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Pershing Square St. Patty's Day waterfall, L.A. - Los Angeles

Pershing Square St. Patty's Day waterfall, L.A.

Celebrate an L.A. flavored St. Patty's Day Downtown Review

L.A may not be the most Irish city of America and may not be the best place for watching a more authentic, celebratory St. Patrick's Day event. NY and Boston may serve as better options for the patron's day. However, L.A. does put its own unique spin on green, shamrock Irish pride, involving the culturally diverse at large. ( I.E. having Latin actor Erik Estrada of Chips fame in 2008's official St. Patty's as the main guest of honor, instead of having just guest of honors be strictly of undeniable Irish blood). For many years, the city put on an official parade, but due to budget concerns, it was ditched. However, L.A. has done a slightly smaller scale but still fun celebration at L.A Live.

Pics are from the 2008 festivities. After the parade, there was a concert featuring the well-known band, Young Dubliners that drew thousands in and around Pershing Square. Food, drink and other festivity at the square included corned beef, $1 O'Douls beer and an appearance of a number of Laker Girls (or should I say O'Laker Girls :-? )

Directions: downtown streets, parts of 5th St, Main St and others

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 9, 2013
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Chinatown Metro Stop, Los Angeles - Los Angeles

Chinatown Metro Stop, Los Angeles

Experience Citywide Art in L.A. via Rail! Downtown Review

OK, riding on the metro is such a mundane thing to do but it's quite interesting (even better- can be free!) here in Los Angeles. Art tours are conducted mainly on weekends. Meeting places and times may change- check website. Free passes or badges are given beforehand, good for use for the whole day of tour.

MTA docents have done something special, though many who are boxed in their cars do not even realize it. Metro has 7 major lines-RED, PURPLE, BLUE, GREEN, GOLD, ORANGE and the EXPO. All are artistic in their own way, with many stops having a unique motif. The most extensive, perhaps most fascinating tour is the RED. Hopefully, LA government will actually make more lines, but of course there's even argument about colors to be chosen for the new lines, besides which routes.

RED & PURPLE are the only all-underground lines, running downtown. Both travel the same route until at the Wilshire/Vermont station. The PURPLE heads ultimately to Wilshire/Western. The RED goes down to North Hollywood. At the Universal /NoHo station stops, there is mosaic artwork on columns displaying historic scenes of Los Angeles & California.

BLUE is an external line that goes from downtown through south LA, ending in Long Beach. At the busy Imperial/ Rosa Parks stop, there are a number of colorful, joyful images of young African-American figures cut out from wooded board.

GREEN is another line running above ground, from Norwalk (south-east from LA) to Redondo Beach (west of LA). At the Harbor Fwy stop (from LA travelogues), there is an archaic feel of the place.

GOLD is a newer line, running over ground from downtown , through Pasadena to Sierra Madre. The most colorful construction along here is the Chinatown stop with harmonizing yellow, green and orange-red.

ORANGE is a bus line which runs through the San Fernando valley. It starts/ends where the red line does, North Hollywood. Ride a bus that imitates a train on its own track. Although not so artistic of a line, it is a nice, fast way to get around LA. The best stops here are the starting/ending points, the artistic NoHo district and Warner Center, close to major Valley shopping.

EXPO is the newest rail line of Metro. Its major end points are Downtown L.A. (7th/Metro) to Culver City. While I can't judge the art work from all the stops in between as I have not yet explored the whole line, the Culver City stop is quite interesting for the impronto mural art along Washington Blvd, just steps away from the Expo rail exits.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 9, 2013
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California Science Center, Los Angeles, CA - Los Angeles

California Science Center, Los Angeles, CA

Go Where Mad Science is, "like, Totally Dropped*"! California Science Center Review

Forgive my occasional and intentional lingo here...

* to drop mad science- to teach, done especially in a stylish way or in a kind of matter of fact manner.

South of downtown L.A. has some appeal- one such place that's, like, really cool, is at the California Science Center. This is a place of learning and having fun all kids- the wee ones and adult-sized. Best thing here: FREE admission to permanent exhibits and other inexpensive attractions.

Several have been through the center's Samuel Oschin Pavilion doors to get a glimpse of legendary retired space shuttle, Endeavour. The center also hosted the highly attended Body Worlds exhibits 1 & 2 (2004/05)

Ok, to "keep it real", the center is in a so-so area of Los Angeles. Going south of the center, one will see the the less glamorous part of the city. I mean, it is the ghetto, but the center is safe enough for a visit indeed! This is very much a family-oriented locale but adults will also enjoy themselves here. Dare I say, even a place to meet for a date- and not just for science geeks !

Open 10 AM- 5PM* *Hours may slightly change.

Come here especially during lesser crowded weekday afternoons or on the weekend. Weekday morning are quite busy with school chilldren groups.

Especially for a local, make an effort to use public transit here. There is a rail line stop dedicated to Exposition Park and it is a short walk away from the center's entrance. Leave the car at home or find a free/cheap parking spot. Otherwise, Expo parking is about $10.

Address: located at the Exposition Park

Directions: South of downtown Los Angeles, the California Science Center is located in historic Exposition Park, just two blocks west of the Harbor (110) Freeway at the Exposition Boulevard exit.

