I’ve been to this beautiful state many times before, but this time was special. Last week I traveled to Las Vegas for my annual meeting with my company and when it was over, I decided to fly in the wife so we can experience a little bit of the West Coast together.
Since we did the tourist thing last year in Vegas, I wanted this year to special. So we decided to rent a car at the hotel in Vegas and take a nice ride through the desert to make it over to California. Naturally, you can’t do that drive unless you get a convertible, right!?
The drive was a short four hours but it was well worth it. Even though we were going on a straight highway in the middle of the desert, it seemed like every couple minutes the mountains ahead of us were changing. Every time we looked to the left and right it was a new rock we haven’t seen before. With no clouds in site, Dirty Heads playing on the speakers and the wind in our hair, we enjoyed this ride almost as much as the rest of the trip. However, we had much more to see…
Our final destination was a very simple Double Tree Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. When we do these trips, we’re not looking for fancy for the hotel. I mean, at the end of the day if you do your trips right you should only be sleeping at the hotel, not spending the whole day there so we don’t like to waste a lot of money on our stays. Plus, being a Hilton Honors member, breakfast was free so that saved us about $30 per day. Boom!
We arrived on a Friday for an early check in, then immediately had a reservation to visit the Warner Bros Studio Tour in Hollywood, about 15 minutes away. I was really anxious and geeking out about this place because WB has always been one of my favorite studios. They worked on numerous classical films and series we all know and love but I was especially excited because I heard they had a Batman Museum which they keep adding to! Yes, the rumors were true and it was fantastic!
I took so many more pictures I might have to start another Blog Post! Honestly though, it was such a great time seeing the studio where so many movies and shows were filmed. One of our favorites shows, Friends was filmed here, along with The Big Bang Theory (In their last season), plus countless movies including Batman films, Minority Report, 300, Inception, this list is massive.
In fact, before they let you visit the old Central Perk set (from Friends) and the Batman Museum (best thing ever) they take you around the entire studio to show you streets that they’ve built from scratch, places were you’ll recognize scenes from your favorite movies and series over the years.
If you appreciate film making as much as I do, I highly recommend visiting the studio if you’re ever on the West Coast, check out their website here if you want to see prices.
Now that Day One was over, we had much more exploring to do. Since the wife has never been to this gorgeous state, of course we had to really do the tourist thing while we were here and since we had the convertible we knew this would be a hell of a scenic tour. Next stop, the Hollywood sign!
Theres numerous places to “see” the sign but we decided to drive up the path to the Observatory Viewing Area and take a little walk up the mountain to get a better view. As you can tell from the picture we didn’t go to far up, the higher you go the closer to sign you’ll get. As much as we wanted to walk this, the day was young and we had much to see so we grabbed a few shots and walked back down. Oh, by the way in case you were wondering, the people watching was incredible up here 😉
We jumped back in the Mustang and took a drive down the ever so popular Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. This particular road is famous for numerous things, besides just the Kardasian’s. It’s a street that’s only about 3 miles long, near Sunset Blvd where there’s some great shops and restaurants that’s usually flooded with tourists, so naturally we had to hang out here for a little bit. We still had much to do, so we grabbed a quick snack where I accidentally spilled beet juice on my blue shirt and we hit the road again, wishing the red stains would disappear on their own.
Before heading back to the hotel, we had to drive down the famous Bel-Air this because we wanted to see what Will Smith was talking about for so many years. It was pretty tight. Although, our last stop was probably the highlight of the day, Santa Monica.
This place is like Coney Island on steroids. We had a great lunch at a local Vegan Restaurant right on the beach but instead of walking, we used our Bird App to rent a scooter where we both hopped on to take a fun, dangerous, hilarious scooter ride down to the beach. It was pretty epic. Not just the ride, but to watch everyones face as we drove pass them laughing uncontrollably, it was pretty great.
Since we were full, exhausted and close to the hotel, we took a short car ride back to change my shirt, shower up and we wanted to meet up with an old friend of mine who’s an actor in the city. Chris Levine took us with his girlfriend to a cool little spot called The Grove in Los Angeles. It’s a “Downtown Disney” type of feel with shops, restaurants and bars but has an upscale feel. Really cool place to check out if your in the area. He also took us to an iconic diner where we wrapped up our evening.
Pictured here is the four of us, finishing the night at the classic Canter’s Deli in Fairfax.
Even though the night was young, we were beat. Since we needed to wake up early the next day to drive back to Las Vegas were we would fly out to get back home, regretful this was the end of our trip. I’m not sure what I’ll miss more, the sights, people or the convertible Mustang?
We’ve visited a lot of places together but if you ask the wife, I bet she’d agreed this was one of the most memorable and fun experiences we’ve done together. California is expensive but if you do it the right way, you can get a lot done without spending a big chunk of change.
Thanks for reading. Now go out and have some fun!