Ana’s Discovery Science Center.

City & Town

The Great Outdoors

Orange County encompasses 34 cities and

Orange County is packed with natural

several master-planned communities but

wonders. Its 42 miles of prime SoCal coast-

lacks a distinctive downtown. Disneyland

line contain famed surf spots (Huntington

makes Anaheim the most famous, but

Beach, the Wedge at Newport Beach, Tres-

other cities offer interesting experiences.

tles south of San Clemente), yacht harbors

History buffs enjoy San Juan Capistrano’s

(Newport Beach, Dana Point), Crystal Cove

mission, Yorba Linda’s Nixon Presidential

State Park’s protected underwater reserve

Library and restored Victorian homes in

and wilderness, and several wetland

Santa Ana and Orange. Shoppers head to

reserves filled with birds. Inland, wild

glam malls in Costa Mesa and Newport

canyons and parks are filled with endless

Beach, while Huntington Beach has a

hiking and biking trails. In active OC, exer-

vibrant downtown beside the sea.

cise options are always close at hand.

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127


LAGUNA BEACH Seaside oasis

BY MICHAEL SHAPIRO

LOCATED ALONG THE COAST about 50

performance, from July 8 to Aug. 31, and is

BEACH COMB, » PADDLE, BROWSE THE ART

miles south of Los Angeles, Laguna Beach is

part of Festival of Arts, one of the nation’s

a sublime destination for sun worshippers,

oldest and most highly acclaimed juried fine

outdoor enthusiasts and art lovers. Its idyllic

art shows, from July 5 to Aug. 31.

beauty attracted well-known artists in the

Perhaps the best year-round activity is to

Laguna Beach Tourism Information

early 1900s who founded the Laguna Beach

walk along the trails of Heisler Park on the

Art Association and set the course for the

bluffs above the beaches. The natural beauty of

seaside hamlet to remain a hub of creativity.

sea, sand and wildflowers converges with

TREASURE ISLAND Beach, above; paddleboarding off Laguna Beach, below.

Laguna Beach’s first art gallery opened in

sculptures placed along the trail and artists

1918 and is now the Laguna Art Museum,

who bring their easels and paint. The park is a

which features more than 3,500 works by

great place for a picnic. Or you can eat at nearby

California artists from the early 19th century

restaurants such as the adjacent Las Brisas.

to the present day. Art festivals enliven the town during summer.

Slapfish, specializing in sustainable super-

mate, typically reaching highs in the 80s during

fresh seafood from Owner/Chef Andrew

the summer. The protected beaches and waters

Gruel, whose fish shack was featured on the

are ideal for dolphin and whale watching, vol-

Food Network. For elegant cocktails, try

leyball, kayaking, snorkeling, tide pooling and

Driftwood Kitchen’s Stateroom Bar in the

stand-up paddling. Laguna Beach’s seven-mile

former home library of Hollywood character

coastline is protected as a marine reserve:

actor Slim Summerville.

no creatures can be touched in the tide pools.

T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

tainable fish and farm-to-table dishes. Or try

The seaside town (pop. 24,000) has a mild cli-

fishing and motorized vehicles are banned, and

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Big Fish Tavern features a menu of sus-

Among the other attractions, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (free and open

Don’t miss Pageant of the Masters, a 90-

daily) is a rescue center for marine mam-

minute show of living art masterpieces, such

mals that have been stranded along the

as The Last Supper or paintings by Norman

Orange County coastline.

Rockwell and Edward Hopper, created by

A new free trolley service shuttles visitors

people dressed as the figures they represent.

along the coast on Friday evenings, Satur-

These tableaux vivants come to life in an out-

days and Sundays. The motorized trolleys

door amphitheater as a live orchestra plays

resemble San Francisco cable cars but run on

along with live narration; it’s an exhilarating

roads, not tracks.

LAGUNA BEACH CVB

visitlagunabeach.com


MONTEREY BAY & BIG SUR Where Californians go to relax

BY JILL K. ROBINSON

INTERNATIONAL GATEWAY San Francisco International Airport (SFO), 62 miles (100 km) from Santa Cruz; 101 miles (163 km) from Monterey

T

he coastal region from Santa Cruz through Big Sur stretches

south of one of the largest urban areas in the state—the San Francisco Bay Area. Here, visitors are encouraged to slow down and

adopt an appreciation of the great outdoors and a laid-back lifestyle. There’s no need to spend too much time with your smart phone here.

TOURISM WEBSITES santacruzca.org seemonterey.com www.ci.salinas.ca.us

With views that rival the rest of California, this region is where many Cal-

POPULATION 700,000

and fashionable artist retreat Carmel-by-the-Sea, there are beautiful

ifornians go ditch the stress and chill out. The two biggest population centers of the region are Santa Cruz and the Monterey Peninsula. In historic Monterey, small-town Pacific Grove beaches, ample performing and fine arts venues, outdoor pursuits, stylish shops, epicurean delights and an inland region known for wine and agriculture. Much of the same can be said of funky Santa Cruz, but away from the redwoods, the university town resembles a beachside playground, with its historic boardwalk and many surf spots. The grand Big Sur coastline inspired artist Francis McComas to claim that the area was the “greatest meeting of land and sea,” and the wild coast perched on the edge of the continent has lured artists and fans of the great outdoors to enjoy its remoteness as well as its rich restaurant choices—

MONTEREY BAY & BIG SUR

from Nepenthe to the Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant. On the other side of the Santa Lucia Range lie the otherworldly spires and crags of Pinnacles National Park, an extinct volcano on a long voyage north on the edge of

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MARIUSZ S. JURGIELEWICZ/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: KERRICK JAMES/SEEMONTEREY.COM

TOP CITIES Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, Salinas


the San Andreas Fault. Both regions are

City & Town

havens for hikers, bikers, climbers,

Downtown Santa Cruz is between the

campers and birdwatchers.

city’s vibrant beach attractions and the

Wine lovers won’t have much chance

mountains,

where

redwood

MUST

»

groves

to miss Napa and Sonoma, with a wealth

embrace the University of California at

of quality vineyards in this region. From

Santa Cruz. Monterey’s Fisherman’s

Carmel Valley to the Monterey River

Wharf is just steps from the city’s historic

Road, there are more than enough award-

buildings that date from the 18th and 19th

winning wines to go around.

centuries—before California was part of

With such rich and varied geography,

the United States. Made famous by John

it’s a blessing that the wonders of Mon-

Steinbeck’s eponymous novel, Cannery

terey Bay and Big Sur are laid wide open

Row has morphed from a fishing center to

for residents and visitors to appreciate

a bustling street with shops and ocean-

them. Whether your preference is a

view restaurants. Steinbeck’s hometown,

charming urban escape, camping under

Salinas, is a working-class agricultural

the stars, fresh regional cuisine, world-

city, known as the “Salad Bowl of the

famous wines, getting active outdoors or

World.” Carmel, a freethinker’s retreat

a leisurely beachcombing stroll—all can

born as an artist village, is home to stylish

be found here, and nobody’s rushing you.

shops, exquisite dining and top-notch art.

SEE, DO

»

Historic Fun Ride two National Historic Landmarks, the Giant Dipper and the Looff Carousel, at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. › beachboardwalk.com

»

California Condors Get a close-up view of soaring California condors from the High Peaks trail of Pinnacles National Park. › nps.gov/pinn

»

Monterey’s Historic District Find Old Monterey’s adobes and gardens from the Spanish and Mexican eras, scattered between Fisherman’s Wharf and modern buildings. › seemonterey.com/monterey-adobes_list

»

Dead Central Get a colorful look at exhibits from the Grateful Dead Archive, on display at the University of California Santa Cruz McHenry Library. › library.ucsc.edu/grateful-dead-archive/about

»

Wild Coast Cruise Highway 1 along the majestic Big Sur coast, where the sky touches the sea. › bigsurcalifornia.org

INSIDER’S

» TIP

More than half a century ago, the first wetsuit was created by Jack O’Neill, and the site of his

SANTA CRUZ SURF SHOP is a California Point of Historical A WALK ALONG cliffside suites at the Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, above; exploring Cannery Row, Monterey, right; Santa Cruz beach, opposite.

Interest, complete with a mural in his honor. Head inside to the Dream Inn’s JACK O’NEILL

LOUNGE for O’Neill memorabilia (including a prototype wetsuit) and a list of cocktails including his favorite martini. jdvhotels.com

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131


SPECIAL

» EVENTS 2015 AT&T PEBBLE BEACH NATIONAL PRO-AM Feb. 9-15, Pebble Beach attpbgolf.com

The Great Outdoors

STEINBECK’S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION Feb. 22, Salinas steinbeck.org

While well-known urban areas dot this

JAZZ BASH BY THE BAY March 6-8, Monterey dixieland-monterey.com

region, there’s more than enough wideopen space for fans of the outdoors. Take

SANTA CRUZ PADDLEFEST March 13-15, Santa Cruz kayakconnection.com

a whale watching boat tour in Monterey

PEBBLE BEACH FOOD & WINE April 9-12, Pebble Beach pebblebeachfoodandwine.com

Bay, where you can spot migrating gray, humpback and blue whales. Seventeen-

STEINBECK FESTIVAL May 1-3, Salinas steinbeck.org

Mile Drive in Pebble Beach winds through

CARMEL ART FESTIVAL May 14-17, Carmel carmelartfestival.org

forest and along the Pacific coastline as it

CARMEL BACH FESTIVAL July 18-Aug. 1, Carmel bachfestival.org

skirts exclusive golf courses and resorts. The eerie-looking spires and mono-

FEAST OF LANTERNS July 22-26, Pacific Grove feast-of-lanterns.org

liths of Pinnacles National Park lure

PEBBLE BEACH CONCOURS D’ELEGANCE Aug. 16, Pebble Beach pebblebeachconcours.net

climbers as well as hikers interested in the explosion of colorful spring wild-

CAPITOLA BEGONIA FESTIVAL Sept. 4-7, Capitola begoniafestival.com

flowers and soaring California condors.

MONTEREY JAZZ FESTIVAL Sept. 18-20, Monterey montereyjazzfestival.org

In Big Sur, where rocky cliffs drop into

BUTTERFLY PARADE Oct. 3, Pacific Grove seemonterey.com/regions/pacific-grove FIRST NIGHT MONTEREY Dec. 31, Monterey firstnightmonterey.org

the Pacific Ocean and cypress trees twist in the wind, nature lovers can walk along the beach or hike deep into redwood

RSONGQUAN DENG/SHUTTERSTOCK; JRB67/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: ROBERT BOHRER/SHUTTERSTOCK

forests, where waterfalls spring to life.

PIGEON POINT LIGHTHOUSE, above; get your strawberries in Santa Cruz, left; the Big Sur coast from Highway 1, opposite.

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133


Heritage & Culture The inland region is dominated by agriculture—from the Salinas salad bowl to Carmel Valley wines—while the coast is home to fishermen, artists, surfers and a booming tourism industry. Don’t think the model of the easy-going Californian only exists on Orange County beaches. Whether it’s a chef from Carmel, an artist from Santa Cruz or a farmer from

DRIVE

» TOUR

Soledad—all take time to enjoy Monterey Bay and Big Sur.

Family Fun Trace a beautiful path along the California coast by starting on

HIGHWAY 1 and drive south, from Santa Cruz through the

MONTEREY PENINSULA. Once you pass CARMEL, you enter the 90-mile stretch of California coastline

No matter your age, you can’t go wrong at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, with rides and entertainment for everyone. The Monterey Peninsula is a wonderland for families, with historic sites, accessible beaches, Dennis the Menace Park, the Mon-

between Carmel and SAN SIMEON

terey Bay Aquarium and a wealth of outdoor

called BIG SUR, shoehorned

activities. South through Big Sur, camping

between the ocean and the Santa

options abound along the wild coast, and

Lucia Mountains. The road twists

the variety of hiking paths can lead you to a

and turns along the wild coast, so

pink-sand beach or a seaside waterfall.

take your time and be sure to stop

Inland, get a look at California’s pre-state-

and enjoy the view along the way.

hood past and follow the California Missions Trail along Highway 101.

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T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

KERRICK JAMES/SEEMONTEREY.COM; JORG HACKEMANN/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: RICK K. WONG/FLICKR/CREATIVE COMMONS; BILL STRANGE/GILROY WELCOME CENTER

HIKING BIG SUR, right; the Lone Cypress seen from 17-Mile Drive in Monterey, below.


GILROY Home to garlic and great gardens

BY JILL K. ROBINSON

FROM AN AMUSEMENT PARK RIDE in

farm machinery and freshly baked treats.

a giant banana to history lessons from

Within walking distance of downtown

classic buildings to a hint of garlic, there is

Gilroy, more than 75 historic buildings

enough in Gilroy to please everyone in the

allow history buffs to meander at their own

family. This Santa Clara County city has

pace to learn more about the region once

long been known as the Garlic Capital of

called “Pleasant Valley” and the town’s

the World, but Gilroy has much more going

founder, John Cameron Gilroy. Favorite

on than the annual festival that celebrates

stops include the City Museum (in a

the pungent plant.

building that housed the town’s first public

Start with a visit to 4,595-acre Coyote

library) and Old City Hall. A different kind

Lake/Harvey Bear Ranch park. It’s possible

of history haunts The Milias Restaurant,

to spend more than a day here, with local

where friendly ghosts tap patrons on the

wildlife exhibits, a 635-acre lake, camping

shoulder and move kitchen items around.

and boat-launch facilities, and miles of

The region’s wineries offer tastings and

hiking, bicycle and horse trails winding

tours for the grape-obsessed, and local

through oak canyons. Features of the

restaurants often include Gilroy’s beloved

Gilroy Gardens family theme park are

garlic. Or, come for the Gilroy Garlic Fes-

majestic gardens (including the legendary

tival at the end of July—a three-day

“circus trees”) and more than 20 fun rides

celebration of food and drink, music, arts

and attractions. Once just a fruit stand,

and family entertainment. Can’t find the

Casa de Fruta is another popular destina-

perfect souvenir? Consider something from

tion for travelers, from its Casa de Choo

one of the 145 designer and name brand

Choo miniature locomotive to antique

stores at Gilroy Premium Outlets.

GOLF, » GARLIC, WINE, FUN! Gilroy Tourism Information gilroywelcomecenter.org

FAMILY DAY at Gilroy Gardens, top; garlic ice cream selfie at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, below.

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135


MONTEREY COUNTY A blend of old and new

MONTEREY’S OLD ADOBES and gar-

new vintages from Arroyo Seco, Carmel

» WINE & DINE,

dens from Spanish and Mexican eras may

Valley, Chalone, Hames Valley, San

remind some that the city has a special

Antonio Valley, San Bernabe, San Lucas

PLAY GOLF!

place in the California history books. But

and Santa Lucia Highlands. Mix it up a

that doesn’t mean Monterey County is a

little with a visit to the Monterey penin-

dusty antique. The region regularly adds to

sula’s newest wine bar, Jeninni Kitchen +

its tried-and-true highlights, pleasing both

Wine Bar, which features wines from the

locals and visitors.

Mediterranean and southern Spain.

SIGHTSEE,

Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau seemonterey.com

CANNERY ROW AT TWILIGHT, Monterey, above; the 7th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links, below.

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T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

One of the best ways to see Monterey

Among Pebble Beach’s famed golf

through a resident’s eyes, complete with his-

courses with spectacular views, Poppy Hills

torical and cultural elements (but based on

recently completed an extensive renova-

your preferences), is a private tour with

tion and reopened in April 2014. Robert

Tours by Locals. Learn more about Old Mon-

Trent Jones Jr. expanded on his original

terey, John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, the

course design to reinvent the course archi-

city’s most famous attractions, or combine

tecturally, focusing on water conservation.

two in one day with a Monterey and Carmel

Take advantage of the new layout and play

tour. Be sure to ask your guide for his favorite

with friends, take a “Make the Turn” class

local restaurant or bar to add to your list.

with coach Jeff Ritter to unlock your poten-

Monterey County encompasses eight

tial, or advance directly to Porter’s in the

smaller American Viticultural Areas (AVA)

Forest restaurant—a far cry from the tradi-

in addition to the larger Monterey appella-

tional clubhouse café with its farm-to-table

tion, so wine fans will enjoy visiting

menu, outdoor dining and panoramic view

vineyards, tasting rooms, and shopping for

of the Del Monte Forest. Even non-golfers

wine with labels denoting the region’s best

can enjoy some time out here.

