(by) Donna McCrohan Rosenthal
April has plenty going on, as you will find in this month’s round-up of tips for short hops and trips around California.
To the northwest in Visalia, check out the 4th Annual Taco Truck Challenge – free to the public – Saturday, April 15 (559-697-4930). While there, don’t miss the Darling, a boutique hotel with its rooftop restaurant and lounge (559-713-2113).
Remember that down below in Los Angeles, Pizza City Fest LA pleases palates Saturday-Sunday, April 29-30, featuring the best of nearly 40 top pizzerias (pizzacityfest.com); Universal Studios Hollywood, Super Nintendo World opened in February (800-864-8377) and in Anaheim, Disneyland celebrates Disney’s 100th anniversary with new attractions, among them two nighttime spectaculars: “World of Color – One” at Disney California Adventure Park, and “Wondrous Journeys” at Disneyland Park, along with Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railroad (714-781-4636).
In Burbank, Warner Bros. Studio Tours exhibits weapons, jewelry, dragon eggs, dragon skulls, and costumes from “Game of Thrones” (818-977-8687). Or you could venture farther afield to “Game of Thrones Studio Tour” in Bainbridge, Northern Ireland, at the filming location of Linen Mill Studios
At the Pasadena Playhouse, Stephen Sondheim’s three-Tony-Award winner “A Little Night Music” Tuesday, April 25, through Sunday, May 21, combines romantic mishaps with a memorable score. Preview week Wednesday, ticket holders who come early net a complimentary wine prior to the show (626 356 7529).
To the southwest on the coast, the Santa Monica Pier has retired the original Sea Dragon, replacing it with a new $1.5 million Sea Dragon that updates the sense of flying over a stormy sea. The Santa Monica Pier, LA’s only admission free-amusement park, has 12 amusement rides, 14 midway games, an oceanfront food plaza, and beachside shopping (310-260-8744).
To the south in Hemet, California’s Official Outdoor Play, “Ramona,” runs Saturday and Sunday, April 22 and 23, 29 and 30, and May 6 and 7 – a spectacle with actors, singers, dancers, and horses, adding up to a cast of hundreds (951-658-3111); in downtown Orange through Thursday, May 4, explore the (“All Aboard”) “Romance of California’s Railroads” at Chapman University’s Hilbert Temporary, admission free with an advance online reservation (714-516-5880); in Simi Valley at the Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, “Auschwitz” brings together more than 700 original objects of great historic and human value, each a witness to the horrors of the Holocaust (800-410-8354).
On the coast in San Diego, Sea World’s Seven Seas Food Festival extends on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, through Sunday, April 30, with more than 100 international flavors, craft beers, cocktails, wines, and live music (619-222-4732).
Closer to home in Death Valley, enjoy a guided driving auto tour of sites featured in “Star Wars” by downloading their free National Park Service app (760-786-3200).