Last Updated: 2006/01/25

Carson / Los Angeles
by Art Kempf with a contribution from David Litterer

Jump to: [TAG=hdntc]Home Depot National Training Center[ETAG]

In early June 2003 Carson, CA will become a major soccer destination in the United States with the opening of the HOME DEPOT NATIONAL TRAINING CENTER. Carson is a small city of under 100,000 located some 20 miles South of Los Angeles, which has heretofore been known as the home of the Goodyear Blimp and many large oil refineries with few amenities and attractions for the traveler. Do not despair; for with a good map, a car, and a little sense of adventure the traveler can access a multitude of outstanding tourist destinations in Southern California while enjoying the world-class soccer and other events to be presented at the HDNTC.

A few miles to the South of Carson the visitor will find Long Beach, home of the annual Toyota Grand Prix, the Queen Mary, a new and quite spectacular aquarium as well as several first class hotels fronting on the overlook of the harbor. In Orange County one can visit Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm and many other family oriented destinations. A short drive to the West will bring the traveler to the several beach communities which front on the Pacific Ocean.

Los Angeles is North of Carson. A city of many faces, Los Angeles is a world-class tourist destination. The first time visitor to Los Angeles will certainly be amazed at its geographical sprawl – a “low” city [as opposed to NYC] which seems to go on forever and a city where one can, indeed, surf and snow ski all in the same day. There is no end of activities for the intrepid traveler and one would be well advised to plan to spend a few days at a minimum in order to sample what the city has to offer.

Since the early 1990s, the LA area has always had several teams playing in various levels of the USISL/USL, but the most successful clubs prior to MLS were two division 2 teams in the APSL: the Los Angeles Heat, who made the semifinals in 1990 and the Los Angeles Salsa, who lost the 1993 title match to the Colorado Foxes.

Los Angeles Galaxy

Since the start of MLS in 1996 Galaxy has proved one of the more successful clubs in the league – although cast as a bridesmaid until 2002. With its trademark slow start and fast finish, the Galaxy has appeared in 4 MLS Cups [equaling D.C. United’s record] only to fall short of victory before winning the 2002 Cup with a 1-0 win over New England on a Golden Goal by League MVP and Goal Scoring Leader, Carlos Ruiz. The addition of 1999 Coach of the Year Sigi Schmid saw the Galaxy’s fortunes begin to rise with MLS Cup appearances in 1999, 2001 & 2002; U.S. Open Cup & Football Confederation Championships were added to the Galaxy trophy case in 2001 as was the Supporters Shield in 2002.

The Galaxy has been well represented on the AT&T Best Eleven through the years with Carlos Ruiz and Alexi Lalas gaining the recognition in 2002. In 1999 the Galaxy was honored with three individual awards – Coach of the Year [ Sigi Schmid ], Goalkeeper of the Year [Kevin Hartman], and Defender of the Year [ Robin Fraser]. Only current Captain Cobi Jones and Midfielder Mauricio Cienfuegos remain in the Teal & Gold from the inaugural season of 1996.

Home Depot™ National Training Center

At this writing {November 2002} construction of the new home of the Los Angeles Galaxy is well under way. Recently named the Home Depot National Training Center [HDNTC]; the facility, located on the campus of Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson, CA, will be a major showcase for soccer – and other sports – in this country. In addition to serving as the headquarters for the Galaxy operation, it will also house the U.S.Soccer Federation and the Pete Sampras Tennis Academy.

This gem of a facility being constructed by AEG at a cost of $120,000,000 will be a 27,000 seat soccer specific stadium with an 8,000 seat Tennis Stadium attached. Additionally the tract will include an outdoor Velodrome, 30 Tennis Courts, 7 Soccer Training Fields, a Track & Field Stadium, Baseball & Softball Fields, an Inline Roller Hockey Rink and a three-mile jogging trail with 12 fitness stations around the perimeter of the National Training Center.

