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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.

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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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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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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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The Original Farmers Market: People Have Been Meeting at Third & Fairfax for 80 Years
in Destinations & Landmarks

The Original Farmers Market: People Have Been Meeting at Third & Fairfax for 80 Years

Cheerful greetings of “Hi” and “Good to see you” in a sunny Irish dialect can be heard on any given afternoon from behind the counter at Magee’s House of Nuts at LA’s Original Farmers Market. The infectious salutations come from Doris Perez, who has been serving customers there for over 50 years. “I came here from Ireland in 1959 with the plan to stay for one year.” Perez (formerly Leach), who briefly worked as a nanny for an Encino family, says, “I liked it so much that I just never left.” Working first at the Market’s Desert Date Shop in 1963, she moved to Du-Pars shortly thereafter in 1968, where she would stay for 38 years. When they closed for remodeling, she moved over to Magee’s where she’s been ever since. “If people like to buy a particular thing, I write it down, along with their name, so I can always remember what they want when they come here.” Ever-ingrained in the history of this famous place, Perez, who has waited on everyone from heads of state like Eisenhower and Bush, to music mega-stars the Beatles, seems to have been there forever. But the story of this colorful, local market…

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in Destinations & Landmarks

San Diego’s 7 Most Stunning Natural Wonders

With 70 miles of sparkling coastline, a pleasantly warm climate year-round and stunning natural wonders, San Diego’s beauty entices and enthralls travelers from around the world — yet many don’t know that San Diego is one of the most biodiverse regions in the U.S.  Home to a variety of habitats ranging from intertidal wetlands and chaparral-covered canyons to alpine mountains and pristine desert wilderness, San Diego teems with Instagram-worthy sites. The following are seven of San Diego’s top natural wonders—a bucket list of sensational sights sure to impress visitors of all ages. Nestled atop the scenic seaside cliffs of La Jolla, the 1,750-acre Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is one of only two places on earth where nature lovers can find the ancient Torrey Pine (Pinus torreyana), the nation’s rarest pine tree. Visitors can enjoy wind-swept sandstone formations, six hiking trails ranging from easy, family-friendly paths to more advanced trails, and striking sunsets over the Pacific. The reserve offers free guided walks on weekends and holidays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., departing from the historic lodge-turned-Visitor Center. La Jolla is also home to postcard-perfect La Jolla Cove and La Jolla Underwater Park, the West Coast’s first underwater preserve, spanning…

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