Posted in Los Angeles, Travel

Five things to do in LA

Dad recently visited LA and we had a whirlwind week racing all over town trying to get professional travel photos. Here are five things we got up to:

1. Santa Anita Races

2. Hollywood Walk of Fame

3. City views from Mulholland Drive

4. Space shuttle Endeavour

5. Downtown LA

Photos are mine (when I remembered to take them) unless watermarked.

Santa Anita Races

We went to Santa Anita races on Friday afternoon. It was $4 to park and there were plenty of spaces.  As it turned out, there weren’t many people inside! It was only $10 each to get into the posh bit. Races were every 30 minutes or so, and there was a good variety of lengths and types, and a nice shaded parade ring too.  Beers were exceptionally expensive – even for Budweiser.  The views of the mountains were spectacular from the grandstands.

Santa Anita racecourse
Santa Anita racecourse
Good view of the San Gabriel mountains.
Good view of the San Gabriel mountains.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

We drove to Hollywood to look at the Walk of Fame on Saturday afternoon.  We parked in the parking lot at the Hollywood/Highland shopping center ($2 for two hours if you get your parking validated somewhere – there’s a handy stand near the entrance/exit to one of the parking levels where you can buy an overpriced drink).  The walk of fame was hideous.  So loud, so many people dressed up in costumes hassling you.  Gross.  It was like the worst bits of Vegas all concentrated into one place.  We had a cup of tea in McDonald’s – a surprisingly calm oasis.

No pictures.

City views from Mulholland Drive

Then, that Saturday evening, as sunset approached, we drove along Cahuenga Blvd to Mulholland Drive, and drove about a mile up to the Hollywood Bowl lookout.  After getting one of only five parking spots we set up the camera for some twilight shots.  As it got darker, it started to get cold. Despite the sign saying the park closed at sunset, no one told us to go away – we were there at least 30 minutes after dark.  We weren’t the only ones with cameras.  The view was awesome, and the 101 freeway was so loud!

View of Downtown from the Hollywood Bowl lookout
View of Downtown from the Hollywood Bowl lookout
Making out like I know what I'm doing...
Making out like I know what I’m doing…

Space shuttle Endeavour

On Sunday morning we headed to the California Science Center to see the Space Shuttle Endeavour (my fourth time!).  We got street parking on South Flower St near the corner of W 37th Pl – free on Sundays (otherwise metered).  My tip: go early at the weekend – they usually let you in regardless of what time your ticket says. For an express visit, go look at the models of satellites upstairs on the right, then go to Endeavour, then go home.

Endeavour at the California Science Center
Endeavour at the California Science Center

Downtown LA

On Tuesday afternoon, armed with a Metro day ticket, we got the Gold Line into Downtown LA and then switched to the Red line to Pershing Square. Knowing nothing about Downtown, this was the handiest I could see to the middle of the city.  We found ourselves walking south along Broadway and we couldn’t believe what we saw.  The majority of the shops looked temporary. By contrast, there were homeless people set up permanently on benches.  There were no signs in English.

It wasn’t that we felt particularly unsafe, it was just so surprising.

Later as the sun was setting we raced, on foot, up to 3rd street – avoiding the tunnel – to get some city view photos.  Running against the setting sun is never a good situation to be in, however we got the shot after only a mild amount of swearing. Then, hungry and miles from anywhere, we started back to Pasadena.  Some locals told us walking through the 3rd St tunnel was safe (it was, but my word, it was loud), then good old Google found us a bus, arriving immediately, which took us to the Arts District Gold Line station where we got the train back to Pasadena.

Downtown LA - Dad's picture was much better, obviously!
Downtown LA – Dad’s picture was much better, obviously!

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Question: Downtown LA – what’s up with that? Did we miss something?

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