Additional facilities will include a total of nearly 8,000 parking spaces, a Team Store and a Restaurant with total seating for 450 as well as 43 Luxury Suites in the Soccer Stadium and 21 in the Tennis Stadium. A two level support building is also planned which will include among other features 10 Locker Rooms, Weight Room, 2 Training Rooms, Commissary and Press Facilities.

The complex is planned with a residential component that will allow teams to stay at the facility.

A late addition to the plan for the Soccer Stadium is a roof over the spectator seating areas, which will give it a definite “European” soccer experience. At no point will the first row of spectator seating be further than 10 yards from the pitch.

Plans for the presentation of two World Championship Track & Field Competitions in the future have been announced as has the signing of the San Diego Chargers to use the facility for their Training Camp beginning next season.

The latest announcement would have the Galaxy playing all their early season games away from home pending the opening of the Home Depot National Training Center in June 2003.

For a virtual tour of the stadium - www.lagalaxy.com/hdtcfinal.mov

Directions to the HDNTC:

HDNTC is located 17 miles South of Downtown Los Angeles –

From areas near the center of Los Angeles:
The most direct route is the Harbor / Pasadena Freeway {#110} which can be accessed from the Hollywood Freeway {#101}, Golden State Freeway {#5} and is most convenient for travel from Pasadena, Hollywood, Burbank and other similarly located areas. Take the #110 South and exit on the Gardena Freeway {#91} EAST. Exit at the Main Street Exit and turn left on Main Street to Victoria Street. Turn left on Victoria Street – HDNTC is located at the corner of Victoria Street & Avalon Blvd.

From LAX and Westside Communities such as Venice, Santa Monica, West LA, and others –
Take the San Diego Freeway {#405) South and exit at Gardena Freeway {#91} East and proceed as above.

From Long Beach and the South:
Take the San Diego Freeway North to Avalon Blvd and turn right {North} on Avalon Blvd. Proceed North on Avalon to the Stadium on your right at Victoria Street

Tickets:
Announced season ticket prices for 2003 are as follows:

Sideline - $650 (adult & youth)
Corner - $510 (adult) $370 (youth)
Upper Deck - $450 (adult) $330 (youth)
Goal Line - $370 (adult) $290 (youth)

These ticket packages are for 20 games and include the 2003 MLS CUP

NOTE: Single game ticket pricing or exact seating locations are not yet available.

Refreshers:
Although specifics are not yet available, the facility is planned to include a 12,000 square foot restaurant with seating for 450 – 300 indoor & 150 outdoor. Contracts have been signed with ARAMARK to run the food operations. An ARAMARK spokesperson is quoted as saying, “We will provide whatever it takes—everything from light snacks to exquisite culinary creations – in order to enhance the fans’ experience at HDNTC.”

Club Merchandise:
No specifics on this at this time – the facility has planned for a 1600 square foot Team Store.
See also - www.lagalaxystore.com

Fan Culture:
There are three Galaxy fan clubs at present:

Galaxians
This is the original supporters organization for the Galaxy. The group is open to all and is committed to being “family friendly”. While in the Rose Bowl the Galaxians were seen in “Area 51” clad in gold tee shirts bearing the Galaxian logo. More info on Galaxians can be had at www.galaxians.com.

L.A. Riot Squad
L.A. Riot Squad was formed in 2002 by a group of supporters wanting an “edgier” fan experience. Since their inception they have presented a strong showing and will certainly be a force in the new Galaxy home. For more info on this group go to: www.lariotsquad.net.

Ultras
There is no information available at this time.

On the Web:

The official Galaxy web site is at www.lagalaxy.com.

