We had one last day before our flight home, one car that didn’t need to be back till 7pm, two excited kids, 10 wonderfully sunny Californian hours and the city of LA. Here’s our itinerary of what we did and where we went in the time we had.
As we were travelling north from Dana Point we made a quick stop on our way to Hollywood at Long Beach.
Unfortunately the haze we had woken up to in Dana Point was chasing us up the coast meaning we couldn’t see much of the beach or the views, so we made this a drive through tour. What we did see was yoga on the big grassy verges that over look the beach, palm tree lined streets and boulevards into the centre of town, cruise ships docking, a welcoming looking Marnia Green Park which is in walking distance to the aquarium, Pine Avenue Pier and the Pike Outlet. You’re definitely not short on things to see here and we didn’t even drive through the centre of town!
If you’ve seen the film La La Land then you’ll have seen the observatory.
I wasn’t expecting much from this stop other than to say that we had been there and seen it. However, what we actually got was plenty of things to do and see for us and the kids and all for free!
The observatory is free to enter and I would highly recommend having a look around with your little ones. There is so much to explore we didn’t get to do it all before the parking ran out. Our little one loved discovering all about the sun, the stars and the moon with Daddy and the baby bum was fascinated by all the moving parts of the exhibits.
If you want to visit the planetarium you will have to buy tickets, but at $7 for adults and free for under 5s the whole place has been made really accessible for everyone. You can also go and have a look at the telescopes and from 7pm – 9pm members of the public can actually look through them and do a little star gazing.
The other thing I wasn’t expecting to see here was the Hollywood Sign. This was penciled down as a different stop on our itinerary so I was pleased we could tick this one off at the same time.
Our little one couldn’t understand why everyone was taking pictures of it and kept asking what it said, which made us laugh at ourselves really. Hollywood means nothing to to a three year old, but to be able to see stars and planets up close was, in her opinion, ‘amazing’!
I overheard a couple of conversations stating they were only here for the instagram picture, which I thought was a real shame. It makes me think I really need to instil into my children that they must live life in the moment and not through their phones…. when they eventually get one… at like, 25.
We arrived here at lunch time which was probably the busiest time to come as when we left about an hour later it was much quieter. There is free parking at the bottom of the hill, but when we arrived this was closed forcing us up to the paid parking that was $6 an hour.
Hollywood Boulevard, Sunset and Beverly Hills
The stars and the shops on Hollywood Boulevard don’t mean anything to my munchkins at the moment, so we saw Mann’s Chinese Theatre and the Dolby Theatre from the car as we cruised by in lots of traffic, which we didn’t mind as we got to take it all at a slow crawl.
We did much the same for Sunset Boulevard and had a little nosey around Beverly Hills. We didn’t really know what we were looking for as we didn’t have a map, but since being back I have found this one which you could pick and choose from to see some celebrity homes from past and present.
The Original Farmers Market
Parking at the Farmers Market is expensive at $2 or $3 every 15 minutes, but you can get 90 minutes free parking if you can get your ticket validated. This usually involves buying something, however, the shop I popped into was happy to validate without the purchase.
There were lots of food outlets and boutique shops that made for a pleasant hour walk around. Reading about the history of the Gilmore family and the areas links to oil was really interesting and the little one enjoyed the halloween displays around the market and we got some good pictures.
However, we were more worried about getting our ticket validated than actually spending time enjoying the market so we were happy to move on.
La Brea Tar Pits
We arrived here at about 4pm which didn’t leave us much time to do this properly as the museum closed at 5pm. The car park was $15 flat rate and for us this was a bit too expensive seeing as we knew we wouldn’t be there that long. However, the girl in the car park ticket booth said we could park just outside on 6th Street on a meter and then walk into the park, so this is exactly what we did. We even found a meter with about 40 minutes left on it so didn’t even have to pay.
After finding the entrance to the park on 6th we walked in and had a little look around. We all found it absolutely fascinating and because my husband so was enthralled by it the little one was eager to follow suit.
We learnt all about the different types of prehistoric animals that had been found in the pits and it’s extraordinary how meticulously each bucket of tar/dirt is looked through!
We also couldn’t resist finding a long stick to have a poke about in the tar with. You can see why these animals never made it out, it’s pretty darn sticky!
We would easily come back here to spend more time exploring the Tar Pits properly.
We didn’t manage this but we could have easily fit in a drive through visit. However, the kids and my husband had had enough time in the car at this point so instead we headed to Denny’s for a burger and unlimited coffee before heading back to the airport to get that car back by 7pm. Can’t argue with the call for food!