If you are Going to Los Angeles...

by - Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I have been to LA tons of times, but much like Kona, I have mostly been to see my brother Thomas. Because of this, the majority of my hotel choices are just whatever is within walking distance of where he lives (the Howard Johnson in Korea Town is the current answer to this question; it is about half remodeled, but the lesser half looks like a crack den). In the same vein, my brother has a very specific diet, so we mostly eat the same kind of stuff every time, so I don't have a ton of food recommendations.

Where to Stay

 The Farmer's Daughter Hotel- This is a little boutique hotel that is really committed to its farmer/country theme, while maintaining a sort mid-century clean thing as well. I think maybe it was a 60's motel that has been remade. You actually can forget that you are in the middle of LA. It also has a nice little bar/restaurant inside that doesn't get too crazy (like a lot of LA places), but still has a cool ambiance. They bring room service in picnic baskets and the pool has rubber duckies in it.

Where to Eat

K24- Back when TP went to AMDA, we would sometimes walk through Hollywood on our first night, and get a snack here. The walk was always fun, and I got a hot chocolate chip cookie in a skillet with ice cream on it, which was awesome and delicious. I have no idea if this place is even still open. The trick with LA is that new things are always opening, but some of the classics, like Rosco's Chicken and Waffles are worth trying at least once. In general though, I think I would recommend you try something out of your comfort zone, since nearly everything is available there.

Foodtrucks- The food truck culture was born out of LA, and we get a little taste of that up north and it is amazing. There are apps just to tell you where food trucks are, so do your research and try one of the big ones. I know I will be doing a lot more of this when I visit there from here on out.

Where to Go

The Getty- There are so many cool places to see in Los Angeles, but if you can only go to one place, I would highly recommend spending an afternoon at the Getty.The art exhibits are pretty conservative, and they aren't always the most interesting, but the space and the gardens are absolutely amazing. If all you do is explore and eat an ice cream treat (there are two cafeterias- if you are looking at the city, I recommend the one on the right), you are going to have an amazing day. Also, the city will look way more beautiful up there than moving through it. I had one of the best days ever up there with my brother, so I highly recommend this place for a visit.

Griffith Park- Griffith Observatory has starred in all sorts of movies (Hello, Rebel without a Cause), but the whole park is a pleasure to be in. If you want a break from shopping and eating and celebrity chasing (we have never spotted a celebrity there, but I am sure other people do), Griffith Park is a great place to just go for a hike or have a picnic. It is beautiful.

Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum- They have these at tourist traps everywhere, but if you are going to do one, do it in Hollywood.At the same time, there are all sorts of famous theaters and such in Hollywood, but if you want to have cheesy Hollywood fun, I would start here (if you want to see some actors at work, the Universal Studios tour might be your best bet). It is silly and dorky, and we had a great time there. One of those things you probably only need to do once in your life, but you should do it once, because it is fun.

 LACMA- It's actually a pretty ugly building, but LACMA has great shows and collections. LA is a great city for contemporary art, with a couple of great avant-garde performance spaces, but if you can aren't a huge art person, LACMA is still a great museum to go exploring in.


What to Do

Go to a Beach- This goes almost without saying. You are in Southern California. Go to a beach. Drive up and down the coast until you find one that you really like. Southern California has a very chill vibe, but the roads can be crazy, so I would shoot for one nearby. The beaches are beautiful and can either be calm and serene or exciting and covered with people, depending where you are at.

 Go for a hike and get a good view of the city- This picture is from Griffith Observatory. LA has consistently great weather, so take a walk somewhere. People drive everywhere, but if you plan it right, you can probably take public transportation and walk to where you want to go.

If You Have a Little More Time

Go to Disneyland- You can say what you want about Disney, but they know how to do a theme park. It can actually be really fun if you aren't a kid and don't have any kids with you, as some of the rides are really fun. Plus, you have to respect a place that takes its themes so seriously. I have gone twice as an adult, and I have had a great time on both occasions. You might be surprised, though it is another one of those things where 1 day is plenty.

Go to Joshua Tree National Park- Drive out of the city (I think it takes about an hour and a half) to enjoy the sort of vast beauty of a desert covered in these dry, almost cactus-like, Joshua trees. The natural landscape around LA is so different from the city itself, so it is definitely worth it to get a little distance and to see some of the drier climate. It's strange, and creepily quiet, but it is beautiful. 

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