Most of our time in California was spent relaxing with friends and enjoying delicious food. We did, however, manage to throw in a few site-seeing trips that definitely qualify as “touristy”.
The following may be crowded and overrated, but I enjoyed them! (And they were all free!)
Beverly Hills Hotel
Does anyone else remember the (classic 80s movie) Troop Beverly Hills? This movie is the stuff sleepover dreams are made of.
Beverly Hills girl scouts (*ahem* Wilderness Girls), Shelley Long (I miss her! Where did she go?), camping under the Hollywood sign, and a pre-teen brunette Tori Spelling!
The camping trip was, of course, aborted for a slumber party at the famous Beverly Hills Hotel, which we stopped at for a quick photo-op. We went to a few other Beverly Hills iconic locations, including Rodeo Drive and The Grove.
Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the Hollywood Walk of Fame
When we were landing at LAX my husband asked me if there was anything I wanted to do in Los Angeles. The only thing I really wanted to do see Grauman’s Chinese Theater – where all the celebrities put their handprints in cement! I think it stems back to watching My Girl 2 as a kid.
The area is definitely touristy. And a little sketchy. It’s full of tour groups and people dressed up as movie characters who want your money. But, it was a unique opportunity and I’m glad I’ve checked it off my bucket list.
It was fun seeing how all the different celebrities made their mark. Many steered away from the traditional hand and footprints – the Harry Potter cast did their wands, John Wayne left a wist, and Roy Rogers (seen below) was one of my favorites with his pistol and Trigger’s horseshoes!
We also walked around the Hollywood Walk of Game for a few blocks and I spied a few stars:
The Hollywood Sign
Is there anything more quintessentially L.A. than the Hollywood sign? We drove around Hollywood Hills and looked at all the houses packed together and hanging off of hills. We drove to Canyon Lake Drive, and saw a great view of the Hollywood sign! There’s a place to park, and you can also see a great overview of the city.
I can’t tell you where (I was obviously riding along with excellent tour guides!), but close to the Hollywood sign area we found another great scenic overlook.
We didn’t have any celebrity sightings on our trip, but we did get to see a crew filming a scene of (what we are guessing was) a reality show. We waited at this overlook for a while because there was a camera crew. Eventually two people came out and filmed a conversation in front of the overlook.
Obviously not part of greater L.A., but I thought I’d tag Santa Barbara on to the end of this post. Unfortunately, our afternoon in Santa Barbara was a gray, spittle-y day, so we didn’t get to see it in its full glory.
We roamed around Stearns Wharf. The one thing I love about being oceanside is that it’s practically always looks the same. Doesn’t this look like a picture straight out of Boston? It felt just like home. And then you see the palm trees and you realize you are far-far-away!
You can see from the photo above it was a gray and foggy day.
We spent the rest of our time in Santa Barbara walking around town, popping into shops, grabbing food (Pickle and Swiss – try the dill pickle popcorn!) and warming up with coffee at The French Press with our dear friends who shared their beautiful home with us!
We also walked by this amazing restaurant called The Lucky Penny. You guessed it, the entire building is covered in pennies! How cool is that?
I’m enjoying writing about our time in warm California. It snowed a bit more today – these memories of flip-flops will carry me through until the snow thaws! One more month!