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15 California Tourist Attractions That Are Anything But Basic

15 California Tourist Attractions That Are Anything But Basic

Hunting for exciting adventures in California? Discover the 15 California tourist attractions that are anything but basic.

Roubina Al Abashian


6 min read

August 28, 2021

The undeniable tourist magnet (you definitely know we’re referring to the Golden State) has been attracting visitors for years now. Ever wonder why the state is so compelling? With its unique beaches, untainted nature, historic sites, and vibrant nightlife, visitors never have enough time to see all that needs to be seen. The Golden State’s attractions might be numerous but some destinations are more essential than others. Add these far-from-basic attractions to your bucket list and enjoy the best that California has to offer.

Southern California Attractions

Los Angeles Tourist Attractions

The Broad

Located in Downtown L.A., The Broad is a contemporary art museum, boasting more than 2,000 pieces of art. With its unique exterior, this major Los Angeles tourist attraction has over 800,000 visitors a year and is considered a top contemporary art museum in the Golden State. Drop by and have a once in a lifetime experience at this free California art museum.

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Griffith Observatory

The list of free things to do in L.A. continues where earth meets the sky. Located in the gorgeous Griffith Park on the Southern side of Hollywood Hill, Griffith Observatory invites its visitors to take a closer look at space and participate in its many science exhibits. Make sure to check out this instagrammable place in the City of Angels and enjoy watching the sunset and the night stars from its premises.

Underground Tunnels

Under the streets of Downtown L.A. are abandoned underground tunnels with a lot of history. These must-see weird SoCal tourist attractions were initially built to transfer goods underground. During the 13 years of Prohibition from 1920 to 1933, the 11-mile long tubes served as a secret passageway for alcohol smugglers and speakeasies. King Eddy Saloon—a piano store—was one of the entrances to the secret passageways and still remains to this day. After getting done with everything above ground, check the underground tunnels to catch the vibe of 1920s L.A.

Spend the day strolling the day in Balboa Park with your beaux! Now, tell us, is there a better way to spend your day?

San Diego Tourist Attraction

Balboa Park 

If there’s only one place you get to visit in San Diego, it should be the famous Balboa Park. There’s pretty much everything in the park to satisfy people with different interests. From the numerous gardens and museums, to the botanical gardens and the popular San Diego Zoo, this park is set to keep you busy for hours. On your next trip to San Diego give in to the beautiful nature of the park and enjoy its many attractions. 

Spruce Street Suspension Bridge

Spruce Street Suspension Bridge, or as we like to call it the San Diego Hidden Gem, offers breathtaking views of the Kate Session Canyon underneath it. Built in 1912 with the help of 2,186 people, the 375-foot long bridge stands at an elevation of 70 feet. A stroll at this weird SoCal attraction makes for a perfect free date idea. Next time you’re planning an affordable yet beautiful date at one of San Diego’s tourist attractions, think no more—just make sure your date isn't acrophobic. 

Hollywood Tourist Attractions

Transform into a Hollywood star for the moment and stroll the Walk of Fame. Where is your star?

Walk of Fame

A visit to Hollywood is usually the hope of running into one of your favorite celebrities---and hey, chances are not too low. Now, if you don’t get to run into your favorite celebs, you can at least check out their stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This famous Hollywood tourist attraction spans across 15 blocks featuring over 2,600 terrazzo and brass stars. The shiny attraction easily makes it to every L.A. bucket list.

Runyon Canyon Trail

Conveniently situated between Fuller Avenue and Mulholland Drive, a hike at Runyon Canyon trail opens to the perfect Hollywood vistas. The 3-mile long trail loop is the perfect moderate hiking spot for those who can’t handle rougher treks. If it’s your lucky day, you might even run into a celebrity or two. Next time you're in Hollywood check out this perfect outdoor workout spot, and bring your pup along.

When in L.A., spend your time wisely and venture out to the La Brea Tar Pits. You'll be intrigued for hours.

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum is your portal to the Ice Age. Thousands of years ago natural asphalt created pools in the ground (tar pits) and a variety of animals of all sizes got trapped inside. Known as one of the top California attractions for families, La Brea Tar Pits and Museum has a lot of fossils on display both inside the museum and outside at the active tar pits. You might even stumble upon a new discovery while visiting, as active excavations take place daily.

Northern California Tourist Attractions

Sacramento Tourist Attractions

Fairytale Town

Family fun is inevitable in Sacramento, home to one of the most unique theme parks in the Golden State, Fairytale Town. The storybook-theme park includes 26 play sets, which are based on fairy tales and nursery rhymes, including Humpty Dumpty, Cinderella, Three Little Pigs, and many more. Families can also enjoy shows at the performing arts stages and get acquainted with the farm animals. Next time you’re wondering where to take the kids, head straight to Fairytale Town.

Where oh where are all the cutest animals housed? None other than the Sacramento Zoo of course! Take the family for an outing here!

Sacramento Zoo

The Sacramento Zoo is home to over 500 exotic animals, including more than 200 species of reptiles. This Sacramento tourist attraction is one of the best zoos to visit in Northern California, especially since it shelters at least a dozen endangered and rare animals. On your next visit to Sacramento, stop by the zoo and get up close with African lions, giraffes, and jaguars.

San Francisco Tourist Attractions

Golden Gate Bridge

No trip to San Francisco is complete without a few photos from, on, and in front of the city’s famous icon. Known as one of the seven man-made wonders in the U.S. the bridge connects S.F. with Marin County and other districts up north. If you are interested in taking photos of the two-mile long orange bridge, a trip to Nob Hill will open up undisrupted views of the picture perfect historic landmark. But since photos are not everything, try biking across the bridge and enjoy the full experience.

Twin Peaks

There are tons of unique things to do in the City by the Bay, but a visit to the Twin Peaks could be the most mood-enhancing of them all. The two uninhabited hills, which stand at about 900-feet high, have the finests views of the city. Depending on how intense Karl the Fog is on your chosen day, you might be able to witness the most beautiful sunset ever. Drive up to one of the peaks, or hike your way up there, find a good empty spot and enjoy.

Enticing isn't it? Just get lost roaming the serene scene in front of you at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

Golden Gate Park

Another essential stop in Fog City is Golden Gate Park. Sitting on 1,017 acres of land, Golden Gate park has enough attractions to keep visitors busy all day. California Academy of Sciences, the De Young Art Museum, the Japanese Tea Garden, and Stow Lake are just a few of what you will enjoy within the premises of the park. Free up your calendar and go wander in this incredible San Francisco tourist attraction.

Napa Tourist Attractions

Napa Valley Wine Train

Are you interested in getting acquainted with Napa Valley and having a luxurious dining experience at the same time? A Napa Valley Wine Train ride is one of the best things to do in Wine Country and should be a top priority while in the city. Enjoy superior California cuisine and learn about the history of the valley on this one of a kind train ride.

Is there anything more romantic than a sunset ride along the Napa River with your lover?

Napa River

Surprisingly enough, those who don’t know any better keep overlooking a visit to the Napa River. The beautiful river which travels 50-miles in total has a lot to offer for people with different interests. You can go fishing, kayaking, boating across the river, and hiking in its surrounding trails, while enjoying the fresh air of the valley. This underrated Napa tourist attraction should go straight into your Napa Valley itinerary.

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