I'm not going to lie, I played quite a few Go-Gos/Belinda Carlisle songs while driving in LA. (Ok, I threw in some Wilson Phillips, Roxette and Missing Persons tunes in the mix too...)
Although I am a NYC girl at heart, LA did cast a spell on me in a different way than NYC does. Hubs and I managed to cram in quite a bit of sightseeing in two days and thank goodness for the rental car, you definitely need a car to get around LA!
So what did we do?
We drove from West Hollywood to Beverly Hills on the Saturday night (cranking up those '80s tunes, I tell ya!) and dined at Lisa Vanderpump's restaurant Villa Blanca in Beverly Hills. (Twice, actually. Once on the Saturday night, and then again on Sunday afternoon for brunch....Villa Blanca is actually one of the few restaurants around Rodeo Drive that is open on weekends.) The restaurant has an easygoing vibe (despite the fact that starlets like Kim Kardashian dine there), the decor is quite nice and the prices are actually quite reasonable for Beverly Hills. Unfortunately no Lisa and Giggy sighting though.
We walked around Rodeo Drive both at night and during the day:
Check out these Ralph Lauren windows, they are as fabulous as Bergdorf Goodman's windows in NYC (a little Great Gasby inspired, no?)
Our hotel in West Hollywood had a rooftop pool and tennis court, with some good views of LA:
The next day, I asked Hubs drive me to Pasadena to view the Father of the Bride house, which was further away then we had thought! It seemed like we were on the freeway forever, when we finally exited to Pasadena (fortunately for our sanity). The house looks exactly the same as it did in the movie!
And lo and behold, the house used for filming the Draper's former Mad Men residence (exterior shots) was literally around the next corner. I had no idea the two houses were that close to each other! (And Thank God they were!) The door now has a blue door; in the series the house had a red door.
I was pretty happy we found the houses! (So was Hubs. He was treated to lunch, supper and Starbucks for the rest of the day. He's one in a million, I tell you!)
The exterior is now regular red brick, in the movie the house was painted white. Of course, we played Scarborough Fair while driving past the house....the area is quite beautiful and the houses are amazing.
After our success with finding the three houses, we ventured out to Malibu to Getty Villa.
Getty Villa is absolutely beautiful. If you go, you do have to reserve your tickets ahead of time as you require the pass to get into the grounds, the fee is $15.00 which pays for parking. Quite reasonable, if you ask me! The Villa, gardens and fountains are magnificent, again it is a place you have to see for yourself:
Later that evening, Hubs and I went to Hollywood Boulevard.....LA's Times Square (in a way), complete with crowds, characters, vendors, atmosphere, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Kodak Theatre, Madame Tussaud's, TMZ tours:
For our last day in LA, we went on a tour of Paramount Studios, the last studio lot in Hollywood:
This tour was fantastic and our guide was awesome. He took us all around the lot to the different Soundstage Studios and sets, which were fascinating:
"New York" Street:
The Blue Parking Lot, which can be filled with water and doubles as a pool, ocean, tank, sea, whatever (complete with a cloud screen so the production people can fake the location setting, as LA is almost always sunny):
Does anyone want to guess which actress stalled filming for two days on a show because the water was apparently too cold to dive into?
Stage 30 with the Hollywood sign in the background (Soul Train filmed their episodes in Stage 30):
After the tour was over, we decided to drive to the Hollywood Bowl to see the venue. I'd love to see a concert here one day...
Then we listened to Tom Petty's Free Fallin' and Fleetwood Mac's Rumours Album, as we headed out of the City, back to San Diego for one last night in California.....