What's great in wine, beer, fine dining,
places to stay, & places to visit
in California State

Venice is a neighborhood in the City of Los Angeles, but that doesn't stop a lot of people from mistaking it for its own city. Some would go as far as calling Venice its own planet. From the chaos of Ocean Front Walk to the fashion consciousness of Abbot Kinney Boulevard to the dozens of narrow streets lined with a mix of century-old homes and modern architectural statements, Venice is a singular destination in a city known for its individualism. The brainchild of New Jersey-born entrepreneur Abbot Kinney, Venice opened as a beach resort modeled after the world-famous Italian destination in 1905, complete with 16 miles of canals. While most of the canals were filled in by the 1930s, about a mile and a half of canals — complete with arched bridges — still wind their way through the enclave, providing a great way for people to explore the district and a great place for ducks to hang out. And, while about 40,000 people live in the three-square-mile district, a lot more flock there during the warmer months of the year to experience the urban-beachy-artsy vibe that can be found in few other places.

No Explanation Possible: Ocean Front Walk

A walk along Ocean Front Walk, aka the Venice Boardwalk, which stretches about a mile and a half from Santa MonicaMuscle Beach Two SMALLPumping iron at Muscle Beach. to Marina del Rey, can stun even the most jaded traveler or local. Buskers, hippies, body builders, chainsaw jugglers and even turban-wearing, roller-skating guitar player Harry Perry don't even begin to tell the whole story of the Venice Beach Boardwalk on a sunny weekend day. Pickup basketball players battle for supremacy on the Boardwalk-adjacent courts, which were featured in White Men Can't Jump; handball and paddle-tennis players take each other on nearby; surfers battle for position off the Venice jetty; and hundreds of vendors compete for your attention by selling everything imaginable. And if you want a view of the madness from above and don't want to leave the area, the Cadillac Hotel, which was built in 1914 and once served as Charlie Chaplin's summer residence, has been upgraded with art-deco touches. The Inn at Venice Beach is a mere four blocks from the southern end of Ocean Front Walk.

Slanted and Enchanted: Abbot Kinney Boulevard

Leave it to Venice to have its primary shopping thoroughfare named after its founder to cut perfectly diagonally through the district. Everything from furniture shops to home décor stores to vintage clothing boutiques and perfumeries line the street. Ananda features scented candles, Indian-inspired clothing, mini-Buddha figures and more. Surfing Cowboys hawks vintage skateboards, Navajo rugs and — yes — the occasional surfboard. Pamela Barish attracts a high-end clientele looking to mix in the funky with the finery. Modern, eclectic housewares abound at Firefly, while Heist's designer clothing bespeaks an urban sensibility. And Minnie T's has attracted trend-seeking folks since 2001. Meanwhile, shops like Milkmade and Guild give guys a chance to get stylish, while Waraku supplies hard-to-find imported shoes for men and women. And if all that shopping's making you hungry, Hans Rockenwagner's 3 Square Café + Bakery combines high-end ingredients with an informal atmosphere; Gjelina brings a modern approach to new-American cuisine; Glencrest represents old-school Abbot Kinney with serious barbeque; Primitivo combines Spanish-style tapas with an outstanding wine list; and Brig is a casual eatery complete with pool tables and music. For a good old-fashioned caffeine fix amid modern, architecture, there's Intelligentsia Venice Coffee Bar. And when all else fails, there are always the Abbot Kinney standbys: Joe's for classic American brunch or dinner, Hal's for a traditional  bar and grill experience, and Abbot's Pizza for piping hot, bagel-crust pies. Also, the Abbot Kinney Festival has been sending off the summer every year since 1984 with a party that includes live music, artisan crafts and other events that attract more than 150,000 people. And if you can't hit the Festival, no worries, as Abbot Kinney 1st Fridays brings the community together and welcomes all others on the first Friday evening of every month.

