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2 Rodeo in Beverly Hills - Los Angeles

2 Rodeo in Beverly Hills

2 Rodeo Drive (Beverly Hills) Rodeo Drive Review

2 Rodeo is a scenic shopping and dining area in Beverly Hills. It's a block-long strip of shops that includes Tiffany & Co, Versace, Badgley Mischka, Jose Eber and restaurants inlcuding McCormick & Schmick's.

At the south end of 2 Rodeo is a lovely water fountain and steps that provide a great photo op and a view of the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Walk up the stairs and down along the little pathway that meanders past various shops. This is a great place to window shop and take some pictures.

If you're hungry, McCormick & Schmick's serves delicious seafood on their outdoor patio or inside in their cozy dining room. You can also see sporting events on the small TVs in their bar.

You can park directly under 2 Rodeo. It's free for 2 hours (although you will want to tip the valet). From here, you can walk to all of the sights in the area.

Directions: Located at the corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Rodeo Dr. in Beverly Hills.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 4, 2011
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The Third Street Promenade at night - Los Angeles

The Third Street Promenade at night

The Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica Third Street Promenade Review

The Third Street Promenade is a great area to walk around and sample the local shopping, views and cuisine. The Promenade offers lots of shops (from Banana Republic to Barnes and Noble) and a number of cute cafes (I recommend Broadway Deli, I Cugini, Il Fornaio and Gaucho Grill). You can also check out a movie (new releases on Third St., art house selections on Second St.), hang out at a British pub (Ye Old King's Head on Santa Monica Bl. at Second Street) or just watch the street performers.

Third Street is covered with hexagon-shaped tile, and at both ends of the avenue stand large, topiary dinosaur fountains. An ivy-covered triceratops stands at the Promenade's southern end (across from the mall), surrounded by flowers, spewing water into a pool below. A Tyrannosaurus Rex awaits visitors at the street's north end.

In the center of Third Street are free-standing pavilions (which resemble Victorian greenhouses), with aged brass roofs. No traffic is allowed on this part of Third Street, so the area is exclusively for pedestrians. Colorful pushcarts, kiosks and vendors abound, while assorted street performers entertain the passing crowd.

Address: 3rd Street (between Broadway & Wilshire)

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 4, 2011
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Chateau Marmont - Los Angeles

Chateau Marmont

Chateau Marmont Art - Architecture Review

Chateau Marmont is a wonderful hotel that looms over the Sunset Strip and has a long and colorful Hollywood history. I highly recommend paying a visit while you are in L.A., or even staying here.

The hotel was built in 1929 and quickly became a favorite of Hollywood stars and locals alike. Over the years, nearly every major celebrity has spent time here, and it is a favorite interview location for many visiting stars.

The Chateau offers 63 suites and bungalows, as well as a penthouse with a panoramic view of the city. The bungalows havea very homey feel and are situated near an inviting pool. The Chateau feels more like an upscale apartment complex than a hotel at times. It has a very laid-back and comfortable vibe.

Some of the famous Chateau Marmont stories:

-- Jim Morrison (of the band The Doors) hurt his back here while dangling from a drain pipe, trying to swing from the roof into the window of his hotel room.

-- Read-throughs were held here for "Rebel Without a Cause." James Dean and Natalie Wood met here for the first time.

-- When actor Montgomery Clift was almost killed in a 1956 auto accident, Elizabeth Taylor brought him to the Chateau Marmont, where she leased the penthouse as a place for him to recuperate.

-- Most famously, John Belushi died here in 1982 after overdosing in his suite.

The Chateau is located just above Bar Marmont, a popular bar on the Sunset Strip. The hotel is a lovely and exclusive place to stay. You can also have dinner and drinks at the hotel. Be sure to reserve a table, as the dining room is extremely small. After dinner, wander out on the lawn and admire the view.

Address: 8221 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA

Phone: (323) 656-1010

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 4, 2011
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Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles - Los Angeles

Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles

Walt Disney Concert Hall Walt Disney Concert Hall Review

The Walt Disney Concert Hall just opened in 2003 and is the new home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. A remarkable piece of architecture, the building has evoked comparisons to the Sydney Opera House and is surely one of the most significant new buildings in the USA. When you're in Los Angeles, you should stop by and see it!

Tours are set to begin in early 2004. You should contact Disney Hall directly for information and details.

