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Drives and Destinations

Drives and Destinations

Los Angeles conjures up images of movie stars, sunny beaches, unique museums and great theme parks. It's a The Encounter Restaurant at LAX.world-class destination deserving of time, but if you just have some lag time between flights at LAX, you can step outside the airport and start your California dreamin'. Even a little bit of Los Angeles is sure to whet your appetite for a return trip. For a Two-to Three-Hour Layover Before the next leg of your journey, head over to the Encounter Restaurant outside Terminal 2. It's easy to spot. Look for the iconic, spider-shaped restaurant that is…
With the $2.5 billion L.A. LIVE entertainment complex continuing to re-establish a buzz east of the Harbor Downtown LA Skyline on Summer Night. Freeway, thousands of people moving into center city's lofts, condos and apartments each year, and even a new football stadium on the way, there's been no shortage of press about the resurgence of Downtown Los Angeles. The good thing is that, as with any dynamic urban district, there are more than a few less-than-obvious, if not downright hidden, places to check out and feel in the know about Los Angeles. It's Not Easy Being Green: Downtown's Gardens…
If the number of people visiting Death Valley National Park’s Ranch at Furnace Creek at lunchtime in July is any indication, then some people truly do like it hot. Lots of people, in fact. This arid, desolate and ruggedly beautiful park typically draws some 230,000 travelers during the summer months, when the temperatures can be as high as 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Situated in east-central California on the edge of the Mojave Desert, the park hosts as many as 900 tour bus travelers each day. Nearly all of the visitors are from European countries; most come from Germany, France and the…
Take either of two roads from Occidental to the coast. Less than an hour north of San Francisco is some of the best bicycle riding in Northern California. You can travel flower-lined country roads that pass organic farms, ride under towering redwoods or pedal down quaint lanes past vineyards and wineries. You can also try winding routes that follow the gentle Russian River to the wild Pacific coastline. The area is synonymous with good riding. With 2,250 kilometers/1,400 miles of lightly traveled secondary roads and a growing system of off-road bike trails, Sonoma County appeals to a wide variety of…
The northeast/central California region known as the Gold Country, an area made up of 12 counties and dozens of historic towns dotting Highway 49 has been named one of the top ten U.S. travel destinations to see in 2012 by Lonely Planet. Sutter Creek has old west flavor. Known for their annual travel list for international destinations and their compilation of U.S. picks for the last two years, Lonely Planet's U.S. travel editors carved out a list of what's new, interesting, and in some cases likely to be overlooked by travelers. The full list is on www.lonelyplanet.com, the company's web…
The historic Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad (YMSPRR) resumed their popular “Moonlight Specials” on May 26, celebrating 40 years of the night time rides. Located just south of the Highway 41 entrance to Yosemite National Park, the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad offers rides aboard a pair of nearly century old Shay locomotives through the Sierra National Forest. The popular tours run each day in the spring, summer and fall months. The “Moonlight Special” adds another element to the memorable rides. “In addition to the train rides, guests enjoy a delicious BBQ dinner outdoors in the cool mountain air,” said…
There's gold in Death Valley. White gold It took prospectors Aaron and Rosie Winters to discover it in the late 1800s, a San Francisco businessman to develop it, a television and radio show to market it--and today’s environmental movement to give it its due. We’re talking about sodium borate, or borax, a common laundry product used for more than 100 years. Borax is found primarily in two places on the planet – Turkey and the California desert. Visitors see evidence ofFurnace Creek Inn it throughout Death Valley National Park where there is a museum dedicated to the mineral located at…
When it comes to the arts, Los Angeles has raised the bar and has set the standard with the quality of art that it creates and presents. With more than 100 museums boasting priceless works of art, original sculptures, avant-garde objects and pop-culture icons, LA boasts the highest percentage of visitors who cross the thresholds of its many museums of any major U.S. city. "We have an extraordinary collection of art museums, performing art venues, and galleries," says Michael McDowell, senior director of Cultural Tourism & Affinity Markets for the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. "Cultural tourism ranks high…
West Los Angeles, which stretches from the Miracle Mile to Brentwood, is an oasis of culture paired with chic, urban perks. A wealth of amenities, including world-class museums, chic shopping areas and chef-driven restaurants, are in store. Miracle Mile The Miracle Mile is home to several of LA's top museums, all within walking distance of one another. Among them is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), one of nation's top art institutions. Since it opened in 1965, the museum has grown into a 20-acre campus that exhibits 100,000 objects dating from ancient times to the present. Seven buildings…
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…
Key components of the year-long celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge are the 75 Cars 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…
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 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…
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