There’s a reason stars have been captivated with Los Angeles for decades and still are; the second-biggest city in the U.S. has a creative frisson, world-class art and year-round sunshine.
And it’s the perfect getaway for Canadians who are starting to travel again but might not want to go too far.
The greatest challenge is making the most of your time because there’s simply so much on offer in this vast metropolis. Whether you’re heading out for a change in scenery, or for a date with the stars, here are some recommendations for your stay in the area.
For the film buff
It may seem kitsch, but if you really like movies you’ve got to look for your favourite stars on the Walk of Fame along Hollywood Boulevard. The sidewalks along this stretch of about 18 blocks have brass-and-terrazzo stars inlaid in them to commemorate everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Daniel Craig.
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which opened at the end of September 2021 is the largest museum in the country devoted to moviemaking. You can learn about the early days of film and about Hollywood classics. Everything from Dorothy’s ruby shoes, complete with 2,300 sequins, to Bruce, the last shark made from the original mould used for the Great White in Jaws, is here. Of course, there’s also a very good gallery on the Academy Awards, which were first held on May 16, 1929.
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If you really want to get a feel for what goes into making movies then you should check out a studio tour. Warner Bros. lets you see some of the buildings and sets on its 110-acre studio in Burbank. The tour guides are movie savants who can rhyme off all sorts of trivia about films and shows that have been made here since the studio opened more than 90 years ago. You’ll see the Friends fountain, the café from La La Land and the courthouse where Frank Sinatra sang. Plus, there are lots of interactive exhibits and memorabilia on display inside the museum space, which you can browse at your leisure.
For the art connoisseur
The Broad, which opened to rave reviews in 2015, is home to about 2,000 pieces and is considered one of the world’s best collections of postwar and contemporary art. You can see works by household names such as Jeff Koons, Cy Twombly and Andy Warhol, alongside less familiar figures making it a great place to enjoy and explore the fascinating art collected by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad. See what’s displayed right now on the museum’s website.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art features 150,000 objects and is conveniently located on Museum Row making it easy to take in the Academy Museum, the Architecture and Design Museum and the Petersen Automotive Museum, to name but a few of the attractions in the area. LACMA is home to works by Frida Kahlo, Henri Matisse and Paul Klee. It also has art from ancient civilizations and more. Plus, you can catch concerts and films here.
The Getty is so extraordinary there are two must-see locations:
The Getty Center, one of the best art complexes in the world, sits on a hilltop in upscale Brentwood. The gardens and outdoor sculpture alone are worth a visit. You can see pre-20th century European art, furniture and photography here. The French decorative arts from Louis XIV to Louis XVI are renowned. And you can also feast your eyes on the likes of Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Monet.
The Getty Villa, perched above the Malibu coast, is modelled on a villa buried by volcanic ash near Pompeii. The setting is beautiful and you could almost imagine you’re in Italy’s Campania region. This is the home of J. Paul Getty’s incredible collection of Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities. You’ll find mosaics, jewellery, sculpture and more on display.
For the outdoor types
Runyon Canyon Park, in the Hollywood Hills at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains, is a popular place with locals. You’ll see people practising yoga, walking their dogs and running in this green oasis. It’s a great place for people-watching and has a mix of routes for all skill levels. A short, uphill walk offers sweeping views of the City of Angels.
Take in some fresh ocean air in Santa Monica. The nearby coastal city has a sandy, spacious beach that stretches for 5.6 kms. It has a reputation of being a wellness hub and it’s easy to try some outdoor yoga, take a surfing lesson, or cycle along the oceanfront bike path. And if you want to explore the coast some more, Malibu and the scenic Point Dume are about 30 kms to the west.
For the foodie
You’re really spoiled for choice in this city and there are too many restaurants to mention, but here are a few that are worth checking out: Providence, which has two Michelin stars, is well known for its sustainable seafood. Chifa has a Michelin Bib Gourmand and serves a unique mix of Chinese-Peruvian fare. Manzke also draws on cultural intersections with a fine tasting menu and optional wine pairings.