Tourist in my own town, a continuing series…
In a big city like Los Angeles, there is no a shortage of things to see and do, in fact if anything, deciding which amazing thing to do next is the challenge. I know! It’s a struggle! Lucky for me, I live here, so even though I can’t do it all, I at least have a fighting chance! But what if you don’t live here, how do you narrow down all those great options?
The good news is: You just can’t go wrong!
If you’re looking for a few ideas to get you started, look no further! Our recent 8 hour whirlwind tour, which started in Santa Monica and ended with a gorgeous sunset over Museum Row, hit many iconic highlights, and included something for everyone. We had a lot of ground to cover, especially since some of our group had never been to California before, but I think we did a pretty good job!
One Amazing Day in LA
A great place to grab breakfast and go over the day’s plan, our group met at Sidecar Doughnuts, which is pretty much our favorite donut shop on the Westside, and we’ve tried a few. Sidecar’s doughnuts are always fresh, tasty, and popular, so be prepared for a long line, and because your first choice will most likely sell out before you make it to the counter, choose a second. Don’t worry they’re all good.
If you’re interested in street art you might like to view the large Bumblebeelovesyou mural on the West side of the building. Collecting street art is a favorite pastime of mine, so look out for more on that in a future post.
The Hollywood Sign
When visiting Los Angeles the world famous Hollywood sign is always a popular sight! If you’re not up to hiking, or just don’t have time, there are many places around town where you can get a great view. One such place is Bronson Canyon located in Griffith Park. Not only is this a great view spot, but its also the filming location for many popular Hollywood movies and TV shows, the list is long, but here are a few: Gunsmoke, Little House on the Prairie, Star Trek, The Scorpion King, and Army of Darkness.
Other great spots to view the sign are, the Griffith Observatory, the Hollywood and Highland Center, and the top level of the Broad Contemporary Art Building at LACMA.
The Historic Hollywood Walk of Fame
Another famous Hollywood institution is the Walk of Fame, which runs 1.3 miles along Hollywood Boulevard between Gower Street and La Brea Avenue. There are more than 2,500 stars along the Walk and you’ll be sure to recognize a few of your favorite entertainers.
Be sure to look up as you’re walking along, otherwise you might miss the famous Grauman’s Chinese theater! I still remember my visit here as a little girl and attempting to fit my feet and hands into the many celebrity prints which have been pressed into the courtyard floor.
Pinks Hot Dog Stand
After all that hiking and walking we’d whipped up an appetite and no trip to Los Angeles would be complete without a trip to Pink’s a true LA institution! Famous for it’s chili cheese dog, Pink’s has been in the same spot on La Brea for 76 years and if the perpetually long line is any indication, it’s not going anywhere.
Trust me it’s worth the wait! Even, if like me, you think you don’t like chili dogs. It turns out I do, its just that they have to be from Pink’s! If you’re still not convinced, don’t worry; there are other items on the menu.
La Brea Tar Pits and Museum
Our next stop will be of particular interest to any history lovers in your group! Can you believe that at one time the bustling area that is now Museum Row on Wilshire Boulevard was once the home of dire wolves, saber-tooth cats, and mammoths? It’s true! Of course that was 50,000 years ago, give or take a few thousand years… The La Brea Tar Pits and the George C. Page Museum offer a glimpse into what life was life in the LA basin long before people came along.
Excavation is still taking place and during your visit you’ll see bubbling tar pits, current dig sites, fossils, informational films and interactive exhibits. A few things to keep in mind: There is an entrance fee to the museum, but viewing the outside exhibits is free. You won’t see dinosaurs here, as they’d already been extinct for 65 million years when animals started becoming entrapped in the tar pits.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Conveniently located across the lawn from the Tar Pits, we walked over to our final stop of the day, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). It would take multiple visits to see everything the largest art museum on the West Coast has to offer, but we were running out of steam at this point, so instead of touring the indoor galleries we chose to enjoy some of the Museum’s outdoor exhibits.
I could spend hours at Urban lights by artist Chris Burden. The solar powered installation is made from 202 restored cast iron street lamps from 1920s and 30s Los Angeles. This is an incredibly popular place to take photos and hang out, so unless you want to visit in the middle of the night, expect to have other people in your photos.
The boys loved Penetrable by artist Jesús Rafael Soto, an interactive art installation just outside the entrance to the Ahmanson Building. Made of simple yellow tubing hanging from a steel grid, this installation is meant to be touched! The boys spent ages here and I think we need one of these in our yard!
Just as the sun was setting and having had our fill of outdoor art and photos we decided to call it a day. There are so many amazing places to see in LA and I’m doing my best to see them all… I’ve got my work cut out for me, but I think I’m up to the task!