1. San Francisco
Visit luxury shops along maiden lane. On Geary and Sutter streets, art galleries stay open late on the first Thursdays of the month. June brings pride month, a celebration of the city's gay community.

2. Sonoma Valley/Glen Ellen
Luxury lodgings abound in this charming town in the heart of the vineyard-rich Sonoma Valley.

3. Napa
Sample locally grown produce, cheeses and more at the oxbow public market. Find bargains at the Napa premium outlet mall.

4. Yountville
Relax in this inviting town, home to the French laundry, one of the world's finest restaurants; this establishment is extremely popular, so try reserving a table for lunch. Alternatively, dine at one of the other excellent restaurants in town.

5. St. Helena
Drive north to visit this lovely town's culinary institute of America at greystone, where trainee chefs create gourmet meals.

6. Davis
Surrounded by farmland, this university town has outdoor cafes and parks as well as scores of bicycles. Catch a performance at the Robert and Margrit Mondavi center for the performing arts.

7. Lodi wine Country
Tour this friendly wine region and chat with local winemakers. Start at the Lodi wine and Visitor center.

8. Isleton
Head west to learn about Chinese immigrants who came here during the 1850s gold rush; many settled in this Sacramento hamlet.

9. Vallejo
Discovery kingdom: see dolphin shows and ride on spectacular roller coasters.

10. Berkeley
Further west, visit this famed university town with a bohemian air. Browse and buy on Fourth Street, with its clothing boutiques, eclectic shops and fun restaurants.

11. Oakland
This diverse city is renowned for its music scene: try yoshi's, a magnet for world-class jazz. Rent a canoe, kayak or paddleboat to explore peaceful Lake Merritt.