Browsed by
Tag: getting around los angeles

Top Things to Do in Los Angeles That You Should Not Miss

Top Things to Do in Los Angeles That You Should Not Miss

Perhaps everyone has heard and read about Los Angeles, a county in southern California and its most famous city of the same name. But not everyone has had the chance to visit L.A. So if you have that rare opportunity to visit Los Angeles, then you should have listed down the “must-do” things while staying there. But if you haven’t, you may consider the following suggestions below:

1) Disneyland
Especially for a first-timer, any wide-eyed tourist won’t pass up the chance to visit Disneyland. Creator Walt Disney’s original vision of the “Happiest Place on Earth” has continued to enchant and delight kids and kids-at-heart. Being in Disneyland evokes feelings of excitement, romance or nostalgia, depending on how old you are or how you view Disneyland.

The newest addition to Disneyland, the sprawling Disney’s California Adventure (formerly Disney’s California Adventure Park), pays tribute to California and features more recent Disney characters and other attractions such as art deco-style Buena Vista Street. Unlike at Disneyland, Disney’s California Adventure serves alcoholic drinks such as beer, wine and cocktails throughout its restaurants, stands and food stalls. There’s also live nighttime entertainment, as well.

2) The Hollywood Walk of Fame
Well, of course, Hollywood is a destination in itself. But you cannot afford to pass up the chance to take a literally star-studded tour to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. There are about 1,600 stars that run the trail of Hollywood Boulevard (and a part of Vine Street). These five-pointed terazzo-and-brass stars bear the names of the actors, actresses, directors, producers, musical and theatrical figures, and even fictional characters that made a significant mark on the (mostly) American entertainment scene.

3) Universal Studios Hollywood
Aside from being an actual working movie studio (in fact, it’s one of the oldest studios in Hollywood), Universal Studios Hollywood is also a theme park. It offers movie-and-TV-themed rides and attractions including the Waterworld ride, DreamWorks Theater and The Simpson’s Ride. For die-hard Harry Potter fans, you’ll surely have to time of your life living out your fantasies at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter which is highlighted by the towering Hogwarts Castle.

4) Venice Beach
Venice Beach may not be the typical family-style beach; it’s California’s bohemian hub. The stretch of golden sand and its iconic beachfront boardwalk are always filled with tourists who take leisure walks, sunbathe, cycling, jogging, rollerblading and skateboarding. While it has turned somewhat high-end and mainstream – particularly on Abbot Kinney Boulevard which is considered one of L.A.’s best places to shop – Venice Beach still proudly embraces its eccentric and quirky spirit. There are vendors and street entertainers that amuse tourists; there are also food trucks, live music and creative art installations.

5) Rodeo Drive
If you are ready to whip up your American Express platinum card, there is no better place in Los Angeles to shop in style than Rodeo Drive. Otherwise, window shopping and sight-seeing may be your order of the day. That’s because this two-mile-long street in the affluent Beverly Hills is filled with luxury and designer stores. Unless you have the budget, all you can do there is to browse luxury goods and maybe do some celebrity star-gazing.

6) Los Angeles County Museum of Art
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art still holds its position as being the largest museum in the western United States. It attracts almost a million visitors every year, so it’s really worth checking it out. There are about 130,000 pieces in the museum, which consist of a diverse range of Western and Eastern artworks and artifacts coming from different eras. Among the must-see artworks there include Katshusika Hokusai’s woodblock print “The Great Wave off Kanagawa,” Picasso’s oil painting “Woman with a Book,” and Rodin’s iconic “The Thinker” sculpture.

You won’t leave the museum without taking some pictures and posing for selfies at the famous “Urban Light” sculpture (pictured).

6) Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory
After mingling with Mickey and Minnie at Disneyland or immersing yourself with art and culture at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, it’s time to cater to your passion surveying and exploring. Don’t forget to check out Griffith Park, which is located at the eastern end of Santa Monica mountains. The park covers 4,310 acres, making it one of the largest urban parks in North America. Griffith Park is home to a number of attractions including the Los Angeles Zoo, the Greek Theater, the merry-go-round and the Griffith Observatory.

At the Griffith Observatory, you can enjoy stunning views of downtown L.A., the iconic “Hollywood” sign, and the Pacific Ocean. Additionally, you can also spend hours browsing its space and science-related displays. The popular Ahmanson Hall of the Sky and Hall of the Eye let you examine the interaction between people and space.

7) Farmers Market
When Farmers Market began in 1934, it was originally a fruit-and-vegetables market. But nowadays, Farmers Market has become the place where you can find different kinds of produce, as well as meats, poultry, fish and seafood, gourmet foodstuff as well as specialty goods. Over the decades, it has expanded to accommodate more merchants. As you might have guessed it, Farmers Market has become a destination of foodies in search of the local cuisine. It boasts several food stalls that offer a mix of specialty, ethnic and gourmet cuisine.

