Saturday, March 14, 2009

A One Day Visit to Hollywood and Downtown LA

My neighbors who are from Australia had friends of theirs arrive from Australia and knowing that I came up with the idea and oversaw the production of the ExperienceLA/Lonely Planet Downtown LA in Your Pocket Guide, they asked me how I would spend a Sunday between Hollywood and DowntownLA. So here is my one day guide to hopefully not doing too many things, but getting a glimpse of some of what is unique to LA.

If one was leaving bright and early and needed a coffee fix on the way to Hollywood, I recommended stopping off in Silver Lake for coffee at either Intelligentsia or LAMill. Two of the best coffee houses in LA. With the Hollywood Farmers Market beginning at 9 am, then it would be leaving to drive and park one's car for the day at the ArcLight Cinema and Cinerama Dome Movie Complex to formally begin the day at the Hollywood Farmers Market. This is perhaps the best Sunday market in Los Angeles and right after the Santa Monica Farmers Markets ranks among the best. ExperienceLA maintains a complete list of all of the Farmers Markets in LA. Hollywood does a great job with their prepared foods or one could make a reservation at the Hungry Cat when it opens for brunch. After the Farmers Market, there is the largest independent music store in the world at Amoeba. Since one can buy reserve tickets at the ArcLight, one can consider seeing Watchmen right now in the Dome or one of the other movies in their black box theaters. As we know in LA, the Arc Light is among the best movie houses in America. Right now you can see the Watchmen costumes in the lobby as shown above.

So with a full stomach, it is a several block walk to the Red Line Station at Hollywood and Vine. We would catch the Red Line to the 7th and Metro Station at Figueroa which is around 20 minutes away. One way tickets on Metro are $1.25 or a day pass is still $5. Making sure we leave the station at the Figueroa exit, the plan is to walk down several blocks to LA Live at Fig and Olympic. The purpose is to see the Grammy Museum which opened in December. This is now a must see when visiting Downtown LA. At the Grammy, you could easily spend anywhere from 2 to 4 hours due to the number of interactive exhibits. However, the goal is to make it over to FIDM by 3 pm with one hour to spare to see the current Motion Picture Costumes exhibit that runs until March 29, 2009. Looking through the archives, you can see my previous post on the exhibit.

So now that it is 4 pm, what would be next on this journey? We could walk do a mini Historic Core tour, or head over to Cole's or the Nickel Diner at 6th and Main for an early dinner and then back to Hollywood. The Nickel Dinner is a new restaurant that looks like it has been in existence for 50 years, but opened in 2008 and named among the top new restaurants in LA for 2008 by Los Angeles Magazine. Then there is Cole's known for its French Dip sandwiches which dates back probably 80 years or so, also recently re-opened after being renovated by Cedd Moses. Both are worthy dinner dates and neither are in the pocket guide. After dinner, you would walk up 5th Street to the Pershing Square Station to take the Red Line back to Hollywood to go to the Chinese Theater at Hollywood and Highland or to see a movie at the ArcLight and not fall asleep from all of the walking.

But if one had the time and energy to explore the Historic Core after leaving FIDM, you would go north on Hope Street to see the LA Central Library, walking through the Library noticing the historic Goodhue building and the spectacular public art in the new wing, out the door on the 5th Street side then wandering through the historic lobby of the Biltmore out onto Olive Street, then continuing the walk north on Hill to see the Angels Flight cars waiting for PUC approval to begin service again, then into the Grand Central Market, across the street to see the Bradbury Building as featured in Blade Runner at 3rd and Broadway. From here it would be time for dinner. Note that the LA Conservancy has tours of the Historic Core, and now also tours of Main Street. Also, if one really had to see the Frank Gehry Disney Hall, then it is a relatively short up hill walk along 2nd Street to Grand Avenue.

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