Los Angeles has a great diversity of people, cultures, and especially food. There are literally hundreds of things to do here in LA. Here is my top ten list:
Disneyland: The Happiest Place on Earth. Half a billion visitors can’t be wrong. (Sometimes it seems all at once)
Universal Studios: A theme park that grew out of a studio tour. And Universal City Walk is a fun place to hang out in the evening after your day inside the park.
Hollywood: Hollywood Boulevard is ready for its close-up, thanks to years of urban renewal and renovation. Enjoy the Walk of Fame, Entertainment Museum, Chinese Theatre and more. You can see a lot for free. The Hollywood & Highland complex is AMAZING. It looks like it was designed by Cecil B. DeMille, and has lots of shops and restaurants, and the Kodak Theater (home of the Academy Awards). I also like the El Capitan theater, right across the street, because it has been restored to its former glory.
Rodeo Drive, 90210: Packed with exclusive shops, full of gawkers. They all came to enjoy the excess. Free, unless you intend to buy something.
Venice Beach: Los Angeles kitsch and over-the-top culture at its best. Here you'll find Muscle Beach, street performers and tacky shops galore. Fun, VERY interesting, but I avoid it after dark, when it gets a little TOO interesting for my taste. And it's a short bike ride from Santa Monica Pier.
Santa Monica Beach and Pier: Great beach scene and a classic seaside amusement park, complete with antique carousel that has been in a lot of TV and movies. (The Sting and "Three's Company" come immediately to mind). After visiting the pier, you can ride a bike south a couple miles to Venice Beach.
Santa Monica Third Street Promenade - Downtown Santa Monica's shopping promenade is often the scene of movie star-sightings. Just a short walk from the Santa Monica Pier.
Sunset Boulevard: Perhaps one of the world's most famous streets, it began as a route between the stars' posh neighborhoods and the Hollywood studios. It runs from downtown to the ocean, passing through the "Sunset Strip" on its way. It makes for a fun drive. Along the way, you see a lot of different neighborhoods: Hollywood, West Hollywood, Bel Air, and Pacific Palisades. When you get to the ocean, stop at Gladstone's for Fish.
Queen Mary: Once the largest ship afloat, she's been docked in Long Beach for longer than she sailed, and her elegance never fails to impress. Free to visit. You can actually stay on board, for a price.
Farmers Market and The Grove - A new shopping complex right next to a Los Angeles landmark, The Grove and Farmers Market coexist. Enjoy a movie or shopping, and then take the trolley to the Farmers Market for lunch or dinner. It is right next to CBS, so walk across the lot to see if they are taping "The Price is Right". You might even get in.
TAAB: The Americana at Brand- The newly opened TAAB, developed by the same group that gave us The Grove, breathes new life into Glendale, and gives all those hip people in Eagle Rock and the eastern half of LA a great place to go.
Griffith Park - Home of the Los Angeles Zoo, Griffith Park Observatory, Travel Town, the Greek Theatre, and Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage.
Getty Museum - The Getty's architecture is so beautiful that it keeps me fascinated. No matter whether you like their art or architecture better (or maybe you'll just enjoy the view), the Getty is sure to please. Free.
Attend a TV taping - You can get free tickets at audiencesunlimited.com, tvtix.com, or see the booth at Universal City walk. It's very interesting to see a show being taped. The most popular, by far, is the Tonight show with Jay Leno. Check the NBC web site for all the details there.
Wicked at the Pantages Theater- Located in the heart of Hollywood, this is an excellent and long running production, the most POPULAR show in LA right now.
Places to eat:
In-N-Out Burger: Multiple locations, best burger in LA, ask anyone.
Pink’s Hot Dogs: 709 N. La Brea, just north of Melrose. You might even see a celebrity. Maybe.
Tommy’s Chili Burgers: Look for the shack, an LA tradition. The original location is at Beverly & Rampart, a couple miles west of downtown.
Canter’s Deli: 419 N. Fairfax, between Beverly & Melrose. Near CBS, you might spot a celebrity.
Phillippe’s: 1001 N. Alameda. Great roast beef sandwiches. Near Union Station and Olvera Street. Watch the mustard, it’s hot.
The Pantry: Corner of Figueroa and 9th, downtown. Huge portions, they never close, GREAT steak and eggs.
Places to Stay:
Since LA is so spread out, there is no single place that is close to EVERYTHING. Most people who come here tend to stay in Hollywood, Santa Monica, or Anaheim.
In Hollywood, I recommend the Renaissance Hotel at Hollywood and Highland, the Best Western Sunset Plaza, or the Holiday Inn Walk of Fame.
In Santa Monica, the Holiday Inn Santa Monica is close to the pier and reasonably priced.
In Anaheim, I reco