It has been six months since I moved to LA and I had so so so many high hopes of becoming the most Angeleno Angeleno that ever Angelenoed (you might see it written Angelino as well depending on your crew). And of course I’ve had the chance to see and do things that gets me even closer to being an Angeleno, but because of the rona, loads of things have been put on hold.
Los Angeles is something else. The amount of history, charm, and celebrity is something everyone must experience, even if it’s for vacation. There’s something in the air in LA, and no it’s not the smog (right now at least), that gives the city life unlike any city I’ve visited before. So it only makes sense that while you’re here you take advantage of the most unique, quirky, and utterly beautiful experiences you have at your fingertips.
Luckily for you, dear reader, I’ve Googled extensively the things you need to do to become an Angeleno (or even do when you visit). The following information is a hodge podge of ideas. Here are the things I’ve managed to do so far before COVID-19. Oh, and there are some things I haven’t noted but you can see those things on Instagram.
Attend a Wheel of Fortune Taping
The awesome thing about LA is that most of the popular Hollywood studios are located here, so participating in a taping is rather simple. Whether you want to see a sitcom, a talkshow, or a gameshow, it’s all super easy. Oh, and if you want to be in a Netflix movie, that’s possible too!
For Wheel of Fortune, I applied here and selected a day and time that I’d like to attend. Once you get confirmation, you’ll receive a ticket and you’re set! Be sure to book the day off work or leave the office early as their tapings usually take place on weekday morning and afternoon.
Once there, we lined up and were taken through Sony Pictures Entertainment Studios (where Spider-Man was born, no biggie) and were brought to the staging area. There’s a little Wheel of Fortune museum of sorts that we can walk past and take pictures – but that’s it! No, cameras, cellphones, anything digital really, are allowed to be on while they’re filming. And filming was long! It’s three hours since each taping they film three episodes at once.
And get ready to clap… Because clapping will be had, almost non-stop. And smiling! It would be good to go high to be honest.
It was a super cool experience, as not only did taping happen, but so did engagement in between shots. We played games, Vanna White came out to talk to the audience, and they even allowed us breaks to go to the washroom and get water… Yeah, free labor.
Cruise Mulholland Drive
Mulholland Drive is one of the most famous roads in LA and is a super popular road to cruise through. It contains twists, turns, winds, and breathtaking views of LA. There’s even a mystery movie based off of it, starring #wcw, Naomi Watts.
It’s a bit harder if you’re the one driving since you can’t really admire the view, but it’s still super pretty. I haven’t had the chance to do it at night, though I will eventually. If you want to check out my tips and tricks to Mulholland Drive, check this out:
Gorge at Grand Central Market
Okay, Grand Central Market doesn’t look too vibing in the picture above, but from what I’ve heard from other Angelenos, it’s packed full of awesome food options – but also packed full of people, like shoulder to shoulder. So I guess I’m happy that I got to see it without the crowds, but it’s something definitely worth visiting. If not for the food, for the nearby Bradbury Building and Angel Flights. Speaking of Angel Flights…
Ascend and Descend Angel Flights, See 500 Days of Summer Views
Angel Flights is a trolley that ascends and descends to the top of a hill… In the middle of downtown LA. It’s been around for ages and honestly, I’m not really sure what the function or purpose of it is. I guess it’s to get to the top to see views, but I’m pretty sure there are also stairs you can take instead. However, it does make for a super chill date.
The trolley itself is one whole US dollar to go up and go down. It’s also crazy rickety, like, shaking non-stop, and I thought it was going to break down while I was on it but it’s still super cute. Once you do get to the top, if you make your way around the different paths, you can get to the park from 500 Days of Summer. However, they close it off at night.
Get Lost in The Last Bookstore
I admit, I’m not the biggest bookworm. But I am a vibeworm. And The Last Bookstore is full of vibes.
It’s two stories of some of the most eccentric, vintage design I’ve encountered for a bookstore. Although I’ve only seen one Harry Potter movie, number 7 to be exact, I told my date, “The Last Bookstore has some crazy Harry Potter vibes,” and she agreed.
There’s a hall made of books that you can pass under. We tried to figure out how it was all being held together, and there’s a pole going through all the books – poor books, I hope they had doubles. There’s also a wall of books you can pose inside of (an LA favorite). And there are so many cute nooks and crannies people can relax and read in. So far, The Last Bookstore is in my top 3 places visited in all of LA.
