Los Angeles Sightseeing: A Plethora of Fun Places In and Around Hollywood Sure to Please Kids and Adults
By Sujata Day
Sightseeing in Los Angeles can get a bit overwhelming due to the massive amounts of things to do and places to see! If you've only got a couple days in L.A., some sights are more important than others. Number one on your list should be the famous hollywood sign. Feel free to drive up to it by Beachwood Canyon or Gower Drive, or get up close and personal with a fabulous hike along Bronson Canyon. Can't decide if you're hungry, bored, or need a drink? Universal CityWalk Hollywood is THE entertainment center of Hollywood with numerous restaurants, shops and bars for the indecisive. Cinema-philes can't get enough of the abundance of material and Hollywood history found at the Academy of Motions Picture Arts and Sciences. You don't need to be a high school senior to appreciate the beautiful Westwood UCLA campus. Check out the Hammer Museum for great, innovative art or grab a slice at 800 Degrees Pizza. The Bradbury Building is a must-see for architecture buffs, where tours are available by appointment. Stop by Grauman's Chinese Theatre, host of many premieres and special events. You just might catch a glimpse of your favorite actor! In the mood to take a walk? Don't go far to stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame to find the stars of Frank Sinatra, Greta Garbo, or Jennifer Aniston. The Walt Disney Concert Hall, part of acclaimed Music Center, astonishes with its unique design by Frank Gehry. Naturists will love Griffith Park and La Brea Tarpits. Indoors or outdoors, Los Angeles sightseeing provides a diverse range of experiences sure to excite everyone in your group!
10 Griffith Observatory
Take advantage of FREE parking and admission to attend the popular monthly public star parties, aided by the Los Angeles Astronomical Society. Take a leisurely hike around the surrounding area of Griffith Park on marked trails and feel free to pack a picnic. Kids and adults have a great time checking out the stars and moon, while taking in gorgeous views of Los Angeles. The Samuel Oschin Planetarium currently offers $7 tickets to three exciting live shows: Centered in the Universe, Water is Life, and Light of the Valkyries. Be on the lookout for special events and shows at the new Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon presentation theater, now playing "The Once and Future Griffith Observatory (213-473-0800)
9 Page Museum — La Brea Tar Pits
A perfect sight to see for kids AND adults! Rancho La Brea, located in the heart of LA, is home to one of the world's most famous fossil sites. Learn about the sabre-toothed tigers and woolly mammoths that roamed the Los Angeles basin 10,000-40,000 years ago, during the last Ice Age. Be mesmerized by the gurgling tar, which spits up out of the pits while strolling down Wilshire Boulevard. Guests also get a first-hand glimpse of fossil preparation in the paleontological laboratory. When you've completed the interior attractions, stroll through the surrounding park. Admission to the Page Museum is free on the first Tuesday of every month, except July and August. (323-934-7243)
8 The Music Center
The hub of LA's cultural scene, the Music Center boasts breathtaking architecture and a prime location. Since 1964, it has established itself as one of the nation's three largest performing arts centers. Attend a touring Broadway show, spend an evening at the opera, or catch the LA Philharmonic perform. You'll also want to walk along Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and see its centerpiece fountain shoot beams of water and light into the night sky. Take time to marvel, too, at the dazzling architecture of Ahmanson Theatre or to tour the stunning, Frank Gehry-designed Disney Concert Hall. Hungry? Dine at one of the five Patina Restaurants under acclaimed Chef Joachim Splichal. (213-972-7211, 213-972-4399)
7 TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX
While it is no longer called "Grauman's," the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX remains the most iconic landmark in Hollywood. Since 1927, this historic theater's front courtyard boasts the hand and footprints of fantastic stars from past to present. From John Wayne to R2D2, your favorites are almost certain to be there, so make sure to step into their shoes. It really is a must-do moment for any newcomer to Los Angeles. Catch a film here, too, for the theater's interior renovation has turned it into a first-class spot for a trip to the movies. Spend time wandering along Hollywood Boulevard once you've seen the theater, and look down. That's where you'll see the golden stars cemented in the sidewalk, for the Hollywood Walk of Fame stretches down the boulevard and beyond, honoring the industry's finest. (323-463-9576, 323-461-3331)
6 Hollywood Walk of Fame
This tourist attraction, a celebrity-seeker's favorite, consists of personalized brass stars embedded in the pavement. Paying tribute to famous industry figures, the medallions were first installed at the corner of Highland Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard in 1960. Since that time, more than 2000 other famous and not-so famous names have been added to the walk. However, recognition doesn't come without a price — each personality must pay $25,000 for the honor. Celebrity stars indicate the individual's area of specialty with one of five symbols: a motion picture camera, a radio microphone, a television set, a record, or a theatrical mask. Located on both sides of Hollywood Boulevard (from Gower to La Brea) and on both sides of Vine Street (from Yucca to Sunset). (213-469-8311)
