The state of California is perhaps best known for its diverse landscape of natural beauty and vibrant culture.
This provides visitors to the region with an abundance of opportunities to collect souvenirs that encapsulate the essence of this remarkable state.
1. Napa Valley Wine
Napa Valley wine is one of the best souvenirs from California that makes a great gift for friends and family at home.
Located north of San Francisco, Napa Valley is known for being one of the best wine-producing regions in the United States with more than 450 vineyards.
Napa Valley is a popular day trip or weekend trip from San Francisco with tourists to the region visiting vineyards and wineries on a wine-tasting tour. This is the perfect opportunity to pick up a few bottles to bring home with you.
However, if you’re not heading that far north during your trip to California you’ll be pleased to know that bottles are also sold in most wine and liquor stores throughout the state.
2. See’s Candies
See’s Candies is a candy company that was founded by Charles and Florence See in Los Angeles in 1921.
See’s is best known for its delicious chocolates which make a box of these tasty treats the perfect gift for friends and family at home who have a sweet tooth.
With more than 200 See’s candy stores across California, you won’t have trouble finding some delicious chocolate to bring home with you.
3. Mickey Mouse Ears
One of the most iconic California gifts is a pair of Mickey Mouse ears (or Minnie Mouse ears!) from Disneyland.
Located in Anaheim, California, Disneyland was the first Disney theme park to open in 1955, and the only park to be opened by Walt Disney himself.
Popular with both locals and tourists alike, Disneyland is a must-visit destination in Southern California.
4. In-N-Out Burger Merch
In-N-Out Burger is a popular fast-food chain that originated in Baldwin Park, California more than 70 years ago and rapidly expanded across the state.
While In-N-Out now has locations across several states on the West Coast, you’ll find more than 250 locations in California alone.
Delicious In-N-Out burgers and fries may not be a souvenir that you can easily take home with you, but you can pick up some In-N-Out merch.
Many locations sell t-shirts, socks, and other apparel emblazoned with the chain’s red palm logo, which has become an iconic California symbol.
5. City Lights Tote Bag
City Lights Booksellers is a famous independent bookstore in San Francisco, California. If you’re looking for the perfect California gift for a book lover, this is a great place to shop.
You can of course buy some books as a souvenir from City Lights, but another unique gift idea is a canvas tote bag.
The bookstore sells several tote bags with the name and / or store image, which makes for a great gift for any bookworm.
6. Olive Oil
More than 99% of olive oil produced in the United States comes from California, making this one of the best gifts to pick up on your trip.
Temecula and Ojai are the two most popular regions for producing olive oil.
However, if you’re not going to either of those regions during your trip to the west coast you’ll be pleased to know that bottles of fresh and delicious California olive oil are frequently sold in stores across the state.
7. California Magnets
Refrigerator magnets are an iconic souvenir, and California has a broad range of different styles and designs featuring famous landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco or the Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles.
Magnets are fantastic if you’re looking for an affordable souvenir and can be picked up from pretty much all souvenir shops in California.
8. San Francisco Municipal Railway T-Shirt
The San Francisco Municipal Railway, commonly known as Muni, is the primary public transportation system in San Francisco, California. It serves the city and its surrounding areas, including East Bay and San Mateo County.
There are a number of different Muni-inspired souvenirs available to purchase in San Francisco, however, a t-shirt featuring the iconic Muni logo, is one of our personal favourites.
9. Sports Gear
California is home to 21 professional sports teams, more than any other state which makes sports gear one of the best souvenirs to pick up during your trip.
Baseball fans may want a baseball hat to represent their favourite team, whether that’s the Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants, the San Diego Padres, or another team.
Meanwhile for basketball fans, a Los Angeles Lakers or Golden State Warriors jersey makes a really great gift.
10. California Mugs
A California-themed coffee mug is a fun, yet practical souvenir for California lovers. Allowing you to reminisce on your trip to the Golden State every time you sit down for your morning cup of coffee.
This is a classic souvenir you’ll be able to find at almost every gift shop in California. We personally opted for a classic Starbucks ‘You Are Here’ mug alongside a state flag mug featuring the California Republic bear during our most recent visit.
11. Route 66 Licence Plate
Route 66 is a historic highway that stretches more than 2,400 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles.
This popular route famously ends on the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, and you’ll see a big sign on the boardwalk indicating the “End of the Trail.”
One of the best Route 66 gift ideas you can buy is a Route 66 licence plate. These souvenir licence plates are sold in many gift shops in the area along with smaller keychain-sized versions.
12. Salt Water Taffy
If you’re looking for a great gift for someone who has a sweet tooth, you can’t go wrong with the salt water taffy that’s sold on the boardwalk in Santa Cruz, California.
You can actually find salt water taffy in many coastal places, but the taffy sold on the Santa Cruz boardwalk is a tradition dating back more than 100 years.
