I got a request to cover Hollywood, LA as my next stop travel blog entry. As a big lover of America naturally I’m thrilled to do a posting on this place. When I visited my family had driven from San Francisco all through to Las Vegas, so we stopped here along the way. From this I can tell you, this place is vast.. it measures 12,308 km²… it took a few hours to get to see anything remotely recognisable from television shows or the big screen. This is because Los Angeles County surrounds the city of L.A. and you have to drive through this to get to the famed sites. Was it worth it? Hell yes!
Andy Warhol once said ‘I love Los Angeles. I love Hollywood. They’re beautiful. Everybody’s plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic’. Yes, it is a very ‘plastic city’ made famous through films such as Pretty Woman. Everywhere you go, everywhere you look there is something odd going on. Everything from a man dressed up as C-3PO, or MANY women as Marilyn Monroe. None of these were as shocking as the nude guitarist in Times Square in New York, these all seemed to blend into their environment. There are street artists performing to music, dancers, and of course many tourists.
How to get there: Now, if you’re seeking adventure I thoroughly recommend driving through the place itself. The roads in America are pretty safe compared to anywhere else I’ve been and I’ve never felt out of place on them. Of course being British you have to adjust to the other side of the road and car for that matter but you’ll quickly get used to it.
If you’re not a fan of driving, then fly to their own major international airport L.A.X. and when you go through customs look around for famous people- come on.. there are always pictures of famous people there!
Where to Stay: I was really really lucky when we visited LA as the Roosevelt hotel had just been refurbished and we managed to get a good price to stay here. It’s number 7000 Hollywood Boulevard and is literally opposite the The Chinese Theatre. What a great location! The hotel was opened in 1927 and was the original hosting place of the first Academy awards in 1929. Talk about fitting for the stars!
Doing a little research on this hotel now shows a few changes- Madame Tussauds has now opened a place opposite. The Roosevelt is also now part of the Thompson branch- an extremely reputable hospitality company. It still looks a great place to stay and you can’t fault the location. You are on the most famous road in town! It costs about £287 a night now but they often have deals available on their website or if you contact them direct.
What to do: Luckily there are so many free things to do then only involve getting achy feet- such as the Hollywood walk of fame and Venice Beach. You can also get cheap tickets for bus tours of the Hollywood homes of Bel Air and Movie locations.
We did a Movie stars tour and got to go close to the Hollywood sign, as well as down sunset strip and saw the homes of Jack Black, Elvis Presley and Tom Cruise. Although some proved a little disappointing (all you could see where trees) I’m not too sure what I expected. Of course they want to protect their privacy!
LA has a huge music centre, and at the heart of this is the not cartoony Walt Disney Concert Hall. Tickets range in price from $25-$175 if you’re looking for a night of orchestral genius, please go and visit.
Not only a place of Music and Film, Hollywood holds one of the most famous Art Centres in the world- The Getty. More famous for the works it holds and the architecture of the building itself, it welcomes visitors from all over the world every day. Want to know the best thing about the Getty? It’s free… yes free! So no excuses! It’s opening times are Tuesday–Friday and Sunday 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Saturday 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m. – See more at: http://www.getty.edu/visit/index.html#sthash.xp8FDV5n.dpuf
It’s most famous works include a Vincent Van Gogh piece ‘Irises’ and ‘The Royal End’ by Paul Gaugiin.
TIP: Take a look around the Getty gardens- an evolving work of art. Lay on the grass and bathe in the sun between viewing the works and the architecture, or participate in the more fun activity of rolling down the famous hill outside.
What to eat: Have you ever heard of a double-dip sandwich? No? Neither had I. Philippe the Original serves a turkey or lamb sandwich which is then dipped in meaty gravy and served to you with a drink of your choice. You can find him at 1001 N Alameda St, Chinatown.
(I also think this place was featured on Man vs. Food… so another bonus there if you like a challenge!)
Looking for some iconic American Fast Food? Then look no further, you can find an ‘In-and-out Burger’ for cheap on Sunset Blvd, Venice Blvd or S Sepulveda Blvd. Great if you have a big family to feed and want to save some pennies. Not only this, but the reviews of this place are always positive and leave people wanting more!
TIP: Coming from the airport? Jump on “The Parking Spot” Sepulveda shuttle, get off at parking structure then walk through the gate labeled “In-N-Out” … TA-DA free trip to delicious food.