I had such a fun time writing about the places to visit in Phoenix, that I decided to take that show on the road. First stop, a place at the end of my driveway, Los Angeles.
Then, things got difficult. Only five things in Los Angeles? How can I choose one place to eat between a burrito at El Tepeyac, ice cream at Scoops, a Garage Pizza and barbecue at Bludso’s? If I include all of these eating favorites, I’ll have room for only one more thing. My first round of brainstorming had come up with several more cool things to do and I had only been going for about three minutes.
Well, I thought to myself, what if I do five different areas of Los Angeles and incorporate a whole bunch of cool things for each area? Well, then that idea fell on its face because trying to figure out what “city” some place falls within can be next to impossible. I have a huge book on the different maps of Los Angeles and they sometimes disagree. Then, I realized that even the list of restaurants I made above fall into four different areas (East L.A., East Hollywood, Silver Lake and Compton) and I can’t be completely sure about those demarcations. It’s part of living here, never really knowing where you are and not knowing how long it will take to get to where you do.
So, I had to limit myself. Top five things. But, then I realized, no one said I had to be specific. So, here are the top five destinations that offer the best of Los Angeles, and a few of the unique selections for each.
I know that I’m a bit unique in that I want to experience a movie in every city I visit. In most places, that would mean the same old AMC, Regal or whatever chain’s multiplex where every theater looks about the same. Big deal, right? Los Angeles is different.
They still have single screen palaces that will show movies. Some are open every day like the El Capitan and its Disney fare, or there’s the Vista Theater showing the biggest picture of the week in Los Feliz. To really travel back in time, you can catch movies through the Last Remaining Seats, where their schedule gives the age of the theater and the movie. For my money though, the best experience comes at the Arclight. There’s the old school Cinerama Dome to go with 14 state of the art theaters and the best caramel corn I’ve ever eaten. Even if you don’t see a movie, the Hollywood Arclight location is great to visit to watch for celebrities so you can tell your friends back home you saw Marilyn Manson at a showing of “Paranormal Activity 2.”
Because of the ubiquity of McDonald’s around the world, I feel southern California has a deep connection in many people’s minds with the hamburger (though, like a waffle cones, cotton candy and Dr. Pepper, the introduction to popular culture comes from the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.) Still, the hamburger is definitely a part of the culture here led by In-N-Out, and also found in other local chains like Original Tommy’s where big helpings of chili make it stand out. For a trip to the past to eat an old style hamburger stand, there’s The Apple Pan in West Los Angeles. For a little fancier, you can get the Truffle Burger with truffle glaze and truffle cheese at Umami Burger. My favorite is at The Oinkster, because they top The Royale with bacon, chili and pastrami.
Come back next week for Part Two of Jason’s top five list, including his picks for LA-area museums, movie locations, and beaches.
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