An unofficial “fan site” is at www.la-soccer.com

Media Coverage:

Print :
Los Angeles Times – Daily Soccer Column plus additional timely articles, free registration is required
www.latimes.com

Daily Breeze [Torrance] – Provides regular Galaxy coverage
www.dailybreeze.com

Daily News – Published in the San Fernando Valley
www.dailynews.com

Press - Telegram [Long Beach] – Presumably will cover Galaxy after move to Carson
www.presstelegram.com/Stories/0%2C0%2C204%257E21470%257E%2C00.html

Orange County Register – Presumably will cover Galaxy after move to Carson
www2.ocregister.com/ocrweb/ocr/homepage.do

Radio
All Galaxy games, home and away, are broadcast in English on KMPC 1540AM with a 15-minute pre & post game show. KMPC is the SPORTING NEWS station in Los Angeles and streams on the internet at www.sportingnews.com , Radio@AOL, and Radio@Netscape.
Games are also available in Korean on RADIO KOREA at 1230AM

Television
CAL9, a local television station, will broadcast 11 Galaxy games; including 3 from the Home Depot Center. Max Bretos will be doing the play-by-play with Alan Hopkins providing expert analysis. The broadcasts will include a 30 minute “Galaxy Countdown” pre-game show.

Also in the Los Angeles Area:

The Rose Bowl
Home to the Galaxy since the inception of MLS, the Rose Bowl has a long and storied history. Dedicated in 1922, it has hosted five Super Bowl Games, the Men’s World Cup in 1994, the Women’s World Cup in 1999 [won by the USA] and seven seasons of Major League Soccer. The Rose Bowl also is home to UCLA football, the world’s largest flea market, a Fourth of July celebration and various concerts and religious services. The facility currently seats 92,542 and is currently planning a massive renovation pending the return of the NFL to the Los Angeles area. The Rose Bowl is located in Pasadena and is easily accessible from the Ventura Freeway [#134] via several well marked exits.

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
The Coliseum is located South of downtown Los Angeles off the Harbor Freeway [#110] between Exposition & Martin Luther King Blvd. It is just South of the University of Southern California campus and is adjacent to several museums and the LA Sports Arena. The unique history of the Coliseum includes hosting two Olympiads, two Super Bowls, and a World Series. The Coliseum has been home to the NFL Raiders, Rams, Chargers and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Currently home to USC football, the coliseum also hosts international soccer matches showcasing both Latin American National and Club Teams.

College Soccer
In Los Angeles the major force in college soccer is UCLA. The Bruin Men’s Team won the 2002 College Cup and are NCAA Champions while the #3 ranked Lady Bruins were eliminated from the 2002 tournament in the semi-final round. All home games are played on the UCLA campus in Westwood and can be accessed from Sunset Boulevard and Parking Structure # 4 [$6]. Schedules and information for both can be found at the web site of the UCLA Athletic Department - uclabruins.ocsn.com

UCLA claims 4 National Championships [ ’85,’90,’97,’02] and four League Titles – 16 Bruins were playing in MLS in 2002 while 5 were plying their trade in Europe. The Lady Bruins, who first played in 1993, reached the NCAA Final in 2001 and have won 3 Pac10 Titles. There are presently 6 Bruin Alums playing in WUSA.

Amateur Soccer in the Los Angeles Area
Los Angeles was one of the first cities in the west coast to take up soccer, with its first amateur clubs formed during the first decade of the 20th century.

Since 1922, the Greater Los Angeles League has been one of the "big four" amateur leagues in the country. But the region did not make a splash nationally until the early 1960s when amateur clubs such as the Kickers and Scots, and college teams like UCLA won national titles.

Two professional teams were launched in 1967 when the USA & NPSL launched, with the Wolves winning the USA Championship that year. They remained with the merged NASL in 1968, but folded.

The Los Angeles Aztecs were the most successful pro soccer club in L.A. prior to the Galaxy. They played from 1984-81 and had several good seasons, but the crowning achievement of the era was the Skyhawks, who won the American Soccer League title in 1976. The NASL's California surf played from 1978-1981 but had less success.

The indoor Lazers toiled in MISL rinks for much of the 1980s, and the Hollywood kickers won the Western League's championship in 1986.

