It’s that time of year, Frocktalkers – VACATION!! I have some friends coming to town with children, and they were asking me what kinds of things they should do if they wanted the “Hollywood Experience”. What follows is a little list. I’ve also added some “non-Hollywood” things to see here, as well. I hope that it proves helpful and that you have a wonderful time in our beautiful city!!
1) Universal Studios TOUR – you can get on a tram and tour the Universal Studios lot. See the back-lot, tour the costume facility, etc. It’s pretty awesome. http://www.universalstudioshollywood.com/attractions/studio-tour/
Also, you can get a tour of Warner Bros studios, which is also fascinating and good (and you can also tour the costume facility there)! http://vipstudiotour.warnerbros.com/
2) If you want to grab a little lunch and see celebrities (I was there yesterday and saw three) try Aroma Café on Tujunga: http://www.yelp.com/biz/aroma-coffee-and-tea-studio-city or if you’re on the other side of the hill, try Urth Caffe on Melrose: http://www.yelp.com/biz/urth-caffe-west-hollywood#query:urth%20cafe I’m not saying that celebrity sighting is like, all that great – and most likely you won’t be able to recognize the celebrity in their sweats, sunglasses and baseball hats – but it’s fun for tourists if you’re into that kind of thing.
3) Chinese Theater/Hollywood Walk of Fame – I think the theater is undergoing renovation right now, but that is where the hands-and-feet are. It’s on Hollywood Blvd between La Brea and Highland. http://www.tclchinesetheatres.com/ Also in this area is the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum http://www.ripleys.com/hollywood/ and the Tussaud’s Wax Gallery http://www.madametussauds.com/Hollywood/default.aspx , and the Hollywood Museum (which is really pretty fabulous)! http://www.thehollywoodmuseum.com/
4) Attend a free taping of a game show or talk show – this will help: http://on-camera-audiences.com/ … If it were me, I would want to be on The Price is Right!! http://on-camera-audiences.com/shows/The_Price_is_Right
5) There is also the big red sightseeing bus – you can take it everywhere, and your have off and on privileges, so it’s also really convenient: http://www.starlinetours.com/los-angeles-tour-HOHO.asp
6) Venice Beach is good, and it will be hopping with people in the summer. http://venicebeach.com/ Also near there is 3rd Street Promenade – shopping, dining, etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Street_Promenade And there are some great places to eat in Venice, too, including: Abbot’s Habit http://www.yelp.com/biz/abbots-habit-venice-2#query:abbot%27s%20habit, The Omelet Parlor http://www.yelp.com/biz/ocean-park-omelette-parlor-santa-monica#query:omelet%20parlor and Rose Cafe: http://www.yelp.com/biz/rose-caf%C3%A9-and-market-venice-2#query:rose%20cafe
If you are interested in some NON-Hollywood sights, I would suggest the following:
1) Westwood – if you want to show the kids something different, specifically traditions of Persian heritage (people who left Iran – most of them during the Revolution of 1979), Westwood is the place to go. There are restaurants, markets, ice cream stores, bookstores, record stores, everything. Most of the stores are located on Westwood Blvd between Wilshire and Santa Monica Blvd. My old stomping grounds! My favorite restaurant there is Shaherzade http://www.yelp.com/biz/shaherzad-los-angeles and pretty much across the street is Saffron & Rose ice cream. I mean – come on. http://www.yelp.com/biz/saffron-and-rose-ice-cream-los-angeles#query:saffron%20ice%20cream
2) Olvera Street – this is the oldest street in Los Angeles, and it’s like a little slice of Mexico. There is always something going on, and the food and vendors are great. Make sure to get a churro and some horchata while you are there. It’s so delicious and fun. http://www.calleolvera.com/ Definitely make a stop at MR CHURRO http://www.yelp.com/biz/mr-churro-los-angeles-2
3) Outlet Malls – I know it sounds lame, but you can find some really well-priced things if you are into shopping for the kids at The Citadel Outlets. http://www.citadeloutlets.com/ They have every Adidas, Nike, Puma, Converse, Reebok type of thing you could ever want, in styles not available in Europe. If you are in the market for new duds, it’s a good stop.