Information about Disney Hall:

AREA: 293,000 square feet
Completion October, 2003

SEATING CAPACITY: 2,265 seats

COST: $274 million

ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN: Designed by internationally renowned architect, Frank Gehry, the 293,000-square-foot Concert Hall features a wavy, steel exterior designed to look like a ship with its sail at full mast. Gehry wanted to create the feeling of traveling along a ceremonial barge to music. The centerpiece of the Concert Hall, a 2,265-seat auditorium with natural lighting in which the audience surrounds the orchestra, was designed to look and feel like the ship's hull. The auditorium's curved wood ceiling is meant to evoke the feeling of billowing sails. The "vineyard" shape of the Hall with its curved wood ceiling is designed to retain the superb acoustical characteristics of a traditional "shoebox" style concert hall. Audience members surround the orchestra platform for a uniquely interactive and intimate experience.

Address: 135 North Grand Avenue; Los Angeles, CA 90012

Phone: (213) 972-7211

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 4, 2011
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The Santa Monica Pier, as seen from a distance. - Los Angeles

The Santa Monica Pier, as seen from a distance.

The Santa Monica Pier Santa Monica Pier Review

The Santa Monica Municipal Pier opened to the public on September 9, 1909, after sixteen months of construction. It is a 1,600-foot-long wooden pier which features restaurants, a Ferris Wheel, small roller coaster and carnival games-- not to mention sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and the coastline.

The Pier is open 365 days a year and admission is free. Parking can be difficult or expensive, however. You can park in the garages up on 2rd Street and walk down or park on the beach for a higher fee.

On the Pier, play some vintage PacMan at the local arcade. Eat some cotton candy, get a henna tattoo. Then take a ride on the Ferris Wheel for amazing views of the coast.

Address: 350 Santa Monica Pier

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 4, 2011
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Academy Gallery (at Academy of Motion Pictures) More Museums Review

This unique museum is little known, even to people who live in Los Angeles. It's one of the best places to see exhibits on film history-- and it's free!

The Academy Gallery is located on the 4th floor of the headquarters of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (you know, the people that give out the Oscars...). It's a small space, but it packs a lot of punch. The exhibits rotate every couple of months, so you'll need to check the Academy's website to see what is currently in the space.

In 2003, they featured an amazing collection of Oscar statuettes from the past 75 years, complete with photos of the winners and video of their winning moment. For those who've never been up close and personal with a real Oscar statuette, this was likely a thrill!

Currently (Summer 2004), the gallery has an exhibition that celebrates the work of contemporary set designers. It features art work, photos and film clips from memorable set decoration. This is a great way to get an up-close-and-personal look at the sets from some of your favorite films and learn more about the art of set design.

Admission is free and open to the public. Academy Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends from noon to 6 p.m. Closed Monday.

Address: 8949 Wilshire Boulevard; Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Directions: Near the intersection of Wilshire Blvd. and Robertson Blvd.

Phone: (310) 247-3600

Website: http://www.oscars.org/events/index.html

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jun 7, 2004
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The La Brea Tar Pits - Los Angeles

The La Brea Tar Pits

The La Brea Tar Pits La Brea Tar Pits and Museum Review

The La Brea Tar Pits are a unique L.A. sight that's worth checking out while you're in town. Situated right next to the L.A. County Musuem of Art, in the heart of the Miracle Mile area, the Tar Pits are made up of the actual tar pits themselves and wonderful museum (Page Museum) which highlights the history of the site.

During the last Ice Age, huge mammoths, sabertoothed lions and giant ground sloths became trapped and entombed in the tar that has been seeping out of the ground in this area for the past 40,000 years. You can see their fossilized remains at the site, as well as the bubbling pit of tar that is still located here.

In the park next to the tar pits, life-size replicas of several extinct mammals are featured. The tar does smell, although it's not terrible. A funny fact about the area... the tar is not just in the tar pit next to the museum. From time to time it bubbles up in the front yards of the lovely homes that surround Miracle Mile area. Some good friends of mine have a mini-tar pit in their flower garden that they're not too happy about...

Hours:
Monday - Friday, 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
Saturday, Sunday & Holidays, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Admission is free on the first Tuesday of each month.

Cost:
Adults: $7.00
Seniors 62 and older and Students with I.D.: $4.50
Children 5-12 years old: $2.00

Address: 5801 Wilshire Blvd.; Los Angeles, CA 90036

Directions: Just east of the intersection of Wilshire Bl. and Fairfax.

Phone: (323) 934-PAGE (7243)

Website: http://www.tarpits.org/

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated May 7, 2004
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Formosa Cafe in West Hollywood - Los Angeles

Formosa Cafe in West Hollywood

Formosa Cafe Food - Drink Review

The Formosa Cafe is a wonderful bit of "old Hollywood." It may not look too exciting from the outside, but the Formosa is a place that could really tell some tales. The restaurant and bar was opened in 1925, right across from the United Artists lot. (Today that lot is simply called "The Lot" and the facilities are rented out by various studios). Over the years, virtually every major movie star ate at Formosa Cafe, tucked into one of their comfortable leather booths. James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Elizabeth Taylor... you name them, they ate here! Even some less celebrated folks, like mobster Bugsy Siegal frequented Formosa.

