Vibrant cosmopolitan cities, charming small towns...
Most of California’s population lives in five major metropolitan areas, the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento,
Greater Los Angeles, Inland Empire and the San Diego metropolitan areas.
- San Francisco is a popular international tourist destination renowned for its steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture, and famous landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, the cable cars, Coit Tower and Chinatown. It is the second most densely populated major city in the United States and from the time of the Gold Rush until the 1920s it was the largest city in California. Other major cities in the Bay Area are Oakland and San Jose. The booming technology industry earned the nickname “Silicon Valley” for the region.
- Los Angeles
is one of the world's centers of culture, media, academics, business, international trade and it is one of the most substantial economic engines of the United States. Los Angeles also leads the world in producing popular entertainment such as motion picture, television, video games and recorded music, which forms the base of its international fame and global status.
- San Diego
hosts miles of beaches and a number of military facilities. San Diego's economy is composed of agriculture, biotechnology, biosciences, computer sciences, electronics and defense-related manufacturing, financial and business services, ship-repair and construction, software development, telecommunications and tourism.
Charming small towns offer shelter and escape opportunities from the big city lifestyle.
- Along the Pacific shore - Eureka, Sausalito, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, San Luis Obispo, Solvang, Santa Barbara, Malibu, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, San Clemente, Carlsbad are all brilliant examples of the seaside ambiance mixed with art and beauty.
- In the High Sierras - gorgeous mountains resorts, such as Lake Tahoe, Mammoth Lakes, Bishop, Lone Pine, Kernville, provide opportunities for relaxation, hiking, boating, rafting and winter sports.
- Famous wine regions
- offer unique wine tasting experience, combined with gourmet restaurants and artistic scenery. Sonoma, Calistoga, Napa Valley, Carmel, Santa Inez, Santa Barbara County and Temecula are desired destinations for nature, art and wine lovers.
- The Mother Lode
- is most famously the name given to the long alignment of hard rock gold deposits stretching northwest to southeast in the Sierra Nevada of California. It was one of the most productive gold-producing districts in the United States, but is now given over to tourism. The most beautiful western towns of the Gold Rush era are Nevada City, Auburn, Placerville (Hangtown), Sonora and Mariposa, along Highway 49, where you can still wash gold.
Ghost towns are tourist attractions, too. A ghost town is a completely abandoned town due to reasons like failed economic activity, natural or human-caused disasters, government action, uncontrolled lawlessness, or war. Most famous ghost towns in California are Bodie and Calico.
The water of life!