20 Things To Do In Southern California

Are you planning a trip to Southern California and looking for some ideas on what to do? Look no further! Southern California offers a plethora of activities for everyone, from beachgoers to history buffs to thrill-seekers. Here are 20 things you can do in Southern California:

1. Visit Disneyland in Anaheim

Disneyland in Anaheim in Southern CA

Disneyland in Anaheim, California, is a theme park that has been enchanting visitors since 1955. It is the original Disney park and is considered one of the most iconic theme parks in the world. It covers over 85 acres and features eight different themed lands, including Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Adventureland.

One of the things that make Disneyland so special is the attention to detail that has been put into every aspect of the park. The decorations, costumes, and attractions all work together to create an immersive experience that transports visitors to a world of magic and fantasy.

Some of the most popular attractions at Disneyland include classic rides like “It’s a Small World” and “Peter Pan’s Flight,” as well as newer attractions like “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” and “Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!” The park also features live shows, parades, and character meet-and-greets, where visitors can meet their favorite Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Elsa from “Frozen.”

In addition to the attractions, Disneyland offers a variety of dining options, ranging from quick-service restaurants to fine dining experiences. Visitors can enjoy everything from classic theme park fare like churros and popcorn to more unique offerings like Dole Whip and Monte Cristo sandwiches.

Disneyland is a truly magical place that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a fan of classic Disney characters or the latest Star Wars films, there’s sure to be an attraction or experience that will capture your imagination and leave you with unforgettable memories.

2. Take a stroll along the Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier in Southern CA

The Santa Monica Pier is an iconic landmark located in Santa Monica, California. Built in 1909, the pier has since become a beloved destination for locals and tourists alike. The pier stretches out over the Pacific Ocean and offers stunning views of the ocean and coastline.

One of the main draws of the Santa Monica Pier is its amusement park, Pacific Park. The park features a variety of rides, including a Ferris wheel and roller coaster, as well as carnival games and other attractions. Visitors can also check out the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, which is home to a variety of marine life and offers educational programs for visitors of all ages.

In addition to the amusement park and aquarium, the Santa Monica Pier also features a variety of restaurants and shops. Visitors can enjoy everything from seafood to ice cream, and can browse through souvenir shops and other stores. The pier also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including live music and other performances.

Overall, the Santa Monica Pier is a fun-filled destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to ride roller coasters, learn about marine life, or simply enjoy the ocean views, the pier is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Southern California.

3. Go hiking in Griffith Park in Los Angeles

Griffith Park in Southern CA

Griffith Park is a vast urban park located in Los Angeles, California, and is one of the largest parks of its kind in North America. The park spans over 4,000 acres of land and offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors, including hiking trails, picnic areas, museums, and a zoo.

One of the park’s most iconic attractions is the Griffith Observatory, which sits atop a hill and offers stunning views of the city skyline. Visitors can explore the observatory’s exhibits and planetarium shows, as well as take in the breathtaking views of the stars and planets through its telescopes.

The Los Angeles Zoo is also a popular attraction in Griffith Park, where visitors can see over 1,400 animals from around the world. The park offers a variety of hiking trails, including the famous Griffith Park Observatory Trail, which offers panoramic views of the city.

Griffith Park is an excellent destination for anyone traveling to Los Angeles, offering a diverse range of attractions and activities that cater to a wide range of interests. Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, or just looking for a fun day out, Griffith Park has something for everyone.

4. Check out the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hollywood Walk of Fame in Southern CA

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a renowned attraction located in Hollywood, California, that celebrates the achievements of Hollywood’s most famous actors, musicians, directors, and other celebrities. With over 2,600 stars embedded in the sidewalk, visitors can stroll down the Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street, spotting their favorite celebrities’ stars and learning about their contributions to the entertainment industry.

The Walk of Fame is not only a historic landmark but also a popular destination for entertainment, with various venues like the Dolby Theatre, home of the Academy Awards, and the TCL Chinese Theatre, famous for its handprints and footprints of Hollywood legends.

Whether you’re a film buff or just looking for a fun day out, the Hollywood Walk of Fame offers a glimpse into the history and glamour of the entertainment industry. The Walk of Fame is a must-see destination for anyone traveling to Los Angeles, providing an experience that is both educational and entertaining.

