BY: Julia Kitlinski-Hong
1. A mild year-round climate.
Sure there is rain during the winter, but there are plenty of blues skies as well. Best of all, there is no shoveling your car out of three feet of snow during the wintertime, when you are already running late for work.
2. National parks galore.
Yosemite, Joshua Tree, and Death Valley just to name a few of the Golden State’s natural wonderlands. Not to mention the state parks as well, which feature majestic redwood trees, and rugged coastlines.
3. All the tacos you can eat.
Whether it is a hole-in-the-wall family restaurant or a taco truck parked at a street corner, you will never think of Mexican food the same way again.
4. Coastal road trips.
The California’s Highway One is one of the countries most scenic roads, with the shimmering Pacific on one side, and dramatic cliffs rising from the sea on the other. Try not to have your mouth drop when you cross the Bixby Creek Bridge in Big Sur.
5. Disneyland and California Adventures.
No matter how old you are the magic of The Happiest Place on Earth is infectious. Highlights include: zooming through space, feeling like you are dropped into the movie Cars and those addictive churros that are the right amount of crunch on the outside and soft dough on the inside.
6. Two world-class cities.
Despite the love-hate relationship between San Francisco and Los Angeles, these two cities both have a lot of their own perks. Endless outdoor options, the innovative culture of Silicon Valley, and good food in the north, and beautiful beaches, a strong art community, and a diverse culinary scene in the south just to name a few.
7. Fresh year-round produce.
Central California is one of the countries largest providers of fresh produce, from apples to artichokes. It is hard not to feel spoiled with all this fresh bounty showing up at the weekend farmers’ markets up and down the coast.
8. In-N-Out Burger.
This is not just any fast food joint, this is definitely a step-up from Mickey D’s with higher quality ingredients, and all the hand cut fries you can eat.
9. Dog-obsessed cities.
San Francisco is said to have more dogs than children, and LA has enough pup salons and boutiques to make you wonder who is really running this town.
10. Diverse climates.
You can be at the beach one day, and the next you can be snowboarding up in the mountains where there is a fresh layer of powder. For those who prefer dryer climates, there is Joshua Tree, Death Valley and Palm Springs.
11. Top notch wine.
Whether it is Napa Valley or Santa Barbara wine country, there is no shortage of good chardonnays and pinots in this wine-loving state. Stock up at your local market or go straight to the source, and make a weekend out of it.
12. Giant trees.
Redwood trees and their close cousins sequoias are hard to take for granted. These ancient giants help shape California’s unique landscape and can be found all over, from national parks like Sequoia to regional parks in cities like Oakland.
13. Extreme adventures.
Whether you prefer to hang glide over the Pacific or rock climb on cliffs in the desert, there is never a dull moment for adrenaline junkies here in California.
14. Epic music festivals.
From the star-studded Coachella to more intimate festivals like Outside Lands in San Francisco, there is no shortage of places to let your hair down and dance the weekend away.
15. Food trucks.
16. A diverse culinary scene.
Including the aforementioned tacos there is food from all corners of the globe, especially in the Bay Area and Greater Los Angeles area. One night it is Vietnamese, the next it is Peruvian-just watch your palate expand in no time.
17. Close to a lot of different vacation options.
When you get tired of all that California sunshine, Seattle, Portland and Vancouver are just a short plane ride away. If you want to experience a different country, head south of the border to Mexico. For a weekend of excess, Las Vegas is only next-door in Nevada.
18. Sports teams that do not mess around.
From the SF Giants to the LA Lakers, California has plenty of great sports teams to jump on the bandwagon with and follow to the championships.
19. Excellent coffee.
20. Celebrating diversity.
California is known for being accepting of people no matter their ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. We like to celebrate it all, whether it is Pride Week or Chinese New Year, we are always up for a party no matter the occasion.
21. Dreamers are welcome.
From novice filmmakers in Hollywood to newbie techies with dreams for their own startups, California welcomes those that dare to think outside of the norm. You never know when or where luck and determination might pay off.