Los Angeles: Sprawl City (Road Trip – Part 1)

This might sound totally obvious, but wow, California is big! On our road trip down the coast, Chris and I spent some time in Los Angeles. LA reminds me of Dallas. It’s the kind of city where you have to drive everywhere to visit scattered neighborhoods.

TCL Chinese Theater

LA is definitely a sprawl! Its very different from the tiny 7×7 square miles that is San Francisco. And despite the light smog, the weather was gorgeous in LA.

I’ve noticed going on a trip with Chris is totally different than going on a trip with my cousins. With my cousins, we are primarily focused on one thing – food! Every time I go away with them, I come back five pounds heavier. Thankfully trips with Chris balances out the binge eating. With Chris, the focus is less on finding the best hole-in-the-wall burrito or snagging reservations at a Top Chef restaurant, but on finding the best sights and things to do.

Here are some highlights from LA:

Mulholland Drive
Apparently Mulholland Drive is one of the most driven roads in America and I can see why. It offers amazing scenic views of both the city of LA and the San Fernando Valley. Named after William Mulholland, a notable LA civil engineer, Mulholland Drive is a 21-mile stretch bordering the Santa Monica Mountains and Hollywood Hills.

Hollywood Bowl Overlook


This is a crazy cool museum and it’s free! You just pay for parking which is a flat $15 or $10 after 5pm. I think the museum has something to offer for everyone. Their permanent collection features paintings from Manet, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh to name a few, and also sculptures and furniture ranging from the early 16th century to 19th century. One of the current exhibits – Overdrive: LA Constructs the Future – features blueprints of LA’s urban landscape from residences, to freeways, to commercial buildings. Some of the structures are unrealized so it was cool to see what things could have looked like.

The outside gardens are also worth exploring. There is a maze of 400 azalea plants that lie beneath a wall of cascading water. We had lunch on the terrace that overlooks all of this and it was really pretty.

The views of the city are spectacular from the observatory. We went at night which is what I would recommend, otherwise during the day, if it is hazy, you risk not being able to see anything. At least at night you can see the city sparkle.

My LEAST favorite part was walking down Hollywood Boulevard to see the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I swore, if one more person asked me to take a tour of celebrities’ homes, I was going to scream. Unless we’re talking Ryan Gosling’s home…
Overall, LA was fun. We saw Jay Mohr perform at the Improv one night. Did you know he is married to Nikki Fox? He was making jokes about his wife and I had no idea he was married to her. By the way, I learned that she watches House Hunters. Celebrities…they are just like us!Β 
Next up is San Diego!Β 
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2 thoughts on “Los Angeles: Sprawl City (Road Trip – Part 1)

  1. You guys did a ton of stuff and accomplished more than I did the 4 years I lived there. The Getty Museum is one of my favorites and I love the gardens. I always wanted to go to the one in Malibu, but it's reservation only and I never made it. I love the views from Griffith Observatory!

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