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10 Real-Life Los Angeles Disasters That Remind Us We Should Always Try to be Prepared

May 27, 2015 by Zachary Rynew

Los Angeles is such a popular target for disaster movies (ahem: San Andreas opening this weekend) that it mutes many of the catastrophes that have plagued our region over the past century. Unfortunately, the southland has faced its share of misfortunes, not one more tragic than the next.

Rather than sensationalize these for pure spectacle, we thought it would be wise to recall them as a sort of call-to-action to make sure we’re on the ready when the next disaster comes our way. You never know when disaster might strike, but there’s actually a lot you can do to prepare yourself.

Here’s a short list worth remembering, if for any reason so that it may keep us prepared to make it through challenges (natural or man-made) that may be thrown our way in the future.

Rundown starts after the jump.

St Francis Dam

William Mulholland may best be remembered for bringing water to the city of Los Angeles, but he was also responsible for the biggest disaster in the area’s history. The St. Francis Dam collected water from the Owens Valley before reaching the city, but was always wrought with leaks. A dam keeper brought a new break to Mulholland’s attention the morning of March 12, 1928, but deemed the structure safe. The dam broke just before midnight taking the lives of 600 unsuspecting residents as the water washed out towns into the Pacific Ocean. The remains of the structure were detonated the following year after a child fell to his death when a friend threw a dead rattlesnake at him. It was later discovered that the failure of the dam could not have been predicted with the technology of the time.

Long Beach Quake

The first major recorded earthquake in southern California history happened in 1769, but the next big tremor didn’t occur for another 164 years! During dinner time on March 10, 1933, a 6.4 magnitude quake trembled just off the shore of Huntington Beach. While building standards were improved after the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, 120 people died mostly from being hit by debris as they fled their shaking buildings. The state recognized that the death toll would have been much higher had children been in classes, so a month later the Field Act was passed requiring all school structures to be built earthquake resistant.

Sylmar Quake

As the San Fernando Valley was entering the salad days of suburbanization, paradise was lost on the morning of February 9, 1971 as a 6.5 earthquake shook the region. Although centered in the Santa Clarita Valley, most of the destruction took place on the south side of the San Gabriel Mountains.

The tremor caused severe damage to the Olive View Medical Center and Veterans Hospital. It also affected a great deal of freeway infrastructure causing the Newhall Pass interchange to collapse. In all, the quake killed 64 people and caused a half billion dollars of damage, prompting the city to set tougher building regulations, which also led to the bland skyline of downtown Los Angeles.

Flood of 1938

While too much water is not a problem that afflicts us now, in 1938 Los Angeles received its worst flooding due to heavy rains and poor infrastructure. The area received five straight days of rainfall causing the Los Angeles, Santa Ana and San Gabriel Rivers to overflow which wiped out roads, bridges and buildings. Without flood control dams in place, The Santa Ana River alone swelled to a flow of some 317,000 cubic feet of water per second (nearly half the size of the Mississippi!)

Over 5,000 structures were destroyed and 115 people lost their lives from the devastation. Later that year, work started on the Los Angeles River transforming it the cold concrete channel we see today.

Stratford Apartment Fire

The worst fire catastrophe in Los Angeles history happened in more modern times at the Stratford Apartments in the Westlake District on November 15, 1973. Flames erupted from a lobby sofa that quickly spread throughout the 64 year old structure. The open stairwells created an inferno and cut off circulation causing 25 people to perish with another 52 injured. Safety doors in stairwells were required after the fatal Ponet Square Fire of 1970, but the Stratford Apartments were not up to that standard.

Cerritos Crash

Unfortunately, Los Angeles has had its share of airplane crashes over time, but the worst happened in 1986 as an AeroMexico jet was making its final approach into LAX. A small plane was heading from Torrance to Big Bear when it entered the AeroMexico’s path without the proper clearance.

A mid-air collision occurred sending both jets down into the community of Cerritos. A total of 82 people died, including all 64 from the airline and three from the passenger plane perishing. The crash also killed another fifteen people on the ground. In 2006, the city of Cerritos erected a monument honoring all involved in the collision.

Northridge Earthquake

Even as building standards improved after the Sylmar Earthquake, we fatefully learned about their effectiveness twenty three years later. On January 17, 1994, the region was woken up to a 6.7 tremor that killed 57 people. Known as the Northridge Earthquake because of the extensive damage to the area, the epicenter was actually in Reseda. Images of the collapsed Northridge Fashion Center, CSUN and Northridge Meadows apartment building quickly spread across the nation. The freeways were affected again, as the Newhall Pass failed a second time and a section of the I10 collapsed twenty miles away. It was concluded that the previous regulations were not strict or enforced enough. Earthquake standards were toughened again, but only time will tell.

Pile up on the 710

On a November Sunday morning in 2002, motorists heading southbound on the 710 Freeway encountered a fog bank creating the biggest car collision in California history. Drivers passing Del Amo Blvd. had lost visibility to the point that it formed three separate pile ups involving 216 vehicles. Forty one people were reported injured, but the most amazing statistic was no life lost among all the damage.

