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10 Amazing Things To Do and See While In California

Updated on August 6, 2012

California is arguably one of the greatest states due to its diverse cultures and multitude of activities to partake in. The list is endless with what you can do here! The weather allows for sun tanning at the beach, spending a day in any one of the big cities, or snowboarding on Big Bear Mountain. In this hub, I’m going to go through the best 10 things, from north to south that I think you should do if you’re visiting California.

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1. Visit the Golden Gate Bridge:

This iconic landmark is known all over the world. You can see it on postcards, movies, and literally anything that has to do with visiting California. Located in northwest San Francisco, this bridge can take you up to the scenic area of Sausalito. Also, when you make it to the north side of the bridge, you are able to go to a beautiful vista for a nice photo op or to just take in the sights of the San Francisco Bay and the beautiful city to the south.

Entrance to Pier 39
Entrance to Pier 39

2. Take a Walk, Shop, and Dine on Pier 39:

Pier 39 is located on the eastern side of San Francisco. It has a perfect view of the infamous Alcatraz Prison as well as beautiful views of the bay. While here, you can take your family to the aquarium, mirror house, or any of the interesting little shops that are located along the pier. Eating here is truly amazing. They have clam chowder at Boudin's, seafood at Bubba Gump's, and amazing Italian at Swiss Louis. No matter where you dine, try to come right before sunset so that you can enjoy your delicious food with a stunning sunset across the bay. You can literally spend a whole day at Pier 39 if you chose to because of the many things there that you're able to do.

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3. Enjoy the City of San Francisco and All it Has to Offer:

A little fact: San Francisco is only 7x7 miles in area. With that being said it is the most densely populated city in the country! What can't you do here? There's Union Square where you can shop 'til you drop! One of the biggest shopping districts in the state, there are many notable stores lined up for you to spend your money at. You can visit the Haight-Ashbury district where you can reminisce on some history. Most notably, "The Summer of Love." Go to Chinatown and submerse yourself in the Chinese culture. You can also take a trip down to the SF zoo to visit the many animals that they have to offer. No matter what you do, there is something else that is always lined up and ready to go!

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4. Breathtaking Yosemite National Park:

Yosemite is known all around the world for its gorgeous views, gigantic trees, huge cliffs and overall beauty. If you want to get away from the many metropolises of California, take a trip out to Yosemite. Plan to stay a few nights and camp here while taking in all it offers. During the day, take advantage of the great weather and consider bike riding, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, and much more! Yosemite is truly an amazing experience, so don't miss out!

Six Flags Magic Mountain
Six Flags Magic Mountain

5. Thrills at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Located off the 5 freeway in Valencia, Six Flags Magic Mountain boasts some of the top thrills in the country. If you have children who enjoy mind-blowing roller coasters, Six Flags is way more than worth the trip. From the terrorizing drop on Goliath, to the many super hero rides, and the 100 MPH of Superman The Ride, there is something for even the craziest thrill fanatic to enjoy. One trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain, you'll be planning your next vacation there before you leave the park.

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6. Venice Beach...There's Nothing Like It:

Have you ever seen a "beach bum?" If not, come to Venice beach and you will see people who look as if they live there. You'd pretty much be right considering many people make a living off of the things that they do at Venice. Henna tattoos are popular at the boardwalk, along with many artists leaving their paintings out to be sold. There's definitely many food options to choose from and enjoy. Also along the boardwalk are many little shops where people sell things from bracelets, to clothes, and to posters of the famous. We haven't even discussed the beach yet! If none of this is for you, there is of course the beautiful beach with warm sand, gorgeous views of the ocean, and the California coast to the north.

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7. "The Happiest Place on Earth" ... Disneyland!!!

Disneyland is iconic with California culture. Located in Anaheim, Disneyland is probably the biggest family attraction in this great state. There is something to do for everybody. For children, there are many smaller rides with less of a thrill, but are still enjoyable for them. Teenagers can enjoy more exciting rides such as The Matterhorn and Space Mountain. Adults can spend a whole day with their families and then later go take a trip to Downtown Disney. Connected to Disneyland is California Adventures which is a newer park that attracts the same crowd as Disneyland. If you decide to make the trip to Anaheim, I recommend that you get the "Park Hopper" tickets which allow you to go to both parks at your own convenience. The fireworks display at night is truly spectacular because you feel so close to them and they don't lose your attention. You'll truly enjoy yourself by taking a trip to Disneyland with the family.

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8. Head to the Snow at Big Bear Mountain:

Big Bear boasts the other extreme that California offers. In the winter, you can enjoy the snow by skiing, snowboarding, or having a snow day with the family in sleds. Even in the snow, the sun seems to still shine a lot, giving way to amazing weather and an overall great day. If you choose to go during the warmer season, take a trip to Big Bear lake and wakeboard, go fishing, or do both! Big Bear offers many things to do and to stay busy with. This is a different side to California that can't be passed up.

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9. Old Town San Diego, First Settling:

Old Town San Diego is known as the birthplace of California. With rich history, it is the southern most city in the state and the first city that Spanish missionaries settled. There is some of the best Mexican food that I have had the privilege of tasting located in Old Town. Also, there are many little side shops that carry jewelry, clothes, and other little trinkets. Many people show off their interesting hobbies such as building mini vehicles out of old soda cans. It is also the home to the haunted Whaley House. The house is said to have spirits and is renowned as one of the most haunted spots in the country! If scary places aren't your thing, there is much more to do and enjoy in Old Town San Diego.

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10. Coronado and It's Beauty:

Last, but not least is Coronado. It is located in south San Diego, not too far from Old Town. It is accessible by the well known Coronado bridge. Here, you can enjoy a day at the beach or camp out during the warmer season. Enjoy a gondola ride and treat yourself to a hint of Venice, Italy without ever having to leave the country. Rent a Segway and tour the area in style. The beaches here are one of a kind and should become an all day trip so that you have ample time to take in the sun and then watch it slowly set over the horizon.

Enjoy Your Time!

California has SO much to offer. Whether you live here or you're planning a vacation, make sure you take some time to make it to these great places and enjoy all the California brings to the table. There truly is nothing like this beautiful, endless state.

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    • mbyL profile image

      Slaven Cvijetic 5 years ago from Switzerland, Zurich

      Very good suggestions!

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 5 years ago from California

      Don't forget Old Town Sacramento, California. It's still a fun and educational place to visit even after they put in the parking meters. Later!

    • Emayordomo profile image
      Author

      Emayordomo 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Great idea VibrantViews! Thanks!

    • tipstoretireearly profile image

      tipstoretireearly 5 years ago from New York

      Coronado is a wonderful place with breathtaking Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay views!

    • Emayordomo profile image
      Author

      Emayordomo 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      thanks! I've never actually been there! But I'll definitely give it a try!

    • Lovelovemeloveme profile image

      Lovelovemeloveme 5 years ago from Cindee's Land

      thanks! Oh oh! can i also suggest "boiling crab" they don't have it here in Canada. It's SOooOOoo good. It's in O.C

    • Emayordomo profile image
      Author

      Emayordomo 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Thank you for the kind comments! These are definitely some of the best things to do here!

    • bizzymom profile image

      bizzymom 5 years ago from New York

      Thank you for this very useful and interesting hub. I plan on visiting California next summer with my family. I will definitely be using this hub as a guideline!

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