4) Getty Center – This is a major art museum, and it’s gorgeous. The Getty Center is located right off the 405 freeway, up in the hills. The architecture alone is worth a trip. It’s different from the Getty Villa (located in Malibu), which houses antiquities. You will need a reservation in advance to park at the Getty Center, so check in at the website: http://www.getty.edu/
5) The Museum of Tolerance – I am a member of this museum. I think it is really awesome. It was started by Simon Weisenthal, and there is a huge exhibit about the Holocaust. There are also big exhibits about other conflict areas – for a while they had a big Africa/Lost boys thing, the Armenian genocide, Civil Rights, Human Trafficking – it’s all a part of what they do, raising awareness of these issues that need solving. It’s a great place. www.museumoftolerance.com/
6) Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball Game. This is a for sure. Get a big tall beer and a Dodger Dog, and you are in heaven. We have a great new player named PUIG, and he is getting everyone here very excited. Check the schedule to see if there are any games that suit your time constraints (game lasts, on average, 3 hours) http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/schedule/index.jsp?c_id=la#y=2013&m=6&calendar=DEFAULT and you can get tickets at a good rate at Stub Hub: http://www.stubhub.com/los-angeles-dodgers-tickets/ Fun times!!!!
7) Knott’s Berry Farm – it’s an amusement park, good for families, and DIFFERENT from Disneyland! If you’ve ever been to Euro Disney, it’s not going to be quite as new, thrilling and exciting to go to Disneyland. But Knott’s is fun. It has kind of a wild west – old west vibe to it. https://www.knotts.com/ It’s in Orange County (about a 1-hour drive) but it is worth it, and it’s an all-day affair.
8) Concert at the Hollywood Bowl – if you can swing it, it’s fabulous. Bring a picnic, wine, and stretch out under the stars. There is so much variety in the schedule – check it out and pick your favorite! I LOVE the Hollywood Bowl, and summer is really not complete without seeing at least one concert there. http://www.hollywoodbowl.com/tickets/calendar?month=2013-08
9) Hike to the Griffith Park Observatory – if you guys are up for some good hiking, you can trek through Griffith Park up to the Observatory – it’s a great hike, and the observatory itself is cool, offering spectacular views of LA. I’d go in the morning, when it’s not so hot. By 12 noon, it can be unbearable in the summer, so leave early if you can (before 9AM). There are also amazing pony rides for the kids and a train museum and tiny train rides. Griffith Park is really, REALLY wonderful. There is also a carousel that is beautiful and really fun! http://www.laparks.org/dos/parks/griffithpk/
10) LA Zoo – I was just there this morning with my god-daughter. It’s pretty awesome, and they have a lot of babies at the moment – baby giraffe (named Sophie, LOL), and some really adorable baby chimpanzees. Ugh, they are SO CUTE! It’s a great zoo, and there is so much to see – many animals that you might not see elsewhere. http://www.lazoo.org/ Across the street is also the Autry Museum of Western Heritage – http://theautry.org/, and oftentimes they have cool exhibits about clothing, textiles, costumes and the like – check their schedule; it’s been a while since I’ve been there!
11) Disneyland – if you dare! I think that the other amusement parks (Universal Studios, Magic Mountain, etc) are too scary/grown up for younger age groups… but Disneyland/California Adventure and/or Knotts would be really fun options for the young ones (as well as the adult ones!). http://disneyland.disney.go.com/
12) LA County Museum of Art (LACMA) If you guys love art, this is really the place to go. We have a lot of cool museums, but LACMA is really world-class. It might be a bit cerebral for kids, but check the site and see what you think: http://www.lacma.org/
13) Petersen Automotive Museum For the car enthusiasts in your life, this is insanity. It’s like three stories worth of some of the most beautiful cars you will ever see. PLUS, a shrine to Hot Wheels, with every single model ever made on display. It’s incredible. http://petersen.org/
14) Point Dume Beach (Malibu) This is one of the most beautiful beaches in Southern California. Tons of film, TV and commercials have been filmed here, and it is well worth the (hour-long) drive to get out there on crowded days. If you are looking for a change of attitude and change of latitude, this is the place. Roll out your towel and enjoy the chill, mellow vibe and the gorgeous natural beauty. http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=623
And what trip would be complete without some culinary adventures? Here are my favorite restaurants (in no particular order)
THE GOLDEN STATE (The best hamburgers you will ever have)
TA-KE SUSHI (the best fish in town, in my opinion)
SON OF A GUN (Seafood, amazing)
BLUDSO’S BBQ (Texas Style BBQ)
MULBERRY STREET PIZZA (Pizza and salad)
SOOT BULL JEEP (Korean BBQ)
GILBERT’S EL INDIO (Mexican – cash only)
DIDDY RIESE (cookies and ice cream)
SK’s DONUTS & CROISSANT (donuts; I know you love them)
NATE ‘N’ AL’S (deli/breakfast)
TACOS MEXICO (best tacos in town)
Hope you have a beautiful summer, Frocktalkers! I’ve taken a job out of town, and it’s going to be very hectic for a good long while. I will write more about it in upcoming posts, but it’s a big one, and it’s going to be a terrific adventure!! Happy summer and have a great week, all!!