By Guest Blogger: Nancy Solomon of Ciao Bambino
Each December, we board the plane and head west to stay with my family in San Diego. This winter was no different. We slipped out between two major storms and left over a foot of snow to head to the sunny skies of San Diego. After a few days connecting with family, finishing up last minute shopping, and braving the cold water to do some boogie boarding, we were ready for a change of pace.
Given that Los Angeles (LA to those in the know) is so close and that my relentless 9 year-old, who’s determined to be famous (let’s just hope it’s not infamous), has always wanted to go to Hollywood, we loaded up the car and headed north. Inspired by a previous Ciao Bambino post Museums in Los Angeles, we started our visit at the La Brea Tar Pits. We had the best time exploring and then happened to catch one of those perfect California sunny days that blended into night as we strolled from the tar pits to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). The kids loved running around and were kept busy strolling in and out of the different exhibits. The LACMA consists of multiple buildings right next to each other. Because you have to go outside to progress to the next building, it provides a natural breaks for the kids and makes this an incredibly easy destination.
Then we were able to get great food while skipping a long sit-down dinner by walking over to the Farmers Market. We loved this place. It’s attached to The Grove, an outdoor shopping mall, which happens to have American Girl Place, for those of you with young girls. The Farmers Market is separate from the mall and offers many delicious choices, not to mention fruit stands and a cheese market. I always crave fresh produce while traveling and we loaded up with healthy snack food for the next couple days. Here, everyone could find something they like and run around at the same time.
Now, a main part of this trip was for us to see “Hollywood.” For this we were going to go to Universal Studios and the Chinese Theatre. For those of you with school age kids, be forewarned, Sunset Strip (i.e. Where the Chinese Theater is located) is a bit risqué. My kids are certainly not overly sheltered, but both my husband and I decided that we should head elsewhere as we drove towards the Chinese Theatre. The street was lined with porno shops and risqué lingerie venders including huge storefront window displays. My two older kids had their faces glued to the window and their jaws hitting the car floor. Maybe it was the street that we drove in on, but we quickly changed our plans and told the kids we’d come back when they were older. Universal Studios on the other hand, was perfect! That qualified as our “Hollywood” experience and all was good.
If you feel like adding more of California to your trip, here is a resource to tour from Los Angeles to San Francisco with the whole family.
Nancy Solomon is an avid traveler and writer for Ciao Bambino. She lives outside Boston and has four children 9, 8, 5 and 1 with whom she enjoys sharing the world.