City Guides

31 Best California Gifts in the Golden State for 2024

Last Updated on Jan 10th 2024
California gifts
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If you're shopping for California gifts to bestow upon your BFFs, you'll need a few ideas to lead you in the right direction. From Baja to the Bay Area, there's a treasure trove of California gift possibilities to suit everyone on your list.

With regional specialties that celebrate the spirit of the Golden State, this list of gifts that represent California provides as much opportunity as the state itself! 

Are you looking for gourmet selections to satisfy your favorite foodie? How about a creative experience for the artists in your world? Our list of California gifts gathers all the best choices into a single list with links included, making it easy to shop from wherever you happen to be.

Check out our selections and start shopping for spectacular California gifts to spoil your friends and family. 

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Best California Food & Wine Gifts 

1. Courses in Gourmet California Cooking

Give your SoCal pals cooking classes in Los Angeles and cooking classes in San Diego for gifts that will change their culinary lives for the better.

For your pals in Northern California, cooking classes in Santa Barbara will help them take their culinary skills to new heights. With cooking classes in other California cities, you have California gifts ready to go in every region. 

local cooking classes California gifts
via Classpop!

2. Tour of a Working Winery

Wine tours make excellent California gifts that become date ideas in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can set up a Sonoma or Napa excursion to show your special someone what it takes to create their favorite bottles.

Make an overnighter of your gift by reserving a room at an AirB&B to keep the romantic vibes rolling! 

3. A Visit to the Spirit House

With craft distillery experiences on your list, you can give thoughtful California gifts to the beverage lovers in your life. Rather than opting for free tours, look for locations that offer paid experiences.

You can even find spirit shops that offer a bottle of the good stuff as part of the admission price. For an extra-special someone, find an outlet that invites visitors to design their own bespoke flavors. 

4. A Taste of Artisan Cheese

Send your guest of honor on a cheese tasting experience at Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese, a gift for foodies who can't get enough of the gourmet curd.

They'll explore the cheese making process while sampling grilled cheese sandwiches, regional charcuterie and even homemade ice cream sandwiches. It's an excellent way to see the inner workings of a California farm. 

5. A Box of Designer Chocolates

Designer chocolates with an artful touch can become California gifts that are too pretty to eat—almost! Imagine your friends opening a box of these gourmet California chocolate bars, gifts from Los Angeles dedicated to the Golden Age of Hollywood and the Cali's oceanside vibe. 

Compartes California chocolates
via Compartès Chocolates

6. A Sip of Something Special

If you're in the market for experience gifts, why not check into brewery tours at Anchor Brewing? Gifts from California food and beverage crafters like the excursions at Anchor not only expose your loved ones to the best local brews, but they also help support regional business — California gifts that give back! 

7. A Bite of Chocolate-Dipped Fruit

The best food gifts from California don't get any posher than a selection of top-tier chocolate-dipped fruits. Citrus slices, pineapple wedges and other Golden State fruits robed in the silkiest chocolate in Los Angeles fill the box in a collection that looks like a portrait in deliciousness. 

8. A Dinner in Total Darkness

For a memorable gift and evening out all in one, book a Dinner in the Dark for your food fans. These culinary encounters take place without light, allowing your sense of taste to guide you from one glorious bite to the next.

The menu is described only by vague descriptions of texture and quality, so be prepared for surprises! 

Creative California Gifts 

9. A Trip to Paint and Sip

Paint and sip sessions represent the best California gifts for friends looking to add color to their lives. You'll find paint and sip in Orange County, paint and sip in Los Angeles and paint and sip in Sacramento that cover the state from top to tail.

Paint and sip in other California cities let you book California gifts for best friends to enjoy together just about everywhere in the state. 

paint and sip California gift experience
via Shutterstock

10. A Spin of the Wheel

Introduce the creatives in your circle to the wonders of clay work with pottery classes in San Francisco, pottery classes in Los Angeles and pottery classes in San Diego.

There are expert-led pottery classes in other California cities to make sure you can hook up your potter-in-the-making with a California gift to expand their artistic abilities. Every course results in a finished work to take home — a bonus gift! 

11. A Gift Card With Creative Potential

Why not give a Classpop! gift card and let your friends and family choose a creative California gift or activity they can customize themselves?

They can choose from local California art courses, dance classes and even game nights that get their brain juices flowing. No matter their interests, there are sessions that are sure to be a perfect fit.   

12. Local Photo Shoot

Photo shoots with a professional photographer make thoughtful gifts for couples in need of new portraits. These gifts make great options for couples heading toward an engagement or wedding.

You'll be helping them capture the special moments in vibrant color while assisting with their expenses in an unexpected way. 

13. A Session in the Studio

Friends with pop star leanings will appreciate an hour or two in a studio with a professional producer. With California being one of the most significant recording locations in the world, you'll have your pick of studios to suit your bestie's style.

For a pal with performance anxiety, switch your gift to private singing lessons instead to help get them over the butterflies. 

friends recording music in studio
via Canva

14. A Shirt for Your Smallest Surfer

Get groovy togs for the tiny ones in your circle like this baby retro-style surfer tee. This cute and colorful design lets the smallest surf punk on the shore display their dedication to hanging and shredding.

Bold graphics printed on a variety of available colors create California gift that reminds everyone in the family that even the little guys can crawl, walk and surf…eventually! 

15. A Map of the Good Ol' Days

California with a taste for vintage home décor gifts will adore a map from the early days of the Golden State. This clever reproduction of a digitally restored map from 1885 displays key facts and important locales of the era.