KERRICK JAMES/SEEMONTEREY.COM; PHOTOGOLFER/SHUTTERSTOCK

BY JILL K. ROBINSON


CENTRAL COAST Endless beaches for wandering

BY JILL K. ROBINSON

TOP CITIES Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, Morro Bay, Cambria, Ventura, Lompoc, Solvang INTERNATIONAL GATEWAY Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), 98 miles (158 km) from Santa Barbara; 192 miles (309 km) from San Luis Obispo

L

ike a shell necklace, a string of small beach towns lines the coast

south of Big Sur to Santa Barbara. While Southern California gets prime beach town attention, it’s the Central Coast region that has

If you’re looking for a place to escape the hustle and bustle, chill out like a local, get some fun and sun, and sample some of the best cuisine and wine in the state, pack your bags and head to the Central Coast. The biggest population center is the Santa Barbara area, with its white Spanish-style buildings and red-tiled roofs. In Santa Barbara, there are vast beaches, plenty of fine arts venues, bright boutiques, outdoor adventures, culinary tastes and an inland region (the Santa Ynez Valley, featured in the movie Sideways) known for wine and Santa Maria barbecue.

POPULATION 1,542,000

Visitors can tour hilltop Hearst Castle, see hulking elephant seals at Piedras Blancas, relax in the sleepy beach towns of Cayucos and Morro Bay, or find some action in college-town San Luis Obispo. Fresh seafood often tastes best with a view of the ocean, and the old-fashioned piers of Avila Beach and Pismo Beach are ideal spots to take that meal break. Ventura’s Mission San Buenaventura is the last of the California missions

CENTRAL COAST

founded by Junipero Serra. The oceanside town is also a jumping-off point for adventures in Channel Islands National Park, called “California’s Galapagos,” with tide pools, kelp forests and unique flora and fauna species.

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DIMA ROGOZHIN/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: SOLVANG CVB; SHIPPEE/SHUTTERSTOCK

it all without trying to pack too many bodies into each sandy square foot.

TOURISM WEBSITES sanluisobispocounty.com santabarbaraca.com travelpaso.com morrobay.org cambriachamber.org ventura-usa.com lompoc.com solvangusa.com


Even though the Central Coast region’s

perches on pine-forested hills above the

main highlight is indeed, its coast, the

ocean, and has galleries and antique

varied geography and moderate climate

shops. Laid-back Cayucos is an old-school

ensure that there are plenty of treats for

beach retreat with a surf break and fishing

visitors to find. Whether your preference

pier near the main drag. Morro Bay’s land-

is digging for clams, surfing the perfect

mark, an ancient volcanic peak emerging

wave, strolling Mediterranean-style village

from the ocean floor, stands at the

streets, sampling fresh regional cuisine

entrance to a beautiful estuary.

and world-famous wines, or lazing on the

Tucked between the ocean and the Santa

beach, it’s all right here on the Central

Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara is often

Coast—and there’s enough for everyone.

called the “American Riviera” because of its Mediterranean climate and red-tiled build-

City & Town

ings. Head inland to artist enclave Ojai to

South of Big Sur, the sweep of coastline is

unwind and take in the “pink moment”

dotted with small beach towns. Cambria

sunsets—the color of cotton candy.

MUST

»

SEE, DO

»

Spanish History Get a glimpse into Santa Barbara’s origins with a visit to Mission Santa Barbara, known as “Queen of the Missions.” › santabarbaramission.org

»

Pink Moment Look to the east for the setting sun’s reflection on the bluffs of the Topatopa Mountains in Ojai for a brilliant pink sunset. › ci.ojai.ca.us

»

Castle Wildlife After a visit to Hearst Castle, William Randolph Hearst’s over-the-top estate, swing by the Piedras Blancas lighthouse to take a look at a colony of elephant seals. › hearstcastle.org

»

Volcanic Sister Walk out to the base of Morro Rock, one of a series of volcanic plugs known as the Nine Sisters of San Luis Obispo County, in Morro Bay. › morrobay.org

»

Wine and Olive Oil Tasting Get some great grape and olive taste (not together!) from Paso Robles’ best wineries and tasting rooms—far less crowded than Napa Valley. › pasowine.com

DANISH DANCERS in Solvang, above; Santa Barbara Mission, right; Ventura Pier, opposite.

INSIDER’S

» TIP

HOT SULPHUR SPRINGS flow through Paso Robles and are open to the public in three locations: River Oaks Hot Springs Spa, Franklin Hot Springs and in select guest rooms at the Paso Robles Inn.

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SPECIAL

» EVENTS 2015

The Great Outdoors Even though Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo are larger than the rest of the beach towns, there’s enough space throughout

SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL Jan. 27-Feb. 7, Santa Barbara sbiff.org

the Central Coast region to find ample

SAN LUIS OBISPO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL March 10-15, San Luis Obispo slofilmfest.org

breathing room. Hike to the top of Bishop

TASTE OF SOLVANG March 18-22, Solvang solvangusa.com

of volcanic peaks. Take advantage of some

OJAI STORYTELLING FESTIVAL April 20-May 3, Ojai ojaistoryfest.org PASO ROBLES WINE FESTIVAL May 14-17, Paso Robles pasowine.com/events/winefestival.php CALIFORNIA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL May 16-17, Oxnard strawberry-fest.org

Peak, the tallest of the Nine Sisters, a chain sweet surf spots and catch the perfect wave. Head out from Santa Barbara on a whale watching tour to see some of the largest mammals in the Pacific Ocean. On the Carrizo Plain, considered the

I MADONNARI May 23-25, Santa Barbara imadonnarifestival.com

largest single native grassland in the state,

LOS OLIVOS JAZZ & OLIVE FESTIVAL June 6, Los Olivos losolivosrotary.org/olivefest.html

it’s possible to see surface fractures of the

SUMMER SOLSTICE CELEBRATION June 19-21, Santa Barbara solsticeparade.com

San Andreas Fault. The Los Padres National Forest stretches across the scenic

SAN BENITO COUNTY SADDLE HORSE SHOW & RODEO June 26-28, Hollister sanbenitocountyrodeo.com

Coast and Transverse ranges, and offers a

CALIFORNIA WINE FESTIVAL July 16-18, Santa Barbara californiawinefestival.com

hiking, camping and bicycling. Kayak

GOLETA LEMON FESTIVAL Sept. 26-27, Goleta lemonfestival.com EPICURE.SB Oct. 1-31, Santa Barbara santabarbaraca.com

wealth of opportunities for fishing, among tide pools and kelp forests where sea otters live in Morro Bay, or just amble along miles of scenic beaches and dig your toes in the sand.

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VLADISLAV GURFINKEL/SHUTTERSTOCK; KEVIN PHILLIPS/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: JAMES MATTIL/SHUTTERSTOCK; SEBASTIEN BUREL/SHUTTERSTOCK

ELEPHANT SEAL COLONY north of Cambria, left; surfers off Pismo Beach Pier, above.


Heritage & Culture Many place names on the Central Coast

DRIVE

» TOUR

remain from Native American tribes, as well as Spanish and Mexican settlers. The Cali-

Get more than a glimpse of

fornia missions and other well-preserved

the Central Coast by driving

buildings still remain from pre-statehood Cal-

south of Big Sur on

ifornia. The Central Coast’s inland region has

Highway 1 past the small

a wealth of land for agriculture—from wine to

beach towns of CAMBRIA,

olives—but farmers here are just as comfort-

MORRO BAY and PISMO

able taking a quick trip to the wide, sandy

BEACH. Be sure to stop

beaches during breaks from the harvest. Even

regularly to sample local

though Santa Barbara is the big city in the area,

delicacies, whether caught

it has a relaxing vibe that would suffocate in a

from oceanside piers or

second in downtown Los Angeles.

made by hand in beachtown bakeries. The highway

Family Fun The Central Coast is rich with adventure for families, including plenty of beaches and outdoor space, historic sites and water activities. View underwater life on a semi-submersible

cuts inland for a short jog after San Luis Obispo, but pops back to the beach before approaching the Santa Ynez Mountains and posh SANTA BARBARA.

tour in Morro Bay. Discover how the ocean has shaped the history of the Central Coast at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. Go camping in the Channel Islands or Los Padres National Forest. Even picking your own berries at a local farm is far more fun when you can smell

VINTAGE WINE PRESSES in Paso Robles, below; beach on San Miguel Island, Channel Islands National Park, right.

the ocean air.

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VENTURA Beach haven and the “American Galapagos” islands

SURFING at C Street, Ventura, above; Mexican tile fountain at Mission San Buenaventura, below.

THE ORIGINAL NAME of this California

Ventura can be found at Ventura Harbor

city, San Buenaventura, labels it as a city of

Village. Wander through the boutiques for

good fortune. And Ventura, with its beau-

that perfect souvenir, or score an outdoor

tiful beach setting framed by mountains

table overlooking the ocean to enjoy a meal

and a series of offshore islands, does

of fresh, local seafood and wine. The

indeed make visitors feel as if they’ve

harbor arcade, carousel and ice cream shop

stumbled upon a bit of good fortune in

will easily figure into a child’s dream list.

finding this scenic spot along the California coast.

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Channel Islands Adventures

Start with your toes in the surf, because

Adventures abound at the Ventura Harbor

Ventura’s miles of beaches stretching from

Village—from kayak and stand-up paddle-

Surfer’s Point to Ventura Harbor are one of

board rentals in the harbor to whale

the city’s star attractions. Take a long walk,

watching trips to boat trips to visit the

lounge in the sun or grab a board and enjoy

Channel Islands National Park. Also

the water yourself. The south-facing water-

known as the “American Galapagos,” this

front and breaks along the beaches are

string of five islands and its surrounding

essential qualities that lure surfers from

waters are home to an abundance of

far and wide, so you owe it to yourself to

wildlife, including whales, dolphins,

either try it out or settle down to watch a

foxes and even bald eagles. Hike along

few surf sessions.

miles of trails to enjoy the spectacular

Another reminder of how much the

views of the islands’ rugged beauty, or

Pacific Ocean figures into the daily life of

take advantage of the various water-based

DOUG MANGUM; BILL PERRY/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: DOUG MANGUM; DOUG MANGUM; HECTOR VARGAS

BY JILL K. ROBINSON


ANACAPA ISLAND and the Channel Islands, right; Ventura harbor, below right; statue of Father Junipero Serra, downtown Ventura, below.

BIKE, PADDLE,

» SWIM, STROLL Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau ventura-usa.com

activities and snorkel, dive, surf or kayak in island sea caves. The Channel Islands National Park is also known as an important breeding and resting area for a variety of seabirds. Back

What's Cooking Downtown

on the mainland, birders have more to

Early California history has a special place

choose from for viewing feathered friends.

in Ventura’s Historic Downtown Cultural

With a varied elevation from sea level to

District, which began as Father Junipero

8,831 feet at the summit of Mount Pinos,

Serra’s final mission settlement. Meander

the area is rich with bird life. Up to 457 bird

through downtown to see Mission San

species have been recorded in the county,

Buenaventura and the historic homes,

and Ventura has globally important bird

museums, boutiques, antique shops and

stores, cultural arts, and thriving music

areas, such as Mugu Lagoon and the Los

restaurants that dot the palm tree-lined

and foodie scene—not to mention the

Padres National Forest.

streets. With a wealth of family-owned

often-perfect weather—the downtown area is an ideal home base for visitors. Wine lovers can easily duck into a downtown wine bar to taste the best of California’s Central Coast, which is recognized as one of the world’s leading wine growing regions. If you want to get closer to the winemaking process, stop by the Ventura Visitors Center to learn about the Ventura County Wine Trail, which has a handful of wineries that you can visit on your own or on an organized tour. Ventura’s thriving music scene counts more than 35 venues offering live music, along with dozens of special events and festivals annually. On nearly any day of the year, you can check out local bands, solo artists and musicians who play just about every genre of music—and you never know who will be sitting in with the band.

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143


NORTH COAST A lush land of redwood forests, fishing harbors, Victorian villages, even Bigfoot!

BY JOHN FLINN

GATEWAY The Arcata-Eureka Airport (EKA), 16 miles (26 km) from downtown Eureka, has service from San Francisco and other hubs, but no international flights TOURISM WEBSITES northcoastca.com redwoods.info visitmendocino.com POPULATION 782,000

N

ature’s loftiest skyscrapers, the 3,000-year-old arboreal

titans known as Sequoia sempervirens, grow in only one place on earth: a narrow strip of fog-shrouded mountains

along California’s wild and lightly visited North Coast. Until you’ve seen one up close, it’s hard to grasp just how neck-craningly tall one of these coastal redwoods is. Remember the gargantuan Saturn V, the 35-story-high rocket that sent astronauts to the moon? The largest Sequoia sempervirens would tower over that, topping out at 379 feet.

The Redwood Highway Old-growth redwoods are preserved in a chain of parks strung along Highway 101, known in these parts as the Redwood Highway. In southern Humboldt County, Humboldt Redwoods State Park straddles the scenic drive known as the Avenue of the Giants. In northern Humboldt and Del Norte counties, a cluster of parks—Redwood National Park and Prairie Creek Redwoods, Del Norte Coast Redwoods and Jedediah Smith Redwoods state parks—form one contiguous redwood reserve. The sounds of chainsaws and buzzing sawmills that once dominated

NORTH COAST

the North Coast are rapidly fading as the lumber industry winds down. In former mill towns such as Fort Bragg, tourism is replacing timber as innovative galleries, restaurants and brew-pubs spring to life.

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SERGEY YECHIKOV/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: SIERRALARA/SHUTTERSTOCK

TOP CITIES Mendocino, Eureka, Crescent City, Fort Bragg, Garberville, Arcata, Ukiah, Cloverdale, Ferndale


MUST

»

BIG RIVER STATE BEACH, Mendocino, opposite; Humboldt Redwoods State Park, bellow.

SEE, DO

»

Swing from the Rafters Part clown, part mime, part acrobat, part juggler, the actors of the Dell’Arte Company perform in a uniquely physical style. A third of all the clowns in Cirque du Soleil shows are graduates of this school in the tiny town of Blue Lake. Drop by to catch a performance or even enroll in the School of Physical Theatre. › dellarte.com

»

Big Footin’ The Bigfoot Collection is the big attraction at the Willow Creek-China Flat Museum in the mountain community of Willow Creek. Plaster footprint casts, photos and pop culture artifacts tell the story of the mysterious beast. › bigfootcountry.net

»

Forest Tracks Built in 1885 to haul redwood logs from the tangled backcountry to coastal sawmills, the iconic Skunk Train now carries passengers on the 40-mile run through redwood groves between Fort Bragg and the inland town of Willits. › skunktrain.com

»

SPECIAL

» EVENTS 2015 KINETIC SCULPTURE RACE Peripatetic artists of genius or possibly borderline insanity gather each Memorial Day weekend to race giant, whimsical, people-powered sculptures from Arcata to Ferndale along a 40-mile course that includes a crossing of Humboldt Bay. It’s called “the triathalon of the art world.” May 23-25. kineticgrandchampionship.com BIGFOOT DAYS The earliest and most persistent sightings of that elusive creature known as Bigfoot have happened around the Siskiyou Mountain town of Willow Creek. Each year on Labor Day weekend, the community fetes its furry friend with Bigfoot Days. Don’t expect to see the big guy himself, but you’ll encounter a number of people who claim to have met him. Sept. 5 bigfootcountry.net HUMBOLDT BEER WEEK is a county-wide celebration of the vibrant and innovative local craft brewing scene. Sept. 27-Oct. 5 humboldtbeerweek.com

Boulevard of Big Trees Some of the most magnificent redwoods on the North Coast are also the easiest to see. At Garberville, turn off Highway 101 onto the Avenue of the Giants, a 31-mile stretch of the old highway that weaves like a slalom course between vertiginous, old-growth redwoods. The route takes you through the heart of Humboldt Redwoods State Park, which is sunnier and drier than redwood parks farther north. › avenueofthegiants.net

»

Victorian Hamlet Gaily painted Victorian mansions line the streets of Ferndale, an idyllic hamlet on the Eel River delta in southern Humboldt County. Lovingly preserved, they give the town a turn-of-the-last-century look that has proven irresistible to Hollywood. More than a dozen movies have been filmed here. Main Street’s shops keep the Victorian theme going, with old-fashioned mercantiles and even a blacksmith shop. Cradled between two redwood forests, the entire town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. › victorianferndale.com

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ROOSEVELT ELK at Gold Bluffs, Redwood National and State Parks, below; exploring Van Damme State Park, right.

Although it’s sometimes called the Redwood Empire, the North Coast is more than just tall trees: It’s also salmon-fishing boats bobbing in tiny harbors; Roosevelt elk bugling across misty meadows; steam trains chuffing through a damp and dripping forest; hole-in-the-wall restaurants serving fish smoked according to traditional Native American recipes; vineyards close enough to the coast to catch the salt spray; an old Russian trading fort; handsome Victorian villages; possible glimpses of the elusive creature known as Bigfoot; wealthy, tie-dyed growers of the region’s largest cash crop, which doctors in California can legally prescribe; and bouts of inspired lunacy such as elaborate sculpFor generations, the North Coast was said to be on the far side of the “redwood curtain,” the psychological barrier formed by narrow, tortuous Highway 101, which was little more than a two-lane conduit for

DRIVE

heavily-laden logging trucks. But Cali-

CRESCENT CITY

fornia has spent the last two decades improving the road—straightening curves,

» TOUR

widening it in many places to four lanes— and now the road is an easy drive.

