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.
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
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
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 nights a week, rain or shine. The drive-in has added three additional screens, as well as updated their machinery, but continues to maintain its classic atmosphere.
443 Vineland Ave, City of Industry, 91746
Descanso’s Ancient Forest
This beautiful forest is home to plants dating back to the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The ancient forest provides visitors with a look at what the world looked like in prehistoric times. It is home to what they refer to as “living fossils” which include plants that that date back to 280 million years ago. All of this natural beauty is located only about 20 minutes from downtown Los Angeles.
1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, 91011
Edelweiss has been making handcrafted chocolate since 1942, and continues to handcraft each piece today. This chocolate factory is what inspired the iconic chocolate scene in season two of I Love Lucy. Lucille Ball studied the art of candy making at Edelweiss for two and a half weeks to prepare for the scene. When visiting the factory, visitors can get a behind the scenes look at how these old-fashioned treats are made.
444 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, 90210
Runyon Canyon offers visitors 160 acres of wilderness and hiking trails, without having to leave Los Angeles. The hikes offer many lookout points where nature-lovers can admire spectacular views of the Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory, and even all the way down to the ocean. These trails are full of outdoor fun as well as rich history. They are not to be missed during your visit to the Los Angeles area.
2000 N. Fuller Ave, Los Angeles, 90046
Palm Springs is home to a weekly Villagefest, where the main street is shut down every Thursday night to allow 180 vendors to host a street fair. The shops on the strip stay open late as well giving shoppers even more places to look around. There are plenty of food vendors to keep shoppers satisfied, along with live music which helps to keep the good times rolling at this street fair.
264 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, 92262 (Main Street Palm Springs)
Mosaic Tile House
The Mosaic Tile House fits right in with Venice’s funky artistic scene. The house belongs to a husband and wife team, who spent nearly two decades building it into what it is today. The couple got inspired when working on their bathroom and when a few tiles broke, they embraced the broken pieces, turning them into mosaic art that now envelopes their entire house. Visitors are welcome to look around and come inside to view the eccentric house that has become its own piece of art.
1116 Palms Blvd, Venice, 90291
Sunset Cliffs offers 68 acres of natural beauty, bordering against the Pacific Ocean. Although arguably sunset is the best time of day to visit the cliffs, there is plenty to see during the day. There are sea caves, huge stone arches and beautiful panoramic ocean views.
1253 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., San Diego, 92107
The Pasadena Playhouse was originally built in the 1920’s and it was restored in the 1980’s to become what it is today. After nearly 100 years of bringing people together, it is theatre’s goal “to enrich people’s lives through theater, community programs and learning.” The theater has produced close to 1,200 shows and is continuing to go strong.
39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena, 91101