Gallery-quality paper and printing ensure this California gift will look gorgeous no matter where it hangs. 

16. A Wrap with School Spirit

Searching for graduation gift ideas for UC Berkeley grads? Alumni fleece blankets with the Golden State Bear are a bold way to help them wrap up their college experience.

Choose from various sizes for a California gift that helps your grad warm up to their next adventure. 

Unique California Gifts 

17. A Whiff of the Best Coast

Customized California candles that capture the scent of Northern or Southern California are relaxation gifts that remind your recipient of the Golden State, no matter where they might be.

With a blend of vanilla, sugar, clove and apple among other fragrance notes, these are California gifts to keep your friends and loved ones from feeling homesick. 

Homesick candle California gifts
via Homesick

18. A Bucket List in a Box

One of the wildest gifts for best friends is the California Adventure Bucket List, a boxed deck featuring 50 of the best sites to see across the whole state.

Each scratch-off card hides a surprise destination, perfect for loading up with a pal and heading out for new adventures.   

19. A Night at the Bowl

There may be no more thrilling site in Southern California to take in a performance than the Hollywood Bowl. Combine California gifts and date ideas in Los Angeles by picking up tickets to your special someone's favorite artists and give them an experience to rave about. 

20. A Set of Cali Coasters

Pick up cork coasters emblazoned with the state map for a California gift that gives serious home bar vibes. Six identical cork squares are laser-etched with the iconic shape of Cali, complete with call-outs for the most important sites in the state.

Your friends will be reminded of their favorite state every time they serve their star-worthy drinks. 

21. A View of the California Sky   

Speaking of star-worthy, Griffith Observatory is one of the best spots in Los Angeles to give the gift of stargazing. You'll find an exciting collection of multimedia shows that explain the mysteries of the universe.

Though using the telescope is free for visitors, tickets are required for the shows, so be sure to consult your recipient's schedule to make sure the stars align properly! 

photo of California Griffith Observatory at night
via Canva

22. A Bag for the Beach

Help your buddies carry their beach gear in a whimsical California tote. The loose lines and colorful graphics make these reusable bags the perfect summer gifts for anyone who loves to dig their toes in the sand.

23. A Tag for the Trip

Consider these artful luggage tags brimming with floral flair as going away gifts for friends headed for new locales. With a monogram on front and printed contact information on back, these useful California gifts will remind your traveler of their friends back home.

For frequent travelers, pick up a matched set to bedazzle their full luggage suite. 

24. An Afternoon With the Critters

Animal lovers will be enthralled with an animal experience at Wildlife Learning Center in Sylmar. Zoofari and Adventure Tours lets you book a group California gift for your whole crew to take a private trek through the sanctuary and encounter some very special creatures.

You can also plan a birthday party for groups of up to 30 that comes complete with its own animal presentation. 

California Gift Basket Ideas 

25. Cali-Grown Avocados Basket

Gifts from California food growers wouldn't be complete without a box of Cali-grown avocados. These emerald gems make ideal housewarming gifts to get new homeowners off to a smooth and tasty start.

Add a card with your favorite guacamole recipe to the box to give your recipients the key to unlock their savory treasure. 

homegrown avocados California gift basket
via Canva

26. A Box of Sunshine

When your California gift baskets take the form of citrus crates from Harry & David, you can send your favorite people the most refreshing state-grown produce they've ever tasted.

A collection of Valencia oranges provides an abundance of delicious fruit filled with that world-famous Golden State goodness. 

27. A Cluster of Cheer

With gift basket ideas like Harry & David's Premier Orchard Fruit Basket, you have the right California gift for showing of the best of the Golden State's farm-fresh produce.

Consider this tasty treat for retirements, anniversaries and work promotions, occasions where sharing the gift is part of the fun.

28. A Case of Comfort

If someone in your circle is laid up and in need of a little boost, a premier basket featuring a variety of California's freshest fruit is sure to do the trick.

They'll have apples, pears, kiwis and more to dive into for a California gift created with wholesome healing in mind. 

29.  A Basket of Bounty

Create a California gift that takes advantage of date ideas in San Diego by ordering your sweetheart a fresh fruit and cheese basket to enjoy together.

Choose an outdoor location like Sunset Cliffs or Balboa Park and plan a romantic picnic with your bountiful basket of California's artisan creations. 

gift basket filled with California cheese and fruit
via Harry & David

30. A Crate of Hospitality

California gift baskets make exceptional gifts for new homeowners throwing housewarming parties to show off their new digs.

This organic fruit and cheese basket overflowing with tempting California treats comes in a reusable picnic-style basket that lasts long after the fabulous food has been devoured. 

31. A Collection of Charcuterie

A deluxe collection of charcuterie classics is among the best food gifts from California to show your sincere appreciation. Delivered in a rustic crate to match the farm-style feel of the food, this makeshift gift basket is a super sweet thank you gift that gives distinctly California gift vibes.

Considering the expansive area and wide-ranging interests found in the Golden State, there are practically no limits when it comes to shopping for gifts that capture the essence of California.

With so much available, where do you begin? Start by considering your recipient's tastes. Do they love receiving food gifts, or would they rather have a memorable experience?

Knowing what they prefer in general will help you narrow the field before you begin shopping. Once you have a clear idea, you can jump online and click through the links above to bring a slew of options the best gifts directly to your device. California, here you come!

For even more fun gift ideas, check out other experiences happening on Classpop!