What makes something a tradition? Doing it twice or three times? Well, I am about to go to my fourth Masters of Taste with my husband on Sunday, so I would call that a tradition for sure!
I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon than to walk around tasting the best food and drinks that a city has to offer with someone you love. We enjoy this every year! Even when it rained, but that is a story for another time. It will be a beautiful day this Sunday at the Pasadena Rose Bowl. That’s where this Food Festival takes place. It’s truly amaze balls. I can’t wait!
It’s going to be a pretty epic date weekend with going to see the much awaited Avengers Engame (No Spoilers Here!) movie on Saturday night and then going to the Masters of Taste on Sunday! Lucky us!
I did not go out of town for a summer vacation this year, but I did have the chance to visit some of L.A.’s hottest destinations! Here are some highlights of my “staycation adventures” . . . 5 Summer Hot Spots in Los Angeles:
Click on the name of each attraction to go directly to their website.
I went to the Getty Center earlier this year for a Social Media Event. On that day, my husband and I vowed to return and explore the amazing venue at length. My family remembered this when it came to making plans for Mother’s Day. It was a perfect idea. (Yes, it was a scorching hot day on Mother’s Day in L.A., thus the summer had officially begun for us!)
The Getty Center is a great place to spend the day with the family, take in some local culture and have a nice meal. We decided to join the Architectural Design Tour and the Garden Tour on this trip. It was a lot of walking, but it gave a full scope of the history of the building of the Getty Center and the design of the grounds and gardens. The same docent lead both tours. She was quite knowledgeable and personable.
After going on both tours, we still had plenty of time to eat lunch at the cafe and visit some of the exhibits. All of my kids enjoyed the outing. They are teenagers, so I wasn’t expecting too much from them, but I found myself out of steam before they were! I have one son who isn’t into museums and reading as much, but he went along to be a good sport and spend time with the family. I thought he wasn’t getting much out of it and would look back at it as torture, but recently he was able to recall terms that the docent explained to us in the tour. I was so impressed that he was paying attention and retained that information even after a few months. We put our youngest child in charge of taking pictures and that kept him busy and interested. Our oldest is about to go to college and is studying architectural engineering – so this techie, artsy, place known for its innovative architecture was certainly the perfect destination for him!
See the mosaic gallery of pictures from my day at the Getty Center at the bottom of this post.
I found out through my Blog Venture buddy, Mary of Along Comes Mary, that admission to LACMA is free on holiday Mondays. We wanted to go together on Memorial Day, but since that didn’t work out my husband and I made a date of it. I visited LACMA a few years ago and saw the Tim Burton Exhibit. That was something I will never forget. I was so impressed with Tim Burton’s early childhood drawings and how those characters ended up coming to life in some of my favorite movies. I have talked about the experience so many times that my husband was intrigued. Besides going to the Getty Center, we haven’t been to many local museums together. It is something we love to do in other cities while on vacation – why not enjoy some of the best museums in the world that happen to be in our own area!
It turned out to be the perfect date. On a holiday Monday, there was very little traffic and for the price of parking, we enjoyed a few hours at the museum looking at the established and long-term exhibits. Since contemporary and modern art is usually very high-tech and scientific, it was right up my husband’s alley. I think his favorite part was the huge elevator, but he enjoyed most of the rooms. While I enjoy sitting and looking at paintings and sculptures or people watching, my hubby likes to read all of the information posted about each artifact and view every documentary on the screens. He can go for hours taking in all of this information systematically. I like to soak it all in and look at the things that attract me.
We vowed to return to LACMA again because there was much more than we could see in a few hours. However, personally I would not have enjoyed being there for too much longer. I would rather return another day. I would definitely benefit from becoming a member there!
Since we had such a great time at the Getty Center on Mother’s Day and LACMA on Memorial Day, we thought we would try another outing with the kids on Father’s Day. We decided on the California Science Center because my husband had been wanting to see the Space Shuttle Endeavor since it arrived in L.A.
This was an amazing experience! The California Science Center has some wonderful exhibits and is free all the time. It is home to the IMAX Theater and the Space Shuttle Experience. Both require tickets in advance which you can get online. I enjoyed looking at the Space Shuttle and it was particularly meaningful to me since it was Father’s Day and it brought back fond memories of my dad. He worked in the aerospace industry and was involved in early contracts for the Space Shuttle. It was his pride and joy to have had a part in American history and he would have loved to have seen that exhibit. I know he was proud of us for going there.
I am not as in to seeing science exhibits as much as I am art and architecture, so I bottomed out rather quickly at this one. My son, who was just ‘along for the ride,’ and I hung out together in the gift shop and at the cafe while the others fully immersed themselves in the experience. When my youngest got bored, the three of us went outside and waited near the butterfly garden. It was a beautiful day and if I had realized that there was a lovely park there, I might have brought a picnic, a blanket and a football for the boys.
