Celebrating travel, food, and life in Southern California and the world

Manzanita Lake in Lassen Volcanic National Park
Where to find outdoor dining in Southern California

Southern California diners have more outdoor dining options than ever as restaurants expand into the streets, sidewalks, parklets, parking lots, and alleys. Check our list of alfresco dining spots. 

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Lassen Volcanic National Park guide

A longtime Lassen fan tells us what to see and do in one of California's least-visited national parks. 

Top pick-your-own farms

Head to SoCal farms for fun and the freshest veggies and fruits around.

It's planting season in SoCal

Want a garden that's as practical as it is pretty? Experts tell us how to do it.

We Heart National Parks

Our free National Parks Activity pack has activities, puzzles, and games the family can play.

Download it now!

What to expect if you fly

Planning to get on a plane? These tips will help you navigate the skies safely.

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Staying safely in hotels

We asked experts about hotel pandemic precautions. Here's what they said.

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Hands with blue gloves and cleaning the car
How to sanitize a car

As you step up your coronavirus-era hygiene, don't forget to include your car.

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Scenic drives in Southern California

These 3 classic routes offer some beautiful Southern California sights, places, and activities. 

Where to buy perfect picnic provisions

Picnics are the new chic dining option. Fill up your basket at one of these gourmet spots.

Ranger Yenyen Chan shows hikers historical photos of the Chinese Americans in Yosemite National Park.
Exploring Yosemite's past

Author Alison Singh Gee journeys into Yosemite's history and discovers the Chinese Americans who helped build one of our greatest national parks. 

Illustration by Alexia Lazano
Call of the wild

Sequestered by the lockdown, novelist T.C. Boyle uncovers a world of wildlife and quiet just steps from his home. 

Jim and Lucia Benning on surfboards in Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Surf buddies in Costa Rica

Westways editor and surfer Jim Benning takes his daughter to Costa Rica to learn how to read and ride the waves.

California

Crystal Cove State Park, Laguna Beach, CA
10 beautiful places to get your 10,000 steps

What’s the best way to get to know a place? Walk it. You’ll take in sweeping landscapes, smell fragrant flowers, or relax at the sound of crashing waves. And, if you track your daily steps, you’ll enjoy the following Southern California walks for another reason: You’ll be fitter. Each route here is close to or surpasses 10,000 steps, or about 5 miles. Enjoy! 

Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden, Long Beach, CA
10 'secret gardens' in Southern California

With SoCal’s year-round mild climate, it’s no surprise that the region is home to a treasure of gardens. Our list of 10 “secret” gardens will leave you thrilled with the diversity of plant life in the region.

Griffith Observatory
Movie locations you can actually visit

Southern California's iconic landmarks shine brightest when playing themselves, as they do in this roundup of movie locations—and you won’t need a blockbuster budget to visit them.

Raya in Laguna Beach California
Top brunch places with views in Southern California

For the best meal of the week, you want great food and amazing scenery. These SoCal brunch spots deliver both.

Academy of Sciences
Golden Gate Park milestone

This park channels San Francisco's soul and welcomes everyone—including art lovers, bison lovers, and Lindy Hoppers.

Travel

Iguana sun themselves on a Galapagos beach
A voyage of discovery to the Galápagos Islands

In these wild and special islands, a writer celebrates a milestone birthday and discovers himself.

Band in Senegal
The beat of Senegal

Westways writer Jim Benning explores the culture and heritage of Senegal through its music.

Napa Valley Wine Train
Historic, scenic train rides in the West

On these historic railroads, watch soaring trees or verdant vineyards roll by your window as you see a new angle on the American West.

5 classic California road trips

These drives take you through miles of scenic highways and the state's diverse landscapes, from the deserts and forests to the mountains and coastline.

Food

tri-tip
6 Smokin' barbecue spots

Where to find top-notch barbecue in Southern California, from traditional and Southern to Laotian and Filipino.

Rocio's Mexican restaurant
Top Mexican restaurants

These 6 eateries elevate south-of-the-border cuisine to new levels.

Dough Girl Pizza
Delicious pizzas in Southern California

To satisfy that pizza craving, here are 6 places that dish up excellent pies.

Where to eat outstanding burgers

Who gets top bun? Westways' restaurant critics weigh in on restaurants with A1 burgers.

Mac and Cheese, Black Eyed Pea Fritters with Spicy Herb Sauce, Biscuits and Honey Butter, Fried Chicken with Hot Sauce (2-3 pieces), Collard Greens, Vinegar, Smoked Oil
Where to get the best takeout in Southern California

From the Santa Ynez Valley to San Diego, we’ve tracked down terrific take-away meals for all tastes and budgets.

Danny Trejo at his restaurant
Danny Trejo talks tacos and more

Westways caught up with the tough-guy actor and taco titan to dish about his new cookbook and his favorite taco joints.

IE - Gumbo
6 restaurant recipes you can recreate at home

AAA's Southern California restaurant critics share easy-to-follow recipes from their favorite restaurants.

More recipes

How to make more yummy dishes, including New Hampshire food blogger Sarah Kenney’s recipe for warm, gooey cinnamon rolls.

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