Top 10 Things To Do in Los Angeles

1. Check out the view of LA from the car park of Dodger Stadium

 http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/la/ballpark/
Where? 1000 Vin Scully Ave, Los Angeles
Why go? Even if you’re not a baseball fan (like me), the view from the car park is unreal!
How long will you need? We were there for about an hour, because husband discovered we could go into the stadium and just sit around. And, the gift shop was open.
Cost? Free!
Read more:
– Travel Tuesday: Dodger Stadium, LA

 

2. Eat your way around Grand Central Market

 http://www.grandcentralmarket.com/
Where? 317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles
Why go? Food. All of the food. It’s also full of locals, and watching the way the huge the mix of cultures and ethnicities interact in a market setting is a true experience.
How long will you need? A few hours, preferably first thing in the morning.
Cost? How hungry are you? You can get a solid breakfast for only a few dollars if you’re struggling for cash, or you can buy all of the food!
Read more:
– Eat here: Eggslut & Tumbras at Grand Central Market, LA

 

3. Be a big kid at Universal Studios

 http://www.universalstudioshollywood.com/
Where? 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City
Why go? As if you need a reason…
How long will you need? All day!
Cost? Ticket prices start from USD$105.00 per adult

 

4. People watch in Santa Monica and Venice Beach

Why go? People watching at it’s absolute best, it’s the perfect spot to melt into the background and just observe the goings on.
How long will you need? A few hours.
Cost? People watching is the greatest free activity ever!
Read more:
– Through my eyes: Santa Monica & Venice Beach, LA

 

5. While you’re in Venice Beach, check out Abbot Kinney Blvd for good shopping and great food

 http://www.abbotkinneyblvd.com/
Where? Abbot Kinney Blvd. Obviously.
Why go? It’s a pretty hipster area, but in a good way – lots of gorgeous and really unique stores to buy some different souvenirs (because do you really want to be that guy with the Hollywood Star fridge magnet?!). And with hipsters comes great food – my cereal and peanut butter bowl from Another Kind of Sunrise (above) was magic!
How long will you need? Another few hours after you’re done people watching in Santa Monica and Venice Beach.
Cost? Free to meander, bring some money to shop and eat!
Read more:
– Eat here: Another Kind of Sunrise, LA (breakfast/healthy)

 

6. Enjoy a chili dog at the institution that is Pink’s

 http://www.pinkshollywood.com/
Where? 709 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles
Why go? Because it’s a city institution – everyone from Dolly Parton to Jimmy Fallon to Aerosmith to Betty White have been! When we visited, we came across a particularly excited lady who was finally visiting for the first time after having lived in LA her whole life!
How long will you need? We were there for about an hour.
Cost? We got the classic chili dog with mustard, onions and chili, for around USD$5.00
Read more:
– Eat here: Pink’s, LA

 

7. Eat your way through The Grove Farmers Market

 http://www.farmersmarketla.com/
Where? 6333 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles
Why go? Food (noticing a theme?), and lots of it! While the Grove itself is a bit upper class and la-di-da, the Farmers Market is much more laid back, with those plebian food options that everyone loves. You can have your table-cloth clad restaurants, I’ll take a doughnut and pulled pork sandwich any day!
How long will you need? We visited a few times, and spend an hour or two each visit. It’s a great spot to grab a coffee and sweet and just watch the world go by!
Cost? Again, depends how much you’re eating…
Read more:
– Shop & Eat at The Grove Farmers Market, LA (Bryan’s BBQ Pit, Bob’s Coffee Doughnuts & Short Cake)

 

8. Take the trek out the Greystone Mansion and Gardens

 http://www.greystonemansion.org/
Where? 905 Loma Vista Drive, Beverly Hills
Why go? It’s stunning. It’s nothing like you’d expect to find in the neon soaked world that is Hollywood, and that’s why you need to go. It’s a little piece of paradise in a world of botox and hairspray, and that’s what you’ll need after a day or two in the mayhem.
How long will you need? Hire a car and drive. It’ll cut down on time walking and time spent in marriage counselling. Trust me (if you don’t read more below). Once you’re there, an hour or so should be enough to recharge!
Cost? Free parking and admission.
Read more:
– Greystone Mansion & Park, LA

 

9. See how the other half live out in Beverly Hills

Why go? Honestly, it’s fascinating. There is so much wealth and so many bizarre activities and conversations associated with that, and as a regular, middle class gal, it really is mesmerising to see how life unfolds for those with money.
How long will you need? Not long – we only lasted an hour.
Cost? Free to people watch, bring a few credit cards if you plan to shop!
Read more:
– From my travel journal: Los Angeles, 2014

