As we drove around our driver pointed out buildings that included: Getty Gallery Central Library, Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA Staples Center, The Broad Contemporary Art Museum, and the last photo is a downtown street in Los Angles, The exterior of the Beverly Hill Hotel, Beverly Hills, was featured on the album cover of The Eagles “Hotel California” and “California Suite” was filmed at the hotel. The hotel with the surf boards is named Hotel California, Santa Monica, but has nothing to do with the song. The Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica, is a center of business with roots dating back to the 1960s. The Promenade is three blocks of Third Street that were converted into a pedestrian mall.
Located on the world-famous Santa Monica Pier, Pacific Park is the only amusement park on the West Coast to be located on a pier. There are dozen rides, games, ocean front restaurants and lots of shopping along the pier. Also located on the pier is the Route 66 End of the Trail Sign. The 2,450 mile long Route 66 was originally built to connect Chicago to Los Angeles. The actual end of the legendary highway has long been debated. But the sign officially marks the end of the highway. Along the pier we found Katherine Terrien singing and selling her CDs. There was also an aquarium and a trapeze school among all the shops and restaurants.
During the 1930s, 40s and 50s physical fitness boom, muscle men and bathing beauties gathered at the original Muscle Beach located just south of the Santa Monica Pier. The area had exercise equipment and was a popular place for gymnastic and acrobatic exhibitions. After this area closed, the spartan weight pen was built on Venice Beach. It is a gated area that encloses weight lifting equipment with a second area with a sand box with gymnastic, rope climbing, and acrobatic bars.
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.