I’m so glad you could visit. I have a lot planned for today and it’s just as well you came on a day when the sun is shining! Just kidding, the sun is always shining – this is Southern California after all. I like to start early so it’s good you came at 7am – best get some coffee in you quick!

We start with a light breakfast at Polly’s on the Pier – it has been there for 18 years including surviving a massive storm. The food here may not be garnished with sprigs of parsley but it certainly tastes all right – just good old diner food in an extraordinary location. The coffee, like the service is excellent, and the ocean views are abundant! I like to go here sometimes at the weekends because it rather feels like being on holiday despite living a 5 minute walk away.

Once we are suitably fed, it’s time to hop in the car. Dorothy Parker once said “Los Angeles is seventy two suburbs in search of a city” – most would consider this an insult, personally I don’t think we are in search of a city. We like it spread out thank you very much – it gives us space to coexist within our own communities while adding to the general flavor of the city.

So it’s off to Hollywood – probably one of the most famous areas of Los Angeles, and undoubtedly the most touristy. Still there is no shame in that, after all if we were off to Paris you’d see the Effiel Tower, and Piccadilly Square in London.. we are off to Mann’s Chinese Theatre to put our hands in the hand prints of our favourite celebrity. *grin*

Originally known as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre it opened in Hollywood on May 18, 1927 – the most spectacular theatre opening in motion picture history. Thousands of people lined Hollywood Boulevard and a riot broke out as fans tried to catch a glimpse of the movie stars and other celebrities as they arrived for the opening and film premiere of Cecil B. DeMille’s ‘The King of Kings’. There are over 200 prints in the forecourt of the theatre – many urban legends exist on how they came about but the real story is that when Mr. Klossner, the chief foreman, was finished with the construction of the forecourt, he knelt down by the right-side poster frame and placed his right hand print in the wet cement along with his initials, J.W.K.

From here we walk along the Hollywood Walk of Fame which runs along side the theatre towards the Hollywood and Highland mall with its impressive White Elephants inspired by the 1916 movie Intolerance: Love’s Struggle Through the Ages, a silent film directed by D. W. Griffith.

It’s time to get out of the bustle of Hollywood Blvd and into the mountains. We hop back in the car (because that’s how we Angelenos get around for the majority) and drive up Beechwood Drive past the house where Madonna lived when she first moved to LA seeking her fortune, and past the offices of Hollywoodland Real Estate – the people responsible for installing our next landmark.

The Hollywood sign was installed in 1923 – back then it’s 50ft high white letters read Hollywoodland its original purpose to advertise a new housing development in the area. Now days it’s a symbol of the dreams that people flock to this town to pursue. It is a symbol of failure and tragedy for many, hope and success for others. It’s been featured in countless movies and TV shows, and its a world famous landmark that is cherished and preserved. You can either hike up to see it up close or you can drive – regardless it’s pretty amazing to get up close to it and you have some fantastic views of the whole of Los Angeles from there on a clear day. So off we go!

Our walk has made us hungry so it’s time for some lunch. Nothing Angelenos like to eat better than Mexican food and you’ll find that Mexican food here is good as it gets without hopping over the boarder. One of my favourite restaurants known for their excellent Mexican food is El Cholo (East side location not Santa Monica) who have been satisfying hungry customers since 1923 with their delicious coconut margaritas and green tamales. Just one margarita each though as we still have a lot to do!

After lunch we need something more mellow to do, so a quiet stroll in Hollywood Forever seems in order. This oasis in the middle of concrete and congestion, boast an unobstructed view of the Hollywood sign, home to peacocks, geese, ducks, wild parrots, feral cats and celebrities from a bygone era who have passed on.

Recharged from our walk, we just have time to hit the Gene Autry Museum before we move into our evening agenda. The Autry Museum is located in Griffith Park – a previously cursed piece of land that was freed from its curse when it was given to the public by the man it was named after Colonel Griffith J. Griffith. What’s special about the Autry Museum is an amazing collection of memorabilia from the American old west, from the true stories and lifestyles to items from the Western movies. Everything you might have wanted to learn about the ‘Old West’ and cowboys is in here.

Now we are cultured up – it’s time to grab a drink and plan our evening. Let’s head over to the Formosa. Opened in 1934 this place is rammed with Hollywood history – Marilyn Monroe used to hang out here whilst filming across the street (I think it was the Warner Hollywood Studios). Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable have eaten meals at the Cafe and legend has it that Frank Sinatra spent many nights at the Formosa in the 1950s, pining over Ava Gardner. John Wayne fell asleep in a booth – being too big to move he was locked in, when they came back in the morning – he was in the kitchen whipping up breakfast! The interior and exterior will probably look familiar to you from the movie L.A. Confidential. We grab a seat in the caboose at the back and order lemon drop martinis. All we need is a copy of a movie script to put on the table in front of us and the scene would be complete! For these reasons I love the darkly lit Formosa with its celebrities photos gracing the walls, and red Chinese theme decor.

We leave after one martini – they are good but we got to hit the road if we are going to make it home before sunset. We drive down the freeway through downtown Los Angeles – the glass skyscrapers towering above us, past the Staples Center where the Lakers and Kings play, on and on till we reach the familiar glowing towers of LAX. The colours are starting to change – yellow, purple, green, blue – that means we have to hurry if we are to make the beach for sunset. We park up in Redondo and walk down to the pier, we stand and watch as the sunsets the sky ablaze with oranges, yellows and reds.

Once the sun has gone down we retreat to Captain Kidds for some of the best fish’n’chips that I have had since I moved to Los Angeles. I can say so because I am British and it’s like our national dish.

After we’ve yummed that up it’s time to grab a cocktail at the top of Old Tony’s and discuss our day! Make sure to order a infamous Mai Thai and you’ll get to keep the glass as a memento of your visit!


Thank you for visiting!

Not Goth, 34, Redondo Beach, California, USA