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Things to Do in California - page 4

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Cabrillo National Monument
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On the southern tip of the Point Loma peninsula, which separates the Pacific Ocean from San Diego Bay, Cabrillo National Monument stands in honor of Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who journeyed up the California coast in the mid-1500s. Stop at the statue for views of the open sea, bay, and San Diego skyline.

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Vernal Fall
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This towering flow of water is one of Yosemite’s best known waterfalls, accessible on the ground by a moderate hike. Its volume depends on the season, though it generally runs year-round.

Depending on the amount of water, there is either one massive waterfall or several smaller strands falling across the rock to the valley below. Vernal Fall flows from the Nevada Falls above before plunging over the rock. The waterfall is about 317 feet tall, so it’s impressive (and often a bit damp) standing right at its base. Aside from the water there is often lots of greenery surrounding the falls, which adds to its scenery. The falls also produce a fine mist that can create rainbows.

The steep hiking trail that leads to Vernal Fall is mostly rock steps, but the views are worth the climb. There is also plenty of natural scenery, of Merced River and Yosemite Valley, to enjoy on the way up. If you’d rather see it from a distance, Vernal Fall is also visible from the Glacier Point overlook.

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Pier 39
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One of the most visited sights in San Francisco, the multilevel Pier 39 complex is home to shops, restaurants, street performers, and a video arcade. Its waterfront setting on the San Francisco Bay means visitors can take in panoramic bay views, breathe fresh sea air, and watch sunbathing California sea lions.

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North Beach
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Despite its name, San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood does not border the water and has no sandy spots. But its position between Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, and the Embarcadero makes it one of the city’s most popular areas for visitors and locals, all of whom enjoy its Italian eateries, Beat history, quiet park, and nightlife scene.

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Old Town San Diego
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Dating to 1769, Old Town San Diego is the site of California’s first European settlement. To see the district's prime attraction, stop at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park with its preserved adobe buildings and living history demonstrations such as blacksmithing. The area is also home to restaurants, shops, and live entertainment.

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M.S. Dixie II
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To truly experience Lake Tahoe, take a trip aboard theM.S. Dixie II, a paddle-wheel boat that plies the lake’s stunning, cobalt-blue waters. From its vantage point on the lake, take in views of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Emerald Bay, charming Fannette Island, and Vikingsholm Castle.

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Point Loma
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Point Loma sits on a hilly peninsula west of Downtown San Diego, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay. This seaside community is best known for its tide pools, historical landmarks, and sweeping views of the bay and the San Diego skyline. With plenty to do and see, it’s no wonder it’s one of the city’s most photographed spots.

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Hollywood & Highland
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One of Los Angeles’ pre-eminent shopping and entertainment complexes, Hollywood & Highland boasts two heritage movie theaters—the TCL Chinese Theatre and the Dolby Theatre—and dozens of shops and restaurants. It’s also located steps away from the Hollywood Walk of Fame and hosts the annual Academy Awards,

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Seaport Village
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A harborside hub buzzing with shopping, dining, and entertainment, Seaport Village attracts tourists and locals alike. The historic-style waterfront has everything from upscale eateries to vendors selling fresh fish. Stroll the boardwalk, ride the carousel, or indulge in seafood while listening to live music.

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Montecito
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Montecito is a small but wealthy town along California's coast. The town started out as a popular vacation destination more than 100 years ago because of the pleasant climate and natural beauty. Some visitors loved it so much they didn't want to leave, and they decided to move to Montecito. Today many celebrities call this town home. It's still a popular place for a relaxing escape, and there are plenty of hotels, shops, and restaurants with outdoor patios.

One of Montecito's big draws is its natural landscape and environment. This small town's coastline is home to some of the area's most beautiful beaches including Miramar Beach, Fernald's Point, Hammonds Point, and Butterfly Beach. Some areas boast calm waters while others are well known for their waves. Popular activities include surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, swimming, sunbathing, and boating. Since the coast faces west, it is also the perfect place to watch the sunset.

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More Things to Do in California

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

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One of the United States’ most popular national parks, Yosemite National Park is packed with natural beauty and views that never cease to amaze. From the majestic mountain peaks to the green meadows on the valley floor (plus all the waterfalls and groves of tall Sequoia trees in between), there’s no shortage of outdoor and leisure activities set against the park’s epic views. And whether you spend a single day or stay for a multi-day camping trip, you’ll feel a deeper appreciation for the nature at this national treasure.

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Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood

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One of the world's oldest continuously operating movie studios, Universal® Studios Hollywood presents an entertaining mix of thrill rides and live action shows, plus a tram ride. The large California theme park cleverly integrates the shows and rides with behind-the-scenes presentations on movie-making.

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Painted Ladies

Painted Ladies

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Made famous by the opening credits of the late-’80s TV showFull House, San Francisco’s Painted Ladies are a prime example of the city’s candy-colored Victorian architecture. Also known as Postcard Row, the houses stretch uphill, boasting a view of the downtown skyline beyond.