Soccer in Los Angeles is indeed alive and well – so alive and well that it defies description in this forum. From the California Youth Soccer Association South with its some 9000 teams to Adult Leagues for a myriad of special interest groups such as Gay & Lesbian, Armenian, German Speaking, etc. there is a broad spectrum of soccer opportunities in the Los Angeles area. A rather complete reference is located at www.at-la.com/sports/@la-soccer.htm#minor ….check it out.

Around Town

Bars and Pubs
California Brewing Company
100 West Main Street
Alhambra
626-943-8430
Shows Galaxy away games
Will have MLS Shootout Pkg. In 2003
Full Menu

Cock & Bull
2947 Lincoln Blvd
Santa Monica,
310-399-9696
Shows all available Premiership Matches
Admission $10
Full Menu

Fox & Hounds Restaurant
11100 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City
818-763-7976 - Recorded Schedule Info.
818-763-7837 - Reservations & Info
Shows all available Premiership Matches
Admission $10
Full Menu

Lucky Baldwin’s Pub
17 So. Raymond Ave.
Pasadena
626-795-0652
Shows all available Premiership Matches
Admission $10 per game
Full Menu

SPECIALTY BEER PUBS IN THE LOS ANGELES AREA

www.labeer.com/spots.asp

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery
6424 Canoga Ave.
Woodland Hills

Crown City Brewery
300 So. Raymond Ave.
Pasadena

Matt Denny’s Ale House
145 E. Huntington Dr.
Arcadia

Father’s Office
1018 Montana Ave.
Santa Monica

Joe Jost’s Tavern
2803 E. Anaheim St.
Long Beach

Library Alehouse
2911 Main Street
Santa Monica

Lucky Baldwin’s English Pub & Cafe
17 S. Raymond Ave.
Pasadena

Naja’s Place
154 International Boardwalk
Redondo Beach

Red Lion Tavern
2366 Glendale Blvd.
Silver Lake

Rock Bottom Brewery
1 Pine Street
Long Beach

The Stuffed Sandwich
1145 E. Las Tunas Dr.
San Gabriel

Ye Olde Kings Head Pub
116 Santa Monica Bl.
Santa Monica

Airports

Los Angeles International Airport [LAX] – Located off the #405 Freeway on Century Boulevard, LAX is certainly the most well known of the Los Angeles Airports. It is also the busiest so it might not be the best choice although you will find that LAX is serviced by the most airlines of all the airports.
www.lawa.org/lax/laxframe.html

Long Beach Airport [LGB] – This is the closest airport to Carson and the HDNTC which is just a short drive North on the 405 Freeway. This is a small and uncomplicated airport with easy access to rental cars which are just across the street from the terminal. For those who live in “Jet Blue Cities” this is the terminal on choice.
www.lgb.org

John Wayne Airport – Orange County - This is also a possibility and is a smaller and easier to negotiate airport. Take the 405 Freeway North to Carson and the Stadium.
www.ocair.com

Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena Airport - Another of the smaller, easy to negotiate airports in the Los Angeles area is located in the San Fernando Valley North of Los Angeles. Southwest Airlines runs a full schedule to and from the airport.
www.burbankairport.com/next/index.html

Around Town
The membership of the Carson Chamber of Commerce includes the establishments listed below. As Carson is primarily an Industrial City, the visitor might want to investigate staying in another area which would prove more “tourist friendly”; that is where there would be a wider variety of activities, restaurants, shopping, etc. available such as Greater Los Angeles, Long Beach, Santa Monica, etc. see web links below.

Hotels in Carson
Econolodge
1325 E. Carson Street
Carson, CA 90745
310-830-8044

Hampton Inn
767 E Albertoni
Carson, CA 90745
310-768-8833

Hilton Hotel - Carson
2 Civic Plaza
Carson, CA 90745
310-830-9200

Hilton L.A. Harbor/San Pedro
2800 Via Cabrillo Marina
San Pedro, CA 90731
310-519-2785

