Santa Barbara: The American Riviera

With oceanfront views, cinematic festivals and fine wine, Santa Barbara has been called the "American Riviera" -- with a twist. The coastal city also comes with a down-home style all its own.

Photos

Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, CA

Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, CA

An aerial view of the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, CA. 960 1280

  

Shopping for Ground Beef

Shopping for Ground Beef

DIY’s Cool Tools host Chris Grundy and Juicy’s CEO Brett shop for ground beef in the supermarket. They’ve filled 3 shopping carts, and they’re still not finished. 960 1280

  

The Cooking Staff

The Cooking Staff

The cooking staff mixes the ground beef that will be used to build the 800-lb. hamburger. 960 1280

  

Prepping the Bun

Prepping the Bun

Nick preps the giant hamburger bun. 960 1280

  

Juicy’s mobile grill

Juicy’s mobile grill

Brett and Nick talk about their plans for the giant burger in front of Juicy’s mobile grill. 960 1280

  

Assembling the Grill

Assembling the Grill

Nick and Brett begin assembling the grill that will be used to cook the hamburger. 960 1280

  

Grilling Juicy's Chickens

Grilling Juicy's Chickens

Juicy’s isn’t just about the burger. Brett’s cooking staff is hard at work grilling several chickens on a giant grill for the fair. 960 1280

  

Smoked Turkey Legs

Smoked Turkey Legs

Nick and Chris stand behind the grill at the smoked-turkey-leg food stand. 960 1280

  

Performers on Stilts

Performers on Stilts

Performers on stilts walk in front of the food stands at the county fair. 960 1280

  

Juicy's Burger Stand

Juicy's Burger Stand

A night shot of Juicy’s burger stand at the county fair. 960 1280

  

The 800-lb Burger

The 800-lb Burger

The finished product -- Juicy’s 800-lb. hamburger. 960 1280

  

Palace Hotel

Palace Hotel

Palace Hotel
The Palace is aptly named because it’s decked out with ample turn-of-the-20th-century elegance and has 550 rooms on only 8 floors. With features like an attractive indoor pool and an elaborate Sunday brunch; it’s a nice choice in the SoMa area.
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Oyster.com  

Palace Hotel

Palace Hotel

Oyster.com’s Favorite Feature
The suite is filled with antiques and we love the original fireplace.
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Oyster.com  

Montage Beverly Hills

Montage Beverly Hills

Montage Beverly Hills
This 201-room luxury hotel, located in the heart of upscale Beverly Hills, is elegant in every way, including the Spanish Colonial-inspired architecture, the spacious rooms and the perfectly manicured courtyard. A luxury spa, a renowned Italian restaurant and a heated rooftop pool are a few of the hotel’s key highlights.
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Oyster.com  

Montage Beverly Hills

Montage Beverly Hills

Oyster.com’s Favorite Feature
The spacious marble bathroom is a highlight, but the real cherry on top is that guests in the suite are given a free Mercedes-Benz to drive during their stay.
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Oyster.com  

The Beverly Hilton

The Beverly Hilton

The Beverly Hilton
This Beverly Hills hotel --the site of the Golden Globes-- excels at luxury. Two business centers and superbly fast Internet in the elegant rooms make it a top pick for business travelers. Plus, its huge pool and name-brand fitness center ably compete with the leisure facilities at more expensive hotels.
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Oyster.com  

The Beverly Hilton

The Beverly Hilton

Oyster.com’s Favorite Feature
Every president from John F. Kennedy to President Obama has stayed in the suite.
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Oyster.com  

Hyatt Regency Century Plaza

Hyatt Regency Century Plaza

InterContinental San Francisco
This 726-room behemoth in Century City --the commercial hub of LA’s entertainment industry-- has contemporary rooms with iPod docks, flat-screen TVs, and balconies with fantastic views. Everything at the hotel is big. The pool is huge, the spa has 18 treatment rooms, and the Equinox gym is the largest in LA.
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Oyster.com  

Hyatt Regency Century Park

Hyatt Regency Century Park

Oyster.com’s Favorite Feature
The decor may be retro-inspired, but this suite is very 21st century. It even comes equipped with a desktop computer.
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Oyster.com  

InterContinental San Francisco

InterContinental San Francisco

InterContinental San Francisco
Built in 2008 --in the business-oriented neighborhood of SoMa-- the modern InterContinental has luxury-level service, high-tech guest rooms, lap pool, popular spa and a Michelin-star restaurant.
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Oyster.com  

