Three weeks ago, our 12 hour duration flight from Taipei to Los Angeles was not one I particularly enjoyed. With only a couple hours of sleep under our belt we were tired, confused and jet lagged, after a 15 hour time difference. After a complicated journey from the airport to our apartment we finally began to relax. We were staying in the prestigious Hollywood Heights about a 5 minute walk to the Hollywood bowl and 10 minutes to Hollywood Boulevard. For those who have never been to Hollywood let me tell you it isn’t exactly the most exotic place. I’m not going to write this post and gloss over the fact that I think Hollywood is probably the biggest dissapointment I have encountered on our round the world trip. It was intensely upsetting to see a large amount of homeless people going through a difficult emotional and psychological time. This completely took me as a suprise so I decided to find out more about the problem at Psychiatry: An industry of death.
I cannot explain how good the charity that runs this museum is. They’re a non profit that focus primarily on human rights in regards to psychiatric abuse and fair treatment of emotionally and mentally unstable people. The museum was expertly laid out into clear sections. Before too long I was starting to understand the complications that Americans still face today regarding diagnosis’ of behavioural and psychological complications which are almost indefinitely solved by using drugs. The term ‘drugs’ over the use of the word ‘medication’ may not be completely PC but the death statistics along with suicide, overdose and violent abuse statistics is that chemicals of this nature should not be so widely distributed and readily available, especially to children, which they so often are. This museum took me on a path to understanding how illegal aswell as legal prescription drugs can torment people and their loved ones into pushing them to a place where they can subtly blend in and dissolve into an unforgiving society. Welcome to Hollywood, as they say. But it wasn’t all bad. Despite the rugged and tackiness of laaland it was an awesome experience walking along Hollywood boulevard and spotting some childhood heroes on the pavement.
On a different day we explored Downtown LA. There is heaps to do and see including Olvera Street, the oldest street in Los Angeles which also houses the oldest house in LA ‘The Avila Adobe’.
The day we were exploring downtown LA it happened to be the 235th anniversary of the cities founding. What ensued at the El Pueblo Historical Monument was an entertaining Hispanic celebration with singing, food, juice carts and a great atmosphere.
From the historical district we walked to Chinatown which was a decent area to walk around. Smelling the spices, browsing the cramped markets and checking out the temples made for a fun afternoon. LA wouldn’t be LA without seeing a location from a movie, even in Chinatown.
From Chinatown we walked about 1.5km from to J-Town or Little Tokyo. This was worth visiting if you’ve never been to Japan as you can get authentic cuisine, see what Japanese architecture is like and check out some gnarly anime and manga shops, but for me whose favourite country in the world is Japan it didn’t quite live up to the real deal.
The following day we got the metro to Santa Monica which took over an hour. One of the most iconic attractions in the whole country was sat calmly in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the Santa Monica Pier. After lunch we walked along Santa Monica Pier which was a circus of amusements, street musicians, fast food stands and fishermen. It was exactly how I expected it to be and loved it. Me and Georgia as always spent most of our time in the arcades!
From the Pier we walked about 2km along the beach to Venice. The artist, performing, music, culture, drinking beach capital of the world. I would definitely recommend The Venice Ale House for good quality beers. It was a perfect place to people watch whilst the UV is intently blasting your face. As you walk deeper into Venice you’ll get to meet more and more of the locals, most of them homeless, addicted to hard drugs and begging for money but it does make for an interesting walk.
One can’t go to LA and not go to Universal. I don’t want to bore anyone with describing how much fun we had on all the rides so I’ll show you some pictures instead. The $95 ticket price was SO worth it, especially for the studio tour.
On our last day we got the 50 cent shuttle bus on Vermont and Sunset to the Griffith Observatory to overlook the entire city. The observatory is FREE to walk around and has loads of exhibitions on astronomy, space and science.
That’s the end of our itinerary what’ll follow is a couple of tips that I would recommend; firstly, my top 5 restaurants.
- Blue Plate Taco – On the Santa Monica promenade, this Mexican taco place is authentic as it is delicious.
- Del Friscos Grille – Also in Santa Monica this American food place does the best Vegan burgers I have ever had.
- Raffalos – If Pizza is what your looking for go to Raffalos on N Le Brea Ave. They sell good quality pizza by the slice and whole with refreshing beers on tap too.
- The Hudson – If you’re looking for pub grub in a bar setting, The Hudson in West Hollywood is a great place to relax with craft beers and good food, the bartenders are so friendly too.
- Last and not least if you want to go chomp on fast foods you must go to In N Out. The world famous burger place has only 3 items on the menu and is so cheap! A little secret is if you ask for ‘animal style’ you get a secret sauce and extra toppings.
Top 5 tips for surviving Los Angeles.
- LA in my opinion is not that safe. Be vigilant especially in East Hollywood and Downtown. Completely avoid South Central. We saw someone get tasered, cars being smashed up and we almost got assaulted, it’s no joke.
- Rent a car – public transport is awful here. The city is so spread out getting around is tough without one.
- If you don’t have a car use Uber or Lyft. It’s cheap, convenient and easy to use. Make sure to take advantage of promo codes you can find online. Whilst in LA my credit card statement just displayed Uber Receipts.
- Avoid the Metro. It’s pretty sketchy and non-tourist friendly. We witnessed a full on fight in the middle of Crenshaw that we couldn’t avoid by being on the Metro.
- You don’t need much time to explore the city, spend your much valued time in Northern California.
5 randomly fun activities to do in LA
- Grant Central Market occupies an abundance of food and beer stalls that is perfect for lunch or before your metro home after sightseeing.
- Go Skyscraper spotting in downtown which includes the famous Walt Disney building, the Civic centre and more!
- Go record shopping in Amoeba Music in Hollywood, the home of music, movies and entertainment.
- Saturate your taste buds with Americas best known fast food joints.
- Go thrift shopping. LA is home to the worlds most rich and famous. When they get rid of their expensive clothes they donate them to the cities thrift stores so it’s worth checking out to find some bargains!
That’s it folks! Message me for questions or leave a comment, apologies for the late post!