There is so much to do in Exposition Park, you can definitely make a day of it. Adjacent to the California Science Center is the Natural History Museum. . . we may be back for the next holiday!
For my sister-in-law’s birthday my brother planned a lovely afternoon at Griffith Observatory. I am still not sure if he was riding our coat-tails on the idea of visiting our local attractions or if it was purely coincidence. Nonetheless, I was excited by the notion of visiting another favorite L.A. destination.
We met at the Merry-go-round at Griffith Park and devoured the luscious pies that my brother had brought in his ice chest. There are lots of picnic tables and large grassy areas by the tennis courts. There is a little snack bar where the kids bought drinks and popcorn. The majestic antique Merry-go-round is a Los Angeles treasure and tickets to ride it are only a few bucks. Parking is free at Griffith Park and it is just a little drive around the mountain from the Merry-go-Round to the parking area for the observatory.
Making a plan starts with a choice. . . it is not always easy.
The Griffith Observatory has been renovated since I was last there and I was impressed with the newest additions. I was also relieved that the old favorites still remain and can be shared with future generations. There is so much to see and do at the Griffith Observatory. We explored the telescopes and the science and space exhibits. Along the outside perimeter are plenty of photo spots to take pictures of the Hollywood sign, the Santa Monica mountains, panoramic views of the city and the observatory building itself.
The Griffith Park Observatory
View of the Hollywood sign
View of Downtown Los Angeles
She Blinded Me with Science!
My favorite “selfie” – It’s me with Albert Einstein!
Inside there are two theaters, the newest being the Leonard Nimoy theater and the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. Admission to the observatory is free, but tickets for the planetarium shows are $3-$7 and must be purchased at the ticket counter at the observatory. We saw a show at each of the theaters during our visit. The free show that we saw at the Nimoy theater was fun (funny) and informative.
For my birthday I decided to take the family to the Getty Villa in Malibu. Well, I suppose they took me – since it was my birthday! I was there once as a child and I only remember a few details. The thing that impressed me the most was the feeling of being worlds away, as if I were transported through time and space to a special point in history. The Getty Villa was closed for a long time and since they built the Getty Center, I did not know what happened to it. It has been renovated and is simply breathtaking! I still got that feeling that I was transported to a special place and it was even better than I remembered it!
The villa itself is a beautiful specimen of architecture and design. It houses an enormous collection of antiquities, sculptures and artifacts from Ancient Greece and Rome. Anyone interested in history, mythology, art, design, archaeology or anthropology will love this museum and educational center.
There is a special procedure to follow in order to gain entry to this iconic California landmark and I observed it being strictly followed. Admission is free to the museum but reservations must be made in advance to park there. The fee for parking is $15 per car and each person in the car must have a printed “timed entry” ticket. The nice thing about this procedure is the ease in finding a parking space upon arrival. Even though we went on a busy summer weekend afternoon, I did not have the feeling that is was crowded.
We explored all the exhibits and wandered the villa and the grounds in a few hours. It was fun and beautiful. There are lots (way more than I expected) and lots of nude statues, so be prepared if you have children with you or that makes you uncomfortable.
Plan to have extra time if you like to take pictures, there are so many things to photograph including many of the artifacts. I took pictures of everything, even the tiled flooring. It was different in every room and I loved taking shots of it. Can you imagine? Centuries old art all around me and I am taking photos of the floor! It was fun! I did get in trouble for trying to get a shot of the visiting exhibit from Sicily – that apparently is a big no-no. But they allow you to photograph practically everything else.
View of the Getty Center from the gardens
View of the 405 Frwy from the Getty Center
The Gardens of the Getty Center
Panoramic View of the Getty Center from the gardens.
At the Getty Center
Sitting by the travertine tiles at the Getty Center
The Family Center
Is a museum fun? Yes!
View from the Cafe at the Getty Center
Architecture of Los Angeles exhibit at the Getty Center
Dorothy Chandler Pavillion, painting at the Getty Center Exhibit
On the architectural tour at the Getty Center
Succulents in the perfectly manicured gardens at the Getty Center
Symmetry in planning at the Getty Center
View of the city over the top of the garden at the Getty Center
Waterfall sculpture at the top of the gardens at the Getty Center
Bouganvilla “Trees” at the Getty Center Villa
Garden at the Getty Center
Azalea labyrinth at the Getty Center
My family at the Getty Center on Mother’s Day 2013
The kids are a little burned out on the “museum” thing. But my husband and I have found it to be the perfect date for us. We plan on going to the Reagan Library next!
