Santa Monica Beach LA

Santa Monica Beach in LA is another great place to go visit if you are in LA. In fact, I recommend going to Santa Monica in the morning for sunrise, having a swim, going on the rides and walking the boardwalk and then heading to Venice beach for lunch and then to watch the sunset from there. They are right next to each other.

Santa Monica was made famous by big movies and it has a big boardwalk and ferris wheel on it like a mini theme park by the water. As you walk along the boardwalk, there are a few stalls, and some people that perform along the way which is cool. If you walk to the end, you will see people fishing. Its a nice spot to check out. Last time I was there, the circus was there too.

 

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The circus in town

The circus in town

There is a huge carpark there which is easy to park at and leave your car there. There is a big restaurant there at the beginning of the boardwalk called Bubba Shrimp. It’s an American place to eat at.

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The Beach

The Beach

One of the performers

One of the performers

The rides

The rides

Shot of under the boardwalk

Shot of under the boardwalk

Overall, I enjoyed going down to Santa Monica Beach. There are lots of people there walking around, and also enjoying the swimming at the beach.

Venice Beach LA

One of the best sunsets I have seen is at Venice Beach located in Los Angeles California. It’s a great drive down there especially if you stop past Santa Monica Beach and spend a whole day down there. Venice Beach has a whole walking strip with many shops. You will smell marijuana the whole time you walk past some of the stores as most of them sell pipes but if you get beyond this they also sell a lot of bathing suits, towels, shirts etc as it’s the beach. They have a gym set amongst the outdoor palm trees and heaps of guys are there working and they have pretty tight bodies and are not shy to walk around showing off.

My advice would be to park on the beach in the huge carpark there which is a set rate of $15 for the day and then spend the day swimming, walking around, checking out the entertainment by the locals, and after the sunset, I would get in the car and leave as it can be pretty creepy there at night. Some of the groups of guys down there and some of the pot affected locals, and homeless in the pockets, can be a little daunting if you’re not used to it. The best part is the sunset anyway.

You can do a great bike ride along the bike track which literally is parallel to the sand. A great flat ride to do. There is lots of action happening, guys playing basketball, cement tennis, working out, and the entertainment of the ‘special’ people lurking around that never made it on Broadway and feel like they have to come to Venice Beach to perform. It’s lots of fun.

The shops Things for sale

The artworks for sale

The artworks for sale

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The palm trees along the beachside

The palm trees along the beachside

Love the start of sunset

Love the start of sunset

Playing games by the beach

Playing games by the beach

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Absolute Bliss

Absolute Bliss

Just perfect sunsets

Just perfect sunsets

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The locals playing basketball

The locals playing basketball

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Venice Beach bicycle track and walkway

Venice Beach bicycle track and walkway

The London West Hollywood CA

One of my favourite hotels in LA is The London, West Hollywood. I stayed there in February as well as just recently and it is always a treat. It has the best rooftop spot in LA with views of the Hills and the whole California with a roof top pool, bar, and sun deck chairs. It is a great place to spend the whole day in summer and also a great place to have a drink and some dinner as the sun is setting. The bathrooms in the Suite rooms are so massive, and I just love them.

The sign of the hotel

The sign of the hotel

The bathtub spot. The whole bathroom is this design of tile

The bathtub spot. The whole bathroom is this design of tile

Gordon Ramsays restaurant is within the hotel and it is also his menu that they cater too on the rooftop. The food is good. It isn’t my favourite food in the world, however with the night lights, the pool reflections, the candles, the cocktails and hopefully good company, the experience is five star.

The Roof top Bar and Pool

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Dinner on the rooftop

Dinner on the rooftop

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Basically breakfast dining is served very well. Plenty of media and film industry people are always in there having meetings, pitches etc so don’t be surprised if you’re eating breakfast and you can hear a new TV series being spoken about etc. A lot of Australians stay in the hotel and I also noticed heaps of Jewish guests there also.

The elevators. how cool

The elevators. how cool

Me. Inside the elevator

Me. Inside the elevator

A great hotel, fantastic service and just located on corner of Sunset Boulevarede and N San Vincente Boulevarde. For a late night drink, the Viper room is literally in the parking spot out the back and the Viper Room is a very famous location. If you wish to have a great American Diner experience, I suggest you walk up Sunset Boulevarde and you will see Mel’s diner on your left. There are some other great restaurants there too so it’s up to you where you go but you definitely have options.

For those that like a great drink, head down to the Abbey which is just down the road. It’s a great venue for drinks with an outdoor and indoor section, pole dancers, three to four bars, plenty of dancing room and a variety of cool people.  There are great little eateries and bars down that same road too so The London Hotel is a great location if you want to experience the coolness of West Hollywood.

Dancing girl at The Abbey

Dancing girl at The Abbey

 

Great Antique Stores CA

If you read my last post on Big Bear Lake, you will be familiar with the area, and how it’s like an old pretty country town that has a man made lake in it, making it stunning and very picturesque.

