This is the city that millions have passed through, hoping to be rich and famous. If you are just a tourist, however, there is still a ton of stuff to do
Arnie ‘The Terminator’ flexed his muscles here in his early days on his way to stardom and politics. Today, its fringe kookiness continues, with skateboarders, beach bands and bodybuilders still strutting their stuff for people-watchers’ pleasure. Take a break from the cheek-toasting California sunshine and grab a bite at the Figtree Café. Or, while away your hours at wonderfully eclectic Small World Bookstore. Apart from the fringe attractions, this is still a superb beach.
Chuck a pebble in the air and chances are good it will land on someone involved in motion pictures, from your favourite stars to the people who make the magic happen. A walk down the Hollywood Walk of Fame will acquaint you with more than 2,400 entertainers down the ages, forever immortalised in concrete and gold. Film buffs, head to the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre for famous hand and footprints. Premieres and gala events are happening all the time here, so you might just get lucky.
Art buffs who wish a dose of culture, head on down to the Getty Centre. Admittedly not as grand as the great art galleries of the world, there are enough canvasses here to give you a snapshot of art-history: from the sparkling, celebratory Renaissance to the gritty modern-art of today. Ruben’s round and buxom ladies adorn the walls, the Impressionists, Monet and Renoir, Van Gogh and Cezanne are well represented here. Check out the stunning Miro and Moore sculpture in the front garden.
Not everyone can be a Julia Roberts sashaying down Rodeo Drive with an unlimited Platinum Credit Card, but this stretch is a must for any LA tourist, be it the serious shopper or the celebrity-gawker. Chances are you will someone famous blowing their wad on designer chic while you humbly window- shop. There is even the swish Anderson Court, probably the only mall in the world designed by the great Frank Lloyd Wright.
The Museum of Jurassic Technology has nothing to do with Steven Spielberg’s billion-dollar franchise; this one is more for curiosity-lovers than movie buffs. What is fact or fiction, serious or satire, is up to the viewer’s imagination; and it is this eclectic-element that makes it such a fascinating must-see. Bats that fly through walls, painted miniature sculptures that can fit through the eye of a needle with room to spare, these are just some of the delights exhibited.
These fascinating towers are truly things of great man-made beauty. Built by a brick-layer immigrant called Simon Rodia out of steel and cement, these towers are embellished by oddities, scrap and consumer-garbage like 7-Up bottles, broken glass, sea-shells, marbles and ceramic bits and bobs. There are 17 structures in all, two of which rise to nearly 100ft in height. It took him 30 years to construct these iconic structures, and they’re easily worth an entire afternoon’s viewing.
Old-school music lovers and CD/vinyl collectors, you could lose yourself in this iconic music shop, enigmatically called Amoeba. This is the largest indie-music store in all of USA, and if you can spare the time, you will definitely find that lost-to-time jewel, which you simply cannot find anywhere. As you browse the shelves and the sheer wealth of music contained here, you might even forget that MP3 was ever invented.
Puppetry may be a dying art, but in this little corner of the world, this man has kept this tradition alive, entertaining adults and kids with his brilliant live, hands-on wizardry. Three thousand handmade marionettes are the stars of this show. Baker and his puppetry-students will put up a spectacular show daily, to the accompaniment of old-world scratchy phonograph records. At the end of every performance, there is a cup of ice-cream for the audience.
Foodies, this one is for you. Old-school French-dipped sandwiches, fresh succulent meat served on light, fluffy, freshly-baked bread. Roast beef, pork, turkey, ham, whatever juicy dead-animal your heart desires, with delicious asides like beet-juice pickled boiled eggs and tangy coleslaws. The wine-by-the- glass is great too, but food is the main feature here. This is a cash-only restaurant, and you have a choice of a private table or a community one.
This is a trifecta of attractions: a world-class library, a rare art collection and a botanical garden like you have never seen. The library has a collection of books like several first-edition Shakespeare classics, Ben Franklin’s hand-written autobiography and an original Gutenberg Bible from the 15th century. The art works range from Gainsborough to Warhol, but it’s the garden that will blow your mind: more than 14,000 species of exotic flora from all over the planet.