California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez vc_questionnaire_mariolopez_vc0688_amandafriedman_final_1280x640
Amanda Friedman

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez
The TV host, actor, author, podcaster, and Golden State enthusiast shares a few of his favorite things

Mario Lopez fondly recalls the family trips he took as a child—to see the woods and waterfalls of Yosemite and the redwood trees in Northern California—but one excursion stands out: Universal Studios Hollywood. “I remember going as a kid,” says the actor and television host, 44. “I always loved TV and film, so the tram ride where you learn about where everything was made, and about the studio jobs and all that stuff—I loved that.”

Life has taken this California dreamer full circle, from his hometown of Chula Vista right back to Universal Studios, where he films his celebrity entertainment TV show Extra five days a week. And the fact that he now works at the center of all that magic he looked up to as a boy? “It doesn’t get old,” Lopez says with some amazement.

The perpetually charming Lopez is an unabashed fan of all that California has to offer—check out his answers to the California Questionnaire below.

Where do you live? Los Angeles.

Why there? Because it’s the best place in the world, and geographically convenient for my business and career.

Who or what is your greatest California love? I am the No. 1 fan of California. I feel this amazing state has everything you could ever want: it’s multicultural with awesome people and beautiful beaches. You can go skiing, to the mountains, to the desert—and of course it has the absolute best climate in the world.

What is the biggest misperception about Californians? That we are all surfers and just want to hang out at the beach.  

What is the stereotype that most holds true? The weather is always gorgeous.

What is your favorite Golden State splurge? I have a very nice barbecue, so I can grill all year long.

Time for a road trip—where are you going? We’ve taken road trips to wine country—Santa Barbara, Temecula, and Napa Valley. We’ve done beach towns up and down the coast and have taken road trips to Big Bear.

If you could decree an official state culinary experience, what would it be? Mexican food.

How do you define California style? Cool, laid back, edgy.

Best California song? “California Love” by Tupac, because he gives it some flavor, makes it funky, and gives us a shout-out when he says, “It wouldn’t be L.A. without Mexicans.”

How would your California dream day unfold? A perfect day would begin with an awesome mariachi brunch with my family, enjoying delicious food and drinking sangria. Then our designated driver would take us to the park, where the kids can play. After that, we would go on a great hike right by the park. Finally, we would go back to the house, enjoy a delicious barbecue, and follow it all with a bocce ball game while watching the sunset with family and friends. 

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez LosAngeles_Hero_Killackey_1280x642_sized
Photo by Ryan Killackey

Southern California

Discover Los Angeles County

See a movie star. Sip a cocktail on a rooftop bar at sunset. Slip on a pair of designer shoes in an ultra-luxurious boutique in Beverly Hills. Play at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, explore world-class museums, or dance the night away in a starlet-filled club. Welcome to California’s liveliest city, America’s entertainment capital, with mega-star wattage and nonstop things to do.

“You know, you’re really a nobody in L.A. unless you have a really big door.”  --comedian Steve Martin

The main hub is the city of Los Angeles, with legendary Hollywood northwest of downtown, the San Fernando Valley to the east, and the inviting beaches of Santa Monica and Malibu to the west.

Plan your California getaway via Los Angeles with these great deals!

Koreatown is just south of downtown Los Angeles
Courtesy of Sisilia Piring/The Line

Koreatown

This small neighbourhood with 24-hour energy packs in some of the best restaurants and nightlife in Los Angeles

Just south of Hollywood and west of Downtown Los Angeles lies Koreatown, a bustling and culturally diverse 7.5-square-...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez vc_questionnaire_curtisstone_supplied_3g9c6408edited_1280x640_0
Courtesy of Stan Lee

California Questionnaire: Curtis Stone

The Australian native has planted his roots in Los Angeles, where he runs two acclaimed restaurants and lives the California dream

Award-winning chef Curtis Stone was born in Melbourne, established his culinary chops in London, and rose to fame on TV, appearing on multiple...

Maude Restaurant
MasterChef Australia

Maude Restaurant

Taste award-winning chef Curtis Stone’s seasonal multi-course menu in Beverly Hills

Even though Curtis Stone has been a chef since the age of 18, he decided to wait for 20 years to open up his first restaurant. In...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez vc_gwenlosangeles_supplied_2016-07-01-gwen-001_1280x640
Courtesy of Gwen

Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant

Fire-based cooking techniques fuel the culinary innovation at Curtis Stone’s Hollywood hotspot

Curtis Stone and his brother Luke both began their culinary careers in an Australian butcher shop, so it makes sense that their joint venture,...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez vc_sanpedro_st_rf_517194215_1280x640
Ian McDonnell/Getty Images

San Pedro

L.A.’s busiest port town is a haven for maritime enthusiasts and seafood lovers

Located at the southern point of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, between Manhattan Beach and Long Beach, is...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez vc_questionnaire_zoeydeutch_st_ed_927228114_1280x640
Cara Robbins/Getty Images

California Questionnaire: Zoey Deutch

The up-and-coming actress loves life in the Valley, road trips up the coast, and old-school deli food

