Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Honeymoon in my Hometown: Los Angeles, the City of Angels

LA has so much to offer (including the sunny weather!) it would make an amazing honeymoon—or mini-moon for those of you within easy driving distance!

Mr. Cheetah and I love to play hosts to guests from near and far, so here’s a sample of some of the things we might take you to do if you came to visit LaLa land for a week.

Day 1: The Entertainment Capital of the World

When in LA you have to see Hollywood and experience some of the entertainment industry.

The Hollywood Sign, The Walk of Fame, Kodak Theater (home of the Oscars) and Mann’s Chinese Theater (stars’ cement hand & foot prints). To see all of this just head over to Hollywood & Highland, a shopping complex right in the thick of it. While in the neighborhood check out the best ice cream in the city, Mashti Malone’s. I’m partial to the unique flavors made with rosewater (Creamy Rosewater is my fave), but they also have many of the standard flavors for you ice cream traditionalists.

Next hit up one of the studios for a tour, or better yet a show taping. Many, many TV shows tape in front of a live audience. Some are relatively easy to get tickets for, some are difficult and involve waiting in long lines (people line up for The Price is Right the night before). You can look for tickets (which may or may not actually guarantee you a seat) here or just check out your favorite show’s website for more information. I recommend trying to see Craig Ferguson or Jimmy Kimmel Live. They tape almost daily, have shorter waits, quick taping schedules and can be a lot of fun. Get there early (you will have to wait some) and dress nicely—you’ll get better seats (avoid white, it doesn’t look good on camera).

If you have any energy left, end your night with drinks (but dine elsewhere) at the Dresden, where you can watch and listen to Marty & Elayne (made famous by the movie Swingers) croon, jam on the piano, and rock out on the jazz flute.

Day 2: Shop ‘til You Drop

There is shopping all over LA, but here are a few suggestions to get your vacay shop on:

  • Melrose – This avenue in Hollywood boasts trendy shops and dining at numerous price points.
  • Farmer’s Market/The Grove – At the corner of 3rd & Fairfax LA’s Farmer’s Market is a collection of open air restaurants, souvenir shops, and small grocers that has been in the same location since 1934. The Mexican food at ¡Loteria! is widely loved, the ice cream at Bennett’s is delish, and make sure to check out the amazing selection of soft drinks at The Refresher. Right next-door is The Grove shopping center. Many of the stores can be found all over the country, but people enjoy the “Disneyland-like” atmosphere.
  • 3rd Street – Check out boutiques and yummy eats while along 3rd Street.
  • Silver Lake – If your tastes skew arty and edgy, head to Sunset Boulevard and nearby streets in the Silver Lake area of LA.
  • Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills – While checking out the posh shops, drift off Rodeo for more affordable stores and of course, Sprinkles Cupcakes. And pick me up a Black & White Cupcake—Thanks!

Day 3: Nature! LA has parks! Big, glorious parks!

Two of my very favorite places to visit in Los Angeles are parks. Yup, car-crazy LA has spaces of nature too!

Head up to Pasadena to visit The Huntington Library & Botanical Gardens. A few Museum buildings exhibiting everything from art to manuscripts to scientific artifacts are nestled on the grounds of the botanic gardens. The gardens are vast and varied. My personal favorites are the Desert Garden and the Japanese Garden, but they are all fabulous. There is a tearoom off of the Rose Garden, but reservations must be booked at least 2 weeks prior to your visit.

Griffith Park is one of the largest city parks in the world. Situated in the hills above the city, Griffith park offers amazing views, great hikes, and much more. Some of the many other attractions are the LA Zoo, golf courses, horse trails, and my favorite, The Griffith Observatory.

Day 4: Beach Day!

While in LA you’ll want to hit up one of the beaches. Whether you want to spend all day in the sand, go for a hike in search of tidal pools, or go on a whale watching cruise (Mr. Cheetah & I recently saw blue whales!), a day near/in/on the ocean is a must-do.

  • Santa Monica – Large beach and pier with a tiny amusement park. Lots of shopping and dining nearby.
  • El Matador Beach – If you’re looking for a romantic, beautiful beach, this is it.
  • Venice – Enjoy the sand and the extraordinary cast of characters!

Day 5: Art, Museums, & More!

See Art here:

  • The Getty Center – Gorgeous views, grounds, and architecture—but don’t forget to check out the art!
  • LACMA – The LA County Art Museum has a large collection of all kinds of artwork. The new BCAM houses the contemporary collection. Also check out the nearby art galleries on Wilshire and if you go on a weekday near lunch time make sure to eat at one of the many food trucks that line Wilshire just blocks from the museum.

  • MOCA – The Museum of Contemporary Art has three locations: downtown (checkout the nearby Disney Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry), Little Tokyo (Not far from downtown. Make sure to visit Little Tokyo after for some of my favorite food in the city—I heart the katsudon at T.O.T big time.)
  • Chinatown Galleries – Chinatown is home to many a contemporary art gallery.

Other Museums:

  • The Page Museum & Tar Pits. Located right next to LACMA, I love taking out of town guests to the Tar Pits (you can also visit the museum for a fee). The Tar Pits are exactly what they sound like: big and small tar pits bubbling up in the middle of the city. It is still an active excavation site as bones of many prehistoric creatures have been found in the area. Watch your step, tar can bubble up in unexpected places!

  • Exposition Park – Numerous museums (such as the California ScienCenter and Natural History Museum), parks & garden areas, The Coliseum, and more. I love seeing the rings from the ’84 Olympics around the park.

And More!

  • Watts Towers – Large folk art structure built by one man, Sam Rodia.
  • Union Station – This Spanish & Deco styled station is the main train and bus hub of the city. Also nearby are Olvera Street and Philippe’s.
  • Accomplice – A unique scavenger-hunt-type experience through the streets of Hollywood. I haven’t done this yet, but I’m dying to!
  • The Gift Shop at the Coroner's Office – For reals. The LA Coroner's Office has a secret gift shop. I have never been, but if you are looking for some unusual gifts, this may be the perfect place to go.

Day 6: Hit the Road for a Day Trip!

Southern California has so many wonderful places to visit, so why not rent a car and check out some more of So Cal. Here are some Cheetah-endorsed day trips from LA:

  • Palm Springs – Woo-hoo! The site of our semi-destination wedding! Read about The Ribbon’s fantastic honeymoon in Palm Springs here, and here.
  • Santa Barbara – Santa Barbara is one of the most gorgeous little cities is the US. Nestled in between the ocean and mountains, Santa Barbara has everything you would want in a vacation. Shopping, dinning, and bars along State Street. Great beaches. Wineries. And even a zoo with a crooked-necked giraffe. Make sure to check out the Mission and the courthouse.
  • Disneyland – Disneyland needs no explanation. So instead, here are the Cheetah’s favorite rides. Ms. Cheetah: Indiana Jones. Mr. Cheetah: Space Mountain.
  • Big Bear – If you love the mountains, drive up to Big Bear, a cute ski town on a lake with plenty to do year round.

Day 7: Return home and begin contemplating your move to Los Angeles.


  1. Omg, that sounds AWESOME! I want to go to LA so bad and one of these days I will get to go. You gave me lots of ideas!

  2. Hope you can visit LA in the future!