Since I was in Palm Springs for the AOPA Expo and I was going to Aaron's Wedding in South Los Angeles, I figured I'd spend a week in the middle and do a proper job playing tourists and LA to see all the things I never managed to go see when I lived there (albeit with less time and money then).
I actually got a tourist book to get a list of all the things I didn't really even know was there too see, and it was a good move. There was actually much more to see than I had planned for. I originally was going to spend a few days working at the LAX office, and in the end, only had time for a single day (pictures of LAX Office here).
I got a nice apartment on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. That kind of sucked for parking (or lack thereof), but the view was great, especially from the rooftop.
That wasn't so bad and worth the premium of staying in Venice :)
Here's an overview of where we went:
Day 1: Getty Villa
The first day, I went to see the Getty Villa, which was simply fantastic. It is by far the best thing I'd recommend seeing in LA. Paul Getty had it built to host his huge art collection. He had it built it like a Roman Villa, and it looks fantastic. It's now maintained with a foundation that sustains itself with what's left of his estate.
The entrance looks like old Roman streets and matches what you can still see in Pompei
The sun make patterns that are part of the art
I only showed a few pictures, but once again, I greatly recommend seeing the Getty Villa.
Day 1: Hollywood
From there, I went to Hollywood through Sunset, with a quick detour through Rodeo Drive, which allowed me to see a very nice Yellow and Black Veyron:
Ok, I had seen Hollywood a few times before, but it changes quickly, and I never had the time to visit some of the museums or do the inside tour of the Mann Chinese Theater (well worth the few dollars)
Iris is actually worth seeing, I enjoyed it
for a few bucks, you can get fun pictures :)
The Mann Chinese
I got to visit the inside between 2 movie showings
inside a candy store...
Madame Tussaud is quite good like its other locations:
Oh boy, do I love this movie, pure genius
I also went to see a few things like Ripley's Believe it or not. It's not fantastic, but worth the view dollars and the time if you have a little bit extra:
Day 2: Downtown LA
For day #2, I thought I'd start with Downtown LA, which had more to visit than I knew before I got the guidebook. I had plans to only spend part of the day there, but there was more than enough to keep me the entire day.
I started with the Disney Concert Hall, quite worth seeing and visiting:
Downtown LA had a huge church, not that pretty compared to old ones, but huge nonetheless:
Next I went to City Hall which was worth seeing both because you can go to the top floor and get a great view of downtown, and its 3rd floor is quite nice ot see too:
Back to the 3rd floor, quite nice:
Chinatown, which I drove through later
Seen in downtown:
Next, I went to see Japantown, also worth seeing
picture on the side of the LA Times
I specifically liked the Japan Integration Museum which recounts the story of Japanese concentration camps
there was a great guide working there, and he told stories of his internment as a kid. Ironic considering I speak better Japanese than he does...
I learned a lot about how many people who looked japanese but really were born Americans, were interned as possible Japanese spies when they had no ties to Japan and didn't even speak Japanese.
Closeby, there is an old historical Spanish quarter, El Pueblo Historical Monument
Last, was Chinatown:
And that was it for downtown LA, a good day. That evening, I had dinner with my friend Jennifer
interesting decors to say the least :)
Day 3: Getty Museum
The 3rd day, I went to see the Getty Museum, which contains the rest of Paul Getty's huge collection. It's not a Roman Villa, but it's also impressive and worth visiting.
The visit starts with a tram that takes you up the hill, from which you have a good view of LA:
nice view of 405 :)
It also has nice Gardens:
Of course, many paintings and works of art:
riding the tram back to the parking lot
Day 3: Mulholland Drive
All the time I lived there, I actually jogged up Mulholland from Sherman Oaks, but never drove it, so went to fix that. It may not be a must do, not too many turns you could drive at speed safely due to houses and people:
Day 3: Griffith Park
I purposely used Mulholland to get to Griffith Park, and did a quick tour of the park and zoo before going to the Observatory:
And then I went to the really nice Observatory which was much bigger and had much more to see than I had planned for (so I went back to Jennifer a few days later):
if you have time, you can hike to the Hollywood sign from the park
It's a great place to see a sunset:
Day 5: LA Natural History Musem
Day 5 was crazy, I went to see way too many things :)
I first went to south LA and started with the Natural History Museum, which is quite nice. They also has a special spider expo:
a rare megamouth very deep water shark
Day 5: LA Coliseum
Just next door was the Coliseum, and I was able to sneak in and have a look:
Day 5: LA Science Center
Next, I went to the Science Museum which had just received the Space Shuttle but it wasn't ready for viewing yet, however I saw the Egypt/Cleopatra expo:
Day 5: Petersen Automotive Museum
Next, I "raced" to the Petersen Automotive Museum, I got there a little bit late, but saw what I could, see pictures of the Petersen Automotive Museum in a different post.
Day 5: LACMA
To finish a crazy day, I went to LACMA which had evening hours that night, and while it wasn't quite my cup of tea, I went through most of it before it closed, and here are a few pictures:
Day 5:The Grove Farmer's Market
I finished the evening with French crepes at The Grove, and a little bit of browsing:
petting zoo for kids
Day 6: Santa Monica Boardwalk and Venice Beach
By then, we were saturday already. I used my foldable bike I had flown in to ride the entire boardwalk. I had done this before a couple of times, but it's fun to do again, and there are always new things to see on Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach:
On the ride back, I spent time at Santa Monica Pier
I hiked up a nice little trail at the end of the boardwalk
One guy had great parrots to watch and interact with:
this one liked me :)
they both were happy to climb on me, but the big one made lots of holes in my Tshirt :)
Once done, I went back to Venice Beach to see all the fun things on boardwalk:
I loved the colors on this one
there was even a freakshow :)
2 headed turtles and other animals
Day 6: Griffith Observatory with Jennifer
After Venice, I went to pick up Jennifer and took her to Griffith Observatory to visit and see some nice planetarium shows
the newly built downstairs had a lot of planetary and galactic info, well woth a detailled visit
I had planned for a sunset dinner with Jennifer, but unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate. We still made the best of it though:
After that, we went to see Circle du Soleil Iris in Hollywood, and it was different and well made.
this piano played music as you went down the stairs walking on the notes
Day 7: Palos Verdes Coast and the Cabrillo Marine Museum
The next morning we were in Palos Verdes for the wedding the afternoon, so we went around the coast for some pictures and went to see the Cabrillo Marine Museum:
it was a special day with demonstrations, taiko drums here
those shells had vvvery long tongues and could feed by putting a long tongue through little slots
We then had the time to see a bit more coast on our way to the wedding:
Day 7: Aaron and Nicole Wedding
I wrote a separate page about Aaron and Nicole's Wedding
Day 8: Long Beach Aquarium
The next day, before flying home, in the end much later than planned because the aquarium was quite nice, we went to the long beach aquarium for a full visit, including a backstage tour which was quite worth the time
the giant aquarium which you can actually dive in
this little guy was great :)
he had too much fun and tipped itself over
They also had lorikeets that were fun to interact with:
And that was it for long beach aquarium, definitely a good place to spend a day.
where are you going? :)
Day 8: Flight Home
I made a different post for the flight home from Long Beach to Palo Alto