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California

Culture & history

Our most recommended California Culture & History

San Diego: USS Midway Museum Entry Ticket

1. San Diego: USS Midway Museum Entry Ticket

Take a self-guided audio tour onboard the world’s longest-serving aircraft carrier, the historic USS Midway. See the carrier’s 25 restored aircraft from the days of WWII to Operation Desert Storm. Visit areas throughout the Midway, from the crew's sleeping quarters to the pilots' ready rooms. Docents are available throughout the carrier and are eager to share their stories, anecdotes, and statistics, creating a picture of just how important the USS Midway was to the U.S. Navy. Most guests spend 3 to 4 hours exploring this historic aircraft carrier and learning its history. The included audio guide, available in 6 languages, will help you explore the dozens of highlighted areas across the massive ship.  There are family-oriented activities throughout the Museum. Included are 3 types of flight simulators, music videos, short films, climb-aboard aircraft and cockpits, and more. The Museum is located at the Navy Pier in downtown San Diego.

San Diego: Harbor Cruise

2. San Diego: Harbor Cruise

See San Diego's best sights. Learn about the city and enjoy a cruise on the bay. Depending on the option booked, this tour takes you under the Coronado Bridge, past military ships, waterfront landmarks, and marine life for a look at San Diego's scenic beauty and fascinating history. This tour’s luxury ships offer three levels with comfortable indoor and outdoor seating, 360-degree views, and an on-board snack bar serving snacks, soda, beer, wine and cocktails (available for purchase). This is a great way to experience San Diego from the water.

San Francisco: Golden Gate Bay Cruise

3. San Francisco: Golden Gate Bay Cruise

Cruise around the Golden Gate Bay on a boat tour. Enjoy informative commentary, see sights like Alcatraz Island, and purchase food and drink from the onboard bar. Launched in 1939 as part of the Golden Gate International Exposition, this 1-hour cruise has been a highlight of any visit to San Francisco for over 75 years. With 8-14 departures daily from Fisherman's Wharf, you will sail along San Francisco's breathtaking waterfront, under the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, and close to the notorious Alcatraz Island. Discover San Francisco's fascinating history, brought to life through audio commentary broadcast in 16 languages via personal headphones. Look out for wildlife along the way, including pelicans, sea lions, and even dolphins and whales. Sail past the lively neighborhood of North Beach, the famous swimming clubs of Aquatic Park, the historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier, and San Francisco Maritime National Park, before heading west towards Golden Gate Bridge. Enjoy views of Crissy Field and the lush hillsides of the Presidio, before cruising under Golden Gate Bridge. Steam back into the Bay, traveling past the wildlife reserves of the Marin Headlands, and the legendary town of Sausalito, once home to the 1960s’ flower generation. With Angel Island State Park to your left, cruise around the infamous Alcatraz. After a full hour of exciting sights, the barking sea lions at Pier 39 welcome you back to Pier 43 1/2. A full bar with drinks, snacks, and merchandise, including logo wear, is available at reasonable prices on board the iconic red and blue sea vessels.

Mendocino County: Skunk Train Pudding Creek Train Ride

4. Mendocino County: Skunk Train Pudding Creek Train Ride

Take in the beautiful and relaxing scenery on this 7-mile roundtrip journey, which departs the Depot in downtown Fort Bragg year-round. Travel along the Pudding Creek Estuary, home to abundant wildlife and natural beauty. Ride through ancient redwoods to the tranquil setting of Glen Blair. The historic tracks were some of the first to be laid down by the California Western Railroad in 1885, and they've been carrying passengers on them ever since. The original Skunk Train began as a logging route back in 1885, when it transported families and workers to and from the numerous logging camps in the area. The train received its now-famous nickname, the "Skunk Train" back in 1925 when motorcars were introduced that ran on gasoline and which had a pot-bellied stove burning crude oil to keep the passengers warm. Locals said that just like skunks "You could smell them before you could see them". Don't worry, the days of the skunk smell are long gone. Enjoy free admission the Model Railroad museum, included in the ticket price. See logging history brought to life on an incredible model railroad that has over 1,300 feet of track. View the mill, logging camp, town bridges, trestles, and much more. The museum is located just west of Skunk Train Depot in Fort Bragg.

San Jose: Winchester Mystery House Tour

5. San Jose: Winchester Mystery House Tour

Come explore the fascinating Victorian mansion built by Winchester rifle heiress, Sarah L. Winchester. Marvel at this vast, strange and unusual place. Take a 65-minute guided tour of this architectural marvel, built for 38 years from 1884. Experience beautiful stained glass windows, ornate parquet floors, and turn-of-the-century craftsmanship. Discover strange oddities such as doors to nowhere, stairs to the ceiling, and windows in the floor. See rooms bare with remnants of the 1906 earthquake damage, and others furnished with lounge chairs, grand pianos, and chandeliers. After your tour, walk round the beautiful the gardens, and enjoy the fresh flowers, picnic benches and palm trees. Try your hand at axe throwing or the shooting gallery for an additional charge, or browse for souvenirs at the gift shop.

