31.7.15

Is LA even cool?

I hopped off a plane at LAX with two of my travel buddies on Sunday night after our crazy Taiwan adventure. We’d driven to LA (to fly to Taiwan) together from Provo and intended to drive back together, but since one of the dudes had never really been to California before (he’d only ever driven through Northern California) and since we were pretty jet lagged, we decided to spend an extra day in LA.

Honestly, though, I’d always thought LA was just big, ugly, and dirty. There aren’t very many hills or trees to break up the endless concrete landscape, all the buildings look like billboard-plastered boxes, and the beaches are dry and dusty. In my opinion, San Diego is cooler than LA: it’s hilly, there are trees, the beaches are nicer, and there’s a nice mix of old, new, big, and small buildings.

After getting a full three hours of sleep (Asia jet lag is the worst), we headed out for what I figured would be an uninteresting and ugly day in LA. We let the first-timer plan what he wanted to see: the Hollywood Sign, the Walk of Fame, the LA Temple, and the beach.

Even though I’d grown up in California (San Diego/Red Bluff) and had been to LA, I’d never actually been to Hollywood before, but I expected to be unimpressed.

Going out to the Hollywood Sign was an adventure. It’s on the outskirts of LA right where all the film studios are (because it’s Hollywood). I saw Walt Disney Studios on our way, so we stopped to see if we could take a peek inside. Turns out, you aren’t allowed inside if you don’t work there and they don't do studio tours, but it legitimately felt so special to sit in the driveway of Walt Disney Studios as security explained all this to my travel buddy. I’ll never forget it.

Then we drove up Hollywood Hills to the sign. The sign itself is pretty far off the road, so it’s hard to get a good view of it unless you take a small (45-minute) hike out to it. We thought you could drive right up to it and were not prepared for a hike, so we parked at the Griffith Observatory, hiked out 10 minutes, got some pictures with the sign way far away, then got back in the car.

As close as I got.

It was cool to be next to such an iconic landmark even if I didn't get a great view of it. WAY SPESH.

The drive from the Hollywood Sign to the Walk of Fame was cool. Hollywood is an older part of town, so the buildings give off a 1930’s vibe, there are trees, and it’s not too crowded, kind of giving it an old-timey feel.

The Walk of Fame is (of course) on Hollywood Boulevard. It’s just a couple blocks of sidewalk inlaid with famous people’s names. I got a couple shots with some of my favorite Hollywood stars.

Walt Disney!
John Stamos!
Godzilla!


Also on the Walk of Fame is Brahms Chinese Theatre (spelt Canadian style). Outside the theater are the hand- and footprints of yet more famous people (BUT NOT ONE DIRECTION -- SMH).

The cast of Harry Potter!
The cast of Star Wars!
If Twilight made it, so can you.

The theater is an actual theater that shows actual movies, so I think it’d be nift to see a movie there someday.

Along the Walk of Fame are neat little stores that sell neat little things. We went into a candy shop with cool candy murals!


After that, we went to the LA Temple and that was cool, then the beach (and yes it was dry and dusty).

LA Temple
Ocean and I. I hate you.
So Hollywood is actually really cool. It gives off an old-town vibe, but you also get to see world-renowned landmarks at the same time. Best of both worlds. If you’re in LA, you should come and see.