So you’re finally making the road trip (or the flight) to Los Angeles,California to visit the city the entire world has become aware of. You’ll definitely enjoy the weather,the people and the history,and while you’re at it,you’ll probably find a pretty good souvenir or two to display to your friends.
Here’s a list of a few of the big stops you almost need to hit if you’re visiting from anywhere further than 100 miles away.
1. Visit Hollywood
It was called Tinseltown for a reason– the piece de resistance in this movie buff’s paradise is Hollywood and Highland,the famous intersection where nearly everything is designed to glamor visitors. From a towering complex of designer stores to a crowd of costumed street performers,to a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex poking its head through the roof of the Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not museum,this area can provide a busy afternoon. Especially if you venture further south and west to check out the area’s vintage stores (like Wasteland),cult restaurants (Pink’s Hot Dogs) and historical attractions (the La Brea Tar Pits). The various shops and tourist attractions along Hollywood Blvd add to the fun,as do the holiday decorations of you come in December.
2. Go to Universal Studios
Not far from Hollywood,this hive of fun tourist activity (100 Universal City Plaza,Universal City) combines amusement park rides and a carnival atmosphere with a movie-studio feel that almost puts you inside your favorite flicks. On the famous Backlot Tour,you can take the Jaws ride to see “Bruce” (the shark’s nickname) charge out of the water at you,see the New York set where Manhattan-based movie scenes are filmed,and see how a heavy rain storm is created. Or you can go on rides designed after your favorite movies,where you could be taken up and swept together with the plot,then probably dropped from a staggering height. Only a 9.5 mile ride from Los Angeles
3. Hit the Beach
Santa Monica State Beach offers a nice,tourist-friendly getaway,though it can get crowded and hectic on weekends. The bright side is it’s right beside the Santa Monica Pier,a well-trafficked amusement park area where you will find an abundance of food,entertainment and more costumed performers. This beach could be found along Ocean Avenue at Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica. For a more relaxing beach hangout,Manhattan Beach is about 30 minutes south,where a paved walkway makes it great for sightseeing. Or you can set about 40 minutes north to get to El Matador Beach near Malibu for a more secluded,scenic beach.
4. Go to a Dodger game
Catching a baseball game is a great way to spend a sunny afternoon,and the local team is there to entertain visitors and rabid fans alike. Baseball fans can find Dodger Stadium at 1000 Elysian Park Ave Los Angeles,and the area’s public transport is an easy way to arrive without paying for parking. Ticket prices range from $9 for upper-deck seats to around $70 for most other seats,for full-priced adults. More ticketing information could be found on the Dodgers Web site (Dodgers.com). Just beware,because Dodgers fans are fiercely passionate about their team,and they also like to drink huge cups of beer.
5. Go to Disneyland
It’s what every major athlete does after scoring a touchdown or hitting a crowning achievement. Disneyland (1313 S Harbor Blvd,Anaheim) isn’t only for kids (even though it tends to send them into ecstatic spasms),as the park offers the biggest,brightest and most complete amusement park experience you’ll find outside of a dream. The rides last longer,the park-wandering characters are happier,and even the customer service folk are more helpful than any other park,despite the crowds. Explore the park’s many themed “lands,” see the light parade and jump onto the newest rides,along with the nostalgic classics like Pinocchio and Small World. Of course,Pirates of the Caribbean never ceases to amaze – watch out for Captain Jack Sparrow sightings,which can seem surreally lifelike.