San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

6. San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

Hop on board a boat and cruise around Alcatraz Island and other sights of San Francisco Bay on this round trip journey. Benefit from a straight-to-the-gate access ticket and informative commentary as you go. Cruise San Francisco Bay and sail under the Golden Gate Bridge on a 90-minute narrated tour by boat around Alcatraz Island. Skip the box office line and go straight to the gate with your ticket. See Alcatraz island from the water while listening to accounts of the chilling escape attempts and the notorious criminals that called Alcatraz prison home. Enjoy a cruise with food and drink available to purchase onboard. Cruise full circle around Alcatraz Island, allowing you to view every angle of this mysterious island, which housed famous inmates such as Al Capone, Billy Cook the Killer, and Clyde Johnson, whose escape attempt is legendary. Gain a clear picture of what life in this maximum-security prison was like when it was the most feared institution in the American penal system.

San Francisco: Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour

7. San Francisco: Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour

Hop aboard a sightseeing bus for a tour of the City by the Bay and delve into the fascinating history of San Francisco and its legendary landmarks, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman's Wharf. The hop-on-hop-off route stops at the main points of interest all around San Francisco.  Experience the diverse culture, beautiful parks, stunning architecture, and picturesque views from the top of an open-air sightseeing bus. Hop off anytime and create your customized itinerary at your leisure. Explore 3 routes depending on your ticket purchase. San Francisco City Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Sit back and enjoy the ride as you cruise through the city on an open-top bus. Learn about the unique history of San Fransisco while passing through Chinatown, Union Square, Civic Center, and the Alamo Square.  Panoramic Night Tour Board the night bus to explore the dazzling city of San Francisco at nighttime. Climb the historic Nob Hill for a stunning close-up view of the magnificent Grace Cathedral. Then, make your way across the grand Bay Bridge for picturesque views of the city skyline from Treasure Island, the World Fair site in 1939. After heading back to the city, continue along the Embarcadero to view the glittering lights of the Port of San Francisco.

Silicon Valley Private Tour

8. Silicon Valley Private Tour

In just 4 hours you will see Facebook, Apple, Google, and any other company you wish to see. Besides the famous high-tech companies you will also have the opportunity to visit Stanford University. Traveling by private car, enjoy the comfort of seeing the places you want to see without worrying about your departure or arrival times. Learn more about the famous landmarks with a reliable service, offering maximum security and, most of all, the best level of hospitality in the industry. Following a pick-up from your accommodation in San Francisco (pick-ups in other cities in the Bay Area are available on arrangement), get recommendations on the best places to stop to take pictures or explore further - you decide where you want to go.

San Francisco Zoo Admission Ticket

9. San Francisco Zoo Admission Ticket

Visit the San Francisco Zoo, home to over 2,000 animals and 250 species of plants. Your full-day admission ticket includes access to the Leanne Roberts African Region and the Valentine Family Savanna. Both zones offer multi-species landscapes with giraffes, zebras, kudu, ostriches, storks, and more. At Hearst Grizzly Gulch, get nose-to-nose with rescued grizzly bear sisters Kachina and Kiona. See how lemurs leap through the Lipman Lemur Forest, the largest outdoor lemur habitat in the country. Marvel at Penguin Island, home to the largest colony of Magellanic penguins outside of the wild. Admire the Zoo's gorillas in the Jones Family Gorilla Preserve. Feed and pet the farm animals in the Fisher Family Children's Zoo. Find the historic 1921 Dentzel Carousel and 1904 miniature Little Puffer Steam Train. Learn about the fun rides, educational programs, and exciting events for children.

Sonoma Valley: Guided Winery Tour with Picnic Lunch

10. Sonoma Valley: Guided Winery Tour with Picnic Lunch

Explore Sonoma Valley, a world-class wine region, on a small group guided tour. Enjoy the charm of the area as you learn about its history from your knowledgeable tour guide. As you journey through the Sonoma Valley, you'll visit three boutique wineries, many of which are still family-owned. Taste some delicious wines (winery tasting fees not included) and learn about local winemaking practices, history, and culture. You'll also get to see some of the production areas and get to enjoy a tasty picnic lunch served at one of the wineries.

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What people are saying about California

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 3,883 reviews

Cynthia was a great tour guide! We easily made friends with her and she facilitated a friendly rapport among the group! She knew a lot of history about the neighborhood and all its Italian restaurants. We never would have learned all their back stories had we just been walking around ourselves. Very enjoyable! We recommend whole heartedly!

Amazing cruise and very informative tour about the Bay Area and near by places. Would definitely recommend this tour. Remember to carry a hoodie as it gets cold on the upper deck.

Chelsea was amazing! She really made the trip even better! Very knowledgable and super friendly - loved the dad jokes!

They had alternatives for handicapped visitors. The staff was very helpful, friendly and knowledgeable.

The tour guide was knowledgeable & I enjoyed my experience.