Los Angeles, California
Hello Everyone, and welcome to another episode …. err blog post! Today’s topic — sunny Los Angeles aka LA. Where people don’t wear sunglasses, they wear “eyewear” — hmm good tagline option — where is the tourism department? LA is such a fun place to visit — vibrant, full of energy and well-dressed people! Unfortunately, I was only there for a few days so I had to split my time based on the different areas I wanted to see — Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Hollywood & The Fashion District.
First things first, I stayed in downtown LA at a hotel called L.A. Hotel Downtown (hmmm what an original name, obviously creativity died for a while). While the location of the hotel was good (central, close to all the hustle and bustle) the actual hotel was pretty standard with nothing to rave about. The restaurant was decent (but provided horrible room service) and there is a Starbucks located right in the hotel which was great for my morning coffee needs. The concierge staff were friendly and there was a money exchange located on the premises which is handy for foreign travellers, even people from the exotic land of Canada.
My first adventure in LA began on my journey to Rodeo Drive located in Beverly Hills. Because I made the foolish decision to not rent a car, public transit was my only mode of transportation. Before leaving the hotel I used google maps to determine the route and buses I needed to take, thankfully the bus stop was located only about a block from the hotel. Now, it’s important to note here that I’m a little spoiled and haven’t had to take public transit very often before and these days I drive everywhere. Anyway, the bus didn’t take long to arrive and I was quickly on my way. About 40 min into my journey, I realized I was not passing the landmarks which were suggested by google maps — Oh no! I was on the wrong bus — excellent. I got off at the next stop which happened to be at a mall to re-group and figure out where I was and how far off course I was. Turns out I was about an hour off course, oh goody and bonus I didn’t have any more change for the bus — why did I think this was a good idea?? After obtaining the correct change and finding the correct bus I was back on my way, woohoo! Being back on course with coffee in hand (because coffee was definitely needed for the re-grouping portion of the adventure) I was thrilled and this time paid closer attention to my surroundings. About an hour later I saw the sign for the Rodeo Drive stop — I made it, Hurrah! Not quite…turns out Rodeo Drive is a long street and I had made it to the wrong side — wow…this day was not going well. Instead of figuring out which bus to hop on next, I decided to walk — after all how far could it be & everyone is always saying how walking is great exercise! Not even two minutes into my pedal journey, it started to rain — seriously this was turning into a scene from a movie (ironic being in LA and all). Finally, wet & grumpy I made it to the famous “Rodeo Drive”. The area is quaint with many small high fashion boutiques with interesting decor in the shop windows. Stores located there include Gucci, Burberry, Coach & Chanel all displaying beautiful items from blouses to handbags. Roaming around was great fun and the restaurant 208 was delicious, a welcome reprieve after my misadventure.
After spending a couple of hours on Rodeo drive I continued to explore Beverly Hills. The area itself is just a place with really fancy houses and a big sign stating exactly where you are, in case you have amnesia and forgot or if you’re like me and get lost regularly! I must say this though, I would LOVE to live in there, the homes are gorgeous. After my adventure to Rodeo Drive, I’m proud to report that I made it back to the hotel on the correct bus with no more mishaps — see I can learn!
The next place I visited was The Fashion District; this area is seriously juxtaposed to Rodeo Drive. It is a large outdoor market, with vendors packed side by side and people EVERYWHERE! They sell everything from clothing to jewellery to phone cases. Items are well priced with plenty of selection. It actually reminds me of the markets in Cairo, Egypt except no one follows you around forcing you to buy their goods — thankfully. I enjoyed wandering around in the Fashion District, the weather was amazing and I even did some shopping! I bought a black & white blouse, purple polka dot skirt, & pink & black necklace — versatile pieces that can be worn for work or an evening out. Fortunately, Fashion District was only one bus away so there were no transportation misadventures — as the famous pampers commercial says “mommy wow I’m a big kid now”!
The final part of LA I visited was Hollywood! This was probably my most favourite part of my trip. I love movies & TV and to be able to see where all the magic happens was fantastic! Hollywood itself is dirty, litter everywhere but the energy is amazing. I visited the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the sidewalk that has stars imprinted with celebrity names on it — The Beatles, Backstreet Boys, Scarlett Johansson…you get my drift.
Just outside of Hollywood is the Warner Brothers Studio & Backlots. Warner Brothers is responsible for many of my favourite TV shows & movies — Gilmore Girls, Friends, Mad About You, Full House, The Big Bang Theory & Harry Potter just to name a few. I was fortunate enough to take a tour of the studio and visit the sets of many of my favourite shows! As you may know from one of my previous blog posts, I am a HUGE Gilmore Girls fan and lucky me, they happen to be filming the revival when I was there. Sadly I didn’t meet any celebrities but I did see the entire outdoor set — Luke’s Diner, Sookie’s home, Ms. Patties — read my blog post about Lauren Graham’s book for more details. The tour also included a visit to The Big Bang Theory set — I actually saw “Sheldon’s Spot”, Penny’s apartment & the non-working elevator in real life! I wish I had been able to see a live taping of the show, maybe during a future trip since the show was just renewed for two more seasons! One of the most fun parts of the tour was being able to see and walk around the famous Friends set! I am excited to announce that I have sat on the original iconic Orange Couch — OMG, I still can’t believe it! Another fun aspect is they have an actual coffee shop called the Central Perk and guess who bought coffee there…that’s right, ME — AHHHH, pretty much a coffee lovers dream! I’m pretty much famous — I even held an Oscar (don’t ask me which movie it was for…. I totally don’t remember). The third part of the tour was the props trailer & displays for Harry Potter and Batman! In the props trailer, we saw the chandeliers used in the movie My Fair Lady and I sat behind the desk used in almost every presidential movie made (it was also used as Richard’s desk in Gilmore Girls). The displays for Harry Potter were interactive — I got sorted by the actual sorting hat — AHHHH! Of course, because I’m so brave (remember my bus adventure from above) I was sorted into Gryffindor — the same house as Harry Potter himself! Now you can see why this was my favourite part of LA — I almost fell out of the golf cart that they use to drive you around the property!
Overall, my trip to LAX was amazing! I would definitely recommend the studio tours at Warner Brothers & maybe to prevent any transportation misadventures rent a car! I would rate my trip ♥♥♥♥ out of 5 hearts!
Trotting Traveller ♥