Non-Traditional Traditional

When Venice was first built more than a century ago, its heart was a group of Venetian-styled buildings and a colonnade at the corner of Pacific and Windward Avenues, which are still there today. Nearby, Hotel Erwin has 119 rooms, as well as a rooftop lounge and the well-regarded Barlo Kitchen & Cocktails, and the property is undergoing a $1 million upgrade in time for summer 2012. Meanwhile, two blocks east on Main and Windward (formerly the site of Venice's Grand Canal), Hama Sushi has been serving regulars and visitors since 1979. No less a Venice institution is Chaya Venice, which has been serving its French-Japanese cuisine about a mile north on Main Street near the Santa Monica border since 1990. Finally, no local trip is complete without a photo op in front of the Clown Ballerina building at Main Street and Rose Avenue. Yes, only in Venice.

 

(TravMedia.com contributed to this article)

 

Editor's note: Links to the websites of hundreds of Los Angeles area lodging and dining options can be found at Taste California Travel's Resource Directory.

Key components of the year-long celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge are the 75 Opening Day cars SMALLCars lined up on the Bridge on opening day. From the holdings of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, used with permission, www.goldengate.org Community Tributes being hosted by a diverse array of San Francisco Bay Area organizations and talents.

The complete year-long schedule of all 2012 Community Tributes—including the dozens of events over Memorial Day weekend leading up to the official Golden Gate Festival celebration on the San Francisco waterfront May 27, 2012—is updated frequently on the official Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary website at www.goldengatebridge75.org.

 

The following is a listing of programs and activities honoring the Golden Gate Bridge throughout 2012:

 

Through September 1: Marin History Museum - The Golden Gate Bridge, An Icon That Changed Marin exhibit, 1125 B Street, San Rafael, Tuesday-Saturday, 11AM-4PM, (415) 454-8538, marinhistory.org.

 

Through December 31: Antenna Theater - Golden Gate Sunset Sundial: Map of the places and times sunset can be viewed between the two Bridge towers. Various locations: sunsetsundial.org.

 

Through October 14: California Historical Society - A Wild Flight of the Imagination: The Story of the Golden Gate Bridge. Exhibit featuring artwork, photographs, and historical Bridge artifacts. 678 Mission Street, San Francisco, Tuesday-Sunday, 12-5PM, 415-357-1848, californiahistoricalsociety.org.

 

Through May 25: Port of Oakland and Oaklandish - International Trade Photo Contest: Golden Gate Bridge to Oakland call for submissions of photos representing the theme. Selected photos will be exhibited in various venues in Oakland from May 25 - September 7, 2012.

 

Through December 31: Exploratorium - Outdoor exhibits focused on bridge movement, cable suspension and related science, technology, engineering and mathematics, with technical support from the Consortium of Universities for Research in earthquake Engineering (CUREE) and funding from the National Science Foundation. Battery Lancaster, the Presidio, San Francisco, exploratorium.edu.

 

April 14: The Golden Gate Brass Band - 75th anniversary tribute performances at the Corte Madera Recreation Center, 498 Tamalpais Drive, 2-4PM. Free.  Also April 14, April 26, May 6, May 27 and August 19, goldengatebrassband.org.

 

April 14 - July 14: San Francisco Public Library - Bridging Minds: San Francisco Reads, 1933-1937: Exhibit of first editions, photographs and ephemera featuring the best sellers of the period and works of California authors. San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin St., 6th floor, sfpl.org.

 

April 18 - 30: Marin Symphony - The Bridge and Marin: Golden Gate Opus Poster Contest: contest to design a creative interpretative poster of the Golden Gate Bridge for the Golden Gate Opus on May 6 and May 8. Open to Marin students aged 10-18. Deadline for submission April 18, marinsymphony.org.

