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Karthik Raja | profile | all galleries >> Galleries >> Discover America >> Los Angeles to Laguna Beach, Route One, California tree view | thumbnails | slideshow | map

Los Angeles to Laguna Beach, Route One, California



Dates: Dec 24th & Dec 25th
Travelers: Sumitra, Karthik, Shwetha, Karthik

We started the trip leisurely on Christmas Eve from San Jose, and decided to reserve the scenic route 1 for the return journey. We took I-5 down to Los Angeles and arrived at Hollywood 5 hours later. We checked into the Hollywood Heights Hotel, decent facilities but great location, 2 blocks from Hollywood and Sunset Blvd. We walked on Hollywood Blvd. retracing steps of the many famous stars and celebrities. During award ceremony season, Hollywood Blvd. turns into a glitzy red carpet venue, but on Christmas Eve, it was just tourists, and different characters in costume. Kodak Theater, Grauman's Chinese Theatre all seemed very ordinary without the flashing lights of the paparazzi. The tourist stretch of Hollywood Blvd. extends for 3 blocks and the rest is not worth seeing. Dinner was at Rahel, in Little Ethiopia and true to LA style, it was a Vegan restaurant.

After dinner, we drove to Rodeo Drive, and though the shops were closed, we window shopped as much as we could. I guess it wouldn't have made a difference even if the shops were open. On Rodeo Drive, a small section called Via Rodeo, is paved with cobblestones and pedestrian only. This felt like the LA we see in movies. We continued our drive into Beverly Hills and Bel-Air, doing our own Bing powered celebrity house spotting. The houses were on huge plots, with winding driveways, large iron gates, tall trees and hedges. It was truly luxurious. Beverly Hills is the neighborhood with the highest median home price in the US and it showed.

Day 2 began with a very unsuccessful hunt for an open breakfast joint in Beverly Hills and Hollywood. We settled for Starbucks, although it was the one in Beverly Hills. The disadvantage of not finding anything open on Christmas day was our boon for the whole day as the feared LA traffic was non-existent. We drove into downtown Los Angeles, and walked around the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Staples Center. The concert hall was designed by Frank Gehry as can be easily seen in the sweeping free form architecture. We then drove to Malibu on the Pacific Coast Highway, and found Cher's, Charlie Sheen's, Julie Andrews' and Bob Dylan's house. We continued on the PCH to Santa Monica, stopping on beaches along the way. Santa Monica beach, made famous by Baywatch was crowded even for a holiday. Route 66 also ends in Santa Monica. We continued our trip down the Pacific coast to Venice. Though man-made, the canals and the million dollar homes on the canals were beautiful and the walk to the beach was relaxing. We had lunch at Venice beach and then drove to Marina Del Rey, our last stop on the PCH for the day.

We reversed our route, heading back north through Los Angeles to Pasadena to check out the Rose Bowl, just days ahead of the Big Ten battle with TCU. Penn State might struggle to come here, but 3 Penn Staters made up for it. Following the advice of a few friends we headed back to Los Angeles, to find gourmet pizza at Mr. Pizza, a very dimly lit pizza joint. Good LA pizza but Chicago still reigns supreme.

Day 3 began in true LA style with breakfast at Barney's Greengrass, on the terrace of Barney's in Beverly Hills. We could see all of Beverly Hills and the iconic Hollywood sign from our breakfast table and the food, the Banana pancake transported into the world of celebrities. Expensive but what isn't in LA. We spent 2 more hours shopping and then headed out south on the PCH. The drive was one of the most scenic we have been on. The Pacific ocean on one side and the flowing mountains and hills on the other. The road wound its way through canyons and the weather played along as all the storms and mud slides from the week prior had disappeared. The road into Laguna beach was closed but we found a detour through Newport beach. Laguna beach and Newport beach all form part of Orange County or OC as it is affectionately called. The whole stretch of OC is one of the must see places in the US. Different, green, blue, and truly scenic.

Our next stop was San Diego, just 2 hours south of LA.

Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Staples Center, Los Angeles
Staples Center, Los Angeles
Staples Center, Los Angeles
Staples Center, Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles - Frank Gehry architect
Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles - Frank Gehry architect
Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles
Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles
Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles
Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles
Bell Tower, Los Angeles
Bell Tower, Los Angeles
Hollywood, Los Angeles
Hollywood, Los Angeles
Hollywood, Los Angeles
Hollywood, Los Angeles
Hollywood Walk of Fame, Los Angeles
Hollywood Walk of Fame, Los Angeles
Steven Spielberg, Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles
Steven Spielberg, Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles
Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Kodak Theater, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Kodak Theater, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles
Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles
Mall on Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles
Mall on Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles
Mall on Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles
Mall on Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles
Hollywood Blvd. performer, Los Angles
Hollywood Blvd. performer, Los Angles
Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
Rodeo drive, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
Rodeo drive, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
Rodeo drive, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
Rodeo drive, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
Rodeo drive, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
Rodeo drive, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
Rodeo drive, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
Rodeo drive, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
Banana pancake, Barney's Greengrass, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
Banana pancake, Barney's Greengrass, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
Snow capped mountains around LA, California
Snow capped mountains around LA, California
Road through Southern California
Road through Southern California
Malibu beach, Los Angeles
Malibu beach, Los Angeles
Malibu beach, Los Angeles
Malibu beach, Los Angeles
Malibu beach, Los Angeles
Malibu beach, Los Angeles
Malibu beach, Los Angeles
Malibu beach, Los Angeles
Santa Monica, Los Angeles
Santa Monica, Los Angeles
Santa Monica, Los Angeles
Santa Monica, Los Angeles
Santa Monica, Los Angeles
Santa Monica, Los Angeles
Santa Monica, Los Angeles
Santa Monica, Los Angeles
Marine life, Santa Monica, Los Angeles
Marine life, Santa Monica, Los Angeles
Lobster, Santa Monica, Los Angeles
Lobster, Santa Monica, Los Angeles
Santa Monica, End of Route 66, Los Angeles
Santa Monica, End of Route 66, Los Angeles
Venice, Los Angeles
Venice, Los Angeles
Venice, Los Angeles
Venice, Los Angeles
Venice beach, Los Angeles
Venice beach, Los Angeles
Venice beach, Los Angeles
Venice beach, Los Angeles
Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles
Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Los Angeles
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Los Angeles
Newport beach, California
Newport beach, California
Marine Life, Laguna beach, California
Marine Life, Laguna beach, California
Laguna beach, California
Laguna beach, California
Laguna beach, California
Laguna beach, California
Laguna beach, California
Laguna beach, California
Laguna beach, California
Laguna beach, California
Laguna beach, California
Laguna beach, California
Laguna beach, California
Laguna beach, California
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Zorro asking for directions, Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles
Zorro asking for directions, Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles
A Transformer on Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles
A Transformer on Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles
Hollywood elephant, Los Angeles
Hollywood elephant, Los Angeles
Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles
Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles
A hollywood without Audrey is...., Hollywood Heights, Los Angeles
A hollywood without Audrey is...., Hollywood Heights, Los Angeles
Rodeo drive, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
Rodeo drive, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
Via Rodeo, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
Via Rodeo, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
Rodeo drive, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
Rodeo drive, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
The Angel, Los Angeles
The Angel, Los Angeles
Los Angeles Water and Power department
Los Angeles Water and Power department
Santa Monica beach, Los Angeles
Santa Monica beach, Los Angeles
Venice, Los Angeles
Venice, Los Angeles
Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles
Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles
Hummingbird, Laguna beach, California
Hummingbird, Laguna beach, California
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Los Angeles
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Los Angeles
Windows, Laguna beach, California
Windows, Laguna beach, California
Ethiopian tea, Rahel, Los Angeles
Ethiopian tea, Rahel, Los Angeles
John Wayne International Airport, Orange County, California
John Wayne International Airport, Orange County, California
John Wayne International Airport, Orange County, California
John Wayne International Airport, Orange County, California
Huntingdon Beach, California
Huntingdon Beach, California
Huntingdon Beach, California
Huntingdon Beach, California
Huntingdon Beach, California
Huntingdon Beach, California