Our trip was a quick jaunt to Santa Monica, which is a beautiful and quite cosmopolitan beach town. It’s very upscale and not at all similar to beach towns in Northern Cal, which are pretty earthy. We were able to get a great deal at the Loews hotel on the beach there. It was a great spot to stay with pretty rooms, great pool, restaurants, and very family friendly. It’s also right on a beautiful beach and next to the boardwalk. If you are in Los Angeles, you might check it out. It’s close to so much. This was our view from our bargain room!
We also checked out the Getty, above, while we were there. We had never been there and have heard so much about it. It’s absolutely gorgeous and a lovely way to spend the day. There are actually two Getty museums. One is the Getty Villa, in Malibu, which has ancient art. There is also the Getty Center which has Western art from the middle ages to present. Admission is free and you get a fun ride up the hill in a monorail type train. On the ride up, below. Those rascals! It’s actually very sedate.
The day we visited, they had a Herb Ritts photography exhibition going on. The photos were provocative for sure. We couldn’t see it all with the kids. We also took the highlights tour and saw some famous paintings and learned a lot. The decorative arts area is really interesting too. The Getty was designed by Richard Meier and is composed of 1.2 million square feet of travertine. It’s absolutely stunning and is a great backdrop for the surrounding beauty of the ocean and Los Angeles.
There are three restaurants on site and about two cafes to have a cappuccino and enjoy the views. We ate in the cafeteria. They have organic choices and we thought the food was one of the best meals we had on the trip! One of the restaurants below.
|The Getty has so many beautiful areas to relax.|
On another night we hit a Tratasvere, on the Promenade. I felt like I was back in Italy. The food is so simple and fresh. Fantastic and a fun crowd. Dressed in collars for dinner, my boys below.
What my boys liked best about this trip was the tour of Warner Brother’s Studio. It’s a two and a half hour tour with a guide of the studio, museum and sound stages. Below one of the streets where so many things were and still are filmed. Props make each scene look unique added to the existing streets. When you are watching a film or show and you think they are on the street, they most likely are on a lot like this, not location. Friends had it’s exteriors shot here as does The Mentalist and a ton of films made by Warner Brothers. You get to see how movies are made, go on a real sound stage and see it all.
|On the tour.|
In front of the studios with Bugs Bunny! Below is another of the neighborhoods on the WB lot. They have about 5 or 6 that they use. The houses look one way on the front and are a different house on the back. This house on the square was used in a ton of movies like Rebel without a Cause, The Music Man and Pollyanna, which the tour guide highly recommended. We had never seen Pollyanna with Haley Mills, so we just did with the kids to spy all the sets we saw. I have to say all four of us thought it was a really good film, boys included. Check it out if you want an uplifting family film.
|Another view of the beach.|
The boys dug all the movie posters all over Los Angeles, like this Avengers one. Some of them even are animated. We also checked out Griffith Park, where the Hollywood sign is. It’s a got an incredible view and great spots to hike. Funny it’s the middle of Hollywood surrounded by gorgeous homes, but we even saw a coyote there.
Well all good things have to end, and on this trip we had to drive back up the boring highway 5 to home. On the way to the Bay Area, there is practically nothing for 4+ hours. One bright stop was a little place I hadn’t been for a very long time, Casa de Fruita. Don’t you love the beautiful artichokes? You know you are back in Northern Cal when you see them.