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A little bit of everything - from seeing all those places I read about in the trash magazines, to the relatively unknown, to the spectaular, and a little bit of Disney magic.
A little hole in the wall of a sushi place, super nice staff, and an extensive menu. Honkin' huge rolls, unique, and delish dipping sauces. We ordered 4 rolls for 3 of us, and it was one roll too many. Rolls are $7-$8 and HUGE. Cheap eats for LA.
My friend's favorite karaoke joint. A real hole in the wall bar with a small stage but a pretty good karaoke set up. Great supportive and fun crowd, pretty extensive song book. Good times. (Scarlet Lady Saloon doesn't appear to have it's own website, but you can read another review and see a small photo of it on this URL.) Free to sing.
Cute little place near the 3rd St. Promenade - go just after the breakfast rush but before lunch and you'll beat the crowds and get a table with no wait. Get a table upstairs and you can people watch - but it's hotter up there. Our table ordered eggs benedict, blueberry pancakes (they have boysenberry syrup), chili strata, with side of tomatoes, side of bacon. Tab: $49 (including tip). The food was mouth-watering good, but we were disappointed with the hollandaise sauce on the eggs bene. We've had better hollandaise.
Lots of shops, street performers, some days farmer's market. Could easily keep yourself entertained here if you like the outdoor mall scene. Free to walk the Promenade, window shop, and enjoy free entertainment.
Just drove past this beach. It looks really nice and inviting - such a long stretch of beach. But my friend told me there's tar in the sand and water and it'll stick to you, your clothes, and get in your hair if you go swimming there. So pretty to look at, but probably wouldn't want to hang out there. Free to look at, free to walk if you want to get tar on yourself (probably will have to pay to park).
Look for the signs where the Pacific Coast Highway meets with Sunset Blvd. It's like a little oasis in the middle of LA - my friend who has lived in LA for years had never heard of it. It's a spiritual place (Self-Realization Fellowship) but all are welcome to walk the grounds. It's a lush park setting with a trail around what appears to be a man-made lake. There are dragonflies, koi, and little turtles, ducks, and swans around the lake. There are little meditation areas, lots of benches, decks and lookouts around the lake, and a windmill (where they hold services). The grounds contain the "World Peace Memorial" and a 1,000 year old Chinese sarcophagus that contains some of Gandhi's ashes. Supposedly Lake Shrine was a favorite place of Elvis. There's a small parking lot, free parking, as long as you don't show up on a day of worship when they're packed. Small little "museum" and gift shop on site. No eating on the grounds.
It's a very beautiful campus - and just huge. Neat to drive through if you have time. Free to check out.
Lots of famous places here - all the places you might read about in the trash magazines. Due to lack of time, we chose to just drive through & point out all the places we had seen in magazines or heard about in the tabloids. Free to drive or walk the strip.
All kinds of action going on around here. We saw the gazebo at the corner of Hollywood and La Brea (the La Brea Gateway), we passed all the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, we passed street performers and people in costume as movie characters, and we got to take in all the famous hand and footprints at Grauman's Chinese Theater. Worth the stop to get your Hollywood fix. Free to walk it, free to put your hands and feet in the stars' prints. Free to take your own photos of it.
This was the highlight of the trip - so worth it, but leave yourself enough time to take it all in. We went right at sunset, paid $7 for parking, took the tram to the Center, and got to view the beautiful sunset from the tram. The museum is otherwise free. The downfall of getting there at sunset is that you'll only have a few hours to take a look around. There are so many masterpieces here - including the buildings/architecture themselves. I would suggest making this an all day excursion and sticking around for sunset - maybe grabbing dinner at one of the restaurants and hoping to get a seat with a view. The water features are beautiful at night. If you go during daylight hours you can check out the spectacular gardens. I recommend checking out the West Pavillion, which houses art after 1800, photography, and a lot of the most recognized painters' works. It's amazing to see Monet, Manet, Cezanne, Gaugain up close (these are on the 2nd floor - we weren't aware there were 2nd floors until shortly before they closed). Very cool gift shop. Make sure you don't get the Getty Center in LA mixed up with the Getty Villa in Malibu (that place also looks like it's worth checking out, but it's different). Getty Center - free to look, free to ride the tram, just $7 to park.
We didn't have reservations both times that we ate here but we were seated promptly (we liked it so much we came back a few nights later). Complimentary salsa was super spicy and delicious (they will bring you mild if you request it), fresh homemade tortillas, great carne asada tacos. Huge portions. Dinner tab for 3: $59 (including 20% tip - we had great service). This place is open until 3AM every night!
Go for the special menu items - skip the plain old eggs and bacon. They do pretty well with the eggs benedict and blueberry pancakes, eggs toast, and bacon was pretty boring (like you could have made it yourself at home). Service was friendly, we were sat in a room that was a newer addition. Windows didn't open, there was only one fan above, and the sun was pouring in through the big glass windows - the room was a little on the stuffier side. Ask to get sat in an open area or near an open door or window. Breakfast for 3: $43 (including tip).
Parking was a pain! We had to park pretty far away and then walk through a neighborhood, but the cool thing was we got to walk around the canals. Wear comfortable shoes and sunscreen! Lots of over-stimulation here with the street vendors, street performers, gazillion people, bikers, roller bladers, beach goers, body builders. The body builders will love you if you ask to have your picture taken with them. Makes for great memories. Lots of junk food to eat. Try to use the bathroom before you go because there's like one for the whole beach and you'll have to wait forever in line, and it's gross. Free to walk and check everything out. Because we parked in a neighborhood we didn't have to pay for parking either.