Saturday, January 7, 2012

LA from Skid Row to Beverly Hills

New Year's Day dawned with beautiful weather, no smog, fog or hardly any traffic.  I think everyone in the city must have been home nursing New Year's Eve hangovers.

Surface street in Downtown LA

Kurt gave us his (should be) famous "LA from Skid Row to Beverly Hills" tour.  We saw incredible architecture, iconic buildings, the Pacific Ocean and everything in between.

We started the tour driving through the streets and blocks where the homeless of LA live.  There were tents and heaps of garbage everywhere and I've never seen so many street people at one time in one place.  Didn't get any pictures, as we didn't actually stop anywhere.  Amazingly, the next block from where there was garbage on the street, the street was magically clean and tidy.  LA neighborhoods change from one to the other in the blink of an eye.

Then is was off to  the Los Angeles Farmer's Market.  It is an area of food stalls, sit-down eateries, prepared food vendors, and produce markets in Los Angeles, USA. It also a historic Los Angeles landmark and tourist attraction, first opened in July 1934. The Farmers Market features more than 100 restaurants, grocers and tourist shops, and is located just south of CBS Television City.

Bob's was the first stop.  They have the most incredible, freshly made donuts and is Kurt's "must have" when in the area.

Sid at Bob's Coffee and Doughnuts

Cyndi, Sid and Lillie at Farmer's Market

The open air market itself has fresh meat and veggies, souvenier shops and lots of eating places with every kind of food you can imagine.  Here's just a few things we saw:

The original tower of the Farmer's Market

 One of the aisles

Meat Display

Prices weren't too bad, including the Kobe beef.  A friend of Kurt's later told us that it goes for $120 a pound at her meat market.  Yes, that's one hundred and twenty dollars per pound!

Meat market

Every two-wheeled wooden shopping cart at Farmers Market is hand-made on the property; the carts are painted in “Farmers Market Green,” the official name of the color.

Green Carts at Farmer's Market

After filling our tummies with doughnuts and walking around the market, we went across the street to The Grove, an upscale outdoor shopping center with high end stores, theaters and restaurants.  There's also a dancing fountain, similar to, except in scale, the fountain in front of the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

The Grove tower
Sid, Cyndi in front of the dancing fountain

The American Girl store was next.  In case you're not familiar with the brand, this is a line of dolls that little girls apparently obsess over.  You can dress like the doll, buy outfits and accessories for any type of activity, have your picture taken with, take to the "hospital", have lunch with and spend lots and lots of money on!  You can even buy your doll a doll.  I only got to take a picture of the cafe, but if you look closely, you'll see the doll seats that are attached to the tables , so your doll can have lunch with you.  It was amazing to see how much this stuff costs and the fact that the store was absolutely packed with adoring mothers and grandmothers.

American Girl cafe

 We then left to go on a whirlwind driving tour of the LA metropolitan area. Some of the things we saw, in no particular order (because by now I can't even remember the order!):

Art Deco Building

Century City

The Biltmore Hotel

 Birds of Paradise growing along the sidewalk in downtown LA

The Disney Building

Street view Hollywood Blvd and La Brea

 The Kodak Theater, where the Academy Awards are filmed

LA Public Library

An iconic "greasy spoon"

We not only drove down Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Drive

We also drove down the alley for Rodeo Drive!


Trash Can in alley

 Of course, we went to Hollywood Hills to see the famous sign....
Hollywood sign

Sid, Cyndi in Hollywood Hills

Garage door in Hollywood Hills

Lake Hollywood

Saw a few star's homes ....

Jimmy Stewart's house

Lucille Ball's house

Next up was Mulholland Drive.  Mulholland Drive is home to some of the most exclusive and most expensive homes in the world. Many of these homes are set back from the road and offer outstanding views of Downtown Los Angeles. Celebrities such as Sylvester Stallone, Paris Hilton, Reese Witherspoon and Robbie Williams all live nearby.  Too bad we didn't see any :(

The street sign
Just a portion of the view from Mulholland Drive 

We were hungry by then, so headed to the In & Out Burger tp have lunch and watch the planes land at LAX.  In 1948, the first In-N-Out Burger was founded by Harry and Esther Snyder in Baldwin Park. Harry's idea of a drive-thru hamburger stand where customers could order through a two-way speaker box was quite unique. In that era, it was common to see carhops serving those who wanted to order food from their car. Harry's idea caught on and California's first drive-thru hamburger stand was born.
Jets landing overhead

Great hamburgers

 With tummies full AGAIN, we headed to the beach.  Malibu Beach, that is.  We didn't get our feet in the ocean on this day, but that will come, I promise!

The Pacific at Malibu Beach

Malibu Beach looking south toward Santa Monica

After breathing the fresh sea air and listening to the calming waves breaking on the shore, we were exhausted and decided to head back to Pasadena.  Before having another home cooked meal at Kurt's house, we drove down Colorado Blvd to check it out before the parade tomorrow.  We saw the stands where we would be sitting and a huge number of people already camping out on the sidewalks in preparation for viewing the parade.  There were tents, sleeping bags, blow up mattress, barbeques, tons of empty chairs and even a full size sofa on the sidewalks.  Motorhomes were camped on all the side streets, the God patrol was in full evidence and an air of anticipation was in the air.
Colorado Blvd the afternoon before the Rose Parade

With that, we decided to call it a night, go to bed early and rest up for the next day.

Next up, The Rose Parade!

1 comment:

Nancy said...

What a terrific trip.