Heat Wave

If you live in Southern California, you love the heat, but even in certain circumstances it becomes too extreme to handle. For six weeks spanning July and August of 2006, North America had what what was perhaps its most severe heat wave in our country’s history affecting California the most. There were continuous days where the temperature stayed above 100F with it peaking at 119F in Woodland Hills, setting a new record for Los Angeles County. A significant number of people were left without power forcing many to brave the elements without air conditioning. The death toll across the state is estimated to be above 163, as coroners had trouble processing the volume at the time.

Chatsworth Train Collision

Coming back on train from San Luis Obispo on Labor Day weekend in 2008, my wife asked me why we were stopped for an extended amount of time in Fillmore. I replied was that since there was only a single track through the Chatsworth tunnel, that trains paused knowing when to wait to let others pass. A week later, the worst tragedy in Metrolink history happened when an engineer missed a stop signal and collided with a freight train killing 25 and injuring another 135. The devastation was so severe, that the emergency responders set up a morgue on site. The engineer, who was killed instantly, was exchanging text messages with a train enthusiast right before the collision.

The Takeaway…

Whether it’s earthquakes (a lot of those on the list), heatwaves, floods, crashes, being prepared for a natural disaster is critical to mitigating the damage it can do.

A great place to start is with an earthquake / emergency kit, and we’ve previously put together a list of items that you should have on hand for such a kit. Also, keep in mind there are entire organizations and websites (like readyla.org and cert-la.org) that provide guidelines, recommended precautions and protocols, and community response training for when disasters occur.

While you can’t predict the future, remember the old John Wooden maxim: Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

Take care!

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Lifestyle

So What’s a CicLAvia Anyway? Here’s 5 Things Every Angeleno Should Know

March 17, 2015 by Zachary Rynew

10/10/10

The date may look like a marketing ploy for a blockbuster movie or convention date for numerologists, but it represents one of the most important recent events in Los Angeles history. That October morning, the city hosted its first CicLAvia, meandering through a series of closed off streets between East Hollywood and Boyle Heights.

No one knew what to expect, but thousands showed up lured by the prospect of exploring the city at a more human scale and subsequently changing our views on how we use our streets. More recently, there is an upcoming Ciclavia in the San Fernando Valley this Sunday, March 22 starting at 9:00am.

With that in mind, we wanted to provide a little background to get you familiar with the event, and maybe even spark you to go check it out.

Here’s what you ought to know.

CicLAvia in DTLA 2012

Credit: Umberto Brayj via flickr

1. It’s Big and It’s Growing

On average CicLAvias attract around 100,000 people. Yes, that’s a lot. It crosses the lines between every age group bringing in participants from all parts of L.A. County and even beyond.

The event is traced from the ciclovía events started in Bogotá, Colombia forty years ago. Frustrated with gripping traffic and smog concerns, leaders threw their hands in the air and decided to close down miles of streets to all vehicular traffic. Initially, there was some resistance, but now it is a weekly event bringing 2 million people out to 80 miles of closed streets.

As the seeds were planned for our first open streets event in 2008, it took a giant collaboration between Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and many city departments to get CicLAvia off the ground. Two years later, the event took hold and was such an instant success that talk for the next event started immediately.

2. You See L.A. in a New Way

Los Angeles is known for its car culture, but the city originally grew in a more pedestrian manner. Streetcars used to rule the land until the freeway flattened out our urban landscape out. In that time, we learned to zip by neighborhoods without ever experiencing them.

Open street events can take place anywhere in the country, but CicLAvia helps many rediscover communities that have been overlooked. We’ve already been to places like Echo Park, East LA, the Arts District, Leimert Park and Chinatown, with many other discoveries to come.

Even if a CicLAvia lands in your own neighborhood, it is an eye opening experience. Robert Gard, Communications Director of CicLAvia, explains it best:

“It gets you outside the bubble of your car. You could be living in your area for years, driving back and forth, then all of a sudden you see stores you’ve never seen before, pocket parks you’ve never seen before, you talk to people you’ve never talked to before. The event creates engagement levels you don’t normally find in a car-driven environment.”

[Video Credit: Nicholas Dahmann via Vimeo]

3. You Don’t Need a Bike to be Part of CicLAvia

Just because the name implies cycling, CicLAvia engages more than those who ride bikes. Runners, walkers, rollerbladers and all other forms of human powered activity are allowed to use the streets as they please. That includes dancing, parading, picnicking or taking your dog on a stroll(on a leash please).

There’s no starting point and no need to train either. Cyclists move at a near pedestrian pace to absorb everything in front of them. That means you have a lot of freedom and far less rules than Fight Club.

You’ll see people dressed in costumes, carrying boom boxes, playing games and other things that’ll catch your eye. But most of all, the common denominator is everyone carries a smile.

4. It Connects People to Local Biz

One study conducted by the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs showed that sales have increased an average of 10% for businesses along CicLAvia routes. Even more impressive, is that business have increased 57% for those that have engaged with the event. Proprietors are allowed to move out onto the sidewalk (as long as they provide four feet of passage) able to peddle their wares to passers by.

