airport_transferbarbathtubbusiness_facilitieschild_activitieschildcareconnecting_roomcribsfree_wifigymhot_tubinternetkitchennon_smokingpetpoolresturantski_in_outski_shuttleski_storagesmoking_areaspastar
Sign In
Sections
Follow Us
San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge | © Choltie239 / Flickr
add to wishlistsCreated with Sketch.

A Tour of California's Architectural Landmarks

Picture of Gwen Purdom
Updated: 22 March 2018
There aren’t many states that can deliver both legendary feats of industrial engineering and fairytale castles, but California offers a little bit of everything, architecturally.

With some of the tallest trees on earth rooted in California’s soil, its natural architecture is nothing to scoff at, either. The Golden State is home to the funky mid-century houses of Palm Springs, the dignified Neoclassical capital building in Sacramento, and the towering letters of the Hollywood sign, among other built treasures. But those who want to take in a tour sampling just a few of the state’s thoughtfully-designed landmarks might want to start with this list.

Hotel del Coronado

Building
add to wishlistsCreated with Sketch.
Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, CA
Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, CA | © Stacy Spensley / Flickr
Part wedding cake, part grand ship cruising out to sea, the sprawling Hotel del Coronado gives off a distinguished vibe. The founders of the beachfront resort envisioned a place that would be “the talk of the Western World” when they first established the famed San Diego resort in 1880, and history buffs and visitors are still talking to this day, as the place still operates as a working hotel and getaway. “The Del” was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1977, but at other points in its storied history, the distinctive design has drawn presidential visits and moviemakers. (Some Like It Hot was filmed there in 1958.)
More Info

Services & Activities:

Luxury

Atmosphere:

White Sand, Scenic, Architectural Landmark

Winchester Mystery House

Building, History Museum, Architecture Museum
add to wishlistsCreated with Sketch.
Winchester Mystery House
Winchester Mystery House | Mike Shelby / Flickr
Sandwiched between a shopping center parking lot and an expressway, the massive Winchester Mystery House is unexpected. It was perhaps even more of a surprise when grieving widow Sarah Winchester broke ground on the property in what was then rural San Jose back in 1886. Sarah Winchester’s husband came from the family behind the popular Winchester Repeating Rifle. But their fame and fortune didn’t save Sarah from heartache. Legend has it that in her grief following the death of her only child, and later, her husband, Mrs. Winchester met with a medium who told her that her spate of bad luck was because of her family’s deadly gun business. The only way to scare off spirits of the people killed by Winchester rifles, the medium said, was to move west and start building. The construction would keep the ghosts away so long as it never stopped. So Sarah followed her advice. Today, the bizarre house has 160 rooms, a space for nightly séances, staircases to nowhere, and many more unexplained details. It remains a stunning example of Victorian architecture dotted with stunning Tiffany stained glass.
More Info
Mon - Sun:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Services & Activities:

Guided Tours, Entrance Fee

Atmosphere:

Indoors, Outdoors, Architectural Landmark, Instagrammable

Watts Towers

Building
add to wishlistsCreated with Sketch.
Watts Towers, artist Simon Rodia’s jaw-dropping South Central Los Angeles installation, is made up of 17 structural steel spires coated in mortar. The towers, officially titled “Nuestro Pueblo,” rose over 33 years and were completed in 1954. Pieces of glass, mosaic tiles, shells, clay, and rock are embedded in the rising coils and at their base, the Watts Towers Arts Center has operated since 1961. The pieces and their grounds have been designated on the National Register of Historic Places, are a National Historic Landmark, a Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Monument, a State of California Historic Monument, and a State of California Historic Park.
More Info

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Services & Activities:

Guided Tours

Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Instagrammable

The Walt Disney Concert Hall

Concert Hall
add to wishlistsCreated with Sketch.
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Walt Disney Concert Hall | © Fablo Achilli / Flickr
It doesn’t have mouse ears, but the Los Angeles Phil orchestra’s funky concert hall homebase is named for Walt Disney. The Walt Disney Concert Hall is made up of 3.6 acres of curving stainless steel exterior and interior wood paneling, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry. The orchestra splits its time between Disney Hall and the similarly storied Hollywood Bowl venue, but Gehry’s creation is worth a visit whether the musicians are performing or not. Aside from its striking profile, the hall features state-of-the-art acoustics and Douglas fir columns.
More Info

Accessibility & Audience:

Accessible (Wheelchair), Accessible (Deaf)

Atmosphere:

Architectural Landmark, Scenic

Golden Gate Bridge

Bridge
add to wishlistsCreated with Sketch.
San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge | © Choltie239 / Flickr
When thousands flooded into the San Francisco area during the Gold Rush of the mid-19th century, the city needed to accommodate more people and traffic. Work on the Golden Gate Bridge didn’t kick off until 1933 and by 1937, the architectural wonder was open to the public. Rising 746-feet, the iconic bridge includes two main towers that support two main cables. Its rusty color, which pops against the blue of the Bay and the city’s famous fog, is officially known as International Orange.
More Info

Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Instagrammable, Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark