A Food Lover’s Guide to Visiting California

California is a dream destination for food lovers. As a native Californian, I am excited to share info and the best finds in my all-time favorite state!

California has a fascinating history and vibrant, diverse culture, which has greatly impacted its food and given it a unique combination of flavors.

The region even has its own unique style — Cal-Mex— that blends traditional Mexican ingredients with local fresh, healthy Californian produce like avocados, tomatoes, and lettuce.

Northern California

Have you heard about the Northern vs. Southern California dispute the locals have? 

Well,…. Shhhhhh… I am from northern California, so it’s my fave.

The region stretches from San Francisco in the south up to the Oregon border in the north. 

First, Northern California offers some of the most spectacular outdoor activities in the country. From hiking in Yosemite National Park to cycling along Napa Valley’s picturesque vineyards, you’ll find plenty of ways to explore this region’s incredible landscape.

Northern California also boasts some vibrant cities like San Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento, offering unique cultural experiences for those who venture there.

As far as landscape goes, you really can find it all here.  Snow-capped mountains?  Check.  Rolling Hills?  Check.  Lush vineyards?  Check.   Redwood Forests?  Check.  Pristine Beaches? Check.  

San Francisco

San Francisco is one of California’s most iconic cities. 

Having lived here during one of the best times of my life (College!), I’ve got A LOT to say about this fabulous city. 

A weekend trip to San Francisco.
Go Giants!

San Francisco’s neighborhoods

Within this bustling city lies a melting pot of unique neighborhoods that offer something for everyone.

Each neighborhood has its own distinct personality, from the historic Italian North Beach to the colorful Victorian architecture of Haight-Ashbury. Whether you want to discover trendy restaurants, explore a vibrant nightlife scene or simply soak up some sunshine in one of San Francisco’s many parks, there’s no shortage of fun things to do and places to see here.

The city has a great nightlife scene. 

Articles:

Top Dive Bars in San Francisco

Must Visit Cocktail Bars of San Francisco

North Beach is one of my favorite San Francisco neighborhoods to eat and drink.

A Guide to Exploring Food + Drinks In San Francisco’s North Beach

A Guide to Exploring San Francisco’s Chinatown

Napa Valley

World-famous wine-lovers paradise Napa Valley is just a short drive from San Francisco.

If you want to visit both Napa Valley and San Francisco, consider a food/wine tour of both regions, like this one. Note that this does NOT include the testing fees.

This gorgeous region is home to some of the world’s finest wineries, where you can taste delicious wines while surrounded by stunning vineyard landscapes. IIt’s also been rated one of the top foodie places by xxxxx

Sacramento

Oldtown Sacramento

I moved to the area about 20 years ago, and I admit that moving from the San Francisco Bay Area to Sacramento at the time was a bit of a downgrade when it came to diverse, high-quality food options.

A lot has changed.

Sacramento, the nation’s Farm to Fork Capital.

Sacramento, the “Farm to Fork Capital,” has undergone a culinary renaissance in recent years. From a humble beginning, it has emerged as a destination for high-quality, diverse food options. Explore the city’s vibrant coffee culture, indulge in international cuisine, and savor the farm-fresh flavors that have made Sacramento a foodie’s paradise.

Ming Dynasty in Sacramento

Coffee Spots in Sacramento

Gold Country

Murphys

cute downtown Murphys, complete with adorable cruiser bike 🙂

Murphy’s is a super cute, historic Gold Rush town located in the Sierra Nevada foothills. It’s a small, close-knit, friendly community with a vibrant downtown. It’s a hidden gem for wine lovers.

I know this, because we recently purchased a house there.

Murphys Historic Hotel & Restaurant

Grounds

Arguably the most popular restaurant in Murphys, Grounds

V Bistro, Restaurant, and Bar

One of my favorites in Murphys. It’s very friendly, and the food is so fresh and delicious. They serve lunch and dinner, with fine dining dinner available Thursday-Sunday starting at 5pm. It’s a fairly small place, so make reservations if you’re going for dinner on a weekend. Or, sit at their bar while sipping on one of their handcrafted cocktails.

