Travelling to California

Travelling to California
11th September 2022 Advice

Travelling to Los Angeles California, LA

LA is the most popular city in California for visitors and the second most-populous in the United States. The mix of industrialised city life and the quiet beaches can really draw people in to experience both aspects of life. This can really bring balance to an otherwise busy place, but then again, LA is known for being quite relaxed and Zenlike. It is a place thriving with rich culture of the arts, renowned for its music and films.

LA is a sprawling Southern Californian city, where it is at the centre of worldwide film, Tv productions and studios. Many aspiring actors, musicians, and anyone with a desire to be involved in the arts, often flock here to get a taste of what could be in the creative hub, surrounded by other imaginative and artistic individuals. Paramount Studies: Universal, and Warner Brothers Studios are all located here, offering tours to visitors with a behind the scenes look on how Tv series and famous films have been made. It can be an adventure to escape to the American dream for a week or two. Why not be one of the 35 million visitors who indulge in the LA experience every year and immerse yourself in the sights.

LA is the second most diverse place in America, second only to New York, making it a wonderful place to meet a range of new people in a place which is rich in culture and opportunities. At the moment, you can only fly direct to LA from London Heathrow, if you are UK based, but once you have landed in L.A.X airport, you can experience so many fantastic moments that you cannot grasp anywhere else. There can be so much to do and see, it can be overwhelming trying to fit all your plans in and trying to figure out where to begin can be a hard decision. Hopefully, this should help you decide what to do, making the most of your LA getaway trip.

If you crave a beach whilst over in California, the one-hour drive from LA can reward you with sandy beaches and beautiful waves in no time, in the picturesque Malibu. There are three main beauty spots. These being: Point Dume, which is a perfect picnic place, and a lovely spot to catch and soak up some sun rays. If you’re willing to pay the price for parking, in exchange you’ll receive sandy feet just seconds from your car, and views to remember forever on the wide, not usually busy patches of surf. You may even spot some dolphins darting in the sea, just watch out for the hungry seagulls! Or if you are not the type to be happy sunbathing and need to be more active, you can set yourself away to stride up and down the idyllic hike along its summit, Point Dume itself.

Six miles north of Malibu, you’ll find El Matador, the place to go to see the best sunset and photogenic coves. It is accessible through a steep gravelly path, and there are no lifeguards patrolling the beach, so you are responsible for yourself here, so be careful, especially with high tide. You know your own limits, take it easy. If you stay late, which I would recommend doing, a phenomenal sunset will come your way. Parking can be high at around $10, but if you pay via the app, Passport Parking, it can be only $1.

Lastly, there is Leo Carrillo. It can be a lovely place to see some friendly LA local dogs, as it is a dog friendly leaded beach, which can be quite rare here. It is a slightly secluded place, great for if you fancy a private and quieter beach after a busy day of seeing lots of fresh faces. This beach stretches a mile and a half along the north tip of Malibu, so there’ll be plenty of space for you to find a quiet space to chill out and relax. You could try surfing or long boarding out to the mellow waves, checking out the array of rock pools to see what you can find, or even having a little walk around the nearby trail. Lots to enjoy.

It would be rude to travel to LA and not visit the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard. It is an icon place, full of cultural phenomenon’s, museums, landmarks, and other attractions. It is a place embedded with rich film, cinema and entertainment heritage, which are celebrated though the cities monuments and nods to what has come from the historic city. Visiting the ‘Walk of Fame’ may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it can be a sight to see if you are a fan of famous faces, or handprints in fact. It can be a bit of magic along the street, as you can begin to recognise the star-studded names, immortalised in the pink terrazzo and gold lettering. For film fanatics it can be a great experience to walk where you know your idols have once been, and literally walk amongst the stars.

Over 50 million people visit the walk each year, why not be part of it! There are a new stars being unveiled regularly, and you could see the history being made if you get lucky with the timings of your trip. The official site has a map, showing the location of each star. This can save a lot of time looking around for your favourite singer or actor if you only have limited time. There is even an A-Z of celebrity stars; with to the number of stars on the street it can be hard to find anyone, and you could easily walk over who you’re trying to find. But they have everyone from Amy Adams to Hans Zimmer. Take a look for yourself at the official site here.

Rodeo Drive can be on the top of the list for many visitors. It is world famous for being a high-end designer shopping district, with the most expensive designer label and haute couture fashion brands. All condensed to a three block long stretch of boutique shops to explore. A lot of the items on offer at these shops can be on dream wish lists, so window shopping may have to do for now. If you happen to win the lottery whilst your there treat yourself! If you rent a car whilst you’re visiting, it surprisingly doesn’t cost anything to park here, making it easy and convenient to go from one place to another. It can be the perfect place to people watch for a few moments in between window shopping, watching tourists be shocked at prices, mingling with some serious spending shoppers. If someone walks out of Hermes or Versace with a huge bag, you won’t be able to help but wonder what they do for a living, and what kind of home they live in if they can afford to spend thousands on a handbag. You may even spot a celeb out on your travels, that will be a good story for when you get back home! Rodeo Drive mostly contains well-known luxe brands like Louis Vuitton and Prada. It is also home to what is the most expensive store in the world! It is named the House of Bijan, where you can pick up that $15,000 leather jacket you’ve always wanted. We can all dream.

