LOS ANGELES – California ensures one of the most spectacular on-the-road experiences in the world for its naturalistic contents, wide landscapes and atmospheres that couldn’t be more glamorous. From the many souls of Los Angeles to the multicultural identities of San Francisco via the mythical coastal highways and national parks, the state on the west coast offers visitors a heterogeneous collection of attractions; many of which are unique to the localities in which they arise.
We discovered them during a long journey aboard the Maserati Levante Trofeo V8: a fascinating high-performance sport utility with the looks and colors of a true supercar. After almost three thousand kilometers travelled, here is our selection of twenty unmissable experiences to live in California.
1. Drive towards the Hollywood sign
Admire Los Angeles from above along Mulholland Drive and Laurel Canyon to the Universal City viewpoint, helps to capture the immensity of the metropolis. Near the Griffith Observatory, the Deronda Drive road leads a few meters from the famous inscription, immortalized in hundreds of films.
2. Visit the pink palace
Founded in 1914 and undisputed temple of Hollywood glamour, The Beverly Hills Hotel (Dorchester Collection) is one of the most sought-after landing places in the metropolis, so much so that in the parking lot of “The Pink Palace”, exotic and ultra-exclusive cars can be admired daily for dozens and dozens of millions of euros.
3. Los Angeles by Night
When the sun sets on the West Coast, the city of angels reserves unique suggestions and by virtue of the low traffic, it will be easier and faster to “roam around” in the less known (but no less fascinating) areas such as Los Feliz, Korea Town, Silver Lake, Beverly Grove, Culver City and Fairfax.
4. West Coast style burger
The trip to California is also defined by the fantastic west coast cheeseburgers (typically composed of a soft roll, patty, cheese, lettuce, tomato). Orginal Tommy’s offers the cheeseburger with added chili. Absolutely unmissable is the In-N-Out Burger chain. Of course, both brands also offer the Drive-through option.
5. Road to Malibu and Santa Barbara
The Pacific Highway – also known as highway 1 – runs parallel to the ocean passing by iconic destinations such as Malibu, Santa Barbara and the “state beaches”. Near Ventura, a forest of palm trees adorns the blue skies of California while the profiles of the Channel Islands take shape on the horizon.
6. The colonial atmosphere of the American Riviera
From the first garrison (town) established by the Spaniards in 1782 to the Old Mission Santa Barbara dating back to 1786, the famous town presents a harmonious alternation of colonial-style buildings, pharaonic villas, a charming promenade and a long wooden jetty from which to appreciate the ocean motion, the long half-moon beach and the extraordinary naturist glance around the locality.
7. A tropical Mediterranean charm
The Santa Ynez mountains to the east and the Channel Islands to the west generate a mild and temperate microclimate; full of colors, plants and scents. In fact, the first hills above Santa Barbara host botanical gardens and wonderful panoramic parks. One of the most striking belongs to the legendary El Encanto hotel; founded in 1918 the memorable residence was taken over by Belmond who further sharpened its appeal.
8. California-style Omakase
From the beginning of the twentieth century onwards, the migrations from the Rising Sun to the West Coast have shaped architecture and gastronomic customs which the passage of time has then completely assimilated by the local culture. The most striking results of the California-Japan mix can be appreciated primarily in the Omakase (places with up to ten seats) of Sushi by Scratch Restaurants or in the coveted kaiseki path (seasonal) of n/naka; two-star restaurant in Los Angeles by celebrity chef Niki Nakayama.
9. Traveling in a V8
Even with rather stringent limits and signage that requires constant attention, the trip to America is better served by a V8 engine like that of the Maserati Levante Trofeo. From the rugged coast to the wine hills to the national parks, the opportunities to appreciate the cavalry and challenge pick-ups, monster trucks and supercars at traffic lights (drag races from 0-50 miles per hour are the order of the day) will certainly not be missing .
10. Sequoia National Park
From the waves to the cliffs to the trees, California is all about big-scale. The giant sequoias in the national park of the same name are no exception. Some are almost two thousand years old and trunks like pillars of a suspension bridge. To visit the winter parks (including Kings Canyon) it is good to know that snow chains are mandatory and can be rented just before entering the Buckeye Tree Lodge and Getaway Restaurant.