From the GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, head over to the SONOMA COAST

EUREKA

City & Town

at Bodega Bay (yes, that Bodega

Transplanted New Englanders founded the

Bay: Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds there), and follow dramatic, winding Highway 1 north past the

HUMBOLDT REDWOODS STATE PARK

town of Mendocino on a rocky bluff above AVENUE OF THE GIANTS LEGGETT

old Russian fort, FORT ROSS, and

the crashing Pacific Ocean, and it still sports a whitewashed Cape Cod look. Once a mill

Sea Ranch, GUALALA, MENDOCINO

town, it went into decay in the 1930s as the

and FORT BRAGG before heading

local timber trade waned but was rediscov-

inland to connect with Highway

ered in the 1960s by bohemians and artists.

MENDOCINO

On the shore of Humboldt Bay, Eureka, the

101—“The Redwood Highway”—at

largest town on the North Coast, has also

LEGGETT, site of the DRIVE-THRU TREE PARK. Continuing north on

GUALALA

reversed decades of decline and turned its

the Redwood Highway, you’ll come to HUMBOLDT REDWOODS STATE

PARK and the AVENUE OF THE

waterfront Old Town into an inviting VictoFORT ROSS BODEGA BAY

Crescent City was virtually wiped off the

GIANTS, EUREKA and the cluster of

map by a tsunami in 1964. Rebuilt now, it

redwood parks extending almost to the Oregon border.

rian district of galleries, boutiques and cafés.

sports a smattering of hotels and motels that SAN FRANCISCO

make it a good base for exploring nearby Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

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TOM REICHNER/SHUTTERSTOCK; MENDOCINO CVB. OPPOSITE: MENDOCINO CVB; N. F. PHOTOGRAPHY/SHUTTERSTOCK; JAIRO RENE LEIVA/SHUTTERSTOCK

tures racing across the landscape.


Heritage & Culture Native American tribes such as the Yurok and Hoopa lived along the North Coast for centuries before the arrival of fur trap-

BIKERS HUG the curves on Highway 1, top; grapes on the vine show the morning dew, Mendocino County, below; Battery Point Lighthouse in Crescent City, bottom.

pers—both Russians working their way down from Alaska and American mountain men such as Jedediah Smith coming overland. For more than two centuries,

INSIDER’S

» TIP

resource extraction—primarily logging— was the region’s economic engine. As

To satisfy a lumberjack-sized

dwindling forests and stricter environ-

appetite, drive across Humboldt

mental laws took their tolls starting in the

Bay on the Samoa Bridge to the

1970s, the North Coast has transitioned to

SAMOA COOKHOUSE for colossal,

tourism as its mainstay.

all-you-can-eat portions served family style. The last surviving

Family Fun Young children might have trouble fully appreciating the timelessness of an ancient redwood tree, but they’ll enjoy a gondola ride through the silent forest canopy and a chance to have their picture taken with fourstory-high statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. Look for it at Trees of Mystery, near the town of Klamath.

cookhouse of its kind in the U.S., it’s been serving hungry mill workers, longshoremen and tourists since 1890. samoacookhouse.com


SHASTA CASCADE Explore the great outdoors with a mystical mountain, mud pots and more

BY JOHN FLINN TOP CITIES Redding, Mount Shasta City, Weaverville, Weed, Chico, Oroville GATEWAY Redding Municipal Airport (RDD) has flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco, and is 9 miles (14 km) from the Redding city center TOURISM WEBSITES visitsiskiyou.org shastacascade.com visitredding.com

T

hrusting 14,179 feet into the Northern California sky, Mount

Shasta is such an imposing presence that it creates its own weather—most notably the eerie-looking lenticular clouds

that form on its summit. Some people see in them a jaunty beret, others a UFO mother ship. It’s no wonder the snow-capped volcano has long held a mysterious attraction for poets, artists, adventurers and New Age mystics. At least two religions have been founded on the flanks of the mountain, which some believe to be a vortex for spiritual activity, and a race of psychically advanced people named the Lemurians is

POPULATION 274,000

rumored to live inside. Mount Shasta is the focal point of one of California’s least-populated regions, a land of high-desert tumbleweeds, majestic rivers and craggy volcanoes. This is where the West Coast’s two major mountain ranges—the Sierra Nevada and the Cascades—run head-

MARK BALDWIN/SHUTTERSTOCK

long into each other. Just to the south of Shasta, Mount Lassen, the southernmost of the Cascade peaks, erupted less than a century ago, spewing ash as far as 200 miles away. Today, pots of boiling mud and steam vents SHASTA CASCADE

smelling of rotten eggs attest that this volcano is far from dormant. To the west rise the Trinity Alps and Marble Mountains, relatively unvisited gems that are popular venues for fly fishing and horseback

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149


»

trips. To the north, the Klamath Basin

SEE,

The Great Outdoors

National Wildlife Refuge, which extends

Mount Shasta is irresistible to climbers;

into southern Oregon, is part of the Pacific

in the spring, summit-seekers are strung

Flyway: In the fall its skies are darkened

out along its most popular routes like

by more than a million migratory birds.

ants on an anthill. To get to the top you

DO

need an ice axe, crampons and the skill to

City & Town

use them safely. But on Mount Lassen, its

For travelers, Redding was nothing more

neighbor to the south, a well-graded trail

than a pit stop along Interstate 5 until

runs all the way to the 10,457-foot-high

unless it’s a “good energy match.”

the opening of the instantly iconic Sun-

summit. World-class fly fishing abounds

dial Bridge across the Sacramento River

in the Trinity Alps, and those willing to

in 2004. On the lower flanks of its name-

walk a short distance with their rods are

sake peak, Mount Shasta City sports a

almost guaranteed a spot to themselves.

main street lined with New Age book-

On the Salmon River, between the Trinity

stores and shops selling crystals said to

Alps and Marble Mountains, Otter Bar

have mystical powers. No less an

Lodge (otterbar.com) is one of the West’s

authority than James Hilton, author of

premier whitewater kayaking schools.

Crystal Persuasion Experience Mount

Shasta City’s metaphysical side by shopping for a Lemurian Seed Crystal at The Crystal Room. But be warned that they won’t let it go home with you

»

crystalsmtshasta.com

Castle Crags Do some exquisite hiking

among the soaring granite battlements of Castle Crags State Park. It’s right off Interstate 5 a few miles south of Mount Shasta.

»

parks.ca.gov/?page_id=454

Sundial Bridge Stroll across the Sundial

Lost Horizon, once claimed that the pretty alpine hamlet of Weaverville,

Heritage & Culture

gateway to the Trinity Alps, was the

The Shasta Tribe of Native Americans

while Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding.

closest he’s ever come to a real-life

once occupied much of what is now far-

Shangri-La.

northern

Bridge, Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava’s now-iconic cantilever pedestrian span across the Sacramento River, the centerpiece of the worth-

»

turtlebay.org/sundialbridge

Eagle Perch Witness the largest gathering of

bald eagles in the lower 48 states each winter at the Lower Klamath and Tule Lake national wildlife refuges, north of Mount Shasta.

»

fws.gov/klamathbasinrefuges

Volcano Climb Hike to the summit of the

southernmost of the Cascade volcanoes (summer only) while peering into steaming, sulphurous fumaroles at Lassen Volcanic National Park.

nps.gov/lavo

INSIDER’S

» TIP

Rail buffs can spend the night inside a luxuriously restored and retrofitted caboose at the

RAILROAD PARK RESORT in Dunsmuir. There are 22 cabooses to choose from. rrpark.com

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T R AV E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A

A MOUNTAIN CLIMBER looks out at Shastina from high on Mount Shasta, above; Brandy Creek Falls in the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, right; mighty Mount Shasta, previous page.

California

and

southern

STEVE KUHN PHOTOGRAPHY/SHUTTERSTOCK; MARIUSZ S. JURGIELEWICZ/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: KOJIHIRANO/SHUTTERSTOCK; FELIX LIPOV/SHUTTERSTOCK

»

MUST


DRIVE

» TOUR The VOLCANIC LEGACY

SCENIC BYWAY is a 500-mile-long route that winds from LAKE

ALMANOR, south of Mount Lassen, to CRATER

LAKE in southern Oregon, with access to most of the

Oregon, a band of hunters and fishermen who

region’s major attractions.

lived in cedar-plank houses with basements.

volcaniclegacybyway.org

Their population dropped rapidly as settlers seized land following the discovery of gold in Yreka and Upper Soda Springs in 1850. To the east, at what is now Lava Beds National Monument, the Modoc tribe and the U.S. Army fought the last of the Indian wars in California in 187273. In the late 1880s, the Central Pacific Railroad spurred development of the timber and tourism industries, and in the 1970s, New Age seekers began filtering into the area, culminating in 1987’s “Harmonic Convergence,” which identified Shasta as one of the world’s “power centers.”

Family Fun The Sundial Bridge is the big draw, but for families, the surrounding Turtle Bay Exploration Center in Redding offers a full day’s worth of activities emphasizing the Sacramento River watershed, including an aquarium, museum, zoo, botanical garden and a recreated logging camp (turtlebay.org).

SPECIAL

» EVENTS 2015

THE PAINTED DUNES as seen from the top of the Cinder Cone in Lassen Volcanic National Park, above, and mudpots, top leftt.

Classic cars, sock hops and ’50s-style burger joints are the big attractions of Redding’s COOL APRIL NIGHTS. April 18-26 koolaprilnites.com Eighty wild horses run free on the 5,000-acre WILD HORSE SANCTUARY near Mount Lassen. Guided, two- and three-day rides are offered spring through fall, and a special wildflower-themed ride is on April 25-26. wildhorsesanctuary.org

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REDDING Super-sized fun for all seasons

BY PETER WATTS

BIKE, PADDLE, » SWIM, STROLL Redding Visitor Information visitredding.com

THE SUNDIAL BRIDGE at Turtle Bay over the Sacramento River, above; cycling on the Sacramento River Trail, below.

At the other end of the Sacramento River

ding, but it’s far from the only one.

Trail you’ll find yourself at Shasta Dam.

Snow-capped volcanoes, recreational lakes

Behind it stretches Shasta Lake, California’s

and California’s mightiest river combine to

most expansive reservoir. California’s recent

make this town in the northern Sacramento

drought has lowered the lake level, but it’s

Valley a nexus for outdoor enthusiasts.

still a big attraction. With 365 miles of ever-

Redding calls itself the Trail Capital of

green-lined shoreline, including countless

California, and with good reason: Within 10

bays and inlets, it’s a popular venue for

miles of the city center you can find more

houseboating, waterskiing, fishing, jet-

than 200 miles of trails. Choose from hiking

skiing, and, increasingly, paddleboarding. A

trails, running trails, dog-walking trails,

trip to the lake is not complete without a visit

mountain-biking trails, horseback-riding

to one of the nation’s newest National Nat-

trails, even trails for Segways.

ural Landmarks, the Shasta Caverns. Some

The most renowned of these is the recently completed Sacramento River Trail,

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underwater fish viewing.

geologists consider these caves the most beautiful limestone caverns in the nation.

a National Recreation Trail. This 19-mile

Alternatively, head a few minutes west of

paved path from downtown Redding to the

Redding to Whiskeytown Lake for bass

Shasta Dam makes an ideal track for many

fishing, kayaking, sailing and birdwatching.

different types of trails enthusiasts. The

Keep an eye out for one of the many

path crosses the Sacramento River on the

breeding pairs of bald eagles.

stunning Sundial Bridge, which draws visi-

Rising above Redding are two of Cali-

tors from the world over. Designed by

fornia’s most beguiling mountains, Mount

Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the

Shasta and Mount Lassen, the southernmost

glass-and-steel cantilever bridge was built

of the chain of Cascade volcanoes stretching

for bicycles and pedestrians and forms the

from Canada like a row of votive candles.

world’s largest working sundial.

Shasta, the taller of the two, requires an ice

Before heading out of town, pause to

axe, crampons—and the knowledge of how

investigate Turtle Bay Exploration Park, with

to use them—to reach the top, but Lassen

its arboretum, botanical gardens, Paul

can be ascended in summer via a well-

Bunyan Forest Camp and museum featuring

graded hiking trail.

STEPHEN B. GOODWIN/SHUTTERSTOCK; C.FLENTYE/REDDING CVB

THE MOST ICONIC BRIDGE north of the Golden Gate is a good reason to visit Red-


HIGH SIERRA Come explore this epic land of mountains, meadows, forests and streams

BY JOHN FLINN TOP CITIES South Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Tahoe City, Bishop, Mammoth Lakes, Oakhurst, Madera INTERNATIONAL GATEWAY Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO), 3 miles from Reno, Nevada city center

T

he name is Spanish for “snowy mountains,” but John

Muir’s pet name for the Sierra Nevada was “The Range of Light.” It’s not just the ethereal luminosity of the glacially

polished granite that drew Muir—and continues to draw people— to the Sierra again and again. It’s the pristine lakes and rivers, the

POPULATION 600,000

dramatic hiking and biking trails, the contrast between the green meadows and stony battlements. The Sierra Nevada may be one of the highest and most majestic mountain ranges in North America, but it’s also one of the most accessible and user-friendly. Stretching 400 miles from north to south, and about 70 from east to west, it’s crossed by seven highways—four of them open all year—and encompasses everything from Lake Tahoe—where you might find yourself crowding shoulder-to-shoulder around a boisterous craps table—to remote canyons in Yosemite or Kings Canyon national parks where you can spend a silent and solitary afternoon watching Muir’s favorite bird, the water ouzel, plunge into waterfalls and cascades. In a state with no shortage of superlatives, the region has more than its share: It can boast the world’s oldest tree, the world’s most

HIGH SIERRA

massive tree, the Old West’s largest ghost town, the nation’s highest waterfall and—until Alaska came along and rewrote the record books—the nation’s highest peak.

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GOLD COUNTRY VISITOR’S ASSOCIATION. OPPOSITE: TOM GRUNDY/SHUTTERSTOCK

TOURISM WEBSITES yosemitepark.com visitinglaketahoe.com tahoesouth.com yosemitethisyear.com visitmammoth.com


DRIVE

MUST

» TOUR

»

SEE, DO

»

California’s Everest You don’t have to be Sir Edmund Hillary to plant your flag on the 14,495-foot summit of Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the Lower 48. The pathway to the top begins west of the town of Lone Pine and gains an ear-popping 6,100 feet in 11 miles. › mount-whitney.com

»

Highway 120 is a magical mystery tour through the heart of Yosemite National Park’s exquisite high country. From the handsome old mining town of GROVELAND, follow 120 east into the park (HETCH HETCHY, the fraternal twin of Yosemite Valley that was dammed to provide San Francisco’s water supply, is a short side trip) past the TUOLUMNE GROVE of giant sequoias and up into the rarified alpine world. Pull over at OLMSTEAD

POINT to view HALF DOME from an angle you’ve never seen before. You’ll traverse TUOLUMNE MEADOWS, the jumping-off point for some of Yosemite’s finest hiking trails, and cross 9,943-foot TIOGA PASS before descending three-quarters of a vertical mile to shimmering MONO LAKE.

Biggest Tree Tree-huggers, don’t bother trying to wrap your arms around the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park. With a circumference of 102 feet, the giant sequoia is the largest known tree on the planet. While not quite as tall as its coastal cousins, its staggering girth more than makes up for it. › nps.gov/seki/naturescience/sherman.htm

»

Happy Campers Perched on the southern shore of Lake Tahoe, Camp Richardson is an oldstyle resort with knotty-pine cabins, a hotel and marina, where people have been coming for 90 years for beach-going, boating, biking and icecream eating. › camprichardson.com

»

The Wild, Wild West Bodie, possibly the Old West’s most notorious mining town, now exists in a state of “arrested decay” on a high, windswept plain northeast of Yosemite. It’s one of America’s most extensive ghost towns. › parks.ca.gov/?page_id=509

»

On the Lake Take a tour across Lake Tahoe into mesmerizing Emerald Bay aboard an authentic Mississippi River paddlewheeler. They depart several times a day from Zephyr Cove and South Lake Tahoe. › zephyrcove.com/cruises.aspx

THERE’S ROOM FOR EVERYONE on a rural road leading across the Owens Valley, left; Yosemite Valley, opposite.

