I had a lovely visit to the USEA Annual Meeting And Convention in Long Beach, Calif., but before I did that I took a day to explore Los Angeles.
I did just about every touristy thing in L.A. back in 2004 with my family, but I wanted to visit now that I’ve had so many more years of travel experience and perspective.
Unfortunately the city is so huge and traffic is so bad that a day is just not enough time to see everything!
I decided on the Hop On Hop Off bus, but it had 4 routes, and the two I chose were slow, so I ended up using an Uber too.
I decided last minute to take a studio tour of Warner Brothers, so I only had until about 2 p.m. to see other sights.
I started my day by walking from my hotel to the Farmer’s Market. I loved wandering through the narrow aisles past foods from different parts of the world, exquisite desserts and shops full of trinkets and souvenirs. It felt a bit like being in Europe.
I hopped on the bus from there and went towards Hollywood where I hopped off at TLC Chinese Theater and had a quick look at the Walk Of Fame. I try to go to a Sephora wherever I can, and I found one right around the corner! I spent a bit of time shopping there and in a giant souvenir shop, then hopped on the bus again and listened to the commentary for awhile, which pointed out some famous landmarks like comedy venues, the Chateau Marmont, and various filming locations.
After an hour or so I made it to Santa Monica Pier. It was a little alarming to see the haze from the wildfires in the distance, but the view was lovely out into the Pacific. I strolled down the boardwalk, which had a fun 1920s feel with an amusement park and several fair food stands.
After a quick burger and fries I hopped on the bus for a short ride to Venice Beach. I was running low on time at that point, but even experiencing Venice Beach for a half hour was pretty cool. Full of hippies, skate boarders and other colorful people, it really is just like what you’ve heard and makes for great people watching.
I made it all the back north to Burbank just in time for my studio tour. We did a Universal tour back in 2004, which was definitely more exciting, but it was still really cool to see the sound stages and back lot.
We passed Conan O’Brien’s studio while he was filming. I really should have tried to get tickets to a taping but I wasn’t sure how far in advance I needed to. So close, yet so far!
We got to go into the Big Bang Theory’s studio and saw the actual set, which was cool, and I saw Patsy’s Diner from one of my favorite TV show’s, Shameless, which was really surreal.
There was a costume museum with costumes from Fantastic Beasts and Wonder Woman. It was so cool to be so close to the costumes that I remember from the movies! We also saw a fun exhibit with old Batmobiles from the Batman movies and wandered through the extensive prop department, which was basically like a giant, multi-level thrift store.
I had dinner at the Farmer’s Market then fell into bed, but not before getting a weather alert that there was a fire in Bel Air, just 20 minutes from my hotel! Since then, the fires have caused so much devastation. I can’t even imagine what people are going through. I saw plumes of smoke as I headed from Long Beach to LAX on Sunday, and that was scary enough.
There’s still so much more in L.A. that I want to do–Griffith Observatory, the Getty Museum, a taping of Conan…I’ll just have to save that for next time!