 

April 21: ArtSeed - Earth Week Art-a-thon: 10-hour art-and-music-making marathon in celebration of the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th birthday to benefit ArtSeed's Apprenticeship Program. Open to artists of all ages and experience. Art-a-thon, April 21, 10AM - 8PM, Acre Café, Thoreau Center for Sustainability, the Presidio, San Francisco. Spring Open Studios: April 28-29, 11AM-6PM, Bayview Hunters Point Shipyard, Studio 2513, Building 101, artseed.org.

 

April 23 - May 31: Jewish Community Center of San Francisco - Show Us Your Golden Gate children and teen art contest (April 23-30) and exhibit (May 2-31), 3200 California Street, San Francisco, jccsf.org.

 

April 28: Bay Area Ridge Trail Council - Ridge to Bridge: This signature Ridge Trail event provides a day of fun and raises money to complete the trail. Register at ridgetrail.org.

 

April 28: Slide Ranch - Self-guided hike from the Golden Gate Bridge to Slide Ranch as part of Slide Ranch's Annual Spring Fling Event, Muir Beach, 9AM-5PM, slideranch.org.

 

April 28: San Francisco Children's Art Center - Architectural Sculpture, Building Bridges: a free one-day workshop for children aged 5-10. 1-4PM, Fort Mason Center, Bldg. C, Rm. 170, childrensartcenter.org.

 

May 1 - October 31: YMCA - Guided bicycle trips for youth and families from the Presidio to the Golden Gate Bridge by the Presidio YMCA, plus inclusion of bridge-related curriculum in outdoor education programs for the Point Bonita YMCA. YMCA members only, ymcasf.org.

 

May 3 - June 9: George Krevsky Gallery - Artistic Visions of the Golden Gate Bridge: An exhibition of local GGB Sunrise12-15-09 07 SMALLJanuary sunrise over the Golden Gate Bridge. © Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District. Used with permission. www.goldengate.orgartists' interpretations of the Golden Gate Bridge. Opening reception: May 3, 5:30-7:30PM, Exhibit: May 3 -

June 9, Tues-Sat, 11AM-5:30PM, George Krevsky Galley, 77 Geary St. 2nd Floor, georgekrevskygallery.com.

 

May 5: Community Music Center - Crossing Bridges: A musical performance combining youth programs from San Francisco's Mission District and San Rafael singing in honor of the Golden Gate Bridge's birthday. 11:30AM-1PM, La Pena Cultural Center, Berkeley, sfcmc.org.

 

May 5: Art Deco Society of Northern California - Swinging on the Golden Gate: Art deco preservation ball themed with Bridge-era music and displays of Bridge work. 6:30PM-12AM, Bimbo's 365 Club, San Francisco, artdecosociety.org.

 

May 6: Marin History Museum - Golden Gate Bridge Garden Party:  A Bridge-era garden party with bridge building activities, a bridge trivia contest, and music of the era, Marin History Museum, 11AM-3PM, marinhistory.org.

 

May 6 & 8: Marin Symphony - Golden Gate Opus: Commissioned work by Rob Kapilow based on the sounds of the Golden Gate Bridge. May 6, 3PM, May 8, 7:30PM, Marin Veterans' Memorial Auditorium, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael, marinsymphony.org.

 

May 9, 23 & 27: Kathryn Roszak's Danse Lumiere - BridgeDance: Rehearsal and Performances: Open rehearsal with professional dancers and youth incorporating oral histories, poetry, memories, and stories about the Bridge. May 9, 4:30PM, Ashkenaz Music and Dance Community Center, Berkeley. Performances include Union Square and the Golden Gate Festival. dlkdance.com, unionsquarepark.us.

 

May 10: Bay Area Open Space Council - Open Space Conference: The annual conference of the Bay Area Open Space Council convenes land conservation leaders from around the Bay Area. This year's theme is "Bridges" in honor of the 75th anniversary. Golden Gate Club, the Presidio, San Francisco, openspacecouncil.org.