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155


The range is home to three national parks, 15 state parks, two national monuments and 20 officially designated wilderness areas. Hikers get itchy feet at the mere mention of its celebrated walking paths: the John Muir Trail; the Tahoe Rim Trail; the Pacific Crest Trail; the TahoeYosemite Trail. At the drop of winter’s first snowflake, skiers begin making plans for the three premier ski resorts on America’s West Coast: Squaw Valley (site of the 1960 Winter Olympics), Heavenly and Mammoth Mountain. Streams rushing down the range’s sheer east slope into the Owens Valley are renowned for their fly fishing. Geologically speaking, the mountain range is pretty much one big chunk of granite tilted like a badly placed brick in a cobblestone street: It’s gently sloped on the west side and quite steep on the east, lower in the north and higher in the south. Keep that in mind when choosing a hiking trail: west; for a challenging ascent, head south and east.

City & Town Now connected by gondola to the Heavenly ski resort, the bustling town of South Lake Tahoe, located on the lakeshore and the Nevada border, has seen an injection of energy and interest in recent years, with new restaurants, shops and galleries. With a large inventory of hotel rooms and a cluster of hotel-casinos just a few steps over the border, it’s a good bet for inexpensive lodging. In Truckee, a handsome old railroad and lumber town between Donner Pass and Squaw Valley, a collection of Old West historic buildings along Commercial Row now houses busy restaurants and bars, some adorned with portraits of gunslingers and desperadoes. Farther south, sprawling Bishop sports the Owens Valley’s most extensive collection of lodging, dining and resupply outlets.

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RODENBERG PHOTOGRAPHY/SHUTTERSTOCK; NATALIEJEAN/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: VICTORIA LIPOV/SHUTTERSTOCK

for an easier amble, look to the north and


BRISTLECONE PINES, the world’s oldest trees, in the White Mountains, left; kayaking at Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe, opposite top; Mammoth Mountain skiing and snowboarding after a fresh snowfall, opposite bottom.

INSIDER’S

» TIP

The food choices at the WHOA

NELLI DELI, located in the TIOGA GAS MART MOBILE STATION outside LEE VINING, go far beyond Corn Nuts and Slim Jims. Lobster taquitos, wild

The Great Outdoors

their way up the impossibly sheer granite

buffalo meatloaf and jambalaya,

Just a few hours’ drive from San Francisco

walls. Tempted to try it? Sign up for an

among other things, feature on

or Los Angeles, the Sierra Nevada has been

introductory class at the Yosemite Moun-

the rotating menu at one of the

California’s outdoor playground almost

taineering School—or at least treat yourself

most celebrated eateries in

since the arrival of the original 49ers. In

to a “Go Climb a Rock” T-shirt. With some of

this part of California.

Yosemite Valley, spectators with telescopes

the most reliably sunny summer weather of

whoanelliedeli.com

watch the progress of climbers inching

any major mountain range, the High Sierra


SPECIAL

is a hiker’s paradise, from easy day walks in the Desolation Wilderness to challenging, multi-week journeys through Kings Canyon

» EVENTS 2015 “LIGHTS ON THE LAKE,” held each Fourth of July at South Lake Tahoe, is the largest synchronized fireworks show west of the Mississippi. July 4 tahoesouth.com

and Sequoia national parks. Skiers have their choice of world-class venues, from beginner-friendly Granlibakken to the double-diamond chutes of Squaw Valley and Heavenly. In summer, many of the resorts—particularly Northstar and Mammoth—convert their lifts and gondolas to

With past participants such as Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and John Elway, South Lake Tahoe’s AMERICAN CENTURY GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP has been called the “Super Bowl of Celebrity Sports.” July 14-19 tahoecelebritygolf.com Yosemite’s BRACEBRIDGE DINNER, held in the landmark Ahwahnee Hotel, is a 3 ½-hour feast of “food and riches without measure, joining voices raised in festive sound.” Scheduled for Dec. 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 and 25, but subject to change at any time. bracebridgedinners.com

Heritage & Culture

Lake Tahoe, you can still see ruts in the

Family Fun

Native Americans, pioneer emigrants and

rocks left by the covered wagons of settlers

If the kids aren’t yet ready for full-on

gold miners all left their marks on the High

on the Emigrant Trail. The shafts of thou-

camping, Lake Tahoe has two old-timey

Sierra—often literally. At Grinding Rock

sands of abandoned mines pockmark the

resorts with knotty-pine cabins scattered

State Historic Park near the town of Twain

High Sierra. One of the best places to see one

in the trees near the lakeshore, bike and

Harte, Miwok Indians once ground acorns

is the Great Sierra Mine, a short but steep

paddleboat rentals and ice cream parlors.

on an outcrop of marbleized limestone. The

hike from Tioga Pass in Yosemite. You’ll find

Camp Richardson is on the west shore,

1,185 mortar holes they left behind consti-

the remains of old miners’ cabins, but exer-

near Tahoe City; Zephyr Cove is on the

tute the largest such collection in North

cise care around the shafts, several of which

south shore, just over the border in Nevada.

America. In the Hope Valley, just south of

remain open and unfenced.

camprichardson.com zephyrcove.com

A PANORAMIC REFLECTION of Mammoth Peak and the Kuna Crest on Tioga Lake, Yosemite National Park.

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JEFFREY T. KREULEN/SHUTTERSTOCK

carry mountain bikes.


LAKE TAHOE SOUTH SHORE Indoor and outdoor playground BY BILL FINK

HIKE, PLAY, » EAT, DANCE! Visitor Information tahoesouth.com skiheavenly.com tahoecelebritygolf.com fs.usda.gov/ltbmu kirkwood.com sierraattahoe.com thelandingtahoe.com basecamphotels.com

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FROM SERENE VIEWS over mirror-flat

Summer

morning waters of Lake Tahoe and the gentle

Summer activity around the South Shore is

footfall of hikers on pine needle-covered

understandably focused on the beautiful

forest paths, to the jangle of slot machines

waters of spectacular Lake Tahoe. Beaches

and the pumping bass of a casino dance club,

are packed with summer revelers, while

Lake Tahoe South Shore (what the marketers

the waters are filled with every type of

call Tahoe South) is a destination hosting a

floating vessel imaginable—from kayaks

unique mix of wilderness and wild-ness, an

and stand-up paddleboards to small sail-

indoor and outdoor playground with equal

boats, fishing cruisers, water-ski boats,

measures of altitude and attitude. Visitors

luxury cruising vessels and even two mas-

can follow their desires to find peace and

sive paddleboats, the Tahoe Queen and Ms.

solitude on back country hikes or ski runs,

Dixie II that run daily Emerald Bay cruises.

or dive into a swirling social scene at a

For fun out of the water, the South

packed summer beach, holler at a crowded

Shore is a hiker’s paradise with journeys

craps table or slurp microbrews at an après

ranging from multi-day treks into the Des-

ski bar complete with go-go dancers. It’s

olation Wilderness and a steep day’s climb

dealer’s choice on the South Shore. And with

up to the awe-inspiring views of Mt. Tallac,

a host of new hotel, restaurant and retail

to relaxed family strolls in flat meadows at

spaces opened in the past year, the choices

Camp Richardson and around the Tallac

are greater than ever.

Historic Site or just lazing at the beach.


LAKE TAHOE VISITORS AUTHORITY; WILL HART; JEFF ROSS PHOTOGRAPHY. OPPOSITE: LAKE TAHOE VISITORS AUTHORITY

SNOWMOBILING around the lake, below; fly fishing with a view near Lake Tahoe’s South Shore, right; dining in Harveys 19 Kitchen-Bar, below right; Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course and South Shore Lake Tahoe, opposite.

Cyclists can take advantage of a network of

waters and the high-prairie Nevada coun-

road rides and mountain paths with every-

tryside. The Heavenly Gondola drops

thing from a scenic roll in the woods to

visitors right into the action in the center

treacherous,

mountain

of the city. Heavenly’s Tamarack Lodge has

descents. The ambitious can even bike the

an après ski scene with pumping music,

entire 72-mile circumference of Lake

multiple bars and go-go dancers gyrating

Tahoe, while the cautious can pedal newly

to keep themselves (and the viewers)

opened bike paths close to town. Golfers

warm. Kirkwood, about a 45-minute drive

can check out the lakeside Edgewood

from town, is known for its off-piste ter-

Tahoe Golf Course (home of the hugely

rain, deep snow and relaxed vibe.

above sea level. Outside the casinos, the

popular American Century celebrity golf

Sierra-at-Tahoe is a medium-sized family-

main strip of town boasts shopping oppor-

tournament in July) and several other

oriented ski resort with a newly opened

tunities including the new Chateau retail

nearby courses.

base plaza, located on Highway 50 between

area, and name-brand boutiques as well as

South Lake Tahoe and Sacramento.

quirky local ski shops and crafts stores.

teeth-rattling

Heavenly Mountain Resort opened a

Dining can be anything from sushi to

much-expanded on-mountain Epic Discovery adventure center in 2014 that

24/7/365

burgers and gourmet cuisine—offered at

includes zip lines, an educational forest

When the day of outdoor activity is done,

casual local diners (like the newly opened

canopy tour and ropes courses, as well as

the second shift of fun is just beginning in

Azul Latin Kitchen)—to luxury lakeside

a network of hiking trails branching off

Tahoe South. High-rise casinos rock with

restaurants. When you finally decide to

from their gondola (which is worth a sight-

the sounds and energy of non-stop gam-

take a rest, South Lake Tahoe offers a vast

seeing ride even if you never step off it).

bling. Gamers get recharged in an array of

array of lodging options, including recently

restaurants and buffets, as well as at

launched boutique hotels like the out-

Winter

comedy shows and live music events like

doorsy-themed Basecamp Hotel and the

Lake Tahoe South Shore boasts three top-

Harveys Concert Series with such head-

waterfront five-star resort of The Landing.

notch ski resorts: Heavenly, Kirkwood and

liners as the Steve Miller Band, the Doobie

Regardless of your choice of food,

Sierra-at-Tahoe. Heavenly is a huge and

Brothers, Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars.

activity or season, Lake Tahoe South Shore

popular mountain, spanning two states,

Packed bars and clubs give this indoor play-

is a spot to satisfy any sort of appetite—

with contrasting views of the blue Tahoe

ground a Vegas feel, albeit at 6200 feet

you’ll only be hungry for another trip.

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161


From the decks of our paddlewheelers, the M.S. Dixie II and the Tahoe Queen, you’ll be mesmerized by the beauty of Tahoe’s crystal blue waters and towering peaks — whether you choose a daytime scenic cruise or a sunset dinner cruise that includes live entertainment and delicious entrées. These boat tours are a must see on your trip to South Lake Tahoe.

LakeTahoeCruises.com 800.238.2463 facebook.com/LakeTahoeCruises


GOLD COUNTRY The land of the “Mother Lode,” source of California dreams

BY JOHN FLINN

INTERNATIONAL GATEWAY Sacramento International Airport (SMF), 13 miles (21 km) from the city center TOURISM WEBSITES discovergold.org visit-eldorado.com visitsacramento.com POPULATION 650,000

I

t was a flash in the pan—literally—that changed world history. The glit-

tering gold nugget that caught the eye of James W. Marshall as he tended a sawmill in the Sierra Nevada foothills in January 1848 set off a gold

rush that drew more than 300,000 would-be prospectors the following year from the eastern U.S., South America, Europe, even China. They were known as the 49ers. Overnight, the Gold Rush transformed San Francisco from a sleepy port to a rollicking city and persuaded Congress to put California—wrested from Mexico by war just two years earlier—on the fast track to statehood. Most of the gold was found in a 300-mile belt that extended through the Sierra foothills, from Downieville in the north to Coarsegold in the south. Miners called it the “Mother Lode.” In a state working tirelessly to invent the future, the Gold Country remains the most visible manifestation of its not-so-distant past, with towns sporting wood-plank sidewalks, swinging saloon doors, hitching posts and red-brick buildings. (You’ll quickly discover that the best preserved of these belonged to Wells Fargo and, oddly, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.) Today you can still pan for gold—it’s often said there’s more left in the ground than the original 49ers ever took out—but you can also raft some of

GOLD COUNTRY

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California’s frothiest rivers, explore caverns and sample Chardonnay and Syrah in a number of uncrowded, up-and-coming wineries.

ERSLER DMITRY/SHUTTERSTOCK; OPPOSITE: ALAN BEYMER/GOLD COUNTRY VISITOR’S ASSOCIATION

TOP CITIES Sacramento, Sonora, Placerville, Auburn, Downieville, Sutter Creek, Nevada City, Jackson, Columbia, Murphys, Jamestown, Angels Camp


MUST

»

SEE, DO

»

All Aboard Rail buffs will want to lay tracks for the California State Railroad Museum, one of the best of its kind in the nation. It’s located in Old Sacramento, which preserves a district of the state capital pretty much as it looked in Gold Rush days. › csrmf.org

» WINTER WAGON RIDE, above; Sutter Creek, below right; Sacramento State Capitol, opposite.

DRIVE

» TOUR

Going Underground Rappel into the darkness and explore a chamber large enough to hold the Statue of Liberty in Moaning Cavern. › caverntours.com/MoCavRt.htm

»

Historic Hotel In the picturesque old mining town of Murphys, the Murphys Historic Hotel has hosted everyone from Mark Twain and Ulysses S. Grant to Black Bart. Look for their signatures in the guest book on display in the lobby. › murphyshotel.com

»

NAVIGATING A TOUR through the Gold Country couldn't be easier: HIGHWAY 49—named for the original 49ers—traverses the entire region. It stretches nearly 300 miles through the Sierra foothills, from DOWNIEVILLE in the north to OAKHURST in the south, linking all the Gold Country’s major towns and sights. Allow at least two days for the

Apples and More Apples Allow the aroma of freshly baked apple pies, fritters, turnovers and strudel to lure you off Highway 50 east of Placerville to a place called Apple Hill. More than 50 growers participate in a celebration of the apple harvest—and of autumn itself—with cider, hay rides, pumpkin patches, hay mazes and other family fun. It runs from Labor Day to Christmas. › applehill.com

»

Eureka! Start your own personal Gold Rush as you pan for nuggets at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. › parks.ca.gov/?page_id=484

journey. Start with a mountainbiking excursion in DOWNIEVILLE, poke around the galleries and antique shops of NEVADA CITY and drop by the site where Marshall and Sutter found those first sparkling nuggets in COLOMA. SUTTER CREEK, with a bounty of inviting B&Bs and restaurants serving the local wine, is a good place to spend the night. On your second day, explore ANGELS

CAMP—perhaps pausing to wager on a frog if it’s jumping season (the third week in May)—try your hand at panning for gold at COLUMBIA

STATE HISTORIC PARK and take a ride on the historic steam train in JAMESTOWN’S RAILTOWN 1897 STATE HISTORIC PARK.

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165


City & Town Sacramento was the terminus of the Transcontinental Railroad—from there, passengers completed their journey to San Francisco by ferry and barge—and the city still plays a vital role as the jumping-off point for exploring the Gold Country. Since the arrival of the 49ers, the small towns of the Gold Country proper have morphed through several distinct stages, from rough-and-tumble boomtowns, to somnolent hamlets, to destinations for biker rallies, to, finally, genteel venues for weekend getaways sporting comfortable B&Bs, sophisticated restaurants, antique stores and nearby wineries. Among the most popular are Sutter Creek, Nevada City and Murphys. The two largest towns erville—offer all this, plus a large selection of motels, restaurants and shops in all price categories.

INSIDER’S

» TIP

The HANGTOWN FRY, a curiously appealing concoction of oysters, bacon and eggs, was allegedly born in 1849 when a prospector tossed a satchel full of gold dust onto the bar in the EL DORADO

HOTEL in PLACERVILLE—then IRON DOOR SALOON, Groveland, above; Lumberjack Day Parade at West Point, right; downtown Sacramento, opposite top; Vintage Trucks with cranes and winches at Empire Mine State Historic Park in Grass Valley, opposite bottom.

known as “Hangtown”—and declared: “I’m a rich man and I’m going to celebrate my good luck. I want you to cook me up the finest and most expensive meal in the house.” You can still get it at Buttercup Pantry, 222 Main Street, Placerville (or at The Tadich Grill in San Francisco).

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GOLD COUNTRY VISITOR’S ASSOCIATION; JEFFREY B. BANKE/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: SACRAMENTO CVB; JIM FELICIANO/SHUTTERSTOCK

of the Sierra foothills—Sonora and Plac-


SPECIAL

» EVENTS 2015 Nearly three dozen El Dorado County wineries are participating in TALES FROM THE CELLAR, a blend of wine-tasting, live music, food and literary-themed events. April 11-12 and 18-19 passporteldorado.com Wager on a jumping frog as Mark Twain’s most beloved story is commemorated each year at the CALAVERAS COUNTY FAIR & JUMPING FROG JUBILEE in Angels Camp. May 14-17 frogtown.org The HANGTOWN HARMONICA CHAMPIONSHIP is the highlight of the Cowboys and Cornbread festival celebrating western living at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds. July 19 cowboysandcornbread.com One weekend each October, during GOLD RUSH LIVE, the town of Coloma goes back in time to Gold Rush days with costumed volunteers in period dress to recreate a traditional mining camp. Oct. 8-11 coloma.com/calendar/coloma-gold-rush-live


The Great Outdoors

Sierra, the town of Downieville has

From May to mid October, the American

become a center for mountain biking.