Holiday Inn - Torrance
19800 S. Vermont Ave.
Torrance, CA 90502
310-781-9100

Quality Inn - South Bay
888 E. Dominguez Street
Carson, CA 90746
310-715-6688

Carson Restaurants
Denny’s
600 Carson Plaza Dr.
Carson, CA 90746

International House of Pancakes
21716 South Avalon
Carson, CA 90745

Jollibee
139 East Carson Street
Carson, CA 90745

Las Palmas Cafe
23909 Avalon Blvd.
Carson, CA 90745

McDonalds [ 3 ]

T. M. Pizza, INC.
21950 So. Avalon Blvd. #E
Carson, CA 90745

Tom’s Burgers
626 E. Sepulveda Blvd.
Carson, CA 90745

Tony Roma’s Restaurant
20720 S. Avalon Blvd.
Carson, CA 90746


It’s Los Angeles, it’s morning & the game's tonight……Now what?
Wherein your correspondent identifies potential ½ day activities for your enjoyment while in the Los Angeles area. Any of these can easily be expanded or shortened according to your particular interests, budget or time available – none is represented to be a complete description of the particular area but simply suggestions for your enjoyment to while away the hours between trips to Carson for the “Main Event”… It’s all here – you are limited only by time, money, energy and your own willingness to take a risk and find it !!!!!!! ENJOY !!!!!!

Long Beach – A few miles to the south of Carson is the City of Long Beach…take the 405 Freeway south and follow the signs to the Queen Mary which is open to the public and affords a peek into the past and a grander way to travel...Nearby is the Aquarium of the Pacific and Shoreline Marina; both are worth a look. The marina with its typical “touristy” shops and restaurants makes for a good stroll as you admire the some 1800 moored boats….don’t miss the hat store which has a really vast selection of “normal” and novelty hats [some good “match hats” here] in a rare range of sizes. If you are in Long Beach in April check out the Toyota Grand Prix which is run on the streets in the Marina area and, in the summer months, the Pyramid at Cal State Long Beach is home to an NBA Summer League.

San Pedro – To the north of Long Beach and across the Vincent Thomas Bridge is San Pedro – a small city with a long history connected to the sea. In the area of the marina you will find a couple of maritime museums, a LAFD Fire Boat facility and Ports O’Call Village – which is noteworthy for its open air restaurants serving heaps of shrimp with potatoes and a loaf of bread on a tray and deep fried whole fish among other treats…NOT gourmet but lots of good food at a fair price in a most unusual atmosphere….working fishing boats here as well. During the winter months take a drive north along the Pacific Ocean – you might well see whales blowing just off-shore.

Venice Beach – Located on the water south of Santa Monica, Venice is home to one to the greatest collections of navels, tattoos, body piercings and general craziness on the Planet…have breakfast at the Sidewalk Café on the Promenade while you survey the passing scene; then stroll down to Muscle Beach, watch the paddle ball and basketball competitions, rent skates or a bike for an hour…lots of food stands for “grazing” & T-Shirts for buying as you stroll….get a massage or have your palm read…how about a Henna tattoo?...lots of street performers to entertain you [check out the chain saw juggler, the fire eater, the bare foot dude in the broken glass]. You can even sit on the beach or wade in the surf!

Santa Monica - This charming city north of Venice Beach is worth a visit. Check out the grassy promenade at the westernmost end of town which is perched high on a cliff overlooking Santa Monica Bay. [Don’t be put off by the homeless – they are harmless…SM has very liberal policies toward them and there are many here] There is a Camera Obscura inside the Senior Center – ask for the key, it’s really neat! Wander down to the SM Pier below – there is a really nifty & OLD carousel in operation on the pier…check out the catch of the fishermen … lots of kiddy rides as well as a couple of OK restaurants. Three blocks in from the Bay is the Third Street Promenade –a few blocks of generally upscale shopping and restaurants – great window shopping & some street performers! Go west on Santa Monica Blvd. a mile or so to # 11807 and say “Hi” to Juan Engelsen at his soccer store, “OFFSIDE”…it’s a good one and he was a familiar face at many games in Korea… drive north up the Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu and beyond to enjoy a day at the beach or a meal at Gladstone’s 4 Fish – one of the 10 busiest restaurants in the country.

