What's the best summer dinner and a movie experience in LA? Head to Cinespia movies at Hollywood Forever Cemetery
with your loved one, friend, acquaintance, or lonely self. Starting in May, each Saturday you can bring your picnic basket filled with your favourite booze and goodies (Hit a local Trader Joe's
for yummy stuff). A DJ spins discs pre- and post-screening, turning an outdoor movie viewing into a full blown awesome experience.
Last summer, I caught To Catch a Thief with some friends for a perfect summer night. Be sure to arrive when the gates open and bring a blanket for a good cuddle should you have a date, or to keep yourself warm should you be solo. Parking is US$5.
Even though the Bowl, as locals call it, is continuously voted the best major outdoor venue in the States, many times visitors miss out on the experience of seeing a show. Even if you aren’t a die-hard fan of the given night’s line-up, the Hollywood Bowl
is an L.A. experience not to be missed. You can bring your own food and wine for a picnic under the stars (Hit a local Trader Joe’s for cheese plates and cheap wine). Concerts vary from The Chemical Brothers
to a Tchaikovsky
Spectacular with fireworks, but if you are in L.A. for a few days you are bound to catch a great show.
Abbott Kinney, Venice
Everybody knows about Venice Beach
, home of Muscle Beach
, endless bohemian sideshow personalities, and kiosks selling kitschy crap you will probably regret purchasing. But nearby Abbott Kinney
is the true local Venice experience. Filled with hipster boutiques, great restaurants and a fun bar scene, Abbott Kinney
is the surf and skate-inspired LA. My favourites are Gjelina
for food (need a rezo), The Other Room
for drinks, and Aviator Nation
for some great surf-inspired hoodies. There are also good homeware stores, trendy designer shops and salons, and many art galleries. If you happen to be in town the first Friday of the month, the stores stay open late, galleries offer free drinks, and Abbott Kinney
becomes home to the elusive food truck ... find the grilled-cheese (cheese toasty) and you can thank me later.
The South Bay
is a term that refers to Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach
and Redondo Beach
. Unless you have a friend living in these areas, you might miss these real-life examples of Southern California living. They are laid-back, casual beach communities with much to explore. Manhattan Beach
is the home of the famous six-man beach volleyball tournament.
Stop by Uncle Bill's Pancake House for breakfast the Mitch's scramble and the chocolate-chip strawberry pancakes are both delicious. Hennessey's Tavern is a divey pub with a rooftop view on the Hermosa Pier. For a blast from the past, check out the 90210 beach house on the Strand for fond memories of Kelly, Donna and David.
You may not normally brave the 405 freeway to Long Beach
, but for Planet Earth
nerds like me, be sure to check out the Long Beach Aquarium
of the Pacific. The aquarium is divided into habitats where you can learn about Pacific Ocean ecosystems, giving you a sense of what lives in our waters. There are outdoor open tanks where you can touch sharks and rays. Next to the shark lagoon, check out the Lorikeet forest, where you can hand feed the birds. Make sure to get there early before it gets too crowded.
Got any more places to recommend? Have your say using the comments form, below.
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