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Things to do in California

Things to do in  California

Welcome to California

From southern California’s beachy San Diego and star-studded Los Angeles to history-steeped San Francisco and quieter towns in the north, the Golden State serves up an endless array of destinations and activities. Cruise out to Alcatraz, the famed former prison in the San Francisco Bay, or visit Catalina Island on a boat trip from Long Beach or Dana Point. Outdoor adventures in Yosemite National Park, skiing in Lake Tahoe, or a stroll down the Santa Monica Pier give a glimpse of the state’s majestic natural features. Visit LA to stroll on the Walk of Fame, hit the theme parks in Anaheim, or hike up to snap a photo in front of the Hollywood sign. Monterey and Carmel are home to miles of coastline, a wealth of marine life, and world-class golf facilities. Both the San Diego Zoo and the Monterey Bay Aquarium are considered the top wildlife facilities in their categories, home to an incredible array of animals and opportunities to learn about our non-human neighbors. California’s miles of farm country mean dining opportunities include farm-fresh, high-quality meat and produce. Foodies can dig into fish tacos in SoCal, munch sourdough bread in San Francisco, or hit the wine trail in Napa and Sonoma.

Top 10 attractions in California

#1
Aquarium of the Pacific

Aquarium of the Pacific

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One of Long Beach’s top attractions, the Aquarium of the Pacific is home to at least 11,000 aquatic animals across more than 50 exhibits that reflect the marine life of the Pacific Ocean. The nonprofit organization is the largest aquarium in Southern California and one of the most visited in the United States.More
#2
Carlsbad Village

Carlsbad Village

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Carlsbad Village is the downtown area at the heart—and waterfront—of Carlsbad, a fun-loving Southern California beach town. Visitors to Carlsbad spend most of their time in the village, as it’s where most of the shops, restaurants, and hotels are found, including the famous Carlsbad Inn: a Bavarian looking hotel on the corner of Carlsbad Village Drive and Ocean Street. A visit the Carlsbad Mineral Water Spa is a great way to relax with a massage or spa treatment using the local alkaline artisan mineral water. To mingle and pick up fresh local fruits, stop in at the Carlsbad Farmer’s Market, which happens every Wednesday. And of course the beaches and boardwalk that run along Carlsbad Village are the main draw. Tamarack Beach is a great, centrally located stretch that’s ideal for bike riding, surfing or sunbathing.More
#3
Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls

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The highest measured waterfall in North America and the sixth-highest in the world, Yosemite Falls is the superstar attraction in Yosemite National Park. With a cumulative drop of 2,425 feet (739 meters), Yosemite Falls comprises three falls and is especially stunning in late spring when the snow melts and water flow is at its peak.More
#4
Alcatraz

Alcatraz

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Alcatraz, the former federal prison that once held notorious criminals Scarface Al Capone and George 'Machine Gun' Kelly, is today a national historic landmark and one of the most sought-out (and sold-out) attractions in the San Francisco Bay Area. Tour the remains of the maximum-security facility on small and windy Alcatraz Island, aptly nicknamed 'The Rock,' to scope out the grounds and cellhouse; hear stories from former inmates; and pass by the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, and Angel Island on your 1.25-mile (2-km) ferry rides in and out.More
#5
Hollywood Sign

Hollywood Sign

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One of LA's most distinguishing icons, the famous Hollywood Sign proudly stands on Mt. Lee (Mount Lee) in the Hollywood Hills, overlooking Los Angeles and the California movie industry it has come to symbolize. This LA landmark first appeared on its hillside perch in 1923 as an advertising gimmick for a real-estate development called Hollywoodland. Each letter stands 50 feet (15 meters) tall and is made of sheet metal painted white.More
#6
California State Capitol and Museum

California State Capitol and Museum

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Completed in 1874, the neoclassical California State Capitol building houses both a museum and the seat of California’s government. It is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and features artwork and monuments and artifacts from California’s history, both inside and on the surrounding grounds.More
#7
Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1)

Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1)

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The Pacific Coast Highway—also known as PCH or, more commonly, Highway 1—runs north-south along most of the United States’ West Coast. The incredibly scenic California stretch is known for its oceanfront locales, rugged cliffs, hidden coves, and numerous beaches, making it one of the nation’s most popular road-trip routes. From San Francisco to San Diego and the many charming stops in between, it’s truly one of the most naturally beautiful places on the planet to take a drive.More
#8
Napa Valley Wine Train

Napa Valley Wine Train

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Just an hour from one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States, the Napa Valley Wine Train in California distills the essence of the wine country into a single day of wining, dining, and riding through the countryside on an antique train.More
#9
San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

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The world-famous San Diego Zoo presents a stunning variety of nature’s largest, smallest, exotic, and most endangered creatures. The epic zoo has more than 3,700 animals representing over 800 species in a beautifully landscaped 100 acres (40.5 hectares), typically in lush enclosures that replicate their natural habitat. San Diego Zoo is considered to be one of the best and well-known zoos in the world, and is a must-see attraction in sunny Southern California.More
#10
Williamson Wines

Williamson Wines

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Australian natives and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Bill and Dawn Williamson create their award-winning Sonoma County wines from a dozen of their own sustainably farmed vineyards strung along the Dry Creek Valley, which is famed for it’s wine friendly conditions. With vineyards across three different microclimates, Williamson Wines specializes in many varietals, including Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhone style wines. Visitors looking to sample their wines don’t need to venture outside of Healdsburg however, as the winery’s tasting room is located downtown, where tasters can enjoy a complimentary wine sample, or reserve a table to try a more immersive experience, with artfully prepared food and wine pairings, including cheese plates dusted with Williamson’s famous truffle salt.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in California

