5 things you didn’t know about L.A.
Doesn’t it seem like we all have wandered the streets and beaches of Los Angeles before? Haven’t all the TV shows and movies shown us everything we need to know about the city of angels? Well, no, definitely not – that’s why we want to help them out and tell you 5 things you didn’t know about L.A.:
1. Some of the best fun you’ll have is at a graveyard:
Imagine quiet gardens with lush greenery and cascades of fresh blooms growing abundantly, say hi to Dee Dee Ramone, Jane Seymour – oh hi Vampira, and there’s Cecil B. DeMille! As you wander down peaceful lanes, a strange shriek pierces the air… no it’s not Mr. DeMille coming back for one last close-up, it’s one of the stunning peacocks that roam the grounds of the Hollywood Forever cemetery, and they happen to let out banshee-like screams just to add to the atmosphere as you pay respects to your cherished silver screen stars and cult figures. Set aside a few hours to spend at the Hollywood Cemetery, buy a map for 5 bucks at the gift shop, it will help you to find one of your favourite Golden Girls – Estelle Getty, and it’s a souvenir to take home.
Open-air movie nights are firmly established at the Hollywood Forever cemetery too, check cinespia.org.
2. The best place to take your obligatory Hollywood sign pic is in a dog park.
Lake Hollywood Park is a dog park nestled at the bottom of the Hollywood hills with one of the best views of the sign: drop by with your camera and enjoy frolicking with some puppies while you’re there. Of the various people that own different letters of the sign, “Y” belongs to Hugh Hefner and Alice Cooper owns “O”. Get your photo of the sign while you still can – the story goes that Hugh Hefner’s recent financial donations is currently keeping the sign up there (a whopping $900,000). Unlike most other dog parks, Lake Hollywood Park is not fenced in and offers a beautiful 360 degree view of the Hollywood hills. If you’re on holiday and without a pooch to accompany you to the park, perhaps don’t stay too long as you may start to get funny looks after a while (though playing with someone else’s dog might buy you some time…).
3. Beverly Hills is only 100 years old (101 this year!)
Beverly Hills as we know it today grew from the Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalows which were first built in 1912, where the hotel once actually housed a school and post office back then. Once when enough residents were living on the grounds, Beverly Hills became incorporated as a city, thus began the glamorous history of 90210.
Iconic images from film and photography history have taken place at this focal point of glamour, the Beverly Hills Hotel: from Faye Dunaway’s blasé Oscar winning morning-after beside the pool, to Marilyn at work in her bungalow. Legend has it Marlene Dietrich changed the rule that women “couldn’t wear slacks in the Polo Lounge”, the meeting point for Hollywood movers and shakers, then and now. (Note – I wore a jumpsuit for breakfast at the Polo Lounge – so thank you Marlene). Back in the day, Liz Taylor and Richard Burton had a standing room service order for two bottles of vodka at breakfast, and two more at lunch at their resident bungalow. Travelettes tip: Pull up a stool at the Fountain Coffee Room and get yourself a malt shake and BLT. Oh and you can even buy that iconic banana leaf wallpaper, ask the concierge.
4. Taking the bus is like, totally fine
Bus rides are $1.50 and you have to pay again if you make a transfer as you don’t receive a ticket. So if you’re budget travelling and want to save a few bucks, use Google Maps to find the right journey that you don’t have to make several connections. Aside from that, go for it. L.A. is one of the areas which Google Maps has public transport info available for: enter your starting point and destination and choose the best itinerary. Hey, you might be the only one pounding the pavement on your walk to the bus stop, aside from the bum pushing a trolley of mattresses, but believe it or not it’s reliable, safe and cheap.
Public transport seems to be mostly used by the elderly, but you’ll come across tourists, and ok, perhaps the occasional dubious character – but what city’s public transport is without this charm. The bus drivers will even help you: it was my last day and I was on the way to the airport. My carefully planned bus route was diverted due to a marathon I didn’t know about. The bus driver dropped me off at stop I could pick up a connection and didn’t charge me either. Metro L.A. is good people!
5. You can ride your bike on the Pacific Coast Highway
Well, alongside it. Get to Santa Monica (there are good bus connections, hint hint), check out the gnarly waves and surfer dudes. Then hit up Sea Mist Rentals, who I can highly recommend from my own experience. They have awesome bikes – beach cruisers of course – to choose from. Bring cash and an I.D and then you’ll be on your bike in no time. There is a great bike path up and down Venice beach, which is a must-see itself, then keep on cruising as the bike path continues alongside the Pacific Coast Highway and the view is gorgeous. Enjoy the sea air, get some freckles and get ready to harbor some green envy for the awesome beach houses along the way. Grab a hotdog on a stick after a long bike ride. Totally Fahrrad.
* This guest post was written by Elizabeth Rushe. Read what else she’s up to on her self-titled blog.