koralleen (koralleen) wrote,

Things to do in Los Angeles

J lives in Marina del Rey, which is close to LAX and Venice Beach. She picked us up at the former and then we walked to the latter via the Canal District, which is very fun for gawkers. B strode purposefully through the place without commenting on a single garden or house because he is not a gawker. Nonetheless, the rest of us enjoyed looking at everybody’s stuff. Then we walked up the beach and watched people at Muscle Beach and the Skate Park. B can stop and enjoy a skate park because he is a spectator. I can stop and enjoy a skate park because there are places to sit and I brought a book. We walked along the strand, where there are shops and artists and performers—a mixture that appeals to both gawkers and spectators.

The next day we went to Topanga State Park and hiked to Eagle Rock. This is a broad clear trail that is not too tough to negotiate. We saw a bunch of cool wildlife and views. We hiked to Eagle Rock and then turned around and came back the same way, but once we returned I noticed that there’s a loop trail as well. We returned to J’s apartment to clean up a bit and then went to eat at Egg Slut, which is in a public market downtown. Short menu, long line, really delicious. We walked past the civic center area to get to Little Tokyo, where we looked around and found dessert and sunglasses. We came home by way of Rodeo Drive and walked around looking at shops for a while. Then we made a withdrawal at the cupcake ATM and ate a gelato rose. That night we started our vacation tradition of watching California movies; first up: Chinatown.

Friday we walked up the steps in Culver City. It’s 0.16 miles of not-to-code steps of varying tall rises. Up at the top there’s a great view of the land below as well as all the crazy fitness people up at the top. Having scaled the steps (multiple times, some of them) they use the viewing area to do squats and sit-ups and burpees and what-have-you. There’s a visitors’ center nearby with some good exhibits and a 1-mile trail winding down in case you’ve had it with steps. We stopped at In-n-Out for lunch on the way back to clean up, then we went to the Getty Villa. This is a pretty sweet museum and garden; it’s free but you’re supposed to get your tickets in advance. We had J with us, so we got around that requirement. Next we drove up to Malibu and hung out on the beach for a little while. The sand there is coarser and pebbly. We found a few sea hares washed up on the shore there but at the time we didn’t know what they were. Then we went across the highway to a shopping place next to a park. Some of us walked around the park while some of us looked in Urban Outfitters. The park walkers saw cool mosaic sculptures of local wildlife. The shoppers bought a hat. We had dinner at a Greek restaurant and everyone’s meal was delicious. That night we watched McFarland, USA.

Saturday J and I needed to run 4 miles so we went to UCLA and ran around the campus. B came, too, to check the place out. While we were there we bought a volleyball because we planned to spend the rest of the day at the beach. We did: we strolled from Venice to Santa Monica and saw all the stuff going on (including a VB tournament) and we went in the ocean some and hit the volleyball around some and several of us discovered areas of incomplete sunscreen coverage as the day progressed. That night we did not watch a California movie because it was the 40th anniversary of Jaws and it would have been foolish to watch anything else.

Sunday was Fathers Day so we bought a folding chair. B had been sitting on the floor for four days so there was that, plus it would be nice to take to the beach. We also bought cold-pressed juice from the juice bar (it was ok, but pricy) and something called a Brazilian bowl. Since the juice bar is immediately adjacent to a salon advertising Brazilian waxing I questioned the choice of the name, but it was a yogurt, coconut, and fruit thing that was delicious. This place is right across the street from J’s apartment—if you go, I suggest you get this and just use J’s juicer for juice. I know she has a good one because it used to be mine. We went to Griffith Park next and we knew it would be crowded but I think we got there at the most crowded time of the day. We parked a million miles away, walked to the observatory, and then got freaked out by the crowds and walked back to the car. Oh well. We went back to J’s neighborhood and walked down Abbot Kinney, which is a street of hipster stores and restaurants. That night we decided to concentrate on L.A. movies exclusively for the rest of the vacation. We watched The Fast and the Furious.

Monday we planned to hike Runyon Canyon, the hiking trail of the stars. To prepare, we first hung out in the apartment’s hot tub for a couple of hours. We met Petal, a congenial 7yo who has been on 32 hikes and knows Runyon Canyon well. She advised us not to step in any holes because that’s where the snakes live. She also assured us that we would see plenty of dogs. In addition, don’t wear heavy clothes. Finally, take two things of water. Once Petal went to Runyon Canyon with only a small jug of water and it was not good. We went to the Venice Whaler for lunch first and it looked like a fun place to get a drink, but we didn’t want to do that before hiking. The roasted brussels sprouts were really good, anyway. When we got to Runyon Canyon we learned that Petal was absolutely correct about everything. This is a fun and strenuous path up a couple of hills with fabulous views far and near, including quite a few dogs. On the way back we rushed to the beach to try to get a sunset photo, but we missed it by minutes. I tried to console myself by returning to the restaurant for that drink, but it was crowded and loud and we went back home instead to watch Beverly Hills Cop.

On the last day we drove to Palos Verde to hike on a coastal trail at the Terranea Resort. This was a mostly rocky beach with kelp beds near the shore that attracted dolphins. We also saw another sea hare and this one was alive. There was also a photogenic seal. We were planning to spend most of the day at Venice Beach again, so we just walked the short trail along the resort property, but it connects to the Vicente Bluffs trail to the north and looks like a fun walk. On the drive back we stopped at Randy’s Donuts. Then we got another chair and a boogie board and did our beach thing until sunset. I got a sunset picture, then we went back to the apartment and watched Speed.

We had a great time, but there were some things we had hoped to do that did not fit into our days. Next time, we’ll have to:
  • Visit the Grammy Museum
  • See the planetarium at the observatory, and hike to the Hollywood sign
  • Visit Exposition Park Rose Garden
  • See a comedy show (we got a tip to check out Upright Citizens Brigade)
  • See a sports thing
  • See an outdoor movie
  • Also, I think B would happily go on one of the TMZ tours where a bus takes you around to spots where stars have behaved badly. Just a hunch.

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