Marvel at Neon at the Museum of Neon Art, or Don’t
There are so many museums in LA, like The Broad and the Museum of Death, but I’ve yet to visit them. I have visited the Museum of Neon Art in Glendale though.
And, meh, it was okay. For $10, you get access to a minimal number of art pieces in a super small room. Don’t get me wrong, the art is gorgeous. You’re even able to learn about the neon experience if there’s a subject matter expert available to chat… But it was just a bit unremarkable to be honest. Perhaps I’m spoiled ever since going to the Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas, but for $10 I expected more.
I recommend going only if you happen to be in Glendale and looking for something to do. Like me, who travelled 30 minutes to get there, I kind of felt like it wasn’t the best use of my time. Good for the gram though, sigh.
Be Enchanted by Wayfarers Chapel
Now I’m not a religious person, but if I was, I’d definitely be chatting up God at Wayfarers Chapel.
Situated near Palos Verdes, Wayfarers Chapel is a church atop those gorgeous California hills. There are breathtaking views, beautiful flowers, and a chapel that is almost all made up of glass windows, letting in all that lovely sunshine.
It’s quite a marvel to look at and there’s an eerie sense of calm and serenity up there. Just make sure when you’re visiting, you’re not there during a mass or wedding – it’ll be super awky taking pictures for the gram during eucharist.
Go Behind the Scenes at The Oscars
My Angeleno friends rolled their eyes when I told them I wanted to go behind the scenes at the Oscars, which take place at the Dolby Theater. Having lived in LA their whole lives, they didn’t see the point. However, after I nudged them to join, they were actually pretty happy to experience it.
Obviously, this option relies heavily on the season – if you even happen to be in LA while it’s going on. If you are, I highly recommend checking it out.
You can start off at Hollywood & Highland and begin walking along the Walk of Fame, where you’ll see everything closed off in preparation for the Oscars – though walkways are still open. You’re super likely to see hosts doing dry runs too. I got to see the reporter who confused Samuel L Jackson for Laurence Fishburne. That’s my closest celebrity sighting by the way.
Keep exploring and you’ll even get to go behind the curtains for the red carpet. Obviously it’s all blocked off, but it’s still super cool to indulge in that LA celebrity life.
What else is on the list?
- Take a beer tour in Torrance
- See Shakespeare at the Theatricum Botanicum
- Play the ponies at Santa Anita
- Laugh at Largo
- Get spooked at a magic castle seance
- Take a studio tour
- Upgrade your movie viewing night/Watch a movie on a rooftop
- Inflame your allergies at Santa Ana Botanical Garden
- Sip at The Varnish
- Learn at the California Science Center
- Hike the Vasquez Rocks
- Get breakfast at Sqirl
- First Friday at the National History Museum
- Santa Monica Farmer’s Market
- Score a box the the Hollywood Bowl
- Buy the best seats in Dodger Stadium
- See LA from City Hall
- Central Library on National Library Day, April 4
- Shop at Leimert Park
- Fireworks at Grand Park
- Have lunch at Neptune’s Net
- Get old Hollywood at Chateau Marmont
- Forest Lawn Cemetary Museum
- Pose in front of the Paul Smith wall in WeHo (West Hollywood)
- Pose in front of the Hello Wall in Beverly Grove
- Ride a swan boat in Echo Park
- Silver Lake Reservoir
- The Broad
- Clifton Republic
- Universal Studios Hollywood
- Shop at Rodeo Drive
- Museum of Jurassic Technology
- Huntington Library
- Ride the rides at Santa Monica Pier
- Hollywood Forever
- Venice Canals
- Museum of Death
- Alamo Drafthouse
- New Beverly Cinema
There you go! My exhaustive list, formed by extensive Googling and word of mouth tips, of how to become an Angeleno. Based off of everything I’ve experienced so far, I think I’m only 10% there, but I’m super excited to get back to exploring this beautiful city once the lockdown is lifted.
I’ll leave you with this quote that I found going through my Google Keep notes: “I was never in it for the cake. I was only ever in it for the icing.” I’m not sure why I wrote it down, but I somehow think it relates to LA.
Did I miss anything on this list? Let me know below.
I can only imagine how exciting it must be to live in such a beautiful place like Los Angeles! It’s one of the cities I would love to visit one day, once crazy pandemic crisis are over. Thanks for sharing and stay safe 😊 Aiva
It’s lovely and so far haven’t regretted moving here from Toronto.
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