I have lived in California my entire life (minus 10 months of living in Israel). 20 years have been spent in the glorious metropolis that is Los Angeles. Los Angeles is full of so many amazing things: restaurants, activities, hiking areas, etc. And four years were spent in the homey town of San Luis Obispo. Located right at the halfway point between L.A. and San Francisco, San Luis Obispo has been dubbed “The Happiest City in America,” and I can attest to this being true. I will try my best to choose a few standouts from these cities, along with some other favorites of mine in the whole of California! Keep checking up on this page, as I’m sure I will update it frequently!
I’m sure you get it by now: I love Disney! But as the original Disney theme park, Disneyland truly trumps them all. I may be a dork by saying this, but I can actually feel the magic when I visit. The best time of year to go (in my opinion) is the fall, when the Haunted Mansion (one of my favorite rides) is decorated in the Nightmare Before Christmas theme. Food-wise, my favorites are the gumbo from New Orleans Square, the “Blue Bayou,” located inside of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and the lobster nachos from “Cove Bar” in California Adventure! To see all of my Disneyland posts, click here!
Universal Studios Hollywood (Universal City)
I used to visit Universal Studios a lot as a kid, as it was a relatively small theme park that kept me entertained. Since adding the “Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” however, my affection for the park has grown exponentially! The area of the park lets you walk through the town of Hogsmeade, something straight out of the books and movies, and also lets you roam the halls of Hogwarts on the ride “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.” Obviously, the Harry Potter attractions are my favorite, but other musts are the “Studio Tram Tour” and for thrill-seekers, “Jurassic Park” and “The Mummy” are lots of fun.
The One Up (Sherman Oaks)
I’ve made it a point since moving to L.A. as an adult to find some fun bars to visit, and without a doubt my favorite is The One Up, located right at Ventura Blvd. and Woodman. The food is delicious and pretty reasonably priced (go for their new Mexican tacos), all the drinks are top notch (grown-up chocolate milk, anyone?), and there are arcade games in the back for customers! A very cool and upbeat vibe, this place has quickly become a regular spot for me.
High Street Deli (San Luis Obispo)
I’ve said this many time before, but I truly believe that happiness can be found in a High Street Deli sandwich. While you may think it ridiculous for me to include a sandwich shop on my list of favorite things in California, you clearly haven’t tried the amazingness of this deli. Fresh ingredients, giant portions, and $5 sandwiches after 4:30pm, HSD is my all-time favorite sandwich shop, hands-down. Trust me and stop by this tiny shop located on High Street. My go-to order is their Turkey Pesto with avocado!
The Little Izaka-ya by Katsu-ya (Sherman Oaks)
Sushi is my favorite food ever, and more often than not, if I’m getting sushi, it will be at Little Izaka-ya! Part of the Katsu-ya group, this restaurant offers all of its counterpart’s delicious classics, and some yummy twists, at a more affordable price! Your must-gets? Spicy tuna with crispy rice and their famous baked crab hand roll! (Both pictured above). Located right off of the 405/101 interchange at Sepulveda and Ventura, this is definitely worth a stop in!
Tolosa Winery (San Luis Obispo)
Once I turned 21, one of my favorite things to do in SLO was go wine tasting, and Tolosa Winery takes the cake! What I love most about this particular winery is their special cheese and chocolate pairing sessions! They serve 4 wines and perfectly accompany them with some cheese and locally made chocolate truffles. Truly a unique and delicious experience! Stop by this great place, located right down Los Osos Valley Road.
Firestone Grill (San Luis Obispo)
Another SLO staple, Firestone serves up big BBQ taste at a reasonable price. They serve up some good burgers and ribs, but it’s truly all about their tri-tip sandwich! Served on a toasted soft roll with their homemade barbecue sauce, this sandwich really hits the spot. I personally also add their amazing ranch dressing, and will occasionally order the crunchy onion rings (many people love their paprika fries, but I definitely prefer the rings!). You can’t miss this place, located right on Higuera St at Osos.
Crustacean (Beverly Hills)
Not for those on a budget, one of my favorite restaurants has got to be Crustacean! Fresh seafood with perfect seasoning, on top of the famous garlic noodles, this is a meal you’ll be dreaming about for weeks after! My seafood choice is either their tiger prawns or lobster! But you can definitely opt for fish as well. Located right at Santa Monica Blvd. and Bedford Dr.
Jelly Belly Factory (Fairfield)
When I was younger, and we took trips to Napa Valley (famous wine country), in order to appease their not-yet-of-age children, my parents would take us to the Jelly Belly Factory! I’m not sure if Jelly Bellys became my favorite candy because of this, or if we visited because it was my favorite candy, but this visit was always a special treat (literally). The tour would include learning how the beans were made as well as many free samples at the end! My favorite part would be buying bags of “Belly Flops,” which are imperfectly-shaped beans that didn’t make it into the normal bags. A great place for candy lovers, kids and adults alike!
San Francisco Bay Cruise
Although pretty tourist-y, one of my favorite things to do when I visit San Francisco is take a cruise around the bay! Perfect for when the sun is out, you get a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. Not too expensive and a fun afternoon activity, I definitely recommend doing this next time you visit!
Aroma Coffee and Tea (Studio City)
One of my favorite things to do on a weekend is get brunch with friends, and one of my favorite brunch spots has got to be Aroma Coffee and Tea, located right off of Moorpark on Tujunga. From their massive omelets and fluffy French toast, to their rich and strong coffee drinks, this is definitely a local hot spot. Be prepared for a long wait to order, but if you’re just getting a drink or pastry, you can skip to the front of the line!
See anything you like? Or maybe something you would like to add? Let me know in the comments or submit it on my contact page!
-Girl Traveling the World 🙂