Tonight, all eyes will be on Los Angeles, or at least on the Kodak Theatre, where the 82nd Academy Awards (aka Oscar Night) will be held. LA is a unique and, at times surreal, city that everyone should visit at least once. Here are five things you must do on your first trip to Los Angeles.
1. Spot a celebrity. You don’t have to dine at The Ivy to spot a bold-face name, although it sure doesn’t hurt. Remember, stars are just like US, which means you’re just as likely to have your sighting at Starbucks as at Chateau Marmont. In fact, when my husband was in LA on Thursday, he saw Marcia Cross at the Starbucks on San Vicente Blvd. in Brentwood — she was in full make-up but wearing jogging clothes and is a frequent customer (according to the barista), if that sort of thing interests you.
2. Chill out on the beach. If anything is going to make you want to move to LA, it’s going to be the beaches and the perfect weather. Malibu is gorgeous, but parts of it feel very residents-only, which must be nice for them. Venice beach is a better free-for-all scene.
3. Hike around Runyon Canyon. A terrific nature oasis in the middle of the city, Runyon Canyon is where celebs (and ordinary mortals) and their dogs go to exercise on hilly trails. It’s a good spot to take a photo of the famous Hollywood sign, as you can see above. The sign is still far away, though. The closest you can (legally) get to Hollywood sign is at Lake Hollywood Reservoir, so if you’re serious about your photo you may want to check it out — I personally haven’t been there.
4.Soak up the luxury of Beverly Hills. I loved driving around the tree-lined streets of Beverly Hills, gawking at the multi-million-dollar houses and wondering who lived in them. It’s also fun to stroll down Rodeo Drive and imagine your own Pretty Woman moment — um, I mean in regards to extravagant shopping, not prostitution. Right off Rodeo Drive is the Beverly Wilshire, the hotel where the film took place.
5. See the Walk of Fame. OK, it’s beyond touristy and crowded, but do you really want to leave LA without visiting the Walk of Fame and seeing the stars of your favorite stars? It’s right on Hollywood Blvd and it’s right by another great landmark, Grauman’s Chinese Theater. You can take a tour of the theater or just enjoy the famous exterior and the chance to stand in Cary Grant’s footprints (pictured above). The Kodak Theatre, where is the Academy Awards are being held tonight, is actually connected to the Chinese Theater.
What are your recommendations for visitors to Los Angeles?