Los Angeles is a world famous mega-city, thanks to its reputation as the film capital of the world, as well as the many songs written about it by notable West Coast rappers. People often come to LA with a vague idea of what they want to see and it basically begins and ends with Hollywood and “that street with the stars.” Here is a list of some of the places and activities you shouldn’t miss when visiting LA, to help make your stay there more entertaining and worthy of a crazy vacation story.
Ah, Venice Beach, home to muscly men, hot women, and plenty of street performers, skaters, heavy drinkers and assorted freaks – all scantily clad, many drunk and/or high. This is one aspect of LA you wouldn’t want to miss for the world, an experience that will stay with you for life.
The Hollywood Experience
See the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with its stars in the concrete dedicated to famous actors; see their footprints and handprints; see the famous Hollywood sign; take the Universal Studios or Warner Bros studio tour; go down to Zuma Beach in Malibu. Take some time to satisfy that little film nerd inside of you.
Despite its swanky show biz reputation, LA has plenty of interesting things to offer in the cultural realm. Some of its great museums include the Architecture and Design Museum, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Galleries, the Armand Hammer Museum of Art, the Getty Center, and the exciting tour of Battleship IOWA which now serves as a museum of military history.
Disneyland, the Happiest Place on Earth
Everyone has heard of Disneyland, where the most recognizable cartoon characters straight out of the world’s collective childhood come to life in the form of mascots and you get to try out all kinds of exciting rides, eat candy, and just generally have a fun time. There is a lot of standing in lines as well, although people often forget to mention it.
Hiking in the Hills
LA has got some pretty cool hiking trails that are quite easy to traverse, yet offer majestic panoramic views of the city to those who are willing to engage in a bit of physical activity on their vacation.
Hit the Clubs
The nightlife in LA is pretty awesome and you can pick your poison when it comes to nightclubs and parties. You have European-style clubs blasting loud electronic sounds, strip clubs, bars, fancy restaurants, Goth clubs, gay bars – you name it, they’ve got it. If you’re looking for a good time you won’t have much trouble finding it here.
Do some Shopping at the Farmers Market
The Farmers Market is just what it sounds like, a big place with plenty of goods for you to spend some cash on. This is the place to go for fresh fruit and vegetables, to fulfill all your organic food needs, and to find all the ingredients you need to cook up some tasty, tasty meals.
Go see a Hardcore Roller Derby League Game
Highly competitive girls on roller skates, wearing sexy uniforms and dishing out full-contact punishment to those foolish enough to stand between them and victory – it’s as close as you’ll get to Rollerball and it is very fun to watch.
Visit a Comedy Club
A great way to spend an evening with some friends or your partner is to visit some of LA’s famous comedy clubs. Many famous comedians often make appearances at some of these clubs and there is plenty of fresh young talent ready to make you laugh. Some good clubs include the Comedy Store, the Laugh Factory, and Hollywood Improv.
The LA County Fair
The Fair is open until the end of September, so there is still plenty of time to visit it. Cheap yet cute souvenirs, rides, beer and wine sampling, cute animals and beautiful flowers – you can have tons of fun as well as an opportunity to learn a thing or two while in LA.
Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival
As you would imagine there will be plenty of lobsters to be had at low prices at this festival – they are, like all good crustaceans, imported from Maine of course – but there are also plenty of street performers, musicians, shops selling all kinds of trinkets, and even a Pirate Camp. The festival runs from September 13 – 15.
Beverly Hills and Bel Air
Why not snoop around the neighborhoods of the movie stars, directors, singers, and the obscenely rich for a few hours, perhaps take a few pictures and imagine what it would be like to live in one of the big houses. There are plenty of private tours available and many people enjoy seeing the homes of their favorite celebrities, so if you are a fan it’s well worth the money.
Window Shopping on Rodeo Drive
The shops here might be a little out of your price range, but then again you might be filthy rich and looking for the kind of clothes Hollywood celebrities wear, so depending on how deep your pockets are you will either be doing some window shopping and taking pictures or getting some new stuff. Either way it is a good place to visit.
Chinatown and Little Tokyo
The ethnic Chinese and Japanese parts of town offer plenty of Eastern culture, tasty food and colorful shops. The 13th annual U.S. Sumo Wrestling tournament opens on September 15th in Little Tokyo at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center and it will be quite a spectacle.
Catch a Play at Theatricum Botanicum Before the Summer is Out
This is an open-air event in the Topanga Canyon where you can watch classical Shakespeare plays in a beautiful natural setting. The beautiful little amphitheater reminds me of something you would find in the idyllic world of the Shire, amongst the Hobbits. It is open until October 20.
There you have it, quite a few sights to see, events to go to and parties to rock, so plan your vacation carefully and remember to leave enough room in your schedule to get some rest. God knows you’re going to need all your energy in this crazy town.