Of course, Disneyland is a magical place to bring the kids and tire them out with all the rides and walking – you’ll definitely poop yourself out, too. A tour through Universal Studios takes you behind the scenes of some of your favorite movie and TV shows.
You can walk down the Sunset Strip to enjoy music and food. Head on over to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and find your favorite celebrities’ stars. Apart from the usual suspects of tourist haunts are the more cultural and eclectic havens that fashion the diverse L.A. scene.
The Getty Center and J. Paul Getty Museum
When the Getty Center opened in 1997, I tried very hard to get reserved parking tickets. Unfortunately, I started inquiring about the tickets too late and had to wait a full six months before my first visit.
I’ve been there more than a dozen times now and each time my experience is very different from the previous one. The Getty Center has breathtaking views atop the Santa Monica Mountains, with the I-405 to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Trams transport visitors from the expansive seven-story underground parking garage to the Center, winding slowly up the side of the mountain.
Groups of students shuffle through, oohing and awing at famous paintings they recognize from their art class. In the middle of the Center sits the Central Garden designed by Robert Irwin. The Center also houses an astonishing library collection, 900,000 volumes of material relating to art and art history.
There are always lectures and performances scheduled. Come for the art, education, shopping, and food. If all this does not impress you, the architecture of the Center will. Designed by Richard Meier, the Center thunders upwards from the mountains and naturally captures the Los Angeles vibe. Admission is free, you only pay $10 for a parking fee. The Getty Center – 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, #310.440.7300.
The husband and I used to go several times a month and it was always a great destination when we needed to buy a birthday present for a friend. You can buy a Smurfs lunch box, a book on the worst cards ever sold, a Ho Chi Minh shot glass, an aluminum wind-up robot, and a fragrant bar of handmade soap in one trip. You can lose yourself in the books, toys and art. It’s Los Angeles at its finest. Wacko – 4633 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, #323.663.0122
Runyon Canyon Park
Quietly sheltered in the Hollywood Hills, this park attracts hundreds of regulars daily. There are several entry ways into the park; many regulars use the entrances at the bottom of the canyon just off of Hollywood Blvd.
I used to use the entrance on Vista Street, where dogs could walk off-leash. Encompassing 130 acres of land, the park is a haven for hikers and their dogs. You don’t have to be an expert to go here; there are trails for everyone, even the most experienced hiker.
My favorite spot is a viewpoint called Inspiration Point, which has a lone bench (you may recognize this spot from a Seinfeld episode when George and Jerry visit Los Angeles). Do some meditating and visit this park. Runyon Canyon – just two blocks from Hollywood Blvd., enter either on Vista Street or Fuller Avenue.
The Hollywood Bowl is one of the best ways to see a concert in Los Angeles. The largest outdoor amphitheater in the country, the Bowl is host to hundreds of acts a year, from the L.A. Philharmonic and James Taylor to Rod Stewart and the always popular (and sold-out) Sound of Music sing-a-long event.
Due to limited parking, most Angelenos use the BowlBus Park & Ride or the BowlBus Shuttles, which cost between $3 and $5. Hollywood Bowl – 2301 N. Highland Avenue, Hollywood, #323.850.2000.
Visit Los Angeles and you’ll see why millions flock to this city every year! You will never forget!