With tons of delicious flavours to choose from, this sweet and chewy candy is the perfect edible souvenir to bring back from California.
13. National Parks Mementos
The state of California is home to a whopping nine national parks, which is more than any other state.
From the towering redwood trees in Northern California’s Redwood National Park to the otherworldly desert landscapes of Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California, this state is home to tons of natural beauty.
One way to further support the preservation of the national parks is purchasing a licenced souvenir from the information and gift store.
There is a wide range of souvenirs available ranging from t-shirts to coffee mugs to posters and more with profits frequently going towards the upkeep and maintenance of the area.
14. University Gear
California is home to some of the most famous and prestigious universities in the United States, including Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA, and the University of Southern California.
Even if you didn’t attend or don’t have ties to one of these universities, gear from these schools makes for a great California gift.
You can pick up a baseball hat, sweatshirt, or t-shirt from the campus bookstore of any of these schools. Additionally, you can find California university gear in most souvenir shops across the state.
15. Gilroy Garlic
Garlic may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of California, but the town of Gilroy is actually known as the Garlic Capital of the World!
Located in the south San Francisco Bay Area, Gilroy is famous for its annual Gilroy Garlic Festival and is the perfect place to pick up some fresh garlic to bring home with you.
16. Disneyland Trading Pins
Another one of the best Disneyland souvenirs that you can buy in California is trading pins. These pins are sold in most of the gift stores around Disneyland, and they are really fun and unique gifts.
You can find pins of your favourite Disney characters to keep or participate in “pin trading” around the park.
Many Disneyland Cast Members will have their own pins they can trade with you, which makes for a memorable experience.
17. California Snow Globe
Contrary to popular belief, it actually does snow in California, although this winter weather phenomenon is often limited to a few mountainous regions of the state such as Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.
However, if you’re looking for fun California-inspired gifts, snow globes are a great choice. Many people collect snow globes from their travels, and you can find California-themed snow globes at almost any souvenir shop.
18. Surf Clothes
Surfing is a popular Southern California pastime that dates back to the 1950s and 1960s. California surf culture is famous throughout the world and plays a big part in pop culture.
While a surfboard might be too big of a souvenir to lug home from California, there’s plenty of other surf gear that you can buy from surf shops in Venice Beach, Huntington Beach, Malibu, and other popular surf spots on the coast.
Billabong, Roxy, Hurley, O’Neill, and Rip Curl are some of the most popular surf brands that sell apparel including t-shirts, tank tops, flip-flops, and other apparel that makes for a great souvenir.
19. Pistachio Nuts
More than 99% of all pistachios made in the United States come from California, which makes pistachio nuts a great edible souvenir that you can take home with you.
California pistachios are known for their rich, buttery flavour and crunchy texture. They are often enjoyed as a snack on their own, but can also be used in a variety of dishes, from salads to desserts.
While these nuts are predominantly produced in the southern San Joaquin Valley of California, you can still buy them in stores across the state.
20. California Inspired Water Bottle
Help to save the planet by minimising your use of single plastics, stay hydrated and pick up a fantastic California souvenir with a California-printed water bottle.
These water bottles come in a variety of different designs with several optional features and are sold in a number of souvenir stores across the state.
21. California Republic Flag
The California Republic Flag is a symbol of California’s unique and independent spirit.
This flag features a grizzly bear walking on a patch of grass, with a red stripe at the bottom and a white star in the upper left corner. The words “California Republic” are written in bold, capital letters above the bear.
The flag was first created during the California Bear Flag Revolt in 1846 when a group of American settlers declared California’s independence from Mexico. The flag was raised at Sonoma, and quickly became a symbol of California’s independent spirit.
Today, the California Republic Flag is a popular symbol of the state’s unique culture and history. It can be seen flying in many locations throughout the state, from government buildings to private homes.
Unsurprisingly, its iconic history and meaning make the California Republic Flag a fantastic souvenir whether you’re a California native or a visitor to the state.
Keychains are both practical and affordable souvenirs, available in a variety of designs capturing the unique spirit and culture of the state
Some keychains feature iconic California landmarks, such as the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hollywood sign, while others showcase the state’s natural beauty, with designs inspired by the Pacific Ocean or the Sierra Nevada mountains.
23. Cali Inspired Art Work
California-inspired artwork is a popular souvenir that captures the unique beauty and character of the Golden State.
Artwork is available in a wide variety of styles and mediums, including paintings, prints, photographs, and sculptures and often features iconic California landmarks and landscapes, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Yosemite National Park, or the Pacific coastline.
The artwork is also available in a variety of sizes and price ranges, making it accessible to anyone looking for a unique and memorable souvenir of their trip to California.
24. Wine Cork State Map
A wine map of California state is the perfect souvenir to pair with a bottle of wine from Napa Valley.
