Bring an extra suitcase-or two-for all the California tourist gifts you will buy. With such a diverse personality, each area has something new to offer in terms of gifts and attractions. The Bay Area will be the most European of them all, while San Diego has the Mexican flair. Los Angeles has the movie scene, while the OC- is beaches, sun and fun. See them all and load up the gifts to remember the good times you had in California.
The Bay Area
Grab a cable car down to the Ghiradelli Square and meander through the artisan displays of glass boxes, beaded jewelry and San Franciscan prints on your way to buy some chocolates. Head to the wharf and pop into the many shops dotting the street to find Golden Gate crystal figurines. cable car wooden replicas, and ornaments, music boxes or gold charms of both. Take pictures of Alcatraz to add to the sweatshirt you bought and grab some infamous seafood chowder with sour dough bread for lunch. Cable back to Chinatown for fans, linens. herbs, and jewelry, such as strands of pearls, Chinese gold charms and semi-precious stones set in rings or pendants.
Hit Rodeo Drive and shop till you drop. Go to Universal Studios and bring back movie paraphernalia. Stop at Venice Beach for some funky sunglasses and beach gear, while you grab some free tickets to a show where you can get an autographed script or a picture of the cast. Walk in the stars footsteps on Hollywood and Vine and buy photographs of your favorite stars. Dash into Olvera Street for some authentic Mexican pottery. Or visit the worlds champion Lakers stadium-Staple Center- for t-shirt and cap.
Experience Disneyland as you buy the mouse for children. Choose from the many Disney characters on clothing, school supplies, dolls, toys or stuffed animals. Hit Knottsberry Farm for some homemade jelly and jams. Drive Pacific Coast Highway to Huntington Beach for surfer gear as you head down to Newport Beach to purchase fine art and sculptures.
San Diego is the jump off point for Tijuana, Mexico. Trolley to the Mexican border and walk into Mexico. Bargain for a leather coat or purse, haggle for an onyx chess or backgammon set or take your picture on a donkey wearing a sombrero blazing Mexico across the front..
Return to San Diego for some fun in the sun where you can pick up some beach towels and visors. Visit the San Diego zoo for a small stuffed panda, or skip over to Sea World for a stuffed Shamu.