Top 10 Places To Visit in Northern California
There are a myriad of fantastic tourist places to visit in Northern California providing a refreshing contrast from LA and Hollywood dominating Southern part of California. Only in the North you can experience the true wonders of California according to the locals and major travel experts. In this part of the Golden Gate San Francisco definitely rules the roost in terms of attractions coupled with stunning coastal regions, wine growing counties and unsurpassed landscapes of the Yosemite National Park.
To discover most regarded Northern California tourist attractions, please refer to our list below.
1. San Francisco – Totally uninhibited, eccentric human zoo, the melting pot of traditions, experiences and indulgences, this is San Francisco, the cultural hub of the Northern California. Prepare yourself to be amazed literally around each and every corner. With thousands of top dining establishment, you will find yourselves pondering what to eat for your next meal. With so many San Francisco tourist attractions, you will have to painfully choose where to go next. Among the top landmarks you simply must visit, we can name the quintessential Golden Gate Bridge that is best explored by biking or walking to get a real feel for it grandeur and views. Take a tour of spooky Alcatraz prison museum that is only accessible by water and see former prison cells, escape paraphernalia and many other amazing exhibits. Visit San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to see unconventional pieces of art, so typical to the cultural vibes of the city itself.
2. Monterey Bay – The place located by Santa Cruz, CA boasting astounding coastal views, beaches, small cities with big time charm and incredible tourist activities. Dive into the fair like festivities of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, feast on cotton candy and take a ride on a Giant Dipper rollercoaster. Get a chance for up-close encounters with over 35,000 marine creatures that call Monterey Bay Aquarium their home, explore historical Monterey Fisherman’s Wharf to feast on the best seafood and high style shopping. Spend a day in Cannery Row in Monterey to engage in scuba diving, beach lounging and best dining.
3. Yosemite National Park – Among the premier places to visit in Northern California, Yosemite is a destination of jaw dropping beauty. Located in the midst of Sierra Nevada wilderness, the Park encompasses several ecosystems, home to unique species of flora and fauna. Rated one of the most popular places to visit in Northern California, here you will see towering granite cliffs, hundred year old trees, lakes and waterfalls. Among its most frequented features you will find granite cliff El Capitan, a favorite among rock climbing community; numerous Yosemite National Park Waterfalls that are especially active during ice melting season in the spring and Lyell Glacier, one of the few glaciers surviving in the area. Whether you favor tranquil strolls or adrenaline rush of the mountain biking or rock climbing you are sure to find it here at the Yosemite.
4. Redwood National Park – Welcome to the place where you will see the tallest redwood trees, Douglas firs and many other unique flora species. Explore a myriad of trails designated for horseback riding, biking, hiking or scenic drives.
5. Lassen Volcanic National Park – One of the most curious National Parks for true geology buffs because only here you can witness four distinct varieties of volcanic structures. Mount Lassen is the major tourist attraction as it’s an active volcano drawing many tourists annually. Among many tourist adventures you can venture on are backpacking, skiing and snowshoeing in the winter and many others.
6. Lake Tahoe – One of the most well known tourist attractions in the USA, Lake Tahoe is geographically located on the territory of California and Nevada States. This alpine lake sets the center stage for a myriad of tourist activities, including skiing, golfing, gambling, water sports and hiking.
7. Big Sur Coast – One of the most exquisite places to visit in Northern California with views to take your breath away. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park offers some of the best in the state hiking in the redwoods and great views of Pfeiffer Falls. Northern California beaches cannot differ more from their Southern California counterparts, one of the finest examples is Jade Beach that is hard to find and requires a hike to get to but is worth it in the end. See if you can dig up some jade stones to take home. Do not miss historical Hearst Castle displaying magnificent art work and architecture in various styles.
8. Sacramento – The Capital of California offers its great deal of historical and cultural buildings and fantastic attractions in Northern California. Old Sacramento is a historical district holding the largest ratio of historical buildings and cultural heritage throughout the Golden State, including California State Railroad Museum showcasing some of the oldest trains you can actually ride on. Crocker Art Museum is one of culturally significant places to visit in Northern California with works of art dating back to the Golden Rush era and various international exhibits.
9. Sonoma Valley – If you are looking for high paced lifestyles here, you will not find it here. Referred by the locals as Slow-Noma, life as if stops here to enjoy the sprawling beauty of wine valleys. The birthplace of the California grape growing industry, here you will find some of the oldest vineyards in the State. If there was only one winery you could visit, we would point you in the direction of Gundlach – Bundschu Winery founded back in mid 19th century and cultivating wines like iconic Tempranillo, Merlot and Sauvingnon Blanc.
10. Napa Valley Wineries – Though this wine making region cannot boast such lengthy history that belongs to the Sonoma Valley, it still has earned its right to be called one of the major wine making contributors of the US economy appearing on the radar back in the 1960’s. Because Napa Valley’s climate is different than that of Sonoma Valley, it lends to distinctly different flavor of wines. This viticultural area of Northern California is frequented by over five million visitors annually.