 

May 11 & May 14 - 22: San Francisco Unified School District / Young at Art - Bridging Us All: Young at Art Community Celebration: The school district's annual Young at Art will be themed "Bridging Us All," and will celebrate the 75th anniversary through a student art exhibition and performances at the de Young museum. May 11, 5PM-8PM, May 14 - 22, Tues-Sun 9:30AM-5:15PM,  de Young Museum, sfusf.edu, youngatartsf.com.

 

May 11 - 13: San Francisco Museum and Historical Society - My Vision of My Favorite Bridge: Art contest among Bay Area middle and high school students. 11AM-4PM, The Old Mint, 88 Fifth Street, San Francisco, sfhistory.org.

 

May 12: San Francisco Architectural Heritage / National Trust for Historic Preservation - Spanning Space and Time: The Golden Gate Bridge and the Transformation of the Bay Area: A symposium to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge. 10:30AM-12PM, Building 103, Montgomery Street Barrack, the Presidio, San Francisco, sfheritage.org,  preservationnation.org.

 

May 14 - August 4: San Francisco Arts Education Project - International Orange: The Bridge Re-imagined: A curated visual arts exhibition created by students from San Francisco public schools to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge. Norse Auditorium, 135 Van Ness Av., San Francisco, sfartsed.org.

 

May 16: San Francisco Public Library - On Location: The Golden Gate Bridge on the Silver Screen: Movie clips and an entertaining discussion of the Golden Gate Bridge in film, by local historian Jim Van Buskirk. 6PM-8PM, Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Public Library, sfpl.org.

 

May 18: San Francisco Giants - International Orange Friday: Baseball game at AT&T Park dedicated to celebrating the color of the Bridge and our home team. AT&T Park, sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com.

 

May 20: San Francisco Mandolin Orchestra - New Music Competition: Performance of the winning composition about the Bridge's 75th birthday written for mandolin orchestra. 4PM, All Saints Episcopal Church, 555 Waverly Street, Palo Alto. Also June 2, All Souls Episcopal, Berkeley and June 3, Mission Dolores, San Francisco, sfmandolin.org.

 

May 22: Jewish Community Center of San Francisco / SPUR / AIA of SF - Lecture by Paul Goldberger: Lecture by Paul Goldberger, the architecture critic for the New Yorker, focusing on the Golden Gate Bridge and other legacy structures. 7PM, Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, jccsf.org, spur.org.

 

May 22 - 25: Bay Area Discovery Museum - Happy Birthday Bridge: Week-long festivities, including art-based activities to create bridge crowns, bridge sculptures, and a giant Happy Birthday Bridge Card. 9AM-4PM, Bay Area Discovery Museum, baykidsmuseum.org.

 

May 23 - October 28: Presidio Trust - Before the Bridge - Sight and Sound at the Golden Gate: An immersive exhibition combining large-format images with sounds of the oceans, foghorns, birds, sailors shouting, soldiers marching and cannons firing - telling the story of life in and around the Presidio before the bridge was built. Wed-Sun, 11AM-5PM, presidio.gov.

 

May 24 - October 28: FOR-SITE Foundation - International Orange: Exhibition by a select group of artists who have created on-site installation works responding to the Golden Gate Bridge as a national icon, historical structure, and conceptual inspiration. Fort Point, for-site.org.

 

May 24: Commonwealth Club of California - The Golden Gate Bridge at 75: What Makes an Icon: A lecture and panel discussion on the history of the bridge and how it achieved iconic status. 6PM-7PM, The Commonwealth Club of California, commonwealthclub.org.

 

May 24: California Academy of Sciences - NightLife at the California Academy of Sciences: An evening themed around the Golden Gate Bridge that includes exploring various aspects of the Golden Gate Bridge such as color and scientific elements. 6PM-10PM, California Academy of Sciences, calacademy.org.

