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Los Angeles, San Diego & Southern California/USA

Introducing Los Angeles, San Diego & Southern California

In all of your California daydreaming, palm trees, golden sands and Pacific sunsets beckon, right? The good news: SoCal is where those cinematic fantasies really can come true.

Pop Culture

Surf, sand and sex will always sell SoCal. Even though you won’t find many real-life stars in Hollywood these days, you might spot celebs shopping at LA’s boutiques or walking along the beach in Malibu. Or just take a sneak peek behind the scenes on a movie studio tour or join a live TV audience. Then round up the whole family to see where Hollywood’s high-tech magic really happens – at SoCal’s theme parks. Universal Studios Hollywood and Orange County’s Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure, with their cartoon characters and adventure rides, are all classic choices. Or take a walk on the wild side at the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, where giraffes and zebras roam. Loosen up, and live a little.

Beaches & Natural Beauty

SoCal may be best known for its artificial beauty (whoa, botox and silicone!), but its beaches are really an ace in the hole. Whether you’re a punk surfer, aspiring pro volleyball nut or new-agey bohemian, SoCal’s beach towns, each with its own idiosyncratic personality, give you a perfect excuse to take a vacation. Then hop a boat out to the Channel Islands, a jewel-like archipelago encompassing civilized Catalina and a truly wild national park. If you can tear yourself away from the ocean, more adventures await on land. Escape to the cooler alpine climes of Big Bear Lake or turn up the heat in SoCal’s deserts with a getaway to retro-modern Palm Springs. Then gear up to dig deeper into the desert: Death Valley, Joshua Tree or Anza-Borrego, where dusty 4WD roads and hiking trails lead to hidden canyons and native fan-palm oases.

California Cuisine & Wine

Or maybe your SoCal sojourn will be an epicurean quest. Finding the most killer fish tacos in San Diego alone could take days. Meanwhile, LA is an all-around foodie winner, where denizens passionately argue about where the best sushi bar, gourmet food truck or underground supper club is. LA is also a melting pot of ethnic cooking, from Little Tokyo and Thai Town to the tamale shops of East LA. Jam up the Pacific Coast Hwy to Malibu, stopping at seafood shacks, then follow back roads through the fog-kissed vineyards of Santa Barbara’s wine country.