Monday, April 23, 2018

Throwback Travel: California

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I've lived on the west coast for awhile now, and during that time, one of the places I've been happy to visit several times is California! So far, I've been all over the state, from Redding in the north to Los Angeles in the south. California is a diverse state with each region having it's own vibe.

One of my favorite trips was to the LA area for work a few years ago. It was in the Summer, and since the price for flying back on a Friday or a Saturday was the same, I chose to stay an extra day and do some sightseeing. I visited Rodeo Dr. which was fun, but I have access to most of the brands and stores up here in Seattle, so I just kind of perused through a few shops before checking out Hollywood and the beach.

Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd.

Lifeguard Station on Venice Beach

Warner Bros. Watertower

In Hollywood, I parked and walked up and down Hollywood Blvd., checking out the stars on the sidewalk. I also drove around, and found myself right at Warner Brother's Studios. I didn't go in, because although they do offer tours, I didn't have the time that day in my schedule. It sure is an exciting neighborhood, though!
Walk of Fame
I next visited Venice Beach, which I just loved! I had always wanted to visit an LA area beach, and this one is quintessential! It's kind of grimy, and a little sketchy in a good way! People set up booths to sell arts and crafts, which are so much fun to walk around and look at! The beach is super popular and gets really crowded, but that's what makes it so great! And of course, this is also the famous "Muscle Beach," where the weight lifting area is, and people gather to watch others use the equipment to work out. I had so much fun at this beach, and I definitely want to go back again someday!
The famous "Muscle Beach"

Overlooking the Beach
Redding, in the north, is another little town I thoroughly enjoyed visiting. I was again there for work for a week, and I found the area very laid back and chill. People there were so friendly and helpful, and were more than happy to suggest places for me to visit during my down time. One of the places was the Sundial Park. This was a park that had a bridge with a huge sundial at one end, which was very cool to see. There were also gardens and a wildlife center. I wandered through both, and spent quite a lot of time there. Another fun thing about this trip was that the hotel I stayed in offered a free wine happy hour and dinner each evening, which is popular with locals, and gives everyone a chance to socialize. It really helped my budget too!
Sundial Bridge in Redding

I've also visited San Francisco, which is unlike any other place in the state. The Bay Area is gorgeous, and full of so much unique sights and history! Not to mention, its the future home to Starfleet, which was pointed out on the tour! I went for a getaway with some friends for a few days. We stayed on Knob Hill, which had great views of the city. We visited all kinds of cool places, like Chinatown, where we had some delicious meals, and the waterfront, where we saw the sea lions basking in the sun. We went on a tour that took us across the Golden Gate bridge, and then we walked back across. I'll have to say though, even if you go in the middle of Summer, make sure to take a jacket! It was freezing at times!

The "Painted Ladies"

Golden Gate in the Fog

Fisherman's Warf

Going into Chinatown

While on the San Fran trip, we also drove to Santa Cruz, where we checked out the boardwalk, rode a roller coaster several times, and went through a haunted house. We also checked out the beach before heading to the Mystery Spot, a little place in the woods that seems to defy gravity itself! Its definitely a fun place to see if you're in the area!
Santa Cruz Boardwalk
California sure is a great place to visit, whether you're there for work or for fun! Like the commercials say, there's something for everyone there! Every time I go, I have a great time, and I can't wait to go back!
Arial L.A.


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