Here's to the ones who dream. La La Land
Hi Loves! I am now back from a wonderful vacation in LA with my daughter and I couldn't have planned it better. My daughter who had just wrapped up a leadership conference at UCLA had already visited many spots, so I wanted to give her a much different experience. And like all my vacations, I wanted to explore all parts of the city, while enjoying the local popular tourism sites and collecting some amazing photos along the way.
We arrived on Monday afternoon and flew out to Washington, D.C. on Friday evening, giving us a week to capture the essence of the city. We tried to fit as much in as possible and to do so, I made sure to select a central location to lodge. Here is my travel journal sharing my favorite moments.
For this trip, I didn't want lodging to be expensive, so to cut cost and get into West Hollywood, I decided to use Airbnb. I was able to land the apartment for the week for less than $600. The apartment sat in the center of West Hollywood allowing me to get to Beverly Hills, Hollywood Boulevard, and downtown LA within minutes. Upon arrival, Chris was extremely helpful in walking me through check-in. The apartment came with a private parking space in the garage fully secured with an entrance and exit key. It was quiet and the building was well-maintained. I definitely recommend Airbnb and Chris if you are ever looking to stay in LA and cut cost.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States. Established in 1910, the museum holds more than 150,000 works spanning the history of art from ancient times to the present. The museum is a must see and it attracts nearly a million visitors annually. The most popular exhibits in the museum include Urban lights and the Levitating Mass seen above.
Rodeo Drive. High end stores, fancy cars, and countless shows centered in this famous zip code make Rodeo Drive a must see. I must say the area is extremely picturesque and the southern California weather made walking pleasurable. I actually drove and found parking easy and inexpensive.
Beverly Hills. My daughter and I enjoyed the many spots that West Hollywood have to offer including the Grove, Melrose Avenue, and Beverly Hills. We ate lunch at The Farmer's Market and enjoyed shopping at the Grove.
Silver Lake. I had to stop by the nice residential area of Silver Lake before heading downtown. This area is known for its restaurants and hipster hangouts. It has also become the center of the alternative and indie rock scene with two major street festivals occurring each year: the Silver Lake Jubilee, held in May and the Sunset Junction Street Fair, held in August.
Little Tokyo. Another stop on my travel list was Little Tokyo. The ambiance was very cultural and there were some really cool souvenirs in this area. My daughter and I also ate lunch here. Unfortunately, the Buddhist Temple was closed, but I was able to snag a shot of it.
The Broad. One of the best museums of modern art I have ever visited! The Broad is spectacular. Very popular, the museum is not one you want to visit on a whelm. Prior to the trip, I purchased tickets because I had read that the wait time could span hours. We arrived around 1:00 pm and were immediately allowed into the facility. If you want to see the infinity room, you'll have to set up a separate reservation.
Arts District. Los Angeles is full of art on every corner, on every building, even on the ground. Taking in the art was truly spiritual and I couldn't help but stop and take it all in. Angels are everywhere and I intentionally sought to find the angel wings taken by both my daughter and myself. First turn, random parking, and on-the-spot directional decision making when exiting the car coincidentally ended with us being in the exact parking area where the wings were located. Talk about fate!
Downtown LA. In addition to the Broad, Walt Disney Center, and the Grammy Museum, downtown LA also boasts the Flower district, which I love and on our day downtown, the ESPYS was live. So, my daughter went to the Microsoft building to experience the awards and grab a burger at Smash.
Hollywood Walk of Fame. There are some places you have to see if you're visiting Los Angeles for the first time and the Walk of Fame is one. We arrived early because we had plans later that afternoon. While walking I noticed a man open a door and behind it was 50 cents.
Not usually starstruck, the randomness of the sighting caught me off guard. My daughter had wished our entire trip to run into someone famous and here we were on the boulevard running into a star. If not enough, my cousin also ran into us on the Hollywood streets at the same time. So, we hung out on the street watching 50 surprise tourists.
After getting over the shock, my cousin and I caught up a bit before getting back on schedule for our individual schedules. She to Warner Bros. and me to the Hollywood Hills.
Hollywood Sign. I had seen a few pictures of hikers behind the Hollywood sign and knew I wanted to take the hike. Unfortunately, when I looked over tours, there were none that actually took me behind the mountain. I researched blogs and found that the clearest guide presented a route that was now closed. When I read individual directions, I felt as though I might get confused. So, I called on Airbnb again and found Jessie and Thomas who were phenomenal. Not only did they get us up to the top, but Thomas took the photos and gave feedback on what pictures to take. In addition, we got a history lesson about the mountain and the sign.
Santa Monica. After touring the city and taking a 1000 ft hike, visiting the beach was exactly what I needed. Santa Monica is a nice family beach that offers a pier and rides. The water was extremely cold and took a few minutes to get use to though I never submerged myself fully into the water. I found the beach spacious and family friendly. When I scanned the pictures on my camera, I fount the last picture fascinating. The light hit just right. There is no filter on the pic.
Venice Beach and Canal. The last stop on this vacation was to Venice Beach and Venice Beach Canal. Venice Beach is definitely more active than Santa Monica, a lot more is happening and a lot more energy. While this stop was interrupted with complications for an upcoming trip and I truly couldn't enjoy the beach as I had anticipated, I did enjoy the serenity of the canal.