About Los Angeles
Los Angeles was my favorite of all the cities I visited during my trip to the US and although we only spent three and a half days there, we did and saw a lot of things. And in this blog post, I'm excited to take you through my time spent in the City of Angels.Before I visited Los Angeles, I hadn't heard very good things about LA. I was told the traffic is a nightmare and that everyone there is superficial, among many other not-so-good things, and I wasn't really sure what to expect from the city. But once I was there, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I LOVED Los Angeles.Honestly, what's not to like? The people are so friendly and nice! The city itself is beautiful, each area having it's own unique charm. There is SO much you can do in LA - the list of things to do in Los Angeles is as long as the city is vast. The food there is pretty darn good and the city has great weather all year long! And the traffic there didn't seem so bad to me. There is just something so surreal about the vibe the city exudes and you have to be there to know what I'm talking about.Day 1We reached LA on what seemed like a quiet Thursday afternoon; the city looked dull during our drive from the airport in Burbank to our hotel in Hollywood, and was quite a contrast to our previous destination: Las Vegas. We quickly checked into our hotel, freshened up and stepped out to Hollywood Boulevard, which was just a minute's walk from our hotel. Our image of the city changed 180 degrees as soon as we reached Hollywood Boulevard, a place that tops most Los Angeles visitors' list of things to see.Hollywood Boulevard is crowded with so many tourists but that only adds to the liveliness of the place, giving it an energy that is fun and upbeat, and I didn't seem to mind the crowd at all. Between tourists, costumed characters and street performers, Hollywood Boulevard is a great place for people watching and being entertained for free.And of course, it is also home to some of the major tourist attractions like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Dolby Theatre, TCL Chinese Theatre, El Capitan Theatre and Madame Tussauds Hollywood.Madame Tussauds HollyoowdAfter taking a stroll down the Walk of Fame, we gave into the movie glamour of Hollywood and decided to visit Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Needless to say, we had a great time there and the wax statues looked so real it actually felt like we were around Hollywood celebrities.Day 2We spent our entire second day in Los Angeles at Universal Studios Hollywood and had the most amazing time there. We took the VIP Experience and toured the park feeling like super stars. The rides were fantastic and the highlight of the trip was visiting the Universal Backlot, where so many of my favorite movies and TV shows have been shot. We also visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and it was everything I had imagined and more. Because we did so much there, I wrote a full post about our day at Universal Studios and you can check it out here.Day 3Celebrity Homes and Rodeo Drive TourWe started Day 3 with the Celebrity Homes and Rodeo Drive Shopping Tour by Starline Tours. I don't know what we were expecting from this tour to be honest but it wasn't that great. I mean it's exciting to see the houses of famous people but you can't really tell much by driving past their houses. We saw over thirty celebrity homes, including the houses of Michael Jackson, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Justin (Timberlake & Bieber), and Quentin Tarantino.Having said that, our tour guide was hilarious and kept us laughing throughout the entire tour so that was fun. It was also really nice driving through the beautiful Beverly Hills.We finally got off at Rodeo Drive and spent a couple of hours there, window-shopping and eating some delicious Italian food. Rodeo Drive is totally worth a visit just to see how wealthy people shop.Hollywood Bowl is a huge outdoor amphitheater in Hollywood, with a seating capacity of 17,500 people, and we got the chance to watch my all time favorite movie 'The Sound of Music' over there. Before I go on to describe how wonderful that evening was, I should emphasize my love for that movie. My mom and I would watch it every day when I was little (I even remember a lot of dialogues from the movie till date). So when we got tickets to attend the Sing-A-Long Sound of Music celebrating the film's 50 th anniversary, we were ecstatic.The show was a sell-out and it was amazing to see over 17,000 seats filled with people who paid to watch a 50-year old movie that they'd most likely already seen before. The evening started with a pre-show, which was a costume contest and had some really incredible participants (so many girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes). We also got to see the actress who played Marta in the movie.There's just something incredible about watching a movie you love with 17,000 other people who also have the same love for that movie. We were given a little bag with an invitation card and props related to the songs like a small edelweiss and cards with words like 'Flibbertigibbet' written on it, that people waved up in the air as the songs played, singing