River is California’s top venue for white-

Local bike shops offer rentals and shuttles

water rafting. The river flow is controlled

on old mining roads and single tracks

by releases from upstream reservoirs, so

from the casual to the technical,

rafters are assured of good conditions.

including a 15-mile ride with a 4,000-foot

Outfitters offer both half-day and full-day

descent. Houseboaters flock to vast,

trips through Class III whitewater, ending

sprawling Gold Country reservoirs such as

up at Marshall Gold Discovery State His-

New Melones Lake, Don Pedro Lake and

toric Park or Folsom Lake. In the northern

Lake McClure.

BEN DAVIDSON/GOLD COUNTRY VISITOR’S ASSOCIATION; MARIUSZ S. JURGIELEWICZ/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: SHIPPEE/SHUTTERSTOCK

MOANING CAVERN, a limestone cave near Vallecito, below; hiking in the giant sequoia forest, right; sunflower field in the Central Valley, opposite.


CENTRAL VALLEY California’s vast and fertile heartland

BY JILL K. ROBINSON TOP CITIES Modesto, Fresno, Bakersfield, Davis, Stockton, Fairfield, Merced, Visalia, Madera, Vacaville, Manteca, Lodi

T

he Central Valley is considered by many to be the greatest garden in the

world. The 400-mile-long fertile pocket of land, wedged between the Sierra Nevada range and the coastal mountains in the center of California, is filled

INTERNATIONAL GATEWAYS Sacramento International Airport (SMF), 80 miles (129 km) from Modesto, 172 miles (277 km) from Fresno

with farms, orchards and vineyards. If you haven’t visited, it’s still likely you’ve

San Francisco International Airport (SFO), 94 miles (151 km) from Modesto, 186 miles (299 km) from Fresno

The Central Valley contains thousands of acres of land under cultivation and

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), 118 miles (190 km) from Bakersfield TOURISM WEBSITE visitcentralvalley.com

benefited from the region, as it supplies as much as 45 percent of the food eaten in the United States. small farming communities that seem to have been frozen in time. In the larger cities (Modesto, Fresno and Bakersfield) there’s still a small-town friendliness that encourages visitors to slow down and look beyond the farmland. From the quiet, northernmost towns of Orland, Yuba City and Davis to Visalia, Tulare and Maricopa at the southern end of the valley, it’s easy to feel at home and see what some call “the Other California.”

POPULATION 4,858,000

Travelers using Interstate 5 to get through the Central Valley may believe the agricultural region is nothing more than a sleepy little farming area, but it also has a wealth of spectacular scenery, opportunities for outdoor recreation, highlights of California history and funky roadside diners. The best way to discover the area is by slowing down and taking Highway 99, which feels more like a back road. Cities and towns cluster along the route, giving you a chance to pull off and explore at your leisure. Two river valleys—the Sacramento and San Joaquin—dominate the majority of the

CENTRAL VALLEY

region, and the area waterways serve as opportunities for sport (fishing, rafting, waterskiing) and bird migration rest stops, as well as a necessary element of farming. In the hot summer months, the area’s rivers and lakes help residents and tourists alike cool

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MUST

»

SEE, DO

SPECIAL

» EVENTS 2015 ROGUE PERFORMANCE FESTIVAL Feb 26-March 7, Fresno roguefestival.com MARCH MEET March 5-8, Bakersfield famosoraceway.com PICNIC DAY April 18, Davis picnicday.ucdavis.edu

»

Underground Gardens Wander through the gardens in the hand-built network of Forestiere Gardens’ underground rooms, courtyards and passageways. › undergroundgardens.com

»

Middle Mountains Hike the Sutter Buttes, remnants of an ancient volcano and known as the “world’s smallest mountain range.”

middlemountain.org

»

Wine Tasting Pay a visit to one of the 85 wineries in Lodi, producing more than 40 percent of the state’s premium Zinfandel. › lodiwine.com

ZINFEST WINE FESTIVAL May 16, Lodi zinfest.com BASQUE FESTIVAL May 24, Bakersfield kcbasqueclub.com AMERICAN GRAFFITI CAR SHOW & FESTIVAL June 12-14, Modesto americangraffitifestival.com VILLAGE FEST Sept. 12, Bakersfield bakersfieldvillagefest.com FESTIVAL OF ROSES Sept. 12, Wasco ci.wasco.ca.us BIG FRESNO FAIR Oct. 7-18, Fresno fresnofair.com BRUBECK FESTIVAL Oct. 15-18, Stockton pacific.edu/Brubeck-Institute.html SANDHILL CRANE FESTIVAL Nov. 6-8, Lodi cranefestival.com

»

Expansive Wetlands Explore Grizzly Island in the Suisun Marsh, which makes up more than 10 percent of California’s remaining natural wetlands. › suisunwildlife.org/grizzly.html

»

Bakersfield Sound Get to know the country

music style known as the “Bakersfield Sound,” popularized by Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. › buckowens.com

off, and a shady swimming hole is an ideal spot to spend an afternoon. The most notable souvenir from a trip through the Central Valley comes from any of the unbeatable roadside produce stands. Be sure to enjoy them before you return home, because the edible treasure of the region is best sampled fresh.

INSIDER’S

» TIP

Catch a baseball game at Banner Island, home of the

STOCKTON PORTS. An offshoot of the team credited with inspiring Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s famous “Casey at the Bat” poem, the Ports got their name because Stockton was California’s only inland port.

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U.S. BICYCLING HALL OF FAME, Davis, right; Stockton waterfront, below; flower farming in the Central Valley, opposite center; having fun at the Big Fresno Fair, opposite bottom.

City & Town Bicycles outnumber cars in college-town Davis, with more bikes per capita than any U.S. city. Hotrods and Modesto were the stars of American Graffiti—and auto fans still flock to the valley city. Fresno’s architectural

CENTRAL VALLEY TOURISM ASSOCIATION; MICHAEL BROOKING/CREATIVE COMMONS/FLICKR. OPPOSITE; SAMI YOUSIF AND FRANK KOVALCHEK/CREATIVE COMMONS/FLICKR

history includes brick warehouses along the Santa Fe railroad tracks and the 1928 Pantages Theatre.

The Great Outdoors A sprawling web of rivers twists through the Central Valley—from the Sacramento to the San Joaquin to the Feather. The best place to enjoy river life is in the Sacramento Delta, with lush wetlands and vast orchards. The Sutter Buttes—considered the world’s smallest mountain range—rise above the flat valley at its northernmost point.

Heritage & Culture

DRIVE

» TOUR

Agriculture has drawn a diverse group of people to the Central Valley over the years,

It may be tempting to cover

including migrant workers from Latin

the Central Valley by zooming

America, Dust Bowl-era farmers and enter-

along on Interstate 5, but

taining country music masters. Visitors are

instead, take the slower

always welcome to join regional celebra-

HIGHWAY 99—often referred

tions, from Basque festivals to harvest days to Portuguese festas—which include bloodless bullfights.

Family Fun Families who love wide-open spaces will find plenty to do in the Central Valley.

to as “California’s Main Street,” and the very same road the fictional Joad family traveled in The Grapes of Wrath. Start in oil-town BAKERSFIELD and head north toward FRESNO,

MERCED and MODESTO. As you pass from the San

Escape the summer heat by tubing down the

Joaquin Valley into the

Sacramento River, discover the amazing

Sacramento River Delta, take

Forestiere Underground Gardens in Fresno,

a jog over to Interstate 5 to pass to the west of Sacramento and into

wander through the delta town of Locke, or

Yolo, Colusa and Glenn counties at the north end of the great

gawk at restored military aircraft at the

Central Valley.

Castle Air Museum.

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CENTRAL VALLEY CITIES Farms are just the beginning BY JILL K. ROBINSON

IT MIGHT PAY OFF to get to know where

place to tour by bicycle, especially when

your food comes from. California’s Central

you’re enjoying the region’s wineries, olive

Valley supplies as much as 45 percent of

oil orchards and organic farms. Depending

the table food served in the United States,

on the season, plot your must-visit spots,

and while the region packs far more into

and then head out on two wheels to enjoy.

the “greatest garden in the world,” it’s worth spending the time to taste it all right

Visalia and Madera

here—when it’s fresh. Slow the car, turn off

In the foothills below the majestic Sierra

the highway, and treat your taste buds.

Nevada, Visalia balances experiences that cover both tasting and learning about its

FOX THEATER, Visalia, above; waterfront cityscape of All-America City Award recipient, Stockton, top.

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Stockton and Davis

homegrown treasures. Get an education

The inland port city of Stockton was once

(past and present) at the Antique Farm

a major supply point for Gold Rush miners.

Equipment Museum and AgVentures

Today, the area’s rich soil and temperate

Learning Center, and then apply your new

climate make it one of the most productive

knowledge in visits to the local farmers

farming and wine-making areas in the

market, botanical garden, cheese factory

state. Take your time to find your favorite,

and wine trail.

among the wealth of farm tours, U-pick

Just up the road, take a short detour off

farms, farm cafés, produce stands and

famous California Highway 99 to taste

wineries. The Lodi Wine Appellation has

delicious wines along the Madera Wine

more than 85 wineries just a short drive

Trail. Visitors will enjoy award-winning

from downtown.

wines at more than a dozen wineries that

Davis, a city long known for its progressive

dot the Madera County countryside—one

approach and long-term commitment to its

of the oldest grape-growing regions in the

bike-friendly infrastructure, is an ideal

United States.


RICHARD THORNTON/SHUTTERSTOCK; CURTIS PERRY/CREATIVE COMMONS/FLICKR; JIM FELICIANO/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: TERRANCE EMERSON/SHUTTTERSTOCK; WAYNE HSIEH/CREATIVE COMMONS/FLICKR

KERN COUNTY MUSEUM in Bakersfield, right; Bakersfield at night, bottom left; Student Union and bookstore at California State University, Fresno, bottom right.

Fresno and Bakersfield

Vacaville and Manteca

Get ready for an adventure in Fresno,

Vacaville’s Suisun Valley is home to

because some of the best ways to see the

nearly every variety of wine grape.

region’s flowers and fruit trees are to

Although the area’s winemaking tradition

follow the trails. At the right time of year

dates to the late 1800s, planting has

(February through March) the Fresno

expanded steadily within the last 20 years

County Blossom Trail leads to wide

with an increased demand for premium

panoramas of orchards full of fruit trees

wines. Don’t leave without a stop at the

bursting with blossoms and sweet fra-

legendary Nut Tree, which has been a

grance. The Fresno County Fruit Trail has

staple of Northern California road trips

rewards year round, but aim for harvest

and overnight stays for decades.

time of your favorite, whether that’s cher-

Balance tours of family farms (com-

ries, apricots, oranges or another. The area

plete with a seasonal pumpkin maze in

outside town is scattered with U-pick

the fall) with wine tasting in Manteca,

farms from May through September to get

where service is so personal that you’re

your fill of berries, cherries and plums—

likely to meet the farmer, grape grower

or, just cut to the chase and get a fresh pie

and wine maker. You know you’re close to

at a farmstand stop.

the farms when local delis and restau-

Bakersfield is tucked within Kern County, which ranks third among all

EAT, PLAY,

» STROLL, RELAX

rants carry produce grown just a short

Central Valley Tourism Association

distance away.

visitcentralvalley.com

counties in the United States in agriculture-related production. A local favorite, Murray Family Farms is surrounded by citrus groves, golden foothills and the Tehachapi mountain skyline. Pick from seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables, a petting zoo and a ride on a tractor-driven wagon that traverses 43 acres of crops.

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LODI Stay for the wine

TASTE, STROLL,

BY JILL K. ROBINSON

Visit Lodi Conference & Visitors Bureau visitlodi.com GRAPEVINES form a graceful arc in Lodi, above; a room at the Wine & Roses Hotel Spa, below.

LODI’S MEDITERRANEAN climate

you’re never far from the farm. Visitors

makes this Central Valley city in Northern

can stroll from restaurant to olive oil shop

California’s wine country ideal for pro-

to winery tasting room to cheese shop for

ducing premium wines. When in town,

the best flavor of the valley.

swing by the downtown Lodi Visitor

Lodi figures prominently in the winter

Center for a wine trail map and wise wine

flight plans for the sandhill crane—one of

tasting advice. The area has more than 85

only two crane species found in North

wineries, and most of them are family

America. These five-foot-tall birds may not

owned and operated, so you’re more than

look prehistoric, but fossil records date

likely going to taste wine made by the

them as far back as two million years.

person pouring it for you in the tasting

From October through February, stop by

room. Over the past two decades, the

the Sandhill Crane Reserve to get a glimpse

number of Lodi labeled wines has grown

of these stately birds. If you’re lucky, you’ll

tremendously, however Lodi remains

spy more than a few mating dances.

known best for its Zinfandel—and it produces

more

than

40

percent

of

California’s premium Zinfandel.

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The cranes aren’t the only lucky ones that can get out and enjoy nature in Lodi. In summer, some visitors pick water

Lodi’s history of agriculture isn’t just

sports like kayaking and stand-up pad-

something from the past. This city has

dling in the Mokelumne River and Lodi

more than enough opportunities to prove

Lake, while others prefer to hike on

that it’s one of the best places in the state

nearby nature trails or merely relax on

to find fresh taste from the farm—whether

the beach and picnic with family and

obtained from a farm stand or a restaurant

friends. In laid-back Lodi, enjoyment is

plate. And even in the city’s downtown,

easy to come by.

DALE GOLF PHOTOGRAPHY; GERRY MCINTYRE

» RELAX, PADDLE!


DESERTS A paradise for adventurers, golfers, shoppers and spa-lovers B Y C H R I S TO P H E R P. B A K E R

INTERNATIONAL GATEWAY Palm Springs International Airport (PSP), 10 minutes from downtown Palm Springs, 44 miles (71 km) from Anza-Borrego State Park TOURISM WEBSITES ci.palm-springs.ca.us palm-desert.org la-quinta.org barstowca.org indio.org Anza-Borrego SP: parks.ca.gov/?page_id=638 Death Valley NP: nps.gov/deva Joshua Tree NP: nps.gov/jotr

C

alifornia’s desert region has lured visitors for more than

a century to bask in its year-round warmth and enjoy its hot mineral springs, lush palm oases, and serene land-

scapes. After all, there aren’t many places where you can golf in the morning, go skiing or snowshoeing in the afternoon, and enjoy a cocktail by the pool in the evening. Which explains why more than five million visitors annually descend on Palm Springs and the surrounding desert region, where the summer never dies, the architecture is retro-cool, and the spirit feels as refreshing as an iced martini. In the 1950s and ’60s, Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack made Palm Springs the definition of cool. By the 1970s, the Hollywood set had moved “down valley” to Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage, with their luxurious golf courses and country clubs. But Palm Springs has staged

POPULATION 750,000

an impressive comeback. Newly fresh and compelling, this hot spot— ground zero for desert vacations—exudes contemporary cool. No wonder a whole new generation of Hollywood stars is flocking to where it’s the 1960s all over again. Plus, a spectacular redevelopment plan, currently underway, promises to add even more luster to downtown Palm Springs, with an exciting new luxury hotel, a stunning new DESERTS

Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, and a pedestrian walkway linking the world-class Palm Springs Art Museum to “The Strip.”

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WELCOMIA/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: JAMES MATTIL/SHUTTERSTOCK

TOP CITIES Palm Springs, Palm Desert, La Quinta, Barstow, Indian Wells, Needles, Salton Sea, Mojave


PALM TREES ALLEY, Palm Springs, opposite; artist Ricardo A. Breceda has added a 350-foot long serpent sculpture to the collection of prehistoric animals on display at Galetta Meadows, Borrego Springs, below.

MUST

»

SEE, DO

»

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Revolving through 360 degrees as it climbs more than two miles to the mountain station at 8,516 feet elevation, this tram whisks you to another world. It’s a sensational ride, perfect for escaping the heat of summer to hike amid pine forest where the temperatures are pleasantly cool. Or head up to the snows in winter to explore by snowshoe or on crosscountry skis. The mountain station has a gourmet restaurant—great for a candlelit dinner with the lights of the valley sparkling far below. › pstramway.com

» An easy 90-minute drive from Los Angeles, “Palm Springs” is understood as the entire Coachella Valley, comprising eight “desert resort communities” clustered at the foot of the San Jacinto Mountains. They merge into one another along Highway 111—one of California’s great urban drives. The physical setting is out of this world. Majestic mountains soar on three sides, glistening with snow in the winter sunshine.

