L.A. visit to see ds - things to do?

I have booked flights to go to L.A. and visit my ds. Dh can’t go because of work. I’m spending three nights with him (well - in a hotel near him) and then heading to the San Diego area for three nights to see my college roommate who lives there - yay!

Anyway, dh and I visited ds two summers ago, and had I not had some thoughts on what I wanted to go do, I don’t know that he would have really planned anything. The dynamic will be slightly different without dh there. If he asks what I might like to do, what should I have at the ready to suggest? Just in case he doesn’t come up with something on his own. Ds is very outdoorsy, but I am not. I mean, I can do plenty of walking, but I am not a hiker. Last time we went to the Getty museum at my suggestion. He was also living in Santa Monica last visit, so that was walkable and had things to see. We have done some Hollywood stuff on other trips Chinese theater, Staples, that sort of thing. He loves theme parks, but we have also done all of those in the past.

I don’t mind springing for any and all activities. I will want to request a chance to see his friends - we did that last time, and it was super fun.

Are the tar pits only something for little kids? I don’t think he has ever been there.

He has a car, and we can drive anywhere that is reasonably close.

Who has some great ideas for me for things for an old women and her 20-something son to do together in L.A.?

Huntington Gardens/Library/Art /Museum in Pasadena.

I was there last week and the roses are in spectacular bloom right now. I believe the Art Museum has reopened now that some of the Covid restrictions have eased.

Also in Pasadena-- the Rose Bowl and the Cal Tech campus–which is a lovely place to walk with kinetic water fountains and turtle ponds.


Have you seen both Getty museums or just the Center? The Getty Villa in Malibu is gorgeous and well worth a visit.

Eh, it’s neat to at least walk around the tar pits, and you can hit up the Grove/Farmer’s Market afterwards since it’s within easy walking distance.

LACMA is right by the tar pits, but unfortunately the renovations means there’s not much to see at the moment. There’s also the car museum across the street, if that’s something that would interest you guys.

How about one of the beach towns?

Or…I really like the LA Conservancy Walking Tours. Here is a link to their Art Deco tours:

Los Angeles has a ton of “staircase streets” and people like to tour: Discover the Hidden Stairs of Los Angeles

Here’s an article about secret stairs in Pasadena


I love the tar pits – a bit of primeval history right in the center of LA. But they don’t take a lot of time.

We’ve only been to the museum at the center. Think that is what i is called. In Brentwood? Perhaps the villa would be a good option.

Go check out some of the immersive theatre opening back up in L.A. One I can recommend is Madcap Motel. You wander through a vintage L.A. motel where the staff and guests are all actors. Great fun. Full disclosure: my daughter is one of the actors, lol.

Some really nice light hiking with great views at Runyon Canyon Park and and Wildwood Canyon Park.

Absolutely second Huntington Gardens/Library/etc. it is a whole day adventure. I would go back in a heartbeat.

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I am not going for another month, so I don’t know how that might impact the roses at Huntington Gardens. I’m sure those would be appealing to me, but I am not sure about my ds??? But, if he asks and doesn’t plan anything on his own, he may be stuck with my suggestions.

He’s been to the Rose Bowl.

Also, this is a lot of fun. Very low key kayaking in the canals and lagoons around Long Beach (not very far from LA). You can both fit in one kayak, so he can carry the brunt of the paddling! Plus the Long Beach Aquarium is wonderful. So is touring the Queen Mary (if it is open) – actually, even better is to stay overnight in one of the Queen Mary’s historic staterooms. Not too expensive and absolutely amazing, if you like that kind of thing. (But not sure if it is open right now).

Here is the kayak link. http://kayakrentals.net/

Getty Villa for sure.
Descanso Gardens
Santa Monica Wednesday Farmers Market or Sunday Hollywood FM market

I think it is worth noting that LA had a severe lockdown and is just really opening now. Expect many places to require masks, many restaurants are still doing takeout only or limited in person service and everything requires a reservation covid rates are very low now but the city is really bruised. Many cultural attractions will need reservations and are at partial capacity. At the same time people are dying to get out of the house so things can be quite busy but also slow. Homeless situation is also really bad right now.

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Huntington has tons of flora – there will definitely be plant life to enjoy. A lower-key, but also lovely garden, is Descanso Gardens in La Canada.

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Universal Studios! Go planning to see the shows not ride the rides. And definitely the Huntington Library.

That sounds like fun! I’m local, and would love to check that out!

(Also, for @Hoggirl – LA has a lot of Escape Rooms and some are pretty amazing, if that’s something the two of you would enjoy. Also, Temecula has hot air balloon rides if you are fairly adventurous).

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It is not just roses! There are plant collections from all over the world. The succulent/cacti house is amazing. The gardens are huge, so it is a nice hike. :slight_smile: The gardens substantially exceeded my husband’s expectations!

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If you’re a foodie, you have endless options.

You can tour Sony Studios in Culver City. NPR also has a Culver location that I believe you can tour if you’re a listener.

The Platform in Culver is interesting.

If you’re a bibliophile, Hennessy + Ingalls and The Last Book Store are great.

Of course, the beaches are nice, but you can get that in SD too.

Have fun!

I would normally highly recommend visiting Griffith Observatory. However, they are still closed and haven’t yet posted a reopening date. Since you’re not coming for another month, they may be open by then. Just keep an eye on their website: https://griffithobservatory.org/

I would also recommend both Huntington and Descanso Gardens. Descanso is in my neighborhood and is much smaller, but very peaceful and beautiful. Descanso requires advance reservations for non-members, while Huntington only requires advance reservations on weekends and Monday holidays. I don’t think all of the galleries at the Huntington are open yet.


Specifically in Los Angeles:

The most divine breakfast: Destroyer, in Culver City

Walk north from Shutters on The Beach past the pier to Back on The Beach (Bfast & Lunch not sure about dinner these days). Round trip, it is about 3.5 miles. Happy Hour M-Th at Shutters, overlooking the beach, is also nice, as is an early sunset dinner on the patio at Gladstones

Walk along Sunset Strip and have a hot dog at Carneys (converted train carriage)

LA Farmers Market; a taste of a bygone era; Bob’s Donuts, a Farmers Market original, are the best! DuPars diner (dates back 70+ years)… Also in that vicinity, Canter’s Deli just up Fairfax

A drive around Hollywood Hills to Lake Hollywood

A stroll through Silver Lake

Griffith Park has hiking trails a Zoo, Observatory, Train Town, & Gene Autry Cowboy Museum (good for basic al fresco lunch). End the day with a sunset horse ride in Griffith Park.

Since the pandemic, Chinatown is sad and mainly shuttered, but exploring DTLA and its many areas such as Central Market, the Arts District, Disney Hall etc., are worthwhile pursuits.

Whatever you do - STAY AWAY from Venice. It is quite dangerous and dirty these days.
I personally know of two people who had recent incidents - one is a security guard, stabbed with a broken bottle in excess of 30 times, still in hospital two weeks later, with amputated finger(s) and infection, another is a friend of mine who witnessed a man pull a 3’ sword on another man.

Have Fun!

Wow! Thanks for the tip about Venice.

Great, specific list. Thank you!

We visited Warner Brothers Studio years ago and you could even try to get tickets to watch a show pre-covid, not sure about now.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in SimiValley was a favorite of my S19.

Since our entire family likes the tv show “ Big Bang Theory”. We visited the Cal Tech campus and. Pasadena Cheesecake Factory…add in the observatory and Warner Brothers studio tour to make it more of a themed day.

A tour of Hollywood in an open air vehicle was fun followed up by going to see the Hollywood stars.

Have fun on your trip!