You'll also recognize Formosa from various movies. In "L.A. Confidential," this is the restaurant where a detective (Guy Pearce)mistakes Lana Turner for a hooker. Other movies that feature Formosa include "Swingers" and Jim Carrey's "The Majestic."

In 1991, the city declared Formosa Cafe a historical landmark. There has just recently been a huge shopping center built next door, so the neighborhood keeps changing but Formosa remains the same.

The food here isn't that great. I wouldn't eat here. Just stop in and grab a cocktail. If the roof deck is open (sometimes it is closed for private parties), head up there to enjoy the scenery.

Address: 7156 Santa Monica Boulevard; West Hollywood

Directions: Near the corner of Santa Monica Bl. and La Brea Ave.

Phone: (323) 850-9050

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Mar 30, 2004
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Sunset Blvd. - Los Angeles

Sunset Blvd.

The Sunset Strip Sunset Boulevard Review

The Sunset Strip is a L.A. landmark, populated by nightclubs, hotels and chic clothing stores & restaurants. The area is bordered by Crescent Heights on the east and Doheny on the west.

The clubs in this area aren't as hot as they used to be (the young & hip have departed for the Cahuenga area in Hollywood), but it's still very crowded on weekends. If you're staying in the area, you're going to experience a lot of noise and traffic. Recently, a "no cruising" law was instituted here and police patrol the area constantly. Still, it's very hard to drive in this area on Friday and Sat. nights. Parking will cost you $20.

If you're visiting the Sunset Strip, you can either park and walk along the street or just drive by. Here are the highlights:

- The Chateau Marmont (see my page on this for more info). A gorgeous, historical hotel with quite a past. John Belushi died here and it's a favorite hangout of visiting celebrities.

-House of Blues. The L.A. version of the popular concert hall/bar. You might want to check and see who is playing here while you're in town. Great concerts!

- Sunset Plaza. This area at the intersection of Sunset Plaza Dr. and Sunset is home to lots of restaurants. This is a good place to grab a bite and people watch. Try Cafe Med or Chin Chin.

- The Viper Room. The nightclub is famous for being co-owned by Johnny Depp and the site of River Phoenix's untimely death.

- The Clubs... there are tons of nightclubs on the Strip. They all have a different vibe and attract a different crowd. On the eastern edge of the Strip you'll find Dublin's, Miyagi's and Saddle Ranch. Further west is Key Club, Viper Room, Whisky Bar and The Roxy. Many of these clubs were the starting place for great local bands.

- The Hotels... there are some great hotels in this area, most notably The Mondarin (featuring the ever-popular SkyBar), The Standard, The Argyle (they have a great bar called Fenix) and of course, Chateau Marmont.

Directions: Sunset Blvd, bordered by Crescent Heights on the east and Doheny on the west.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Mar 26, 2004
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The Fox Village Theatre in Westwood - Los Angeles

The Fox Village Theatre in Westwood

Westwood Village Westwood Review

Westwood Village is an large area of outdoor shopping and dining that borders UCLA. This used to be one of the more popular areas to hang out in Los Angeles, but it's recently been eclipsed by the newer Third Street Promenade (in Santa Monica) and The Grove. There is a lot to do and see in Westwood Village, though. You might enjoy wandering around the area for a while.

Street parking is hard to find in Westwood. You'll probably need to park in a lot. Expect to pay up to $10, depending on the time of day.

Some of the highlights of Westwood:

- Diddy Riese: This shop sells incredible and inexpensive ice cream sandwiches that are made by pressing ice cream between two freshly made cookies. It's very popular with locals. I have more info on it in my "restaurant" section.

- Westwood Brewing Company: Very popular with the UCLA crowd, this brewery has many unique beers and good pub food.

- Aaahs: A popular L.A. gift store that features all kinds of trinkets, from stuffed animals to sex toys. A good place to pick up a silly L.A. souvenir.

- Fox Village Theatre: This grand old movie theatre was built in 1931. It is the site of many movie premieres (I've been to several here, including "There's Something About Mary" and "U-571") and is a great place to see a film. There is just one screen in this theatre and it is huge!

If you walk west on Wilshire Blvd. from Westwood Village, you'll pass the Pierce Bros Westwood Memorial Park. Many celebrities are buried here, including Marilyn Monroe and Dean Martin.

Directions: At the intersection of Wilshire Blvd. and Westwood Bl.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Mar 25, 2004
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Erin74

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page. (St. Augustine)”

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