Things to do & places to visit in California, United States

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California is a fertile, peaceful place where you’ll find a near-equal balance of vineyards and deserts, beaches and mountains, hippies and traditionalists. Catch an epic wave in Big Sur or swirl a glass in Napa Valley. Be dazzled by the Joshua Tree night sky or just star-gaze in Hollywood. Swish down the slopes of a Tahoe ski resort, or cruise across the Golden Gate Bridge with the top down and the music blasting. Above all, don’t forget to soak up some Golden State sunshine.

California #2 destination in United States 2023. The average rating score is 4.44 based on 1.4m traveler reviews, of 7.763 attractions. Timezone: America/Los_Angeles, current date and time: Friday, December 08, 2023, 21:55.

Top things to do (37)

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Top places to visit (30 attractions) view more »

  1. 5.0 USS Midway Museum (25.4k reviews) from $31.00
    - Discover the Fascinating World of the USS Midway Museum
    Friday: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM Spent More than 3 hours Speciality Museums
    USS Midway Museum image
    Located in downtown San Diego, the USS Midway (Museum) was America’s longest-serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century. Today, the interactive museum is an unforgettable adventure for the entire family as guests walk in the footsteps of the 225,000 young men who served on Midway. Visitors explore a floating city at sea, the amazing flight deck and its 29 restored aircraft, flight simulators, and are inspired in the Battle of Midway Theater, included with admission. Admission also includes a self-guided audio tour narrated by Midway sailors in English, Mandarin, Spanish, Japanese, French and German. Visiting Midway is a once-in-a-lifetime experience in San Diego, known around the world as "Navy Town, USA." See more..
  2. 5.0 The Getty Center (14.7k reviews)
    - Not to be missed!
    Friday: 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM Spent 2-3 hours Speciality Museums
    The Getty Center image
    The Getty Center in Los Angeles is an astounding place to spend a day marveling at world-class art and relaxing in beautifully manicured gardens. Take the tram up to this lavish postmodern complex, which houses a sprawling museum featuring masterpieces by the likes of Van Gogh, Monet, and Cezanne. You can also enjoy superb views of the city from the Cactus Garden, and savor a delicious contemporary menu at the center's restaurant. You can visit the complex for free, though there is a parking fee. To skip the lines, book a museum tour to delve deeper into the art with the help of a knowledgeable guide. – Tripadvisor See more..
  3. 5.0 Point Lobos (4.847 reviews)
    - Worth it to spend a few hours and get great photos!
    Friday: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM State Parks
    Point Lobos image
    Home to a rich marine habitat, this nature reserve is popular for both whale-watching (in winter) and spotting sea lions (all year round). With amazing natural landscapes, it's great for hiking along the ocean or simply strolling around and taking in the magnificent rocky coastline lined with rare Monterey cypress trees. If you’re into water activities, go kayaking or even scuba diving among 70-foot-high kelp forests and diverse marine life. Parking spaces are limited, so get there in the early morning to grab a spot. Otherwise, sign up for a guided tour that will take you straight into the reserve. – Tripadvisor See more..
  4. 4.5 Alcatraz Island (55.9k reviews)
    - Hard Time, Now Historic
    Spent 2-3 hours Historic Sites • Islands
    Alcatraz Island image
    Alcatraz Island was once the most secure federal prison in the U.S., and held notorious inmates like Al Capone. After being decommissioned in 1963, the prison is now a museum, welcoming millions of curious travelers every year. Catch the ferry on Pier 33 to Alcatraz and explore the island at your own pace as you soak up the views of San Francisco and the bay. You can take a guided tour with a park ranger to learn more about the intriguing anecdotes about the facility’s fascinating history. But book your spots early—tickets sell out fast. – Tripadvisor See more..
  5. 4.5 Golden Gate Bridge (49.7k reviews)
    - Bridge that gap.
