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California

United States of America
Orange County featuring street scenes, a house and a small town or village

Visit this state of many contrasts: mountains to oceans, fertile agricultural areas to modern cities and tall forests to deserts.

The mid-1800s California gold rush brought many adventurers to the Pacific Ocean shores. Their descendants have established fascinating cities and structures in the midst of amazing natural beauty.

Visit Sacramento to see the art and architecture of the state capital. The California State Railroad Museum tells the important story of building the railroads that enabled development of the California region.

In the Sierra Nevada Mountains, visit Sequoia National Forest. See giant redwood trees, up to 300 feet (91 meters) tall and over 33 feet (10 meters) in diameter, hundreds or thousands of years old. Enjoy the spectacular landscape of granite monoliths, limestone caves and whitewater streams.

The mountains offer a range of choices for outdoor activities. Visit the Lake Tahoe area to hike, boat, fish and swim in the chilly aquamarine waters in the summer. In winter ski at Squaw, site of the 1960 Olympics, Northstar, Alpine Meadows and others, with excellent skiing and views over the lake. See sparkling granite cliffs and majestic waterfalls in Yosemite National Park.

Take a wine tour in Napa or Sonoma. Stop in the fertile agricultural area of the Central Valley to sample strawberries, olives, garlic and much of the nation’s fresh produce.

Like Tony Bennett, you might leave your heart in San Francisco. The views of the Golden Gate Bridge are unforgettable. Visit Chinatown, ride the trolley, climb the hills of the city, ferry to the former prison of Alcatraz and enjoy the exciting nightlife.

Moving south to Los Angeles, enjoy the many beaches on the Pacific Ocean. Watch seals, surfers and skaters. Go to Hollywood to see celebrities’ stars embedded in the sidewalk. Tour Universal Studios. Visit the original Disneyland® Resort in Anaheim, the La Brea Tarpits and the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Farther south, see even more California beaches in San Diego, along with the USS Midway Museum, a retired aircraft carrier. Visit Palms Springs for desert heat and world-famous golf. Cross the border to Tijuana for a Mexican holiday.

Popular cities in California

Los Angeles which includes a sunset, a city and landscape views
Los Angeles
Known for Shopping, Entertainment and Theaters
The beaches of Santa Monica, boutiques along Beverly Hills’ tree-lined boulevards, and Universal Studios’ movie sets set the scene for a perfect West Coast break.

Reasons to visit

  • Wiltern Theatre
  • Farmers Market
  • MacArthur Park
San Francisco which includes a bay or harbor and a bridge
San Francisco
Known for Chinatown, Theaters and Museums
Streetcars rattle up and down the city famous for steep hills, hippie history and the toughest place to make a jail break.

Reasons to visit

  • Oracle Park
  • Ferry Building
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Marina District featuring a bay or harbor
San Diego
Known for Dining, Walking and Ports
On the sun-drenched Pacific coast, this Southern California city provides great beaches, a famous zoo, historic sites and exciting nightlife.

Reasons to visit

  • Maritime Museum of San Diego
  • Waterfront Park
  • Hotel Circle
Sacramento featuring heritage architecture and an administrative buidling
Sacramento
Known for Shopping, Sports and Theaters
California’s capital city charms with its tree-lined Victorian streets, elegant civic buildings, and a friendly, easygoing atmosphere.

Reasons to visit

  • California State Capitol
  • Sacramento Zoo
  • K Street Mall
Palm Springs showing a sunset
Palm Springs
Known for Dining, Deserts and Entertainment
Welcome to California’s oasis of style, with an arid mountain backdrop, rows of towering palms and sleek 1950s architecture.

Reasons to visit

  • Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
  • Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
  • Indian Canyon
Santa Barbara showing theater scenes, night scenes and signage
Santa Barbara
Known for Dining, Walking and Shopping
The American Riviera offers historic adobe architecture, plenty of art galleries, wineries and beautiful beaches. 

Reasons to visit

  • Santa Barbara City College
  • Santa Barbara County Courthouse