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Destinations & Landmarks

Want to know where to go in Southern California? Our editors scour every nook and cranny to provide readers with the most fun and unique events that are not to be missed. In addition to upcoming events, Southern California is packed with landmarks and famous hot-spots that have fascinating historical features. This section reveals the behind-the-scene story lines about the prominent places that have made So Cal one of the most desirable sightseeing destinations in the U.S. This section offers readers options of places to visit to make their stay in the Southland even more eventful.

in Destinations & Landmarks, Food & Drinks, Things To Do

48 Hours of Attractions, Fun, Food and Wine in Lompoc

Fall is prime time to slate a 48-hour get-away to Lompoc. Located on the California Central Coast, it’s a visitor destination that satisfies all of the senses for stunning vistas, outdoor adventure, comfortable lodgings, easy access to attractions and activities, a taste for fine wines, and distinctive art. Wine tasting is a centerpiece of a Lompoc getaway – a journey through the winemaking processes, small tasting rooms, and superior products that spark a natural desire to spend an afternoon with friends discussing the finer points of wine. History, here, is a journey back in time to California mission life of the 1800s at La Purisima Mission; a small path leading from the Mission is especially evocative as an early segment of the El Camino Real, a 600-mile road connecting the 21 Spanish missions in California. The Mission’s recreated living and working spaces place visitors at the epicenter of daily life and commerce. Forty-eight hours in Lompoc is barely enough time to savor and partake of the area’s most entertaining attractions, but there’s always next time. Day One: Morning Mural Tour Begin with a self-guided tour of the Murals of Lompoc, many of which are located in Old Town Lompoc, on street…

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in Destinations & Landmarks, Food & Drinks

SoCal’s Quick Costa Rican Getaway: El Mangroove

It’s been called the “land of art in nature” and for those who love spectacular landscapes, Costa Rican is a travel-must. If black sand beaches and vibrant colored sunsets are your idea of a tropical getaway, El Mangroove in Northwest Costa Rica should rank at on the top of your proverbial bucket list. With an unhurried vibe and hammocks placed in each guest room, this is where visitors come to unwind and indulge in Costa Rica’s unmatched splendor. Situated on the Guanacaste province, El Mangroove is an all-inclusive resort that’s a convenient 20-minute drive from Liberia International Airport. This is where travelers” land and play” without the delays of actually getting to a hotel destination. El Mangroove is the nearest beach resort to an international airport within Costa Rica. Offering an array of activities and water sports, guests can enjoy paddle-boarding, snorkeling, boating, swimming and a variety of treatment options at Bearth Spa, which features outdoor terraces and massage decks. Private and group yoga classes are available upon request and the gym is open 24 hours, seven days a week. Boating excursions are available should guests feel like visiting nearby beaches, and surfing lessons can be booked for individuals or groups….

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in Destinations & Landmarks

20 Must-Visit Outdoor Spots in SoCal

If you’ve ever explored the south during the summertime, you probably sweat at the mere thought of spending the day outside, but summer in SoCal is different. Southern California’s ocean breezes are like a giant ceiling fan, keeping the temperatures just right—so you’re free to frolic around the great outdoors without getting lost in a haze of humidity. And do we even need to mention the scenery? With its coastal bliss and mountain wilderness, SoCal is a diverse outdoor oasis begging you to come out and play. Al fresco attractions abound in this West Coast stretch, from secret gardens to cultural awakenings, and you can experience it all this summer. Slap on some sunscreen and your favorite shades, and get ready to tackle our list of 20 epic outdoor activities in Southern California:   Balboa Park, San Diego Not all the best things to do in San Diego are at the beach. Ditch salty air and grains of sand for the grassy lawns and leafy gardens of Balboa Park. The urban park includes 1,200 acres of green open spaces and hiking trails. The elaborate promenade, El Prado, runs through the center of the park, surrounded by perfectly manicured gardens overflowing with native plants, exotic cacti,…

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in Destinations & Landmarks

Top Ten Places to Visit in Southern California

By Kasey Hamilton   Our vast community is filled with so much to see and do that the choices can be overwhelming — there are countless places to visit, but here are our top ten SoCal destinations.   Griffith Observatory The Griffith Observatory is one of California’s most cosmic getaways. For those interested in astronomy, the observatory has a planetarium, public telescopes, and other planetary exhibits. It also offers one of the top vantage points for viewing the iconic Hollywood sign. The observatory is also a featured location in many movies and television shows including the recent Oscar winner “La La Land.” 2800 E. Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, 90027 213-473-0800 www.griffithobservatory.org   Stearn’s Wharf Stearn’s Wharf, located at the end of the famous State Street in Santa Barbara, is the oldest wooden wharf still in use in California. It is home to 17 shops and restaurants, along with two museums. Water taxis as well as cruise ships use the wharf as a port for picking up passengers. 217 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, 93101 (805) 564-5530 www.stearnswharf.org   The Vineland Drive-In This drive-in theater opened 62 years ago with only one screen, and it has been going strong since then. The theater is open seven…

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in Destinations & Landmarks

Southern California’s Signature Stairways

Southern California’s unique topographic contours have allowed for not only several “secret” outdoor stairways, but ones that wrap around, descend along hike paths, and surprise in sinuous fashion. Up until now, there have been eight stairwells in particular that were usually encountered by only land explorers, though are now revealed for all to revel in.   * La Mesa Public Stairs Located in La Mesa, CA on Windsor Drive (between Canterbury Dr. and Normal Ave.), this stairwell will test your endurance and leg/calf strength. It provides such a lower-body workout that personal trainers are known to bring their clients here. If you feel up to the challenge, not only will you shed a multitude of calories, but you’ll also appreciate the exclusive ambiance of the neighborhood that contains the steps.   * Hollywood Bowl/Broadview Terrace Stairs Comprised of around 420 steps and a distance of 2.5 miles, this staircase can be found on High Tower Drive (off Camrose Drive). It is very much in harmony with much of the cacti and fences of homes that embroider the path. For the sake of viewing Hollywood and the bright lights in the vicinity, these steps may offer the best views. If nothing…

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in Destinations & Landmarks

Discover the Temecula Valley ~ The Southland’s Premier Wine Country

Whether your first glimpse is by hot air balloon, bike, walking shoes or automobile, you sense there is something special about the Temecula Valley.  Its rolling vineyards, historic town, majestic parklands, and activities blend past and present into a laid-back SoCal inland lifestyle that thrives on nature’s riches and man’s creativity. An hour north of San Diego in southwestern Riverside County, the valley’s mild, year-round climate makes it ideal for week-end or week-long escapes any time of year.  Here you’ll find something for everyone starting with Old Town, which preserves its Old West heritage, miles of undulating hills and vineyards, and Pechanga Resort & Casino, the largest, most expansive resort-casino in California and one of the largest in the United States.   The Back Story   Temecula was home to the Luiseño Indians for at least 10,000 years before becoming a mission outpost, then a Mexican rancho, crossroads settlement, railroad town, and valley of vineyards to shape the Temecula Valley we know today.  Its name comes from the Luiseño Indian word “Temecunga” which the Spaniards interpreted as “Temecula.” Today, Temecula is the only city in California that still carries its Indian name.   The first known non-Indian to discover the…

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