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Outdoor Spaces in California Urban Centers

The Golden State's big cities offer plenty of opportunities to take in fresh air and enjoy activities under the sun

Hiking gear may not be among the first items on your packing list for a trip to San Diego, Anaheim, Los Angeles, or San Francisco, but you won't want to forget these articles of clothing. When you're not visiting world-class museums or checking out the diverse restaurant and nightlife scenes, California’s urban gateways offer a range of highly accessible—and highly unique—outdoor experiences.

On this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson chats with a few folks who know their way around the great urban outdoors. First, he connects with San Diego guide Kenneth Lippman, who provides insights on everything from the historic Gaslamp Quarter north to the alluring beaches of La Jolla. Next, Johnson gets a feel for outdoor opportunities in and around Anaheim with Orange County journalist Gregory Nagel, who discusses the culinary offerings at the Anaheim Packing House as well as the al fresco shopping scene at Fashion Island in Newport Beach.

Johnson's next guest, guidebook author Casey Schreiner, knows Griffith Park like the back of his hand. He shares a few hidden gems that you may not have known about in the famous sprawling Los Angeles landmark. And finally, Johnson looks northward to San Francisco and the historic Presidio, where celebrated chef Traci Des Jardins dishes on her favorite spots.


Kenneth Lippman, founder of Another Side of San Diego Tours

Gregory Nagel, food and travel writer at OC Beer Blog

Casey Schreiner, author of Discovering Griffith Park, a Locals Guide

Traci Des Jardins, chef and restaurateur


Kenneth Lippman, founder of Another Side of San Diego Tours, offers suggestions for essential activities across San Diego County.

Gaslamp Quarter

Balboa Park

The Prado

Ballast Point Little Italy

Little Italy

Little Italy Mercato

The Crack Shack

Ballast Point Brewery

La Jolla

Mount Soledad

La Jolla Shores

Scripps Pier

Greg Nagel covers food and fun in Orange County, and he has quite a few tips on how to take advantage of the consistently wonderful weather.


Anaheim Packing House



The Ranch

Modern Times

Anaheim Brewery

Newport Beach

Balboa Fun Zone

Laguna Beach

Huntington Beach

Fashion Island

Casey Schreiner, author of Discovering Griffith Park, a Locals Guide, offers as a few unique ways to experience the iconic Los Angeles escape.

Griffith Park

Hollywood Sign

Hollywood & Highland

The Trails Cafe

Travel Town Museum

Griffith Park Observatory

L.A. Zoo

Chef and restaurateur Traci Des Jardins feels right at home in the Presidio, where she says you can find endless epic views.

The Presidio

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Overlook

Inspiration Point Overlook

Crissy Field

Goldsworthy sculptures

Presidio Golf Course

El Polín Spring

Fort Point

The Tunnel Tops

About the Host

Soterios Johnson, formerly the local host of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on radio station WNYC, moved from New York City to Davis in 2016. By combining his journalistic instincts with his personal curiosity, Johnson will use the California Now Podcast platform to develop a deeper understanding of his adopted home.

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