CALIFORNIA…… Just the mere mention of it already calls to mind a vibrant part of the United States that is renowned for its multi-cultural ambiance, and its miles and miles of enticing beaches and forests, perfect for beach bums and nature lovers alike.

The state of California is one of the most popular travel destinations in the US, not just because of its excellent tourist delights, but also because it is one of the more progressive-thinking places in North America.

For non-residents, it is of course the historical landmarks, the social and cultural dipping pots, and the tourist spots – both natural and manmade – that continue to attract and motivate people from all over the world to visit again and again.

 Top 5 Tourist Spots in California State

Got favorite movie dialogues running through your head? Feel like hiking in some wooded parks? Eager to be one of thousands of sun-worshippers at the beach? Looking forward to having your picture taken with a Disney Princess? California lets you do all that, and not surprisingly, even more!

Here are top 5 tourist spots in California:

  • Disneyland – Your trip to California would be incomplete if you don’t drop by “the Happiest Place on Earth.” Pamper your inner child or gift your child companion with an unforgettable journey to Disneyland Park in Anaheim, in downtown Los Angeles. Hobnob with Disney or fairy tale characters in a magical world where really do wishes come true (or not, but then again, that’s more than compensated for by the numerous attractions such a theme park, shopping and dining complexes, and 8 Lands with their own special themes, among other pleasures).
  • Universal Studios – Starstruck? Great, because Hollywood, the movie capital of the world, is the best place to “ooh and aah” over memories of great performances and outstanding movie scenes that many remember for a long, long time either because of their realism, or their grasp of imagery. Take a Universal Studios tour and immerse yourself in some of the best moments ever to come out of Hollywood.
  • Alcatraz – When you’ve got a taste for the offbeat, try an Alcatraz Island tour. The former federal prison in San Francisco Bay that operated for 30 years until its shutdown in 1963 is now a US National Historic Landmark. Choose from the Day and Night Tours of the now-abandoned prison facility and let your imagination run free about what life must have been like for the notorious once housed there. Compare that with the gifts of nature that abound on “The Rock” and be glad that you’re a law-abiding citizen.
  • Yosemite National Park – Prepare to be overwhelmed by the grandeur of creation when you take a Yosemite tour in central eastern California. Imagine 308,205 hectares of breathtaking vistas of exposed granite and a profusion of streams, lakes, waterfalls, and towering sequoia trees to deepen your love of nature.
  • Golden Gate Bridge – This is one of the busiest landmarks in California for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic (on the railings).  Tour the Bridge, enjoy the great views, and vicariously experience the extent of human emotions – from hopeful, romantic love to suicidal depression – that have been portrayed in various works of art including photographs, movies, books, music, and documentaries.

Top 3 Cities to Live in California State

At 163,695 sq miles, California is the 3rd largest American state, and the one with the most number of residents. According to Area Vibes, the most livable cities in California based on criteria such as high income per capita, low crime rates, stable housing market, and plenty of local amenities are:

  • Los Altos – This city at the southern end of the San Francisco Peninsula has a livability score of 87%. As of 2010, it has a population of 28,976.
  • Monte Sereno – This city is located in Santa Clara County and has a livability score of 86%. The name is Spanish for “serene hill” which accurately depicts this charming metropolis.
  • Rancho Santa Margarita – This is one of the most affluent cities in Orange County with a livability score of 86%.

Top 3 Foods to Try in California

Fusion cuisine is a hallmark of California dining, owing to its multi-racial and multi-cultural atmosphere.  When in California, you can feast on these delectables:

  • Cioppino –  this seafood stew with distinct Italian culinary overtones was created in San Francisco by immigrants who later became fishermen on the Bay. Immigrant Sicilians later on improvised and added tomatoes to the seafood medley, which is the version usually served today.
  •  Fish Taco – this Mexi-Cali fusion features fried or grilled fish that is sprinkled with lime juice to taste, and partnered with some avocado.
  • Shrimp Louie – depending on availability of the catch and your inclination, this features cooked shrimp or crab with Louie dressing (chili sauce, mayonnaise, peppers) over a mix of California salad standards such as sliced hard boiled eggs, asparagus, lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, and cucumber.

Top 2 Party Places in San Francisco, CAclub-1-1147773-m

After eating, many tourists would like to party hard, but since California is so big, it’s not easy to pinpoint which would be the best place to enjoy some drinking or dining. So, here are two great spots randomly chosen from the best bars and clubs in San Francisco:

  • Smuggler’s Cove at Gough Street, San Francisco – this extremely famous Tiki bar features a pirate ship theme, ginormous drinks, and a sizable crowd during most days of the week. Wait to be accommodated, and thank your stars when you get in.
  • Dirty Trix Saloon at Clement Street, San Francisco – if you’ve never been in a “dive” bar, get baptized at this fun bar that features stand-up comedy acts and is well-patronized by locals. Like all other dives, Dirty Trix serves real cheap drinks, an incentive that’s enough to make you visit if getting all-boozed up is in your agenda.

Top 2 Shopping Malls in California

Shopping is a favorite tourist activity, so, to wind up our California tourist recommendations, here are two must-visit malls in the state:

  • Westfield – this is a mall with a global presence, that is fortunately also present in the city of San Francisco. Aside from the well-known brand names on sale in its shops, this mall also has tie-ins with trendy hotels and numerous seasonal events that make it very attractive to visit.
  • Gump’s – this mall has got nearly everything covered, from dining and entertainment, to home furnishings, jewelry, bed and bath, apparel and accessories, office supplies and materials, décor, and gift galleries.  It’s the perfect place to go to if you want to buy presents to bring home.

Photo by: hdkam1(Yosemite valley)

Photo by: Ale_Paiva (club)