Things to do in
California

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Our most recommended things to do in California

LA: Aquarium of the Pacific Skip-the-Line Entry

1. LA: Aquarium of the Pacific Skip-the-Line Entry

Take a journey of discovery at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Los Angeles. Benefit from skip-the-ticket-line access so you don't waste your day waiting in the long ticket booth line. Discover sunny Southern California and Baja, the frigid waters of the Northern Pacific, and the colorful reefs of the Tropical Pacific. Come face-to-face with the ocean’s ultimate predators in Shark Lagoon, hand-feed colorful lorikeet birds, and watch the Magellanic penguins. Discover Pacific Visions where you explore underwater realms and future possibilities. The centerpiece, Honda Pacific Visions Theater, features an 8-minute film with multisensory effects. The massive 180-degree curved screen and floor projection disc encompass the viewers’ full range of vision, creating a uniquely immersive experience. The theater experience is included in admission. Starting on May 27th, 2022, you can visit our latest exhibition, Babies! Meet the newest members of the Aquarium family and discover how they hold the key to our future.

Universal Studios Hollywood: Ticket with Easy Cancellation

2. Universal Studios Hollywood: Ticket with Easy Cancellation

Enjoy world-class entertainment all in one place at Universal Studios Hollywood™. With the regular general admission tickets, you will receive full access to the park to enjoy either 1 or 2 days (depending on the option selected) of rides, shows and attractions. For those wishing to spend less time in lines, the Universal Express Ticket is also available to book. This ticket includes the 1-day general admission ticket, one-time skip-the-line park entry, one-time express access to each ride and attraction plus priority seating at select shows.* This ticket is very popular with guests, so purchase this ticket in advance here to guarantee Universal Express™ privileges! Some of the popular rides, shows and attractions you will enjoy at Universal Studios Hollywood include: The World Famous Studio Tour Go behind-the-scenes on the world-famous Studio Tour to explore Hollywood's most famous backlot in the world's largest working movie studio. • Tour the world-famous Backlot with comedian/video host Jimmy Fallon and learn the secrets of Hollywood moviemaking.  • Visitors can experience the largest street movie set in Hollywood history built with creative consultation from Steven Spielberg himself.  • Guests can see the sets from hit series and witness special effects used in blockbusters like The War of the Worlds. • Plus, you'll ride through the world's largest 3-D experience on King Kong 360 3-D created by Peter Jackson. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter ™ From magical spells to magical creatures, from dark villains to daring heroes, it's all here at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™. Explore the mysteries of Hogwarts™ castle, visit the shops of Hogsmeade™, and sample fare from the wizarding world's best-known establishments. The Walking Dead Prepare to fight for survival in a fully immersive journey as they navigate through a world overrun by hungry walkers. Guests follow in the footsteps of the human survivors as they battle their way through nightmarish iconic landscapes that bring the most popular TV show in history to life! Despicable Me Minion Mayhem  Join Gru, his daughters, and the rebellious Minions on a heartwarming and thrilling 3-D ride.The journey starts in Gru’s home, where guests are recruited for his latest scheme – one where they’ll become an actual Minion! *Does not apply to food and retail locations or non-seated shows. HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s18). Jurassic Park TM & © 2018 Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment, Inc. The Walking Dead © 2018 AMC Film Holdings LLC. All Rights Reserved. ©2018 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved. *Park, rides/shows/attractions, entertainment, experience details and/or access to event may be restricted or unavailable due to capacity/closures/other factors and benefits/restrictions are subject to change without notice. *Ticket is not valid at Universal Orlando Resort. Ticket is valid at Universal Studios Hollywood, located in Los Angeles, California.