11. Discover Yosemite from Chateau du Sureau
The European-style Oakhurst residence and part of the Relais&Chateaux collection organizes guided tours of the national park with Discover Yosemite. The road to reach the entrance is as exciting as the destination itself and at dusk, you lie down among ancient trees and magnificent views of the surrounding megalithic nature.
12. Brushing El Capitan in Yosemite Valley
Those who have seen the film “Free Solo” will have an inkling of how steep and unforgiving the north face of El Capitan is; smooth granite massif symbol of Yosemite which, once you enter the valley, can be admired both walking and passing by by car. color note; 90% of visitors who travel to Yosemite Valley do not get out of the car.
13. Drive over and around the Golden Gate
Symbol of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge is particularly spectacular at sunset. There are many panoramic points in which to appreciate the engineering marvel built in 1933 (Sausalito, Mile Rock Beach, GG View Point) and the views of the ocean and the city from the roads surrounding the suspension bridge ensure further emotions.
14. Chinatown by night
As evidenced by the exhibits of the Asian Art Museum and the largest Chinatown in America, the history of San Francisco is shaped by migratory flows from the East. While not exactly slick, the Chinatown on the edge of Downtown is atmospheric and filled with signature dining destinations like Z&Y Restaurant (Sichuan fare) and trendy Empress by Boon; room on the fifth floor of a building opened by the founder of Hakkasan.
15. Summer of Love
It was 1963 when in the “Panhandle” park, San Francisco hosted an extraordinary concert which was also attended by Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. The years of the Beat Generation, psychedelic experimentation and free love are now distant but even in the era of Big-Tech, the few and colorful streets that make up the Haight-Hashbury district continue to preserve a small part of the spirit, from ‘unforgotten summer of love.
16. Windows on San Francisco
San Francisco’s most coveted neighborhoods are Pacific Heights, Glen Park and the Sea Cliffs but nowhere guarantees the 360-degree elevated city views of the Four Seasons at Embarcadero. The second city property of the Canadian group owned by Bill Gates, it is spread over the top ten floors of a skyscraper in the financial district and consequently, it is the tallest hotel in the city.
17. Monterey e Cannery Row
A classic-car enthusiast and an elegant coastal city ten minutes from Pebble Beach (another mecca for luxury cars), Monterey is about two hours south of San Francisco. The first settlement dates back to the mid-nineteenth century when a canned food factory was opened in the locality (hence the name Cannery Row). The advent of elitist tourism that populates the peninsula today is instead related to the historic inauguration of the Monterey Plaza Hotel; institution of American hospitality supported by stilt houses submerged in the ocean tides.
18. Highway 1’s Big Show
Considered one of the most spectacular roads in the world as well as the most photographed, the stretch of hghw-1 between the Carmel Highlands and Lucia features a legendary driving session. The advice is to follow it in a southerly direction both for the most favorable light and for the drama of a substantially unchanged landscape, as it is a protected park.
19. Pacific North West Architecture
Hidden in forests once inhabited by Native Americans or built on the edge of a ridge overlooking the Pacific, the glass, concrete and reclaimed wood cabins of the Post Ranch Inn are another magical destination on the Pacific Highway. Located in a park where no one else can build and overlooking sunsets of haunting beauty, the farm and ranch has progressively evolved in design and offerings, to become one of the most exclusive places in the nation.
20. Big Sur
Focal point of Highway 1, Big Sur identifies all the geographical area between Carmel-by-the-sea and San Simeon. The road overlooking the ocean seems to incorporate the most beautiful curves from all the circuits in the world and is embraced by a nature as imposing as it is harmonious. At every change of direction, you can see cliff faces, windswept bays, waves crashing into wild beaches and sharp mountain ranges carpeted with redwoods and conifers. The air is pure, the light dazzling. Big Sur is a blow to the heart whose beauty – which is rare – will surpass the boundless fame that precedes it.