So, what do you think? Are museums fun? Have you been to any of these places while visiting Los Angeles? Which is your favorite? Do you have any suggestions for other adventures in the area?
Disclosure: I love sharing my experiences and happily opted to post this piece for fun. I do not represent any of the venues nor was I asked to write about them.
I must say I am still on a high from my so-called social media life!
I do love being a blogger, and I love living in Los Angeles. Many of my readers are my friends and have asked me why I get to do fun things and how I find out about them. My answer is usually, “Social Media.” ” I found out online.” “I heard about it on Facebook.” “I just got lucky, I guess.” It’s true, I hear about events or get invited to them many times because of my role as a blogger. I am asked to review something or Tweet about it. This is often in return for free food, a goody bag, or a movie pass. Mostly I would Tweet or Blog about it anyway because I like to share my experiences. I love to write about what is happening in my life. Of course that would include my activities. As I hope I have proven, it is possible to create your own adventures. Anyone can make an adventure out of any outing. Just make it fun and enjoy yourself!
Now and then I find myself in a somewhat surreal position.
All the attendees were asked to use the “hashtag” #GettySocial which makes it so nice to search for all things related to the event on Instagram and Twitter. Take a look, you will find participants and instigators alike hamming it up and enjoying the fruits of their labor. . . you will even find a jingle a la @youtoocanbeguru Bridget Willard!
The highlight for us was hearing the guest speaker, an admired Hollywood business owner, Nic Adler of The Roxy.
Even more exciting was getting to meet him and talk with him. On our way there we discussed what we would ask him if we had the opportunity. He was so approachable and easy to talk with that we soon found ourselves forgetting our prepared questions and just talking about our favorite bands. We talked about how fast tickets sell out these days and Nic gave me a great piece of advice. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this before, but it is a great way to use what I consider to be an integral part of social media – Google Alerts! Just set an alert and get an email every time that topic hits the news. Problem solved! Another feature that I discovered . . . You can personalize the freakin’ news in “your world!” http://youtu.be/JmxL5BlVzZQ Just make your own News Channels. Why not?
How do you modify and personalize your Google Platform? Have you been building your own Social Community?
Last night was the most anticipated game for the Los Angeles Kings for over forty years. In the NHL world, it was huge! The Kings were in the championship finals against the New Jersey Red Devils to win the Stanley cup. Everyone I know was watching the game, tweeting and commenting about it online, and all eyes were on my town!
I’m not much of a sports fan. I’m a people fan. I like to be around people and I love the excitement of seeing any live event in an arena. I have been lucky enough to attend all of the local venues for the L.A. teams and see each of them play more than once, including the Kings.
I remember going with my best friend to a few Kings games around 1980-81. Her dad, a huge hockey fan, took us. We had great seats behind the glass and I was so afraid of the puck flying towards us! It was a thrill to see the players glide back and forth on the rink scrambling to get a clear shot at the goal. I fondly remember Mr. Bottaro giving me a puck as a souvenir.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
So instead of watching the game and rooting for the L.A. Kings, I watched The Bachelorette last night. Why? Because I enjoy a show about people. I am reviewing the show and posting a weekly recap on California Mom Bloggers, which is a website that hosts articles about all things that California families enjoy. I tweeted, I commented, I talked about it. It’s not as exciting as a championship game, but just wait! So far the bachelorette, Emily Maynard, has eliminated 11 of her 20 suitors. I’d say she is heading into the semi-finals. Soon she will be down to four, then two, and at the final rose ceremony, she will choose her champion!
I am keeping my eye on the prize, too. I am practice writing. I need to write anything about anything as I search for my voice. I am meeting new people, discovering new interests, trying to develop good habits along the way and making my mark in the process of finding my groove (or niche, as it is called.) I made a commitment to the California Mom Bloggers to post a weekly recap of The Bachelorette, so post I must! (Lucky for me, watching a show about love and dating in far off lands is a guilty pleasure! As is writing about it!)
It’s not the same to some as the anticipation of a city awaiting the glory of winning the Stanley Cup for the first time ever, but it is exciting for me and especially to Emily Maynard. She anticipates receiving her proposal and winning the heart of an honorable man. Her reward for her lifelong desire for a husband to love her and her daughter and to live happily ever after just may be a ring with a diamond that will shine as brightly to her as the Stanley Cup will shine for the L.A. Kings and all of their fans.
As for the National Hockey League and Hockey fans and players everywhere, the competition is over for this year and L.A. has won!
In the weeks to come we will see if Emily chooses a champion to win her heart. As for me, stay tuned! I am working on it! My trophy will be a shining example of writing and achieving my lifelong goal of publishing a book.