DAY ONE / South Bay Harbor
We flew into Long Beach airport to spend five weekdays in the city. Since we landed in Long Beach we decided to spend the day in the South Bay. We headed to the Long Beach aquarium, which is one of best aquariums we have ever been to. When you first walk in there is a large 20ft tank filled with colorful and large fishes. The aquarium is so large and has everything you would expect. They have observation windows below the water and large sharks swim right up to the window.
Our Los Angeles | Itinerary
The following is our experience and may not be representative of your experience.
Hopefully you have a better one!
· Mission and Italian Food
· Dana Point Kayaking
· Malibu – Set of Mash
· Downtown Pasadena
· Griffith Observatory
Surprisingly this aquarium has an amazing bird sanctuary. You can buy a cup of bird goop and then enter the enclosure. The birds will just flock to you if you have some food. At one point I had three birds on my arms eating the goop. Overall an amazing aquarium with great exhibits to fill an afternoon. We walked around Rainbow Harbor and ended up at a harbor cruise. The cruise was nice and pleasant and was a cheap and wonderful way to see the harbor and it gave us the idea to eat dinner at the Queen Mary. Before dinner though we wanted to drive down to the USS IOWA in San Pedro.
We drove across the famous Hollywood movie bridge seen in movies such as Gone in Sixty Seconds to San Pedro. We were hungry so we parked at the Ports of Call and ate some fresh seafood at one of the fish markets. San Pedro offers a free shuttle and so we jumped on it and got a tour of the city. The tour starts at the Ports of Call and takes you to old town San Pedro, down to the beach and the San Pedro aquarium. We got off the trolley at the USS IOWA and took an awesome tour. I had never been on any military ship and so learning about its history was interesting. You get to see everything from the bridge, weapons and the living quarters of the sailors. Being fatty’s we headed back to the Queen Mary for dinner.
Before dinner at Sir Winston we toured the ship. They preserved the ship very well with a lot of the original materials. We learned that the boat had several lives including being a luxury liner and a way to transport sailors during World War 2. Because of this rich and bloody history some believe that it is haunted. We goggled some interesting facts and found out that there is a room that they don’t rent out because of too much paranormal activity. We found this room and looked through the peephole but saw nothing. We walked the mostly empty floor and I noticed the smell of cigarette smoke. There had been no one around and I was near some old elevators that don’t run anymore. There is no smoking on the ship and the smell didn’t seem to be coming from a nearby room and was concentrated in a corner.
We headed to the restaurant via some more hallways and I wasn’t paying attention but Lucy asked me if I heard the sound. I realized that I was hearing an unusual noise. We both stopped and the best way we can describe the sound is that it sounded like someone drowning. We goggled at dinner and found out that our two experiences are typical paranormal experiences at the Queen Mary. Apparently at some point the Queen Mary was in an accident with another ship and some people drowned. Dinner was delicious; we had the chateaubriand and beef wellington. Both were cooked to perfection and we even had a chocolate soufflé for dessert. At this point we were so full all we could do was head back to the hotel and go to sleep for a bit.
We woke and headed to the Long Beach Canal which at this time was beautifully decorated with Christmas lights. These are among the best displays I have ever seen and speak for themselves.
DAY TWO / We Succumb to the Mouse
- Always get a fast pass and get a second one right at the beginning of the start time of your first fast pass
- As much as possible use the single rider lines if they are short
- Make a reservation at the Blue Bayou a couple weeks in advance
- Eat lunch in Disneyland (chowder or gumbo bowl or the fried chicken restaurant by tomorrow land)
- Toy Story Mania
- Haunted Mansion
- California Screamin
- Indiana Jones
- Space Mountain
- Buzz Light-year
- Goofy’s Flight School
- Water Rapids
- Thunder Rails
We had a good time but can go south depending on how many people are there
DAY THREE / We’ve Gone Hollywood
We followed the trip to Disneyland with a visit to Universal Studios, which is a much smaller park that we were able to do everything by noon. Simpsons land and Harry Potter castle are the highlight of the trip but we were able to ride everything by 2pm and had a delicious lunch at Krusty Burger and a delicious donut for dessert.
What we did was get there when the park opens and do a couple of the rides that are open (minions, mummy and transformers) then do the tram ride and follow it up with the walking dead and single ride Harry Potter. We then have lunch and then head to a show (animal adventure and the special effects shows were awesome). We then decided to ride Jurassic Park and would normally go to downtown Universal but on this visit we were heading to Warner Brothers for their studio tour.
The Universal Studio tour is superior but the Warner Brothers tour does give you the chance to see different sets. The highlight was seeing all the different batmobiles and doing a scene on the actual Friends set. You also get to see some Harry Potter set props and see some working sets. Our tour guide was nice but it’s hard to tell since they do a poor job communicating what you can touch or interact with.
We ended the day by heading down to the Hollywood walk of Fame and walking around. We ended up touring Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Guinness World Records and the Hollywood Wax museum. Ripley’s was genuinely interesting and we spent too much time at Guinness trying to beat the local records for folding socks or holding clothespins. We ended up on the daily record board but couldn’t break the all time record. The Hollywood wax museum was underwhelming, just go to Madame Tussauds if you want to see some realistic wax.
DAY FOUR / California Mission and Kayaks
Having been in LA for the last couple days we headed to Orange County to visit an old Mission in San Juan Capistrano and kayak in Dana Point. Many missions in California have been refurbished but the mission in San Juan Capistrano is well preserved and in a way is the oldest mission (or at least parts of it are). The old church is breathtaking and unfortunately due to an earthquake you have to image the completed structure. The grounds are open and well kept with a lillypond in the middle. There are a couple free guided tours and some paid tours that you can take part in but just walking around is pleasant. The actual working church, has a gold mantle/display that is insane. The quick story is that they fabricated this large gold centerpiece but didn’t measure the height of the room so they had to do some modification to the room to have it fit. Once you finish touring the mission, the town of San Juan Capistrano is right next door and is worth a walkthrough. The town especially at night is very romantic, and the area has a couple of restaurants and bars. We ate at the delicious italian restaurant right next to the mission,Ciao Pasta Trattoria.
Close by is a great kayaking spot in Dana Point so we headed down and rented a couple of kayaks. We drove around the area as well and visited a local farmer’s market but mainly we wanted to kayak around the bay. We were running short on time so we just went around the park by the bay. A nice relaxing way to end a day.
DAY FIVE / Malibu and Pasadena
On our last day we woke up early and headed to Malibu to visit the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows, MASH. It would be a long hike but a very easy one and the site did not disappoint. Although it has been decades since the show was filmed you could still recognize many of the filming sites and where everything was during the shows production.
We then headed to the Pasadena area to see some art and landscapes at the Huntington Library. This place is expansive with different landscaped areas. A great place to just lounge and have a picnic. The Japanese garden especially is serene. I’ve learned to appreciate modern art but this place is filled with classical “take your breath away” art. The mastery of skills and style is obvious and easy to appreciate which is why we spent a lot of time walking through the galleries.
After we got our fill of the fields we headed to downtown Pasadena for dinner. Pasadena is just a beautiful city to walk through with an old town/ European feel to it. The area contains beautiful architecture, especially if you head down to city hall. There are too many spots to eat at that you can’t make a wrong call. We ended up eating at Roy’s, which was delicious Hawaiian cuisine.
After dinner we wanted to see the cityscape and headed to the Griffith observatory. We lucked out and it just happened to be a night where they had telescopes setup around the grounds. The observatory had some interesting exhibits and the view of the city is breathtaking: a fantastic way to end a trip to the city of angels.
~ Happy Travels! ~