There is, of course, more to Los Angeles than the happiest place on earth a.k.a Disneyland!
We were staying in the wonderful Hyatt Regency hotel in Anaheim. This really did provide everything you needed with friendly helpful staff (special hello and thanks to the Concierge, Nancy!), fridge in room, two swimming pools, hot tub, restauran and bars. I would like to say the perfect home from home but we don’t have a swimming pool at our house! I miss those evening s’mores and wine round the poolside fire pit! S’mores in case you don’t know are a delicious campfire treat made by sandwiching toasted marshmallows and chocolate between Graham crackers (in England you can use digestive biscuits as an alternative). Delicious with a glass of red vino!
The main reason people visit Anaheim is for the Disney experience. To get to know what the other side of LA – the glitz and glamour of the movies – is really all about you need to hire a car or a coach trip. When I am on holiday I would rather not be the one in the driving seat if I can help it so we took a coach trip on Luxbus to experience the highlights of LA and Santa Monica.
Our bus driver and tour guide, Alex, was a font of all knowledge about LA and during the 45 minute trip to downtown LA he told us all about the place, pointing out TV and movie scenes where Hollywood producers had filmed well known shows and films such as CHiPs, Speed, King Kong, Terminator, Pretty Woman… The list is endless! We drove past the Fonda theatre where, would you believe it The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Damned were playing in just a few days time!
The first stop for us was The Grove and Farmers Market. We had about an hour here so just time to grab a smoothie, some lunch and have a very quick look at the shops – I could have stayed all day!
Next was Hollywood Boulevard- location of lots of classic celebrity red carpet moments! We wandered up and down taking in all of the sights – Man’s Chinese Theatre where the Oscars are filmed, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and of course the Hollywood sign on the hills!
LA did surprise me as I thought it would be dirty and seedy but it was really quite the opposite. Everything seems so much smaller and low key than you imagine but I guess that is the whole LA illusion! Everything is a façade!
Driving from Hollywood Boulevard to our next stop Santa Monica we went along Sunset Boulevard, past all the celebrity night clubs and hot spots, Rodeo Drive and Beverley Hills with Alex pointing out plenty of places of interest and movie locations. At Hollywood Boulevard we could have picked up a trip into the Hollywood Hills to see the celebrity houses but, as we were so short on time and didn’t think the kids would be especially interested this was something we saved until next time!
Our final stop was Santa Monica pier and beach. We walked along to the end of pier and had a delicious meal at the Mexican restaurant before walking back along the beach. The boys couldn’t resist the lure of the waves and stripped off to their pants for a quick dip! It was heavenly and I would love to visit again just to visit the beaches!
We did all of this in just one day, and took about a zillion photos more than this, so it really was a whistle stop tour! It was such a brilliant day though and we all loved every minute!
Can’t wait to go back!