California Summer Bucket List

I’ve recently realized that this might be my last summer in California for a while since I’m moving to the Pacific Northwest this upcoming fall. Although I’m excited for this new turn of events in my life, there are moments where I wonder about how I’m going to deal with not being able to see my family and friends all the time, not making trips to my favorite coffee shop and simply leaving all the things that have become so familiar to me in the past few years. To make my transition a bit easier for me and make sure that I make the most of the time I have left in my home state, I decided to put together this short list of things I want to accomplish this summer.
  • Make time to visit Museums-It’s crazy, but I still haven’t been to the Getty Villa even though I’ve lived in the L.A. area my entire life! It’s also been a while since I’ve visited The Getty Museum, LACMA and MOCA.
  • Go to a couple of concerts-I want to catch a show at my favorite venue, the Hotel Cafe. I also want to make the most of the free concert series going on around L.A. such as Grand Performances, Saturdays Off the 405 and Levitt Pavilion.
  • Spend a day at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens-This is such a gorgeous place and I can spend all day just walking around the different gardens.
  • Explore bookstores around Los Angeles-Before I leave, I want to make sure that I make one last trip to The Last Bookstore, Skylight Books, and Vroman’s Bookstore.
  • Schedule a beach trip at least once a month-I am determined to put my bathing suit to use this year. Also, I made several trips to the beach last year and realized that I like making the time to sit down and just relax. My favorite beach is Strand Beach in Dana Point, which I discovered after my best friend Laura and I made it our halfway meeting point last summer.
  • Go out dancing– My favorite place to hit up is The Echo for Funky Sole on Saturday nights. I love that there isn’t a dress code and you get in for free before 10:30.
  • Tour Hearst Castle-I’ve always wanted to visit this place because it looks so gorgeous in pictures. I might stop here on my way up north and go on one of the tours.
  • Make a day trip to Salvation Mountain-I really want to make a trip down to this quirky landmark before I leave the State of California. That being said, I think that I’m going to have to make that trip by the end of this month, before the heatwave hits.
  • Spend a day in San Francisco-I’ll most likely stop in S.F. on my way up to Portland. I’ve charged my bestie Laura, who is moving up to the Bay Area this summer, with the task of finding all the best coffee and food places before I arrive.
  • Ride a bike-It’s been a very long time since I’ve been on a bike and I figured that I should try it out again before I relocate to a much more bike-friendly city. I’ll probably go on a bike ride during one of my beach trips–bike paths seem so much safer to me than riding on the busy streets of L.A.
  • Go on a coffee shop crawl around L.A.-Visiting new coffee shops used to be my favorite thing to do because it was a fun and inexpensive way to get out of my neighborhood and visit other parts of L.A.. I’ve become a creature of habit mostly because I found a coffee that I’m in love with near my house, but I want to try to make the effort to try something new. I also might just make a day out of visiting some of my favorites around DTLA such as Blacktop, Demitasse, G&B and Cafe Dulce, and then head back home and hit Copa Vida, Intelligentsia, Home Brewed Bar and Jones Coffee Roasters. I’m going to be so caffeinated!!!
  • Go on a metro adventure-I used to ride the metro more often when I worked in Downtown Los Angeles and had a monthly pass. I find riding the train to be a very peaceful activity and there are so many cool spots to visit along the different metro lines. I might make a day of it and visit a few places that I would normally avoid driving to due to traffic.
  • Spend time outdoors-I want to schedule in a few hikes on weekends and maybe have a picnic around the Echo Park Lake.


That’s it for my bucket list. I want to keep it nice and simple so that I can make sure to do everything on my list. Do you have certain activities or goals that you want to accomplish this summer?
I hope you all had a great Father’s Day weekends celebrating your fathers as well as the single mothers who went the extra mile to adopt that role. My sister Ale and I took our dad out to brunch, and spending time with him reminded me of how fortunate I am to have such a positive male role model in my life. He’s loving, supportive, and always inspires me to be the best version of myself that I can be. That must be why I have such high standards of all the men who enter into my life. All joking aside, he really is awesome and probably deserves to be reminded of that more often than just once a  year.
Have a great week!
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    Natalie Off Duty

  • Great list! I have been hoping to make it down to SoCal this summer; if I do I will be coming back to this list for ideas on what to do. Good luck moving north, that is pretty dang cool too!

    Pink Wings

    • I'm glad you found some cool things on the list, Gina. Feel free to contact me if you do make it down to SoCal. 😀

  • Great bucket list for the summer,. I hope you get to check everything off. Have a wonderful week ahead.

  • So many fun things to do in this bucket list! I love bike riding to explore new cities and the Santa Monica pier is one of my favorite places to do that!


    • I love Santa Monica, but it can get very busy during the summer. I might try visiting on a weekday, though. 😀

  • Haha I'm a Californian in PNW right now on vacation. This is such a great list of things to do in CA. Even as a CA resident, the Huntington gardens is on my list of places to go to too! Salvation Mountain was an awesome drive out to the desert! I have blog posts on a lot of these places that you listed 🙂

    be the plebeian

    • I'll have to look through your archives and check them out, Jasmine! I really want to drive out to Salvation Mountain, but it's just so hot! haha!

  • Super lovely blog!


  • It sounds like you have a great summer planned, If I ever go down to LA I will have to look you up

    • Definitely do, Laura. I'd be more than happy to give you recommendations for places to visit. 😀

  • Love this!!! xx


  • I stumbled upon this post and wondered if you had a chance to go road tripping north? It's a must have!!

    Heba xx ||

    • I'm driving up north at the end of summer. I'm really looking forward to it. 😀

  • Aww this list reminds me of the time when I moved to Hawaii! Charles and I only had two weeks to plan before we moved (he was offered a job in Hawaii and he needed to be on the island within two weeks). Together with the stress of finding a place, I wish we had time to have such a list! Please do everything on that list!

    Anyway, I'm so excited for this new chapter in your life. I've been to Portland once but only for a day. You're going to have to show me around when I visit!