Wednesday, May 16, 2012

This Town.... it's so glamorous...

                                                     Getty Villa, Malibu

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:

                              House of Bijan, the most expensive boutique in Beverly Hills

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!

                                  Father of the Bride House

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.

                                              Former Draper House on Mad Men

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!)  

And then we found the Robinson's house from The Graduate movie in Beverly Hills.  We had just watched the movie a few weeks before our trip, and looked up the filming location for the house.  It was really easy to find. 

                                           Robinson House from The Graduate

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:

                                                          Jennifer Aniston

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):

The "Tom and Nicole" doors, so production on a set can fake that Tom (and shorter actors) are taller and Nicole (and taller actresses) are shorter:

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.....


  1. Love the houses and the personal tour of the hotspots. The only part of LA I remember seeing was a beach named after Will Rogers (an Oklahoman). No idea why we didn't get more excited about LA...perhaps because Bill had a tight schedule for his Route 66 tour? I've seen SanFrancisco, San Luis Obispo, Hearst Castle, Disneyland, LA Downs, Bakersfield and Claremont; other than visiting family in Santa Rosa and West Covina, the place I really want to see is Yosemite. Thanks for sharing your holiday pics - and your enthusiam! I confess to not knowing all the music you mention, but I can well imagine Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac really added to the experience!

    1. I'd love to see Yosemite too -- so many beautiful places in CA!

      Tom and FM's songs were amazing to listen to in LA!

  2. I love a house tour and yours is one that I would have loved to be on.
    Your holiday looks like so much fun. Don't you wish that holidays would never end?
    We did the Getty and Pasadena when we last visited California and focused on Bungalow Heaven as we live in an arts and crafts home.

    1. I still wish I was on holidays! Sigh. The houses, yards and trees in Pasadena are beautiful too.

  3. I fell in love with LA when I was down there for a week, everything about it. The new Getty is my favourite with the modern-ness and the views. How cool that you got to see those houses too - would love to do that

    1. I love going on house "tours" I just find it so interesting that production people pick certain houses to film at and how do they even come across these places?!

      The Getty was beautiful, so worthwhile to see!

  4. I cannot believe how much you and hubs managed to fit in, in such a short time. Amazing! I would love to do all of that as well, including the 80's music. I have never been but now I really, REALLY want to go!

    1. We don't waste a lot of time on trips, that's for sure! I'm glad we did all that stuff.

      So NYC or LA, Sulky?

  5. Great photos!
    You really did get to see a lot.
    Villa Blanca is beautiful.

  6. Hello:
    Well, we certainly admire your stamina in fitting all this in to your visit to LA and we have really enjoyed tagging along for the ride. It all seems so very 'Hollywood' to us and we cannot imagine what everyday life is actually like. Each day would seem like a scene from a film, we suspect!! The Getty Villa would certainly be somewhere we should love to see.

    1. I think you two are right, everyday life in LA would be definitely something!

      Next time we go, we want to see The Getty Center.

  7. Love the Go Go's - fun music for the car w/ the windows rolled down. I'm so glad you had a fun time. I want to live in The Father of the Bride house - of course only if I could update it!! CA definitely has a vibe all of it's own, huh? Love it there. xo

    1. I love the Father of the Bride house picturesque!

  8. LR, Great photos. Finally getting over to read. Love the Getty Villa and will try to get there next time. looks amazing. You look so cute at that restaurant. Love Pasadena too. You guys really got around and saw a lot! Paramount looks very cool too.

    So glad you had a great trip! Next time you need to get to Northern Cal!



    1. Thanks! :) The next time we're in LA I want to try the Ivy restaurant (saw it on your blog) but didn't get a chance to go there this time.

      Northern California is definitely going to be a trip one day!

  9. What a fun tour! I've only been to LA a few times and for very short visits. I hope to go agian this fall and I'm taking notes from your post.

    1. I already have my itinerary planned for our next trip! :)