Los Angeles has always been synonymous with Hollywood and everything to do with Movies. There is no doubt that glamor has made LA what it is, as it is popularly called. But there is more to LA.
A drive on Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive, where the celebrity houses are located, is the closest you can get to the rich and the famous. You can also take one of the Celebrity tours to know exactly where your favorite star lives.
A walk down the ‘Walk of Fame’ shows you how Hollywood has immortalized the Stars by putting their names on stars on the sidewalks. The Walk of Fame at Hollywood boulevard has a mix of names of directors, actors, musicians and even theatrical and musical groups.
If you are at LA you must visit the Kodak Theater, the place where the Oscars are held. There are a host of shops and restaurants around it where visitors spend some time.
You can see a perpetual crowd at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, a true Hollywood landmark. Outside the theater are the footprints, hand prints and autographs of the celebrities of the likes of Shirley Temple, Marilyn Monroe, Clint Eastwood and others immortalized in cement.
The major tourist attraction is Universal Studios. The Universal Studios’ Globe is a world famous icon. The entrance fee is a little steep at $74 but its value for money if you get there early and enjoy all the shows. The Studio has an upper lot and a lower lot. Do not miss the Studio tour in the lower lot, its a peek into the amazing world of Hollywood tricks and techniques. Besides the Mummy ride, the King Kong 360 degree 3D show, the 4D Shrek short movie, 3D The Terminator -2 show and lots more will keep you entertained throughout the day.
But there is more to LA than just Hollywood.
Los Angeles has one of the finest museums in the world – The Getty Museum. Situated on Santa Monica mountains, though the entrance is free the car park costs $15. A tram takes you atop the hill. The 5 minute ride is fascinating as it takes you 881 feet above sea level, giving you a beautiful view of the city. The tram is cable driven and frictionless, unmanned and an unusual way to get to a museum. This has been designed to give visitors the feeling of ‘being elevated out of their day-to-day experience’ as stated by it’s architect Meier.The architecture is unique, the courtyard has fountains and pools, the garden is designed as an open gallery with modern sculptures to look at. The Museum’s Galleries are illuminated with skylight and maximize the usage of natural light. It has an impressive collection of sculpture, manuscripts, paintings and decorative arts. It also has a restaurant where you can enjoy your coffee, while you appreciate the breath taking view of the specialty gardens below and the LA basin and Pacific ocean across the mountain.
The other place highly recommended is the Farmer’s Market at Third and Fairfax. It is one of the most vibrant places in LA. The place originally started as a grocery place and has now been transformed as a place to meet and have a good time. Apart from the grocery shops, it has jewelry shops, beauty supplies, souvenirs and even home furnishings. The eating options include cuisines from all around the world viz Singapore, Greek , Asian, French crepes etc. There are patio-tables and sit-down restaurants to choose from. During special events you can see the local bands playing music and the people dancing to the beat. The clock tower and the Gilmore station stand there to remind us of its history. The place has it’s own style and the experience is delightful.
The best way to bid goodbye to LA is to drive down the Pacific Coast drive. Its exhilarating to see the Pacific coastline hugging the road. On one side is the bright blue sea and the people playing games on the soft sands and on the other are multimillion dollar homes atop mountains. Just soak in the sun, feel the breeze on your face, take a good look at the sea and enjoy the sun go down.
You will never forget LA, and you will also remember it’s more than just Hollywood.