SPECIAL

» EVENTS 2015 PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL Jan. 2-12, Palm Springs psfilmfest.org RIVERSIDE COUNTY FAIR AND NATIONAL DATE FESTIVAL Feb. 13-22, Indio datefest.org BNP PARIBAS OPEN March 9-22, Indian Wells bnpparibasopen.com FASHION WEEK March 21-28, Palm Desert fashionweekelpaseo.com COACHELLA MUSIC FESTIVAL April 10-12, 17-19 Indio coachella.com STAGECOACH COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL April 24-26, Indio stagecoachfestival.com JOSHUA TREE MUSIC FESTIVAL May 14-17, Oct. 8-11, Joshua Tree joshuatreemusicfestival.com 50TH ANNUAL BORREGO DAYS DESERT FESTIVAL Oct. 23-25, Borrego Springs borregospringschamber.com DEATH VALLEY 49ERS ENCAMPMENT Nov. 11-15, Death Valley deathvalley49ers.org FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS PARADE Dec. 6, Palm Springs psfestivaloflights.com

Palm Springs Museums To satisfy cultural yearnings, start at the Palm Springs Arts Museum. Considered one of California’s finest regional museums, this world-class venue is notable for its contemporary art and astounding glass art in the Denney Western American Art Wing. Its Mesoamerican collection includes basketry, pottery and other artifacts by local Amerindian tribes. The Palm Springs Air Museum is one of the world’s foremost museums dedicated to WWII aircraft, displayed in two hangars replicating the European and Pacific theaters. › palmspringsairmuseum.org › psmuseum.org

»

Animals Galore Wildlife abounds in the desert, but for the most part you’d never know it—critters hide by day, especially in summer. It’s easy, however, to get close to desert flora and fauna at Living Desert Zoo & Park, which displays animals from arid environments around the world. Local denizens include bighorn sheep, rattlesnakes and coyotes. Africa is well represented with giraffes, hyenas, cheetahs, leopards and zebras, among others. Next, hike the Indian Canyons to spot mule deer and other creatures. › livingdesert.org

»

Sample Local Food Palm Springs is hardly a desert for dining. In fact, you’d expect a place that draws the Hollywood set to boast fantastic restaurants. Chic Citron, at the Viceroy Palm Springs hotel, is a great place to dine alongside the stars. Start your day at Rick’s, a classic American diner that’s the most popular lunch spot in town. Fresh seafood is flown in daily to Fisherman’s Market, which has its own fishing fleet and a menu that includes fish ’n’ chips. And the city’s Thursday night Villagefest is a trove for locally grown dates, nuts and fruit plus food stall treats. › palmspringsvillagefest.com

»

Valley Vistas To truly appreciate the desert’s beauty and scale, get up high. Look to the horizon from the Coachella Valley Vista Point, on Highway 74, five miles uphill from Palm Desert. The Bump and Grind trail rewards hikers with sensational views over Palm Springs, as does the Peaks Restaurant at the Palm Springs Aerial Tram’s Mountain Station. And hauling yourself out of bed early for the pre-dawn drive to Dante’s View is well worth it to watch Death Valley, far below, unveiled at sunrise. › nps.gov/deva/index.htm

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HOT AIR BALLOON adventure, right; hikers in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park take a break to enjoy the view, below; Palm Springs Art Museum, opposite.

There’s no shortage of activities and attractions. The dining is fabulous. The spas are among California’s best. And the region boasts several ritzy casinos. Museums cater to WWII aviation buffs, art fans and nature lovers keen to experience desert ecology. El Paseo gives Beverly Hills’

Active Adventures

in winter. In fact, the Coachella Valley has

Rodeo Drive a run for its money in its

You might be forgiven for thinking that a

earned the distinction of “Golf Capital of

quality and range of boutiques. Palm

desert offers little to do and that it’s just too

the World,” with more golf courses than

Springs’ music, film and arts festivals are

darn hot to do it in any event. Wrong on

you can shake a 4-iron at: about 120 in all.

world-renowned. More than two million

both counts! The region is replete with

Incising the slopes of the San Jacinto

visitors come annually to play golf on

exciting recreational activities. Fabulous

Mountains, the three Indian Canyons

more than one hundred courses. Almost

winter weather spells Nirvana for hikers,

tempt hikers with 30 miles of trails and

as many arrive to explore the palm groves,

rock-climbers, cyclists and other out-

picnic sites. Fed by natural springs, stands

alpine summits or spectacular desert

doorsy folk.

of desert fan palms crowd the canyon

landscapes of Anza-Borrego Desert State

Let’s start with golf. There’s no more

floors, providing sheltering oases for kit

Park and Joshua Tree National Park. And

quintessential image of the Palm Springs

fox, bighorn sheep and coyote. Ancient

farther afield, Death Valley National Park

region than an emerald greensward

petroglyphs can be seen while hiking

outdoes them all for its kaleidoscopic

studded by palms and framed by boulder-

Andreas Canyon and Tahquitz Canyon,

physical beauty.

strewn mountains gloriously snowcapped

with its spectacular 60-foot-tall waterfall.

Brimming with the glories of nature, the desert is a paradise for anyone who appreciates stupendous landscapes. The scenery is far more diverse than you might imagine, ranging from below sea level to more than 10,000 feet atop Mount San Jacinto. Abundant rains in winter carpet the desert with wildflowers—nowhere more spectacular than the springtime bloom of Antelope Valley Poppy State Reserve, near the town of Mojave. Snaking south through the Coachella Valley, scenic palm-lined Highway 111 will deliver you to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Capital of desert botanica, this 500,000-acre park is ablaze with fiery red poppies and other wildflowers. A 30-minute drive northeast from Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park spans 1,240 square miles of Mojave and lower

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TOMMY BREWSTER/PALM SPRINGS CVB. STEVE HEAP/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: PALM SPRINGS CVB

Natural Wonders


Colorado deserts and protects one of the most spectacular desert regions in North America. Popular with rock climbers, its dramatic landscapes are made surreal by the “Joshua tree” species of yucca, with strange, arm-like branches. From Joshua Tree, historic Route 66 unfurls past Mojave National Preserve, where the Kelso Dunes tower almost 1,000 feet above the desert floor. They’re known as the “singing dunes” because they emit a buzz or rumble when sand slides down the dune-face. Nearby, 32 ancient volcanic

Cultural Connections

cones stud Cinder Cones National Natural

Culture vultures thrill to find the desert is

Landmark—a gateway to the stand-out

far from dry. The Native American Agua

draw of the northern Mojave: Death Valley

Caliente occupied the Palm Springs region

National Park. The highest ground temper-

long before Europeans arrived. Their proud

The mid-20th-century Modernist

ature ever recorded on earth was here, at

legacy is on show at the Agua Caliente Cul-

movement imbues Palm Springs

Badwater, a sunken trough that reaches 282

tural Museum in downtown Palm Springs.

with much of its unique appeal.

feet below sea level. Yet Death Valley is

History buffs also delight in the Palm

For a fascinating insight into

rimmed by 11,000-foot mountains. Winter

Springs Air Museum, replete with World

months are deliciously temperate, when

War II-era warplanes from a P-51 Mustang

sophisticated designs, explore the city with PALM SPRINGS MOD-

tourists flock to marvel at chromatic

to a B-17 Flying Fortress.

INSIDER’S

» TIP

ERNIST TOURS. You’ll even get to see inside the famous steel

canyons and sun-bleached salt pans. Well-

The monied elite that pours into Palm

paved roads lace the park, while dirt roads

Springs for the winter is a major patron of

or two of the rich and famous.

open up a world of extreme adventure for

the arts. Hollywood star and long-time

palmspringsmoderntours.com

visitors with suitable vehicles.

resident Kirk Douglas was a major donor

houses, and perhaps even a home

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181


to Palm Springs Art Museum, one of Cal-

Coachella Music Festival, hosted in the

Family Fun

ifornia’s top regional art venues—its

warm open air of neighboring Indio.

Kids love the desert, which offers heaps of

Plein Art, MesoAmerican, and Contem-

Almost 200 performers rock half a million

family fun, including old ghost towns such

porary Glass collections are outstanding.

attendees; unannounced surprise per-

as Pioneertown and Randsburg. Another

And any sojourn through Palm Springs is

formances have included Beyoncé, Paul

favorite is the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens,

a magical mystery tour of “art-chitec-

McCartney and Gwen Stefani.

exhibiting nearly 400 species of animals, Desert’s

from aardvark to zebra. With luck you might

than two thousand midcentury Mod-

McCallum Theater resounds to laughter

even spot bighorn sheep in the wild on a

ernist homes.

ture,” thanks to the city’s stock of more

Higher

culture?

Palm

and cheers of delight with a lineup that

Desert Adventures eco-tour by Jeep. Even

Many of the finest exemplars of Mod-

can range from Itzhak Perlman and The

camels add to the fun at the Riverside County

ernism are boutique hotels, and almost all

Vienna Boys Choir to The Nutcracker

Fair & National Date Festival in February.

have played host to the Hollywood A-list.

ballet and the Peking Acrobats.

In summer, beat the heat splashing about

Since the valley’s Cahuilla Indian terri-

at Knott’s Soak City. Or take to the air with

tory is a sovereign nation, it’s exempt from

Fantasy Balloon Flights for a bird’s-eye view

California’s state ban on gambling. Try

of the Coachella Valley. Then delight the

For the Fun of It

your hand with Lady Luck at any of half a

kids, and yourself, with a ten-minute jaunt

Palm Springs has festivals to please

dozen casinos. And shopaholics are in for

to Alaska (at least metaphorically) aboard

everyone. In March, the world-class Indian

a treat: Art galleries, haute couturiers, and

the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. It ascends

Wells Tennis Garden fills to overflowing

boutique stores specializing in retro mod-

through four life zones to the mountaintop

for the annual BNP Paribas Open. And in

ernist décor offer a dash of retail therapy

station, where the air is 30 degrees cooler

April, be there or be square for the

between your spa treatments.

than it is in the desert below.

“Sinatra slept here” and “This was Angela Jolie’s room” is no idle chatter.

PALM SPRINGS

DRIVE

» TOUR Start in downtown PALM SPRINGS and follow

PALM DESERT

COACHELLA VALLEY VISTA POINT

Highway 111 southeast to PALM DESERT, then head into the San Jacinto Mountains along steep, twisting Highway 74 to the COACHELLA

VALLEY VISTA POINT for a sensational view. Retrace your route to Highway 111 and continue

palms and vineyards and the Salton Sea to

SALTON CITY, then head west along Highway 522 through the BORREGO BADLANDS to the

GALLETA MEADOWS

artists’ community of BORREGO SPRINGS. Explore the fantastical metal sculptures in

GALLETA MEADOWS, then lace up your hiking boots to explore cactus-studded ANZA-BOR-

REGO DESERT STATE PARK.

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BORREGO BADLANDS SALTON CITY

ANZA-BORREGO DESERT STATE PARK VISITOR CENTER BORREGO SPRINGS

OPPOSITE: SAHANI PHOTOGRAPHY/SHUTTERSTOCK

east. Turn south onto Highway 86 past date


INLAND EMPIRE This often-overlooked region offers the best of California, from high deserts to soaring mountain ranges and abundant vineyards and orchards

BY LENORE GREINER

TOP CITIES Big Bear Lake, Lake Arrowhead, Temecula, Ontario, San Bernardino, Riverside INTERNATIONAL GATEWAY Ontario International Airport (ONT), 35 miles (56 km) east of downtown Los Angeles, 23 miles (37 km) west of San Bernardino, 16 miles (26 km) west of Riverside TOURISM WEBSITES bigbear.com lakearrowhead.net temeculacvb.com riversidecvb.com POPULATION 4.2 million

W

ithin the Inland Empire’s vast 5,000 square miles, the scenery

and historic sites deftly capture quintessential California, from Spanish and Native American history to the era of stagecoaches

and silver strikes to the Golden Age of traveling Route 66. The diverse landscape reflects Golden State extremes: snow-capped granite peaks of the San Bernardino Mountains to the north and the San Jacinto range to the east fast descend into arid high deserts and, finally, to verdant vineyards and groves. There’s tranquil, scenic beauty to savor along the hiking paths or ski runs. Or partake in distinctly Californian pursuits: wine tasting, escaping to a quiet golf resort, or soaking in steamy hot springs. And with fewer crowds and lower prices than Lake Tahoe and Napa Valley, the Inland Empire offers the same thrills and diversions with less fuss.

The Great Outdoors In the fresh alpine air of the San Bernardino Mountains, vacationers head to two popular lakes. At Big Bear Lake, outdoor enthusiasts enjoy year-round recreation, from summer watersports to winter’s alpine sports at Big Bear Mountain and Snow Summit for excellent skiing and snowboarding. Summertime watersports lovers will find abundant fishing, boating, kayaking and even parasailing on Big Bear Lake. Lake Arrowhead offers hiking, horseback riding, biking and stream fishing. Or wander in the natural beauty of the Swiss Chalet-

INLAND EMPIRE

style alpine village of Lake Arrowhead with charming shops and year-round ice skating. Or simply stargaze, watch the autumn leaves turn or the falling snowflakes in winter.

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SPECIAL

MUST

»

SEE, DO

» EVENTS 2015 TEMECULA ROD RUN Roaring hot rods descend upon Old Town Temecula. March 6-7 rodruntemecula.com OLD TOWN TEMECULA BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL March 20-21 cityoftemecula.org

»

Calico Ghost Town County Park Calico’s 1881 Silver Rush created 500 mines and $20 million in silver ore, the state’s largest silver strike ever. Today this State Historical Landmark and county park offers shops and eateries in an authentically restored desert ghost town. › cms.sbcounty.gov/parks/Parks/CalicoGhostTown.aspx

»

Playing since 1923, the RAMONA OUTDOOR PLAY, a romance about the Ponca Indians, is America’s longest running outdoor drama. April 18-19 & 25-26, May 2-3 ramonabowl.com TEMECULA VALLEY BALLOON & WINE FESTIVAL features hot-air balloon rides, wine tastings and more. May 29-31 tvbwf.com LAKE ARROWHEAD ANNUAL ANTIQUE & CLASSIC WOODEN BOAT SHOW features rare antique and classic wooden boats. June 13-14 lakearrowhead.net BIG BEAR LAKE & LAKE ARROWHEAD VILLAGE OKTOBERFESTS feature bands, beer and sausages. Weekends, Sept. 26-Oct. 25 bigbear.com, lakearrowheadvillage.com BIG BEAR LAKE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL offers screenings and parties with passionate filmmakers. September, check website for details. bigbearlakefilmfestival.com

San Bernardino National Forest Jutting skyward from the Riverside valley floor, this 660,000acre national forest mountain range reaches as high as the 11,502-foot Mount San Gorgonio. › fs.usda.gov/sbnf

City & Town

»

Pechanga Resort & Casino The Luiseno Indians’ tribal casino, California’s largest, offers a huge concert venue, a 200,000-square-foot gaming floor, all night poker and a spa. › pechanga.com

Food and wine fans can stroll through Old

»

Or visit Redlands, the “City of Beautiful

Mission Inn Hotel & Spa Since 1902, eight

presidents and countless movie stars have visited this National Historic Landmark, a rambling blend of Mission Revival, Moorish and Oriental architecture, and Louis Comfort Tiffany mosaics. › missioninn.com

Town Temecula’s historic district of 1890s buildings while wine tasting and sampling local fare in a friendly, Old West ambience. THE SAN MANUEL BAND of Mission Indians holds its annual Pow Wow in San Bernardino, below; a vineyard at dusk in Temecula, previous page.

Homes,” and its opulent Victorians and Arts and Crafts style homes of yesteryear. North of Temecula, play in the mud or soak in the soothing mineral waters of the 150-year-old Glen Ivy Hot Springs, dating from early stagecoach days. For excitement, soar in a hot air balloon over Temecula Valley’s 35,000-acre wine country, dotted with wineries, B&Bs and luxury resorts amid endless vineyards. Afterwards, relax with a glass of local wine on a portico in Temecula’s Old Town or play golf in this quiet oasis of the California good life.

Heritage & Culture Head into Riverside to discover a wealth of California history. Here, the state’s first and oldest orange tree, planted in 1873, still stands on Magnolia Avenue where California’s multi-million-dollar citrus

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DIGITAL MEDIA PRO/SHUTTERSTOCK. OPPOSITE: L.A. NATURE GRAPHICS/SHUTTERSTOCK; MARK KRAPELS/SHUTTERSTOCK

»

Saddle Up Wine Tours Go wine tasting on horseback through Temecula vineyards; tours include tastings at one, two or three wineries between scenic rides through the vines. › saddleupwinetours.com


INSIDER’S

» TIP

SEELEY CREEK near Lake Arrowhead, left; Big Bear Lake, below.