For Zoey Deutch, movies are the family business. Her mom, Lea Thompson, starred in Back to the Future, and her dad, Howard Deutch,...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez vc_questionnaire_giovanidossantos_st_ed_619317048_1280x640jpg
Shaun Clark / Getty Images

California Questionnaire: Giovani dos Santos

The LA Galaxy forward talks about living in West Hollywood, In-N-Out Burger, and enjoying the chill vibe in Malibu

When Giovani dos Santos joined the Los Angeles Galaxy in the summer of 2015 he immediately became one of the biggest Mexican stars in Major League...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez VC_Burbank_Stock_RM_E5HJJY_1280x640
Chris Putnam/Alamy

Burbank

The entertainment industry’s home base offers a microcosm of stars, shopping, and cool tours

If you come to Los Angeles wishing to see where movie magic gets made, look on the other side of Hollywood—literally.

...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez Hollywood_collectmoments_1280x642
"The Squaw Man" was filmed in 1913, and was the first feature-length film made in Hollywood.
January

Welcoming in the New Year with a burst of flower power, this iconic parade in Pasadena is half of the city’s annual one-two punch of parade-and-football game. The parade features a rotating trio...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez VCW_Events_RoseParade_PaulineCheng_preview_686x885
Photo by Pauline Cheng/Flickr
California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez vca_maps_losangeles
California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez VCW_D_Hollywood-Hero_Neil Kremer_5316761930_131da16c01_o_1280x642_2
Photo by Neil Kremer/Flickr

Spotlight: Hollywood

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez vca_maps_losangeles
Showbiz, celebrities, & endless possibilities

Tinseltown, where starlets are discovered on every street corner (or at least we like to think they are), and the tinted windows of that stretch...

An Art Gallery in North Hollywood
Harriot Manley/Sunset Publishing

North Hollywood

Experience a different Hollywood just north of Tinseltown

From bustling Hollywood Boulevard, it’s less than 10 minutes to North Hollywood’s NoHo Arts District, a happening enclave where live theatre—not...

October/November

Get a chance to see the crème de la crème of thoroughbreds at this exciting two-day event at historic Santa Anita Park. This unofficial culmination of the thoroughbred racing season brings...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez BreedersCup_preview_686x885
Photo by Jean/Flickr
California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez vca_maps_losangeles
California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez VC_CelebSpotting_Stock_RF_514408457_1280x640
SoCal Drive by Laura Flippen

Celebrity Spotting

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez vca_maps_losangeles
Where to see stars in Hollywood

Stargazing takes on a different meaning in Tinseltown. While there’s no guarantee you’ll spy a familiar face when you’re here, there are some...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez WestHollywood_SunsetTower_1280x642
Jon Viscott

West Hollywood

Welcome to WeHo, L.A.’s sizzling-hot center of alternative lifestyles

A designer’s dream with shops, architecture, and style

West Hollywood has been dubbed “The Creative City,” and for good reason. Bordering...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez SunsetBlvd_WeHo_1280x642_0
Courtesy of West Hollywood

Sunset Strip Nightlife

Welcome to L.A.’s home of rock ‘n’ roll

Few roads have as much history as this 2-mile-/3.2-km-long section of Sunset Boulevard, bounded by Havenhurst Drive and Doheny Drive. In the 1960s...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez SanDiego_RegionOpener_1280x642 copy

Trip 8-10 days 10 stops

Ultimate Southern California

Beach Towns & Big Thrills
California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez LA-GriffithObs-1280x624_0

Your trip begins in California’s largest city. L.A. has nonstop action and things to do, but it can be a challenge to navigate, so planning your trip in advance is a big plus. Start in the coastal city of Santa Monica, with a wide, uncrowded beach, a signature pier topped by carnival rides and...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez KingsCanyonNationalPark_TomHilton_1280x642

Famous for their giant sequoias, soaring mountains, deep canyons, and roaring rivers, this tandem set of parks have plenty to see, even though they are less well known than Yosemite, roughly 75 miles/120 kilometres north. Within the borders of Sequoia & Kings Canyon are Mount Whitney, the...

For me, returning to Los Angeles annihilates the memories of where I have just been with an astonishing speed.
Henry Rollins
May 11 - May 20
May

America's largest and most prestigious cycling event brings many of the world’s top riders to the Golden State. The 8-stage race changes it up every year, with new courses connecting cities and...

Amgen Tour of California
Amgen Tour of California
California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez vca_maps_no-region
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Chris Burden

Museums

See masterpieces and innovative contemporary works

With its diverse collection of museums, Los Angeles has grown into one of the world’s great cities for art lovers. From the dramatically modern...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez VCW_D_LA_T7_Malibu_WestwardBeach_TS-sized_0
Thomas H. Story/ Sunset Publishing

Malibu

Explore a fabled seafront town with real star power

Stretching for more than 50 kilometres along the Pacific and Highway One, Malibu has achieved...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez RodeoDrive_SharonMollerus_1280x642
Sharon Mollerus/Flickr

Los Angeles County Shopping

Go boutique to bargain in one of the world’s fashion (and shopping) capitals

You’ll definitely want to leave room in your suitcase for L.A. shopping.

