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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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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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San Diego: An Undiscovered Hot Spot for Theater Buffs

Over the years, San Diego theater has produced and sent more shows to Broadway than any other city in the nation. Yet, when most audiences think of top theater cities in the U.S., San Diego rarely makes the list.  Home of two Tony Award®-winning theaters, The Old Globe and La Jolla Playhouse, and diverse theater companies around the region, San Diego is ready to step out from behind the theater curtain and receive its well-deserved recognition and applause. From major Broadway players to avant-garde indie playhouses, here are five San Diego theaters that are certain to bring audiences to their feet for outstanding performances. La Jolla Playhouse Set on the campus of the University of California, San Diego in La Jolla, La Jolla Playhouse has created 26 productions that have transferred to Broadway, earning 35 Tony Awards® in total.  Since its first Broadway hit musical Big River in 1985, nationally recognizable productions include The Who’s Tommy, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Jersey Boys, Memphis, Peter and the Starcatchers and Hands on a Hardbody, just to name a few.  The original, rock-inspired new musical, Come From Away, which received its world premiere at La Jolla Playhouse during its 2015-2016 Season, is slated for…

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SoCal’s Magical Wisdom Tree

  Situated on the Cahuenga Peak Trail in Griffith Park, the “Wisdom Tree”—which resembles a bashful sprout of broccoli—should have been one of Mother Nature’s tragedies, but it has turned out to be a rousing success story.   For all intents and purposes, the tree should have succumbed to not only an unmerciful fire in 2007, but a land sale in 2010 that would have seen it felled without forethought. However, the inferno, though unrelenting as it was in destroying most of the vegetation around it, spared the limbs of the tree. And the potentially disastrous real-estate transaction was countervailed by The Trust for Public Land, which won out when a miraculous $900,000 check by Hugh Hefner sealed the deal and salvaged the tree’s fate.   After winning the “Save the Peak” sweepstakes, the tree has been since meditating on an additional 138 acres of public property, accessible to all visitors, who often hike by to bask in its sage vibe. The really inspired ones will pick up one of the many journals and pens placed at the feet of its bark (provided by advocate Mark Rowlands) and write a meaningful message for posterity.   Among all the Wisdom Tree…

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Take a Hike: The Palm Canyon Trail

After you inch your way down the main drag of Palm Springs, past the restaurants, clubs, shops, noise and famed Palm Canyon Walk of Stars , a peaceful journey awaits.   Continue down South Palm Canyon Drive, along the dusty road dotted with flash flood signs warning “Turn Around or Drown.” At the end you will find yourself at the entrance to the Agua Caliente Cahuilla Indian Reservation and some of the most magical hiking trails in Southern California.   Entrance fees to Palm Canyon, Andreas Canyon and Murray Canyon range from $9.00 for adults to $5.00 for children for adventure on foot as well as horseback.   The most spiritual of all the trails is Palm Canyon – 15 miles at most and ranges from easy to strenuous in difficulty level. Or you can just have lunch at a picnic table, surrounded by the largest California Fan Palm Oasis in the world, which has been there for centuries, originally settled by the Agua Caliente Native Californians.   The trail winds along a canyon of palms, pools and streams, surrounded in dramatic contrast by ancient rocky gorges jutting straight up to the sky and the barren desert that is the…

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Ojai, California — The Perfect Escape

After completing a seriously demanding nightmare of a project, I realized it was time for some much-needed respite. Yet with only a few days before my next project began, I needed to find a place where I could recharge and rejuvenate in the quickest, dirtiest way possible. Luckily, I picked the perfect locale — the charming town of Ojai, California. It was exactly what I needed — in just two days, I felt like a completely new woman. I stayed at The Oaks at Ojai (www.oaksspa.com), which I chose because of its reputation for being comfortable and unassuming. It was a great pick — the staff was legitimately friendly and there was absolutely no attitude — I leave Los Angeles for a reason. The newly renovated rooms were nice and relaxing, and as a whole, the place has a casual yet welcoming feel, perfect for a woman traveling by herself (did I mention I also needed some alone time?). The minute I got there, I felt like I was in an entirely different world — it was hard to believe I was only an hour and a half away from Los Angeles. The food at The Oaks was outstanding and amounted to…

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in Destinations & Landmarks, Featured

Muscle Beach Venice : Beach Next to the Santa Monica Pier Put LA’s Beautiful People on the Map

During the Great Depression, in an effort to improve the health and welfare of its citizens, the Works Progress Administration would install numbered playgrounds on many the beaches throughout Los Angeles. The program, which was part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal” aimed to provide the “3 Rs”—relief, recovery and reform—for Angelenos faced with the many hardships of the time. New schools, parks, bridges and playgrounds went up in record numbers around the city, providing paid jobs for scads of unemployed men and women, and in turn, boosting the morale of people who’d lost all hope. Beach Playground #4 was located right next to the Santa Monica Pier. In addition to swings and slides, it included a plethora of athletic equipment. Within a short time, Hollywood stunt men, circus performers and variety acts began congregating there to train and stay limber. The beach would really gain a reputation for good-looking athletes and perfect physiques, when the UCLA men’s gymnastics team began training there regularly. It’s been said that the section of beach just north of the Pier was such a popular spot for students to study, that it was nicknamed “Brain Beach.” The many strongmen posing and flexing in the…

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