along to their heart's content.The highlight of the night was the singing of 'Edelweiss' when everyone held out their lighted smartphones and you could sense the emotion throughout the Bowl. All in all, it was the most perfect evening ever and something I'll always remember for the rest of my life.Day 4We started Day 4 with the Hollywood Sites and Bites Food Tour. The 4-hour tour started with some Hollywood sightseeing and our lovely hostess Trish gave us a bit of Hollywood history as well.We then proceeded to enjoy the main part of the tour - the FOOD! We went to five amazing places and tried some incredible food that we probably wouldn't have tried otherwise. The best part was that Trish organized the whole thing so well that we didn't have to spend any time waiting for the food and it was kept ready for us at each location. And because we're vegetarian, she'd made arrangements for us to get veg food wherever we went.1. Loteria GrillAt our first destination, we were served a mini taco and a sope plate along with chips, salsa and a watermelon aguas frescas. Being in Los Angeles, which has such a large Mexican population, we obviously had to try out Mexican cuisine.2. Mozza2GoNext, we picked up Mario Batali And Nancy Silverton's Marghertia and Bianca pizzas to go, and relished them in the car as we drove to our next location. Not only were the pizzas absolutely delicious, but it was also so amazing to be eating food from a restaurant owned by two phenomenal chefs.Here we sampled potato knishes, coleslaw, pickle spears and Dr. Brown's sodas.4. John Kelly ChocolatesI'm not a big fan of chocolates but even I totally loved John Kelly Chocolates. Here, we sampled a variety of their luxurious truffle fudge bars and also got to go behind-the-scenes and see how the chocolates are made. My favorite was the semi-sweet chocolate and caramel with Hawaiian alaea sea salt. We even ended up buying some chocolates from here.5. Mashti Malone's Ice CreamWhat better than ice cream for our last stop? At Mashti Malone's we tried a variety of traditional and exotic Persian ice cream flavors and got a couple of scoops each.Los Angeles is a gastronomic delight and the tour was a great way to explore Hollywood and indulge in some delectable food.The TCL Chinese Theatre is one of the greatest and most iconic theatres in the world and we didn't think we should miss the opportunity of watching a movie there. We watched Independence Day: Resurgence in IMAX and loved the whole experience. We quite enjoyed the movie and the grandeur of the movie hall was just spectacular. It is truly unlike any other theatre I've been to and is definitely worth watching a movie at.Whisky a Go GoWhisky a Go Go is a nightclub on Sunset Boulevard and is renowned for being the launching pad for bands like The Doors, Guns N' Roses and Led Zeppelin. Being such an iconic rock club, we definitely wanted to check it out. We went to watch an American metal band called Act of Defiance and even though this was kind of my dad's idea, let's just say it's not a good idea to take your parents to a metal gig.Our time in the city of flowers and sunshine was a blur. We did so much but it feels like we've barely experienced LA because there's so much more we wanted to do. Still, that's just one more reason to head back to LA someday.If you enjoyed reading this post, you could check out more of my travel posts.This blog was originally published on 'BLOG OF THE THINGS'
Best Time To Visit
Best time to visit Los Angeles is from February to June and from September to November
How To Reach
Book a Package Tour
TCL Chinese Theatre
Graumann's Theatre, now known as TCL Chinese Theatre is a profound name in the Film Industry all over the world. Best known for the footprints and palm impressions of legendary celebrities of Hollywood, TCL Chinese Theater holds 30 minutes documentary which now houses world's largest IMAX theater.
Walk of Fame
While you walk from the Graumann's Theater towards the Sunset Boulevard, on the both sides of the streets, the pedestrian is carved and inscribed with the name of famous celebrities from the film industry along with a little cartoon depicting their profession. People often cover the walk of fame to get pictures with their celeb's embeddings.
Kodak Theatre or the Dolby Theatre is another attraction for movie lovers. The theatre is an architectural marvel in its own good way. Attractive super luxury outlets on both the side of the atrium, capitals displaying all the movies having won Academy Awards every since its very beginning. Be sure to run into atleast one or two celebrities while you are at the hollywood boulevard. In my case, I came across the rapper, 2 Chainz, a hip hp artist riding his monster Harley Davidson. Also, while you are at it, you may be given free passes to various shows like The Late Late Shows With Craig Ferguson etc. Its Hollywood, and anything can happen.
Founded by the first president of America in 1797, George Washington's distillery caters to a very small and niche audience. The spirits are on sale just twice a year with only a few hundred bottles. But it still uses historical techniques such as hand chopping logs and real fire heating stills, to create a unique flavour through their distillation.