West Hollywood - This small incorporated city within the boundaries of Los Angeles enjoys the reputation of being a Gay & Lesbian City…but it is much more than that. WeHo is the home of the famous – or to those who live adjacent – the infamous Sunset Strip. If late night clubbing is your thing – this is the place! From Fairfax Ave to Beverly Hills, Sunset Blvd. has something for everyone. If you want history try Chateau Marmount, Trocadero, Roxy, The Viper Room, or Whiskey au Go Go ! Among the newer attractions are House of Blues, Miyagi’s, Key Club among many others…to say nothing of The Body Shop {“All Nude Girls Girls Girls”}.Feel like riding a mechanical bull? – check out Saddle Ranch. Check out the “Train Wreck” on Sunset [Carney’s] for a hot dog that puts the famous and over-rated Pink’s on LaBrea to shame .Bars, Restaurants & Hotels abound on the Strip. Lots of up-scale and chi-chi shopping here as well, particularly in Sunset Plaza on the Strip…less chi- chi is the Hustler Store run by Larry Flynt’s daughter.

Santa Monica Blvd to the south is home to a concentration of Gay/Lesbian Clubs & Restaurants on the western end, while things become decidedly Russian on the eastern end of town. LaCienega Blvd. from Sunset south to Wilshire is a diverse “Restaurant Row” with a wide but mostly up-scale choice of dining.

Museums & Other “Stuff” – As you drive through the Jewish Fairfax District on Fairfax Ave heading south toward Wilshire Blvd. stop in Cantor’s – an old and long established Jewish Deli with a distinctly NY feel…good stuff here! Also, lots of food at the Farmers Market @ Fairfax & Third St…much of the original market remains and The Grove [upscale shopping and dining] now occupies the remainder of the property…abutting to the north is CBS where several “soaps” and game shows originate. You may be able to attend a taping – check it out. At Wilshire Blvd you will find the Petersen Automotive Museum. Started by the publisher of Road & Track, Motor Trend & other car magazines, this museum houses an outstanding permanent collection dedicated to the effect of the automobile on Southern California as well other exhibits which change regularly – worth a look. Across the street you will see the former Mays Department Store – a historic site which is gradually being utilized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art which is the next building to the east on Wilshire. LACMA is a first class museum with both permanent and changing collections which are of interest. This was the site of the VanGogh retrospective here in LA. Surrounding LACMA is the LaBrea Tar Pits and the Page Museum – walk the grounds and see tar bubble up through the earth or watch on going excavation of pre-historic bones. Lot of interesting stuff here!

Hollywood - As you work your way east on Hollywood Boulevard from La Brea Blvd. to Vine, Western & beyond there is much to see and do…this is a top tourist destination for the World… Find you favorite personality in the “Walk of Stars”, check out the foot and hand prints in the sidewalk at Mann’s Theatre, explore the Hotel Roosevelt with its pool bottom painted by David Hockney and its collection of movie memorabilia in the lobby and on the mezzanine, have coffee at Hollywood & Highland or tour the new Kodak Theatre [an AEG operation and new home to the Oscars]. You might have dinner at Musso & Franks – an old original on the Boulevard which highlights the Martini – or visit the Wax Museum where Evander Holyfield’s bloody ear rests at his feet…take a walking tour – not expensive and you will see where many movie stars lived and died. On the subject of dying – take the Graveline Tour wherein you will be taken to the scenes of the demise of many famous folk – and you will be taken in a hearse! Supply Sergeant is a good surplus store with a large stock of flags and flag related items. The area on Hollywood & Vine is experiencing a resurgence of clubs, restaurants and theatres but don’t expect to find the Brown Derby here any longer – the restaurant closed years ago and the “Derby” is now the top of a taco stand in Koreatown! Lots of tourists…lots of T-Shirts on the Boulevard.