5. Take a tour of the famous Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank

Warner Brothers Studio in Southern CA

Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California, is a famous film and television production studio that has been in operation since the early 20th century. The studio lot spans over 110 acres, and visitors can take a tour of the facility and see behind-the-scenes of some of their favorite movies and TV shows.

The studio tour offers visitors an opportunity to see sets, soundstages, and prop rooms used in productions such as Friends, Gilmore Girls, and The Big Bang Theory. Visitors can also explore the Warner Bros. Museum, which features costumes, props, and memorabilia from the studio’s rich history.

In addition to the studio tour, Warner Bros. Studios also offers a VIP tour that includes access to more areas of the studio lot, such as the costume department and special effects stages.

Whether you’re a film enthusiast or just curious about the inner workings of Hollywood, a tour of Warner Bros. Studios is a must-see experience. It offers visitors an exclusive look into the world of filmmaking and a chance to see some of the most iconic sets and props in Hollywood history.

6. Go whale watching in San Diego

Whale watching in San Diego CA

Whale watching in San Diego is a popular and exciting activity that allows visitors to witness the migration of some of the world’s largest creatures. San Diego is home to several species of whales, including gray whales, humpback whales, and blue whales, which can be seen from December to April during their annual migration.

Visitors can join one of the many whale watching tours offered in San Diego to get up close and personal with these magnificent creatures. The tours are led by experienced guides who provide insightful information about the whales and their behaviors.

In addition to whale watching, visitors can also spot other marine wildlife, such as dolphins, sea lions, and various seabirds. Many of the tours offer a unique vantage point to see the San Diego coastline, making it an excellent opportunity for photography and sightseeing.

Whale watching in San Diego is a thrilling and unforgettable experience that offers visitors a chance to witness the beauty and power of these majestic creatures up close. It’s a must-do activity for nature enthusiasts, families, and anyone looking for an adventure in San Diego.

7. Explore Balboa Park in San Diego

Balboa Park in Southern CA

Balboa Park is a 1,200-acre urban park located in San Diego, California. The park is home to a variety of museums, gardens, and cultural institutions that offer visitors a glimpse into the city’s history and culture.

The park’s most notable attraction is the San Diego Zoo, which is one of the largest and most diverse zoos in the world, featuring over 3,500 animals. Other popular attractions include the Museum of Man, the San Diego Museum of Art, and the Botanical Building and Lily Pond, which is a beautiful conservatory filled with rare and exotic plants.

Visitors can also enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and picnicking, as the park has over 65 miles of trails and numerous green spaces. The park hosts various festivals, concerts, and cultural events throughout the year, making it a lively and vibrant destination for visitors of all ages.

Balboa Park is a must-see destination for anyone visiting San Diego, offering a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty in the heart of the city.

8. Visit the San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo is a world-renowned zoo located in San Diego, California, United States. It is home to over 3,500 animals from more than 650 species, including rare and endangered species such as giant pandas, orangutans, koalas, and polar bears.

The zoo covers 100 acres and features a variety of habitats, including rainforests, savannas, and deserts, designed to replicate the animals’ natural environments. Visitors can explore the zoo on foot or take a guided bus tour that covers the entire zoo. There are also special experiences available, such as animal encounters and behind-the-scenes tours.

In addition to its animal exhibits, the San Diego Zoo is also a leader in animal conservation, research, and education. The zoo participates in numerous conservation programs, such as the California Condor Recovery Program and the Giant Panda Conservation Program, and conducts research on animal behavior, genetics, and physiology. It also offers a variety of educational programs and resources for visitors of all ages.

Overall, the San Diego Zoo is a world-class zoo and a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in wildlife and conservation.

9. Relax on the beaches of Malibu

Malibu beaches in Southern CA

Malibu, a coastal city in Southern California, is known for its stunning beaches that attract locals and tourists alike. The beaches in Malibu offer a variety of experiences, from surfing to sunbathing to hiking.

One of the most popular beaches in Malibu is Surfrider Beach, which is known for its consistent waves and is a popular spot for surfers. Another popular beach is Zuma Beach, which is one of the largest and most beautiful beaches in Southern California, offering miles of soft sand and clear water.