    Spent More than 3 hours Historic Sites • Points of Interest & Landmarks • Bridges
    Golden Gate Bridge image
    Stretching 4,200 feet and towering as high as a 65-story building, this well-known bridge is the gateway to San Francisco. See more..
  6. 4.5 Universal Studios Hollywood (37.0k reviews) from $109.00
    - Buy the fast pass
    Friday: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM Spent More than 3 hours Amusement & Theme Parks
    Universal Studios Hollywood image
    Get ready for the ultimate Hollywood experience! Find a full day of action-packed entertainment all in one place: thrilling theme park rides and shows, a real working movie studio, and Los Angeles’ best shops, restaurants and cinemas at CityWalk. Universal Studios Hollywood is a unique experience that’s fun for the whole family. Explore Universal Studios backlot on the legendary Studio Tour. Then face the action head on in heart-pounding rides, shows and attractions that put you inside some of the world’s biggest movies. End your day with the energy and excitement of Universal CityWalk. All this and much more. Only at Universal Studios Hollywood, The Entertainment Capital of L.A. See more..
  7. 4.5 San Diego Zoo (28.9k reviews) from $118.00
    - Always a Great Time.
    Spent 2-3 hours Zoos
    San Diego Zoo image
    The San Diego Zoo pioneered cageless exhibits and offers travelers a fun and informative experience. Featuring over 4000 animals, the park gives you a peek into the wildlife of several ecosystems, from deserts to rainforests. Ride the tour bus, which crosses three quarters of the zoo’s area, and learn more about the animals from the guide as you view them in their natural habitats. You can also hop on the Skyfari gondola lift to see the entire park from above. Tickets to the San Diego Zoo that also cover the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido are available for a discount. – Tripadvisor See more..
  8. 4.5 Disneyland Park (27.8k reviews) from $285.00
    - Great family experience
    Friday: 8:00 AM - 12:00 AM Amusement & Theme Parks
    Disneyland Park image
    Disneyland is one of the funnest places I’ve taken my family to. The amount of thought that goes into every last detail there is amazing. Staff are all very friendly, happy and helpful. It definitely gets busy, so arriving early is a good idea. Security lineups moved very quickly, which is nice having bags ready for inspection helps speed up the process too. Food inside the park can be a bit pricey so sometimes packing a lunch is a good option. Rides are so much fun. Very small children can be taken on over 50% of the rides. Genie pass is most definitely worth it. My only complaint is that the volume seems to have been turned up 100% since we were last there 7 years ago. So if you have a child with sensory issue, be sure to bring along noise cancelling ear protection, I sure wish I had. See more..
  9. 4.5 Cable Cars (25.4k reviews)
    - Amazing
    Friday: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM Spent < 1 hour Trams
    Cable Cars image
    Since 1873, cable cars have run up and down the hilly city, though after the 1950s, these cars have been kept in operation more out of historic nostalgia. Seventeen miles of track remain and have been deemed a historical landmark. See more..
  10. 4.5 Griffith Observatory (20.5k reviews)
    - Deceptively Big, Highly Engaging
    Friday: 12:00 PM - 10:00 PM Spent < 1 hour Observatories & Planetariums
    Griffith Observatory image
    A public observatory in Los Angeles, Griffith Observatory has been featured in many movies, from 'Rebel Without a Cause' to 'La La Land'. Nestled on Mount Hollywood, Griffith Observatory boasts some of the best views of the city—the best time to visit is at sunset. Inside, the observatory offers quite the experience as well—it has a planetarium, various exhibits, free-to-use telescopes, and more. The best part? Admission is free and it’s easily accessible with plenty of parking. Make a day out of your visit at Griffith Park, where you’ll find hiking trails and horseback riding. – Tripadvisor See more..
  11. 4.5 Lombard Street (18.3k reviews)
    - Amazing street
    Points of Interest & Landmarks • Scenic Walking Areas
    Lombard Street image
    San Francisco's most famous winding street showcases eight sharp switchbacks and stretches down a steep slope from the Presidio East to The Embarcadero. See more..
