Heading to California? Here Are Some of the Top Cities to Visit

When people think California, they often think celebrities, they think Disneyland and they think about the difference between the northern and southern differences of the state. California is a very long coastal state, giving it plenty of unique locations and cities to visit if you’re willing to do a little exploring.

So if you’re planning to go on holiday to California or simply want a relaxing holiday to enjoy, then here are some of the top destinations to visit in this beautiful state.

CaliforniaSource: Pexels

Santa Barbara

If you want to visit a coastal city that really captures the spirit of Californian living, then Santa Barbara is the place to be. Located slightly north of Los Angeles, this Southern-Californian city is often called “The American Riviera” thanks to its warm temperatures and unique architecture. Walking around Santa Barbara, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported outside of America and into a place like Spain. Despite it looking nothing like the rest of California, Santa Barbara has all of the quintessential Californian amenities. It has long stretches of golden beach, it has a vibrant fine arts scene and there are beautiful sights and scenes all around. You’ll fall in love with not just the architecture and designs, but also the relaxed way of life here.

With stunning beaches, a surprisingly diverse culinary scene and a shopping experience to be remembered, Santa Barbara is one of the most interesting and fun cities to visit. So whether you’re coming with your partner, taking the kids or visiting with friends, don’t miss out on this opportunity to transform your idea of the essential Californian experience.


All the way down south, you’ll find Carlsbad, a fun-packed and scenic destination that comes with plenty of fun and excitement. With around 7 miles of beaches and amazing weather all year round, there’s no shortage of things to do here at Carlsbad. It’s a great location to access some of the best amusements and entertainment areas in California, such as Legoland and the San Diego Safari Park. Carlsbad itself has some of the best food in the whole of California. From superb steaks to delicious desserts, you’ll find a tasty mix of everything.

There are also plenty of park trails, lagoons and other natural areas where you can explore, hike and event camp. There are many sites such as Visit Carlsbad which are dedicated to showcasing the colour and beauty of Carlsbad, and it’s certainly one of the most interesting cities to visit in the whole of California. If you’re looking for a relaxing and festive city to stay in for a few days while you’re in the state, Carlsbad is a brilliant choice.

Palm Springs

Palm Springs is part of the Californian desert, meaning it can get quite dry and hot. However, Palm Springs also has a secret that not many visitors realize; it’s brilliant for winter holidays. This is because the weather is stunning no matter what time of year it is, making it a warm and comfortable retreat even during the Christmas season. There’s also a lot of shopping and other fun outdoor activities to indulge in such as golfing and horseback riding. If you’re a fan of hiking, then you’ll love all the wonderful hiking trails in Greater Palm Springs and the scenic routes you can take across the stunning landscape.

A desert holiday might sound boring to some, but you’d be surprised at how magical this entire city is and how much charm it has. Don’t let the “desert city” tag fool you! Palm Springs is certainly one of the most underrated gems in the whole of California and is a location you cannot miss.

Source: Pexels

San Diego

We couldn’t do a list about California without mentioning San Diego. With its lively beach scene, wonderful climate and family-friendly destinations, San Diego is easily one of the most visited and popular places in the whole of California. You’ll find it located slightly north of the Mexican Border, which means that a lot of influence in the food scene and traditions have been passed over and integrated with the local scene. This means you’ll find delicious Mexican cuisine here, but also adventurous fusion food and a wonderful selection of exciting restaurants.

While San Diego might be a relatively large city compared to some others in California, it has the vibes of a small and compact town. Everything is so closely packed together that it feels like a holiday to San Diego and be incredibly inspiring, adventurous and interesting. San Diego offers some of the best attractions across the whole of California and is one of the busiest tourist magnets. However, don’t let this put you off! Visit San Diego and you’ll get to experience the relaxing climate, the beautiful beaches and also the Spanish architecture.

Los Angeles

And if we’re going to mention San Diego in this article, we also can’t miss Los Angeles! As the second largest city in the US, Los Angeles is a comfortable, interesting and diverse location that is surrounded by water, mountains and valleys. People call it the City of Angels thanks to the name’s Spanish background. It has some of the best weather in the whole of California and offers a wide range of different attractions, beaches and food spots for the whole family.

Whether you’re interested in sandy beaches or want to tour Disneyland and Universal Studios, Los Angeles is one of the go-to destinations in Southern California that you don’t want to miss.

San Francisco

The trio of cities can’t be complete without a mention for San Francisco. Think of it as the slightly more diverse cousin of Los Angeles and San Diego, where the Mexican influence is still around but mixed with Asian influences and more unique tourist destinations.

It’s the perfect city to explore thanks to its famous sights and stunning views, but we also can’t forget to mention the diverse food scene here and the tourist favourites such as Fisherman’s Wharf and Golden Gate Bridge. If you want an all-in-one package in Northern California, then don’t miss out on San Francisco!

See you next time!


Fashion, Lifestyle, and Travel blogger, based in NC.

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