Disneyland can be another one to check off your list, especially if you are a big theme park fan or Disney fanatic. It is only a half an hour drive from LA to Disneyland if you have a spare day or two. It is in Anaheim California and is the original Disney theme park. It is also the largest and oldest park, having been built in 1995, and the only park to have been built under the direct supervision of Walt Disney himself, who produced the concept after visiting various other theme parks in 1930’s with his daughters, making it even more special and magical. The park has all the famous rides from It’s a Small World, The Haunted Mansion, and Splash Mountain, as well as new rides which get added to celebrate new Disney film releases. The food can be a bucket list box to tick off your list too. You must try the famous churros, Mickey shaped pretzels, and turkey legs, the real American experience. Disney is an incredibly safe place to be, with all bags being checked on the way in. The only concern would be if you happen to split up from your group, so keep your phone on loud in case this happens. There are maps located all around, and friendly cast members to help you out if anything happens and you need assistance.

Discovering the behind-the-scenes secrets of a film can be interesting to see how it is all made, and the magic behind it all. The Universal Studios Tour can offer this, and showing you through a working film studio, with various sets all located on the Universal lot. The tour is an hour long, so will not take up a lot of time in your busy day, but I would say to take your own drinks and snacks, as these can be very pricey on the site. It is also busiest around midday, so take this into account when booking your tickets, if you book in advance, you should get the time slot that’ll work best for you and your family, especially when the tours run throughout the day. The tour guides you to explore 4 acres of movie & TV-show backlots, showing you the work and production that goes into creating future classics. It is an immersive live experience, as guests travel in multi-car trams for the duration of the ride, which is led by a tour guide who is with you through video screens. It travels through the front and back lot, showcasing different attractions, sets and properties from different movies whilst passing though. There are also famous voice overs throughout that you will be sure to recognise, like Jimmy Fallon, who will introduce different clips and events on your journey.

The tours are available in different languages, buy you’ll need to check the specific days for this, as they change frequently depending upon demand. The tour allows visitors to see the largest set construction project in history, it was even built with consultation from Steven Spielberg! Universal Studios also has the themed rides and attractions of course, suitable for guests of all ages, with something that’ll appeal to everyone. The level of thrill you wish to seek is up to you, but why not go for it whilst your there! They have The Simpsons rides: simulation experiences, character sightings, the famous Harry Potter Flight of the Hippogriff ride, and not forgetting the Jurassic World experience, as well as many more, there is plenty of choice to excite every visitor, big and small. What a thrilling day this would be!

Whilst in the city of stars, why not check out any Tv screening you could attend. This is something only available in a handful of US cities, with one of them being LA, so it can be a fun, unique experience to encounter. Being a part of a live audience can make you feel immersed in the Tv culture and history of a world-famous show, not many people can say they were in the room when it was filmed. There is a collection of shows which are filmed around the same area in LA, mostly at Universal Studios lot, at Television Center Beverly Blvd, or at Sony Pictures Studios at Washington Blvd, Culver City. These include The Kelly Clarkson Show: Dancing with the Stars, America’s Got Talent, American Idol, Jeopardy, or The Late Late Show with James Corden. Attending these recordings are free, as shows need an excited audience to create a great atmosphere and animated environment, so to secure your tickets, you must show you are enthusiastic about being there.

For tickets to James Corden’s show for example, audience members are welcomed from ages 16 and up, and will be asked about your favourite moments from the show to prove you are a real fan. You must arrive early to ensure your seat, and you need to show you are fully vaccinated, and proof of having covid vaccines for all members of your party is required. Masks are still necessary until you’re told otherwise, so it is best to be safe and carry one with you, avoiding disappointment if you’re denied entry if you didn’t have one to hand. When you go to apply for tickets, the time slots will allocate when the tapings are during the day and may even tell you if a celebrity guest star will appear, usually making tickets even more sought after and desirable.

Who can forget the Hollywood sign? It is located on Mount Lee, in the Beachwood Canyon area of the Santa Monica Mountains. It is a cultural and icon and a true American landmark that many visitors would love a photo in front of. You cannot walk up to the sign due to it being restricted to avoid vandalism, and it can be a dangerous hike, but you can take a walk-through Griffith Park to capture a photo. The main Griffith Observatory hike leads to an advantageous spot that allows you to view the sign, but there are other sites to see the sign without hiking, but this one allows for the best clear view.

Despite LA being a fun place to visit, like any big city which is heavily populated, sadly there are dangers to watch out for. In this case, there are certain spots where visitors should avoid for their own peace of mind. To keep yourself safe from pick pocketers and general theft, try your best not to stand out. Travel smart by not walking around with any flashy watches or your favourite items of jewellery, this unfortunately may make you an unwanted target. Always try to act like you know where you’re going, as looking a bit lost can also make you a target for attention. So, it is best to check the directions before heading out so you can strut out with confidence, especially at night if the streets aren’twell lit. If you can help it, try to avoid certain areas in the evening. These are Boyle Heights, South Central, Westlake, Marina del Rey, Culver City, and Pico-Union, which are hotspots for crime activities.

Similarly, Venice Beach, whilst is a lovely place to visit during the day, has a big problem with drug use at night. Venice Beach is a buzzing eccentric space whilst the sun is out, being the bohemian epicentre of California, and while the area gets plenty of mainstream tourists, it still boldly embraces its eccentric spirit. It boasts the free-spirited boardwalk, funky shops to have a browse in, and street performers to entertain you. It also has a skate park and the famous Muscle Beach, outdoor gym, to keep you busy, sucking you into the outdoor healthy lifestyle. Skid Row is also one to avoid. It is an area which is known for its condensed population of homeless people. Sadly, a lot of these people can have unpredictable behaviour due to mental health issues and drug problems, so it isn’t a place for tourists to visit, it can be a dangerous place.

LA can be a beautiful place to explore, with so much to do, memories are sure to be made here. Get out there and have fun! Be a part of the laid back LA lifestyle, take things easy and enjoy.

Written by Holly Richardson