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California has long been known as one of the most popular travel destinations in the U.S.  With beautiful beaches, warm weather and some of the most amazing sightseeing spots in the country, there are countless things that make the Golden State such a highly sought-after place to visit.  I personally make it a point to carve out some time each year and take a roadtrip to many of these great California cities.  If you’re planning a road trip out West this summer, here are 5 of the best California cities to visit.

Joshua Tree, CA

While Joshua Tree isn’t exactly a city (the quaint area is home to approximately 7,000 people), it has all the charms of a city ten times its size.  Nestled in the middle of the Mojave Desert, Joshua Tree is the perfect destination for anyone looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles city life.  The area is also home to the Joshua Tree National Park, which is a big draw for tourists looking to explore the outdoors.  Joshua Tree has also become a popular road trip stop, as the area boasts some unique attractions, like the World Famous Crochet Museum and the Hicksville Trailer Palace.  Joshua Tree was by far one of the coolest places i’ve ever visited, and I recommend making it a point to visit on your trip out West.

San Francisco, CA

There’s a reason San Francisco has been the subject of some of the greatest songs of our time.  Scott McKenzie, Tony Bennett, and even the Arctic Monkeys have all penned songs about the iconic city, and San Fran continues to attract artists and free spirits of all kinds.  Although the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the city’s most famous points of interest, there are tons of other fun and exciting things to do in San Francisco.  Whenever i’m in San Francisco, one of my favorite things to do is hang out in Crissy Field and watch all the cars driving over the bridge.  Crissy Field is a beautiful place to sightsee, and there are always plenty of friendly dogs to pet.  If you visit, be sure to check out the city’s historic Chinatown area, as well as Ghirardelli Square and the Aquarium of the Bay.

Fresno, CA

Fresno is one of those cities that often gets overlooked by people visiting California, but the city is actually home to some of the most interesting attractions in the state.  One huge draw for tourists is the city’s close proximity to Yosemite National Park, which is only a short drive away.  I had the chance to visit Yosemite a few years ago and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.  The feeling of standing underneath the Giant Sequoia trees is something that can’t be described.  Fresno real estate is also relatively more affordable than homes in other parts of the state, and many people who visit end up staying after experiencing all of the city’s charms.

Palm Springs, CA

Palm Springs is probably one of my favorite places on this earth.  In recent years, Palm Springs has gained a reputatin for being less of a retirement haven and more of a hipster paradise, due to the city’s close proximity to Indio (aka Coachella).  If the music festival vibe doesn’t appeal to you, there are countless other things to do in the area.  One of Palm Springs’ biggest appeals is the city’s unique Mid-Century Modern architecture, and many A-list celebrities have been known to purchase vacation homes in the area.  Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Steve McQueen, and countless other celebrities all once owned homes in Palm Springs, and most of these homes are still standing to this day.  If you decide to visit, be sure to check out one of the area’s unique motels, something the city is known for.

Eureka, CA

For those looking to head North, look no further than Eureka.  While underrated, Eureka is one of the coolest cities in California, and truly has something for everyone.  I visited Eureka on a roadtrip through California, and I instantly fell in love with the city.  The downtown area is quirky and quaint, and there’s plenty to do any night of the week.  The city is full of old Victorian homes, and there are historic structures on nearly every street.  The Carson Mansion is one of the city’s most popular attractions, as the building is known as the most grand Victorian home in America.  Eureka is also home to the Sequoia Park Zoo, as well as the Clarke Historical Museum and the Redwood Discovery Museum.

Honorary Mentions

Cities that didn’t make the top 5 list but still deserve some recognition include:

  • San Diego
  • Sacramento
  • Venice
  • Anaheim
  • Laguna Beach


Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, who designed some of the 20th Century’s most famous modernist buildings, has died just before his 105th birthday.

Oscar Niemeyer rose to international fame as the architect of the main government buildings in the futuristic Brazilian capital, Brasilia, inaugurated in 1960.

He also worked with Swiss-born modernist architect Le Corbusier on the UN building in New York.

He continued to work on new projects until earlier this year.

Oscar Niemeyer died on Wednesday at a hospital in Rio de Janeiro.

A memorial service will be held in the presidential palace in Brasilia on Thursday.

Oscar Niemeyer’s family was informed of the honor in a phone call from President Dilma Rousseff.

“Brazil has lost today one of its geniuses, It is a day to lament his death. It is a day to acclaim his life.”

Rio de Janeiro’s Mayor Eduardo Paes has declared three days of mourning in Oscar Niemeyer’s home city.

It is thought he will be buried there on Friday.

Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, who designed some of the 20th Century's most famous modernist buildings, has died just before his 105th birthday

Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, who designed some of the 20th Century’s most famous modernist buildings, has died just before his 105th birthday

Oscar Niemeyer started his career in the 1930s, when Brazil was still copying neoclassical European architecture and designing ornate palace-like buildings.

His bold futuristic designs in Brasilia made the new capital a dramatic statement of confidence in the future of Brazil, and an icon of modern architecture.

A student of Le Corbusier, he developed a distinctive style defined by stark concrete and sweeping curves.

He famously once said the stylized swoops in his buildings were inspired by the curves of Brazilian women.

“When you have a large space to conquer, the curve is the natural solution,” he said.

“I once wrote a poem about the curve. The curve I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuousness of its rivers, in the waves of the ocean and on the body of the beloved woman.”

A firm communist – and a personal friend of Cuban leader Fidel Castro – Oscar Niemeyer fled the country during Brazil’s military dictatorship and forged an international career while in exile in France.

In 1988, Oscar Niemeyer was awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize.

His style was not to everyone’s taste, and for a communist some people say his work was not very people-friendly – focusing more on the architecture’s form than on its inhabitants or functionality.

Oscar Niemeyer went on to create more than 600 buildings around the world. His legacy endures in museums, monuments, schools and churches in Brazil and beyond.

Many of the designs were initially sketched on a table overlooking his beloved Rio de Janeiro and its famous Copacabana beach, replete with the women, waves and hills from which he drew such inspiration.

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