 

10. Catch a movie at the legendary TCL (Grauman’s) Chinese Theatre

 http://www.tclchinesetheatres.com/
Where? 6925 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood
Why go? Hollywood takes a special kind of person to put up with it and find it interesting for more than an hour or two, particularly at night. When you reach your limit of fake-and-touristy, why not catch a movie at one of the most iconic movie theatres in the world?!
How long will you need? A few hours – they’re great cinemas so you may want to go back more than once!
Cost? USD$16.00 for a standard adult ticket

 

Photo Journal: Dodger Stadium, LA

Dodger Stadium
1000 Elysian Park Ave, Los Angeles
http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/la/ballpark/

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Husband and I decided to hire a car and drive ourselves from Anaheim to LA when we visited last December, which proved to be a fantastic decision; LA is not walkable on limited time, the public transport system isn’t amazing, and there are basically no cabs driving around. We figured that seeing as we were hiring the car for a relatively quick drive which was still charged as a minimum one day hire, we may as well have gotten our monies worth and use it to see all the things we thought we’d have issues using the above mentioned methods to get to, like Grand Central Market. Unfortunately we overlooked Greystone Mansion, but that’s another story

After finishing at the market and consulting the map, husband also realised that Dodger Stadium wasn’t going to be easy to get to without the car, so we took as detour on the way back to returning the car. I’m not a baseball fan, I wasn’t too fussed about going there, but holy wow, that view…

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The stadium was also open to visit, and the view from the seating way up was pretty impressive too, even for a non-baseball fan like myself. Well worth the visit if you’ve got that car and a bit of time to spare before returning it!

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Photo Journal: Santa Monica & Venice Beach, LA

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One of the best things that’s come from starting this blog is that I’ve “met” some awesome and inspiring people. I got super excited to read that one of those kindred souls was packing up her life and flying off to LA to start an adventure around the world, and for the past few weeks I’ve been jealously and vicariously following Bec’s adventures on her site My Bloggable Day, while lamenting to my husband that “this girl just packed up and left with her boyfriend, why can’t we just do that?!” Anyway, she had some killer shots on both her Instagram account and her blog of her time in Santa Monica, which reminded me of my time there 6 months ago…

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Sunny Santa Monica. Even in winter. It’s a really beautiful spot, particularly when you’ve had enough of the Hollywood scene and you just want to get out and relax a little. There are still a few of the beautiful people walking and jogging and doing push ups in the park areas, but for the most part, it’s just a beautiful stretch of pier and sand 🙂

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And then, there was Venice Beach. It was like Santa Monica’s cooler, more hipster cousin. I really liked it there, it was like Fitzroy had moved to St Kilda Beach…

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It was probably my favourite area in Los Angeles that we visited, and the first place in the city I’d go back to if I were to return; great food options (like the most delicious peanut butter breakfast I had at Another Kind of Sunrise), heaps of street art, book shops, artists selling their wares along the beach strip, and Abbot Kinney Blvd.

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And the street ballers. Having grown up around basketball courts, there’s something that feels so good about hanging out by the courts in the sunshine, hearing the ball pound against the pavement, the water and street musicians providing the perfect soundtrack for a perfect morning on the other side of the globe…

Eat here: Eggslut & Tumbras at Grand Central Market, LA

Grand Central Market
317 S Broadway, Los Angeles
http://www.grandcentralmarket.com/

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Another weekend, another opportunity to sit back and relax and brunch in peace. Even more so this weekend, given that it’s a long weekend for Easter! Hooray for extra lazy breakfast days! Wish I was back in LA to enjoy another breaky at the market…

Our arrival into LA was somewhat, well, mental. We flew into LA from Australia, landing at around 7am, went straight to our hotel in Anaheim for a quick shower and change of clothes, and went straight to Disneyland. We had 3 days there. Then we hired a car, after 3 Disney days, to drive from Anaheim to LA. Mental!

Being Aussies, driving on the other side of the road was interesting. So was getting used to the fact that over there, people drive through red lights, legally, if they want to turn right and no one else is coming. Also, husband gets motion sickness, so he drove which left me to navigate. For someone with absolutely no sense of direction, my map reading game is surprisingly strong; what the maps don’t tell you, however, is which areas are safe and which are kinda dodgy. I may have navigated us through some of the dodgier areas. Anyway, we made it to LA with minimal fighting and no real wrong turns. Our hotel room wasn’t gonna be ready for a while (we left first thing in the morning) so we drove straight on to Central Market for breakfast; I’d heard that Egg Slut was amazing, and I wanted it.

