Hollywood Sign, Griffiths Park and Observatory, Planetarium Show.
After a day at Universal studios, we were close by to Griffith park and the Hollywood sign. And seeing as the park closed earlier at 6pm, we thought we would make the most of a Los Angeles evening.
You can also check out our videos from our California road trip, visit YouTube: Kluma
We drove around the hills to find some good spots to see the Hollywood Sign!
We then drove on towards the Greek Theatre where there is free parking and a very cheap shuttle bus up to the Observatory which gets quite busy with limited parking.
Sadly there was more traffic that we anticipated so we just missed sunset – which would have made for an even more stunning site. But that’s ok – and I guess it explains all the traffic. We are hoping to go back up in the daylight before we leave for the Grand Canyon to get some views over LA.
Having said that, the view was totally not wasted on us! Seeing the last colours disappear from the sky was pretty special. And a great start for the planetarium show…
Once inside, we were really lucky to get two tickets to their planetarium show as it was a last showing for the night at 8.45pm and we had not researched times so it worked out perfectly.
Also, those who don’t know, I’m a big fan of the recent La La Land film so being able to go to the observatory where they go on a date in the film was cool.
I wish I had something to show you to at least try and explain how beautiful and mind-blowing the planetarium experience was. So I’ll try with my words.
We are big fans of the technology and ‘effects’ of planetariums anyway, but this was so much more.
The show combined an actor who starts by storytelling, and then narrates the show live. It lasts about 35 minutes and it tells the history of astronomy and space as we know it. It is not an easy feat to explain our place in the world amongst multiple galaxies but seeing it at the planetarium, alongside a beautifully written script, was incredibly educational, powerful and moving. I cried at the end. At the moment it ranks as my top experience of the whole holiday and we have already been so blessed to see some special places in the Golden State.
Hollywood Boulevard, Walk Of Fame, Hollywood Museum, El Capitan, Dolby Theatre.
Downtown LA, City Hall, Union Station, Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Broad, Angel’s Flight, Grand Central Market.
We started the morning with a good-old faff. It took us quite awhile to decide where to start. I’d done a fair bit of research to find the things we were interested in seeing but the car culture of LA, expensive parking (for Brits) and how big LA actually us, made it tricky to make a plan.
Eventually we decided to just take the car and find somewhere to park near Hollywood as it was still a long way from where we are staying in Beverly Hills. We managed to find street parking somewhere (about a 15 min walk from this statue). This is a good place to start the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it’s called The Gateway to Hollywood and it’s a sculpture to celebrate the part women have played in creating Hollywood, often overlooked in the past.
Then we headed along the walk of Fame, spotting famous stars along the way. This is a very touristy spot of LA (obviously) so it got a lot busier.
We stopped to see the Dolby Theatre, Grauman’s Chinese Theater and El Capitan (where Disney release all their new films). Sadly, the Chinese theatre was closed for a private event so we weren’t able to see the star’s famous hand prints or even go in.
This is one of the busiest intersections you will see around LA between Hollywood Blvd and Highland street.
We then had brunch at Mel’s Drive in Diner. We had one of these in San Fransisco and really rated their breakfast menu and great service so it was a firm choice for us. It was also right by the Hollywood museum where we were headed next.
The Hollywood Museum is an impressive museum in the old Max Factor offices. It boasts four floors of Hollywood and film history, props and costumes. It was well worth a look! It was also included in our ‘GoLA’ 5 days pass cards (highly recommended as we got our universal tickets free with these too!)
Next we got on the metro red line from Hollywood for a short trip to Downtown LA for our second area of sight-seeing.
Our first stop was an amazing book store I had read about called The Last Book Store. It’s a huge shop with little art galleries and boutique shops upstairs and some cool book sculptures around the place.
I could have spent all afternoon there but we had more to see.
We then grabbed a refreshing lemonade at the famous Grand Central Market, full of all sorts of food stalls. It’s a great place to just take in all the sights and smells.
Just over the road from the Grand Central Market is Angel’s Flight. A strange little tourist attraction that used to run commuters up Bunker’s hill. La La Land fans will also recognise it from the film!
It’s pretty cool and only 50 cents with a metro pass or $1. We didn’t go on it but it would be fun!
We then walked over to city hall. There’s a free observation desk which I imagine boasts great views of the city but as it was a Saturday, it was closed. Worth a check if you’re around in the week!
Being a little bit lazy, we got on the metro to the final stop on the red line which is Union Station. We could have walked but it was another 15 minutes and we were starting to get tired after walking around all morning.
We then jumped back on the metro to where we were to see some more impressive architecture. First up, The Walt Disney Concert Hall and The Broad art gallery.
We also went to the Central Public Library. While I try and arrange holidays around theme parks to amuse Ben especially, he lets me plan in cool book shops and libraries!
To be fair, the library was a building worth seeing even if you’re not a book nerd like me. Even better, there was a terminal at the door which dispensed short stories!
After all this, we headed back to the metro station towards Hollywood so we could walk back to our car.
After a late afternoon in the pool — we are staying at the famous Beverly Hilton where they host the Golden Globe awards and has hosted an array of celebrities — we walked around Beverly Hills to find some dinner and cocktails.
- Days 1-4: San Francisco blog.
- Days 4-5: Beach Drive from San Francisco to Santa Monica blog.
- Days 6-8: Disneyland & Universal blog.
You can also check out our videoes from our California road trip, visit YouTube: Kluma