Monterey Bay: Whale Watching Tour

3. Monterey Bay: Whale Watching Tour

The tour departs from Monterey Old Fisherman’s Wharf, where the boat sets sail into the harbor, home to breathtaking sea views. As the tour leaves the dock, catch a glimpse of the hundreds of Californian Sea Lions inside the harbor. Take advantage of the view and snap a photo to capture the memory. Upon leaving the harbor, the boat passes the historic Cannery Row and then enters the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Monterey is one of the world’s best locations for whale watching due to the deep submarine canyon close to shore. This is where the search for the wonders of the bay’s marine life begins. With whales spotted almost every day, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Keep your eyes peeled as you scan the water for the abundance of marine life that lives here. Search for feeding humpback whales, a variety of dolphin species, porpoises, blue whales, fin whales and more. As you sail, listen to the onboard biologist provide fascinating insight into the creatures of the bay, and what is done to protect them. During the summer/ fall season, the tour will focus on feeding whales that come to the bay to feast on small fish and krill. You can expect to see humpback whales daily but, you may also see blue whales, fin whales, gray whales (finishing migration), orcas and a variety of other dolphin species. During the winter season, the tour will focus on migrating whales. One of largest movements of mammals on earth happens just off the coast of Pacific Grove, CA – the south end of Monterey Bay. Gray whales pass by the coast, about a 30-minute ride from Monterey Harbor. Due to the short distance from the “gray whale super highway”, the trips can be shorter in duration for the winter time.

Skip-the-Line: USS Midway Museum Entry Ticket

4. Skip-the-Line: USS Midway Museum Entry Ticket

Take a self-guided audio tour onboard the world’s longest-serving aircraft carrier, the historic USS Midway. See the carrier’s 25 restored aircraft from the days of WWII to Operation Desert Storm. Visit areas throughout the Midway, from the crew's sleeping quarters to the pilots' ready rooms. Docents are available throughout the carrier and are eager to share their stories, anecdotes, and statistics, creating a picture of just how important the USS Midway was to the U.S. Navy. Most guests spend 3 to 4 hours exploring this historic aircraft carrier and learning its history. The included audio guide, available in 6 languages, will help you explore the dozens of highlighted areas across the massive ship.  There are family-oriented activities throughout the Museum. Included are 3 types of flight simulators, music videos, short films, climb-aboard aircraft and cockpits, and more. The Museum is located at the Navy Pier in downtown San Diego.

South Lake Tahoe: Sightseeing Cruise of Emerald Bay

5. South Lake Tahoe: Sightseeing Cruise of Emerald Bay

Embark on a sightseeing cruise starting in South Lake Tahoe either at sunset or during the day. Enjoy the scenic beauty while cruising 11 kilometers across the lake to Emerald Bay, one of the top ten most photographed places in the world. See the majestic mountains of South Lake Tahoe while onboard the world-class Tahoe Bleu Wave yacht. As you cruise, you will find indoor and outdoor seating with 360-degree panoramic views of Lake Tahoe, the snow-capped mountains, Fannette Island, Vikingsholm Castle, Eagle Waterfall, and the Rubicon. Navigate the pristine waters of Lake Tahoe while hearing your captain's narration about this lake. You may even get the chance to see a variety of wildlife such as the bald eagle, black bears, and wild geese. If you've chosen the sunset option, relax and watch the sun dip low below the sky.

Sacramento Historic River Cruise

6. Sacramento Historic River Cruise

Spend the afternoon on a one-hour narrated cruise. Learn about the legendary past of California's capital city, from the first days of the Gold Rush to the booming metropolis that is here today. Set in Old Sacramento, California’s capital and the center of the state’s legendary Gold Rush story, cruises here drift down the scenic Sacramento River and provide a peek at historic sites and modern developments alike.

San Francisco Zoo Admission Ticket

7. San Francisco Zoo Admission Ticket

Visit the San Francisco Zoo, home to over 2,000 animals and 250 species of plants. Your full-day admission ticket includes access to the Leanne Roberts African Region and the Valentine Family Savanna. Both zones offer multi-species landscapes with giraffes, zebras, kudu, ostriches, storks, and more. At Hearst Grizzly Gulch, get nose-to-nose with rescued grizzly bear sisters Kachina and Kiona. See how lemurs leap through the Lipman Lemur Forest, the largest outdoor lemur habitat in the country. Marvel at Penguin Island, home to the largest colony of Magellanic penguins outside of the wild. Admire the Zoo's gorillas in the Jones Family Gorilla Preserve. Feed and pet the farm animals in the Fisher Family Children's Zoo. Find the historic 1921 Dentzel Carousel and 1904 miniature Little Puffer Steam Train. Learn about the fun rides, educational programs, and exciting events for children.

