First Time in L.A. Cheat Sheet

2 Jul


Los Angeles is divided into 80 districts and neighborhoods, which therefore makes it quite a confusing city to navigate. But it is also so much fun! The weather is amazing, the people are chill and it is so rich in history, especially when it comes to cinema.

In one week, you will not be able to see everything but these picks are not a bad start. Just remember to rent a car! This is not a pedestrian friendly city. Think of it as a huge suburb disguised as the second largest city in the U.S.


Jade Elephant at Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlour.

Jade Elephant at Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlour.

Even if you don’t have kids, Disneyland is a wonderful day trip that you’ll never forget. It’s best to get there before the park opens, which is at 8am. It doesn’t seem large, especially if you have already been to Disney World, plus it’s fairly easy to navigate. Although you’ll want to see everything, do not miss Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, Mattterhorn Bobsleds (my favorite ride at the park) and The Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlour, which has a giant jade glass elephant and amazing ice cream sundaes! Out of all of the Disney parks, this seems to be the most authentic and unspoiled.


The Capitol Records Building (note the Hollywood sign in the background)

The Capitol Records Building (note the Hollywood sign in the background)

Going to Hollywood is a rite of passage for anyone who is seeing Los Angeles for the first time. Although it’s touristy and not as grand as Times Square, there are cool things to see that are unforgettable. For one, seeing the Hollywood Sign for the first time is probably one of the coolest feelings ever. For Instagram fanatics, there are great spots on the boulevard where you can take amazing scenic photographs. Hollywood  Boulevard and Highland Avenue will allow you to see the sign perfectly. The Capitol Records Building is also a great sight. Although tours are no longer offered, there is a beautiful view of it from Hollywood and Vine. If you like The Muppets or Hollywood history, check out Jim Henson Studios on North LaBrea Avenue right off of the Blvd. Again, you cannot go inside and there are no tours, but to see the building with a huge Kermit the Frog placed on top is worth the visit. The studios used to be owned by Charlie Chaplin as well as A+M Records. If you need to take a break and go shopping, I recommend Fred Segal for trendy contemporary clothing (also the birthplace of Hard Candy nail polish) and Decades for breathtaking vintage. Decades may seem a bit intimating, like stepping into Bette Davis’ boudoir, but everyone there is really helpful and will answer all of your questions about any of the pieces. If you have to eat anywhere, go to Musso and Frank’s Grill. It’s 95 years old and they make the best martinis. It’s old-school Hollywood at it’s best.

Griffith Park

The merry go round at Griffith Park

The merry go round at Griffith Park

Griffith Park is a must-see and is located in Los Feliz. The Merry Go Round has been there for 75 years and is a relaxing place to spend an afternoon.You can view the L.A. skyline for free at the observatory. You can even explore the abandoned zoo, where there are still old cages. This is a great place if you like to hike. The park has the best views that L.A. has to offer.



Playclothes in Studio City.

If you love vintage clothing and want to see where the stylists for movies and television shop, this is the place. This store is huge and the inventory spans anywhere from the Victorian era to the 80’s. Check out the old pharmaceutical signs that line the store. The prices are also fair for collectors. This store is located in Studio City, where you can then drive to the movie and television studio lots.

Beverly Hills Hotel

Pool at Beverly Hills Hotel

Pool at Beverly Hills Hotel

Every celebrity has been here at least once or twice. It was Marilyn’s favorite hotel. This hotel is like stepping back in the 50’s but in the poshest way possible. You should try breakfast in the legendary Coffee Room. Many fashion editorials were born here. You will instantly recognize the banana leaf wallpaper. If you want to take home a souvenir, you can score one of their towels for $75.


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