 

Egg Slut
http://eggslut.com/

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First stop for “real” food (AKA not Disneyland food). All the hype surrounding this place seemed to come to life when we got there – solid line around the stall (took us around 25 minutes which wasn’t too bad, considering) and a film crew; standard morning at the market!

I felt like a complete tool asking the lady for a “slut” when she asked for my order, but that’s what all the cool kids were getting… As you can see up top, the Slut is a  perfectly coddled egg on top of a smooth potato purée, poached in a glass jar and served with a demi baguette, for USD$9.00. I thought that as pretty pricey when I ordered, but it was a deceptively filling meal and a decent sized baguette. And it was amazing! Seriously, I can’t remember eating a better egg breakfast in recent memory… the potato was so smooth and creamy, the egg yolk was the perfect sauce, even the baguette was perfect!

The other beauty you can see is the bacon, egg and cheese breaky roll. I didn’t eat this, someone else did, but it was so attractive and sat right in front of me at the counter before someone came to whisk it off to it’s rightful owner, I thought it needed to be documented as well.

Truly delicious breakfast, fantastic service, wish we’d been able to go again!

 

 

After breakfast stop number one, which I really didn’t share much of, husband took a turn to pick the next stop – tacos.

Tacos Tumbras a Tomas
http://www.grandcentralmarket.com/vendors/36/tacos-tumbras-a-tomas

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We noticed this place on the way in and figured it must have been amazing because the line was long, but moved quickly, and we couldn’t overhear anyone speaking anything but Spanish. We got a pork and a beef taco,  for all of a few dollars, and they were magic. Super soft meat and a LOT of it, unbelievably tasty, extra soft tortillas which they doubled up on (thankfully), quick service, amazing meal. Don’t overlook this place – you really need to try the pork tacos!

 

 

As for Grand Central Market itself, it’s a fantastic little market area with the most incredible range of food, both ready to eat and fresh produce to take home. The heavy Hispanic influence is obvious from first entry, reflected in the great selection of meats, fried fruits, exotic spices and the like available. It’s a great place to spend the morning, and as a traveller, I’d have loved accommodation with a kitchen so I could have taken some of the produce home to cook up! Absolutely loved this market 🙂

Greystone Mansion & Park, Los Angeles

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Greystone Mansion and Park. Looks beautiful, doesn’t it? Calm, peaceful, romantic even. The type of place you could see yourself and your love sitting happily, holding hands, staring into each other’s eyes. Not at all the type of place that’d make you want to strangle your spouse with your bare hands, right? Wrong. Let me tell you a fun little story…

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So, husband and I had made it through 17 hours of transit and three days in Disneyland and driving from Anaheim to LA and a few days in Hollywood. We had one last day in LA and I wanted to get away from Hollywood Blvd and see something different. Enter Greystone Mansion and Park. Couldn’t tell you how I first found out about this place, but I can tell you I was intrigued by the promise of the stunning gardens hidden away in Beverly Hills and the beautiful Tudor style buildings, the picture perfect setting featured in films like The Prestige, X-Men, Rush Hour, Richie Rich, The Bodyguard, Ghostbusters and Austin Powers: Goldmember. I checked it out on the map – seemed to be a simple enough walk from Rodeo Drive, just over 4km. Easy. We walk around 15km every Sunday morning at home, with a psychotic Beagle cross pulling us along – 4km with just the two of us and all the time in the world, no worries!

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What the map didn’t show us was the massive mother of a hill we’d need to walk up to get to said mansion and park. Let the games begin. It’s meant to be winter, why is it so bloody hot?! Jean were such a bad option… Arghhh this is sh!t!! Why did the one cultural thing you picked out to do have to be at the top of a friggin hill?! I know, I hate myself, I’m sorry, but we’ve come too far to go back now and it’s not like we’ve seen a cab! And so on and so forth…

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Anyway, we finally got to the top of the hill, and luckily for me, it was beyond beautiful. Husband was happy to enjoy the beauty from a comfy bench he found in the middle of the gardens, while I wondered around, camera in hand for a little while… I wanted to die a little walking to get there, but it was totally worth it when we got to the top!

Getting back down was another story; apparently there are no cabs in LA, so we walked, I shit you not, another 5 or so kilometres from Beverly Hills back toward Hollywood, before we finally found a taxi. All that stuff people say about needing a car to see LA because it’s not a walking town like New York? For the sake of your marriage and your sanity, LISTEN TO THEM!!! Also, prioritise a visit to Greystone Mansion and Park when you visit LA – it’s a hell of a lot more beautiful than the concrete and characters of Hollywood Boulevard, and the view is incredible…

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