La Brea Tar Pits – Did you know that there has been a big archeological dig in the middle of LA? The La Brea Tar Pits is the location where ice aged animal fossils have been found. Research has shown that animals got stuck in tar, and the archeologists have been able to recover their fossils. My husband was excited to go, and my children thought it was “pretty cool.” Surrounding it is a very pretty park. http://www.tarpits.org
Warner Brothers Studio Tour – I researched all of the possible movie studios, and this one was the most appealing to me for the price, and the shows and movies that have been filmed there. I am not a big movie buff, but I do love the television shows such as Friends, Big Bang Theory, and Two and a Half Men. The $60.00 priced ticket seemed like a lot to me, but when we left four hours later, I realized that it was so well worth it. You get to walk onto actual sets, and get a lot of the Hollywood movie making and television secrets. The tour guides and staff are enthusiastic and make the experience a lot of fun. The highlights of the tour for me included sitting on the actual set of the Friends “Central Perk” set, and the very cool batman cars, motorcycles, and toys.
ETIQUETTE TIP: Do not speak while the tour guide is speaking, and try to refrain from commenting on every single thing during the tour. Remember that others are trying to enjoy the tour too.
The Central Perk recreated from the Friends set
If you like history, politics, or presidential trivia, then I highly suggest the Nixon Library & Museum.
The only negative I would give you is that there is not a lot to do geographically around the library.
The library is currently under reconstruction, so we only saw part of the library. They have a lot of interesting artifacts and pictures from the Nixon years in the White House. They was also an interesting film to watch on the history of Nixon’s whole political career. You can also go to the original house that President Nixon lived in as a child, as well as the Presidential helicopter he flew off in after leaving the White House. I would love to go back when the whole reconstruction is finished. It is scheduled to be fully reopen in October 2016.
One thing that is close by is the Angels Stadium. The stadium is old, but it was fun watching the game. If you are a baseball fan then you can go and check it off of your list. Otherwise, I do not think there is anything so spectacular to see.
My main objective of this trip was to do dorky “touristy” things. This included the Walk of Fame near the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Blvd. While looking on the ground at all of the “Stars” we passed by the Disney Ghirardelli ice cream shop. Best place ever to wander into! They have Disney character toys and accessories, and AWESOME ice cream sundaes, brownies, etc… My kids were so happy stopping there, I cannot even tell you – and they are teenagers! So, I am sure young children (or any aged person) would think it was great. And seeing the entertainment people’s stars was fun too!
Venice Beach, aka “Muscle” Beach is a great place to take your children (or yourself) if you feel like you have lived a sheltered life. From the homeless tents, to the different types of people, you will find it very eye-opening. It is called “Muscle” Beach because there is a section with outdoor weight lifting, basketball, hand ball, skate board park, etc… We rented bikes, and went up and down the strip.
ETIQUETTE TIP: When biking, if you are going slow, stay to the right. If you need to pass people, please do so on the left. Also, people are not aware of their surroundings, which I consider a breach of good etiquette – a lot of people were walking in the bike lane. It made it a lot harder to bike since you had to dodge pedestrians.
There are also a lot of little t-shirt type shops, and vendors set up selling unusual items. And yes, you can actually lay out on the beach and enjoy the water and sunshine.
Mission Beach – We headed down to Mission Beach around 10:00 am, and it was already getting crowded, since it was a Saturday. We rented bikes and enjoyed biking up and down the strip along the beach. We needed to eat lunch early since we had to get to America’s Cup boat by 12:30. One thing I noticed about San Diego is they are really into breakfast, and eat it late. We had a hard time finding a place that served lunch at 11:00. Very fun beach with a lot of activities to choose from for people of all ages.
America’s Cup – Dennis Conner is the sailor who dominated yacht racing for over a decade. A few retired men bought one of the “America Cup” boats, called Stars and Stripes. You can pay to get on the boat, and have a cool experience of being one of the crew, or just relax and enjoy sailing. Our boys thought getting to do some of the things that the crew does is cool. I was glad that they now have had a little experience sailing. They said it was “a lot more fun that they expected.”
USS Midway Museum – If you like World War II facts, or any kind of military experiences, then this will be a lot of fun for you and your family. I am not into either one, but I was pleasantly surprised how cool it was. It is a giant ship that has fighter planes on the deck, and like a “little city” below in the living quarters. What was interesting to me was where people actually slept, and how they lived on this ship. It has not been part of the military since the early 1990s, so you can get a docent tour, audio tour, and just walk around and read all of the interesting things about the ship and our history. http://www.midway.org/
LaJolla Beach – We had every intention of going snorkeling and kayaking, however we arrived to to helicopters overhead, and everyone lined up looking in the water. There was a missing diver, and no one was permitted to participate in any water sports for the rest of the day. There are a lot of quaint boutiques and shops in the area.
Restaurants: We ate at a restaurant called The Spot, which had great service, and a variety of food such as salads, burgers, etc…
Petco Park baseball stadium – home of the San Diego Padres
We ended the day with a baseball game at Petco Park, and watched the San Diego Padres defeat the San Francisco Giants. The stadium was pretty nice, but nothing really stood out architecturally. But the fans were awesome, and the music and atmosphere was rocking. A lot of fun.