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10 things to do in Southern California10 things to do in Southern California

Chino Airport is one of general aviation’s gateways to Southern California. If you’re thinking about attending AOPA’s Chino Fly-In on Sept. 20, why not add a day or two and take in some of the area’s sights? From amusement parks to museums and from Hollywood landmarks to an observatory, SoCal has it all.

1. Disneyland Resort in Anaheim is home to the Disneyland theme park, Disney California Adventure Park, and Downtown Disney, an outdoor dining and entertainment complex. Disneyland Park, Walt Disney’s original theme park, opened in 1955 and is where the Magic Kingdom got its magic. Combined, these facilities offer more than 85 attractions.

Chinese Garden at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Copyright The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

2. The Getty Center, one of the Los Angeles area’s top museums, impresses with its architecture before you even step inside. Works by Rembrandt, van Gogh, and others are on display; exhibitions change periodically. Visitors ride to the mountaintop museum aboard a hovertrain funicular.

3. Hollywood Boulevard, located in Hollywood (of all places), is the location of TCL Chinese Theatre—formerly Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, with cast footprints and handprints of many movie stars in its entryway. The Hollywood Walk of Fame comprises more than 2,500 terrazzo and brass stars embedded in area sidewalks. The Dolby Theatre hosts the annual Academy Awards ceremony.

4. Catalina Island is off the Southern California coast, 52 nautical miles southwest of Chino—and has an airport. Home to a number of boutique hotels and resorts, it features hiking trails, golf, and zip lining, as well as snorkeling and scuba diving. It’s a favorite escape for area pilots.

5. The Petersen Automotive Museum, on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, showcases the automobile and its impact on American life and culture. More than 300,000 square feet of exhibits cover four floors. At any given time, more than 150 rare and classic vehicles are on display; take a guided tour of the Vault to see more of the collection.

6. The Huntington Library, or just The Huntington, is located in San Marino. Scholars rely on its collection of rare books and manuscripts on British and American history and literature; other rare materials are displayed for the public. There’s also an extensive art collection and 120 acres of botanical gardens, with Chinese, Japanese, and desert themes.

7. Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park is Orange County’s other theme park. The park is extremely family friendly, and prides itself on modest ticket prices. Among its many other attractions, Knott’s Berry Farm has nine roller coasters, and it also offers plenty of rides for younger visitors.

8. The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach is Southern California’s largest aquarium, displaying more than 11,000 animals in some 50 exhibits that represent the diversity of the Pacific Ocean. Daily shows address such topics as sea-level rise and marine ecosystems. The aquarium is a community gathering place that celebrates the arts and diverse cultures.

9. The Griffith Park Observatory on Mount Hollywood in Los Angeles offers priceless views of Hollywood, the iconic Hollywood sign, and Los Angeles. Inside the recently restored building are three levels of state-of-the art, hands-on exhibits and displays. Admission is free! Visit late in the day for a spectacular twilight view of the city.

10. The Santa Monica Pier, at the foot of Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica, dates to 1909. The historic structure features numerous carnival rides, including a towering Ferris wheel and a vintage 1922 carousel, as well as restaurants, snack carts, and arcades. The Santa Monica Pier roller coaster offers stunning, 360-degree ocean vistas.

Stroll the inner courtyard of the Getty Center.
Mike Collins

Mike Collins

Technical Editor
Mike Collins has worked for AOPA’s media network since 1994. He holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating.
Topics: Vintage, Travel, AOPA Events

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