  12. 4.5 Disney California Adventure Park (15.7k reviews) from $285.00
    - Fun in spite of the rain
    Friday: 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM Spent More than 3 hours Amusement & Theme Parks • Disney Parks & Activities
    Disney California Adventure Park image
    Buckle up for an exhilarating ride around Pixar Pier on the Incredicoaster, zoom through the desert landscape of Cars Land on Radiator Springs Racers, and explore a campus created for the next generation of Super Heroes at Avengers Campus. See more..
  13. 4.5 Monterey Bay Aquarium (14.4k reviews)
    - All aquarium lovers should come here!
    Friday: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM Spent More than 3 hours Aquariums
    Monterey Bay Aquarium image
    Located by the oceanfront, the Monterey Bay Aquarium offers a window into the rich marine life of the area with over 200 exhibits and 80,000 plants and animals on display. Here, you can see leopard sharks weave through kelp forests at one of the tallest aquarium exhibits in the world, sardines swimming past a 90-foot aquarium window, and cute sea otters frolicking. Tickets are only available online so be sure to book before you go. There’s also a behind-the-scenes tour for an exclusive peek behind their world-class exhibits. – Tripadvisor See more..
  14. 4.5 La Jolla Cove (13.7k reviews)
    - The Most Exciting Beach
    Spent More than 3 hours Beaches • Parks
    La Jolla Cove image
    At this beach surronded by sandstone cliffs on the San Diego coast, the water is calm enough for travelers to enjoy diving and snorkeling. Walk along the rocky shore to spot large colonies of sea lions lounging in their natural habitat and looking after their pups, and have a picnic while soaking up the views of the ocean from the cliffs at sunset. If you visit at low tide, you’ll get to swim in the crystal clear tidal pools as well. You can also visit Sunny Jim's Sea Cave which is accessible via a tunnel. Visit early in the morning to find a parking space more easily. – Tripadvisor See more..
  15. 4.5 Balboa Park (13.0k reviews)
    - A gorgeous park that is a must-visit
    Friday: 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM Spent More than 3 hours Parks • Gardens • Playgrounds
    Balboa Park image
    This 1,200-acre nature park comprises 17 museums, gardens, musical theaters, a sports complex, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. The park’s Spanish-Moorish architecture and 19 distinct gardens (some require admission fees) attract both tourists and locals. Don’t miss the San Diego Air and Space Museum, the Spanish Village Art Center for unique handicrafts, and the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, where free concerts are hosted in the evenings. Travelers recommend putting aside the whole day to explore the park. To make the most of your time, hop on the Balboa Park trams (they’re free!) to get around. – Tripadvisor See more..
  16. 4.5 17-Mile Drive (12.6k reviews)
    - Stunning!
    Scenic Drives
    17-Mile Drive image
    Take in the stunning coastal scenery of Monterey along the 17-Mile Drive. This scenic road, which winds through Pebble Beach's gated community, offers panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and other natural landscapes. Amid the beautiful mansions and golf courses, you can see pelicans diving from sea stacks, have a refreshing dip at Fanshell Beach, and watch the seals and sea lions from the Pescadero Point lookout. And don't forget the iconic Lone Cypress tree. There is a toll for non-residents to access 17-Mile Drive, but you can get it reimbursed with a minimum spend at Pebble Beach. Consider a driving tour from San Francisco or a bike tour of Monterey's beautiful coastline. – Tripadvisor See more..
  17. 4.5 Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood (10.1k reviews)
    - Fun to be Had
    Friday: 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM Movie & TV Tours
    Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood image
    I hope so much fun learning all the history and seeing where so many of my favorite movies/tv shows are made. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and took the time to see what shows we enjoyed and really specialized the tour to us. We really enjoyed every part of it. The Harry Potter and DC parts are extremely interactive which was exciting. Stage 48 is amazing with pictures available on the Friends and Big Bang Theory sets! The whole Friends Experience is marvelous. So many photo ops and set set ups. The Friends fountain photo op was so much fun. The gift shop was spectacular. Everything was so fun and I 10000/10 recommend. See more..