If you’re ready to whip out the platinum card, head to Rodeo Drive...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Make memories at some of California's family-favorite beaches

Sand, water, and kids—it’s a natural combination for easy family fun. This sandy dozen offers appealing, family-friendly features, such as calm water for new swimmers, tide pools for intrepid...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez Carmel_BeachDog_Farnum_preview_686x885
Alex Farnum
SPECIAL FEATURE
Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisanal cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez VCW_SI_FarmersMarket_T4_CV_DavisFrmMkt1_Flippen_preview_686x885
Laura Flippen
SPECIAL FEATURE
Check these amazing experiences off your bucket list

Kiss a beluga, see cool movie props, and learn about Walt’s secret hideaway on exclusive and behind-the-scenes tours at California’s theme parks and attractions. Here’s a roundup of worth-the-...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez VCW_SI_VIP_T1_MichaelSaechang_preview_686x885
Photo by Michael Saechang/Flickr
California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez BeverlyHillsHotel_Myles_1280x642_0
Beverly Hills Hotel by Myles McGuinness

Beverly Hills

Peek into the land of the rich and famous

Opulent estates. Palm-lined Rodeo Drive. Lavish hotels and stretch limousines. Look around Beverly Hills, and it’s no wonder this city gets its...

SPECIAL FEATURE
World-class accommodations in world-class locations

Head to the heart of California’s cities for luxurious stays at world-class accommodations. From San Francisco’s historic hotels to celebrity hot spots in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, California’s...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez PalaceHotel_LynGateley_preview_686x885
Lynn Gately/Flickr
SPECIAL FEATURE
Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you're in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you'll find it here. Want to sample fresh produce? Try our farmers...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez Shopping_SpecialFeature_preview_686x885_0
South Coast Plaza
SPECIAL FEATURE
Taste the delicious dishes from these amazing California chefs

From a candy-coloured pastry shop to Michelin-starred dining rooms, top restaurants run by celebrity chefs dot the Golden State. And even if you don’t know these chefs from the TV...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez VCW_SI_T10_Milliken&Feniger_Portrait_preview_686x885
California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez VeniceBeach_JenJudge_1280x642
Venice by Jen Judge

Venice Beach

Edgy, artsy, and sometimes odd—welcome to L.A.’s out-there beach town

Abutting Santa Monica’s south side (and back in L.A. proper) is Venice Beach—simply Venice to locals. This region, a blend of hip new condos and...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Discover quintessential sun and fun at these coastal charmers

Take one part water, one part sand, one part sun-soaked coastal charm, and you’ve got the recipe for some of California’s most appealing destinations. The Golden State’s beach towns stand out for...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez SanDiego_LaJolla_preview_686x885
La Jolla by Lucas Himovitz
California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez VCW_D_LA_T14_IMG_7392-1280x642
Aquarium of the Pacific by Harriot Manley

Long Beach

Experience the many sides of a dynamic coastal city

With beaches and marinas along its waterfront and a busy dining and shopping scene on downtown’s Pine Avenue, Long Beach blends big city...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez VCW_D_LA_T15_DisneyConcert_Judge
Disney Concert Hall by Jen Judge

L.A. Architecture

See eye-catching icons and stately landmarks

While Los Angeles is still a young city when compared to places like, say, Rome, it still boasts a unique architectural tradition that spans a...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez VCW_D_T12-LA_Venice_Judge_0
Lancaster's Civic Musical Road is the only "musical" or "singing" road in the United States.
SPECIAL FEATURE
Hands-on fun for all at farms, ranches, and fields statewide

From almonds and olives up north to avocados, oranges, and dates in the South, the Golden State has a crop (or 10) for nearly every stretch of terrain. After all, ...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez SC_Chaffin_Eliaschickens_TPS_preview_686x885
Tai Power Seeff
February or March

You certainly won’t be the only one celebrating the Lunar New Year at this colourful event in L.A.’s Chinatown. Join thousands of revellers lining the parade route as lion dancers and giant...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez ChineseNY_LA_JorgeGonzalez_preview_686x885
Jorge Gonzalez/Flickr
California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez vca_maps_losangeles
SPECIAL FEATURE
Unleash the kid within at California’s ultimate play lands

From Disneyland classics to beachfront carousels, the Golden State’s best-in-class theme parks deliver something for everyone. Take a tram ride to tour movie back lots at Universal Studios...

California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez AmazingThemeParks_preview_868x686
Lucas Himovitz
California Questionnaire: Mario Lopez Spas_T1_CourtesyRitzCarltonLosAngeles_1280x642
Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles

L.A.'s Poshest Spas

Champagne tastes and caviar treatments

In Tinseltown, one would expect an abundance of extravagant spas, and the city does not disappoint. Treat yourself to an experience of ultimate...