Thursday, September 27, 2012

Adventures in La La Land

Two weeks ago, Greg & I flew down to Los Angeles to visit Greg's brother, Doug. While we would have eventually made the trip no matter what, the timing was dictated by the upcoming expiration of our Southwest Airlines credit for unused tickets that we purchased last year. We decided to make it a long weekend and flew down early Friday morning, not returning to Portland until after midnight Sunday night/Monday morning.
leaving Portland at 7am
While L.A. actually has an extensive public transportation network, many of the areas we wanted to go were much more easily reached by car. Thankfully, Doug's girlfriend Alexis offered the use of her car for most of the weekend and we were thus able to avoid wasting precious time waiting for the bus. We also did some serious walking and, on Sunday, rode both the bus and subway (Metro) as well as took the FlyAway bus from Union Station to the airport.
What, traffic in L.A.??? No way!!!
Our list of things to see was pretty short. While this was Greg's first trip to L.A., I have been many times. Mainly we just wanted to hang out with Doug, whom we only see once or twice a year, and drink some local beer. Since Greg hadn't seen the ocean in many months, one of his requests was to spend some time on the coast. And, sports lover that he is, go to a Dodgers game.
putting our toes in the Pacific
Doug picked us up at the airport around 10:45am on Friday and we drove straight to Venice Beach for brunch at The Sidewalk Cafe. Afterward, we enjoyed a leisurely stroll around the canal district, then returned to the beach to people watch. Soon enough, it was time to stop for a beer at Larry's, and we spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out in the area just south of Santa Monica, at a great beer bar called Library Alehouse. We eventually picked up Alexis after she got off work and headed to Koreatown for more craft beer (at Beer Belly), then back to Doug's neighborhood, Silver Lake, for a late dinner at Gingergrass.
don't try this at home - we just enjoyed watching the skateboarders at the Venice Beach Skatepark
Doug is a Research Associate at USC whose field of study is Earth & Planetary Science. So, of course, it made sense for him to take us to Griffith Observatory. That's where we spent several hours enjoying the views over all of Los Angeles and the excellent, free exhibits, after brunch at Home Restaurant on Saturday. Then we cruised along Hollywood Blvd and Sunset Blvd so Greg could see the Walk of Fame, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, and even the Church of Scientology. After a brief break at Doug's apartment, we went to Mohawk Bend, a fantastic beer bar, for drinks & dinner. From there we walked to Dodger Stadium for an exciting game against the St Louis Cardinals, which was won by the home team in the bottom of the ninth inning! We capped off the evening with delicious burritos from the Tacos El Gallito food truck.
view of downtown L.A. from the Griffith Observatory
We started our day Sunday by walking & busing to Golden Road Brewery for lunch, beer & football. Then we took the bus downtown and spent the remainder of the afternoon checking out Union Station and the historic area around Olvera Street, watching part of a special service at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels, and exploring the amazing exterior of Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall. Too soon it was time to head to the airport for our 7pm flight.
no doubt this was designed by Frank Gehry
As you can tell, this was a very active trip and we stayed on the go pretty much nonstop. What I haven't mentioned is the weather. The forecast for the entire weekend was unseasonably hot; it actually got up 100F on Friday, 103 on Saturday, and finally cooled off to 88 on Sunday. We made sure to slather on sunscreen every day before we left the house, drank tons of water, and wore hats & sunglasses all day. We survived, but we sure were glad to get back to Portland's cooler temps!
staying cool in the Venice canal district
We really enjoyed our visit with Doug & Alexis. We crammed a lot of activity into 52 hours, including about 8 hours of much-needed sleep both nights. L.A. has a lot to offer for residents & visitors, way more than you can see or do in one weekend. And while it's fun to visit, it's just not somewhere that I want to live for a lot of reasons, namely the overall size of the city (too many people), the traffic (too many cars), and the climate (too hot).
Thanks for everything, Doug & Alexis!!!
Here's the link to all of my L.A. photos: Images of La La Land
You can also follow most of my daily activities, including my check-ins in L.A. (with more photos!), on Foursquare.

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