Venice Beach has a famous beachfront rec center with basketball courts, children play area, handball courts, tennis courts, and volleyball courts. Joggers are commonly seen along the beach and street daily and with group runs on the weekends. We found a parking spot on the street and walked under the arches by the Touch of Venice mural.
Stretching about one and a half mile along the Pacific Ocean, the Venice boardwalk is a large part of what makes Venice unique. We found every sort of t-shirt under the sun, from the politically motivated to sexually charged to the plain old Venice Beach t-shirt. There are tattoo and piercing stores, skate and surf shops, medical marijuana dispensaries and stores to buy sun glasses, vaporizers, beer and shoes. A large selection of restaurants, juice spots and bars adds to a diversity of people and retail than anywhere else in the world.
Los Angeles is one of the world’s capitals for street art. As we drove around there were so many. These are just a few we saw. The mural “Luminaries of Pantheism” is a collection of portraits of many great thinkers, artist and writers. Near Venice Beach Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jim Morrison grace the walls of buildings. On the side of Danny’s Deli on Windward Ave. is a 102-foot-by-50-foot adaptation of Hollywood legend Orson Welles’ 1958 film “Touch of Evil”.
Venice Canal Historic District is located between Washington Avenue and Venice Boulevard, just two blocks east of Pacific and is one of Venice’s most affluent neighborhoods. Inspired by Venice, Italy, there are six slim streams with multi-million dollar houses facing the water. The architectural styles range from mid-century modern to storybook cottage, to Roman-inspired villa. Arched foot bridges connect both sides of the shore.
Going to a movie at the TCL Chinese Theatre was never on our list of things to do, in fact we did not know they showed movies. When we discovered they were showing LA LA Land it was quickly added. This famous IMAX theatre, has the 5th largest screen and the largest seating capacity (more than a thousand) in the world. The quality was so good it was almost disorienting at first watching the characters so clearly. The sound system was perfect for a musical. Our theatre tour ticket, from earlier in the day, gave us a popcorn and coke. A nice addition to a perfect evening. After the movie, we picked up mini posters from the lobby. The theatre usually has poster for movies they show.
We toured the 13 city blocks on four acres of historic studio lot in the largest set construction project in studio history. Built with creative consultation from Steven Spielberg himself, it is the movie industry’s busiest sets. Among the sets we traveled along these streets: Brownstone Street, Denver Street, Central Park, Courthouse Square, New York Street, Theater Facades. Old Mexican Area, Wall Street and West Village. Â
The Hogwarts Express, in Harry Potter books, travels between the London, King’s Cross Station Platform 9 3/4 and Hogsmeade Station. The Express carried students to and from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This Express is at the entrance of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We went into Ollivanders, makers of fine wands since 382 BC, and saw a short performance of a wand choosing a wizard. In our group a young boy, who was celebrating his birthday, received a wand. Of course, his parents had to pay the $47.95 for it.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey was buried deep inside Hogwarts Castle. We traveled through Gryffindor Common Room, which was filled with all the talking paintings. It was hard to listen to the conversation that the paintings were having. We then passed through Dumbledoreâ€™s office and got some advice from him. All of this was to entertain us while we waited in line for the ride, if we had not had the VIP passes. This ride combines a 3-D experience with a robotics ride system that made us feel like we were flying. Sets and filmed media were projected on domed screens in each vehicle. The ride zoomed over the Hogwarts grounds, hit the Quidditch pitch, dueled with dragons. At the end we were hailed a hero when we hit the Great Hall, but we didn’t feel like it with the sick feeling from to much movement.