JoMa’s Artisan Ice Cream

For dessert, stop by the popular JoMa’s Artisan Ice Cream. Their small-batch ice creams are truly delicious, with and their sorbets have unique flavor combinations that make them mouth-watering, even for the most sophisticated adult palate.

Southern California

Disneyland≈

Southern California is one of the most popular destinations in the United States and probably what most people think of when they think of Calfornia.  

With its sunny beaches, iconic landmarks and year-round mild climate, is one of the most popular destinations in the United States. It’s home some of the most iconic cities in the world, like Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Barbara, as well as other smaller towns. From outdoor activities like hiking and surfing to cultural attractions like museums and galleries, Southern California has something for everyone.

The area is known for its laidback lifestyle – you can feel the relaxed vibe everywhere. For some fun in the sun head to one of SoCal’s many beaches or take a drive up the Pacific Coast Highway to enjoy an incredible ocean view. For an adrenaline rush, try out extreme sports like skydiving or snowboarding at Big Bear Mountain Resort!

Southern California is known for its dry climate and year-round sunshine. 

Tourists flock here to visit theme parks such as Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood and Legoland; experience Hollywood glamour; or take part in outdoor activities such as surfing and hiking. 

Disneyland

San Diego

Seaport Village San Diego

Central California

Central California is less talked about when it comes from a tourist perspective.  However, it too has changed. I have been surprised at the changes that have happened in this area over the years.

an area of natural beauty and is known for its diverse landscapes. From the rolling hills in the Central Valley to the mountain ranges, there’s something here for everyone. The region also accommodates a variety of climates and activities, making it a great place to live or visit. 

Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure or some leisurely time in nature, Central California has plenty to offer. From San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge to Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park, hikers can explore miles of trails from the coast to mountains. For those who prefer sunny days with mild temperatures, this region provides just that along with many beaches perfect for sunbathing or taking long walks on the shoreline. 

Central California also offers a variety of cultural attractions, including museums and galleries showcasing local artwork as well as wineries that host tastings and tours.

Modesto:

Southern California

DisneylandSeaport Village | San Diego

Southern California is one of the most popular destinations in the United States and probably what most people think of when they think of Calfornia.  

It too , with its sunny beaches, iconic landmarks and year-round mild climate, is one of the most popular destinations in the United States. It’s home to the world-famous cities of Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Barbara as well as other smaller towns. From outdoor activities like hiking and surfing to cultural attractions like museums and galleries, Southern California has something for everyone.

The area is known for its laidback lifestyle – from Venice Beach to Malibu, you can feel the relaxed vibe everywhere. For some fun in the sun head to one of SoCal’s many beaches or take a drive up the Pacific Coast Highway to enjoy an incredible ocean view. For an adrenaline rush, try out extreme sports like skydiving or snowboarding at Big Bear Mountain Resort!

Southern California is known for its dry climate and year-round sunshine. 

It’s home to some of the most iconic cities in the world, including Los Angeles, San Diego, and Anaheim. 

Tourists flock here to visit theme parks such as Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood and Legoland; experience Hollywood glamour; or take part in outdoor activities such as surfing and hiking. 

Central California

Central California is less talked about when it comes from a tourist perspective.  However, 

an area of natural beauty and is known for its diverse landscapes. From the rolling hills in the Central Valley to the mountain ranges, there’s something here for everyone. The region also accommodates a variety of climates and activities, making it a great place to live or visit. 

Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure or some leisurely time in nature, Central California has plenty to offer. From San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge to Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park, hikers can explore miles of trails from the coast to mountains. For those who prefer sunny days with mild temperatures, this region provides just that along with many beaches perfect for sunbathing or taking long walks on the shoreline. 

Central California also offers a variety of cultural attractions including museums and galleries showcasing local artwork as well as wineries that host tastings and tours.

Author

  • I am a mom of 2 who travels a lot for work (I work in the event/conference/tradeshow industry). I grew up  and currently live in Northern California.