Since 1949, drivers on historic Route 66 have noticed the

WIGWAM MOTEL, once encircled by San Bernardino orange groves. Today, you can check into this icon of roadside Americana, one of only three remaining. Arranged around a kidneyshaped swimming pool, these remodeled, 30-foot-tall, freestanding concrete tepees have wifi and air-conditioning. wigwammotel.com

industry began. Since 1880, the Mission Inn has hosted U.S. presidents and delighted travelers with a Hearst Castlelike eclectic mix of Spanish and Moorish architecture, adorned with priceless Italian and Spanish treasures. In Temecula, the Temecula Valley Museum explores local history, including Luiseno Indian culture during the Mission San Luis Rey period, the Spanish ranchos era, the impact of stagecoaches and the

DRIVE

» TOUR

railroad, and the area’s growth as a major citrus industry capital. Exhibits tell these stories through handcrafted artifacts, documents, ranch equipment, photographs and other objects.

Family Fun The fun begins with silly science at Pen-

RIM OF THE WORLD SCENIC BYWAY: This 107-mile scenic drive begins on State Highway 138 just west of I-15 at the

MORMON ROCK FIRE STATION. Travel east on 138 to the CAJON PASS OVERLOOK for breathtaking views, then

nypickle’s Workshop in the Children’s

east to SILVERWOOD LAKE

Museum. Tom’s Farms offers kids an 1800s

and the Mojave River basin. 138 merges with 18 along the rim of the San

steam train, a real gem mine and pony

Bernardino forest and provides sweeping vistas of San Bernardino,

rides. Explore local citrus history in the

Redlands and the Los Angeles Basin. At BIG BEAR LAKE DAM, follow the

California Citrus State Historical Park’s

road around Big Bear Lake to MILL CREEK RANGER STATION. This tour

working orchards and then hike on the

can be done in four hours.

scenic trails surrounding the groves.

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2015 TRAVEL GUIDE TO

CALIFORNIA RESOURCES »

»

GENERAL INFORMATION

POPULATION: 38,042,000 AREA: 158,693 square miles. It is approximately 770 miles long from the Mexican border to the Oregon border, and 250 miles wide from the Pacific Ocean to the Nevada and Arizona borders. TIME: California is in the Pacific Time Zone (GMT minus 8 hours). The state observes daylight saving time. TAXES: The state sales tax is 7.5%. Local taxes may be as much as an additional 1%. DIRECTORY ASSISTANCE: For local numbers, dial 411; long-distance, 1 plus area code plus 555-1212; toll-free, 1-800-555-1212. EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE: Call 911 toll free from any public telephone to obtain police, fire or medical assistance. LIQUOR LAWS: Alcohol is sold throughout California. Legal drinking age is 21. SMOKING LAWS: You must be 18 to purchase tobacco products. Smoking is prohibited in all public buildings and enclosed spaces throughout California. Many cities in California have passed ordinances prohibiting smoking in all public places. It is even illegal to smoke on certain beaches in Southern California—watch for signs.

CALIFORNIA WELCOME CENTERS

THERE ARE NINETEEN OFFICIAL state Welcome Centers in 10 of the state’s tourism regions. Each center is listed by the region in which it is located. For more information, go to VisitCWC.com.

San Francisco Bay Area Pier 39, Building B Second Level, Unit B12 San Francisco 415-981-1280

San Diego County 928 North Coast Highway Oceanside 1-800-350-7873 760-721-1101

Hillsdale Shopping Center Sixty 31st Avenue, Space 1062 San Mateo 650-578-8033

5005 Willow Road, Suite 100 Alpine 619-445-0180 Desert Region 2796 Tanger Way, Suite 100 Barstow 760-253-4782 56711 29 Palms Highway Yucca Valley 760-365-5464 Orange County 6601 Beach Blvd. Buena Park 1-800-541-3953 Central Coast 333 Five Cities Drive, Suite 100 Pismo Beach 805-773-7924 1213 North Davis Road Salinas 831-757-8687 2786 Seaglass Way, Space 5105 Oxnard 805-988-0717 Central Valley 710 W. 16th Street, Suite A Merced 209-724-8104

Gold Country 1103 High Street, Suite 150 Auburn 530-887-2111 2085 Vine Street, Suite 105 El Dorado Hills 916-358-3700 High Sierra 10065 Donner Pass Road Truckee 530-587-8808 2510 Main Street Mammoth Lakes 760-924-5500 North Coast 1635 Heindon Road Arcata 707-822-3619 9 Fourth Street Santa Rosa 1-800-404-7673 Shasta/Cascade 1699 Highway 273 Anderson 530-365-1180 2 California 96 Yreka 530-475-3814

QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE TO TRAVEL GENERAL TRAVEL visitcalifornia.com BEACHES beachcalifornia.com BORDER SERVICES cbp.gov BUS TRAVEL greyhound.com CALIFORNIA STATE GOVERNMENT ca.gov CALIFORNIA NATIONAL PARKS, NATIONAL FORESTS & PUBLIC LANDS nps.gov/state/ca fs.fed.us/r5/ca.blm.gov CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS parks.ca.gov COOKING SCHOOLS epitourean.com/Destination/8/California.aspx ECO, ADVENTURE, OUTDOOR gorp.com adventuresportsonline.com infohub.com

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FESTIVALS californiafairsandfestivals.com festivals.com FISHING dfg.ca.gov/licensing fishingnetwork.net FREQUENT FLYER PROGRAMS frequentflier.com webflyer.com GAY & LESBIAN TRAVEL laglc.org gaytravel.com GOLF golfcalifornia.com golflink.com HUNTING dfg.ca.gov RAIL TRAVEL amtrak.com ROAD CONDITIONS dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi SENIOR TRAVEL roadscholar.org aarp.org

SKI CONDITIONS skireport.com/california SOLO TRAVEL cstn.org STUDENT TRAVEL statravel.com SPORTS TRAVEL sportstravel.com TRANSPORTATION REGULATIONS dmv.ca.gov TRAVELING WITH CHILDREN travelforkids.com/Funtodo/California/california.htm familyvacationcritic.com TRAVELERS WITH DISABILITIES visitcalifornia.com/Travel-Tools/Travelers-withDisabilities accessnca.org/resources/ WEATHER CONDITIONS wunderground.com WOMEN TRAVELERS adventurewomen.com journeywoman.com


Âť

CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAUS

Amador County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau 1-800-649-4988; 209-223-0350 amadorcountychamber.com Anaheim/Orange County Visitor and Convention Bureau 1-855-405-5020 anaheimoc.org Bakersfield Convention & Visitors Bureau 1-866-325-6001; 1-866-425-7353 bakersfieldcvb.org Berkeley Convention & Visitors Bureau 1-800-847-4823 visitberkeley.com Beverly Hills Visitors Bureau 1-800-345-2210 lovebeverlyhills.com Calaveras Visitors Bureau 1-800-225-3764 visitcalaveras.org Central Valley Tourism Association 1-800-514-5539 visitcentralvalley.com Crescent City/Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce 1-800-343-8300 exploredelnorte.com El Dorado County Visitors Authority 1-800-457-6279 visit-eldorado.com

Mammoth Lakes Tourism 1-888-GO-MAMMOTH visitmammoth.com

San Jose Convention & Visitors Bureau 1-800-726-5673 sanjose.org

Manteca Visitors Center 209-823-7229 visitmanteca.org

San Luis Obispo County Tourism Information 805-541-8000 visitsanluisobispocounty.com

Marin County Convention & Visitors Bureau 415-925-2060 visitmarin.org

San Mateo County Convention & Visitors Bureau 1-800-288-4748 smccvb.com

Marina del Rey Convention & Visitors Bureau 310-305-9545 visitmarinadelrey.com Mendocino County 310-305-9545; 1-866-466-3636 visitmendocino.com Modesto Convention & Visitors Bureau 1-888-640-8467 visitmodesto.com Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau 1-888-221-1010 seemonterey.com Napa Valley Destination Council 707-251-5895 legendarynapavalley.com Newport Beach Conference & Visitors Bureau 1-800-94-COAST visitnewportbeach.com North Lake Tahoe Visitors & Convention Bureau 1-800-462-5196 gotahoenorth.com

Eureka/Humboldt County Convention and Visitors Bureau 1-800-346-3482 redwoods.info

Oakdale Tourism & Visitors Bureau 209-322-9702 visitoakdale.com

Fairfield Tourism Association 1-877-7WE-RFUN fairfield4fun.com

Oakland Convention & Visitors Bureau 510-839-9000 visitoakland.org

Fresno City and County Convention & Visitors Bureau 1-800-788-0836 playfresno.org

Palm Desert Visitors Center 1-800-873-2428 palm-desert.org

Gilroy Visitors Bureau 408-842-6436 gilroywelcomecenter.org

Palm Springs Desert Resorts Convention & Visitors Authority 1-800-967-3767 visitgreaterpalmsprings.com

Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau 707-433-6935 healdsburg.com

Pasadena Convention & Visitors Authority 1-800-307-7977 pasadenacal.com

Huntington Beach Visitors Bureau 1-800-729-6232 surfcityusa.com Kern County Board of Trade and Film Commission 661-868-5376 visitkern.com

Pismo Beach Conference & Visitors Authority 805-773-4657 pismobeach.org Redding Convention & Visitors Bureau 1-800-874-7562 visitredding.com

Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau 1-877-615-1085; 805-966-9222 santabarbara.com Santa Clara Convention & Visitors Bureau 1-800-272-6822 santaclara.org Santa Cruz County Conference & Visitors Council 1-800-833-3494 santacruzca.org Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau 1-800-544-5319 santamonica.com Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau 805-688-6144 solvangusa.com Sonoma County Tourism Bureau 707-522- 5800 sonomacounty.com Stockton Convention & Visitors Bureau 1-877-778-6258 celebratestockton.com Temecula Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau 1-888-363-2852 temeculacvb.com Tri-Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau 925-846-8910 visittrivalley.com Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau 1-800-446-1333 tcvb.com Turlock Convention & Visitors Bureau 209-632-2221 visitturlock.org Vacaville Conference & Visitors Bureau 707-450-0500 visitvacaville.com Vallejo Convention & Visitors Bureau 707- 642-3653 visitvallejo.com Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau 805-648-2075 ventura-usa.com

Laguna Beach Visitors Bureau 949-497-9229 lagunabeachinfo.org

Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau 310-376-6911 visitredondo.com

West Hollywood Convention & Visitors Bureau 1-800-368-6020 visitwesthollywood.com

Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority 530-544-5050 tahoesouth.com

Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau 1-800-292-2334 discovergold.org

Yolo County Visitors Bureau 530-297-1900 yolocvb.org

Lodi Conference & Visitors Bureau 209-365-1195 visitlodi.com

San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau 619-232-3101 sandiego.org

Yosemite Mariposa County Visitors Bureau 209-742-4567 yosemiteexperience.com

Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau 1-800-228-2452 discoverlosangeles.com

San Francisco Travel Association 415-391-2000 sanfrancisco.travel

Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau 559-683-4636 yosemitethisyear.com

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RESOURCES »

»

HOLIDAYS

January 1

New Year’s Day

September 7

Labor Day

January 19

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday

October 12

Columbus Day

February 16

Presidents’ Birthdays

November 11

Veterans Day

March 31

César Chávez Day

November 26

Thanksgiving Day

May 25

Memorial Day

December 25

Christmas Day.

July 4

Independence Day

CLIMATE/TEMPERATURES

Average temperatures reflect those of a city centrally located in the region. Temperatures at the coast are often 5 or more degrees cooler than inland temperatures because of coastal breezes and fog, and farther inland, temperatures are often significantly warmer than central locations at the same elevation. Cities for average temperatures: San Diego County: San Diego; Desert: Palm Springs; Orange County: Orange; Inland Empire: San Bernardino; Los Angeles County: Los Angeles; Central Coast: San Luis Obispo; Central Valley: Merced; San Francisco Bay Area: San Francisco; Gold Country: Sacramento; High Sierra: Truckee; North Coast: Arcata; Shasta Cascade: Redding Source: Weatherbase.com

JAN

FEB

MAR

APR

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUG

SEPT

OCT

NOV

DEC

SAN DIEGO COUNTY

F° C°

49/65 9/18

51/65 10/18

53/66 12/19

56/68 13/20

59/69 15/20

62/71 17/22

65/75 19/24

67/76 19/25

65/76 18/24

61/73 16/23

54/69 12/21

48/65 9/18

DESERTS

F° C°

46/69 8/21

48/73 9/23

53/79 12/26

57/85 14/29

65/93 18/34

71/102 22/34

77/107 25/42

78/106 25/41

73/100 23/38

62/89 17/32

52/77 11/25

44/67 7/20

ORANGE COUNTY

F° C°

45/65 7/18

46/67 7/19

47/67 8/19

50/71 10/21

54/72 12/22

57/77 13/25

61/82 16/27

62/83 16/28

60/82 15/27

56/77 13/25

50/71 10/21

46/66 7/18

INLAND EMPIRE

F° C°

37/62 3/17

39/66 4/19

41/68 5/20

46/71 8/22

50/77 10/25

53/84 12/29

60/93 16/34

60/93 16/34

57/89 14/32

50/80 10/27

42/71 6/22

37/64 3/18

LOS ANGELES COUNTY

F° C°

48/65 8/18

49/66 9/18

50/68 10/20

53/70 11/21

56/73 13/22

58/76 14/24

62/82 16/27

63/82 17/27

61/81 16/27

58/77 14/25

53/73 11/22

50/68 10/20

CENTRAL COAST

F° C°

41/64 5/18

42/64 6/18

44/65 7/19

45/69 7/20

48/72 9/22

51/75 11/24

54/77 12/25

55/80 13/26

54/79 12/26

50/76 10/24

44/70 7/21

40/65 4/18

CENTRAL VALLEY

F° C°

38/53 3/11

41/59 5/15

43/64 6/17

47/72 8/22

53/80 11/26

58/88 14/31

63/94 17/34

62/92 16/33

58/87 14/30

51/77 10/25

43/63 6/17

38/53 3/11

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA

F° C°

46/56 7/13

48/60 8/15

49/61 9/16

50/63 10/17

51/64 10/17

53/66 11/18

54/66 12/18

54/66 12/18

56/70 13/21

55/69 12/20

51/64 10/17

47/57 8/13

GOLD COUNTRY

F° C°

38/53 3/11

41/60 5/15

43/64 6/17

46/71 7/21

50/80 10/26

55/87 12/30

58/93 14/33

58/91 14/32

56/88 13/31

50/78 10/25

43/64 6/17

38/53 3/11

HIGH SIERRA

F° C°

14/39 -9/3

17/43 -8/6

21/46 -6/7

26/54 -3/11

31/63 0/17

37/72 2/22

42/82 5/27

40/81 4/27

36/74 2/23

29/64 -1/17

22/49 -5/9

16/41 -8/4

NORTH COAST

F° C°

42/53 5/11

42/54 5/12

42/54 5/12

44/55 6/12

48/57 8/13

51/60 10/15

52/60 11/15

52/61 11/16

51/62 10/16

48/60 8/15

45/57 7/13

43/55 6/12

SHASTA CASCADE

F° C°

36/55 2/12

38/61 3/16

43/6 6/18

48/73 8/22

53/81 11/27

60/89 15/31

66/98 18/36

62/97 16/36

57/91 13/32

50/81 10/27

40/65 4/18

35/55 1/12

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»

MEDICAL CARE & TRAVEL INSURANCE DRIVING REGULATIONS

Visitor Medical Insurance plans are designed to cover medical expenses resulting from a sudden illness or injury while visiting the USA or other countries. Typically, visitor insurance plans offer benefits to cover inpatient hospital, outpatient doctor ojjfice visits, surgery and prescription drug expenses.

LICENSE/DOCUMENTATION: You must have a valid driver’s license from a U.S. state or foreign country. Minimum driving age is 16. For more information about California driver’s license regulations, call 1-800-777-0133. SEATBELT: By law, everyone in a vehicle must wear a seatbelt. Children under the age of eight (8) must be secured in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat. Infants should stay in rearfacing seats until they weigh at least 20 pounds, can pull themselves up to stand, or reach one year of age.

Go One Global Corporation 1-800-257-7718 g1g.com Distributor of online travel and international medical insurance products and services.

HELMETS: Motorcycle helmets must be worn by all motorcycle riders, as well as their passengers. Bicycle riders under the age of 18 must wear helmets.

Insubuy 1-866-467-8289 insubuy.com Provides a variety of short—term medical insurance for foreigners visiting the USA.

SPEED LIMITS: These are posted in miles-per-hour (mph). Generally, the speed limit on multilane freeways is 65 mph. On two-lane highways it is usually 55 mph. The speed limit on city streets is usually 25-35 mph. In residential areas, near schools and in areas with heavy foot traffic, the speed limit is almost always 25 mph.