Melrose Avenue – The home of Funk & Punk…need a tattoo or a bone put in your nose?... this is the place! Color your hair pink and wear black – you’ll pass for a native! A fun several blocks of the unusual from Fairfax Ave shopping…clubs…theatre…it’s all here. The Wound and Wound Toy Shop is worth a stop…LOTS of wind-up toys and novelties packed into this tiny shop….if comic books and old vinyl turn you on you’ll find it all here…Aardvark is a huge shop full of used and antique clothes…jewelry “with an edge” abounds…

Beverly Hills – Have the driver of your stretch Humvee deliver you to Rodeo Drive for a bit of shopping – and don’t forget to make an appointment as many of the pricier shoppes require one for admittance...Lots to ogle here before you head to the north and drive through the neighborhoods of big and beautifully landscaped homes up to and beyond Sunset Blvd. You might even want to waste a few dollars on a “Star Map”...fun, but a better souvenir than an accurate locator of the star’s homes. See if you can find the oil well on the property of Beverly Hills High School – there are a number of cleverly concealed active wells in Los Angeles…as well as some oil fields that are not concealed at all!

Koreatown – Need a “Kimchee Fix”?...this is the place…relive WC 2002 [without the airfare or the soccer] here … spreading in all directions from the intersection of Olympic Blvd. & Western Ave. you will find all things Korean; in fact there may be more English signs in Seoul than in Koreatown – the L.A. version has more Spanish signs however….visit a Korean Shopping Center with its array of Korean fast food…with the arrival of Hang Myung Bo in Los Angeles you will find that more soccer is being “spoken” in Koreatown.

Mulholland Drive / Getty Museum – A spectacular way to get to a spectacular museum…pick up Mulholland Drive at Cahuenga Blvd West along the Hollywood Freeway [#101] north of Hollywood and head west for an airplane-like view of the San Fernando Valley and the Los Angeles Basin – the road twists and bends - drive with care…there are a number of places to pull off and enjoy the view…at night be careful as there will be coyotes sharing the road with you…continue on Mulholland to the405 Freeway [ San Diego Freeway] and head south to the Getty. Admission to the museum is free [parking $5]… this is the absolutely biggest bargain anywhere. If the Art doesn’t impress you, the grounds, the architecture and the views certainly will. From the upper levels on the south side one is afforded sweeping views from the Pacific Ocean to Downtown Los Angeles and more….a great place for a very special Sunday Brunch or a Sunset Dinner – reservations required. This is a simply gorgeous place to spend a couple of hours or all day…and there is all that cultcha!

Downtown – via Subway – Certainly one can drive downtown but with the high cost of parking and the rather confusing arrangement of one way streets, the subway makes sense. Note that the subway system, though serving only a small portion of Los Angeles is interesting in itself as each station’s décor is “themed” to compliment the neighborhood in which it is located. By using the subway and easy connections to surface rail one can traverse from Universal City in the San Fernando Valley all the way to downtown Long Beach. Highlights here are listed according to their proximity to subway stops.

Union Station – End of the line…and one of the more beautiful train stations anywhere, it is unusual for its southwestern architecture. Across the street is a bit of Mexico with a bandstand in the center of a square which is surrounded by one of the oldest missions, Los Angeles’ first fire station, a small museum, lots shopping at the stalls of Olivera Street and other stuff to see and do. Look up Alameda Street and you will see Phillipes’ sign. This unusual eatery is well worth the walk…billed asthe home of the French Dip it also offers a dime cup of coffee for your enjoyment as you dine at long tables on a sawdust covered floor…check out the many old photos and other memorabilia on the walls. Just a block from Phillipe’s is the start of Chinatown with its particular culinary delights. If you look to the north and up the hill you will see the lights and palm trees surrounding Dodger Stadium, one of the most pleasant stadiums in which to watch “that other summer game”.

