La La Land, the City of Angeles, Los Angeles. There are many names for this magical place on the west coast of the United States. Now while LA may not be everybody’s cup of tea, personally, it’s one of my favourite places to visit. Yes everything is plastic fantastic, nearly every person you meet is an actor or screen writer (read: “aspiring”) but that’s the beauty of LA! It’s what makes it like no other place you’ll ever visit. What I adore most about Los Angeles is that everywhere you turn, nearly every building, has a story. That’s not just another El Pollo Loco chain restaurant, it’s the El Pollo Loco that was Brad Pitts first job when he moved to LA, dressed in a fury chicken suit, inviting patrons to the restaurant; and that’s not just another office building in Century City, it’s the building that Bruce Willis blew up in Die Hard.
From silent films, to the Golden Age of Hollywood (which I would have killed to have been around to see firsthand) to the present day where hundreds of productions are created every year, every part of LA has a story or an anecdote to go along with it.
As an avid (self-proclaimed) cinephile, Los Angeles is nirvana. Aside from the entertainment vantage point, LA has so many great cultural things to offer, from music venues to theatres, to bars and restaurants of every cuisine you can possibly think of, LA is a mecca of culture. Then there’s the shopping which is over abundant and plentiful. Also if you want to see some natural beauty there are miles of gorgeous beaches and canyons and hills to hike up (which we totally did by the way *dusting off my shoulders*)
LA leaves little to want for and plenty to see! Which is why I have written this as a 2 part entry.
Our first stop was the famed and fabulous Universal Studios. Probably the most visited landmark in LA. What was once just a film studio is now also a theme park, complete with rides, attractions and shows running several times a day. The newest addition is the Transformers 4D ride which was also our personal favourite. A 4D experience that feels so real I actually am still not 100% convinced that autobots don’t exist. The highlight of course, is the actual studio tour; a tram tour with a pre-recorded video of Jimmy Fallon telling jokes and trivia about the studios and also a tour guide on board with you for the tour. It’s a real treat visiting remnants of sets for Jaws, the Bates Motel from Psycho, Wisteria Lane from Desperate Housewives and many others. They also include a lot of fun gimmicks along the way like a re-enactment of an earthquake on a subway set, a flash flood and even Norman Bates chasing us up the street with a knife as we drove away from the Bates Motel set. It was a lot of fun.
The next day was set to be one of the best with a visit to the happiest place on earth, Disneyland! It is no exaggeration to say that this place truly is the happiest place on earth. There’s just a magical quality about it that makes you never want to leave. Every single building and ride has so much detail to it, from the design to the paint its truly wonderful. We visited both theme parks, Disneyland and California Adventure Park, in the one day so it was very jam packed but we still covered lots of ground. Some highlights include the Indiana Jones ride in Disneyland and California Screamin’ and The Hollywood Hotel: Tower of Terror in California Adventure Park, where we got this flattering photo. (Tijana don’t be mad at me, you gave me permission to post this remember?)
Even if you don’t feel like going on rides there are an abundance of things to see and do. Simply walking through each themed land within the parks is an experience; stepping into New Orleans in the French Quarter of Disneyland complete with a Jazz band and a steam boat on the river. Then there’s the Hollywood back lot in California Adventure Park which is fashioned like an old Hollywood studio and has theatres putting on live shows several times a day including my personal favourite, the Aladdin show. It’s a must see if you’re there even for a day! It includes all the musical numbers from the film and a talented cast, especially the Genie who is so hilarious I would watch a show of just him speaking for 2 hours straight! We went on rides, saw shows, ate Disney themed food and loved every minute of it!
The next day more TV and film trivia awaited at the Warner bros studios in Burbank, my personal favourite place in LA. The Warner Bros studio tour (which I had been on once before) is one of the best studio tours that I’ve ever been on. They are only small groups of about a dozen people and the guide asks each person about their favourite movies and TV shows so they can personalise the tour and point out things that you would want to see. You also get a chance to hop off the tram and walk around the sets which is incredible. I may or may not have cried when visiting the set of Friends and Gilmore Girls… People laughed, they thought I was joking but I wasn’t… Basically all of my favourite TV shows have filmed here at some stage or are still currently filming. It’s a very surreal experience for a professional fan girl such as myself.
Next up was a quick visit to the most famous post code, Beverly Hills 90210. It is every bit as glamorous and manicured as you imagine it to be. Mansions adorn the tree-lined streets of one of the most expensive neighbourhoods in the world and they are all grander than the one before. The culmination of a visit to Beverly Hills is Rodeo Drive; great for celebrity spotting and window shopping. Palm trees line the street and every store front is as decadent as you’ve seen in the movies. I may have had another little cry (of joy…. Obviously) when we went past the Beverly Wilshire Hotel aka the hotel from Pretty Woman!!! (Julia Roberts and Richard Gere totally stood here and breathed this air! Right here!)
Yes it was a pretty intense day overall. We had covered a lot of ground. Emotions ran high (me), feet were sore (Tijana), tears were shed (me).
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the City of Angels.
xoxo – A