Our balloon 'Unicorn' getting ready for first flight of the day.
This was a long time in the works. Thanks to multiple cancellations due to our schedules and weather conditions, what was essentially my birthday gift from the husband ended up being an experience four months later closer to his birthday! The hot air balloon rides we opted for were available in Perris, California through a company called Adventure Balloon Rides. At $129 per person, we thought it was a decent birthday celebration for both of us to enjoy that didn't interfere too much with our work schedules. Since this was an early morning sunrise ride, we needed to be on location 6am. Perris is 2 hours away from Los Angeles so we drove in the previous evening and spent the night in an AirBnB property in the area. Folks at the home were great, we found a pretty nice Mexican place to grab dinner and we slept early so we don’t miss the alarm to wake up first thing!
Enjoying the beautiful gardens - great spot to get some writing, reading, meditation accomplished!
Well, technically, don’t have to hunt it down since it is such a well-known landmark but more like I had to hunt down a reason to get myself to Huntington. And once I did, I was kicking myself for not having visited earlier. Now I know for a fact that I will have to go back soon to complete my visit. Checked out this venue for a volunteering event today and was completely taken aback by how big it is. I assumed as I entered the gateway that it was but I certainly did not expect so many different gardens and galleries housed within. So yes, there is the library portion of the venue that consists of collections and galleries, research and education but then there are all these gardens as you walk along the way. The Japanese and Chinese gardens were clear favorites and that’s where most of these pictures are from here. Lots of beautiful calming spaces to walk around, enjoy reading, immerse yourself in nature, enjoy the sound of water in the pools…did not imagine all this in there. I certainly had no time for any of the gallery areas or to see the collections so this definitely warrants a return trip to fully experience Huntington at my own pace. Their event calendar is chock full of tons of interesting stuff coming up and they have some good exhibitions lined up in the next few months as well so planning my visit already. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy some of the images, and do share if you have ever been/have any pointers on visiting for me. I suspect I will need a full day to explore!
This life-size bridge usually has everyone enthralled
One of the best parts of living in a large city like Los Angeles is the opportunity to visit so many museums, not necessarily all free but definitely easily accessible. On my last visit to The Broad, I totally did not realize that the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) was right across the street (if you can believe it)! But I did intend on visiting and glad I finally found the time. Here are a few things to know before you go...
One of the areas you will see the most activity - the larger than life dining table and chairs exhibit!
Heard only great things about The Broad since it opened doors late 2015 and had a tough time getting tickets initially but made it today just after they celebrated their first anniversary so here’s the scoop!
Entrance to the Getty Center - all that talk about first impressions, yup, so true!
Firstly, the Getty Center and the Getty Villa are two different venues so get directions for the right place please! Not that I made that mistake, but I heard of plenty others who did. Also, if you arrive too early, then you will be turned away and asked to return closer to opening time. This I know because I did do it – I am known for over-planning so was at the front gate to the parking deck 15 minutes ahead of opening at 9.30am on a Sunday and was promptly turned away by the security staff. They did smilingly welcome us back again at 9.30 on the dot though like we were old friends!
Everyone talks about the downtown revival and how the area has changed gradually over time. Go check it out yourself – any given weekend, you are bound to find a host of activities to indulge in. The best part – almost all the metro stations lead downtown! The best way to discover the area is just walk around the neighborhood. And now, with the new Santa Monica line, you can head straight to the beach from there too!
The first, most obvious attraction to anybody headed to Culver City will be the Sony Pictures studio. Especially if you are a movie freak, or even if you are remotely piqued by the entertainment industry, their studio tours are a big hit. The 2-hour guided walking tour takes you through sound stages, movie history, scenes and props you will remember from some very famous productions. Depending on when you visit, you might be able to catch a show taping here. Do check on the website beforehand though for dates, times and other rules to entry. Go here for the history but chances of any star sightings are rare. You will definitely learn a few things about the movie industry you did not know before.
Any visitor to the city usually makes a beeline for Hollywood Boulevard. Why? Let's see - the Hollywood Walk of Fame is usually the first stop for most tourists and locals. Finding the name of your favorite stars marked on the street for eternity is quite thrilling. Doesn't hurt that there are shops aplenty and restaurants galore for your entertainment. But here are my top five picks for a better experience along this street.