We occupy the spot on the map that John Steinbeck called home and where Steve Jobs gave birth to Apple. Northern Californians boast of their Mediterranean climate and the ability to ski the slopes of the Sierra Mountains and surf the Pacific Ocean all in the same day, but there are more reasons to love the northern half of the Golden State than you might think.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. The Golden Gate Bridge
The beauty queen of the Bay, she can be seen in lots of movies - but only a few of us can brag about walking across her.
2. San Francisco Cable Cars
Iconic to San Francisco, there were 600 used in the city before the great earthquake of 1906. There are still over 40 in operation today, and no better way to see this gorgeous city, so hop on!
3. Heavenly Ski Resort
Over 360 inches of snow fall on the mountain at Heavenly Ski resort each year. More than enough powder to get your skiing and snowboarding fix.
4. The Redwood National Forest
A Sequoia redwood tree has a lifespan of over 2,000 years. This giant of the forest can grow up to 250 feet tall and 30 feet in diameter. You know you’re impressed.
5. In N’ Out Burger
Need I say more?
Bet you haven’t heard of this one! It’s the tiny Northern California town where John Marshall discovered gold, where you can camp along the American River and still pan for some yourself.
7. Sourdough Bread
An undeniable San Francisco classic! The forty-niners relied heavily on it during the gold rush days, and legend has it that Columbus brought the original sourdough starter over on his voyage to America.
Whether you hike its glorious trails or prove your youthful agility by climbing Half Dome, the misty waterfalls and granite faced peaks will leave you breathless.
9. Santa Cruz
If surfing a wave isn’t your cup of tea, walk along the beach or take your family on the oldest wooden roller coaster in the world. There’s no wrong choice.
10. Napa Wine
Step into luxury and enjoy a glass of your favorite chardonnay while winding through the Napa Valley countryside. Who needs France, anyway?
11. Monterey Bay Aquarium
Found where a sardine factory once stood, the famous aquarium is nestled at the base of Monterey Bay. Salt water is pumped into this miraculous water-zoo where kids love their 40-foot touching pool where they can spend hours touching and feeling live sea stars, abalones, kelp crabs and more.
12. Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival
The second weekend in October, this is the destination for more than 20,000 people each year. Last year’s “great pumpkin” was over 1200 pounds. Charlie Brown would be impressed.
13. It’s the birthplace of Snoopy
Speaking of Charlie Brown, did you know he and Snoopy were raised in Santa Rosa? Yep, they sure were! Their creator, Charles Schulz, may be gone, but he made sure you could visit his beloved Peanuts at their museum daily.
14. Our Tiny Historic Towns are Stunning
Northern California is peppered with tiny towns that boast big historical appreciation. You have to know a local to find the best ones, though! Our favorite? The City of Ferndale.
15. We know how to deal with earthquakes!
No reason to be afraid - we’re not! Northern Californians will take a little ground-shaking over being sucked up by a tornado any day. We’re pretty sure Dorothy would agree.
16. Fanatical Football Fans
Rumor has it the strongest Northern California families have been known to be divided during football season. But we don’t believe it.
17. Lake Tahoe
With a shoreline of 72 miles, this Northern California fresh water oasis is deep enough to hold 39 trillion gallons of water. If you tipped it over the whole of California, the state would be covered in 14.5 inches of water. Got flood insurance?
18. Ano Nuevo
Hike into the habitat of the elephant seal and stand within mere feet of these gentle giants. Watch mama seals nurse their pups and males fight over females. Pretty much your average day at the park.
19. San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts
This architectural masterpiece is the perfect spot for a family photo or marriage proposal. (That’s a hint, men.) Built to house the first ever World’s Fair in 1915, it was the City by the Bay’s way of showing the world they’d risen from the ashes of the 1906 earthquake. Well played, San Francisco.
Home of the state capitol, this California river city is home to 35,000 businesses. Environmentally friendly and health conscious, Sacramento hosts 50 farmers markets. Their produce is grown and sent all over the country. Take that, Florida!
Of course, you can still choose to like one of those other much smaller, less shaky and less weather-friendly states, but there are millions of people in Northern California who would disagree. Why do YOU love Northern California?