There is a lot that Los Angeles has to offer. If you’re short on time, here’s a lowdown on the top ten must-dos.
Spread along the beautiful Pacific Ocean, across hills and valleys, Los Angeles captivates the senses at the very first sight. Beaches, palm trees, a choice of restaurants, museums, the glamor of Hollywood, stunningly beautiful homes and lots of sun, shops and friendly people make ‘ The City of Angels‘The perfect holiday destination. The relaxed cosmopolitan atmosphere makes travelers from all over the world feel right at home, ready to enjoy what’s on offer as soon as they land!
And while you can never have enough of the city, the 10 places and experiences listed here are sure to give you a wonderful taste of the city!
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DISCOVERY OF THE DOWNTOWN:
Put on your walking shoes and head out to explore LA’s Downtown. Get your hands on a card before you begin. The Staple center, old theaters along Broadway, the jewelry district, Pueblo de Los Angeles (the old Spanish Quarter), Grand City Hall, museums, art galleries, modern theaters along Grand Avenue, Grand Central Market, China Town and Little Tokyo are just a few of the gems and architectural marvels encountered along the way. Take a round trip with Angel’s Flight, the shortest train journey in the world!
Skateboarders, walkers, sunbathers, shoppers and browsers have the sun and Venice Beach at their service. Don’t be surprised to find a person with a placard asking for a dollar to buy weed or a store with medical marijuana signage! There is this and much more Venice beach. From a Native American store with charming artifacts to “I love LA” t-shirts, fast food to sliced fruit, shoes to sunglasses, tattoos to massages, street art to outdoor gym, music performances to painters, there’s plenty on offer. Venice Boardwalk Association (voicemail: 310-392-4687 ext 6).
SHOPPING AND MORE:
The Grove, adjacent to the original Farmers Market, is a must visit. It is a lovely plaza style neighborhood with classy restaurants, shops, musical fountain, theatre, paved paths and a trolley that runs through the main street. Treat yourself to a decadent cheesecake The Cheesecake Factory after you finish shopping. You can also enjoy a view of The Grove and the city lights from the roof of the parking block. Glendale Galleria is another great shopping destination.
Set aside a day for Pasadena, about 30 minutes away. Here’s a rare opportunity to indulge in old world class: extensive botanical gardens (desert garden, subtropical forest, Japanese garden, rose garden), a stately library filled with leather-bound books, exceptional art, elegant interiors and ornate architecture come together to create a majestic estate. Enjoy a delightful tea service in the Rose Garden with a range of light dishes served buffet style with tea.
Atop the San Gabriel Mountains is the stately Griffith Observatory. It offers a panoramic view of the city and a rendezvous with celestial bodies. There’s the fascinating Foucault pendulum that demonstrates the rotation of the Earth, views from optical telescopes, the attractive show in the planetarium, interactive exhibits, the Zeiss refracting telescope, the Tesla coil that sends electrical bolts when fired by staff. activated and much more here. You can later relax at The Café at the end of the universe to watch the sun set on the horizon. Entrance is free. www.griffithobservatory.org.
You can’t miss a tour of the Beverly Hills, home to the rich and the famous. An audio bus tour is a good idea. It fills you in on who stays/stays true – from Lucille Ball to Madonna, Michael Jackson to the Beckhams. The tour bus invariably travels down Rodeo Drive, sprinkled with designer label and haute couture stores and boutiques. You will also see the Bugatti parked in front of the House of Bijan, an appointment-only boutique classed as the most expensive shop in the world. You will also come across the famous Beverly Wilshire hotel. Yes, the one where the Pretty Woman and the Entourage series was shot!
The Walk of Fame sidewalks along 18 blocks inlaid with brass instruments and terrazzo stars honoring entertainment industry artists; Kodak Theater, which is the new home of the Oscars; Grauman’s Chinese Theater with its famous handprints enclosed for posterity; the ornate El Capitan Theater; Hollywood Museum; Madame Tussauds Hollywood, are just a few of the area’s countless cinematic highlights. A guide tells you about movie premieres and also where the movie stars usually shop and dine! The Hollywood Bowl is the largest outdoor amphitheater in the US.
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SAN ANTONIO WINERY:
A 10-minute drive from Downtown is the charming San Antonio winery that was established way back in 1917. The winery produces a range of wines using grapes from estates in Napa Valley and Monterey and other wine regions of the state. Visitors can enjoy a complimentary wine tour that takes them through the winery’s production process and fascinating history. There is a lovely restaurant within the winery complex with good food and of course a great choice of wines!
If you’re a museum buff, LA is the place to be. Exposition Park near Downtown with its range of Colosseum, museums, rose garden etc is worth a visit. Set aside a day for LACMA for its rich collection of world art. Oil magnate J Paul Getty’s love of art can be enjoyed at the Getty Villa, which houses ancient art, and the Getty Center, which houses European and American art from the Middle Ages. The Grammy Museum explores the history of music and the Grammy Awards. Paleontologists would love to visit the George C Page Museum, showcasing the city’s prehistoric past.
Beach town meets stylish city in Santa Monica. A beach that stretches for three miles between Venice and Malibu, shops and restaurants make Santa Monica a popular place to relax. Women can visit the Dermalogica concept store on Montana Avenue for a personalized consultation. Other attractions include Pacific Park, an oceanfront amusement park with fun rides and the Pacific Wheel, the world’s first and only solar-powered Ferris wheel. From Santa Monica you can also visit Marina del Rey. It has the largest small-scale harbor garden in the world, along with oceanfront restaurants. There is also Venice. Originally developed as a pocket of the Italian city, it still has a few canals and bridges with charming paths and houses that line the canals.