Website: http://www.californiasciencecenter.org

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 2, 2013
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Exposition Park/ Rose Garden view, Los Angeles - Los Angeles

Exposition Park/ Rose Garden view, Los Angeles

Explore Expo Excellence

Exposition Park is an entertaining spot for families, museum-goers, sports enthusiasts, Olympics buffs and floral fans- just about everyone can enjoy. The multi-purpose pleasure park is composed of several attractions, including the famous landmark, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and Los Angeles Sports Arena.

What drives lots of people traffic these days is the California Science Center, which includes an IMAX theater. Also, there is the Natural History Museum, California African American Museum, the Rose Garden and the EXPO center. Separate tips on each to come in Things to Do and Favorites.

Despite attracting several thousands yearly, the Expo center does get overlooked by many tourists, largely due to location. Though the Exposition Center is quite accessible, especially since late 2012 with the opening of the convenient Metro Expo Rail Line, many simply miss this vast area that is way outside the well beaten Hollywood paths and south of the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Also, Exp Park attendance gets affected negatively by the poor Figueroa Corridor neighborhood surrounding the park. However, Exp Park itself does provide a secure, peaceful feeling and is perfectly a good daytime destination spot.

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  • Written Apr 2, 2013
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Eastern building, Los Angeles - Los Angeles

Eastern building, Los Angeles

Do a Conservancy Tour: Art Deco Style Downtown Review

Many Los Angeles visitors tend to scratch off downtown for exploring, thinking it is a vast "blah" area- but they most likely do not know about the L.A. Conversancy Tours, which are well organized by knowledgeable city folk who show off fascinating aspects of the city of Angels. One tour especially of interest to art admirers is the Art Deco tour. It runs every Saturday around 10 AM and lasts 2 1/2 hours. Art deco was especially well appreciated in early 1900s Los Angeles as it was an architectural highlight on several buildings, including the Eastern (Colombia), as pictured.

Cost of general (non memebership) tour is $10. Check website for updates and more info on Conservancy.

Directions: downtown Los Angeles

Website: http://lac.laconservancy.org

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  • Updated Mar 13, 2013
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The Grove, Los Angeles - Los Angeles

The Grove, Los Angeles

Go to the Grove, Unique or not ! The Grove Review

Ah, the Grove! Its slogan is "Unique, like you" Hmmm... not to criticize so much, I say it's too city planned to be unique in the true sense of the word. Better put, this place is absolutely trendy. This is a must-stop for shopping and dining upscale trends- as well as possible celeb sighting, basic people watching, occasional outdoor concerts and movie going.

When I came here for the first time, it was for the grand opening day, back in February 2002. The atmosphere was- well, chaotic! It reminded me of Disneyland in the summer! Still, with patience as my saving grace, it was well worth the commotion.

The Grove is a nice place to go for a stroll, perhaps with the family or for a first date.Entertainment at the Grove includes dancing water fountains and pond area (one of the best landscaped in the city), a free trolley and beautiful, ultra hi-tech Grove cinemas.

In the summer, The Grove has been host to outdoor concerts of some fairly well known artists. Catch the schedule of events on the official website all throughout the year to know what's going on!

Warning: The issue of parking here is a big deal! At peak times, it is an absolute nightmare to find a space--forget finding it quickly. The multi-tiered parking structure, the main parking area, gets highly congested and can be very costly if not validated.

There are several deals for Grove visitors, including dinner+movie+ parking packages. Check the on-site oncierge for details.

Address: 189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Directions: by Farmer's Market, off 3rd St and Fairfax Ave, Miracle Mile/Park La Brea area

Phone: 323.900.8080

Website: http://www.thegrovela.com/

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Feb 27, 2013
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Farmer's Market, Los Angeles - Los Angeles

Farmer's Market, Los Angeles

Meet many at 3rd & Fairfax, Farmers Market Farmer's Market Review

Once an inoculous small produce merchant lot known as Gilmore Island, the (Original) Farmers Market has become a must-experience attraction of Los Angeles. There are many reasons to make your way here, located at 3rd St and Fairfax Ave. Most reasons are food-related! Here one can grab a bite to eat, dine and shop for FRESH fruits, vegetables, meats, candies and other edible delights (FRESH has to be in caps here because so often we Americans go for the quick, frozen foods and sometimes neglect ourselves from eating fresh foods)


There is a huge variety of ethnic foods at the several outdoor and indoor FM eateries. Choose from French, Greek, Middle Eastern, Russian, Brazilian, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Cajun, and yeah, even Singaporean- plus more! Of course, there is good ol' American and specialized california craving from which to choose.

Market patrons have their favorite grubbing destinations. Some of the top ones for a great meal are Dupars (Americana style diner), Monsieur Marcel (fancy French. most foo-foo impressive place to dine here), The French Crepe Company (perhaps my fave of all), Loteria! (Mexican) and Bryan's Pit BBQ (oh my, the kitchen smell from pit alone upon entering the main gate makes your lips smack!). The hardest thing to do will be deciding on just where to dine!

