Firstly, meteors showers can be seen from anywhere, not just California. Although the darker the skies the better, so you will have to escape the city lights & climb in elevation. Coastal hills have too much moisture in the air & the unexpected fog can easily roll in. The Sierra Nevada Mountains are the perfect choice for stargazing & most of NorCal.
Meteor showers in general do not fit in to the normal daily routine or time frame for most people. Neither do the majority of heavenly displays. The best show starts well after midnight & that is too late for our American society - who manage to squeeze in 10+ hours of television per week. Hit the hay before the pumpkin hour & you're missing out dude.
Tonight is the peak of the Perseids. Get your ass outside for an hour.
The air beds, lounge chairs, hats, jackets & caffeine will help us enjoy it longer.
Meteorites entering earth atmosphere burn into a ball of light & evaporate in the edges of our earths air. Grazer are bigger particles that skim across & cause a long tail to follow, sometimes with hints of color. Fire balls are the big comet-like shows that light up the sky all around. Night owls can enjoy a series of shooting stars, right up until day break.