Other beaches in Malibu include El Matador Beach, which is a secluded beach with stunning rock formations and tide pools, and Point Dume Beach, which offers a more rugged, natural setting and is a great spot for hiking and whale watching.

The beaches of Malibu are a true gem of Southern California, offering a diverse range of experiences and breathtaking natural beauty. Whether you’re looking to catch some waves, soak up the sun, or simply enjoy a peaceful stroll along the coast, Malibu’s beaches have something to offer for everyone.

10. Take a day trip to Catalina Island

Catalina Island in Southern CA

Catalina Island is a small island located off the coast of Southern California, known for its stunning natural beauty and outdoor recreational activities. The island is approximately 22 miles long and 8 miles wide, and it is accessible by ferry or helicopter from the mainland.

The island offers a variety of activities for visitors, including hiking, biking, kayaking, and snorkeling. The island is home to several wildlife species, including the Catalina Island fox, which is native to the island and can only be found there.

One of the most popular attractions on the island is the Catalina Island Casino, a historic building that was built in 1929 and served as a gathering place for social events and entertainment. Today, the Casino houses a museum and a movie theater that shows classic films.

Visitors can also explore the town of Avalon, the main town on the island, which is known for its charming shops, restaurants, and hotels. The island also offers a range of accommodations, from luxurious resorts to rustic camping sites.

Catalina Island is a beautiful destination that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, outdoor activities, and historic charm. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach or explore the island’s rugged wilderness, Catalina Island has something to offer for everyone.

11. Visit the Getty Center in Los Angeles

Getty Center in Los Angeles Southern CA

The Getty Center is a world-renowned art museum located in Los Angeles, California. The museum is situated on a hilltop in the Santa Monica Mountains, offering stunning views of the surrounding area.

The Getty Center’s collection consists of over 23,000 works of art, ranging from ancient artifacts to contemporary pieces. The museum’s collection includes European paintings, drawings, sculptures, and decorative arts, as well as photographs and manuscripts.

The museum’s architecture is also a major attraction, with its modernist design featuring white travertine stone and a beautiful garden. Visitors can enjoy a variety of exhibits and special programs, including lectures, concerts, and workshops.

In addition to the art and architecture, the Getty Center offers several dining options, including a cafe and a restaurant with panoramic views of the city. The museum also features a bookstore, where visitors can purchase books and other items related to the museum’s collection.

The Getty Center is a must-visit destination for art lovers and anyone interested in architecture and design. Its beautiful setting, world-class collection, and engaging programs make it one of the most popular attractions in Los Angeles.

12. Drive along the Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), also known as Highway 1, is a scenic road that runs along the Pacific coast of California, from the northern border with Oregon to the southern border with Mexico. The road stretches for over 600 miles and offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, rugged coastline, and picturesque towns.

The PCH passes through several iconic destinations, including San Francisco, Big Sur, Malibu, and Santa Monica. The road is known for its winding turns, steep cliffs, and stunning vistas, making it a popular route for road trips, scenic drives, and motorcycle rides.

Along the way, visitors can stop at several state parks, beaches, and other attractions, including Hearst Castle, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the Golden Gate Bridge. The PCH is also home to several charming coastal towns, offering a glimpse into California’s rich history and culture.

Driving the PCH is a popular activity for tourists and locals alike, and there are several resources available to help plan the perfect trip. Whether you’re looking to explore the natural beauty of California’s coast, sample delicious seafood, or simply enjoy the ocean breeze, the Pacific Coast Highway is a must-see destination.

13. Explore the historic Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego

Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego Southern CA

The Gaslamp Quarter is a vibrant neighborhood located in downtown San Diego, California. The area is known for its lively atmosphere, historic buildings, and wide range of dining and entertainment options.

The Gaslamp Quarter dates back to the late 19th century, and many of its buildings have been preserved or restored to their original Victorian and Gothic styles. The area is also home to several museums and art galleries, including the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Photographic Arts.

