Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Napa…what’s not to like about California? But there’s plenty more to the Golden State than the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Diego Zoo. While these well-known landmarks are a major part of what makes California an amazing place to visit, we know there’s so much more to it than what you see in movies.
Our friends at Localeur helped us put together a list of some of the best places in Cali – as recommended by locals in its major cities – and we have a strong feeling you’re going to find a way to work these hidden gems and hotspots into your travel plans.
St. Francis Fountain – San Francisco
“Every neighborhood needs a killer brunch spot, and down here it’s St. Francis Fountain. They truly succeed at both the breakfast and lunch ends of the spectrum, and in a cute locale to boot! I’m a big fan of starting my brunch off with a nice, traditional milkshake.” – as recommended by Bay Area local Alicia Mooty
Lagunitas Brewery – Bay Area
“The setting’s perfect for a chill get-together, like a huge backyard barbecue with the occasional band. (Show’s free, too!) If you’re feeling a little more aggressive, get a group together to share the ‘Around the World’ beer taster, 16 tastings of everything they have on tap.” – as recommended by Bay Area local Lindsay Life
Café Sevilla – San Diego
“Sevilla is best known for combining three distinct environments under one roof: an authentic tapas bar with music, a lively nightclub and a casually elegant dining room….Good food, dancing and an evening to remember awaits you at Sevilla.” – as recommended by San Diego local Rose Wheeler
Seaport Village – San Diego
“Seaport Village is such a charming little spot with plenty of cute gift shops, views of the bay and restaurants. One of my favorite things to do is grab a sandwich or burger from a nearby cafe and have a picnic by the water. It seems like there’s always some kind of fun little festival going on over there.” – as recommended by San Diego local Kayla Phelps
Paper or Plastik Café – Los Angeles
“This is one of the places I may regret revealing. From the outside, it’s pretty unassuming, but Paper or Plastik has become a landmark for the creative low-key crowd to meet friends, catch up on reading and eat great organic food. Unlike other brunch spots around the city that are overcrowded and more of like daytime clubs than brunch spots, this place has been able to keep its local feel and loyal customer base. Don’t be surprised if you see Malcolm Gladwell finishing up his latest book and catching up on e-mails here … cause I did. Paper or Plastik reminds me of those super-friendly cafes in Europe that never rush you to leave and have tons of selections to tempt you to stay.” – as recommended by Los Angeles local Kiel Berry
A-Frame – Los Angeles
“A-Frame is, hands down, my favorite place to eat in all of Los Angeles. A Roy Choi vision housed in a former IHOP, this Culver City staple can always be counted on for adventurous, seasonal dishes…Split a few in their signature Hawaiian-with-a-twist style dining room, and be bold. You’ll be stuffed, with just enough room left over for a coupl’a Old Fashioneds.” – as recommended by Los Angeles local Greta Mantooth