  18. 4.5 Golden Gate Park (9.598 reviews)
    - A Must See
    Spent 1-2 hours Parks
    Golden Gate Park image
    The third most visited park in the United States, this green urban space has plenty of gardens, wildlife, museums, and art to enjoy. See more..
  19. 4.5 Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (9.470 reviews) from $30.00
    - Nice attraction, with issues
    Friday: 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM Trams
    Palm Springs Aerial Tramway image
    Stretching just over three miles, these spectacular caves beneath the hills east of Nerja contain impressive stalactite and stalagmites formations. Discovered by accident in 1959, the cave has many well-marked routes, though not all are open to the public because of conservation and archaeological efforts. Cave paintings, fossils and skeletal remains have been excavated here, which you can find displayed at the Nerja Museum. Hop on the red tourist train to get to the caves from Nerja. During peak seasons, opt for skip-the-line tickets to jump ahead or take an exclusive night tour for fewer crowds. – Tripadvisor See more..
  20. 4.5 Downtown Disney District (8.819 reviews) from $285.00
    - Another fun part of the Disney experience in Anaheim
    Friday: 7:00 AM - 1:00 AM Points of Interest & Landmarks • Disney Parks & Activities
    Downtown Disney District image
    Make way for more magic with unique eateries, upscale shops and exciting entertainment for Guests of all ages at Disneyland Resort's Downtown Disney District! Check out Disney fan favorite shops like World of Disney, Disneyland Resort Backlot Premiere Shop, & Disney Home; and unique restaurants like Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes & Salt & Straw. For the most up to date health and safety measures and top things to know, go to: https: // / experience-updates / downtown-disney / Check out Disney fan favorite shops like World of Disney, Disneyland Resort Backlot Premiere Shop, & Disney Home; and unique restaurants like Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes & Salt & Straw. For the most up to date health and safety measures and top things to know, go to: See more..
  21. 4.5 Ferry Building Marketplace (7.419 reviews)
    - Worth Visiting
    Spent 1-2 hours Points of Interest & Landmarks • Shopping Malls
    Ferry Building Marketplace image
    A city landmark transformed into a gourmet food emporium and farmers market. See more..
  22. 4.5 San Francisco Bay (7.341 reviews)
    - Beautiful visit
    Bodies of Water
    San Francisco Bay image
    Offers hiking and biking along its shores, paddling and sailing on top of its surface, and bird-watching and exploring among its wetlands. See more..
  23. 4.5 Oracle Park (7.133 reviews)
    Spent 1-2 hours Arenas & Stadiums
    Oracle Park image
    Home of the San Francisco Giants Major League baseball team, this waterfront stadium has splendid views of San Francisco Bay and the Bay Bridge. See more..
  24. 4.5 Muir Woods National Monument (6.974 reviews)
    - Memorable trip to San Francisco all because Ms. Pep of Alegro Private Tours
    Friday: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Spent 1-2 hours National Parks • Nature & Wildlife Areas • Forests
    Muir Woods National Monument image
    Muir Woods has a rich and varied history, from its use by the Coast Miwok people, to its early days of tourism and the Mount Tamalpais Mill Valley Scenic Railway, to an era of conservation, to modern preservation. In each era, the forest has been affected by the actions of humans, for better or for worse. Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, this coastal redwood preserve features majestic redwoods and scenic hiking trails that draw more than 1.5 million visitors each year. See more..
  25. 4.5 Hearst Castle (6.885 reviews)
    - Well Worth a Visit
    Spent 2-3 hours Historic Sites • Castles
    Hearst Castle image
    Nestled atop a hill with breathtaking views of Big Sur, Hearst Castle is a must-visit spot on the California coast. With 165 rooms, you'll want to take the Grand Rooms or Upstairs Suites tours to experience the same lavish interiors that William Randolph Hearst and his guests would've experienced in the castle. For art lovers, the Art of San Simeon tour is a must. You'll get to see a stunning collection of ancient and modern artworks that Hearst collected throughout his lifetime. And don't forget to take some time to appreciate the magnificent Neptune Pool and the sweeping views of the mountains and the Pacific. – Tripadvisor See more..
