Best Tourist Attractions in California (III)

Tag: San Francisco

Best Tourist Attractions in California (III)

Best Tourist Attractions in California: Apple Company Store – Visit the Mothership


Located inside Apple's headquarters, this unique geek boutique sells souvenir T-shirts, baby onesies, accessories and hats, all emblazoned with our favorite half-bitten apple.


Unlike most Apple retail outlets, the store is only open weekdays and it doesn't sell computers. Still, it's a must-see for the true Mac fan.



Best Tourist Attractions in California: Aquarium of the Bay – Explore the depths of the sea


A family trip to Pier 39 in San Francisco wouldn't be complete without stopping at this 65,000-square-foot oceanfront aquarium. It's home to more than 20,000 sea creatures — including the native sevengill shark, which cruises the nearby bay. Watch these massive predators devour their lunch at 11:30 a.m. Sundays and Thursdays, then explore the aquarium's floor-to-ceiling tunnels filled with schools of anchovies, bat rays, skates and giant sea bass. 


In the "Touch the Bay" exhibit, you can lightly pat leopard sharks, bat rays and tide pool creatures such as sea stars and sea cucumbers.


Tip: Buy the Bay Cruise package ($37 adults; $22 kids 5-11) and you can visit the aquarium and join a 1-hour tour around Alcatraz and San Francisco Bay.



Best Tourist Attractions in California: Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World – Shopping for the manly man (or woman)


This ginormous 180,000-square-foot store, dedicated to the great outdoors, sells everything under the sun — from full-size Tracker boats to fire arms and kayaks.


Inside the massive "log cabin," you'll find giant freshwater and saltwater aquariums, an indoor trout stream, Nascar simulator, shooting range and target casting. Several events are offered throughout the year, from archery classes to hunting/fishing workshops and family summer camps. Fish feedings take place at noon every Saturday.


While you're here, enjoy lunch at the Islamorada Fish Company, where you can dine on wild game and seafood alongside a 13,000-gallon saltwater tank. Menu items include hickory smoked rotisserie chicken, venison stuffed mushrooms and hand-breaded alligator. We prefer the Islamorada Sandwich, made with grilled mahi mahi, sauteed onions and American cheese.


Tip: An additional store is located in Manteca at 1356 Bass Pro Drive, Manteca, CA 95337.


Best Tourist Attractions in California (II)

Best Tourists Attractions in California: Alcatraz – Spend a day on The Rock


Gangsters like Al Capone, George “Machine Gun Kelly” and Robert Stroud were among the infamous residents at this San Francisco prison, which operated between 1934 and 1962. 


Several ferries depart from Fisherman's Wharf daily to Alcatraz Island. Alcatraz Cruises (the official ticket source) leaves from Pier 33. After a 10-minute ride, you'll arrive on the island, where you can pick up their highly regarded cell house audio tour and begin exploring. 


Plan on at least 3 hours for touring the island and cell house, which averaged roughly 275 prisoners at a time. During its operation, 36 men attempted to escape from Alcatraz. The most famous escape was in 1962 when John and Clarence Anglin, along with Frank Morris, created plaster dummies and fake vent coverings to fool the guards. 


Best Tourists Attractions in California: Alcatraz – Tips


If you want to avoid the crowds, book the Early Bird Tour, which departs Pier 33 at 9 a.m. The spooky night tour leaves at 4:20 p.m. Be sure to buy your tickets at least two weeks and up to 90 days in advance. They are rarely available the same day. For discounted fares, consider buying a San Francisco CityPass. Blue and Gold Fleet offers an "Escape from the Rock" tour which circles the island.



Best Tourist Attractions in California: Angels Flight – Shortest railway in the world


Dating back to 1901, these black-and-orange funicular railway cars were the darlings of LA's stylish Bunker Hill. Closed in 1969, the Beaux-Arts style cars were relocated and opened again in 1996, connecting Hill Street to the California Plaza Watercourt. Today, you can ride all 298 feet for just a quarter.