Los Angeles , one of my favorite cities in the whole world! I travel there a couple of times a year, and each time I discover something new, so if this is your first time and you only have 3 days, plan what you’d like to do before you go. If, like me, you’re a beach lover, you’ve got to check the Pacific Coast beaches; that’s what I do with every visit, I head to the beach on the first day. Looking to relax? Redondo Beach would be great. To surf? Go to Hermosa Beach. For the best people watching? Definitely Venice Beach. To rub elbows with movie stars (if you’re lucky!): Malibu. Note that some Malibu beach areas are private and some parking lots charge $25.
My favorite seaside city: Santa Monica. I love its long stretch of beach along the Pacific Highway and sometimes you can even spot dolphins swimming close to shore; its pier with its famous carrousel and ferris wheel; its promenade lined with shops and restaurants. Dining outdoors and listening to the street performers is for me the best way to unwind and start my vacation. If you’re there on a Wednesday or Sunday morning, a stroll through the farmers market is definitely worth it. Another tip about Santa Monica: park in the ramps; the first 2 hours are free!
I love driving in L.A. If you avoid the highways, traffic isn’t that bad and you get to discover some fabulous areas. The Santa Monica Boulevard will take you to Beverly Hills. Stop at Rodeo Drive to window shop and check if you can spot anyone famous! Actually you need to spot the paparazzi, then you know someone famous is close by! I saw Halle Berry that way!
If you have a chance to be in Beverly Hills the 3rd weekend of May or October, visit the Affaire in the Gardens Art Show. You can easily spend a couple of hours there; the art show attracts fine artists and numerous visitors, and there is good food to be sampled.
You can’t come to Los Angeles and not go to Hollywood, where my favorite spot is at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland. I’ve stayed at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel many times; the rooms are great and the location can’t be beat. Plus, from there you can see the Hollywood sign! The hotel is part of the Hollywood Highland Center, so if you’re tired of walking the Hollywood Walk of Fame searching for the star of your favorite actor(s), you can enjoy some great shopping or you can relax at the hotel’s rooftop pool.
Feel like changing scenery for dinner? Head down to Sunset Boulevard by Londonderry Place. There’s a good selection of dining there. Or go for an evening drink at the famous Chateau Marmont. End the evening back on Hollywood Boulevard and go see a movie at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater or at El Capitan Theatre, operated by Walt Disney Company and where so many Disney movie premieres take place. And who knows, you might just witness a red carpet event like I have. Be prepared to fight traffic in the area as early as 4pm if you want to catch a glimpse of celebrities getting out of their limo or walking down the carpet.
One of my favorite Los Angeles sites is on “Museum Row.” My plan was to visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) on my last day, but its collection of Impressionist paintings wasn’t what I expected and I decided to skip it. Adjacent to LACMA is a beautiful Sculpture Garden with some of Rodin’s Bronzes and other sculptures. As I was walking the grounds, I started smelling “it,” and then I was upon “it”: La Brea Tar Pits. Never did I imagine finding a site with million of fossils of huge mammoths and other animals, which sank in the asphalt that has been seeping out of the ground for the past 40,000 years! Teams are still excavating to this day and you can watch them work. And watch your step around this registered National Natural Landmark; as I said, the tar still seeps out and even outside the fenced areas! There is also a museum you can visit. I didn’t have time, as I needed to head back to the airport, but it is on my “what to do on my next L.A. trip” list, along with checking out The Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, The Roosevelt Hotel, driving on Mulholland Drive, and I could continue on and on! As you can see, you can make your stay as relaxing as you want or jam-packed with fantastic activities. For me, it’s a little at a time, so I have a good reason to return!