LA has an unbelievable amount of entertaining (often free) activities to do. Seriously, the list is endless. Events, parades, food fairs, concerts, sports, you name it, it’s happening all over LA every weekend. So come with a sense of adventure and excitement (and a little bit of patience with the traffic).
In no particular order:
The Getty Museum
The J. Paul Getty Museum is an iconic building in Los Angeles that sits above the city with a perfect view to the ocean and to most all of the city. The art is exquisite, the galleries are unique, the views are unbeatable, and even the train ride up the hill is fun. The best part is: it’s free. You have to pay for parking ($15), but take a bunch of friends and stay the day. There’s food and all, so it’s worth a long afternoon. There are two locations: LA and Malibu. Both are unique, but the LA one is the main museum and worth the view alone.
Hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains
Coming from Denver, I was sad to leave some of the greatest hiking in the world. I was pleasantly surprised, however, by the hiking found just 10 minutes from the Fuller campus. Head north from the campus on any main street and you will hit any number of trails. One of my favorites in that area is a hike up Echo Mountain which leads to an area that used to house a hotel called “White City” that was only accessible by train. You can still see some of the hotel and its foundation, a well as some of the train tracks. It’s beyond me how they built up there, so it makes for an interesting hike.
Mary’s Market is the best kept secret in LA so don’t tell anyone (wait, how many people read this blog?). It is a small locally owned cafe up in the hills of Sierra Madre. It is right next to a creek in the midst of small little mountain homes – it makes you feel far away from crowded LA. When you walk in the door (a screen door, by the way. Who still has those at restaurants?), they ask if you want coffee and will pour you a cup in a random mug they can find. They make some of the best home made quiche in town, and everything is freshly made that day: cinnamon rolls, pop-overs, scones, you name it. On Sundays, they have live music in the morning, which is most often two older gentlemen playing classic rock songs on the acoustic guitar and mandolin. But seriously, don’t tell anyone.
Pasadena Art Night
Twice a year, all of the museums in Pasadena (there’s more than you think) open up their doors for free for the Pasadena Art Night. All night you can go from museum to museum for free – and they even have free shuttles to take you around to each one. This is a great way to explore different museums you may not have otherwise ventured into, or even see that favorite piece of yours you can’t always see. The link above is from the one this past March, but it’s every October and March, and it’s a must do when in Pasadena.
Finding Filmings in Pasadena
Pasadena is a classic town in Los Angeles with lots of history and great architecture, so that means we get a lot of attention from Hollywood. It seems like every day there is something filming in this town, and a great place to find out about them is the link above through the city of Pasadena. My wife and I check up on that page often so that we can drop in on a filming when they are close. The other day we saw a TV filming that actually blew up a truck in front of city hall. No joke. So you never know what (or who) you’ll bump into.
For a bonus entry, you should go to The Dresden, a legendary restaurant and lounge in Hollywood that features Marty and Elayne, jazz singers extraordinaire, that have been kicking it for generations. It was where the movie “Swingers” was filmed, so it has some old school character to it.