Los Angeles Things to Do Tips by marinarena Top 5 Page for this destination
Los Angeles Things to Do: 1,507 reviews and 2,816 photos
El Alisal, Lumis House, Los Angeles
This is a lovely spot east of downtown, towards the city of Pasadena. Lummis House, or El Alisal, is part of the Museums of the Arroyo (MOTA), an alternative cultural destination that is not as known as LACMA or the Getty but is very respectable and indeed worth seeing. Activist Charles Fletcher Lummis is the namesake of this floral paradise. His house, El Alisal, serves as the home of Los Angeles' oldest historical society.
The little 2 story castle is a bit inconspicuous, nestled with a modest neighborhood. Off the main city corridor of Figueroa St, El Alisal is a little weekend daytrip that may favorably alter your impression of Los Angeles. Take a tour of the 2 story home, filled with local artifacts of note. The handcrafted stone castle is architectural marvel, largely designed by Lummis himself. Local historians are on staff to give you rich information on Lummis, the man and home, as well as the early history of the city of Angels. Besides learning history, come here to walk in and explore the exquisite garden area, featuring a variety of seasonal and attractive drought resistant flowers and plants. Even the floral inspired bathroom wall on the property is impressive!
Come to the MOTA Day event any year if you can. Experience the Lummis and the other museums for free and with exclusive transportation to each location. Check out website for updated events.
MTA: Route 81, 83
Note: There is
Address: 200 East Avenue 43, Los Angeles
Directions: east of downtown L.A,
From Union Station area, go to Broadway/Cesar Chavez intersection and take the MTA 83 bus to Marmion/Ave 43, walk to address (passing Figueroa ST before reaching Lummis)
Natural History Museum fossil display, Los Angeles
Not every beauty is fake or unnatural in the city of Los Angeles. Don't believe so? Think again.
Discover the history of L.A. and the world, including the prehistoric dinosaur world at the very attractive and inviting Natural History Museum, in Exposition Park, by USC.
As one of the staple museums of the entire city and the largest natural history and science museum in the U.S.A, NHM is a must-do for all of you history and science buffs with a few hours to spare in your downtown adjacent L.A. visit. Take that, Smithsonian! Split up into several halls full of rare local and world artifacts, NHM is a delight for the eyes and mind.
If you or your kid goes gaga over dinosaurs, you'll love the several dino-riffic skeleton figures displayed in the magnificent Dinosaur Hall. There is a dedicated Dino Lab that works painstakingly on fossil collections.
Those who are fascinated with Los Angeles as a city, NHM is a perfect place to discover the city's origins and historic highlights from the 18th century to recent past of late last century. The "Becoming L.A". exhibit is a massive permanent feature of the museum which features an impressive 3-D model map of the city, several actual artifacts owned by citizens like clothing pieces, a life-size grizzly bear creation (Grizzly bear is the state animal of California) and much, much more.
Take the family, friends or go solo here. Get to NHM easily by Expo rail line. It's about a 10 min ride from downtown L.A., at 7th/Flower St. Parking can get problematic. It is somewhat limited in the museum lot and street parking costs $10 (cash only).
The museum was open in 1913.
Admission*: $12 adult, $9 students/children. Big school groups are free (lucky locals)
* subject to change
Check out the website for more details.
Address: 900 Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90007
Directions: USC/Exposition Park, by downtown L.A.
Phone: 213-763- DINO (3466)
Grammy Museum, Los Angeles
L.A. Live downtown is home to the Grammy Museum. The venue includes permanent and short term exhibitions from a great variety of musical artists. Famously, an extensive Michael Jackson memorabilia collection can be viewed. Also, viewed colorful costumes and various trinkets from The Beatles Love production and treasure pieces from Bob Dylan.
If you are lucky, you can see some of the most famous and respected names in music history play here for a very exclusive performance. Previous acts who have stopped include Ringo Starr (Beatles), Mike Wilson (Beach Boys), Heart, Glen Camobell, Lee Ann Rimes, Arlo Guthrie, Annie Lennox, Maxwell, Buddy Guy, Train, Roseanne Cash and Public Enemy. Artists "programs" are sure to sell out. Check often on grammy.com to try to score a much coveted (free) invite.
Outside the entrance, look down at Walk of Fame-ish sidewalk album etched tributes of past winners of major Grammy awards for: Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Bets New Artist. Feel free to argue with your travel mates about some of the names cemented who have won.
Admission for the museum is $12.95 (regular/adult), $11.95 (senior 65+), $10.95 (youth/military). Ticket price subject to change. Watch out for coupon deals online for the venue because they often come up for 50% off.
Address: 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Ste. A245
Directions: downtown LA, L.A. Live, off Figueroa St., accessible by MTA AND Dash buses, blue line (Pico), Olympic/Figueroa intersection
Farmer's Market, Los Angeles
Once an innocuous 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.
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.
MORE PICS AND COMMENTARIES TO COME on ALL THAT IS FM!!!
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
This is a great cultural tip that's not on the typical L.A. tour guide. Just off a Gold Line Metro stop is the Southwest Museum of the American Indian, which is a part of the Mount Washington campus of the Gene Autry Museum. As the other museums of Autry, SMAI is dedicated to preserving history, culture and lifestyle of a far gone time. SMAI features intriquing exhibitions and events especially dedicated to local Californian, Northwestern and Great Plains Indians. The museum is not overwhelming, small enough to appreciate the artifacts
SMAI is open on Saturdays only, from 10 AM- 4 PM. A great time to go to the museum is during Museums of The Arroyo Day in May. For this special day and everyday, SMAI has free admission.
Get to SMAI easily by public transit. It's off the Gold Line, Southwest Museum Metro stop. The light rail trip to the museum is fun and easy to do. It's about a 10 min trip from downtown Los Angeles' Union Station Metro Gold Line stop. From the Metro, walk a block to the museum entrance. Signs will guide you there.
Address: 234 Museum Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90065
Directions: between downtown L.A. and the city of Pasadena, off the Gold Line Metro.
Phone: (323) 221-2164
Pershing Square St. Patty's Day waterfall, L.A.
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
Chinatown Metro Stop, Los Angeles
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.
California Science Center, Los Angeles, CA
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.
Exposition Park/ Rose Garden view, Los Angeles
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.
Eastern building, Los Angeles
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
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