5 Bradbury Building
Built by silver mining millionaire Lewis Bradbury in 1893, this five-story building was designed as "futuristic," and it was featured in the 1946 "D.O.A." and 1982's "Blade Runner." Today it serves as an office building, but the beautiful, ornate wrought-iron railings, oak paneling, glazed and unglazed brick walls, marble and tile floors, two open-cage elevators, and a crowning atrium with a skylight remain as a testament to architect George Wyman's work. Make sure to get a pic with the life-size Charlie Chaplin sculpture, created by Russian sculptor Emmanuil Snitkovsky in 1989, located in the main lobby. The lobby level is open to visitors. Tours of the upper levels are available by appointment. (213-623-2489)
4 University of California — Los Angeles
UCLA relocated in 1929 to 419 acres in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. The school has an enrollment of over 36,000 students each year. From October to mid-June, the university showcases events including concerts, recitals, festivals, lectures, exhibitions, dance recitals and forums. Schoenberg Hall and other campus venues host these events, and many are free to the public. Visitors can pick up a map at information booths around campus. Stop by the Hammer Museum for inspiring art and gorgeous collections like works by the printmaker/sculptor Zarina. Kids will love the Fowler Museum of Cultural History, which explores global arts and cultures from Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. Guided walking tours are available, but reservations are required. (310-825-8764, 310-825-4321)
3 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Founded in 1927, this organization is responsible for that yearly shindig known as the Oscars. Inside, two exhibition areas are open to the public, and each contains an array of big-screen-related memorabilia and oddities — from stereoscopic viewers to movie posters to "behind the scenes" photographs. The big draw, though, is a huge theater that features a regular schedule of film screenings, which are often paired with fascinating lectures. Explore the collections at the Margaret Herrick Library location in Beverly Hills to unearth original scripts, production records and photographs. Check out great exhibitions like Star Quality: The World of Noel Coward or special events like the contemporary documentary showcase. A must for any film buff. (310-247-3000)
2 Universal CityWalk Hollywood
This complex's eateries, nightclubs, theaters, live entertainment options, and shopping venues can reel you in and keep you occupied for an entire afternoon and night. Casual and fine dining establishments offer a wide variety of choices, and celebrity appearances, cooking demonstrations, and street performances are sure to keep you entertained for hours on end. In the mood for some comedy? Take in a show at Jon Lovitz Comedy Club and discover new and established stand up talents. Get in touch with your adventurous side by indoor skydiving at iFly Hollywood, perfect and safe for kids and adults. When nighttime approaches, dance the night away at recently inducted nightclub Infusion Lounge, or reflect on the day's experiences in a laid-back bar like Jillian's. (818-622-4455)
1 Hollywood Sign
Mount Lee in the Hollywood Hills (LA's tallest peak) hosts this world-famous signpost. Built in 1923 as a real estate advertisement, the sign originally read "Hollywoodland," but the last four letters were dropped in 1945. In 1978, the sign received much-needed repairs, and today, it stands as one of the movie capital's best-known calling cards. Use the Bronson Canyon Entrance at Griffith Park to embark on a 3 ½ hour trek to get up close and personal with the iconic sign and 360 degree panoramic views of the city and valley. You can also drive up Beachwood Drive for fantastic photo ops.
About Sujata Day
Living in the land of perpetual sun, beautiful beaches, and gorgeous people has fueled Sujata Day’s creativity in myriad ways. Her short story “Forbidden Fate” won the WRITE STUFF competition sponsored by MTV and People magazine, birthing a prosperous writing career. The tale was published in a collection of short stories titled Pieces, edited by Stephen Chbosky. Reviews hail Pieces as “an exciting glimpse into the future of fiction” and “endearingly raw, undeniably bold, and engagingly inventive.” Since moving to LA from the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA, Sujata has appeared in many TV shows, films, and internet productions. TV credits include Desperate Housewives, Secret Life of the American Teenager, Campus Ladies, Greek, and The Loop. She plays a supporting role in 2009’s Down For Life, alongside Danny Glover and Snoop Dogg. Sujata produced, wrote, and starred in the web pilot Raveena and the Vampire chosen to launch as a 2010 premiere vehicle on the popular internet channel, Somebody’s Basement. Currently, she stars as ‘CeCe’ in the hit web series, Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. Sujata can be seen next starring in the film, Big Breakin', to be released in early 2012.
Read more about Sujata Day here.