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Monday, 03 May 2010

Venice Beach and LA

Written by Jonathan Hiltz
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It’s the second largest city in the United States and home to nearly twenty million people. Being in the forefront of the world’s gossip and famous for stars, trends, and the entertainment industry, Los Angeles is where pop culture begins and ends in an endless parade of cultural oddities and travel adventures.

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As a supersized metropolis, Los Angeles has something to see and do everywhere you look. For the space and science enthusiast, the city boasts the Griffith Observatory, which houses one of the finest planetariums in the world. For the food lover, Los Angeles is filled with the restaurants of famous chefs who regularly unveil their newest dishes, before they sweep across the rest of the country. For the shopper, LA is a playground of consumerism that can range from the priciest designer clothes along Rodeo, to the jeans and shirts made of hemp on Venice Beach. Los Angeles has something for everyone.

 

We decided to stay on Venice Beach and found a great place known as Su Casa, an apartment complex above the famous Fig Tree Cafe, which has incredible food. Su Casa has nice rooms that range from studios to sizeable two-bedrooms overlooking the beach and every morning a free made-to-order continental breakfast is delivered from the cafe to your room (www.sucasavenicebeach.com ).

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Venice Beach has an eclectic and unique atmosphere and is a little more ‘rough around the edges’ compared to its trendy, upscale neighbor, Santa Monica. The beach and locals are a unique mix of people from around the world and everyone is out to have a good time. It’s easy to feel a smile creep across your face for no reason at all in this paradise by the ocean; most who walk the boardwalk have them. This could be simply from enjoying the sunshine or because they’ve recently visited one of the many local marijuana dispensaries that line the beach. Due to the legalization of medicinal pot in California, this has become a big business and Venice is one of its prime locations.

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One morning as we walked along the boardwalk, a man dressed in old shorts and a weather-worn button-down shirt, turned to us after looking at the gorgeous view and said ‘Can you believe I live here?’ showing unique appreciation for his home town.

 

travel Venice Beach, Venice Beach and LA, Su Casa Venice Beach, Fig Tree Cafe, travel Santa Monica, Hollywood Boulevard and the ‘Walk of Fame’, Griffith Observatory, Jonathan HiltzRight next to Venice is beautiful Santa Monica with its long boardwalk that links the two beaches. The journey along this paved walkway at sunset is one of the items that should be on everybody’s bucket list. As the sun gets lower on the horizon, waves of color paint across the sky and make for an inspirational view. One should not forget that some of these pinks and greens are caused by LA’s infamous smog. As the brilliant display is happening, the long-time carnival rides that take up most of the Santa Monica Pier twinkle in the twilight and lead up to the exciting city with its long pedestrian mall filled with people, musicians, shops and restaurants.

 


 

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When traveling through Los Angeles and its surrounding areas, a car is a necessity as many things are geographically far apart and the bus system can be slow and complicated. There are many rental companies to choose from—it’s best to compare on the internet to get the lowest price.

 

We got ours through Rent 4 Less (www.rentfourless.com). They were affordable, incredibly nice and made it easy to pick up our vehicle, which was a 2010 model that got us to our activities in comfort. For anyone who is not familiar with Los Angeles and the surrounding areas, a GPS system is a must if you want to make it to your destination without getting lost.

 

One of these amazing destinations is Sunset Boulevard on a Saturday night, which is a haven for the avid clubber and bar hopper. Specifically the Sunset Strip is famous for trendy places, some of which have been there for over fifty years. These historic establishments, including The Roxy, Whiskey A Go-Go, and The Macambo, have launched indie bands from relative obscurity into famous concert acts, including Van Halen, Motley Crew, Guns N’ Roses and The Doors.

 

Visitors will also enjoy Hollywood Boulevard and the ‘Walk of Fame’. This famous street consists of hundreds of stars embedded on the sidewalk, which display names of actors, writers, musicians and more, from today and yesteryear. Along the walkway are the kitschy but fun tourist destinations, the Hollywood Wax Museum and the Guiness Book of World Records that reside a few doors down from Grauman’s Chinese Theater, another great spot.

 

For families, the aforementioned Griffith Observatory is a spectacular place to go and learn about the universe while gazing at the stars in its planetarium. The observatory has recently gone through an almost four-year $93 million dollar expansion and is a breathtaking experience for science and astronomy lovers. If physics is more your kids’ brand of science, then Universal Studios, Disneyland, Six Flags and many other attractions that boast heart-stopping rides are a short drive away.

 

The many areas that make up Los Angeles are all very different, but together they create a diverse and vibrant city that continues to be the center of curiosity for many around the world. With an endless supply of entertainment, food and excitement, LA is a trip worth taking. It guarantees memorable, real-life stories from a land built almost entirely on fiction.

travel Venice Beach, Venice Beach and LA, Su Casa Venice Beach, Fig Tree Cafe, travel Santa Monica, Hollywood Boulevard and the ‘Walk of Fame’, Griffith Observatory, Jonathan Hiltz

©Jonathan Hiltz

Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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