8) The Broad
The Broad is one of Los Angeles’ most recent cultural attractions. When it first opened to the public in 2015, it enjoyed overwhelming success. Up to now, it still continues to attract tourists. Part of the reason of its popularity is the free admission, but you must reserve slots a month in advance.

Another reason of The Broad’s popularity is its unique architecture. The building’s design is based on the “veil-and-vault” concept, wherein the “veil” is a porous envelope that covers the entire building, filtering daytime light and transmitting it into the museum’s interiors. The museum features about 2,000 pieces of post-war and contemporary art. The “Infinity Mirror” rooms by Yayoi Kusama are perhaps the most sought-after, as they let visitors to experience the illusion of endlessness.

9) The “Hollywood” sign
The iconic “Hollywood” sign is situated on Mount Lee, in the Hollywood Hills area of Santa Monica Mountains. It was first unveiled in 1923, originally as an advertisement sign. Over the decades it has endured lots of damages brought about by natural causes as well as vandalism. And now, Los Angeles makes sure that its old glory shall be maintained. The area is one of the most popular hiking sites in Los Angeles. Plus, stunning panoramic views of Hollywood unfold before your eyes as you hike on the Hollywood trail towards the iconic signage, and knowing all about its history (check out the article The History of the Hollywood Sign) will make you appreciate it even more.

Getting around Los Angeles

Getting around Los Angeles

The county of Los Angeles, California is a popular tourist destination. It attracts millions of visitors every year; in 2017 alone, it received 48.3 million tourists, which has set a new record for the county’s tourism history.

When you think of Los Angeles, you automatically think of Hollywood and Disneyland. While these two are the most popular, there is more to see in the county and the city of the same name. There are other exciting attractions, unique neighborhoods, great beaches, historic landmarks, and more places to shop, dine, and relax.

Yes, Los Angeles can be a bit overwhelming, especially for the first-time visitor. A popular tourist destination should not be lacking in options to get to and around the place and luckily, Los Angeles offers a lot of those. If you have got your own car, you’ll be fine. But if you arrive in L.A. without your own automobile, here are some alternatives.

1) By renting a car
Say you are flying into Los Angeles and you want to drive around the city after you land, but obviously you don’t bring your own vehicle with you. The other option is to rent one. While it’s not the only option to get around the city, many tourists think that it is the most convenient and practical, especially when visiting a place as sprawling as Los Angeles.

Car rentals are the most accessible; many airport companies have their own car rental services and they are the ones that offer the best rates. There are also other car rentals outside the airport that sometimes offer one-off specials.

Driving a car is also the best way to knowing L.A.’s roads as they are essential for getting around the city. It enables you to know the major thoroughfares such as the Interstate 405, 10 and 5, as well as the famous roads like Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Strip. Journeying along the coast, such as the Pacific Coast Highway, will reward you with the most scenic drives.

2) By public transport
If you’re traveling on the cheap, public transport is certainly your best bet. In fact, traveling to Los Angeles without a car might be more sensible than you think, as it is the case in many other tourist spots. Public transit is the most feasible option especially if you intend to go to specific places or if driving to unfamiliar areas might be too stressful for you. In no time you’ll be traveling around L.A. like a local.

Plus, you can still catch a nap while commuting, right?

Luckily, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (also known as Metro) serves commuters by way of buses, light rail and subway trains. The Los Angeles Metro Rail is a rapid transit system that consists of six lines serving 80 stations in the county of Los Angeles, connecting several cities such as downtown L.A., Hollywood and Long Beach. Tourists will be happy to know that the subways and over-the-ground train systems are just within walking distances to many of the city’s top tourist attractions.

If you want to get around by bus, Metro operates around 200 buses in the city and provides three types of bus services:

  • Metro Local buses (in orange) frequently make stops along the major roads throughout the city.
  • Metro Rapid buses (in red) make fewer stops and use special transponders that cause traffic signals to turn the green light in favor of such buses.
  • Metro Express buses (in blue) link communities from downtown LA and other business districts and usually pass by the city’s freeways.

3) By riding a bike
Riding a bike is also a good way to navigate Los Angeles, thanks to the increasing number of bicycle paths and lanes that welcome both passionate cyclists and regular commuters who ride bikes. Metro helps cyclists to explore Los Angeles by offering them options to take the bus and train for lower fares. There is a major event that held every four times a year, called CiCLAvia, where streets are closed to motor vehicles to allow the public to walk, skate as well as bike in the open streets.

Among the most popular places for biking in Los Angeles include the famous Venice Beach (and the iconic Venice Beach Boardwalk), Santa Monica State Beach, Griffith Park Trail, the Santa Clarita Cloverleaf, Ballona Creek Bike Path, Metro Orange Line Bike Path, and many more places that offer safe and scenic bike rides.