InterContinental San Francisco

InterContinental San Francisco

Oyster.com’s Favorite Feature
There’s a lot to love about the 2-floor presidential suite, but we really go gaga over the wrap-around balcony that has amazing city views. We also love the funky light fixtures.
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Oyster.com  

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls

Discover the highest waterfall in North America -- and the sixth largest in the world: Yosemite Falls. At 2,424 feet, the waterfall is a major attraction in the park, located in the central Sierra Nevada mountain range of California. It’s best viewed in late spring when snowmelt flows most vigorously. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Half Dome

Half Dome

The granite dome in the background is Yosemite’s most popular rock formation: Half Dome. The granite crest rises more than 4,737 feet above the valley floor -- hikers can ascend it with the use of cables. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne Meadows

Discover this meadowy section of Yosemite along the Tuolumne River. Wild, wonderful plant and tree species to explore include Ross’s sedge, Lodgepole Pine and dwarf bilberry. The area also offers day-hike and camping opportunities (the park service campground is open July through late September). 960 1280

Steve Dunleavy, Wikimedia Commons  

El Capitan

El Capitan

Rock climbers will find few vertical rock formations as challenging as El Capitan (left, background). At one time “El Cap,” which stretches roughly 3,000 feet from base to top, was considered impossible to climb. Today, the most popular route to tackle is The Nose, which follows the rock’s huge projecting front. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Valley View

Valley View

Thank the 145-mile-long Merced River: It’s responsible for carving out the glacial valley known as Yosemite Valley. The valley is about 8 miles long and a mile deep, with an amazing vantage point offered at Valley View. This turnout is located near the park exit, traveling west on Northside Drive. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Lembert Dome

Lembert Dome

Got 3 hours to spare? Take a short hike (2.8 miles roundtrip) up the granite rock formation of Lembert Dome, which rises 800 feet above Yosemite’s Tuolumne Meadows. Then bask in the satisfaction of knowing you hiked up a real mountain. 960 1280

Ava Weintraub, flickr  

Tunnel View

Tunnel View

Journey along State Route 41 and you’re in for a treat: The viewpoint known as Tunnel View offers a breathtaking snapshot of Yosemite Valley and several of its attractions -- El Capitan, Half Dome and the waterfall Bridalveil Fall (pictured, right). 960 1280

Bala Sivakumar, flickr  

Cathedral Peak

Cathedral Peak

The Cathedral Range of mountains stretch through Yosemite -- and Cathedral Peak is their star attraction. At a height of 10,911 feet, the granite peak was first scaled in 1869 by naturalist John Muir -- perhaps the first person to undertake a class-4 climb anywhere in the Sierra Nevada range (of which Cathedral is a sub-range). 960 1280

Steve Dunleavy, flickr  

Bridalveil Fall

Bridalveil Fall

Looking to meet someone special? Head to Yosemite’s Bridalveil Fall. The 617-foot waterfall owes its name to a legend from the Ahwahneechee Native American tribe: They believed that inhaling the mist of the waterfall would improve one’s chances of getting married. 960 1280

Matt Haughey, flickr  

Glacier Point

Glacier Point

One of Yosemite’s best viewpoints is Glacier Point. Located on the south wall of Yosemite Valley, the overlook rises to an elevation of 7, 214 feet -- with great views of Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Vernal Fall (a 317-foot waterfall) and Nevada Fall (594 feet). 960 1280

Getty Images  

Vernal Fall

Vernal Fall

After an afternoon hike, cool off with the gentle mist sprays from a nearby waterfall. That’s what you’ll experience when you take a 2- to 5-hour hike near Vernal Fall. The hike starts at the Happy Isles trailhead and reaches the base of the waterfall. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

Visitors look up at one of the largest living things on Earth: a giant sequoia. It’s also one of the oldest. Within Yosemite’s mariposa grove of 500 giant sequoias, visitors will find trees more than 3,000 years old. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Nevada Fall

Nevada Fall

Within a small glacial valley (Little Yosemite Valley), you’ll find Nevada Fall. The 594-foot waterfall owes its name to its location – it’s the nearest waterfall to the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Meanwhile, the Native American name for it is Yo-wy-we, meaning “wormy” water, signifying the twists of the falling water. 960 1280

Getty Images  

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