Visiting Los Angeles

Great guacamole at Tito’s Tacos

This summer, my daughter (age 10) and I took a trip to Los Angeles. We were there to visit my sister, and also just to explore the city; my daughter had never been to L.A. and I hadn’t been since she was born (!).

We had a great time and here are some non-chronological thoughts and memories:

Great tacos! Our first stop was Tito’s Tacos and it was terrific. Best crunchy taco I’ve ever had, packed so full of rice, beans and meat that when it fractured, it basically held it’s shape. Excellent flavor and texture. Our last stop was Taco Beach Cantina at the Long Beach airport (what a great little airport with no franchises, easy security and just a friendly, relaxed atmosphere).

Not a performer, just a guy practicing his hobby

Venice Beach! Skateboarders! A giant hoop! There was plenty of entertaining people watching on the beach, and the water was warm (compared to the Atlantic) with good waves for body surfing.

Having a drink in a Hobbit house, Warner Bros

Studio Tours! We saw the Warner Bros. lot and Universal Studios. If you have only time for one? Well, for myself, I was interested in the movie making process and history and Warner’s is more focused on that, driving you through a working backlot, walking through sound stages and then ending at a cool interactive museum with hands on exhibits and trick photography.

Velociraptor training at Universal

At Universal, it’s more of a theme park and the “studio tour” is a ride — they do point out sound stages but it’s less informative and more entertaining. As for the rest of the park, Universal has a few cool “rides” — the Minion adventure was a fun 3-D thing where the seats rock back and forth to simulate movement — and the shows are great (Waterworld stunt show, trained animals, Special Effects) but are also designed more to entertain than inform. For what it’s worth, my daughter loved the Universal Tour.

Just a regular guy trying to make a buck

Santa Monica! The famous pier and beach are great, and the promenade had fun street performers. Coming from Boston, it’s strangely difficult to find ice cream (i.e. not on every corner). The coolest thing in Santa Monica for me was the Camera Obscura. It’s a neat optical effect and there’s something great about how it seems like a secret hidden in plain sight — most people just walk right by the building.

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory! Established by the wealthy Griffith J. Griffith to bring astronomy to the public, the Griffith Observatory is cool just by existing. Some nice exhibits and a memorable presentation on comets and the search for life (you need the elements CHNOPS); all the tour guides, presenters and waiters we met in the city were clearly born entertainers.

Levitated Mass

LACMA! The museum inspired my daughter to make some art. There are lots of great pieces in the museum but my favorites were Chris Burden’s Metropolis, Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass and James Turrell’s Breathing Light.


Malls! I suddenly discovered the whole southern California mall culture. True, you need to drive to most destinations, but the malls provide communal pedestrian areas with lots of people watching.

We had a great trip and looking forward to visiting again.

One thought on “Visiting Los Angeles

  1. Looking forward to helping you add to this list. Plus thanks to M for discovering Rita's Ice Custard Happiness! BTW, the water out here is not usually warm (El Nino year) and usual not so clean (drought) so you guys had good timing on that front.


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