Support local businesses well here at FM. Do upscale French inspired grocery and gift shopping at Monsieur Marcel, buy classic and unique L.A souvenirs and even buy attractive jewelry and knick knacks at several FM stalls.

Get Here

Freeway direction below and on website. Because of the popularity of FM (and the adjoined Grove center), you may want to take public transit. Several public tranist options can be taken to arrive here, including MTA buses 14, 16, 217, 218, 316, 780 (rapid bus) and Dash (LA DOT) Fairfax bus. Also, FM/Grove is an official Starline tourist bus stop.


Interesting Notes on FM:

This is FARMERS Market (no apostrophe. It took me so long to realize this!). It was previously known also as The Farmers Public Market.
FM founder Arthur Fremont Gilmore stuck not gold but oil here in these parts, though initially attempting just for drilling water.
The Gilmore family had make the land diverse by sucessfully adding a stadium where baseball, football and auto racing was enjoyed by Angelenos in the mid 1900s.
Walt Disney drew up some of his best designs while dining at FM back in the day.
Several film and TV scenes have been shot here, most notably on the Dick Van Dyke 's Diagnosis Murder.
About 90% of the merchants at FM are independently owned and operated.

Directions: 3rd and Fairfax, Los Angeles (Fairfax District)
FM is north of the 10 Fwy. Off the 10 fwy, exit Fairfax

Website: http://www.farmersmarketla.com/

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Feb 26, 2013
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Little Tokyo, L.A., CA, USA - Los Angeles

Little Tokyo, L.A., CA, USA

Tour a distinct neighborhood: Little Tokyo Little Tokyo Review

Have some real-deal sushi and see a prettier part of Los Angeles- in Little Tokyo, established in 1942. Nestled just east of the hustle and bustle of downtown is the enclave that many Japanese-American immigrants, local artists and nouveau city dwellers of various ethnicities have come to adore.

What I marvel here the most is the physical beauty of the area, which featuring gardens in the tradition of Japanese landscape. LT's tranquility is also worth noting, with its lesser crowded street traffic and spiritual temples.

Main venues of the neighborhood include the Japanese American National Museum, the Little Tokyo Watchtower, other large scale public art pieces and several Buddhist temples, like the Jodo Shinshu. All are inclusive and family-friendly for event planning.

Several ipsters and trendwatchers are loving J-Town as an up-and-coming spot for dining, shopping and hanging. One of the trendy spots is PopKiller, where the young and hip are drawn to vintage clothing, and various knicks knacks of pop culture.

Come here in August for Nisei Week, the official LT tourist and Japanese-American business promotion week of the year.

Arrive here with convenience via Metro Gold Line rail (Little Tokyo/Arts District stop, just a stop away from the main Union Station stop).

Directions: Little Tokyo is between First and Third Streets and Main and Alameda Streets. Catch the 101 freeway, exit Alameda. There is usually ample parking around- and it's fairly cheap (metered parking less than $2 for typical outing, lot parking about $5)

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  • Written Feb 21, 2013
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African Marketplace scene, Los Angeles 2005 - Los Angeles

African Marketplace scene, Los Angeles 2005

Go to the African Marketplace and Cultural Faire Seasonal Events Review

**Update 2013. Event on life-support since 2010. May make a comeback, hopefully

Occuring usually in August is this fun ethnic experience that brings out diverse crowds each year. If you love hot weather, this will be a great event to attend while in the L.A. area in the summer. One is sure to enjoy the festive atmosphere here, which encourages everyone to be educated on African-based culture in a fun way.

This cultural celebration includes live performances, shopping, a small zoo area eating and even health screenings. If you are shopping, please ask vendors about the products, especially if getting handmade items from Africa or from other countries that are supposedly authentic.

Here one can try traditional African, Afro-Caribbean and African-American dishes. Usually, they are meat-based but there is something to eat for vegetarian diets as well.

What I LOVE LOVE here is the ecletic shopping! The clothing is just vibrant and gorgeous. Unique decor items- good for collecting and for gift-giving- are found at several booths. Wood carved elephants, Ethiopian artwork and candle/incense items are just a few things I've picked up at the festival.

General admission for an adult is $6.00, $4.00 for children under 10 years of age.

Directions: south of downtown, Los Angeles, Exposition Park

Website: http://www.africanmarketplace.org

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Feb 21, 2013
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tar at the La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles, CA - Los Angeles

tar at the La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles, CA

Go in the city & enter a prehistoric world-La Brea La Brea Tar Pits - Page Museum Review

At The La Brea Tar Pits

There are many attractions of greater Los Angeles- the lovely beaches, the hip happenings of Hollywood, the allure of the fashionable Westside and yes, there is the tar -of the La Brea Tar Pits! OK so the smell of tar is not as welcoming as that of the locally famous La Brea baked bread but certain the good old black stuff does bring 'em in!

Within a fantastic park perfect for a city stroll are tar pits and ancient fossil sites that are well preserved. Now, who says that L.A. does not appreciate what's old?

Read more on the La Brea Tar Pits , including the Page Museum on the website listed below!

Address: 5801 Wilshire Blvd.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Feb 2, 2013
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