One of the main draws of the Gaslamp Quarter is its dining scene, which features a diverse range of cuisines from around the world. Visitors can choose from casual cafes and gastropubs to upscale restaurants, as well as rooftop bars and nightclubs.

The Gaslamp Quarter is also a popular destination for shopping, with a mix of boutique shops and well-known brands. Visitors can find everything from fashion and accessories to specialty foods and souvenirs.

The area is also home to several annual events and festivals, including the Gaslamp Quarter Artwalk and the San Diego Comic-Con. Overall, the Gaslamp Quarter is a dynamic and historic neighborhood that offers something for everyone, from history and culture to dining and entertainment.

14. Go surfing in Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach in Southern CA

Huntington Beach, also known as “Surf City USA,” is a coastal city located in Orange County, California. The city is known for its beautiful beaches, world-class surf breaks, and vibrant surfing culture.

The beaches in Huntington Beach are a major attraction, with miles of pristine coastline that offer something for everyone, from swimming and sunbathing to surfing and beach volleyball. The city also has several parks, including the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, which is home to several species of wildlife and offers hiking and birdwatching opportunities.

In addition to the beaches, Huntington Beach offers a variety of dining and shopping options, ranging from casual beachside cafes to upscale restaurants and boutiques. The city also has several entertainment venues, including the Huntington Beach Pier and the Huntington Beach Art Center, which hosts exhibitions and events throughout the year.

Huntington Beach is also known for its surfing culture, with several surf shops, surf schools, and surf-themed events and competitions throughout the year. Visitors can also learn about the history of surfing at the Surfing Museum, which showcases vintage surfboards and memorabilia.

Overall, Huntington Beach is a vibrant and welcoming city that offers a perfect blend of outdoor recreation, dining, shopping, and entertainment. Whether you’re looking to catch some waves, relax on the beach, or explore the local culture, Huntington Beach is a must-visit destination.

15. Check out the exhibits at the California Science Center in Los Angeles

California Science Center in Southern CA

The California Science Center is a state-of-the-art museum located in Exposition Park, Los Angeles, California. It features various exhibits and interactive displays that showcase the wonders of science and technology.

The most famous exhibit at the center is the Space Shuttle Endeavour, which was retired in 2011 and is now on display at the museum. Other popular exhibits include the Ecosystems exhibit, which showcases the diversity of life on Earth, and the World of Life exhibit, which explores the mysteries of the human body.

The California Science Center also offers a variety of educational programs, such as camps, workshops, and classes, designed to inspire a love of science and technology in young people. Additionally, the center hosts special events throughout the year, including lectures, concerts, and film screenings.

The California Science Center is an exciting and educational destination that is ideal for visitors of all ages who are interested in science and technology.

16. Go on a food tour in Los Angeles

Food tours in Los Angeles CA

Los Angeles is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, making it a food lover’s paradise. Food tours in Los Angeles offer visitors and locals the opportunity to explore the city’s diverse food scene, learn about its history and culture, and taste some of its most delicious dishes.

Los Angeles food tours can vary in length, price, and focus. Some tours may take participants to popular neighborhoods like Hollywood, Beverly Hills, or Downtown LA, while others may focus on specific cuisines like Mexican, Korean, or vegan food. Tours can be walking tours or bus tours, and some may even include transportation in a luxury vehicle.

Food tours typically include stops at several restaurants, food trucks, or markets, where participants can sample dishes like tacos, sushi, barbecue, or artisanal ice cream. Tour guides may also provide information on the history and culture of the dishes and neighborhoods visited, as well as tips on where to find the best food in the city.

In addition to food, some tours may also include visits to landmarks or attractions like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Griffith Observatory, or the Santa Monica Pier. This allows participants to experience not only the food but also the sights and sounds of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles food tours offer a fun and unique way to explore the city’s culinary offerings and learn about its diverse culture and history. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, a food tour is a great way to experience the best of Los Angeles’ food scene.

17. Visit Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park in Southern CA

Joshua Tree National Park is a protected area located in southeastern California, covering an area of approximately 790,636 acres. The park is named after the iconic Joshua Tree, a type of yucca tree that is native to the Mojave Desert.