These maps are made from high-quality wood and feature an outline of California with designated spaces to place wine corks from your favourite California wineries.
These maps are available in a range of sizes and designs, from small wall hangings to large statement pieces.
Some feature additional details, such as the names of California’s wine regions or the state’s iconic landmarks, making them a great conversation starter and a unique addition to any home or office.
25. California Poppy Seeds
The California Poppy is the state flower of California and an incredible symbol of the region’s natural beauty.
These bright orange flowers are native to California and can be found growing in many parts of the state, from coastal cliffs to inland valleys.
Therefore unsurprisingly, California poppy seeds make for a great souvenir for visitors to the state.
They can be grown in a variety of settings, from small gardens to large fields, and are a great way to bring a touch of California’s natural beauty into your own home.
26. Locally Made Wax Candle
A locally made wax candle is a great souvenir that captures the unique scents and culture of California.
These candles are made from high-quality wax and are available in a wide range of scents, from the refreshing aroma of eucalyptus to the sweet fragrance of orange blossoms.
In addition to their beautiful scents, locally made wax candles are also a high-quality and sustainable choice.
Many are made using natural, renewable ingredients, such as soy wax or beeswax, and are free from harmful chemicals and artificial fragrances.
27. California-Inspired Blanket
A California-inspired blanket is a cosy and practical souvenir that captures the unique beauty and culture of the Golden State.
Available in a wide range of sizes, these blankets are made from high-quality materials, such as soft cotton or warm wool, and feature designs that are inspired by California’s natural beauty and iconic landmarks.
28. California Beer Cap Map
A California beer cap map is a fun and unique way to showcase your love for craft beer and the state of California.
These maps are made from high-quality wood and feature an outline of California with designated spaces to place beer caps from your favourite California breweries.
These maps are available in a range of sizes and designs, from small wall hangings to large statement pieces.
Some feature additional details, such as the names of California’s breweries or the state’s iconic landmarks, making them a great conversation starter and a unique addition to any home or office.
29. California Inspired Wooden Coasters
If you’re looking for a practical souvenir to remember your time in California then consider picking up some locally-made wooden coasters.
These coasters are frequently available in a variety of different formats to suit your home’s style and are small enough to fit in your backpack during a flight back home.
30. California Bear Stuffed Toy
The California Bear is a cute and cuddly souvenir that captures the spirit of California’s iconic state animal.
These soft and huggable toys come in a variety of sizes and styles and feature a cute and friendly bear design that is instantly recognisable.
These bears are perfect as a gift for a young family member or friend, or as a mascot for yourself when back home.
31. Dried Orange Peel
Dried orange peel is a popular culinary souvenir from California which is made by carefully drying and then grinding the peel of fresh oranges, creating a fine powder.
Dried orange peel is a versatile kitchen ingredient which can be used in a variety of recipes including; cakes, muffins and bread as well as marinades, rubs, and sauces.
Better still, since the dried orange peel is typically sold in small packages it’s a convenient and delicious souvenir for both a suitcase or carry-on.
32. California Honey
California honey is a delicious and natural sweetener that is produced by bees throughout the state.
California is home to a variety of flowering plants, which provide the bees with a diverse range of nectar sources and give the honey its unique flavour and aroma.
Some popular varieties include wildflower, orange blossom, and clover honey. Each variety has its own distinct taste and can be used in a variety of recipes, from sweet desserts to savoury marinades.
California honey makes a great souvenir for visitors to the state, and it is often sold at farmer’s markets and speciality food stores.
33. Santa Barbara Stuffed Olives
Santa Barbara stuffed olives are a popular culinary souvenir from Santa Barbara, California.
These olives are grown and hand-stuffed in Santa Barbara, using a traditional Mediterranean recipe using high-quality ingredients, including garlic, herbs, and spices.
The olives come in a variety of flavours, including garlic, jalapeno, and blue cheese and are available in a range of sizes, from small jars to large tubs.
Santa Barbara stuffed olives can be purchased at speciality food stores, farmer’s markets, and even online when you get home.
34. California-Inspired Notebook
Notebooks with California prints are another popular souvenir found in most stores across the state.
These notebooks are perfect for jotting down notes, sketching, or recording your travel adventures, they are practical and beautiful souvenirs that you can use every day.
Choose a design that speaks to you and enjoy the feeling of California inspiration every time you use it.
35. Farmers Market Cookbook
The Original Farmer’s Market in LA has been a beloved institution for over 80 years, offering visitors and locals alike a wide variety of fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and other culinary delights.
The Farmer’s Market Cookbook is a collection of recipes that celebrate the rich diversity of the market’s vendors and their offerings.
The cookbook features recipes from some of the market’s most popular and iconic food stalls, including Brazilian barbecue, Mexican cuisine, fresh seafood, and much more.