1. Mulholland Drive

Google Map

Named after William Mulholland, the architect of the Los Angeles aqueduct, this quintessential LA road winds for about 25 miles (40 km) along a Santa Monica Mountains ridge from Hollywood to the western San Fernando Valley. On clear days, the panoramic views over Los Angeles county are truly stunning.

2. Mission San Gabriel Arcangel

prac_info 428 S Mission Dr, San Gabriel • 626-457-3035 • Open 9am–4:30pm daily • Adm

Google Map

Heavy flooding forced the fourth of the California missions to move here five years after it was founded in 1771. Though struck twice by earthquakes, it prospered with the help of Indian converts, many of whom are buried here. The grounds are peppered with fountains and fireplaces. A small museum has other exhibits.

3. Knott’s Berry Farm

prac_info 8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park • 714-220-5200 • Check website for opening hours •

Google Map

The first theme park in the US, Old West-themed Knott’s Berry Farm is known for its gut-wrenching roller coasters. Teens love the Xcelerator and the Supreme Scream, while Camp Snoopy charms younger children. Five themed areas offer entertainment for all ages.


Knott’s Berry Farm entrance

4. Mission San Fernando Rey de España

prac_info 15151 San Fernando Mission Blvd, Mission Hills • 818-361-0186 • Open 9am–4:30pm daily • Adm

Google Map

The 17th of the 21 missions founded by Franciscans in California, San Fernando was established in 1797 to supply food for El Pueblo de Los Angeles. The mission church is an exact replica of the original, destroyed in the 1971 Sylmar earthquake. The adjacent convento (living quarters) is the state’s largest surviving adobe structure.


Mission San Fernando Rey de España

5. Six Flags Magic Mountain

prac_info 26101 Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia • 661-255-4104 • Open late Mar–early Sep: 12:30–6pm daily; rest of the year: weekends & hols • Adm •

Google Map

The Holy Grail for roller-coaster junkies, Six Flags has more ways to catapult, spin, loop, spiral, and twist than you or your stomach can imagine. Favorite white-knuckle rides include X, the world’s first four-dimensional coaster, and Superman: The Escape, which has you free-falling for 6.5 seconds.

6. Santa Barbara and Wine Country

prac_info On Hwy 101, about 90 miles (145 km) north of LA

Google Map

This town, with its Spanish-style architecture and villa-studded hillsides, is quite charming. Apart from the mission building and historical adobes, it is also a must visit for wine connoisseurs. Head for the tasting rooms of the wine country around Santa Ynez, a 45-minute drive away.

7. Queen Mary

prac_info 1126 Queen Hwy, Long Beach • 800-437-2934 • Open 10am–6pm • Adm •

Google Map

The Queen Mary has whisked as many as 15,000 soldiers per trip from the USA to Europe during World War II. Retired in 1964, she became a tourist attraction three years later. Much of the Queen Mary, which also contains a hotel, can be explored on self-guided tours.

8. Ventura and Channel Islands National Park

prac_info On Hwy 101, about 65 miles (105 km) north of LA

Google Map

Ventura’s Main Street is a fun place to browse antiques and second-hand stores. A look inside the Mission San Buenaventura is worthwhile. The town is the gateway to the Channel Islands National Park. Excursions to the islands leave from Ventura Harbor year-round.


The rocky beach at Channel Islands National Park

9. Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

prac_info 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd, Yorba Linda • 714-993-3393 • Open 10am–5pm daily (from 11am Sun) • Adm •

Google Map

This memorial to the 37th US president (1913–94) includes a museum, gardens, and the restored 1910 farmhouse where he was born. Exhibits focus on Nixon’s achievements, but also include a gallery about Watergate. A re-creation of the Lincoln Sitting Room is a highlight.

10. Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum

prac_info 40 Presidential Dr, Simi Valley • 800-410-8354 • Open 10am–5pm daily • Adm •

Google Map

A chunk of the Berlin Wall and a re-created Oval Office are the highlights of this museum devoted to the 40th US president (1911–2004). Exhibits trace Reagan’s life from his childhood, through his Hollywood career to his political ascent.

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