At the start of 2018, I traveled to the USA to attend the Sundance Film Festival. The first stop of my U.S. trip was Los Angeles. After the long flight and the long sleep, I felt completely fresh and energised to go out and explore Los Angeles! I catch the L.A. metro to reach my first destination of the day. 3 Days are not enough to explore Los Angeles but it was almost sufficient for a budget solo traveler like me. Los Angeles is one the most expensive cities in the world and still I virtually managed to do all the things I wanted to do in the given time frame & within my budget. Here’s how I spend my 3 Days in Los Angeles:
STEVE HARVEY’s TALK SHOW “STEVE” LIVE TAPING
I was really excited about this one. It was my first time witnessing the live taping of a tv show. I sent out requests for a ticket to Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien and Steve Harvey Shows but at the end, I received confirmation from the latter. There are no entry fees to attend these shows as a live audience but It is harder to get into the hugely popular shows like the former ones. You can apply for tickets here and hope for the best! I reached the studio at the designated time. All the ticket holders were queuing up. After an hour or so we entered into the lavish studio set. After half an hour, the show started. It turned out it was Steve Harvey’s Birthday that day. He was quite prepared(Of course, Teleprompter!) and hardly did any retakes. The show was good in parts but really really long maybe cause it was a birthday episode and Also, he was shooting for two episodes back to back. Not sure if it is a norm. You can even spot me(Only Indian in that episode) from the studio audience. Go search Youtube 🙂 It was a unique experience but I had a better experience when I attended Trevor Noah Show in NYC!
HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME
After the Studio taping, I head towards Hollywood Boulevard. I had my little adventure finding my favourite filmmakers/actors’ stars on Hollywood Walk of Fame. After my quest, I explored Chinese theatre, Dolby theatre, ate at Shake Shack and persuaded by Scientologists! ATMs, Souvenirs shops, Tour and Travels shops, Tattoo shops, Budget food eateries to expensive restaurants can be found here. The whole vibe of the place was peppy and fun. Even though it was a bit crowded since it is a famous tourist attraction, I really enjoyed exploring it.
STAND-UP COMEDY AT UBC(Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre)
I LOVE Stand-up comedy. So how can I miss seeing a stand-up comedy show while in L.A.!! I booked a ticket for the show “Good Looks” at UBC well in advance. This is the best and the cheapest way to see a comedy in Los Angeles. It costs me even less than $10 with no compulsory drinks or beverages! The show was really funny as we say in India “Full Paisa Vasool”. Last act of the show was performed by Sarah Silverman. She was phenomenal! Visiting this nice cosy theatre was the perfect way to end my day but the day was far from over.
IS L.A. SAFE?
Well, before you snigger, Here’s what happened: After the show was concluded, I set out on a walking expedition. It was 35-40 mins walk to my Airbnb from UBC. I wanted to explore Los Angeles at night on foot. After walking for a good 15 mins, I reached a place which was really quiet and dark. I just keep on walking still thinking about the show I just saw. At one point I saw this shabby looking guy. When we were crossing each other. He did this action of punching/stabbing my stomach and walked on while muttering something. I was sh*t scared to say the least. It is one of the scariest moments of my life. I fasten my pace and only felt at peace once I reached my Airbnb.
It was my last full day in LA since I had an evening flight the next day and I made most out of it! After my First visit to McDonald’s in the USA, I call a Lyft to reach my first destination of the day:
WARNER BROS. STUDIO TOUR
Being a Cinephile, studio tour was must. After much deliberation, I finalised Warner Bros. Studio Tour. At the security check, the security guy joked “Relax sir, we’re not as worse as airport guys” when I tried to take all the coins out of my pocket! Tour started with a screening of a video i.e. montages of famous Movies/TV shows produced by Warner Bros. We were taken to the sets mounted on the studio lot used for famous Tv shows/Movies. Followed by the visit to the place where one can see all the props and costumes used in Harry Potter and DC Universe Movies. A Garage where all the Batmobiles used in Batman movies are on the display. A visit to the set currently being used in the TV Show “Big Bang Theory”. Last stop was to an interactive exhibition showcasing script to screen and production process, the technology used in the movies. It was approx. 3 Hrs long tour and totally worth it for a movie buff. There are many studio tours run by different studios. So, I would suggest you to carefully chose the studio tour based upon the Movies/Tv shows you like. For Warner Bros. tickets check here.
Due to time constraint, I decided to take a Hollywood tour with a Tour Agency. We were driven through Mullholand Dr., Hollywood Hills, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Bel Air and Rodeo Drive. Along the way, Our tour guide quizzed us about Hollywood Celebrities Homes. I never understood the excitement of my “out of town” friends and relatives to see famous Bollywood celebrities’ homes in Mumbai as I find it completely pointless but during the tour, I could relate to their excitement and curiosity even though it was short-lived. Tour was fast paced as happen with these kinds of tours but I would recommend it if you are running short on time.
FREE MOCA VISIT
It was my second visit to any museum after my visit to Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. I decided to visit the museum mostly because it was a free entry: Every Thursday from 5 PM to 8 PM. MOCA(The Museum of Contemporary Art) is totally different from Rijksmuseum. MOCA is all about contemporary art, Installation art, provocative art. It was an interesting and enlightening experience and I’m glad I did it. This museum is located in Downtown LA.
DOWNTOWN L.A. & OUE SKYSPACE
After my visit to MOCA, I went up to Oue Skyspace. It is an observation deck built on the 69th & 70th Floors of U.S. Bank Tower. One of the tallest buildings in the USA. The view of L.A. at night from the observation deck is stunning. Afterwards, I spend time wandering around Downtown L.A. before heading back to Hollywood Boulevard.
STAR WARS AT THE ICONIC TCL CHINESE THEATRE
To begin with, I’m no Star Wars Fan but the chance of watching a legendary franchise movie at a legendary theatre was hard to pass on. I booked a late night show ticket at the TCL Chinese Theatre located at Hollywood Boulevard. Theatre was pretty empty. Before the movie began, A dude recites a poem written by him to the theatre audience. No one applauded apart from his friends and me as I felt it was quite good. On the other hand, the movie was a bit underwhelming but the whole movie watching experience was memorable. After my yesterday night escapade, I decided to call an uber back to my Airbnb.
Last day of my trip to L.A. I had enough of all the glitter and glamour of L.A. So I decided to go somewhere quiet.
I changed multiple buses to reach Venice beach. It took me 90 mins to reach Venice beach from Central L.A. whereas it takes only 30 mins with own vehicle. Well, L.A. public transport is one of the worst I have seen. Nonetheless, It was worth the effort to reach Venice beach. Venice beach is located in the neighbourhood of Venice. Skyline and ambience of Venice are completely different from Mainland Los Angeles. The beach is clean and serene. After spending quality time at the beach, I head towards Santa Monica. I explored it for sometime before catching a train to Downtown L.A.
THE DOLBY (KODAK) THEATRE
After reaching Downtown L.A., I changed trains to reach Hollywood Boulevard, I wanted to take the guided tour of Dolby Theatre but I missed the last tour by a few minutes! Since 2002, Dolby theatre(formerly known as Kodak theatre) is the venue of Annual Academy Awards.
Food: Well, U.S. is the hub of Junk Food. It may not be the healthiest option but surely is the cheapest one. Also, Supermarkets!