  26. 4.5 Santa Monica State Beach (6.735 reviews)
    - Great beach
    State Parks • Beaches
    Santa Monica State Beach image
    The Santa Monica State Beach is a pretty long stretch of beach, and there are paid parking lots down it - with bathrooms and restaurants and playgrounds as well. When visiting LA with my husband and brother this past weekend, I knew I couldn't leave California without walking along the beach and taking in some ocean views. So we picked a parking lot ($7 for the day on a Tuesday; it was pretty empty) and walked along the beach for a bit. It was a grayish day, but it was still lovely to walk along the beach and watch and smell the ocean before heading back to wintery, rainy, gray Nashville. If your visit includes weekdays, I suggest visiting on the beach on a weekday - it was pretty empty! Very relaxing place to visit! See more..
  27. 4.5 Yosemite Valley (6.718 reviews)
    - Time your visit carefully
    Spent More than 3 hours Valleys
    Yosemite Valley image
    Many climbers consider Yosemite Valley among the world's very best climbing sites. See more..
  28. 4.5 Twin Peaks (6.414 reviews)
    - Best View of San Francisco Downtown & Sunset is Amazing
    Friday: 5:00 AM - 12:00 AM Spent < 1 hour Lookouts
    Twin Peaks image
    Standing over 900 feet above the city, these two hills offer hikers sweeping views of San Francisco's main sights (we recommend going at sunset). See more..
  29. 4.5 Third Street Promenade (6.113 reviews)
    - A Great Intro to Los Angeles
    Shopping Malls
    Third Street Promenade image
    A moviegoer's haven, this colorful three-block stretch, open to pedestrians only, has some 20 movie theater screens, hundreds of stores, numerous restaurants, animal topiaries and street entertainment running the gamut from dancers to fortune tellers. See more..
  30. 4.5 California Academy of Sciences (6.003 reviews) from $38.75
    - Great activities all under one living roof
    Spent More than 3 hours Science Museums
    California Academy of Sciences image
    The world’s only aquarium-planetarium-rainforest-living museum. Come nose-to-beak with penguins and parrots, watch sharks and sting rays cruise beneath your feet, and feel the spray of the California coast. Fly to Mars (and beyond the Milky Way!) from the safety of your planetarium seat, take a virtual safari in African Hall, or climb into the canopy of a living rainforest. Face your fears—and an albino alligator—inside the Swamp, and meet scientists as they return from research expeditions around the world. From the depths of a Philippine coral reef to the outer reaches of the Universe, it's all inside the California Academy of Sciences. See more..
