By Robert Hortingson
California has so much more to offer than just San Francisco and Los Angeles. Sure, shopping on the famous Rodeo Drive, taking a stroll on the Hollywood Walk of Fame or even taking a tram ride in San Francisco are all iconic moments that everyone has to experience at least once in their lifetime. But, aside from all the glitz, the glamour, the beaches, and the delicious sandwiches, Cali can also offer authentic experiences, far away from the big cities’ spotlights.
Lancaster is a relatively large city in the Antelope Valley of the Mojave Desert, in Southern California. Yes, the same SoCal that is known for its motorcycle gangs that inspired the famous TV series “Sons of Anarchy” and its current spin-off, “The Mayans”. In fact, it is a land for minorities and almost ¾ of it is farmland.
However, Lancaster is the perfect place to escape the rush and pressures of urban life, providing enough relaxing opportunities for all your family members. From parklands to playgrounds, interesting boutiques, sports facilities, and even a historic district, Lancaster is a good weekend destination regardless if you’re traveling alone or with your family. Here are some spots and activities you don’t want to miss.
Spend a day at the Poppy Reserve
The Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve is home to various types of wildflowers and plants but the most breathtaking plant you’ll find is the wild poppy. Located in the Western Mojave Desert, the poppy reserve comes back to life each spring.
The wonderful spectacle takes place between March and May and, to keep the fields in a natural state, California State Parks doesn’t stimulate flower growth or water the plants, leaving Mother Nature to do its thing. The result is more beautiful than any postcard or macro image you can find online, and it is worthy of a trip.
There is also a Poppy Festival, usually scheduled in April, where you can enjoy two days of art, music, food, and a lot of fun.
Lancaster Museum of Art and History
Lancaster MOAH offers a special visitor experience and has something for every member of your family. While grownups can appreciate the building’s modern architecture while looking at the exhibits of native artifacts, children can enjoy locally collected dinosaur bones and skeletons. Teenagers may also benefit from creative presentations on sustainable energy sources but, apart from that, there is also plenty of contemporary art and sculpture to be enjoyed.
American Heroes Park
The 12-acre recreation facility was opened to the public in 2011 and is located one block north of the BLVD downtown area. It honors local heroes who gave up their lives to protect the liberty and freedom of this blessed land and you can pay your respects by bringing flowers or simply taking a moment of silence.
The park is also a great place for people of all ages as it features playgrounds, soccer and baseball fields, a gazebo, handball courts, and others. The place is not entirely skateboard-friendly but those with a different opinion can bring their kick scooters and spend some quality time outdoors.
Visit famous filming locations
If you’re tired of regular museums and are looking for some quirk, you can try visiting desert roads and other buildings that served as iconic sceneries for famous movies. For instance, you can visit the “Kill Bill Church” that goes by its official name as The Sanctuary Adventist Church. Built in a Spanish style, the chapel is, in fact, a religious facility and, once you see it on a lonely road, with only a Joshua tree nearby, you’ll easily understand its cinematic importance.
Right across the street from the Spanish church you can see some other buildings used in movies with Chris Rock and Van-Damme. So, if you’re fascinated about cinematography and you happen to be in Lancaster, don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity and visit the desert road.