Must-see attractions in Southern California

  • Griffith in Blue

    Griffith Observatory

    Los Feliz & Griffith Park

    With eyes on both the galaxy above and palm-flanked boulevards below, the Griffith Observatory hovers above LA like a hulking spacecraft. This is one of…

  • Sign for Teakettle Junction on the way to Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park.

    Death Valley National Park

    The Deserts

    The very name evokes all that is harsh, hot and hellish – a punishing, barren and lifeless place of Old Testament severity. Yet closer inspection reveals…

  • People entering Knott's Scary Farm at Knott's Berry Farm, celebrating a Southern California Halloween tradition, on October 14, 2013.

    Knott’s Berry Farm

    Orange County

    What started as a simple berry farm is now a sprawling 160-acre operation with rides, live shows and lovable Peanuts characters roaming the grounds. Knott…

  • VENICE BEACH, USA - SEPTEMBER 29, 2016: The crowded Venice Beach Boardwalk. Lots of people are strolling down the boardwalk. On the sides there are several shops and palm trees.

    Venice Boardwalk

    Venice, Marina Del Rey & Playa del Rey

    Prepare for a sensory overload on Venice's Boardwalk, a one-of-a-kind experience. Buff bodybuilders brush elbows with street performers and sellers of…

  • San Juan Capistrano church

    Mission San Juan Capistrano

    Coastal Orange County

    Famous for its swallows that fly back to town every year on March 19 (though sometimes they’re just a bit early), San Juan Capistrano is home to the …

  • Children's Pool

    La Jolla

    Built in the 1930s behind a wave-cutting seawall, La Jolla’s Children’s Pool was created as a family beach but has since been invaded by herds of seals…

  • Birch Aquarium At Scripps, La Jolla, California. (Photo by: Education Images/Citizens of the Planet/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

    Birch Aquarium at Scripps

    La Jolla

    This state-of-the-art aquarium is a wonderous underwater world home to 5000 fish. Visitors can watch sharks dart, kelp forests sway, and even meet a…

  • Sunnylands center and garden in Rancho Mirage, Desert environment park, home to a variety of plants and wildlife, California, USA. September 26th, 2020; Shutterstock ID 1824982439; your: Meghan O'Dea; gl: 65050; netsuite: Online Editorial; full: POI


    Greater Palm Springs

    Palm Springs has long been famous a celebrity playground, but few destinations in the valley better exemplify that pedigree than Sunnylands, the retreat…

  • USA, California, Inyo County, Death Valley National Park, Zabriskie Point trail at sunset

    Zabriskie Point

    Death Valley National Park

    Not many national park features can say they were celebrated in a 1969 film of the same name, but Zabriskie Point claims that honor thanks to director…

  • Timelapse of of the sun setting over Death Valley, as seen from Dante's View.

    Dante's View

    Death Valley National Park

    Dante's View is an overlook that sits perched at 5475ft atop the Black Mountains, affording stunning panoramic views of the entire southern Death Valley…

  • California Surf Museum

    San Diego

    It's easy to spend an hour in this heartfelt museum of surf artifacts, from a timeline of surfing history to surf-themed art and a radical collection of…

  • California, Joshua Tree National Park, Keys View in Little San Bernadino Mountains, Mount San Jacinto across Coachella Valley

    Keys View

    Joshua Tree National Park

    High atop the Little San Bernardino Mountains, Keys View offers panoramic views of the whole Coachella Valley spread out like a picnic blanket. On clear…

  • Palm Springs Art Museum,California,USA

    Palm Springs Art Museum

    Greater Palm Springs

    Art fans should not miss this museum and its changing exhibitions drawn from a stellar collection of international modern and contemporary painting,…

  • Santa Monica Pier

    Santa Monica Pier

    Santa Monica

    Once the very end of the legendary Route 66 and still the object of a tourist love affair, this much-photographed pier dates back to 1908 and is the city…

  • Star of India at the Maritime Museum on the Embarcadero.

    Maritime Museum of San Diego

    San Diego

    Next to the new Waterfront Park, this collection of 11 historic sailing ships, steam boats and submarines is easy to spot: just look for the 100ft-high…

  • The Broad Museum of Los Angeles.


    Downtown Los Angeles & Boyle Heights

    From the instant it opened in September 2015, the Broad (rhymes with 'road') became a must-visit for contemporary-art fans. It houses the world-class…

  • Getty Center, exterior.

    Getty Center

    Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood & Westwood

    In its billion-dollar, in-the-clouds perch, high above the city grit and grime, the Getty Center presents triple delights: a stellar art collection …

  • Universal Studios Hollywood

    San Fernando Valley

    Dodge dinosaurs, hang with Homer Simpson and morph into a Minion on the sometimes hair-raising, always entertaining attractions at Universal Studios…

  • Interior of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, California.

    Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

    Downtown Los Angeles & Boyle Heights

    LA is unlike any other city, and this cathedral is unlike any other cathedral. Seat of the US's largest Roman Catholic archdiocese (some five million…

  • USA, California, Los Angeles, Miracle Mile District, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA, BP entrance with Urban Light by Chris Burden

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art

    West Hollywood & Mid-City

    The depth and wealth of the collection at the largest museum in the western US is stunning. LACMA holds all the major players – Rembrandt, Cézanne,…

  • LOS ANGELES, USA - DECEMBER 23 2015: The Getty Villa  is one of two locations of the J. Paul Getty Museum which is dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria.; Shutterstock ID 355379339; Your name (First / Last): Josh Vogel; GL account no.: 56530; Netsuite department name: Online Design; Full Product or Project name including edition: Digital Content/Sights

    Getty Villa

    Malibu & Pacific Palisades

    Stunningly perched on an ocean-view hillside, this museum in a replica 1st-century Roman villa is an exquisite, 64-acre showcase for Greek, Roman and…

  • The Bowers Museum

    Bowers Museum

    Orange County

    From its stately, Spanish Colonial–style shell, the Bowers Museum explodes onto the scene every year or so with remarkable exhibits that remind LA-centric…

  • Watts Towers

    Watts Towers

    Los Angeles

    The three 'Gothic' spires of the fabulous Watts Towers rank among the world’s greatest monuments of folk art. In 1921 Italian immigrant Simon Rodia set…

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 1, 2016: Grauman's Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. The theater has hosted numerous premieres and events since it opened in 1927.; Shutterstock ID 384869545; Your name (First / Last): Josh Vogel; GL account no.: 65050; Netsuite department name: Online Design; Full Product or Project name including edition: 65050/Online Design/Josh Vogel/POIs

    TCL Chinese Theatre


    Ever wondered what it’s like to be in George Clooney’s shoes? Find his foot- and handprints alongside dozens of other stars', forever set in the concrete…

  • USA, California, Los Angeles, Walt Disney Concert Hall

    Walt Disney Concert Hall

    Downtown Los Angeles & Boyle Heights

    A molten blend of steel, music and psychedelic architecture, this iconic concert venue is the home base of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, but has also…

  • Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

    Greater Palm Springs

    This rotating cable car climbs nearly 6000ft vertically and covers five different vegetation zones, from the Sonoran desert floor to pine-scented Mt San…

  • Discovery Cube Orange County, a science museum in Santa Ana, California, with more than 100 hands-on exhibits.

    Discovery Cube

    Orange County

    Follow the giant 10-story cube – balanced on one of its points – to the county's best educational kiddie attraction. About 100 hands-on displays await,…

  • City Hall

    Downtown Los Angeles & Boyle Heights

    Until 1966 no LA building stood taller than the 1928 City Hall, which appeared in the Superman TV series and 1953 sci-fi thriller War of the Worlds. On…

  • Abbot Kinney Boulevard

    Venice, Marina Del Rey & Playa del Rey

    Abbot Kinney, who founded Venice in the early 1900s, would probably be delighted to find that one of Venice’s best-loved streets bears his name. Sort of a…

  • Grammy Museum at L.A. Live.

    Grammy Museum

    Downtown Los Angeles & Boyle Heights

    The highlight of LA Live, this museum's interactive exhibits define, differentiate and link musical genres. Spanning three levels, the rotating…

  • New Children’s Museum

    San Diego

    This interactive children’s museum offers interactive art meant for kids. Installations are designed by artists, so tykes can learn principles of movement…

  • MOXI

    Santa Barbara

    This next-gen science museum is an interactive treasure trove of exhibits and experiences related to sound, technology, speed, light and color that are…

  • Rancho Sisquoc Winery

    Santa Barbara Wine Country

    This tranquil gem is worth the extra mileage, not just for the award-winning small-batch reds and whites, but for the delightfully rustic tasting room…

  • Santa Barbara County Courthouse

    Santa Barbara

    Built in Spanish-Moorish Revival style in 1929, the courthouse features hand-painted ceilings, wrought-iron chandeliers and tiles from Tunisia and Spain…

  • Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) Captive male on rocks, Living Desert Zoo, Palm Desert, California, USA

    Living Desert Zoo & Gardens

    Greater Palm Springs

    This amazing animal park showcases desert plants and animals alongside exhibits on regional geology and Native American culture. Highlights include a walk…

  • Museum of Tolerance

    Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood & Westwood

    Run by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, this powerful, deeply moving museum uses interactive technology to engage visitors in discussion and contemplation…

  • Petersen Automotive Museum

    West Hollywood & Mid-City

    A four-story ode to the auto, the Petersen Automotive Museum is a treat even for those who can’t tell a piston from a carburetor. A headlights-to-brake…

  • Noah Purifoy's Outdoor Desert Art Museum of Assemblage Sculpture created in the high desert of Joshua Tree, California.

    Noah Purifoy Desert Art Museum

    Joshua Tree National Park

    The 'Junk Dada' sculptures and installations of African American artist Noah Purifoy (1917–2004) are collected by the world's finest museums, but some of…

  • Abalone Cove Shoreline Park

    South Bay Beaches

    The best place to hunt for starfish, anemones and other tide-pool critters is in and around this rock-strewn eco-preserve. The walk down to the beach gets…