When to Go
In general Southern California has two seasons, a long dry summer with low humidity and cool evenings and a mild winter, except in the mountains where there is snow. In general, Southern California’s climate has often been described as Mediterranean. The warmest and driest times to visit are June – September.
In the spring, the weather is excellent and the coastal areas are mostly fog free. Spring is also the greenest time of year when wildflowers bloom and fruit trees blossom.
The predominant color of summer is gold, giving California its’ nickname, the “Golden State.” Summer is an ideal time to lounge on the beach, take a scenic drive, or go hiking.
Fall harvest festivals take place during this time of year. There is fall foliage in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with golden stands of Aspen trees and, in the Lake Tahoe area making this an ideal time for a scenic drive or hike.
Winter in California can be warm and sunny even though it is considered to be the rainy season. Rain rarely lasts long and there are plenty of indoor things to do. Winter is one of the best times to go whale watching because this is when gray whales migrate from Alaska to Mexico. It is important to note that, if it is raining at sea level in the winter, it is most likely snowing in the mountains making it the perfect time to go skiing.
The sprawling city of LA is not only the home of the nation’s film and television industry, it also offers an exhilarating array of things to do and see.
The iconic TCL Chinese Theatre that opened in 1927 showcases the glitz and glitter of the golden age of Hollywood. A tour of the theatre is fascinating.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame offers visitors their own red carpet moment! As of 2019, there are more than 2,600 stars on the Walk of Fame with Joanne Woodward earning the first star here in 1960 for the 1957 movie, The Three Faces of Eve.
Rodeo Drive, the upscale shopping street in Beverly Hills that was made infamous by Julia Roberts, in “Pretty Woman” is a delightful place to window shop. Three palm-studded blocks are home to more than 100 of the world’s leading shops and specialty boutiques.
Neighborhoods – Chinatown
Brightly painted pagodas welcome visitors to this colorful Asian neighborhood that was established in 1938. This area includes shops, art galleries, restaurants, and residences. The neon lit Central Plaza is a vibrant cultural center that is the main hub of this neighborhood. Don’t miss the iconic Mission-styled Union Station on the outskirts of Chinatown.
Neighborhood – Little Tokyo
This is an ethnically Japanese-American neighborhood that is known for the best Japanese restaurants in the area. It is chock full of authentic Japanese shops and galleries, and is home to the largest Japanese- American population in North America. Don’t miss a stroll through the peaceful Japanese Garden.
Neighborhood- Olvera Street
This area is located in the oldest part of LA that is known as “the birthplace” of LA. This long and narrow tree shaded brick walk is lined with markets and historic buildings. The area was created in 1930 to preserve the cultural heritage and customs of early California. Mexican folk art, outdoor cafes serving authentic Mexican cuisine, street vendors, folkloric dancers, and mariachi music create an unforgettable atmosphere.
This famous beach city has a 3.5-mile stretch of unspoiled coastline that is only 13 miles from downtown LA. Recently, San Diego was named one of the “best beach cities in the world” by National Geographic and, one of the “best places to live” by Time Magazine.
Santa Monica Pier is located on a legendary beach. It is where you will find an exciting restaurant and shopping scene that also boasts an excellent nightlife culture. An amusement park including an antique Carousel, street performers, and artists add to the fun.
The Third Street Promenade, a few blocks from the Santa Monica Pier is an open air shopping and dining venue that has welcomed visitors since 1989. This area is home to more than 80 retail establishments that range from a farmers market to luxury clothing shops and many unusual boutiques. The Gallery Food Hall provides a wonderful mix of indoor and outdoor dining experiences.
Just twenty-two miles off the coast of California, Catalina Island is a place where people from around the globe come to unwind. One pleasant way to explore Catalina Island is to take a walk along the historic waterfront from Casino Point to Lover’s Point.
The best way to see the interior of Catalina Island is to take the Skyline Drive. This very special journey transports visitors through the heart of the outback of Catalina Island, past deep canyons and quiet coves that are home to North American Bison, the Catalina Island Fox, and the Catalina ground squirrel.
Sunny beaches, a Mediterranean-like climate, one of the world’s best zoos, the Navy Pier, a vibrant culinary scene, great shopping, and interesting attractions make San Diego a mecca for visitors that want a variety of experiences.
San Diego Zoo
Nestled in verdant Balboa Park, this is considered one of the best zoos in the world because they pioneered open air, cageless animal exhibits. It is one of the few zoos outside China that has Giant Panda Bears. The zoo is home to more than 3,500 rare and exotic animals that roam freely in huge enclosures. The 32- acre Heart of Africa Safari, the Cheetah Run, and Lorikeet Landing are just some of the highlights.
Whaley House Museum
If you like haunted houses, this one located in San Diego’s Old Town is a must see attraction. The Whaley House has been designated officially as “haunted.” The house was built in 1857 on the town’s former gallows site and it is said the ghosts of this family still haunt the house.
This charming area where Victorian structures live side by side with modern buildings was San Diego’s “red light” district in the 19th century! Today, it is home to more than 100 shops, eclectic galleries, chic boutiques, trendy nightclubs, and fine dining restaurants.
USS Midway Museum
Schedule time for a once in a lifetime opportunity to tour a historic aircraft carrier that includes sixty locations from sleeping quarters and a four-acre flight deck to the engine room and control tower. The USS Midway is the longest serving U.S. Navy aircraft carrier of the 20th century.
Set amid charming gardens is a walkable collection of 15 museums including the San Diego Museum of Art, the San Diego History Center, the San Diego Air and Space Museum, and the Museum of Man. For fantastic views climb the 200-foot tall California Tower that offers views that extend into Mexico.
If you like the beach, don’t miss one of the world’s most scenic coastlines, La Jolla, the “jewel” of San Diego.
Several companies in San Diego offer whale-watching cruises. Gray whales migrate from Alaska to the lagoons of Baja California and, San Diego has 70 miles of coastline that are on the migratory route. Blue whales, the largest creature on earth, migrates from mid-June – September and, 3,000 of them feed off the California coast.
The desert oasis of Palm Springs has been a playground for Hollywood celebs for more than half a century, and, it is easy to see why. It is known for its golf courses, spas, vintage boutiques, and interesting midcentury architecture. With great year-round weather, a vibrant art scene, and incredible outdoor adventures, visitors find plenty of things to do during their stay.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Get a birds eye view of the breathtaking cliffs of Chino Canyon on the largest rotating aerial tramway in the world. The tram transports visitors to the unspoiled wilderness of Mt. San Jacinto State Park at an elevation of 8,516 feet. Enjoy hiking trails, two restaurants, and a gift shop. It is 20 to 30 degrees cooler on the Mountain.
Palm Springs Air Museum
There are forty flyable planes across three warehouses that are from World War II, the Korean, and Vietnamese Wars. In addition to fascinating displays, this museum offers a limited number of flights aboard the C-47 Skytrain, T-28B Trojan, T-33 Shooting Star Jet, the trainer version of the US Air Force’s first jet fighter, and the P-51 Mustang that served in WW2 and the Korean War as a bomber.