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What to See?
The home of Hollywood, Los Angeles is the city where you can immerse yourself in some heady Hollywood essence. Drop in at Universal Studios to get a first-hand feel of the madness, method, and magic that happens behind the scenes. However, if you’d rather be starry-eyed about the real thing, go to the Griffith Observatory. Stargazing, films, and exhibits are the order of the day.
Believe it or not, a sculpture of Marilyn Monroe can be made out of shredded hundred dollar bills. Wrap your head around that and other bizarre stuff at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. And in relatively sane things, the Craft & Folk Art Museum, with its global mélange of creative work, kiddie’s workshops, and an interesting gift store, is a must-visit.
If you like little ethnic treats, go to El Mercado. This lovely indoor market has kitchen equipment, toys, knick-knacks, ethnic foods and lots more just waiting to be picked up.
Sharks! You will find them in a special 3500 gallon tank at the Roundhouse Aquarium. Kids will love the touch tanks, even if you yourself cower and crouch in fear. For the faint-hearted, safer species can be seen in smaller tanks. Go fish!
Where to go?
With its glorious, sunny weather, Los Angeles is a great city for legwork. Canal Walks take you into the quaint world of canal bridges, pretty paths, and bougainvillea-suffused bungalows. Really tranquil, really pretty!
The Venice Boardwalk, on the other hand, is wildly colorful, noisy, and bursting with an eclectic assortment of experiences. Try some of the famous and fun trails in Los Angeles too. The San Antonio Winery is all about wines, free sampling, free tours of vineyards, and an Italian restaurant, which is the only place you may have to awaken your wallet.
In the Museum of Jurassic Technology your mind will do more wandering than your legs. It’s whacky in the extreme, dedicating space to pure imagination. And from the ûber-mad to the oriental. Buddhist temples, shopping malls, traditional gardens, sushi bars, public art, and all things Japanese can be found in Little Tokyo.
If silence is golden for you, the Serra Retreat is a precious place filled with calm gardens, peaceful ocean views, pretty flower beds, and serenity. If, on the other hand, you love the sun, sand, ocean breeze, and the happy hubbub of sunbathing throngs, then Santa Monica Beach is your place.
The Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden has everything a botanical garden worth its plants should: global flora fauna, water bodies, historic buildings and sprawling emerald acres. The grounds are often used for filming, so you may just spot exotic human species too. The beauty of the Palisades Park is that it is spectacularly perched on cliff at the edge of the continent. It’s an appropriate end to the famous Route 66. The Los Angeles Art Walks take you on a mesmerizing tour of the art spots and creative highpoints of the city. Or take one of the many fun tours.
Where to eat and stay?
In the land of cocktails, glamour is an inevitable part of the mix. With Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt among the owners, the Viper Room draws curious fans in droves. And you don’t even have to dress to kill.
Quite opposite is the chic Skybar. It’s a favorite with many Hollywood celebrities, so you want to be seen in your sexiest best at this poolside, under-the-stars place. The Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel is another favorite with stars and powerful people. Sip a Martini in classic Hollywood style in one of the booths, if you find one free.
The Windows Lounge at the Four Seasons Hotel, Beverly Hills, and the Rooftop Bar at the Standard Downtown are a must-visit for their elegant ambience. Beer guzzlers, do not fret! Los Angeles offers a wide range of Irish pubs and bars. Try Finn McCool’s Irish Pub and Sonny McLean’s both at Santa Monica. Apart from good ol’ ale, you will also get a taste of Irish gastronomy staples. Let’s drink to that!
A city as fascinating, famous, and iconic as Los Angeles draws people like a magnet. Not surprisingly then there are a wide variety of accommodation options. Budget-watchers try the Rodeway Inn, Hollywood, and the Venice Beach Suites, Venice Beach. They offer spacious rooms and good location, at easygoing rates. If waking up to a beach is your thing, try the Terranea Resort for a Riviera-style stay or the Beach House, Hermosa Beach for the beach factor. Shore Hotel is a big hit with environmentally conscious travelers. Shutters on the Beach offers you that old school residential luxury.
Los Angeles has always had a strong rock music scene. Some famous bands and rock acts have used the LA music scene as a launch pad to rock stardom. Places like The Troubadour, House of Blues, The Echo, The Satellite and The Music Box are great to catch some of the hottest new acts in the country. If you like the energy of live concerts, try Club Nokia and Hollywood Palladium.
Do not even think of getting out without sunscreen, sunglasses and the thirst to have some fun!