Museum of Contemporary Art
Address: People's Park, 231 West Nanjing Road, Shanghai Metro Station: Line 1,2 & 8, People's Square Timings: 10:00-18:00 Admission: 30 CNY/person A 10 minute walk from the Shanghai Museum, bang in the center of People's Park, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) is the first non-profit, independently operated contemporary art institution in Shanghai. Housed in the park's former greenhouse and spread over 4000 square meters MoCA is the brainchild of founder Samuel Kung. The museum has showcased exhibits by Antoni Gaudi and Salvatore Ferragamo among others. It's glassy façade is easily spotted within the park's lush green. MoCA also has one of my favorite rooftop bars in Shanghai. Visit in early evening and walk around until it closes.
There was an adorable park located near the staircase to the right of the cars called Angel’s Knoll. I was lured by the sweet smell and gorgeous purple color of the Jacaranda trees, but was even more delighted to find out the park was a filming location for one my favorite movies, (500) Days of Summer. The park is pretty small, so finding the bench where Summer and Tom shared two important moments in the film wasn’t too difficult, but I asked for guidance from a park ranger nonetheless. This beautiful park gives a hill-side view of the high rises. Great place to sit back and relax.
The Soviet Monument
This is a monument to the Soviet soldiers who lost their lives during the liberation of Budapest during the Siege of 1944. Budapest had been an unwilling satellite location for the Germans, and Hungary itself was trying to quit the war. There were many atrocities taking place in Budapest and the residents were living in terror. The Soviet army came in and after a bloody battle claimed victory over the Germans. And then they never left! And a new kind of terror began. This is the last monument to the Soviets that is left in Budapest and many modern day residents would prefer to see it gone. It now has a temporary fence around it to protect it from vandals.
Tres by José Andrés
The food was amazing. We came here for afternoon tea and even though the hostess had warned the kitchen that we were running late, the chef apparently threw a bit of a fit and only made two of some items instead of three (and we were paying for three). Everything tasted delicious but the service was extremely slow which was puzzling since the restaurant was quiet. Still, the food was worth the poor service. And I don't say that often.
Blue Cow kitchen & bar
This small yet chic restaurant serves delicious sandwiches and a wide variety of cocktails and craft beer. Motivated by hunger, I figured that I should probably grab a bite here. Their menu offers farm fresh organic dishes. Hidden in the much deserted downtown area, I was glad I came across this one. The restaurant gives out a casual ambiance yet serves some of the tastiest dishes. It also features a happy hour with gourmet choices and the waiters are friendly. I thoroughly enjoyed my meal, the cozy outdoor seating, and the extremely friendly staff.
Have you ever heard of the famous Cupcake ATM implemented by Sprinkles in the United States? Well, let me tell you all about this creative concept that LYA had the chance to get a closer look at while staying in Beverly Hills, California. I must say I wasn’t the only one who was excited about this funny ATM, my little sister didn’t stop asking me to get her a cupcake from the machine during the whole week and finally stopped harassing me when I got it for her. When you hear “cupcake ATM”, your first thoughts might be: “impossible that the cupcakes are fresh”, “these cakes must be at least a week old” “it must be so artificial”. Well at least, that’s what we thought and we were totally wrong! Sprinkles is originally a normal “patisserie” shop selling fresh cupcakes and pastries. The only difference is that instead of queuing or taking a look at the colourful cupcakes from inside the shop, in the window, you get to stand in front of a screen, outside the shop, and select your cupcake by touching it. While you are making your selection, there is this catchy music playing “Sprinkles is the best cupcake in the world”. And don’t be mistaken, not because it comes out of a pink container it means it is not fresh! Furthermore, you get the same choice as inside: coconut, gluten free, red velvet, chocolate praline, vanilla, strawberry, milk chocolate, chocolate fudge and so much more. When you hear “cupcake ATM”, your first thoughts might be: “impossible that the cupcakes are fresh”, “these cakes must be at least a week old” “it must be so artificial”. Well at least, that’s what we thought and we were totally wrong! Sprinkles is originally a normal “patisserie” shop selling fresh cupcakes and pastries. The only difference is that instead of queuing or taking a look at the colourful cupcakes from inside the shop, in the window, you get to stand in front of a screen, outside the shop, and select your cupcake by touching it. While you are making your selection, there is this cat
After a long day visiting the Aquarium in Long Beach and checking out the Endeavor space shuttle at the California Science Centre, we decided to head to Bottega Louie in Downtown L.A for an early dinner. This Italian restaurant describes itself as a “gourmet market & patisserie” and is located in a magnificent old typical building. The atmosphere is very welcoming and the room is extremely wide. Far away from a discrete and small outlet, Bottega Louie will be a very suitable place for family reunions, lunch/dinner with friends or tea time with your besties. As for the interior, the ceiling is very high, hence making room for loud conversations. The waiters as well as the inside adopted an all-white uniform and the tables/chairs could be defined as “brasserie style”. The fact that the kitchen is opened and you can see the big pizza oven makes it more reliable and entertaining. Before getting the fresh oven-cooked pizzas they have on the menu, LYA suggests you get a Louie salad: artichokes, tomatoes, avocado and lettuce The pizzas are served on elevated trays which makes it easier to share and also, more friendly! Further to these amazing Italian dishes, what better than a few “La Duree-wannabe-macaroons” for a sweet final touch? The cakes (tiramisu and fruit tart) were a bit too big and too creamy and not tasty enough, but the small French delicacies are definitely a must try and the restaurant’s signature.
