I’ll admit that if I had the chance to travel anywhere in my world, LA would have probably been last on my list.This is coming from someone who spends their free time looking at travel magazines and planning their dream vacation EVERYWHERE. I think I would have liked to plan a vacation to Kansas before I went to LA. I like culture, architecture, history, and real people.
Yes, that is probably the exact opposite of Disney World, where I worked for six months, but that is besides the point. Everything I knew about LA was fake, touristy and lacking substance.
As fate would have it, LA would be the first vacation that I would plan (and pay for) entirely on my own. My boyfriend Matt moved there for the summer to take classes and complete two film internships. We decided that I would come to visit him during his program and we would make a side trip out to Disneyland
because I clearly really hate tourism because we not-so-secretly love Disney. I think I was more excited about Disney than LA itself.
I am a control freak, but there is something enjoyable about going somewhere and not knowing who to expect. However, LA is not one of those places that you can do that. You must travel long distances to get anywhere decent and you really have to plan out your day. After buying my Disney tickets and hotel for Anaheim, I bought a tickets to do the Warner Bros Studio Tour. I also decided to try out the TMZ tour because I thought the chances were decent of meeting actual celebrities. If I was going to be in the city for being a tourist, I was going to make the most of it. I planned to also make it to Santa Monica and Venice Beaches.
Touchdown in LA and I have no idea what to expect. The moment I land, a woman is nasty to me and becomes angry at me for not stepping in the aisle soon enough. Matt and I are ourselves and of course we immediately get lost and end up taking a scenic tour through a bad part of LA and LA is living up my imagination. We have In N’ Out Burger and it is slightly overrated. Finally, we make the way to Matt’s apartment in Burbank and although it’s dark and I can’t see much, we’re driving next to mountains. I realize that there will be a lot of scenic drives the next day.
The next day we make it out to Santa Monica and minus the horrible traffic, everything is beautiful.
After having an amazing day in Santa Monica, we get stuck in LA traffic that takes us about two hours to get to Anaheim when it should take 45 minutes.
Insert LA complaint here.
Unlike Disney World, Disneyland sneaks up to you. Down the next street over, it’s a slightly shady neighborhood and a liquor store. After a 15 minute walk, you’re at the parks. We stayed at a decent motel for cheap and had a great time.
The last two days were the more solitary of the trip, as Matt had work and class during the day. I would be taking public transportation to get to everywhere I wanted to. LA’s public transportation is pretty bad, but it was still surprisingly clean and doable.
On that Monday, I went to the Chinese Theatre to meet for my TMZ tour. The part that I enjoyed the most was how everyone acted like I was extremely brave for doing the tour on my own. I guess LA isn’t really the place for solo travel but I had the ticket takers confirm about three different times that it was only me in my group. Another woman in my tour went way out of her way to include me in everything and even kicked her husband out of a seat next to her so I could have it! I always enjoy people’s reactions when they find out you are traveling on your own. They either think that something is wrong with you, that you must be really lonely or that you’re fearless. I am none of those things, but if I want to do something and I have no one to do it with, I’m going to do it anyway.
The TMZ tour was good, for the most part. I got to see Ozzy Osbourne sitting at a restaurant on Sunset Boulevard, so that was pretty awesome. I secretly enjoy some celebrity gossip and I got to see the hotel that Josh Hartnett had explosive diarrhea at, so that’s always fun. What left a bad taste in my mouth was that the tour guide made a joke about a homeless person sleeping on the stoop, which the man obviously heard. TMZ isn’t a moral compass and it never will be, but stick to making fun of celebrities instead of people down on their luck.
After the tour, I explored some more of Hollywood. I found the Museum of Death, a place I had been considering going to since I heard of it. I ended up chickening out due to the photos of dead bodies, but I had a great conversation with the owner about oddity museums and I even got to see a conjoined turtle. If I ever find myself in LA again, I will stop chickening out and just go.
On my last day, I fit in as much as possible. I made a trip to Warner Bros Studios, the La Brea Tar Pits, and Venice Beach. Warner Bros was expensive, but cool. La Brea had an interesting little museum and I’m glad I checked it out. The tar pits had fossils from thousands of years old and it was fascinating to see such a place like that in the middle of the city. I wanted to learn something while I was in LA and I definitely did.
Finally, I took the two-hour bus ride to Venice Beach. This was my only real disappointment during the trip because it was unseasonably cold and everything was closing. I did get some prime people-watching in, however. I got so caught up in looking at people that I literally ran head-on into someone. I also really appreciated all of the art.
In the end, I was sad to leave and I had a great little trip to LA . I really enjoyed it more than I ever expected. Will I ever go back? Maybe not. But I’m glad I gave it a shot and made it out there.