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What’s New in California’s Most Iconic Destinations

From Michelin-starred dining to stylish spas and beyond, here are some of the best new attractions throughout beloved areas of the Golden State.

A woman laying in a super bloom of golden California poppies in Antelope Valley

The super bloom in Antelope Valley

Photo by Amanda Friedman

Incredible new thrills await visitors to California this year. From Northern California down to The OC, travelers are in for exciting new ways to explore the great outdoors, please their palate, care for themselves, and entertain the family. Below find some of the new star attractions and be sure to check out the comprehensive new guidebook Extraordinary California: The Ultimate Luxury Travel Planning Guide for more ideas and trip inspiration.

Outdoor adventures and fine dining in Northern California

A panoramic view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Presedio Tunnel.

Presidio Tunnel Tops offers fantastic panoramas of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Courtesy of Presidio Trust

There’s never been a better time to get into the great outdoors in North Lake Tahoe. West of the lake, Olympic Valley lies at the base of the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, where Palisades Tahoe is known for world-class activities year-round. In winter, more than 177 ski runs operate. Throughout all seasons, the recently opened base-to-base gondola connects Palisades to Alpine, the companion resort area over the mountain.

New or repeat visitors to San Francisco are in for a treat, too. From new green spaces to top-tier art, the charms of the city by the bay—perpetually among the 10 most desirable places to visit the world over—just keep proliferating. Don’t miss Presidio Tunnel Tops park, which announced in July 2023 that it will expand further after already extending the Golden Gate National Recreation Area by 14 acres. It transformed what was once an open roadway into dense gardens and public spaces with broad vistas—with stellar views of the jewel of San Francisco, the mighty Golden Gate Bridge. Panoramas sweep from Alcatraz to the open Pacific and innovative food trucks sell picnic lunches.

A little further down the coast in Carmel-by-the-Sea, savor fine coastal California dining at the newly Michelin-starred Chez Noir, located along the town’s gracious avenues. Seafood lovers should reserve well in advance for the four-course meal of their dreams crafted from local ingredients sourced throughout the Monterey Peninsula.

Blockbuster attractions and retail therapy in LA

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum

Courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences/Iwan Baan

Los Angeles is one of the most dynamic travel destinations in the world. For starters, among its myriad pleasures, what can compare to Hollywood? The latest blockbuster attraction in town is the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which celebrates all things cinematic, whether the latest big-budget franchise or notable art-house films. Reserve admission tickets far in advance as it’s the place everyone wants to go.

Serious shoppers are in for thrills here this year too, as top fashion houses are fueling a hot new shopping trend in the city: landmark stores with appointment-only showings of their collections. The Gucci Salon on iconic Melrose Place is among the many other boutiques to peruse. You’ll also want to check for the latest location of Louis Vuitton’s exclusive pop-up showroom, which is usually found at an unmarked Bel Air estate.

Spa time and family fun in Palm Springs and Anaheim

A woman in a pool flanked by rocks and a waterfall at The Spa at Séc-he in Palm Springs.

Leave your cares behind when you enter The Spa at Séc-he in Palm Springs.

Courtesy of The Spa at Séc-he

Head out to the desert for some deep relaxation and rejuvenation at Palm Springs’ latest wellness oasis, The Spa at Séc-he, which features a range of treatments and therapies including massages, facials, scrubs, wraps, couples retreats, and salon services in a variety of baths and saunas, gardens, and other spaces.

Traveling with the kids—or just a kid at heart? May the force be with you at Disneyland in Anaheim, the international star of The OC for more than six decades, which recently unveiled its latest sensation, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Fly the Millennium Falcon on an interactive smuggling mission, build your own custom lightsaber, and drop by Olga’s Cantina for curious concoctions. That galaxy far, far away is closer than ever now—and you’ll only find it in California.

Discover more of the distinctive California experiences that make for an epic trip in Extraordinary California.

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