So recently a friend of mine relocated to Los Angeles for higher studies. And soon my cell phone gallery was flooded with postcard glimpses of the desert metropolitan. Yes I know LA is anything but a desert, but it was long long time ago. Anyways. So I asked him to share his must visit in LA list depending of his current explored range. And here it is – A guest post by a visitor (Jagannathan R) for the future visitors!
It was a 25 hour flight : I had changed time zones thrice, Munich, London and then finally Los Angeles. I was exhausted and wanted to get home, or what would be my home for the next couple of years. I stepped out of the airport and a wave of smoke and cab drivers cornered me at the airport. I rechecked my flight ticket to ensure I had not mistakenly taken a round-trip flight back to Mumbai. Nope. It was LA. Sweltering heat, the “Texan Desert” feel with coconut trees in fixed-width distances assured me that Los Angeles was a city made out of nothing.(I was humming ‘Dust Bowl Dance’ then; apt songs for apt times. Sigh.)
SoCal aka South California is dominated by a docile Indian population studying at USC or UCLA. Apart from us, LA is dominated by ghettos of various kind: Koreatown, Little Tokyo, and a substantial native Mexican population. Does it sound like a traveling destination by any chance? Well if not, without further ado, I’ll jot down a few must-visit places while you’re in LA to wipe out the image I have painted for the place so far.
1) USC Campus – The campus is exquisite, sprawling and hosts a ton of free activities (plays, concerts, pre-movie screenings, Culture Fests, etc). See a play at the Bovard Auditorium if you can. Go to a Tailgate. It’s an experience in itself to see the Trojan Marching Band. If you get a chance, this is one place to add to your travel checklist of when in LA.
Note: I am not PR for USC.
2) Griffith Observatory
Any LA trip is a non-starter until this one is complete. LA at night looks stunning. Period. And Griffith is where to be to witness the dazzling beauty of this SoCal city.
PS : There is usually a huge line to look through their telescopes at the constellations. But it is totally worth it. Do check out their calendar of events before going.
I rest my case.
3) The Sun, The Sand, The Beach.
Peggy Lee sang naturally: “You have mountains and the ocean and a great big smiling sky…the blues pass Los Angeles by.” The Californian West Coast is made famous by natural beaches such as Santa Monica, Venice, Manhattan, Malibu, etc. If you’re crazy enough, take a night-out to traverse the entire coastline. This is the end of the trail, after all.
4) Staples Center, DTLA
It is the home of the Lakers (and 3 other teams). What more could you ever want if you are a basketball fan? For those not inclined towards the golden ball, they host concerts and various other events. Explore Chinatown and the Grammy Museum while you’ll land in DTLA. To those missing NY, this place is like a miniature Times Square.
5) Union Station
Historic architectural landmark. Gorgeous waiting hall and intricate designs. Not to be missed.
Although the place itself is much better visited on a short hike, (Brush Canyon Trail: 6.4mi); there are a lot of things you can do around the area. Visit the Chinese Theatre, Hollywood Walk of Fame, eat the world-famous chocolate ice-cream at Ghirardelli’s, watch the Halloween Parade (if you come during November) and Photoshop your name on the Walk of Fame. Yes, I have a lot of free time.
7) The Conan O’Brian Show
Hollywood and no celebs? Watch the late night show with Conan O’Brian. Get some celeb feel. I saw Kate Bosworth. (*faints*). And if you needed more reasons for this, the tickets are absolutely free for the tape-in.
I have missed a crazy number of places on this list. Those include, but not limited to, Universal Studios, Disneyland, LACMA, La Brea Tar Pits, The Last Bookstore (my next visit), DTLA Arts District (murals and graffiti all congregated in one long walk), the famous(or infamous?) LA nightlife, Grand Central Market, Little Armenia, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall(must-visit).
Almost all of the places above can be visited on a tight budget, except a few such as the Staples Center (tickets cost a bomb) and shopping in DTLA. LA, just like Mumbai, is pretty much a city for all. Hope this helps you when you are in LA!
P.S. - Though the photos have my watermark for copyright protection, they are not my personal clicks.