 

May 25 - September 7: Oakland International Airport / Oakland Museum of California / Port of Oakland - Trade and Tourism Art Contest, Golden Gate Bridge to Oakland: Display of selected artwork from media ranging from the digital and photo to paint and sculpture that centers on the topic of trade and tourism in the Bay Area. Oakland International Airport, flyoakland.com, museumca.org.

 

May 26 - 27: San Francisco City Guides - Interpretative Tours: Interpretative tours of the Golden Gate Bridge tent at the Golden Gate Festival. May 26: 10AM-6PM, May 27: 11AM-10PM, Golden Gate National Parks, Painter on Main Cable SMALLPainter on the main cable. © Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District. Used with permission. www.goldengate.orgsfcityguides.org.

 

May 26 - December 31: Roebling Museum - Spinning Gold: The Roebling Company and the Golden Gate Bridge: A special exhibit about the Golden Gate Bridge at Roebling Museum in New Jersey. Special birthday celebration on May 26 from 11AM-5PM, exhibition: Wed-Sat 11AM-5PM, Sun 12PM-5PM, roeblingmuseum.org.

 

May 26: Petaluma Museum - A Golden Relationship, a bridge to the agricultural bounty of Sonoma County: An exhibit on how the building of the Golden Gate Bridge opened the door to providing culinary delights between Sonoma and San Francisco. 10AM-4PM, Petaluma Museum, petalumamuseum.com.

 

May 26: Jewish Community Center of San Francisco - Building Bridges One Yoga Pose at a Time: Early morning yoga session for people of all ages. 8:00AM-9:00AM, Golden Gate Festival Waterfront, jccsf.org.

 

May 26 - 27: Fort Mason Center - "Seats" Exhibit, Bridge Cookies, and Bridge Books: Outdoor art exhibition of 35 unique seats from which to enjoy views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay and other tributes by Center organizations - Golden Gate Bridge Cookie offered by Green's restaurant - Reader's Café devoting a section of their store to Bridge books and memorabilia. Lower Fort Mason, fortmason.org.

 

May 26 - September 15: Presidio Trust / Walt Disney Family Museum - The Bridge on the Big Screen: The Presidio Trust and the Walt Disney Family Museum present a Golden Gate Bridge 75th anniversary commemorative film festival featuring seven films starring the Bay Area's iconic superstar. For details and screening times visit presidio.gov.

 

May 26 - August 31: SFMOMA - Golden Gate Desserts: An offering of bridge-themed desserts at SFMOMA's Rooftop Garden Blue Bottle Coffee Bar. Tues - Sun, 11:30AM - 5:45PM, sfmoma.org.

 

May 26 - July 31: SFMOMA - Reflections on Bridge Artwork and Writing: Reflections on artwork and writings about the Golden Gate Bridge with posts on the museum's blog: blog.sfmoma.org.

 

May 26 - June 30: SFMOMA - Local Bridge Interpretations: An exhibition of local artists' interpretations of the bridge. Lower Fort Mason, SFMOMA Artists' Gallery, sfmoma.org.

 

May 26 - 27: Fisherman's Wharf Community Benefit District - Music, History and Vintage Automobiles: Music, historic images, vintage automobiles and maritime history exhibits at Hyde Street Pier and Pier 45. visitfishermanswharf.com.

 

May 26 - 27: Ghirardelli Chocolate Company - The Bridge Story: Exhibition of panels telling the story of the Golden Gate Bridge. Sat 10AM-6PM, Sun 11AM-10PM, Ghirardelli Square, ghirardelli.com.

 

May 26 - 27: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park - 75th Anniversary Tours: Special 75th anniversary tours at the maritime park and an exhibit at the park's visitor orientation station at Fisherman's Wharf. San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, nps.gov/safr.

 

May 27: Oakland Symphony Chorus - Family Sing-a-Long: Family sing-a-long of California and the Golden Gate songs. Golden Gate Festival Waterfront, oaklandsymphonychorus.org.