There are numerous bike rentals in Los Angeles which offer different kinds of bikes for lease – road bikes, mountain bikes, electric bikes and hybrid bikes.

Even cyclists are prone to foot pain and soreness because of constant pedaling. To give your feet additional comfort and protection, you should have insoles to your shoes. Give your feet the additional care and pampering that they deserve. Check out the article “Best Foot Massagers and Inserts for Runners and Athletes” and browse foot care options that will heal your overworked feet.

Alternative Things to Do in Los Angeles

Alternative Things to Do in Los Angeles

You have gone to Los Angeles’ most popular attractions: Disneyland, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and beaches such as Venice Beach and Long Beach. You may have “shopped til you dropped” at the luxury stores along Rodeo Drive, screamed at the top of your lungs on one of those rides at Universal Studios, or peered into the telescopes to look for heavenly bodies at the Griffith Observatory.

But Los Angeles offers endless opportunities to explore and enjoy, including activities that seem to be not too mainstream, or otherwise “off-the-beaten-path” and un-”touristy.” They border on the weird and even somewhat on the morbid. These will certainly add to your bucket list when you plan to go on a holiday in the Los Angeles county and its most famous city of the same name. Sometimes when traveling, the greatest delights and rewards come from the unexpected.

To know more about the other side of Los Angeles that many people may not know, read this interesting article “Interesting Facts about Los Angeles.”

1) Visit the Evergreen Cemetery
Cemeteries may not be everyone’s idea of a tourist spot. However, many of the most popular cemeteries are quite scenic. Most of all though, these cemeteries’ tourist-drawing power comes from the fact that many of the notable historical figures are buried there. And Los Angeles’ Evergreen Cemetery seems to have these qualities.

Evergreen Cemetery is located in the neighborhood of Boyle Heights in downtown Los Angeles. Founded in 1877, it is the city’s oldest cemetery. A visit to this cemetery will matter more to you if you are an ardent devotee of some of the famous people buried here. Some of the well-known politicians (notably the city’s past mayors), war veterans, actors, musicians, sports figures, religious leaders and early American pioneers are interred at the Evergreen Cemetery. Among the most notable names include Bobby Nunn, Johnny St. Cyr and Van Nuys.

2) Explore Descanso Gardens
When you think that the popular Huntington Library gardens are too crowded (and too mainstream to your taste), Descanso Gardens would be an ideal alternative. This 150-acre botanical garden is located in the city of La Canada Flintridge in Los Angeles county. It is open all-year round and features several areas to explore such as the oak forests, the Lilac Garden, a Japanese garden, and probably the most popular the Rose Garden.

But the great thing about Descano Gardens is that it is less touristy, less crowded and much quieter, but just as gorgeous as the other botanical gardens in L.A. So enjoy the beauty and wonder of Mother Nature in relative peace and tranquility.

3) Discover the city’s “storybook architecture”
Los Angeles has an established reputation as the “city of dreams.” That’s why it’s not too odd that a style of architecture called “storybook” flourished in L.A. during the 1920s-1930s, but rarely became popular elsewhere in the United States.

As the name implies, this type of architecture is characterized by a sense of whimsy and playfulness. Mismatched doors and windows, deliberately uneven roofs and cobblestone-lined pavements are some of the most notable elements of the storybook architecture – just like the illustrations of houses that you find on storybooks. Some fine examples are the Hobbit House in Culver City, the Witches’ House and Harry Oliver’s Spadena House (both in Beverly Hills) and the Charlie Chaplin Cottages as well as the Snow White Cottages, (both located in Los Angeles city). If you want to live out your fairy tale dreams and fantasies, visit to any of these storybook houses.

4) Indulge your sweet cravings at Sweet!
If you are someone who has a sweet tooth, then Sweet! will be your ultimate candy paradise! Located along Hollywood Boulevard, Sweet! is not your ordinary candy store. Highlights include a chocolate lab where you can concoct your own sweet creations, and the Wonka Inventing Room which documents Willy Wonka’s bittersweet epic travels that inspired his famous chocolates. Visitors will be in for a delight by taking personal tasting tours, playing candy-themed games and of course shopping for lots of great variety of candies.

Sweet! is the biggest and the most extravagant candy store in the city, so if you want to satisfy your sweet tooth to the highest level possible, it’s certain that you wouldn’t want to miss this place.

5) Pig out at 626 Night Market
Los Angeles is not just a melting pot of cultures, but also a melting pot of different cuisines. The 626 Night Market festival, held only every summer, is the perfect event to gorge on a crazy array of food (predominantly Asian food) that you can ever think of. There are mouthwatering barbecues, yummy tacos, delectable seafood, the popular crazy milkshakes, and many more. It’s a paradise for every foodie and gourmand alike.