Aquarium of the Pacific
A visit to the Aquarium is a perfect rainy-day activity as most of it happens indoors. It is more like a big zoo actually and gathers both underwater species and earth animals such as parrots, birds, penguins, sharks, fishes, and weird things or plants. You’ll need minimum ½ day if you want to go through the shows, aquariums and outdoor entertainments. Of course, you won’t be the only one attending the place so I recommend you to get there early if you don’t want to be queuing forever. Also , I warn you, the entrance is not cheap. What we really liked was the fact that the aquarium building is located next to the sea and the Long Beach harbor. You can walk along the sea and get some fresh air while looking at the Queen Mary parked next to the Light Tower (phare). There are also available boat tours for the ones in need of historical facts J. Regarding lunch options, there are a lot of restaurants on the sea walk as well as many different snacks available inside the Aquarium building.
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Its rightly a 'French Curve in the city of T-squares' If you fancy modern art and architecture, this is a must see attraction. Now open for various operas and theater performances, LA Phil or the Walt Disney Concert Hall rests in the heart of Los Angeles overlooking Downtown Los Angeles along the civic center. The space is abnormally quiet on the junction of two important streets. The best feature of LA Phil is the shiny metallic titanium finish that outshines the surrounding sandstone and brick towers.
Gordon Ramsay at the London
Fabulous meal. We ordered several small plates and two desserts and split everything. It was one of the best meals I've ever had. Service was great and the ambiance was really lovely too. While I would never pass up Gordon's sticky toffee pudding, his pistachio creme brulee demanded a lot of attention too.
The Peninsula Beverly Hills
I believe the Easter week end is as a moment to be spent with your family, spend some quality time with your loved ones, which we did today :) . My grand parents, little brother, sister and I arrived in Los Angeles and woke up quite early due to jet lag. It was the 1st time we spend a week of holiday just the 5 of us, no parents allowed. After checking in the Peninsula, Beverly Hills, we wanted to explore the hotel and started wandering around. Of course, the hotel put on his Easter costume and the lobby was filled with big chocolate easter eggs, that my little sister didn’t miss ;)
Sixth Street Tavern
I ended my day with a quick bite from this lovely place right opposite the Standard Hotel. Essentially a bar, this is a nice and friendly place to hangout for a while. The bartender recommended their signature cheese fries that I paired with a summer wheat ale on the patio. The fries were good, but admittedly, smoked Gouda is not my favorite, so I would skip that next time and go straight for a beer. Their range of cocktails didn't look too bad either!
Grand Central Market
Situated in the heart of Downtown LA, this market opened in 1917 and has been operating since. The Grand Central Market has changed with the passing years. It has around 90-plus vendors selling a wide variety of products such as baked goods, coffee, cheese, etc. This historic landmark serves as a display of the cultural mix of cuisines in LA. It's 30,000 sq. ft. marketplace comprises of a food emporium and a retail marketplace. Sometimes public events are also held here. I walked through the market to feel the energy of the place and over zealously purchased a saccharine cup of iced coffee that I immediately swapped for a single origin brew from G&B Coffee.
Angels Flight Railway
Later, I hurried across the street to glide up the shortest railroad in the world, Angel’s Flight. Built in 1901 as The Los Angeles Incline Railway, this place is a 298 foot-long funicular, bright and colorful part of Downtown LA. It begins at Hill Street and costs 50 cents one way. It's a nice experience to ride in this cable car, especially since it has been linked to the life of the people here for years now. It has two funicular cars- Sinai and Ovilet. This teeny tiny railway shuttled wealthy citizens in the then fashionable Bunker Hill neighborhood, up and down the steep slope between Hill and Olive streets. The ride obviously short, but provided a great view of the area, and I loved the adorable cars, ticket booth, and station.