International Services, Inc. 1-877-593-5403 nriol.net Financial services company with focus on providing quality insurance for U.S. residents, travel insurance for tourists, and medical insurance for international students.

CARPOOL LANES: Major urban areas have carpool lanes (or “diamond lanes”) identified by small black-and-white signs and by diamonds painted on the roadway. To drive in a carpool lane, you must usually have two people (including the driver) in the car. Some carpool lanes in the San Francisco Bay Area require three people (including the driver).

Multichoice Insurance Services 1-855-444-6247 insurancemultichoice.com Fast, simple, online (secured) and effective way to fulfill travel insurance needs.

Patriot America 1-877-778-4562

CELL PHONES: The Wireless Communications Device Law makes it an infraction to write, send or read text-based communication on an electronic wireless communications device, such as a cell phone, while driving a motor vehicle. Drivers must also use a hands-free device when speaking on a cell phone.

patriotamericainsurance.net Worldwide travel medical insurance for non-U.S. citizens traveling outside of their citizenship country.

ACCIDENTS: You must report accidents to the California Department of Motor Vehicles if injury or death occurs, or if damage exceeds $750. DRINKING AND DRIVING: It is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol (blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher).

Visitors Care 1-877-593-5403 visitorscareinsurance.net Low Cost Travel Medical Insurance for all non-US citizens traveling to the United States.

USA-Assist Worldwide Protect

ROAD CONDITIONS: The California Department of Transportation maintains a free 24-hour hotline for information at 1-800-427-7623. In the San Francisco Bay Area, dial 511 on your phone to get up-to-the-minute transportation information.

1-877-539-8619 usa-assist.com Provides travel insurance, assistance and protection to all kinds of travelers, including groups and business travelers worldwide.

OTHER: Roundabouts are uncommon in California. Most intersections are either signed by traffic lights or by stop signs. Unless signed otherwise, it is legal to make a right turn on a red light after you come to a complete stop.

»

RESOURCES FOR THE DISABLED

RESOURCES FOR THE DISABLED ACCESS NORTHERN CALIFORNIA: A non-profit organization dedicated to providing increased opportunities and improving access to travel and outdoor recreation for people with disabilities throughout Northern California. Website (accessnca.org) has a large resource section with lodging, parks, transportation, adaptive recreation and more. ACCESSIBLE SAN DIEGO: This is a non-profit information center for travelers with disabilities in San Diego County. Information available via their website (asd.travel) and they publish an annual guide available via download or hard copy.

CAR RENTAL: Avis Rent a Car has an “Avis Access” program that offers a dedicated 24-hour toll-free number (1-888-879-4273) for customers with special travel needs; special car features such as swivel seats, spinner knobs and hand controls; and accessible bus service. HEARING IMPAIRED ASSISTANCE: Dial 711 for TDD-to-voice or voice-to-TDD relays. LOS ANGELES HANDICAPPED TOURIST ACCESSIBILITY GUIDE: Available online at latourist.com. Includes accessible tourist attractions, hiking trails, outdoor activities, transportation and more. NATIONAL PARKS: Free access to national parks is available to U.S. citizens and residents who have a

permanent disability. The Golden Access Passport is available at any National Park Service Headquarters. STATE PARKS: The California Department of Parks and Recreation offers a Disabled Discount Pass which provides a 50 percent discount for use of all basic facilities (including day use parking, camping and boat/day use parking fees) at any unit of the California State Park System operated by the State Department of Parks and Recreation. Cost is $3.50 and is available online (parks.ca.gov) or by calling 1800-777-0369. TRAIN TRAVEL: All rail services in California are wheelchair accessible. In addition, Amtrak offers a 15% discount to travelers with disabilities (1-800872-7245 or amtrak.com).

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RESOURCES »

AIR DISTANCES BETWEEN SELECTED CITIES SAN DIEGO (SAN)

PALM SPRINGS (PSP)

LOS ANGELES (LAX)

SAN JOSE (SJC)

SAN FRANCISCO (SFO)

SACRAMENTO (SMF)

SAN DIEGO

mile/km/h

85/137/<1

109/175/<1

417/671/1

437/703/1

480/772/1

LOS ANGELES

mile/km/h

109/175/<1

110/176/<1

308/495/1

327/527/1

373/600/1

SAN FRANCISCO

mile/km/h

437/703/1

410/660/1

327/527/1

20/32/<1

84/135/<1

NEW YORK

mile/km/h

2440/3928/5

2373/3819/5

2469/3974/5

2562/4124/5

2570/4136/5

2514/4046/5

MIAMI

mile/km/h

2267/3649/5

2232/3593/4

2432/3769/5

2559/4118/5

2574/4142/5

2552/4107/5

CHICAGO

mile/km/h

1723/2773/3

1652/2658/3

1744/2807/3

1829/2944/4

1837/2956/4

1781/2867/4

DENVER

mile/km/h

853/1373/2

776/1249/2

862/1387/2

948/1526/2

957/1541/2

910/1464/2

SEATTLE

mile/km/h

1050/1690/2

987/1589/2

954/1535/2

696/1121/2

682/1097/2

605/974/2

TORONTO

mile/km/h

2157/3472/5

2085/3355/5

2176/3501/5

2245/3612/5

2251/3622/5

2191/3526/4

VANCOUVER

mile/km/h

1177/1894/2

1114/1793/2

1080/1739/2

819/1318/2

804/1293/2

729/1173/2

h = flight time rounded to nearest number of hours; <1 = less than 1 hour

»

DRIVING DISTANCES SAN DIEGO

PALM SPRINGS

LOS ANGELES

SANTA BARBARA

MONTEREY

SAN JOSE

SAN FRANCISCO SACRAMENTO

YOSEMITE

LAKE TAHOE

REDDING

SAN DIEGO

mile/km

126/203

127/204

218/351

450/724

468/753

514/827

509/819

482/776

604/972

664/1069

PALM SPRINGS

mile/km

126/203

114/183

204/328

453/729

447/719

487/784

490/789

468/753

591/951

651/1048

LOS ANGELES

mile/km

127/204

114/183

91/146

327/526

347/558

387/623

388/624

359/578

484/779

544/875

SANTA BARBARA

mile/km

218/351

204/328

91/146

242/389

286/460

327/526

379/610

398/641

500/805

535/861

MONTEREY

mile/km

450/724

453/729

327/526

242/389

69/111

114/183

188/303

203/327

284/457

316/509

SAN FRANCISCO

mile/km

514/827

487/784

387/623

327/526

114/183

44/71

90/145

182/293

185/298

217/349

YOSEMITE

mile/km

482/776

468/753

359/578

398/641

203/327

174/280

182/293

196/315

198/319

247/397

LAKE TAHOE

mile/km

604/972

591/951

484/779

500/805

284/457

214/344

185/298

102/164

198/319

256/412

190 2015

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»

NATIONAL PARKS & HISTORIC SITES

Arranged north to south. Lava Beds National Monument, Tulelake Rugged landscape dotted with diverse volcanic features. Hiking, camping. nps.gov/labe Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, Whiskeytown Mountain lake recreation area. Hiking, mountain biking, camping, water sports. nps.gov/whis Redwood National and State Parks, Del Norte & Humboldt counties An ancient coast redwood ecosystem that is home to the world’s tallest trees. Park is comprised of 112,000 acres of forests, rivers and wild coastline. Hiking, camping. nps.gov/redw Lassen Volcanic National Park, Mineral Large group of volcanic domes set in the Cascade Mountains. Hiking, camping, geothermal pools. nps.gov/lavo Point Reyes National Seashore, Point Reyes Rare undeveloped California coastline hosting myriad plant, animal and marine life. Hiking, mountain biking, bird and whale watching. nps.gov/pore Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley Set just outside San Francisco, this old-growth forest leads down to Muir Beach. Hiking only. nps.gov/muwo Alcatraz Island, San Francisco The first lighthouse and fort on the West Coast that later became an (almost) inescapable federal prison. Tours. nps.gov/alca San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, San Francisco Located at Fisherman’s Wharf, this museum is host to a number of historic sailing vessels. Tours. nps.gov/safr Fort Point National Historic Site, San Francisco A decommissioned fort in the Presidio, you can tour the facility that began guarding the entrance to the Bay during the Civil War. nps.gov/fopo Presidio of San Francisco, San Francisco A former army post, this 1500-acre park contains a museum, national cemetery, historic architecture, miles of coastline and forested hiking trails. Tours, hiking, biking. nps.gov/prsf

Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco One of the world’s largest urban parks, the GGNRA encompasses venues from San Mateo to Marin counties and includes such sites as Alcatraz, Sutro Baths, Fort Funston, Crissy Field, Muir Woods and more. Hiking, cycling, camping, water sports, tours. nps.gov/goga

Manzanar National Historic Site, Independence Manzanar served as a relocation center for Japanese citizens during WWII. This internment camp is now a museum that illustrates the land’s past uses. Tours. nps.gov/manz

Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site, Danville The home of the famed American writer is now a museum, and can be visited by reservation only. Tours. nps.gov/euon

Pinnacles National Park, Paicines These massive monoliths, spires, sheer-walled canyons and talus passages are the remains of an ancient volcano. Hiking, camping, caving, backpacking, tours. nps.gov/pinn

Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial, Concord This memorial to the men and women who lost their lives loading munitions during WWII is located inside the Concord Naval Weapons Station. Tours. nps.gov/poch

Death Valley National Park, Death Valley Three million acres of mountains and desert terrain, Death Valley is also home to abandoned mines, Scotty’s Castle, hiking trails and large stands of Joshua Trees. Hiking, camping, tours. nps.gov/deva

Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park, Richmond One of the newest national parks, this park honors the men and women who worked behind the scenes during WWII. Includes the SS Red Oak Victory Ship, which is accessible to visitors. Tours. nps.gov/rori

Mojave National Preserve, Barstow Another desert wilderness covering 1.6 million acres, the Mojave is home to sand dunes, volcanic cinder cones, Joshua Tree forests and carpets of wildflowers. Hiking, camping, hunting, tours. nps.gov/moja

John Muir National Historic Site, Martinez John Muir is considered the father of the National Park Service. His home and Mt. Wanda are both part of this historic site. Hiking, tours. nps.gov/jomu Devils Postpile National Monument, Mammoth Lakes Devils Postpile formation is a geologic wonder towering 60 feet high and one of the world’s finest examples of columnar basalt. The area also boasts the 101-foot high Rainbow Falls and pristine mountain scenery. Hiking, camping. nps.gov/depo Yosemite National Park, the Sierra Nevada One of the first wilderness parks in the United States, and now a World Heritage Site, this famous park spans three counties and 760,000 acres. It is host to spectacular waterfalls, mountains, granite cliffs, forests and backcountry. Hiking, rock climbing, camping, backpacking, mountain biking, fishing, water sports, tours. nps.gov/yose Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, Southern Sierra Nevada in Tulare & Fresno counties Also known as the Land of the Giants, this park is home to huge mountains, rugged foothills, deep canyons, vast caverns, and some of the world’s largest trees. Hiking, camping, backpacking, rock climbing, tours. nps.gov/seki

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Thousand Oaks This park encompasses multiple mountains, parks and open space preserves and is one of the best examples of a Mediterranean climate ecosystem in the world. Hiking, camping, tours. nps.gov/samo Channel Islands National Park, Ventura This park is made up of a chain of five islands located off the Southern California coast and is also a national marine sanctuary. Hiking, camping, snorkeling, kayaking, birdwatching, tours. nps.gov/chis Joshua Tree National Park, Twentynine Palms This desert wilderness, composed of both the Mojave and Colorado deserts, lies atop hundreds of earthquake faults, allowing visitors to see unique rock formations throughout its 789,745 acres. Hiking, camping, backpacking, mountain biking, rock climbing, tours. nps.gov/jotr Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego Celebrating the first European to step on West Coast shores, this park boasts a monument, tidepools, trails, a lighthouse, museum and former military installations. Hiking, bird and whale watching. nps.gov/cabr

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RESOURCES » SAN DIEGO San Diego Museum of Art 1450 El Prado, San Diego 619-232-7931 sdmart.org Museum of Photographic Art 1649 El Prado, San Diego 619-238-7559 mopa.org Museum of Contemporary Art 700 Prospect Street, La Jolla 858-454-3541 mcasd.org Mingei International Museum 1439 El Prado, San Diego 619-239-0003 mingei.org LOS ANGELES & ORANGE COUNTY American Museum of Ceramic Art 340 S. Garey Avenue, Pomona 909-469-1121 pomonaartscolony.com/pages/amoca.html California African American Museum 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles 213-744-7432 caamuseum.org California Heritage Museum 2612 Main Street, Santa Monica 310-392-8537 californiaheritagemuseum.org Craft and Folk Art Museum 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles 323-937-4230 cafam.org The Huntington Library and Art Collections 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino 626-405-2100 huntington.org The J. Paul Getty Museum 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles 310-440-7300 getty.edu/museum The Getty Villa 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu 310-440-7300 getty.edu/museum Los Angeles County Museum of Art 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles 323-857-6000 lacma.org Museum of Contemporary Art 250 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles and The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA 152 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles 213-626-6222 moca.org Norton Simon Museum 411 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena 626-449-6840 nortonsimon.org Orange County Museum of Art 850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach 949-759-1122 ocma.net Pasadena Museum of California Art 490 E. Union Street, Pasadena 626-568-3665 pmcaonline.org

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ART MUSEUMS PALM SPRINGS Coda Gallery 73-151 El Paseo, Palm Desert 1-760-346-4661 codagallery.com/palm_desert Palm Springs Art Museum 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs 1-760-322-4800 psmuseum.org

John Natsoulas Center for the Arts 521 1st Street, Davis 530-756-3938 natsoulas.com

SAN JOSE San Jose Museum of Art 110 S. Market Street, San Jose 408-271-6840 sjmusart.org Cantor Arts Center Lomita Drive at Museum Way, Stanford 650-723-4177 museum.stanford.edu Triton Museum of Art 1505 Warburton Avenue, Santa Clara 408-247-3796 tritonmuseum.org Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana 510 South 1st Street, San Jose 408-998-2783 maclaarte.org

SANTA BARBARA Santa Barbara Museum of Art 1130 State Street, Santa Barbara 805-963-4364 sbmuseart.org

SAN FRANCISCO Asian Art Museum 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco 415-581-3500 asianart.org California Historical Society 678 Mission Street, San Francisco 415-357-1848 californiahistoricalsociety.org Cartoon Art Museum 655 Mission Street, San Francisco 415-227-8666 cartoonart.org The Contemporary Jewish Museum 736 Mission Street, San Francisco 415-655-7800 thecjm.org de Young Museum 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco 415-750-3600 deyoung.famsf.org Legion of Honor 100 34th Avenue, San Francisco 415-750-3600 legionofhonor.famsf.org Museum of African Diaspora 685 Mission Street, San Francisco 415-358-7200 moadsf.org San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) 151 Third Street, San Francisco 415-357-4000 sfmoma.org Closed for expansion until 2016. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 701 Mission Street, San Francisco 415-978-2787 ybca.org SACRAMENTO VALLEY Crocker Art Museum 216 O Street, Sacramento 916-808-7000 crockerartmuseum.org Viewpoint Photographic Art Center 2015 J Street, Sacramento 916-441-2341 viewpointgallery.org

OAKLAND Oakland Museum of California 1000 Oak Street, Oakland 510-451-3322 museumca.org

MONTEREY/CARMEL Monterey Museum of Art 559 Pacific Street, Monterey 831-372-5477 montereyart.org Center for Photographic Art San Carlos Street at 9th Avenue, Carmel-by-the-Sea 831-625-5181 photography.org SANTA CRUZ The Museum of Art & History at McPherson Center 705 Front Street, Santa Cruz 831-429-1964 santacruzmah.org MARIN COUNTY Marin Museum of Contemporary Art 500 Palm Drive, Novato 415-506-0137 marinmoca.org SAN LUIS OBISPO San Luis Obispo Museum of Art 1010 Broad Street, San Luis Obispo 805-543-8562 sloma.org IRVINE The Irvine Museum 18881 Von Karman Ave. Suite 100, Irvine 949-476-0294 irvinemuseum.org NAPA di Rosa Preserve 5200 Sonoma Highway, Napa 707-226-5991 dirosaart.org FRESNO Arte Américas 1630 Van Ness, Fresno 559-266-2623 arteamericas.org


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2015 Travel Guide to California  

California, travel, cites, cuisine, wine, museums, art, architecture, gardens, parks, golf, fun, movies, spas, casinos, railway, san francis...

2015 Travel Guide to California  

California, travel, cites, cuisine, wine, museums, art, architecture, gardens, parks, golf, fun, movies, spas, casinos, railway, san francis...

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