 

May 27: Community Music Center - Mission District Young Musicians: A performance of Latin music by Mission District Young Musicians. San Francisco Festival Waterfront, sfcmc.org.

 

May 27: Pier 39 - Golden Gate Bridge-era Music and Dance Festival: Music and dance festival celebrating the era in which the Golden Gate Bridge was built. Pier 39, pier39.com.

 

May 27: International Orange Chorale - A special concert featuring newly-commissioned works that pay homage to the Golden Gate Bridge including the premiere of San Francisco, Open Your Golden Gate. San Francisco Festival Waterfront, iocsf.org.

 

May 27: San Francisco Mandolin Orchestra - New Music Competition: Performance of the winner's piece of music from the San Francisco Mandolin orchestra new music competition on the San Francisco Festival Waterfront. Additional performances on June 2 and 3 in Berkeley and Palo Alto. sfmandolin.org.

 

May 27: LaborFest - LaborFest Songs and Photographs: Songs and photographs honoring the workers who built the Golden Gate Bridge. Golden Gate Festival, laborfest.net.

 

June 16: Transit and Trails and Bay Area Open Space Council - Transit and Trails Alt Ride: More than just a bike ride, riders will tackle Mt. Hamilton, Mt. Tamalpais, and Mt. Diablo in one day, using public transportation between the peaks. Riders cross the Golden Gate Bridge as part of the event. altride.transitandtrails.org.

 

June 9 & 24: Headlands Center for the Arts - In the Shadow of the Bridge: A film by artist Ned Kahn about the shadows on the Golden Gate Bridge and what they reveal. 6:30PM-10PM, Headlands Center for the Arts, headlands.org.

 

June 22: International Orange Chorale - Concert of Newly Commissioned Works: A performance of newly commissioned choral works. 5PM, Solarium Public Space, 55 2nd St., San Francisco, iocsf.org.

 

June 25 - July 6 & July 23 - August 3: Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy - Archi-Techies: Golden Gate Bridge Edition: Design summer camp program for kids in grades 3-5. Crissy Field Center, Mon-Fri, 9AM-4PM, crissyfieldcenter.org.

 

July 1 - Sept 30: San Francisco Parks Alliance - Park's View of the Golden Gate Bridge: A photo contest of images of the Golden Gate Bridge taken from San Francisco parks. sfparksalliance.org.

 

July 5 - 29: ArtSeed - 75 Reasons Why We Are the Bridge: Children, teachers and practicing artists give form to their ideas using the bridge's history and structure. Opening reception  July 5, 5PM-7PM. Exhibition July 6 - 29, Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM, Thoreau Center for Sustainability, Presidio Building #1014, San Francisco, artseed.org.

 

July 14: South End Rowing Club - Golden Gate Bridge Splash 'n' Dash: A club-sponsored swim in San Francisco Bay and a run across the Golden Gate bridge for members and sport. 9AM-1:30PM, south-end.org, splashndash.us.

 

July 29: San Francisco Marathon: Full marathon and 1 half marathon crossing the bridge and an additional half marathon, a 5k, and kids' race. thesfmarathon.com.

 

August 1 - October 1: American Institute of Architects - Postcards from the Edge: Exhibition of postcard views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco. Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM, 130 Sutter Street #600, San Francisco, aia.org.

 

August 19: Golden Gate Brass Band - Musical Bridges: Concerts featuring the top 40 hits of the period from 1930 to 1937. 2PM, Corte Madera Bandstand/Gazebo, "Old Town", goldengatebrassband.com.

 

September 1 - 30: American Institute of Architects - Architecture and the City Festival: A series of events that celebrate the Bay Area's architectural heritage, including the Golden Gate Bridge. aia.org.

 

September 9: NatureBridge - A Bridge to Nature: A family-oriented hike in the Marin Headlands with activities highlighting the cultural history of the Golden Gate. NatureBridge / Headlands Institute, naturebridge.org/headlands.

