SAN LUIS OBISPO: Cul­ture, Wine, & the Out­doors

Travel Guide to California - - CITIES -

shore of mag­nif­i­cent Mon­terey Bay. A city of 65,000, it boasts al­ter­na­tive life­styles and in­no­va­tive ed­u­ca­tion at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia Santa Cruz along with the proudly retro 1907 Santa Cruz Board­walk and the Santa Cruz Pier. The board­walk, flank­ing mile-long Santa Cruz Beach, show­cases the charm­ing 1911 Loolf Carousel and adren­a­line joys of the Big Dip­per, a 1924 wooden roller coaster. The board­walk is a prime place to score corn dogs (“made from a se­cret fam­ily recipe’’), choco­late-cov­ered ba­con, deep-fried Twinkies and other belly­busters while you watch surfers shoot the curl. The world’s first Surf­ing Mu­seum is right nearby. In­land, the shops of Pa­cific Av­enue of­fer plenty of re­tail ther­apy and health-minded mar­kets and eater­ies. North of town via High­way 17 in the Santa Cruz Moun­tains is Henry Cow­ell State Park, with its old-growth for­est of Cal­i­for­nia’s soar­ing sig­na­ture trees: red­woods. Nes­tled be­tween the Pa­cific Ocean 11 miles to the west and the Santa Lu­cia Moun­tains just to the east, this cen­tral coast city of 45,000 is lo­cated mid­way be­tween San Fran­cisco and Los An­ge­les. Eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble by train on Am­trak or via U.S. High­way 101 and fa­mously scenic Cal­i­for­nia Route 1, the his­toric core of the city clus­ters around the 1759 Mis­sion San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. This is the place to find restau­rants, cafés and shops. Mu­sic and the­ater pro­duc­tions are mounted on the cam­pus of Cal­i­for­nia Poly­tech­nic In­sti­tute (“Cal Poly’’). Out­doorsy vis­i­tors and lo­cals alike hike and bike the Nine Sis­ters hills. The marine­minded head to the some­times-chilly, foggy coast with their wet­suits for surf­ing, kayak­ing and wind­surf­ing. South of the city is prime ter­ri­tory for win­ery tour­ing and tast­ing: the ex­pan­sive Edna Val­ley wine­pro­duc­ing re­gion.

LONG BEACH: Arts, Aquat­ics & the Queen Mary

A fre­quent stand-in for na­tional and global lo­ca­tions in tele­vi­sion, video and film shoots, Long Beach is very much it­self. Boast­ing 5.5 miles of sandy beaches, the city of 470,000 some 20 miles south­west of down­town Los An­ge­les is home to a ma­jor ocean cargo port and an out­post of air­craft man­u­fac­turer Boe­ing. Since 1967, the 1930s Art Deco ocean liner Queen Mary has been per­ma­nently an­chored there. Now a ho­tel

TE­MEC­ULA CITY HALL FOUN­TAIN, right; the Cal Poly cam­pus and San Luis Obispo from above, bot­tom; West Hol­ly­wood at night, op­po­site.

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