Did a full day walking tour of LA. Our tour guide Damien was very knowledgeable & passionate about giving us all the information in a clear & concise way. The tour was very well planned & organised & was not tiring.

Lisa Montesanti


We did The Real Hollywood tour & loved it! The tour was at a great pace & the guide (Vicky) was very knowledgeable & made the tour fun. Thank you!

Steph S.


Stuart was so knowledgeable & was worth the day with him. I had been to LA multiple times before but this is the first time I had taken a tour – so thrilled to have this experience with my mom & sister. I would recommend this tour again & again.

Lucrezia Scamarcio


We had an amazing DTLA Murder Mystery Ghost tour with Damien & Dante… thank you very much from the Italian girls… very interesting & funny… absolutely recommended!



This tour was awesome! Stuart is very knowledgeable, likeable & fun. The stops on the tour were very interesting & I learned a lot. I’ve been on quite a few tours of this nature & this was one of my favorites – highly recommend!

Mel L


Did a walking tour of LA (LA in a Day). Vicky started us off with the Hollywood tour & Damien (who is also the owner) was our guide for the rest of the day. The entire day was awesome, I suggest this tour. There isn’t that much walking, to be honest. It’s very fun!

Michelle B.


My boyfriend & I took the DTLA Murder Mystery Ghost tour with Stuart as our guide & had the most amazing time! We had experiences we will never forget! We were able to see parts & people of Los Angeles that we never would have without Stuart. I give this 10/10. If we visit again, this will be at the top of our to do list!

Sara Pozueta


Absolutely amazing! Highly recommend taking both The Real Hollywood Tour & the Central Downtown LA tour! Our time in LA wouldn’t have been the same. Great way to learn about the city, see it from a different angle, explore the local life & learn about its history & filming industry. Damien our guide was fantastic!



Sylvie was our host & was fantastic. She had a lot of local knowledge & gave her unique perspective as someone who had moved to the area many years ago, so she had an outsider’s as well as an insider’s perspective. The tour gave us a great overview of Santa Monica & Venice & set us up for a great rest of the day.

Paula Lindgren


We took 2 tours, the Santa Monica & Venice Bike tour (with Sylvie) & the Real Hollywood tour (with Damien). Both were great & highly recommended. Sylvie & Damien were informative, knowledgeable & easy to talk to. They were like you were with friends. We were traveling as a family of 4 with 2 boys (15 & 12). We all enjoyed the tours.

12 Things to do in California

things to do in California

You’ve bought your airline tickets (or filled the tank with gas), you’re feeling the anticipation of your trip building and you’re starting to think about where exactly you’re going to go and what exactly you’re going to do once you get to California. Undoubtedly you already have plenty of items on your things to do in California list, which is the reason for the journey here in the first place, but you’re looking to pad out your visit with other activities and side trips.

But what are the must-do’s in California? Because, remember, this might be a once-in-a-lifetime visit, so you don’t want to miss something you may always regret not seeing. Well, as a tour company located in the golden state we have a fair idea of the kinds of activities you’re going to want to do and type of places you’re going to want to go while you’re here, so here’s a list of 12 things to do in California (not including Los Angeles).

Activities & Places of Interest in California


Love wine, food and beautiful scenery? Who doesn’t, right? Well, then Napa Valley’s the place for you. Just north of San Francisco the area gets its name from the Napa River that flows through it and it’s well worth a few days to explore the many fine restaurants and vineyards that call the area home and to admire the gorgeous scenery.


It seems ridiculous to have San Francisco occupying just one entry on our list, with so many things to see and do in this amazing city. From the Golden Gate Bridge, to Chinatown, to Berkeley, to the Mission District, to Alcatraz, to Embarcadero and Fisherman’s Wharf, the list is endless. Above all SF just has a great vibe and a great aesthetic. If you come to California you HAVE to go to San Francisco, it’s that simple.

For the best possible experience of San Francisco do a tour with our sister company there, Real San Francisco Tours, and tell them “hi” from us.


National Parks – California is full of them and, arguably, Yosemite is the most famous. Gape, amazed, at the awesome majesty of El Capitan (not the Apple operating system, but the enormous chunk of granite that gave it its name), wander through the indescribably beautiful mountain meadows and follow an easy trail to see one of the many waterfalls that drop down into the valley. Better still hire a tent and spend a few days exploring the park. This is a must do!


You may not know it, but depending on when you’re visiting California you could experience some of the best skiing in North America at Mammoth. Hell! It’s one of the best winter sports centers in the world. It’s becoming less and less common (due to climate change), but usually you can even ski here on July 4th.


On the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, which contains the highest point in the lower forty-eight States (Mount Whitney), is the lowest point, the fabulously named Death Valley. So named by a group of prospectors who stumbled on the valley while making their way to the gold fields of Northern California in the nineteenth century (luckily they didn’t actually die here). It’s an incredible place to visit, although it does get insanely hot in the summer months.

best things to do in California: Death Valley


If you take the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway or California State Route 1) south from San Francisco you’ll come to this picturesque town on California’s rugged central coast. Take a half day to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium – it’s one of the best you’ll ever see. The town itself is very picturesque in parts too.


Keep going down the coast from Monterey on the PCH and you’ll drive through the Big Sur. What is the Big Sur? It’s a coastline of unequalled beauty – forested Santa Lucia mountains rising dramatically from the depths of the Pacific Ocean, creating steep cliffs and beautiful, secluded, little beaches. As scenic drives go it’s right up there.


Further down the Central Coast from Monterey is this beautiful town. Founded as a mission by the Spanish in the eighteenth century, it’s now home to a thriving restaurant and bar scene, which is as good as any in California. Didn’t get to visit Napa Valley? There are dozens of wineries in the surrounding countryside here too, so there’s no excuse for not trying some of our great Californian wine.


Further south of Yosemite National Park is this National Park. It’s famous for its giant Sequoia trees (the Sequoiadendron giganteum to give them their scientific name), which are, as far as we know, the largest living things on the planet. Apart from that the park is home to some quite sociable black bears and a lot of breathtaking scenery. Definitely worth a visit.

best things to do in California: Sequoia National Park


Like San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara was founded by Franciscan Missionaries in the eighteenth century and is now a beautiful city on what’s sometimes known as the American Riviera. The downtown area is full of fun bars and nice restaurants. There are also several wineries nearby. You can see the city on a day trip from Los Angeles.


East of Los Angeles, past Palm Springs, lies this desert, almost Martian-like, landscape. Like Death Valley it does get ridiculously hot in the summer, but it’s worth putting on your itinerary so you can experience its desolate beauty. And if you like rock-climbing bring some equipment, it’s a popular spot for that too. You can also see it in a day trip from Los Angeles or you can bring a tent and camp out under the stars.


Where to start? Balboa Park with its collection of great museums and the San Diego Zoo? The Gaslamp Quarter, with its restaurants, bars and clubs? Maybe the USS Midway Museum? Or the beach at La Jolla? What about Old Town San Diego? The point is, rather like San Francisco, there are a multitude of things to do in San Diego – more than enough in fact to very happily occupy several days.

If you have any feedback on our list of things to do in California, or if you have some recommendations of your own, please email us and let us know. We’ll be sure to take it into account.

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