 

October 21: San Francisco State University Romberg Center: Discovery Day Bridge-building Activity: Bridge-building activity for the public at the center's annual Discovery Day. 11AM-4PM, SF State Romberg Center, Tiburon, rtc.sfsu.edu.

 

About the Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary: The 75th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge is a project of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in cooperation with the National Park Service, The Presidio Trust, and the City and County of San Francisco. The year-long celebration and visitor services improvements are funded by private contributions, with major underwriting provided by Wells Fargo, Genentech, HP, and Kaiser Permanente. Anniversary events include The Golden Gate Festival along the San Francisco waterfront on May 27, 2012; 75 Tributes to the Bridge, a year-long series of public programs presented throughout the Bay Area; renovation of the historic Round House and construction of a new visitor Pavilion; and enhancements to the Bridge Plaza and Golden Gate National Recreation Area parklands on both sides of the span. For additional information and all public inquiries, please visit www.goldengatebridge75.org.

 

(TravMedia.com contributed to this article)

 

Editor's note: Links to the websites of hundreds of San Francisco & the Bay Area lodging and dining options can be found at Taste California Travel's Resource Directory.

Historically known for the 1848 cry of "Eureka!" at John Sutter's American River Mill and the resultant gold rush of the following year, California's Gold Country is possibly the most authentic early California experience for  visitors.

Once beautiful but sleepy, it's now beautiful and sophisticated but has retained the historic charm of smallrafting hot shot imaging action SMALLRafting provides thrills. Photo by Hot Shot Imaging towns, friendly outfitters and hospitable innkeepers and vintners. California's Gold Country delivers an historic, yet polished, travel experience for visitors to San Francisco or Sacramento who want to move away from metropolitan areas and do some exploring.

First time visitors to the Gold Country are delighted to discover that a great deal of the gold rush heritage has been preserved, from resort mining towns to historic hotels and 19th century saloons. There are many places to pan for gold (and keep the nuggets, if you're very successful!), but so much more to see and do in the Gold Country to stretch a visit into an memorable experience.

 

Here are a score of options available to you in Gold Country:

 

Ride a steam train and a stagecoach

 

Take in a fishing expedition with experienced guides

 

Go rock climbing, from easy boulders to Yosemite National Park

 

Ride horseback into wilderness for overnight camping

 

Learn to snowboard on easy slopes

 

Taste wine from the barrel with the winemaker

 

Go kayaking and whitewater rafting

 

Hike with your dog in this dog-friendliest region of California

 

Walk among Giant Sequoias, the Earth's largest living things

 

Pet an Alpaca and visit a Cashmere goat farm

 

Tour a sake plant or take a self-guided barn and farm tour

 

Sleep in a cabin with no television, Wi-Fi, telephone or cell reception, or stay in historic inns with all the amenities

 

Hear your favorite artist in a vineyard concert

 

Imagine the riverboat life aboard a slow-churning paddleboat

 

Go spelunking or zip-lining

 

Harvest apples and visit a daylily farm with 1,000 varieties

 

Get the Folsom Prison blues, temporarily, with a tour

 

Learn how to mine gemstones

 

Discover farm-to-fork dining places

 

Golf, hike, spa and shop

 

The northeast/central California region known as the Gold Country attracted thousands of prospectors in 1849 and led to statehood for California soon after. It is an area made up of 12 counties and dozens of historic towns dotting Highway 49. Gold Country has been named one of the top ten U.S. travel destinations to see in 2012 by Lonely Planet. For more information call toll free (U.S.) 800-225-3764 or 916-985-2698, or visit www.calgold.org.

 

(TravMedia.com contributed to this article)

 

Editor's note: Links to the websites of wineries in Gold Country, as well as links to hundreds of lodging and dining options, can be found at Taste California Travel's Resource Directory.

.

Copyright © 2005 - 2021. Taste California Travel. All rights reserved. | Phoenix Website Design by CitrusKiwi