The park is known for its unique and breathtaking landscape, characterized by rocky formations, rugged mountains, and vast desert plains. Visitors can explore the park’s numerous hiking trails, rock climbing sites, and campsites, as well as admire the stunning vistas of the surrounding desert.

One of the main attractions of the park is the Joshua Tree, which can be found throughout the park and is especially prominent in the higher elevations. Other plant species that can be found in the park include cacti, yuccas, and wildflowers.

Wildlife is also abundant in the park, with species such as coyotes, bobcats, bighorn sheep, and desert tortoises making their home in the park. Birdwatchers can spot a variety of species, including owls, hawks, and eagles.

Joshua Tree National Park is also a popular destination for stargazing, as it has some of the darkest skies in Southern California. The park offers a variety of ranger-led programs and educational activities, making it a great destination for families and visitors of all ages.

\ Joshua Tree National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, offering a unique and unforgettable experience in the heart of the California desert.

18. Go shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills

Rodeo Drive in Southern CA

Rodeo Drive is a world-renowned shopping district located in Beverly Hills, California. The street is known for its luxurious and high-end fashion boutiques, designer stores, and upscale restaurants.

Rodeo Drive has been featured in many movies and TV shows and is considered one of the most glamorous and iconic shopping destinations in the world. The street spans three blocks and is lined with palm trees and elegant storefronts, showcasing the latest fashions and trends from some of the world’s most famous designers and brands.

Visitors to Rodeo Drive can browse designer stores such as Chanel, Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton, as well as high-end jewelry stores such as Cartier, Harry Winston, and Tiffany & Co. In addition to fashion and jewelry, visitors can also find luxury home decor, beauty products, and art galleries.

Rodeo Drive is not just a shopping destination, but also a hub for cultural events and exhibitions. The street hosts events such as art shows, fashion shows, and charity events throughout the year.

While Rodeo Drive is primarily known for its high-end fashion boutiques and designer stores, visitors can also find a range of dining options, from casual cafes to elegant restaurants. Some of the most popular restaurants on Rodeo Drive include Wolfgang Puck’s flagship restaurant Spago and the trendy Italian restaurant Il Pastaio.

Rodeo Drive offers visitors a unique and unforgettable shopping and dining experience in the heart of Beverly Hills, combining luxury, glamour, and style.

19. Take a tour of the USS Midway Museum in San Diego

USS Midway Museum in San Diego CA

The USS Midway Museum in San Diego is a one-of-a-kind attraction that offers visitors an unforgettable experience of American naval history. As one of the longest-serving aircraft carriers in the U.S. Navy, the USS Midway was active from 1945 to 1992 and played a vital role in many important military operations.

Today, the USS Midway has been transformed into a fascinating museum that features more than 60 exhibits, including restored aircraft, interactive displays, and multimedia presentations. Visitors can explore the ship’s hangar deck, flight deck, and command center, and get a glimpse of what life was like for the ship’s crew during its years of service.

Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a unique and educational experience, the USS Midway Museum is a must-visit destination in San Diego. With its impressive collection of aircraft and exhibits, it offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of naval aviation and the men and women who served aboard this legendary ship.

20. Attend a concert at the Hollywood Bowl

Hollywood Bowl in Southern CA

The Hollywood Bowl is an iconic open-air amphitheater nestled in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles, California. With its unique circular design, state-of-the-art sound system, and stunning views of the city skyline, the Hollywood Bowl has become one of the world’s most famous and beloved performance venues.

Since its opening in 1922, the Hollywood Bowl has hosted countless legendary musicians and performers, from the Beatles to Frank Sinatra to Andrea Bocelli. Today, it continues to showcase some of the biggest names in music, as well as a diverse array of cultural and community events.

In addition to its incredible performances, the Hollywood Bowl is known for its picturesque setting and vibrant atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy picnics under the stars, pre-concert activities and events, and stunning views of the Hollywood sign and the surrounding hills.

Whether you’re a music lover, a fan of the arts, or simply looking for a memorable and unique experience in Los Angeles, the Hollywood Bowl is a must-visit destination that offers something for everyone.

With so many exciting activities to choose from, Southern California is the perfect destination for a fun-filled vacation. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, there is something for everyone in this sunny region of the country.

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