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.
We 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 Hollyoowd
After 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.
We 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.
Celebrity Homes and Rodeo Drive Tour
We 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.
We 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 Grill
At 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.
Next, 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 Chocolates
I'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 Cream
What 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 Go
Whisky 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'