Mann's Chinese Theater
Rose Garden at the Huntington
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Typical Tourist Activities
Whatever one's tastes, the big themed parks are really a "must" at once in a lifetime. The 2 most major attractions would be Disneyland and Universal Studios, and both are extremely well done. If you plan on visiting quite a few of these (see the information box on Los Angeles on the main page), you might consider getting an L.A. Citypass, that will give you discounted admission, and will even include admissions to San Diego admissions (2 hours' drive away).
Lines can be long at Disneyland, but there is a way now that you can check in ahead of time, instead of just standing for an hour or so at a popular ride. At Universal Studios, do take the overall tour (included in the admission), which will take you through Hollywood movie history, as well as provide some surprises to provide for a very entertaining ride.
Los Angeles is also home to many museums. For a comprehensive listing, grouped according to interest, see: http://www.museumspot.com/cities/losangeles.htm
Two "museums" which are highly worth visiting are the Huntington Library with its collection and magnificent grounds in Pasadena, also the home of the Rose Bowl Parade, and where the Civic Auditorium is where the Emmy award ceremony is hosted. This is really worth at least a long half day, and you could also indulge in a lovely tea by the Rose Garden. For more information on the collection, gardens and hours: check http://www.huntington.org
One of L.A.'s top attractions is the Getty Center, which is truly an architectural wonder, perched high above the city, and with immaculate gardens, galleries, restaurants and picnic areas. Admission is free, and one could easily make a day of it on a lovely, southern California day. For more information, see: http://www.getty.edu/museum/
Consider taking in a concert at the new Disney Concert Hall, designed by architect Frank Gehry, and home of the L.A. Philharmonic. The whole area is impressive, with the Colburn School of the Arts blocks away. From there, it is not that far to Chinatown, where you can get a "dim sum" meal or an authentic Chinese dinner.
For the Hollywood "stuff," no visit is complete without a pilgrimage to Mann's Chinese Theater, where the stars have their imprints in the concrete outside. Consider also a drive through Beverly Hills to ogle at properties (although many of them are well sheltered from prying eyes). A stop at Rodeo Drive is also a must, with perhaps some window-shopping, and a stop for lunch or a cappuccino.
During the summer months, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra plays classical pops concerts, also a popular activity. Make sure to book ahead.
Getting to know the rest of L.A.
L.A. is full of beach communities, each with a flavor distinctly its own. There is, for example, Santa Monica, also the area called the south bay which has the beach communities of Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach all the way to San Pedro. A drive through these areas along the coastal road with stops for shopping or lunch is a diverting activity. Consider looking for the beautiful Wayfarer's Chapel, built by the son of Frank Lloyd Wright, a popular spot for weddings. See http://homeandabroad.com/viewSiteDetails.ha?mainInfoId=27786
Then there is the community of Venice, with its colorful vendors and visitors, people getting body-piercings and tattoos, pumping iron on the beaches, and generally enjoying a more downscale version of life. A visit to Venice is a must. There is quite simply no other place quite like it!
There are also many beaches in the L.A. area, but one of the quirky city beaches is Dockweiler Beach, a beach you are likely to see upon taking off from LAX. People enjoy the beach while plane-watching, and there are kite-flyers and families having picnics, all within close range of the massive airport!
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