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Souvenirs from California
Californians pride themselves on having the highest number of tourist attractions in the world as California, the sunny ultra modern cosmopolitan state of the United States is a bustling venue of great entertainment, edge cutting art, unlimited creativity and glamorous travelling. Whether you are fascinated by its multicultural approach to modern art (ranging from small collections which display the history of the Golden State and its many rich subcultures to unconventional large-scale exhibitions) or its natural treasures, there is plenty in California to choose from. From Silicon Valley to California’s Museums, from Legacy Trails to large State parks, the Californian ‘must-sees’ create a unique feeling of cultural effervescence. With more than 1,000 miles of coastline covering Hollywood’s fine sands and also ocean cliffs of breathtaking beauty, California is a heaven for beach addicts: whether you are into sandcastles building, volleyball and surfing or simply hiking, the ‘Golden State’ is a perfect land of sun and sand, shaped to suit young people and children. Tourists can now keep all their favourite Californian memories alive with souvenirs such as fridge magnets, keychains, souvenir plates and T-shirts which are available now online.
California, from Hollywood to Family Entertainment
Across California, top class Zoos, the fairytale Disneyland, spectacular aquariums and great theme parks will entertain kids and adults altogether. The grass is always greener in California: great weather makes the state a heaven for golfers: there are hundreds of courses organized throughout the state (as the famous Pebble Beach one). Los Angeles, the City of Films, is full of celebrity stories and legendary venues: L.A.’s Sunset Boulevard of ‘Broken Dreams’ offers a historical route which includes famous film studios and connects Downtown to Hollywood to the popular neighbourhoods of Beverly Hills, Bel Air and Malibu. West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip has been housing legendary music events from jazz to rock in its most popular House of Blues Sunset Strip and Whisky a Go-Go. Outstanding venues such as Hollywood RockWalk or Chateau Marmont and Bar Marmont are all places full of Hollywood star gossip and glamour.
Californian Landscapes, a Natural Paradise
Initially California’s most sought after treasure was gold; nowadays the state is a natural heaven of magnificent lakes, wide spread parks, sunny deserts and rivers which splendidly create a wonderful landscape; from Mountain Lassen to Yosemite and the Death Valley, California is a culturally diverse paradise of rich heritage. Whether you choose to experience its outdoor beauties such as Lake Tahoe or Los Padres National Forest or venture on a boat ride to one of its islands to watch sea lions, it’s entirely up to you. If you choose to get away from the normal buzz of commercial beaches, the Manhattan Beach Pier is a unique venue to stop by; its utter simplicity (it lacks any shopping or eating areas) is all about old style fishing, surfing and breathtaking views with dolphins and the stretches of Malibu and Verdes Peninsula. Don’t miss the Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium at one end of the pier with colourful exhibits of sea life creatures.
San Francisco and Santa Barbara, Top Class Urban Experiences
A bit further away from the natural beauties of Californian beaches, the wonderful San Francisco offers a top class urban experience of great cultural refinement with exquisite modern cuisine, the technologically innovative Silicon Valley and the famous Napa Valley and Berkeley. For the best place to watch whales (whether humpback, gray or scary killer whales) stop in Santa Barbara, also a paradise of lovely dolphins, seals and sea lions. Beyond Santa Ynez, towards San Luis Obispo, there is the Santa Ynez Valley uniquely popular for its rich wildlife and the special shows which are organized to the delight of young people. In Ostrich Land, at the Flag It Up Farms or Quicksilver Miniature Horse Ranch visitors can learn about Californian farming whereas Solvang is an ideal venue for amateur and professional cycling.
California, the Land of Endless Beaches
California’s Pismo Beach with its carefully selected trails and green spaces is a suitable location for hikers and ocean lovers but for watching whales and sea birds, Big Sur is a wonderful venue to stop by. It is close to some of the tourist attractions such as San Simeon State Park, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and Andrew Molera State Park. Kayaking or biking and even sea mammals watching are available at Monterey Bay Sanctuary. In order to avoid the traffic and to get the best views, visitors are advised to follow the splendid Monterey Bay connecting Pebble Beach to Marina State Beach. For scuba diving fans or squid spotting there is always Monterey Bay whose depth is said to be twice the Grand Canyon’s. With its rich vegetation and loads of hiking routes to choose from, the Uvas Canyon Park spreads across more than 1,000 acres and displays some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state. Opened all year round, this massive green space provides perfect opportunities to explore and admire the Uvas region’s luxurious vegetation.
Surfing, a Californian Experience
A visit to California would never be complete without at least one authentic surfing experience. Santa Cruz is probably one of the best locations for it and offers a wide range of surfing lessons covering from beginners’ to advanced lessons which are mainly organized around the Cowell and Capitola beaches. If surfing is too extreme for you and you prefer to watch it from the distance, you can always take a break during your walk across the beaches and watch surfers at nearby Lighthouse Point or Steamer Lane and Pleasure Point. Or you can always try an authentic cycling race experience for which Solvang is the place to be. For lonely walkers who would rather prefer isolated picturesque beaches, Montaña de Oro ‘Mountain of Gold’ State Park is home to one of the largest sand areas in the state. A complex trail system and its coastline offer splendid views of the mountains.
Los Angeles, the City of Angels and Films
In Los Angeles, don’t miss the impressive Walt Disney Concert Hall and Dorothy Chandler Pavilion which have become L.A.’s undeniable landmarks. Designed by architect Frank Gehry, the Walt Disney Concert Hall houses performances of the famous Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra whereas Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is home to L.A. Opera of famous Placido Domingo. On the North Coast of California, Arkley Centre for the Performing Arts is one of the last silent film centres and also a splendid Spanish colonial landmark dating back to the interwar years. The San Francisco Bay area is home to some of the most spectacular venues throughout the state; the Weill Hall located in Santa Rosa is a huge concert hall included in the Green Music Centre of California State University whose construction was inspired by the Seiji Ozawa Hall in New York and which can easily turn into an outdoor amphitheatre for up to 3,000 people. For splendid Beaux Art architecture, don’t miss the War Memorial Opera House finished in the 1930s which houses the world wide famous San Francisco Opera autumn opening or San Francisco Ballet performances. For some of the best acoustics in the country, the Davies Symphony Hall stands out as a complex, flexible performing area.