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More Things to do in California 172

  1. Points of Interest & Landmarks
  2. Architectural Buildings
  3. Churches & Cathedrals
  4. Historic Sites
  5. Observation Decks & Towers
  6. Art Museums
  7. Speciality Museums
  8. History Museums
  9. Fountains
  10. Religious Sites
  11. Bridges
  12. Historic Walking Areas
  13. Gardens
  14. Mountains
  15. Marinas
  16. Piers & Boardwalks
  17. Waterfalls
  18. Wineries & Vineyards
  19. Nature & Wildlife Areas
  20. Cooking Classes
  21. Speciality & Gift Shops
  22. 4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours
  23. Private Tours
  24. Day Trips
  25. Taxis & Shuttles
  26. Health Clubs
  27. Thermal Spas
  28. Scuba & Snorkelling
  29. Boat Tours
  30. Sightseeing Tours
  31. Equestrian Trails
  32. Horseback Riding Tours
  33. Cultural Tours
  34. Night Tours
  35. Lookouts
  36. Monuments & Statues
  37. Neighborhoods
  38. Bodies of Water
  39. Theaters
  40. Geologic Formations
  41. Beaches
  42. National Parks
  43. Ferries
  44. Hiking Trails
  45. Game & Entertainment Centers
  46. Biking Trails
  47. Scenic Walking Areas
  48. Escape Games
  49. Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
  50. Zipline & Aerial Adventure Parks
  51. Nature & Wildlife Tours
  52. Speed Boats Tours
  53. Ranches
  54. Waterskiing & Jetskiing
  55. Shopping Malls
  56. Water Parks
  57. Amusement & Theme Parks
  58. Observatories & Planetariums
  59. Beach & Pool Clubs
  60. Children's Museums
  61. Public Transportation Systems
  62. Flea & Street Markets
  63. Visitor Centers
  64. Sports Camps & Clinics
  65. Breweries
  66. Lessons & Workshops
  67. Islands
  68. Ghost Towns
  69. Caverns & Caves
  70. Disney Parks & Activities
  71. Bus Services
  72. Golf Courses
  73. Movie Theaters
  74. Art Galleries
  75. Antique Shops
  76. Educational sites
  77. Sports Complexes
  78. Government Buildings
  79. Theatre & Performances
  80. Horse Tracks
  81. Aquariums
  82. Volcanos
  83. Cemeteries
  84. Military Museums
  85. Forests
  86. Scenic Drives
  87. Valleys
  88. Deserts
  89. Science Museums
  90. Ski & Snowboard Areas
  91. Libraries
  92. Playgrounds
  93. Arenas & Stadiums
  94. Canyons
  95. Mysterious Sites
  96. Farmers Markets
  97. Natural History Museums
  98. Rides & Activities
  99. Hot Springs & Geysers
  100. Kayaking & Canoeing
  101. Bars & Clubs
  102. Fishing Charters & Tours
  103. Stand Up Paddleboarding
  104. Lighthouses
  105. Distilleries
  106. Casinos
  107. Convention Centers
  108. Cultural Events
  109. Dance Clubs & Discos
  110. Beer Tastings & Tours
  111. Food Tours
  112. Factory Tours
  113. Hiking & Camping Tours
  114. Movie & TV Tours
  115. Bar, Club & Pub Tours
  116. Gondola Cruises
  117. Self-Guided Tours & Rentals
  118. River Rafting & Tubing
  119. Helicopter Tours
  120. Air Tours
  121. Civic Centres
  122. Bus Tours
  123. State Parks
  124. Bike Tours
  125. Paint & Pottery Studios
  126. Climbing Tours
  127. Military Bases & Facilities
  128. Universities & Schools
  129. Missions
  130. Surfing & Windsurfing
  131. Gear Rentals
  132. Symphonies
  133. Cabarets
  134. Parasailing & Paragliding
  135. Skydiving
  136. Wine Bars
  137. Rail Services
  138. Shooting Ranges
  139. Auto Racing Tracks
  140. Airport Lounges
  141. Department Stores
  142. Off-Road & ATV Trails
  143. Rail Tours
  144. Balloon Rides
  145. Jogging Paths & Tracks
  146. Boat Rentals
  147. Exhibitions
  148. Dinner Theaters
  149. Factory Outlets
  150. Cross-country Ski Areas
  151. Music Festivals
  152. Karaoke Bars
  153. Bowling Alleys
  154. Water Sports
  155. Motorcycle Trails
  156. Coffeehouses
  157. Yoga & Pilates
  158. Miniature Golf
  159. Scavenger Hunts
  160. Scenic Railroads
  161. Horse-Drawn Carriage Tours
  162. Motorcycle Tours
  163. Other Outdoor Activities
  164. Sporting Events
  165. Jazz Bars
  166. Country & Western Bars
  167. Gay Bars
  168. Airport Shops
  169. Cigar Bars
  170. Comedy Clubs
  171. Food & Drink Festivals
  172. Other Fun & Games
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