Los Angeles, Done Two Different Ways

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Brilliant American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald once described Los Angeles as “a city which can be understood only dimly and in flashes.” It’s one of the world’s most famous and illusory cities; a mass of concrete freeways, huge theme parks, luxury mansions, dark ghettos, glitzy shopping malls, white-sanded beaches and tacky fast food joints. Yet in spite of the smog and traffic, the sprawling City of Angels manages to attract a staggering 24-million visitors every year. And the reason why? Whether you’re a sun worshipper or a culture vulture, Los Angeles has something to offer everyone. Here’s our top pick of things to do for two very different visits to the “city of angels”.

The Top 10 Beach Lover

1. Book a romantic hotel in Venice or Santa Monica. Try Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, or Hotel Erwin.

2. Watch the sunset from the Redondo Beach pier. Afterwards, have dinner at the Kincaid's Fish, Chop & Steak House and round off the evening with a nightcap and some live jazz or blues at the new Starboard Attitude.

3. Check out Muscle Beach and the sidewalk vendors in Venice. Have breakfast in one of the many boardwalk cafes.

4. Take a stroll along Santa Monica Pier, then go to Third Street Promenade for a spot of shopping and people-watching.

5. Have lunch on the outdoor patio at Killer Shrimp in Marina del Rey. They only do one thing – shrimp in a spicy broth in the shell or over rice or pasta - but they do it well.

6. Have dinner at the Manhattan Beach Brewery near Manhattan pier. They serve a wide variety of excellent micro brewed beers, and some good food.

7.  Have Breakfast in France (croissant with eggs, bacon, brie cheese, and raspberry sauce) at Sacks On The Beach in Redondo Beach, and take a stroll through south Redondo’s charming boutiques.

8. Drive up the hill into Palos Verdes. In addition to some beautiful homes, there’s a small car park near the top with a stunning view of Santa Monica Bay.

9. Heading south along the coast to San Pedro and the Los Angeles Harbour, visit the beautiful, all-glass Wayfarer’s Chapel designed by Lloyd Wright. 

10. Visit the Queen Mary and the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.


The Top 10 Culture Buff

1. Book a hotel in Hollywood or Beverly Hills. Try SLS Beverly Hills or the Hollywood Roosevelt.

2. Enjoy a free concert or browse among the exhibits at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; if it’s a Friday, try one of the free jazz concerts at the Armand Hammer Museum and UCLA.

3. Take in an independent or foreign movie at the Landmark Theater.

4. Have dinner at a restaurant good for stargazing. Check with your concierge or the local visitor centre as to which ones are best, as popularity changes as often as menus.

5. Enjoy breakfast or brunch at Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, The Belvedere, Campanile or Gardens.

6. Take a long walk along Hollywood Boulevard to take in its ageing 30’s and 40’s kitsch, Hollywood legends, tourist shops and street people.

7. Check out the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and at Mann’s Chinese Theatre. 

8. Visit the Hollywood Entertainment Museum with its full sized sets from Star Trek and Cheers.

9. If it’s summer, try to book a concert at the famous Hollywood Bowl. If you’re lucky to get tickets, take a picnic from Gelson’s Market at the Century City Shopping Centre to enjoy on the grass before the performance.

10. Call NBC to see if you can be in the audience during the filming of a sitcom, soap opera, game show or talk show.


Top 10 Fun Things Everyone Should Do

1. Take a boat trip to Catalina Island. It’s only 41 km from the mainland but a world away from the hustle and bustle.

2. See a baseball game at Dodger Stadium.

3. Visit the vast Getty Museum, located off the 405 freeway near Bel Air. It’s an architectural wonder and houses a collection of amazing art and antiquities. Plan on staying until sunset if the weather’s good as it can be a spectacular sight.

4. Go on Warner Bros studio tour and find out how movies are made.

5. Visit the Frederick’s of Hollywood Lingerie Museum, a sacred place devoted to the lingerie of Hollywood stars and the history of sexy underwear.

6. Stroll through along Olvera Street, where Mexican craft and food stalls abound.

7. Spend a day at the races at California’s famous Santa Anita racetrack.

8. Have your photo taken at the Point Vicente Lighthouse, a landmark which still lights the coastline along Palos Verdes.

9. Enjoy a massage among the masses at Venice Beach, where rap, reggae, tarot readings and hemp clothing exist side by side in perfect harmony.

10. Take a ride on the wooden carousel on Santa Monica Pier.



Ben Hall