Civic Center - Lots of government and cultural activity here – yes there actually is culture in Los Angeles. Nearby one will find the Music Center with its theatres and plaza [don’t get caught in the “dancing waters”], City Hall, the soon-to-be-completed Disney Music Hall [WOW], the controversial, and not to be missed, recently opened Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels and the LA Museum of Contemporary Art – always something of interest…recently an Andy Warhol retrospective.

Pershing Square – Walk through the Jewelry District on your way to Broadway where the language is Spanish on a weekend. Find the Grand Central market and see the most amazing taco machine you ever saw – out the back door is Angel’s Flight which was shortest operating railroad in the world until the cars broke loose and crashed in Hill Street, killing one and injuring seven…Even if you’re not hungry make it a point to pass through Clifton’s Cafeteria on Broadway – this is old, original and pretty wild. As you walk down Broadway notice the old vaudeville theatres, some of which are now being renovated for presentation of live theatre once again. From here you can make your way to Little Tokyo – more WC 2002 memories for some – an interesting area to poke around in … find the Geffen Museum of Contemporary Art which recently featured a display of elephant dung sculpture [ one of which was named “Big Shit”… how could one forget?]…next door is a memorial to Japanese veterans of the American Armed Services in WW2 which is usually manned by vets who love to share little known historical information with visitors.

Seventh Street/Metro Center – From here Staples Center [Lakers, Kings, Clippers, Avengers] - another AEG operation - and the Los Angeles Convention Center are a short walk down Figueroa Street. Stop in at the venerable Pantry on the way…this restaurant has been on the street for years, has never closed and is easy to spot by the line at the door. Also in the area is the Museum of Neon Art…unusual and changing displays of neon and kinetic art.

Anaheim – South of Los Angeles and east of Carson, Anaheim is home to Disneyland, Arrowhead Pond [home of the NHL Mighty Ducks] and Edison Field – home of the MLB Angels. Also in the area are Knott’s Berry Farm, Legoland, Crystal Cathedral and many other attractions.

“Scatter Shots” – Miscellaneous & Widespread – For a full day’s entertainment do the Universal City Studio Tour and finish with an evening at Universal City Walk. Take a ride to Pasadena to shop and dine on Colorado Blvd – route of the famous Rose Bowl Parade. While there stop in at Lucky Baldwin’s – a friendly soccer pub - or take a look at the Rose Bowl [one of the World’s Largest Flea Markets happens here on the second Sunday of each month] Griffith Park is home to the L A Zoo, Gene Autry Western Museum and lots and lots more – it’s huge, wild and right in the middle of this crazy city. Hungry?...try the original Tommy Burger at Rampart & Beverly which has been in business nearly 60 years; you’ll eat standing outside and there is a line 24 hours daily. Do you “want to be alone?”…follow the Glendale Freeway north to Angeles Crest Highway and into the Angeles National Forest…real wilderness, gorgeous vistas and sometimes one can find a little snow here and there – in July! Take a tour of the Hollywood Bowl or take in one of the nightly performances here – a really pleasant way to spend an evening. Surrounding the Los Angeles Coliseum is the California Science Museum, Museum of Natural History, an I-MAX Theatre, and several other attractions – the campus of USC is immediately to the north – it will surprise you. ! Lots to do and so little time to do it!


Web Sites for the Traveler
The sites listed below are by no means to be construed as a complete list – it is simply a start and should be helpful to the traveler. Note that any of the major search engines will produce a lot of helpful information. I have found that simply searching “Los Angeles” on www.google.com produces pages of solid, well organized information.

Los Angeles
www.losangeles.com

local.yahoo.com/?spid=9268722

www.laweekly.com
NOTE: This is an outstanding source for entertainment news – also available as a weekly FREE paper @ most news stands, liquor stores, 7-11’s, etc.

www.downtownnews.com

losangeles.citysearch.com

Long Beach
www.ci.long-beach.ca.us

www.aquariumofpacific.org

www.visitlongbeach.com

www.funbeach.com

Orange County
www.anaheimoc.org

www.usc.edu/org/seagrant/beach/beach2.html

gocalifornia.about.com/mbody.htm

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