This trip to the City of Angels is part of the 10 Days West Coast Trip that I talked about in some of the previous articles. Los Angeles was our last destination (if I don’t consider having to go back to the LV McCarran International Airport to take off). We spent almost 3 full days in Los Angeles. Although we arrived in the city on 18th October, we didn’t plan any activity for that day and we just wanted to stay at the hotel and get some rest because it was already very late and we were exhausted anyway.
Quality Inn & Suites Hotel, Bell Gardens, Los Angeles. We chose this hotel because Los Angeles is huge, so we needed a location as strategic as possible in order to easily get to all the places that we were planning to see. Bell Gardens is a neighborhood located at an approximately equal distance from the Downtown LA, Santa Monica, and Long Beach.
Griffith Park Observatory
I couldn’t let the first day pass without having a panoramic view of the city of Los Angeles. Where could I make this possible, if not on the southern slope of Hollywood Mountain, where not only the Griffith Park is located, but also the free admission Observatory? We got there by car and we had the pleasant surprise of finding free parking with limited places, however.
Griffith Observatory has a free entrance since 1995. A big number of movies were filmed there, including some very popular ones such as Transformers, Terminator, Charlie’s Angels, San Andreas, etc.
The next destination was actually in the same place as the previous one, just because we couldn’t find any access to see the sign closer. Unfortunately, we had to be satisfied with the view from Griffith Observatory. Even if it doesn’t offer the best panorama, Griffith Observatory is still a viable option. However, this is a great opportunity to add to my bucket list, a future hike to the Hollywood Sign.
Have you seen the TV series 90210? If the answer is yes, then you must know that the title it actually represents the zip code of Beverly Hills. Hold on, that’s not all! 90210 is the most expensive zip code in the United States. This is your chance to meet the biggest number of celebrities per square kilometer, but also to lay eyes on their extravagant mansions. We did a complete tour of the streets and I have to admit that I was deeply impressed by their opulence and luxury. It is a very charming area that really deserves at least a little of your time.
This street is so luxurious, that you will need to make an appointment if you want to do some shopping. Considering the exorbitant prices, it didn’t even cross my mind to buy something, but I was pleased enough with the window shopping and a lunch at Chipotle. For those of you who are hoping to take a picture with the famous yellow Buggati, parked in front of the House of Bijan boutique, you should know that it was replaced by a yellow Rolls Royce. What impressed me about Rodeo Drive is that we found, surprisingly, a free underground parking, 2 hours limited. If you are a Gucci, Prada or any other expensive brand fan, you can consider yourself lucky…Rodeo Drive is the Mecca of luxury shopping. And if you enjoy walking among palm trees on a two miles long street, then I strongly recommend you to visit this place. It is definitely a great place to walk around.
I have been to the one in Orlando and I liked it, so I’ve decided to turn into a kid once again and to visit the one in Los Angeles also. I have to admit I regretted the decision just a little bit when we had to go back and had to experience the heavy traffic on the North West part of the Los Angeles highway, especially after the sunset.
You must go to Universal Studios if you are a hardcore fan of theme parks or if you want to see some live scenes of famous Hollywood action movies. Universal Studios main attractions include Jurrasic Park, Water World, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, etc.
Walk of Fame
I said earlier that we had to experience a terrible traffic when returning from Universal Studios. This has affected us even more because we wanted to get to the Walk of Fame while it was still natural light out. We failed, obviously, but it was ok after sunset because it wasn’t crowded that much as it is during the day. Walk of Fame stretches over 3 km and is engraved on both sides of the street with the names of celebrities. The distance between the stars is about 1.8 m.
Right now, there are over 2 500 stars. If you want to quickly find the star of your favorite celebrity, you can download the Official Hollywood Walk of Fame app.
In the first part of the day, I wanted to fulfill my childhood dream. When I was 7 years old (1997), there was an extremely popular American soap opera in Romania. It was called Sunset Beach, and I knew that it was filmed in California, somewhere near Los Angeles. So I’ve done my homework, and I researched a lot on the internet to find out the exact locations for filming. I discovered that, in fact, the series was filmed in Seal Beach, Sunset Beach neighboring town. To my happiness, the houses owned by the main characters are in perfect condition even today, so I managed to photograph them with ease, being located right on the beach. Basically, I felt like I was back in my childhood.
Even if you haven’t seen the series, it is worth it to get here. The beach is enormous and much quieter than the one in Santa Monica, for example. It’s a very nice neighborhood where you can relax and lay on the sand for a few hours.
⇒ Also read: Sunset Beach soap opera – I went to see the houses
Now, a floating hotel, but also a place for events and weddings, the old ship arrived in Long Beach in its last cruise back in 1967. Why should you pay a visit to Queen Mary? Because it is larger than Titanic and has a double weight; because it’s the first boat after Titanic’s failure that managed to cross the Atlantic no less than 1001 times. Are these enough reasons for you?
If I were to give a name to a truly epic afternoon, then it probably would be named Santa Monica. How was suppose to look like this kind of afternoon? Well, first you need to park your car somewhere nearby, walk into a supermarket (Vons) and buy the best éclair you’ve ever eaten (I regret so much that I haven’t taken a picture of them), walk the pier till the end of the historic route 66, ride the roller coaster at the amusement park, buy a nice souvenir, then sit nicely on the beach, waiting for one of the most beautiful sunsets of your life. If it sounds appealing, then it’s a must to spend an afternoon in Santa Monica.
Wait. The fun does not end here. Once you have finished enjoying the surreal sunset, you must go to the promenade, on the 3rd street, where you can find a variety of restaurants, shops, and street performers.
On the third day, I decided that I already checked the most beautiful places in LA, so it was time to also explore some of the surroundings. We traveled for 2 hours until we reached San Diego, which is very close to Tijuana, specifically the border of Mexico.
We could not pass by this splendid beach, without even to stop and to enjoy a few moments of breathtaking landscapes. Laguna Beach is situated in the south of Orange County. The area is known for its beauty, due to waves that burst into steep cliffs, the white sand that stretches for seven miles, and the events devoted to art.
I haven’t had very much time to explore the city so well that I could say I have a good knowledge of it, but overall I think San Diego is Miami on a smaller scale, given the geographical position and Latin American influences. I wanted to make the most of the trip, so I visited the downtown and Coronado Island, which offered me a lovely panorama of the city. San Diego will be discussed in detail in a future article.
⇒ Also read: A taste of San Diego, California