What do you first think of, when you think of Northern California? San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, maybe Napa or Sonoma? That’s the Northern California we all know. The cities in Northern California are the perfect destination for travelers looking for beautiful scenery, incredible food and not-so-typical attractions. If you’re planning a trip to Northern California, make the most of your visit and add these popular destinations to your itinerary. These top 10 cities in Northern California provide some of the most spectacular vistas over the ocean.
Best Cities to Visit in Northern California
1. San Francisco, California
Those who plan to visit California should definitely add San Francisco in their travel itinerary. This one of the best cities to visit in northern California is known for its iconic landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge that you see almost in every American’s Instagram feed. Also referred to simply as SF, this city will enchant you with its towering buildings, sparkling city lights, vibrant night scene, art that comes to life in its museums and galleries, and a lot of tourist attractions. Also, featuring upscale restaurants and chic cafes, San Francisco will take you on a palatable gastronomic adventure that you will never forget. For your guidance, you might want to check out this half-day city tour for a more convenient adventure.
2. Palo Alto
Linked to the Silicon Valley, Palo Alto is a charming city in Northern California that boasts an abundance of parklands and recreational areas. It showcases a city with a perfect balance of the 21st-century lifestyle and nature. An ideal place to build a family, Palo Alto has excellent schools, a number of fascinating museums, thriving businesses, and delightful local restaurants. If you’re into shopping and dining, downtown Palo Alto has everything you need from retail stores to eateries, salons, cinema, and other attractions. Also, if you like outdoor activities, you can go on a hike through the scenic routes in Bayland Nature Preserve.
Located in Sacramento County, Folsom is another charming little city in Northern California. Home to the Folsom Lake, lots of people in California go to this side of the state for some quality bonding time with their loved ones. During the summer, the lake becomes really crowded, and lots of people set up a picnic, swim in the lake and bask in the warmth of the sun all day long. During the winter, the lake turns into a majestic ice skating rink that attracts families for a quick sliding and gliding adventure. If you are planning to visit Folsom with your family any time soon, be sure to take them to the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary and watch your kids have the best time of their lives.
A charmer all-year-round, Monterey is a captivating city in California. This best city in Northern California features a rugged coastline where colorful wooden houses dwell in. Ideal for swimming, diving, and other water activities, Monterey is popular for beachgoers and tourists who want some relaxing time with nature. Also, because of its coastal topography, seafood is fresh and delicious on this side of California. You can find a plethora of local restaurants that serve various seafood dishes that will leave you piling plates and plates of finish dishes. For a complete Monterey vacation experience, stroll along the Cannery Row, where you can dine, try local pubs, and shop for souvenir items while enjoying the views, Also, swing by Monterey Bay Aquarium and be mesmerized by the underwater world
Nesting on the eastern edge of San Francisco Bay Berkeley is a beautiful city in Northern California with a dramatic cityscape. Here, you’ll find the prestigious Berkeley University that has produced prominent politicians and other successful people in different fields. Also, here is where the Free Speech Movement in 1960 originated. If you plan to visit the university, climb the Campanile and marvel at the panoramic views of the area. If its festivals, concerts, and other important events you’re after, these social celebrations are usually held in Hearst Greek Theatre. Also, Berkeley has a plethora of museums, art galleries, and science halls that everyone should visit.
Another breathtaking paradise found is Redding. This popular city in Northern California showcases a gorgeous natural landscape that enchants nature lovers and adventure-seekers everywhere. Its abundance of parkland is what makes it an ideal hideaway vacation destination for people who want to reconnect with nature and make lasting memories with their loved ones, in a tranquil setting with breathtaking views and the cool breeze of the countryside. While in Redding, be sure to drop by Turtle Bay Exploration Park and learn about natural history, and explore a stunning botanical garden. Also, ideal for road trips, drive through Sundial Bridge and see the beauty of this side of Redding.
A gorgeous port city that is worth a visit, Eureka is home to breathtaking beaches, excellent seafood restaurants, scenic promenades, charming century architectures, and more. This famous city in Northern California has a quintessential charm that attracts tourists from all over the country. In the heart of the city, lies Old Town Eureka. Breeze through that district and marvel at the beauty of the historic Carson Mansion and other Victorian houses that are scattered across the area. Also, you’ll find the Sequoia Park Zoo in Eureka – an attraction that is popular to tourists families, especially the kids
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8. Oakland, California
Nestled on the eastern end of San Francisco Bay, Oakland is an upscale city that is characterized by its skyscraping buildings, upscale attractions, and its dramatic cityscape. Just like Sacramento, aside from its technologically-advanced facade, lies an area that holds the cities history – the Old Oakland. After trying out uptown Oakland’s’ luxurious offerings, you might want to explore the Old Oakland side of the city where you will be mesmerized by fascinating Victorian structures. Additionally, this top city in Northern California has a bustling Chinatown that is worth a visit if you have Chinese ancestry or someone who has developed an acquired taste for Chinese food. Oakland is definitely a city for everyone.
If your main goal in Northern California is to reconnect with nature and have your much-deserved vacation away from the noise and pollution of the concrete jungle, Mendocino is a town that you should visit. Its breathtaking beaches and cliffside trails attract nature lovers and adventure-seekers all over the country. Imagine swimming in pristine beaches, basking in the warmth of the sun until you achieve your desired tan, and building sandcastles as you take in the freshest air in the US. These are life’s simple pleasures that await you in this important city in northern California. Plus, because of its coastal topography, here, you can gorge on the most sumptuous and fresh seafood dishes that will surely melt your heart.
