When you think about Southern California, many things come to mind. Of course, everyone knows its one of the most beautiful and geographically unique places in the world. And there’s the near perfect weather. But did you know it’s also one of the most culturally diverse places too? It seems that Los Angeles has every nationality on earth and every type of religion – truly something for everyone. Its not just movie stars and surfers, although you’ll see plenty of these folks as well. So, whether you are coming to Southern California for the first time, have been here a thousand times, or even live here – what are the absolute best places to visit? Heres a list of five “must sees”:
San Diego Zoo: If you are a nature lover, this is the zoo for you. Consistently rated among the worlds best, the San Diego zoo is famous for many reasons, including the fact that it has bred animals that were once rare or endangered. The California Condor is one such animal. It’s also home to other rare animals including the giant pandas and koalas. If you plan on visiting the San Diego zoo, you’ll explore animal habitats organized into 10 bioclimatic zones, from arctic tundra to rainforest.
SeaWorld San Diego: SeaWorld is a water wonderland that has been around for over 40 years. It’s well known for its killer whale, Shamu, and its sea lion, and dolphin shows. There are also plenty of places to eat and relax. The park also features Journey to Atlantis, a combination roller coaster and splashdown ride, the Shark Encounter, the Wild Arctic, and the Penguin Encounter, showcasing a variety of penguins. The park has a great playground for children, Shamu’s Happy Harbor. Finally, SeaWorld has also done a lot for wildlife conservation.
Universal Studios Hollywood: Universal, always one of the biggest Hollywood studios, has offered tours of its studio since the silent-film era. In 1964, the tour included dressing room walk-throughs and the viewing of actual production. A few years later, they started doing staged events. In the years after that, Universal Studios became a major theme park and included stunt demonstrations and high-tech rides. Universal City Walk is also close by and features many shops and restaurants.
Disneyland: Disneyland Park, the life long dream of animator and movie producer Walt Disney, has truly become one of the most famous places in the world. People from practically every country on earth have been coming here for over fifty years. In fact, more than 515 million people, including presidents and royalty have come to the park since the attraction first opened to guests on July 17, 1955. The park is divided into separate lands, and includes Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland, Main Street, U.S.A., New Orleans Square and Critter Country in Frontierland and Mickey’s Toontown. If you’ve never been to Disneyland, you’re missing out on an inexpensive adventure of a lifetime!
Hot Air Ballooning in Temecula: Looking to do something totally new and completely thrilling? Go to Temecula, about an hours drive from LA or San Diego, to ride in a hot air balloon. You’ll get to see what it’s like sailing across the air with no sound whatsoever. It’s an experience that will never be forgotten, that’s for sure. Why Temecula? This area has a long history has a hot air balloon ride capital because the area is simply spectacular to look at from the air, and it has near perfect climate conditions. There are a handful of hot air balloon companies in the area that take groups up for an hour ride above the Temecula valley. Want to try something else just as fun while you’re there? Try a bi-plane ride – this area is ideal for this type of aerial tour as well!