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Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park

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The 1,000-plus acres (412 hectares) of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park are home to museums, picnic sites, lakes, golf, hiking and biking paths, concerts, and more. From the attraction-laden east end to the wilder west side where bison roam, the park offers plenty of ways to relax, get a culture fix, exercise, or gather with friends.

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Lombard Street

Lombard Street

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Lombard Street runs more than 20 blocks across northern San Francisco, but only one block—between Hyde and Leavenworth streets—gives the thoroughfare its nickname, “the crookedest street in the world.” Lined with well-manicured flowers and trees and tidy million-dollar homes, the red-brick-paved road zigzags its way down Russian Hill.

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Children's Pool Beach

Children's Pool Beach

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As the name suggests, this stretch of sand in San Diego’s upscale La Jolla neighborhood was once a swimming spot for families, thanks to a seawall that shelters the cove. Nowadays, Children’s Pool Beach is a favorite resting and breeding ground for harbor seals and a popular wildlife-watching area.

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Bay Bridge

Bay Bridge

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Though it doesn’t often get the attention of its famous sibling, the Golden Gate, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is spectacular in its own right. Once the largest and most expensive bridge of its time, in 75 years the Bay Bridge has proved critics wrong – the dream of connecting San Francisco to Oakland would not be stopped by anything. Logistics, cost, and politics couldn’t stop the expansion, and now the Bay Bridge has made history yet again my becoming the world’s largest self -anchored suspension bridge. Safely transporting the 280,000 automobiles that transverse its roads every day, the Bay Bridge connects San Francisco to Oakland, with a little stop at Yerba Buena Island along the way.

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Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa

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Fashioned after a 13th-century Tuscan castle, Castello di Amorosa looks like it belongs on an Italian postcard instead of in the heart of California wine country. The vineyard produces several varieties of red and white wines, but many visitors are drawn by the eight-level structure itself, which includes five defensive towers, a drawbridge, and a moat.

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Haight-Ashbury

Haight-Ashbury

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The heart of San Francisco’s 1967 Summer of Love, the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood will forever be associated with the hippie movement and American counterculture. Today the district’s mix of boutiques, smoke shops, vintage stores, restaurants, and bars makes it a favorite among locals. It also has a high concentration of the beautifully restored Victorian homes the city is known for.

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Devils Golf Course

Devils Golf Course

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Within the Badwater Basin, the area called Devil’s Golf Course sits slightly higher than the lowest point at Badwater, so the saltpan stays dry, allowing the wind and weather to wear the mineral deposits into jagged shapes. The name Devil's Golf Course comes from a 1934 guide to the park that said “only the devil could play golf” here. In the early 1900s, before the area became protected by the National Park Service, the Pacific Coast Borax Company drilled holes here, finding that mineral deposits extend up to 1000 feet below ground.

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Sentinel Dome

Sentinel Dome

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Though not as well known as Yosemite’s famous Half Dome, at 4,150 feet high a climb up Sentinel Dome offers some incredible 360 degree views of the national park. The 2.6 mile hike up is well-marked with signs and is easy to follow. From the gently-rounded top you can see the whole of Yosemite Valley, including Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, El Capitan, and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The trail is mostly flat, except for the granite slope to the summit.

Sentinel Dome first became known for the lone Jeffrey Pine tree that grew from its peak. The tree is no longer there, but was well-documented by photographer Ansel Adams. The dome is a sight in itself, but the real rewards are the views from atop. It’s a good alternative to the often crowded viewpoints of Glacier Point, and is particularly scenic during the sunset hours.

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Little Italy San Diego

Little Italy San Diego

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Once home to generations of Italian families who who made their living in San Diego’s flourishing fishing industry, Little Italy is now a lively neighborhood packed with restaurants, patio cafés, craft brewpubs, urban wineries, and little plazas with fountains and views of the bay. The trendy, walkable neighborhood—in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter—also has upscale boutiques, art galleries, chic shops, boutique hotels, and live music venues, so there is far more to experience here than just the delicious food.

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Dolby Theatre

Dolby Theatre

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Formerly known as the Kodak Theatre, the 180,000-square-foot, 3,400-seat Dolby Theatre now showcases Dolby Laboratories' state-of-the-art sound technologies. Situated in the popular Hollywood & Highland mall complex, the elegant Dolby Theatre hosts the famed Academy Awards.

Periodically, the Dolby also plays host to charity benefits, movie premieres, special events and other televised award shows. The theater's soaring stage, one of the largest in the United States, has featured the national premiere of Pixar's Brave, the American Idol finals, the Daytime Emmys, the American Ballet Theatre and even President Barack Obama, while out on the campaign trail.

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Presidio

Presidio

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Since it was founded in 1776, the Presidio of San Francisco has had many lives, from a Spanish military site to an American Army post to a National Park Service location. Today, it draws visitors for its cultural sites, hiking trails, public art, restaurants, and views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay.

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