So, in my previous post, I mentioned I had taken another trip and was able to mark off some items on my “bucket list”. I’m finally getting around to writing about that trip – again, almost a month later – and after I’ve already had another trip! I promise I’ll get better one day about putting everything into words:/
I was off for a 4 day weekend for my birthday and Christmas and unfortunately, that just wasn’t enough time to fly home considering it’s a cross country trip. So, I decided I wanted to go to a new city and do what I love best for my birthday this year…travel & explore.
I picked LA because it was fairly close to Fresno (only 3.5 hours) and it was in close proximity to a lot of things that I’ve wanted to see/do for a while now. So, the day before my birthday, I set out on the drive to LA after I got off work. I decided on the Omni Hotel Downtown which was amazing! Great views of downtown and close to a lot of good places.
My first day in LA started off real early – 4am early! 😳😒 I headed to Long Beach with plans to go to Catalina Island for a 4.5 hour off roading tour of the island – the part not normally seen if you’re just going to Avalon. Catalina is this cute little island about an hour away from the California coast by boat. As I woke up and got ready, I noticed it was raining! (Go figure right). I decided to go on to the island because the weather was supposed to be better there AND I was getting to do the ferry over for free because of my birthday. Well, the weather wasn’t better…it was POURING! I was even told by one of the coffee shop employees that that was the first rain the island had seen in SEVERAL MONTHS. I literally saw a rock slide as I was getting off the boat because of the amount of rain they were getting. Of all the days in the year!! Needless to say, my off roading adventure was cancelled due to the weather. 😩😩 (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my plans ALWAYS fall through.)
I’m still glad I got to see Catalina Island and explore the cute little town of Avalon. If seriously felt like I was in another country and I completely forgot I was just a short boat ride from one of the largest cities in the US! I definitely want to go back and do the off roading tour one day soon!
At the dock facing the town of AvalonStreets of AvalonThe weather didn’t allow for good pictures of the island but it was truly something special. The forest/inland part of the island in the background (where I was supposed to be😩😒)
After getting back to solid land, I figured I would go to Griffith Park and Observatory. I knew I was going to be able to get some gorgeous pictures because the rain was clearing up and the sun was getting ready to set. After about a 3 mile hike up (and. Acn I made it to the top and the view was something truly impressive. From one point, you had the most perfect view of the Pacific Ocean, the mountain range and the Hollywood Sign! The sunset was breathtaking and the pictures were some of the best I’ve gotten in a while! I would definitely do that hike again for those views 🙂
At the top of Griffith Views all the way to the PacificMy favorite sunset shot from Griffith – looking over downtown LA and the PacificThe Hollywood Sign from Griffith ParkAnother favorite of downtown LA
Later that night, I drove around town just checking things out. I always like to try to find things that I’ve seen on TV before or try to find unexpected things. I drove up Mulholland Dr at night – which gave some good view points of the city too but pictures just couldn’t capture it. I also spent some time on Sunset, Robertson Blvd and in West Hollywood. Caught a glimpse of Sunset Hotel, Chateau Maramont and so many other places you hear of when talking about LA/Hollywood.
The next day (Dec 23), I got up early again for studio tours – I had decided I was going to do the Sony Tour and WB Tour. First was Sony. While I was there, I got to go on the set of Jeopardy and one of the highly anticipated shows on HBO but I can’t remember the name because I don’t watch the show I also saw the racecar from Talladega Nights, the RV from Breaking Bad, the cars from Ghostbusters.
The Sony Tour was fun but I enjoyed the WB tour a lot – probably because a lot of my favorite shows and movies were filmed at WB. Friends, Gilmore Girls, Pretty Little Liars, The Big Bang Theory, Oceans 11, The Wizard of Oz and sooo many more! I got to see the set of The Big Bang Theory (but we couldn’t take pictures:/). I also saw all of Batman’s batmobiles – my niece and nephew liked those pictures 🙂 I even got to take a picture on the actual couch that was in Central Perk on Friends! I also got to hold/take pictures with an Academy Award, Emmy and Oscar. WB was definitely my favorite out of the two.
The WB water tourActual coffee shop set from Friends Stage 25 – home of The Big Bang Theory (one of my favorite shows!) We were able to go on set but wasn’t able to take any pictures:/ All the original Batmobiles
Day 3 was Christmas Eve. I didn’t have any specific plans for the day so I decided to go to several different places. I started out in Beverly Hills with some shopping on Rodeo Dr. (What better place to get yourself a birthday/Christmas present?!😂😊👍)
After just a little bit of shopping and some picture taking, I made my way to Hollywood. I went to two different museums – The Hollywood Museum and The Guinness World Record Museum. I enjoyed both of these museums a lot. The Hollywood Museum had a lot of LA/Hollywood history pieces and A TON of Marilyn Monroe stuff. It was interesting seeing a lot of that stuff – private pictures, coroner’s report, private items from her home/dressing room. They even had Clark Gable’s Rolls Royce!
I’ve never been really interested in old school Hollywood but it was fun seeing that type of stuff and could see where one could become very enthralled with it.
The World Record Museum was interesting too. A little fact about me – I loved those books in middle school. I would get really excited when the new one came out every year and couldn’t wait to read every word on every page! This museum was right up my alley…I had to make sure not to spend my entire afternoon there though
After the museums, I took a LONG walk down the Walk of Fame. I wanted to find some of my favorite names – Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse, Jennifer Aniston, etc. I never found Pitt or Clooney though! 😩😔
While in Hollywood, I also took a few moments to go to the Dolby Theatre, El Capitan, The Egyptian Theatre. I also saw the famous Capital Records building. I did some souvenir shopping too – mainly postcards because I’ve started a new thing with my nieces and nephews that I hope they love just as much as I do:)
After a few hours in Hollywood, I made my way to Santa Monica. I was ready for some beach pictures and to see the “world famous” Santa Monica Pier. I think my niece and nephew would really like the pier and I have to say coasters are a little bit better with an ocean side view!
On the last day of my trip, Christmas Day, I had to head back to Fresno. I decided to take the long way around and mark another item off my “bucket list”. One of the country’s best road trips is the drive up/down PCH so that’s what I decided to do. I would start in Santa Monica and head north to Monterrey before having to cut back over to Fresno. I was excited to see what made this particular coastal drive so incredible.
I made my way through Santa Monica, Malibu, Santa Barbara and the views were gorgeous. The best part/views of the trip was around San Simeon/Big Sur/Morro Bay and farther north. I stopped and saw the elephant seal sanctuary and the entrance to Hearst Castle (it was closed because of the holiday). I also stopped and saw Morro Rock and probably the thing I was most excited for was Bixby bridge. It’s just one of those things you hear about when people talk about the PCH drive and now I can say I’ve been there, done that and have photo evidence 🙂
Overall, my first trip to LA/SoCal was a success. I definitely wished I could’ve spent those days with my family and friends, but I’m thankful for the memories of this trip. I’ve said it before and I mean it, I fully believe everyone should travel by themselves to do and experience things you may not have otherwise.