Known for its thriving wine industry, Sonoma is one of the best cities to visit in Northern California city that is characterized by its stunning rolling plains, vast agricultural lands, and picturesque scenic views. It is like a setting for a romantic novel that took place in a charming countryside town. Not only that, but it has a rich cultural heritage and a vibrant art scene. Museums and art galleries across town are testaments to that. When you visit the plaza, you will be wowed by the 19th-century structures that nest in it. While there, you might want to shop for souvenir items, try local restaurants, have as many bottles or glasses of wine as you like, and make friends with locals.
Make the most of your Northern California adventure by swinging by the stunning city of Roseville. Situated in Placer County and acknowledge as the biggest city in northern California, Roseville has a plethora of offerings for its visitors. Nature lovers and beachgoers can spend most of their time in the city swimming and basking in the warmth of the sun in Folsom Lake. There, they can also go on a fishing adventure, camp under the starry skies, and hike through scenic routes. For leisure activities, Roseville Golfland Sunsplash is an ideal place to go to for some golfing, dining, and relaxing.
A stunning city in northern California with a tranquil countryside vibe and lovely attractions, Vacaville is a fabulous place to spend a vacation in. Away from the noise and pollution of the routine city life, Vacaville has a fair share of natural wonders that will provide you with the relaxing vacation experience that you long for. Swim in the Lagoon Valley Park or take your furry best friend there for an off-leash adventure. If you’re with kids, spend some quality time with them at Andrews Park or Peña Adobe Regional Park, and make lasting memories.
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Need more suggestions for your Northern California escapade? Why not swing by Clovis and discover its charm. Situated in Fresno County, this most beautiful city in northern California is known for its rich agricultural lands and abundance of natural parks. Ideal for campers and hikers, its proximity to Sierra Nevada Mountain ranges gives tourists a paradise where they can do outdoor activities and nature adventures. In the heart of the city, you can find excellent restaurants, laid back bars, chic cafes, retail stores, souvenir shops, salons, and other recreational areas.
14. San Ramon
Discover the beauty and charm of Costa County by exploring the gorgeous city of San Ramon. For people who are taking refuge in this most important city of northern California with their family, be sure to bring your kids to Central Park and watch them have the time of their life, swinging, sliding, and making friends in this vast park with a fantastic playground. Adults can take on an adventure with nature in Las Trampas Regional Wilderness Park. If you like horseback riding, Iron Horse Regional Trail is an enchanting place to explore with your horse.
Visit the captivating Bidwell Park and other top attractions in Chico when you drop by this lovely Northern California city. Known for its woodland trails with picturesque sceneries, Bidwell Park is a vast natural park where you can set up camp with your friends, take hiking routes with spectacular views, and even catch a glimpse of wildlife in its natural habitat. During autumn, the park turns into an enchanting wonderland that looks taken straight from a storybook. While in this most popular city in northern California, drop by the historic Bidwell Mansion, and browse through the displays of this Victorian property. For art and music, head over Downtown Chico business district.
Situated in Almeda County, Livermore is a lovely populous city that is worth visiting in Northern California. Just like the other cities in this list, Livermore has a plethora of upscale attractions, such as boutique stores, restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, and other well-visited businesses. More than those, this must visited city in northern California is home to breathtaking natural wonders that tourists should see, including Del Valle Regional Park and Shadowcliffs Regional Recreation Area.
17. Fresno, California
Nesting in San Joaquin Valley, this most visited city in northern California is a charming city with a lot to offer to people who plan to take refuge in this side of northern California. One of them is the historic Forestiere Underground Gardens where you will witness courtyards and subterranean passages. For families visiting the city, it would be a good idea to spend some quality bonding time in Fresno Chaffee Zoo. Adventure-seekers can explore Woodward Park and fall in love with nature. Also, let your breath be taken away by the allure of the enchanting waterfalls in Yosemite National Park.
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18. Walnut Creek
Your Northern California road trip will not be complete without exploring the beautiful city of Walnut Creek. Boasting of natural beauty, this most famous city in northern California will enchant you with its natural parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and vast green spaces of recreational activities. If you’re thinking of going on a picnic adventure with your friends, Mount Diablo State Park is a paradise that you will fall in love with. Marvel at the beauty of nature in Briones Regional Park and catch a glimpse of wildlife in its natural habitat. Whether you have a green thumb or simply fascinated with plants, the Ruth Bancroft Garden & Nursery has a multitude of lovely cactus plants that will take your breathe away.
19. Sausalito, California
Sausalito will charm you with its rugged cliffside homes that face directly the stunning Richardson Beach. This one of the cities to visit in northern California is popular for beachgoers and watersports lovers as it is an ideal hideaway spot for people who want a relaxing time away from the concrete jungle. Also, you will see houseboats in Sausalito that were built as far back as the WWII era. Once done with all the swimming and watersports, explore the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Bay Model Visitor Center and browse through its informative displays. Also, stroll along the Marin Headlands and take souvenir pictures with the views of the Golden Gate Bridge from there.
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After breezing through the gorgeous city of Fresno, take the North California adventure to Fremont. Nesting in the bay area of California, experience swimming in pristine beaches in this must see city in northern California. Aside from quality time in the water, gorge on delicious seafood dishes offered in various restaurants in the city. If you are a film-buff, Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum will show you the development of the film industry. For pilgrims, visit Mission San José and stop by for a few prayers of thanks and well wishes in this 17th-century place of worship.
Here are the best northern California cities to visit where you can go with your friends and family to enjoy and to know more about the history of California. Every city mentioned above is famous for their places and the things we can do there.Hope the post is informative to you, If you like our post please share it so that it would be helpful for others too.
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