In L.A., there is a whole lot to see and do and with the traffic, you need to know where you’re going! It really will be about the traffic and how much time you have. Also, I’ll be touching on where to eat, some of the famous places to go, and the hidden away little spots that only the locals know about. Good luck in the city of angels, you’ll find it to be a fascinating city, though a bit gritty in places. The good news is that the air I believe is cleaner now than it has been in years. But, still it is a major city and when you’re at Griffith Park looking down at the city you’ll see the smog hanging over the city.
How much time do you have…
You know that is really the question. Time and money. Will you have children with you? If you have a few days you can pretty much see the major sites in L.A. If you only have one day, well, you will have to make a decision because just getting here to there in L.A. could take all day. People who live in and travel about in L.A. use this notion and this notion only. What time will I leave, what kind of traffic will there be when I’m get into the car, during the commute and will there be traffic to disrupt my arrival to my destination.
Los Angeles Traffic
Remember, it’s not how far away something is, it’s what day is it, What time of day, will you make it there before traffic ties things up? Let’s put it this way. My sister wanted to visit me from the mid-west. She said “well it isn’t that far, I’ll be in Laughlin Nevada, so I’ll be only three hours away”. Uh, no. She may make it to the outskirts of L.A. in three hours, after that it depends on the time of day and traffic. It’s taken me 45 minutes to go three blocks getting onto the freeway from Venice Boulevard at 5:40pm on a Friday afternoon. It literally makes no difference how far things are, it does matter however if you take off at 4am on a Sunday morning. Then, you’ll make great time. THIS is the trick to Hollywood, L.A., Santa Monica, traffic.(and the rest) For traffic conditions during the drive, listen to KNX Radio.AM 1070. They have traffic updates every 5 minutes. They’ll also let you know if there is a film opening that will spoil your drive down Hollywood Boulevard. (Hollywood Boulevard is closed off on those occasions)
Los Angeles Hotels
It depends what part of town you’re going to want to be near. There are, of course it’s well known some famous hotels in the Hollywood, Sunset Strip, Beverly Hills area. These hotels are mostly high end. But, you only live once! It really is worth it to stay in a nice hotel at least one night and be exactly in the area that you want to be in. I have a friend who stays at the HYATT on Sunset Boulevard. A nice hotel and very close to the Comedy Store, the House Of Blues and other great places to spend a night out. There is also the MONDRIAN also on Sunset. And don’t forget the BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL. I have personally stayed at two of those hotels and have found them to be just about perfect in every way, except your wallet. But, you do get what you pay for. When I was at the Mondrian, we got free tickets to the Comedy Store, we walked across the street and saw some amazing comedy.
Hollywood is, what it is – over the years it keeps changing. It used to be a dump. Now, it’s really cleaned up and almost smells good! Hollywood Boulevard now has the Kodak theater, I actually saw Tom Cruise …uh, cruise by on my last visit. There are nice little restaurants inside the city and there are classic haunts that I can recommend.
If you’re scoping out Hollywood, you have to see what’s up on Melrose Boulevard. Melrose has high end shops, nice restaurants and has turned into a pretty up scale little neighborhood.
The city of Santa Monica, was incorporated in 1887. Nearly 100 years later the 3rd Street Promenade opened. (1989) The Santa Monica Pier has an arcade, carousel, restaurants and an amusement park besides everything else. It’s one of California’s oldest piers.
All along Santa Monica Boulevard are nice little places to eat, coffee shops and little shops to explore. It is also the main artery to Malibu.
So, what’s so darn cool about Beverly Hills? Really, what isn’t cool about the place. It has the Beverly Hills Hotel that is absolutely gorgeous. It has the Beverly Wilshire Hotel that is extraordinary, it has Rodeo Drive, that is.. well, it is what it is. Amazing, expensive, snobby, but still amazing. The streets are wide, the palm trees are gorgeous, this place is so old, it’s just what you think that it should look like. Like a grand old lady who doesn’t care how she looks. She still looks good! It’s a small town of around 35,000 of mostly white people who work in the film industry. It’s zip code is, 90210.
I was there on 9, 2,10. September 2nd, 2010, they had a little party for the city but it was sold out. Get a drop top, (convertible) and cruise through the hills and look around Rodeo Drive. It’s not a bad place to drive through, shop, or be seen. (if you’re into that kind of thing) Continue west on Sunset Boulevard to the Ocean and you’ll arrive in Malibu. Another gorgeous place.
Orange County is huge and is highly populated. The beach communities of Orange County are fantastic. When most people think of the OC, they think of the inland areas. Which is natural, since the OC does contain many inland cities. Including Anaheim, (Disneyland) Irvine, Fullerton, Costa Mesa Yorba Linda, Santa Ana among others.
But, the beach communities such as Seal Beach, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, (surf city) Newport Beach, Sunset Beach, are really fantastic little communities that deserve to be visited. Orange County is just behind Los Angeles County in population with roughly 3 million people. Fantastic beaches, Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, it is full of places to visit and worth a closer look, take the time to see the OC, you’ll be glad that you did. Don’t forget the Mission San Juan Capistrano.