San Diego: SeaWorld Skip-the-Line Park Admission Ticket

8. San Diego: SeaWorld Skip-the-Line Park Admission Ticket

Discover the underwater world at SeaWorld San Diego, with animal encounters, interactive exhibits, and thrilling rides. Get up close to marine life and enjoy educational animal presentations for the whole family to enjoy. Upgrade your ticket to include a pass to eat all day at SeaWorld. Experience thrilling rides such as Electric Eel with its high-energy twists and loops, or Manta, with two thrilling launches that send riders soaring in the spirit of the world’s largest ray. For kid-friendly fun, enjoy Tentacle Swirl, Sea Dragon Drop, Elmo's Flying Fish, and so much more. Admire the animals at SeaWorld such as beluga whales, walruses, penguins, sharks, and orcas as you learn about these incredible creatures. Enjoy interactive exhibits such as the Explorer's Reef Touchpools and Sea Lion Point. Explore the Sesame Street Bay of Play where you can meet your Sesame Street friends.

San Francisco: Golden Gate Bay Cruise

9. San Francisco: Golden Gate Bay Cruise

Cruise around the Golden Gate Bay on a boat tour. Enjoy informative commentary, see sights like Alcatraz Island, and purchase food and drink from the onboard bar. Launched in 1939 as part of the Golden Gate International Exposition, this 1-hour cruise has been a highlight of any visit to San Francisco for over 75 years. With 8-14 departures daily from Fisherman's Wharf, you will sail along San Francisco's breathtaking waterfront, under the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, and close to the notorious Alcatraz Island. Discover San Francisco's fascinating history, brought to life through audio commentary broadcast in 16 languages via personal headphones. Look out for wildlife along the way, including pelicans, sea lions, and even dolphins and whales. Sail past the lively neighborhood of North Beach, the famous swimming clubs of Aquatic Park, the historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier, and San Francisco Maritime National Park, before heading west towards Golden Gate Bridge. Enjoy views of Crissy Field and the lush hillsides of the Presidio, before cruising under Golden Gate Bridge. Steam back into the Bay, traveling past the wildlife reserves of the Marin Headlands, and the legendary town of Sausalito, once home to the 1960s’ flower generation. With Angel Island State Park to your left, cruise around infamous Alcatraz. After a full hour of exciting sights, the barking sea lions at Pier 39 welcome you back to Pier 43 1/2. A full bar with drinks, snacks and merchandise, including logo wear, is available at reasonable prices on board the iconic red and blue sea vessels.

San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

10. San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

Hop on board a boat and cruise around Alcatraz Island and other sights of San Francisco Bay on this round trip journey. Benefit from a straight-to-the-gate access ticket and informative commentary as you go. Cruise San Francisco Bay and sail under the Golden Gate Bridge on a 90-minute narrated tour by boat around Alcatraz Island. Skip the box office line and go straight to the gate with your ticket. See Alcatraz island from the water while listening to accounts of the chilling escape attempts and the notorious criminals that called Alcatraz prison home. Enjoy a cruise with food and drink available to purchase onboard. Cruise full circle around Alcatraz Island, allowing you to view every angle of this mysterious island, which housed famous inmates such as Al Capone, Billy Cook the Killer, and Clyde Johnson, whose escape attempt is legendary. Gain a clear picture of what life in this maximum-security prison was like when it was the most feared institution in the American penal system.

Frequently asked questions about California

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Other Sightseeing Options in California

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What people are saying about California

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 24,034 reviews

What an AWESOME day ❤️ Thank you Denise for sharing all your knowledge with us I only had 48 hour layover in San Francisco as I am a flight attendant from Germany & taking this trip made my layover definitely one to remember Thank you & best wishes for Denise - she is an outstanding tourguide Nicole

We had a wonderful tour. I highly recommend the early morning tour when it’s less crowded. Lana was an amazing tour guide and we very much enjoyed all of the history and fun facts she shared along the way.

It was a big help. Kept us on tract if we wondered a bit. And lots of useful information.

First time kayaking! a little intimidating, but fun activity with my hunny!

Very decent people and excellent trip. Super value too. Great fun.