Big Bear Lake is full of Antique places. They are mostly located on Big Bear Boulevarde off the main road and you will basically drive right past each one. For those who like spending time looking at old things, rusted things, and basically everything that they can gather and fit in their stores, you will enjoy the set out.  The beauty about the Antique Stores, Especially the Treasure Antique Store, it has themed wooden cabins out the back which are decked out like rooms. I make films, and I will certainly be visiting Big Bear Lake if I need an oldern day set design. I have taken photos of all the stuff I came across at the Antique Stores so if you like it, take a trip out there, enjoy the views of the actual Big Bear Lake and take a break. It is pretty hard to believe that the first one below is all one store.

The Antique Store (Treasure Store)

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Inside the Treasure Antique Store

I have to say, it is pretty unbelievable that all this is located at one spot. The outside is huge, like an outdoor Antique mini theme park. Inside had heaps too.

 

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The Mill Creek Output Antique Store

This one is not as big as the other one above but it still has alot of stuff inside. I bought a big bear sling shot as a souvenir, then realised i probably wont be able to bring it home hahahaa. Ill see.

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Below are some pictures of a dear friend Rachel I met in Big Bear. What a gem!!

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They say it’s pretty in winter with the snow and also very busy at that time. Summer was pretty though and being able to walk around looking at the stores in the warm sun was quite nice also.

Big Bear Lake CA

I basically went to Big Bear Lake in California because one of my short films got selected to screen there. I decided it would be a great opportunity to head there and enjoy the area at the same time as doing some networking.  If every you travel to the States and think some of the locals may be too busy to pay attention to you, then head to Big Bear Lake, because they’ll love you and talk to you in the nicest possible way.

I flew out from New York, to LA, then hired a car to drive to Big Bear. A pretty cruisy drive with GPS. Once you hit the mountains, you are basically going 7,000 feet up so the altitude is pretty full on. A great drive through the mountains and windy roads. Some photos below of getting there on the plane and through the woods.

Leaving New York for big Bear

Leaving New York for big Bear

Going to catch the A train to Howard Beach to JFK airport

Going to catch the A train to Howard Beach to JFK airport

View of Virgin America Plane with american flag wing

View of Virgin America Plane with american flag wing

The winding roads

The winding roads

Big Bear Lake has a man made lake that looks gorgeous, especially at sunrise and sunset. It used to have many bears around the area but they don’t come close anymore. They are in the mountain areas. The town has bears everywhere that are mostly carved out of wood and they are actually quite cute. We took some funny photos with the bears.

 

Inside the cafe

Inside the cafe

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We stayed in a local cabin studio which was basically located on a local street with the locals so I actually felt like I lived there with my car in the driveway. The place was called California Dreaming and we booked it through Big Bear Vacations. To get an idea. Its around $500 for three nights so its reasonable if you have a couple of you going. Its located at 589 Lakewood Lane, Big Bear. When you arrive though, you need to go pick up your keys from their office which is at 41693 big bear boulevarde and the ladies in the office are really lovely and will give you brochures of whats happening around the town.

My little studio cabin

My little studio cabin

The house across the road

The house across the road

Teddy Bear Café

We had a fabulous breakfast at the Teddy Bear Café on Pine Knots Ave. Absolutely yum. Eggs, sunny side up, with sausage, and hash browns which are made with shredded potatoes and onions. Was not oily at all and cooked perfectly. They come around and keep filling your coffee up. Very country style and just a nice way to start the day.  The lady on one of the days was so busy with all the extra tourists in town, that one of the local customers got up and helped her poor the coffees. Just lovely and sweet town. Totally recommend brekky here.

the street lamp outside

the street lamp outside

The Cafe sign and theatre across the road

The Cafe sign and theatre across the road

Breakfast time

Breakfast time

Inside the cafe

Inside the cafe

Sunset

If you drive through the town and find the bridge on your left, you will be able to witness pretty amazing sunsets as shown below.

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Sunrise

Sunrise in summer is around 615-640am. It is worth waking up for it because as you drive into the beginning of the town ship, just after the bends, you will find this stunning still lake area with two big rock formations. The houses along the lake have superb views and as the sun comes up, it lights up the mountains beautifully.

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checking out things in front of peoples houses

checking out things in front of peoples houses

Look like gingerbread houses

Look like gingerbread houses

Another spot of the lake for sunrise

Another spot of the lake for sunrise

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They have quite a few stores in the area as well as a whole heap of Antique Stores which I have written another blog about so stay tuned as plenty of photos from this.

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I recommend people visit Big Bear Lake. It’s a great getaway, very relaxing and very small townish. It has the friendliest people in the whole of the USA living there. There are a lot of elderly people that live there, and they are all so friendly. I would love to go down there for winter when it’s the ski season as the snow down there and the Village would be gorgeous. Actually if you go have lunch at the local cafes, you may even get entertained by the local bands in their matching outfits.

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