Los Angeles, California Highlights
Los Angeles is a very fascinating city and a great place for anybody to take a vacation. Visiting Los Angeles and the surrounding areas could be one of the best and most memorable experiences that you will ever have. Tourists seem to get excited about everything from the simplest things to the bigger things. For some reason, tourists always like to see the famous Hollywood sign and especially visitors from non-coastal states like to go to the beach and see the Pacific Ocean for the first time.
If you like more of an adrenalin rush of fun and are planning to come to the city of Los Angeles, you will be in reasonable driving distance from several amusement and water parks including Six Flags Magic Mountain, Hurricane Harbor, Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios, Raging Waters and other places like the Los Angeles Zoo and Griffith Park.
If you are really interested in the Film Industry, you can go to the tapings of numerous television shows where you can see your favorite stars live and in person. Or if you prefer to be in front of the camera instead of in the audience, there are several advertisements in newspapers, magazines and posted on telephone poles looking for all kinds of people who want to be background Extras in movies, television shows and commercials. No experience is necessary. Be sure to go down Hollywood Boulevard and look on the ground for the stars of your favorite entertainers on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
You can go to Staples Center, home of the 9 time NBA (National Basketball
Association) World Champions Los Angeles Lakers. Magic Johnson has moved on from playing professional basketball, but you will still see his name all over Los Angeles. He is involved with a few businesses around town including some 24 Hour Fitness locations, the Magic Johnson Theatres located in the Crenshaw Shopping Center, Starbucks Coffee and Magic Johnson’s TGI Friday’s Restaurant.
Right across the street from the Forum in Inglewood where the Lakers used to play for about 30 years until a few years ago, is the Hollywood Park Race Track and Casino. They only have horse racing a few months out of the year. But you are in “Luck” because the Casino is in full swing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to satisfy your gambling needs. It is one of the few places around here that at least so far, they still have FREE parking.
For Baseball fans you can go to Dodger Stadium, home of the former World Series Champions Los Angeles Dodgers. You would not want to go to Dodger Stadium without eating one of their famous Dodger Dogs.
Not only do we have professional sports champions, we also have our very famous cross town college rivals, the U.C.L.A Bruins and the U.S.C Trojans who have both brought back team championships to the city of Los Angeles and they both have had their students and alumni bring back Gold Medals when they were representing the United States over the years in the Olympics.
If you want to see another historic Sports site, then go to the Los Angeles Coliseum. Not only was it the home of the Rams and then the Raiders, way back when Los Angeles used to have a NFL Football team, but it was a major venue for both the 1932 and the 1984 Summer Olympics. If you watched the Olympics then you saw the Los Angeles Coliseum during the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the Track and Field events. The Olympic Torch is still there.
While you are at the Coliseum, it would be well worth your while to walk over to the California Science Center in Exposition Park. It is a great educational learning experience for both adults and children. The Sports Arena is in that general area. Also, within walking distance in that area are several museums that you might be interested in going through.
You would not want to miss out on spending time on the 405 San Diego Freeway which runs along the west side of Los Angeles County so you can enjoy the bumper to bumper traffic that we all get to experience so frequently. Most people in the area call it the world’s largest parking lot. Your foot rides the brake of your car while burning that expensive gasoline. Usually you are either at a full stop or traveling at a snails pace. Just hope that they do not have a vehicle accident on the freeway ahead of you because the snail would actually beat you in a race.
If you leave the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) which is right next to the Playa del Rey Beach on the far west side of the city, you can get on the 405 freeway and head northbound. When you are finally able to get through the traffic, you can visit the J. Paul Getty Museum which is just before you get to the valley.
You can go to Marina del Rey just north of the airport where you can enjoy a dinner cruise on the ocean or bring your fishing pole and go out on one of the all day fishing boats or just hang out in the Fisherman’s Village that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and has food, drinks and gift shops. There are places near most of the beaches where you can rent bicycles. There is Bike Path the runs along the side of the Pacific Ocean right on the beach. If you like rollerblading, rollerskating and / or skateboarding, then you will really like Venice Beach.
Normally from the west side of Los Angeles if you are at or near the Playa del Rey Beach and look up, you can see the planes taking off over the ocean. If you are somewhere east of the airport you can see the planes coming in for a landing. But if you look up and see a helicopter, don’t get confused. It is probably not a guided helicopter tour. More than likely it is the Los Angeles Police Department Helicopter chasing down a suspect with the news media helicopters trying to get their shots and doing their best to stay out of the way. Police car chases are very common around here. You hear sirens from emergency vehicles coming from all directions. But that is Los Angeles’ finest keeping our city nice and safe.
In all fairness, as a traveler you really need to make the safety of both yourself and your family a top priority no matter what city in the world you visit.
If you want to go on another cruise, you can go to Catalina Island. You can go over there, have some fun and come back the same day if you want or you can stay for several days if you really like it. There are numerous activities out there.
Another historic site that you would not want to miss is the street corner of Florence and Normandie Avenues which was where the 1992 Los Angeles Riots all began. Most of the businesses that were burned to the ground during that time have been rebuilt since then, so of course they look much better and more modern. Others may never be rebuilt.
On the far south side of Los Angeles County is Long Beach where you can see the Queen Mary Ship that is docked. You can tour the ship. Also, while you are in Long Beach you can visit the Aquarium of the Pacific for underwater adventure. Just like the California Science Center, it is another great educational learning opportunity for both adults and children.
For shopping, it depends what you are interested in. You can get just about anything you can think of at the malls which are located all over the place. The Del Amo Mall in Torrance (the southern part of Los Angeles County) is one of the largest malls in the United States. If you are looking for discount clothing and other merchandise, then go to the garment district in downtown Los Angeles. If you want the expensive stuff, then go down Rodeo Drive and the Wilshire Boulevard area in Beverly Hills. Just east of Beverly Hills is the Grove where you can check out the Farmers Market that has been serving Los Angeles since 1934. The area has been changed, expanded and built up over the past few years.
Wilshire Boulevard is one of the main business streets in Los Angeles that runs from the beach to downtown Los Angeles. So if you want to drive down Wilshire Boulevard just for fun, you can start by the Santa Monica Pier overlooking the Pacific Ocean and it will take you through the cities of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles. When you get to downtown, be sure to take a look at the Los Angeles Civic Center area.
Another interesting street to drive down for fun is Crenshaw Boulevard. You can start at Wilshire Blvd and go southbound on Crenshaw Boulevard. It will take you through the inner city of Los Angeles. Your trip will take you by the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Shopping Center, Leimert Park in the Crenshaw District, then through Inglewood, Hawthorne, Lawndale, Torrance, Rolling Hills Estates and all the way down until you end up in Rancho Palos Verdes in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County.
Check the schedule of the Los Angeles Convention Center. They always have some type of entertainment, business or informational seminars, expos or workshops going on over there. You might find something going on that you may want to attend.
There are countless food and beverage locations all over the Los Angeles area from fine dining restaurants to fast food places and every shade of grey in between that will satisfy any appetite. You just have to find the ones that match your taste. There are all kinds of entertainment, dancing, activities and shows even in addition to all of the things that are mentioned above.
If you are not visiting someone who has a car that you can use, then you should probably rent a car because waiting around for public transportation in Los Angeles will use up most of your vacation time. Have fun.