Downtown Los Angeles
If sparkling beaches, swaying palm trees, picturesque mountain ranges, movie stars and hip, hot spots are your style, take a hiatus and head for Los Angeles. Many DaVita® dialysis patients make this sensational trip, and there are 25 DaVita dialysis centers within 25 miles of the city center to help you make the most of the experience.
Los Angeles has always enjoyed renown for its Hollywood allure. The glamour hot spot nowadays is the intersection of Hollywood and Highland, site of Hollywood & Highland Center. Among the many venues in this retail and entertainment complex is The Kodak Theatre, (323-308-6300), home to the Academy Awards® ceremony and American Idol finals. Enjoy a stroll along a “yellow brick road” of quips and quotes, which entertain as you meander through the open-air plaza. Don’t miss the northeast view of the famous Hollywood sign nestled in the hills — a must-have photo opportunity, and absolutely free.
Right across the street is another Hollywood landmark, the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Hollywood Museum (323-466-6335), with its vintage collection of hundreds of exhibits and artifacts collected from across the globe by the eccentric Mr. Ripley. You can’t miss the building — it’s the one with the dinosaur eating a clock up on the roof!
A short stroll down the street is Grauman’s Chinese Theatre with its unmistakeable pagoda facade and impressive collection of stars’ hand- and footprints embedded in the cement courtyard. All of “old Hollywood” including Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart and Paul Newman are immortalized here. This is a great place to set off along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which continues for blocks on both sides of the street, with hundreds of stars and famous names set into the sidewalk. Just a little west of Grauman’s is the curb-side boarding area for many sightseeing tours. Just make yourself known to one of the sidewalk ticket sellers and hop your ride!
One morning or afternoon is sufficient to do the Hollywood and Highland area, and you’re ready to enjoy the myriad of other sights and activities LA offers.
If your visit to LA was inspired by show business, you may be able to fulfill the dream of seeing a TV show taping or touring a movie studio lot. Most shows are taped from August to March and go on hiatus in the summer and holiday months. Talk shows have more of a year-round taping schedule. There is no cost to go to a show taping but you’ll need to request tickets well in advance. Audiences Unlimited, Inc (tickets@audiencesunlimited.
Beverly Hills is the place to see and be seen. You can stroll down the world-famous Rodeo Drive and pop in and out of the designer shops that line the boulevard. If you’re heading out of Beverly Hills on Wilshire Boulevard you may take a turn at Santa Monica Boulevard: head west and you’ll find yourself in the city of Santa Monica; go east and you’ll get to West Hollywood. One of the oldest landmarks in the city, The Original Farmers Market (1-866-993-9211), is located next to The Grove shopping and dining zone (1-888-315-8883) and CBS Studios. The phrase “Meet me at Third and Fairfax” became a popular one directing people to the Farmers Markets’ many vendors, who offer fresh produce, meats, candies, ice cream and an international array of prepared foods. More recently built, The Grove is a bustling outdoor mall offering movie theaters and shopping along with additional restaurants.
Sunset Boulevard is perhaps LA’s most famous street. Immortalized in songs and movies, it winds 20 miles from the Pacific Ocean, past Beverly Hills, movie studios, a Cinerama dome, near Dodger Stadium and other highlights, and ends downtown near Olvera Street, the birthplace of the city. The Olvera Street Market is a quaint area with a feeling of old Mexico and offers Mexican restaurants and souvenirs from the many vendors.
Ready for sun, sand and surf? Los Angeles is loaded with beaches. The Santa Monica Pier has plenty of fishing, swimming, surfing and bikini-watching. Just head to the coast and no matter whether you head north or south, you’ll find beaches — Huntington, Redondo, Manhattan, Marina Del Rey, Venice, Muscle Beach (Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s old hangout), Malibu, Zuma and more. Most are free to the public (although you usually have to pay to park) with lifeguards on duty and lavatory facilities. If beautiful scenery and salt air sound fun, drive north along the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu and Zuma beaches. There’s plenty of gorgeous scenery and places to stop and take in the coastline, as well as local shopping and restaurants along the way.
It wouldn’t be a trip to LA without checking out the music scene, so find out what’s playing at the Hollywood Bowl (323-850-2000), the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County (213-972-7211) or any of the thousands of local clubs and theaters. A great online resource is the LA Weekly website.
For fine art fans, you can’t beat the J. Paul Getty Museum (310-440-7300), with locations in LA and Malibu offering world-class collections of art and sculpture. Both locations offer fabulous views stretching for miles. Admission is free, though parking isn’t.
Detroit may be Motor City but LA is famous for celebrating all things car. If you have a car buff in your midst, don’t miss the Petersen Automotive Museum (323-930-CARS) at 6060 Wilshire Boulevard at Fairfax. Classic and custom hotrods, Hollywood star cars, muscle cars, million dollar cars and racing legends are all on gleaming display. Highlights include vehicles formerly belonging to Elvis, Batman, presidents, popes and potentates.
Most commonly known as the business hub of the West Coast, downtown LA is a thriving, multicultural treasure trove of architectural gems, historic landmarks, entertainment and shopping. The LA Philharmonic’s Walt Disney Concert Hall (323-850-2000), Staples Center (213-742-7326 — where the Lakers, Clippers, Kings and Sparks play), University of Southern California (213-740-2311) and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (213-680-5200) are all found downtown. Chinatown, the Figueroa Corridor, historic downtown and the jewellery, fashion and toy districts are filled with wonders, discoveries and bargains. Advance planning and a map are good to have before attempting to navigate the area. A great place to start is Downtown LA Walks.
There’s no place on earth like Los Angeles and maybe it’s time to see it firsthand. With no lack of beautiful, sunny backdrops for your vacation photos, you’re sure to bring back a camera full of memories from weird to wonderful — and all of it unforgettable!
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