Although it was over 90 degrees today in L.A., the official days of summer are long gone. The days are shorter, and the nights cool down to a nice mild temperature. It's days like today that make me think of summer and appreciate where I live. And in doing so, while I sat in traffic on the lovely 405, I thought about all of the local places I visited this summer. There is definitely a list of must see's and do's in SoCal, but there is so much to see and such a large area to cover, one cannot do it all. I've compiled a list of highlights from my summer that are definitely must do's. For more great ideas, check out the LA Times "Southern California Close-Ups", which has been a fun summer weekly read. It breaks down the what's, where's, and why's by geographical area.
There are tons of shells along the beach at The Wedge. It's a nice spot to watch the waves crash, the body surfers ride, and cruise the beach for shells. Unfortunately during the summer days, boards are not allowed. But October 31st is right around the corner, and the body boarders and surfers will be all over the winter swell.
MARINA DEL REY
The marina is a nice change from the tourist traps of Santa Monica and Venice. Walking along the harbor is much more peaceful than dodging pedestrians on 3rd Street or Muscle Beach.
|Marina del Rey Harbor|
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES
There were only two things that brought me to downtown L.A. this summer, the Dodgers and the L.A. Film Festival. Sadly the Dodgers did not do too well this year, but the L.A. Film Festival did.
|View from the luxury box suite|
|The Walt Disney Concert Hall|
A film fest venue, and great
I'm not too sure what area the Getty Museum would be considered. Brentwood? Bel Air? Westwood? It's tucked up on the hill in that blank area along the 405 right before you hit the 101 freeway. I have never noticed the view from the Getty Museum, but if you take the outside stairs along the back of the building, you can catch a great view of the city. And the 405.
Pasadena really is a cute town. The shopping on Colorado Boulevard has all of the great high street stores, but it is nothing compared to the treasures you will find at the Rose Bowl Flea Market. Held on the second Sunday of every month, rain or shine, it is the place to buy anything from vintage designer sunglasses and mod squad dresses to bookshelves and bowling pins. The early admission price is definitely worth it in the summer, to avoid the late afternoon crowds and blistering sun.
|The Rose Bowl Flea Market|
Topanga Beach is my little local spot. I don't like going to Santa Monica or Malibu, where there are tons of people and miles of sand. I like the small community of Topanga. The people are friendly, they even trust you with their keys while they surf.
|Topanga Beach from the towel|
Skip the long lines at the clubs, and head to the Hollywood Bowl on a Friday night, where they light up the sky with fireworks after every performance. It's a magical experience, especially when it's a Disney performance.
|Friday night Fireworks at |
the Hollywood Bowl
Campus Point is technically not in Santa Barbara, but in Goleta, or better in Isla Vista, literally at the end of UCSB campus. It's another great local spot to watch body boarders and surfers, or get mistaken as a college student.
|Sunset at Campus Point|
Note: Exploring your own town is just as much of a vacation as getting on a plane somewhere, it's all about discovering something new and enjoying the ride.