California is known as the state of golden opportunity. As one of the most diverse destinations in the world, traveling through California can be like taking a trip around the globe or recounting the pioneer days of the American West. You’ll be pleasantly surprised as you discover frontier towns as alive today as they were in 1848 when gold was first discovered. Or, you might find yourself in the middle of thriving cosmopolitan cities in which you will experience delightful neighborhoods where different cultures create an exciting blend of Eastern and Western traditions. California’s unique and rich mixture of people, cultures, and natural resources has inspired activities of every kind. Snow-capped mountains, crystal-clear rivers, spectacular beaches, lush greenery, and monumental redwood forests appeal to outdoor enthusiasts as well as vacationers who just want to relax. In addition, visitors have within their grasp numerous theme parks, fine restaurants, outstanding wineries, distinctive resorts and hotels, world-renowned museums and galleries, and the unparalleled entertainment industry.
Even people who hate the USA love San Francisco. It has an atmosphere of genteel chic mixed with offbeat innovation, and a self-effacing flutter-of-the-eyelids quality so blatantly missing from brassy New York and plastic LA. This is a place that breeds alternatives: it’s the home of the Internet revolution, the Beat Generation, flower power, student protest and gay pride. One of the USA’s most attractive cities, San Francisco’s hilly streets provide some gorgeous glimpses of the San Francisco Bay and its famous bridges. This is a mosaic of a city, a big picture made from the colorful tiles of bustling Chinatown, the funky Mission, gay Castro, clubby SoMa, hippie Haight-Ashbury and faux-hemian North Beach.
Every year the Blue Angels fly over San Francisco Bay. Here are a few images I captured.
Coit Tower was built by one of the wealthiest women in San Francisco as a “thank you” to the San Franciscan firemen who saved the city after the 1902 earthquake and subsequent fires.
Known as the most “crooked” street in the U.S.A., Lombard Street gets its fair share of tourists every day.
National Art Museum
Located at one of the hills of San Francisco, this is a great escape from the bustle of the city.
This is the tourist attraction in San Francisco. Its a short ferry ride from the city and is definitely a must-see when you are in town. There is also a night tour one can take which allows you entry into areas not generally open to the public.
The Cliff House
Located on the western side of the San Francisco Peninsula, this is a good place for brunch. In the past there was a old amusement park and a bath house which have since been moved or demolished.
Another of the major San Francisco tourist spots, this is a great place to watch the sea lions go to the bathroom!
The Palace of Fine Arts
Better known as the place where Sean Connery is cornered by the police in the movie, The Rock, this is a great place to have a picnic and enjoy the local planetarium.
If you have a free weekend, be sure to come to Napa Valley. You can enjoy the vino at Robert Mondavi’s winery (pictured below) or enjoy some of the other varietals depending on your taste!
There is nothing like white water rafting in Bakersfield! The rapids are mostly Class 3 and 4 but there are a few Class 5 rapids you can enjoy as well.
It’s possible that Los Angeles is a figment of its own imagination. No other city studies itself so intently – on film, television and in glossy magazines. LA is where the American Dream is manufactured, and if you’re not prepared to embrace the dream, you’ll doubtless find it filthy, irritating, frightening or just plain dumb. But if you long to stand in the footsteps of stars and breathe their hallowed air, you’ve come to the right place. In this town, even chefs are household names and nobodies erect billboard shrines to themselves. Needless to say, its one of the best cities in the U.S. to visit and their are almost innumerable attractions and activities one could partake during a stay here.
Mann Chinese Theater