Skip the Ticketing Line: Aquarium of the Pacific General Admission Ticket
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San Diego Harbor Cruise

San Diego Harbor Cruise

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US$28.00
San Diego Premier Dinner Cruise
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San Diego Premier Dinner Cruise

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US$117.18
Straight to the Gate Access: Golden Gate Bay Cruise
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San Francisco Dinner Dance Cruise

San Francisco Dinner Dance Cruise

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Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Full-Day Tour from San Francisco
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San Diego Zoo Safari Park Ticket

San Diego Zoo Safari Park Ticket

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US$62.00
Full-Day Iconic Sights of LA, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Beaches and More
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San Diego Whale Watching Cruise
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San Diego Whale Watching Cruise

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US$85.00
San Diego Zoo Ticket

San Diego Zoo Ticket

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US$62.00
Muir Woods and Sausalito Half Day Tour (Optional Sausalito Ferry Ticket)
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Alcatraz Inside with Fisherman's Wharf Lunch Credit
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Recent reviews from experiences in California

star-5
Amazing Views
Michael_B, Jan. 2021
Hollywood Sightseeing and Celebrity Homes Tour by Open-Top Bus
Without even having to spend money on Uber to see places i have always wanted to see i was able to do so by simply being on this tour.
star-5
Fun trip
Randy_H, Aug. 2020
M.S Dixie II Sunset Dinner Cruise
The California forest fires made it tough to see the views.
star-5
Muir Woods
Susan_P, Mar. 2020
Muir Woods Tour of California Coastal Redwoods (Entrance fee included)
Highly recommend this tour to see the great California Redwoods.
star-5
Birthday trip
simonenieves1, Feb. 2020
Hollywood Sightseeing Tour from Orange County
We got to see & experience California more than we could ever imagine.
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Wonderful!
IlianaMircheva, Nov. 2019
Yosemite National Park and Giant Sequoias Day Trip from San Francisco
It was a pleasure to visit such a wonderful place and to know more about the wonders of the nature in California.
star-4
Good tour to do
Phillegeek, Jul. 2019
San Francisco Super Saver: Muir Woods & Wine Country w/ optional Gourmet Lunch
It is a good tour to do if you want in the same day to see the famous redwoods from California and get a taste of the wine country.
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Long day but worth it!
P2mee, Jun. 2019
Small-Group Yosemite Day Tour from San Francisco
We may never get another chance to see a national park so we were delighted we didnt let journey time put us off.
star-5
This was a very wonderful tour! Our...
Janelle J, Aug. 2017
The Perfect Blend: Napa and Sonoma Combo Wine Tour from San Francisco
We had a wonderfully relaxing time getting to see California's beautiful wine country.
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This is absolutely the way to go...
Valerie T, Sep. 2017
California Academy of Sciences Behind-the-Scenes VIP Tour
Not only do you get a behind the scenes tour, but you also get to skip the line for several attractions inside as well as skipping the line to enter the facility.
star-5
Nice half day trip up and down the...
Dillonla, Jul. 2017
Monterey, Carmel and 17-Mile Drive - Full Day Tour from San Francisco
Its a worth it trip in my opinion to see some of California's most iconic beaches.
star-4
Great Little places to visit, get to...
Gino C, Sep. 2017
Monterey, Carmel and 17-Mile Drive - Full Day Tour from San Francisco
Great Little places to visit, get to see a lot of the coastline and place that made California what it is today, heaps of history, great commentary
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All day trip to The park with 3...
Dillonla, Jul. 2017
Yosemite National Park - Full Day Tour from San Francisco
All day trip to The park with 3 hours of exploring time at the Yosemite falls with plenty of outdoor places to explore and great scenes.
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Very convenient for public...
Sheila R, May 2015
San Francisco CityPASS
The activities included were also a great value.
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It's a wonderful trip with ample...
Selina C Y, Jul. 2014
Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Full-Day Tour from San Francisco
It's a wonderful trip with ample time to visit the wineries and lunch break.
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Very enjoyable and affordable. Great...
Neil S, Feb. 2015
Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Full-Day Tour from San Francisco
Go for the experience and chance to see a lot and learn a lot about the history of California's most famous wine country.
star-4
We have toured the California...
Robert M, Jun. 2014
California Academy of Sciences General Admission Ticket
It is one of many interesting attractions in San Francisco.
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It was fun at Universal Studios...
Sandra P, Jun. 2013
Universal Studios Hollywood General Admission Ticket
It was fun at Universal Studios - one day is find and be sure to see Universal Walk and Fly California - the grandkids loved it!
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California Academy of Sciences is an...
Kailash M, Jun. 2013
California Academy of Sciences General Admission Ticket
California Academy of Sciences is an amazing place to visit during San Francisco Visit..
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Great tour to get a glimpse of Yosemite but don't expect sequoias during winter time
Fanny E, Jan. 2020
Yosemite National Park and Giant Sequoias Day Trip from San Francisco
I would have given the tour a five, our tour guide is definitely worth it, but it is promoted as a tour also going to the sequoias during the winter (if it is not too dangerous).
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Wonderful Wine Tour of Sonoma
Jackie B, Nov. 2019
San Francisco Super Saver: Muir Woods & Wine Country w/ optional Gourmet Lunch
Happy to see it along the way to the vineyards!

All about California

When to visit

Home to everything from cities, deserts, and mountains to beaches, national parks, and redwood groves, California caters to year-round actvities. During the warmer months, cool down in the Pacific Ocean or hike Yosemite. When winter arrives, hit the slopes of Lake Tahoe for top-notch skiing or enjoy winter sun in SoCal.

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the top things to do in California?
Q:
What are the top activities in California?
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What are the top things to do near California?
Q:
What do I need to know before visiting California?