Anecdotally, completing a CicLAvia course out and back will take less than two hours, leaving people with nothing but time to discover what many of the stores and eateries have to offer. Some savvy businesses have realized that even though they may not make more sales that day, to use the opportunity to engage thousands of potential customers they would never have this personal interaction with.

Of course, there are examples of business that won’t benefit from a CicLAavia event (a gas station is going to suffer on a day of an event obviously). Also, if a local business had a conflicting initiative or event they’d previously scheduled before CicLAvia for was announced for their area, this could be cause for concern as well.

However with some foresight, raised awareness, and careful planning, situations like this can and should be avoided, and on the whole, we see CicLAvia as a good thing for local business communities.

Ciclavia 2012

CicLAvia 2012. Credit: Melissa Wall via flickr

5. CicLAvia Strives to Bring Together Angelenos

CicLAvias are more than being a celebration of all things Los Angeles. It educates us how to use our city better through walking, cycling and transit.

Metro provided $2.35 million to CicLAvia for these open streets events encouraging many to get around without a car as every incarnation has been accessible by Metro Rail. For some, it may be the first time taking public transportation discovering that going by bus or train can be easier and cheaper than driving.

In 2015 alone, CicLAvias are expanding to Pasadena, Culver City and the San Fernando Valley, giving exposure to places some Angelenos may not have ventured yet.

With miles of bike lanes added yearly, streets becoming more pedestrian friendly and experience a growing public transportation network, Los Angeles is returning to its people centric roots from over a lifetime ago.

CicLAvias are playing an important role defining our urban fabric for the remainder of the 21st century.

All you have to do is roll with it.

What’s your take on CicLAvia? Have you been? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments below!

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History

10 Amazing ‘Firsts’ About Los Angeles That’ll Give You a New Appreciation For the City We Live In

February 22, 2015 by Zachary Rynew

Los Angeles is known as a “happening” place because, well, things are always happening! History is constantly being made and remade within in our city to the point that it’s hard to have a grasp of all the significant events that have passed. 

To properly understand all of these great occasions, a time machine would be the most appropriate. Until then, here’s the list of 10 amazing firsts in the history of Los Angeles:

Los Angeles City Hall

City Hall once dominated the downtown skyline. Credit: Harshil Shah via flickr

First European Explorers in SoCal

While Columbus first visited America in 1492, it’s incredible that Europeans laid eyes on Los Angeles only fifty years later considering the technology and the geographic barriers. In 1542, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo set out from Navidad, Mexico to explore the California coast with three ships. He made his way to Catalina Island before landing in San Pedro and Santa Monica Bay.

The expedition made its way up to near Santa Barbara to Point Conception where they began their return home before winter occurred. Stopping back at Catalina, Castillo splintered his shin exiting his boat while confronting the Tongva and died two months later of gangrene. It would take another sixty years for an European to visit the region again.

First Skyscraper

When you think of skyscrapers, cities like Chicago or New York come to mind. Los Angeles has always been behind the curve in that manner, with the Continental Building first locally hitting that status twenty years behind the trend. While L.A. has never been involved in a Dubai styled arms race , our city hall does hold some distinction. Built in 1928, it is the tallest base-isolated building in the world topping out at 454 feet, using one of the best construction techniques to protect against earthquakes (although the building had a seismic upgrade in 2001).

To keep our city hall unique along our skyline, no other building was allowed to exceed its height except those portions that were considered ornamental in nature, like the Richfield Tower or Eastern Columbia Building. With hints of classical greek design, our city hall still remains as one of the most recognizable in the world today.

First Disneyland Site (That Never Was to Be)

There is no other theme park on the planet more famous than Disneyland. It also holds the distinction of being the world’s first, opening in 1955. Part of Walt Disney’s influence came from taking his daughters to the merry-go-round in Griffith Park and the many significant fairs from around the globe.

Disney originally looked at laying out a park next to one his studio lots in Burbank to be called Mickey Mouse Park in 1951, but the 8 acre site was deemed too small. Instead, he went big buying 160 acres of land in Orange County with the park opening only a year after construction started. And the rest, as they say, is history.

First Pro Sports Team

Los Angeles is far known for being a Dodger town, but few remember back that the Angels have a longer history. The first professional ball club in the city was the Los Angeles Seraphs of the California League, replacing the Sacramento Senators in 1892. The team struggled to make ends meet as the only team from the league to play in southern California. The Seraphs changed their name to the Angels the following year, which also was the team’s last.

For the next few years, the Angels played in some semi-pro league, including the first integrated one in the California Winter League in 1895, before becoming a founding member of the Pacific Coast League. The PCL saw many great players, such as Ted Williams, Tony Lazzeri and Joe DiMaggio, before their contracts were bought out by big league clubs. When the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1955, it spelled the doom of the PCL Angels two years later.

First Film

Los Angeles is undoubtedly the movie capital of the world and many of the industry’s breakthroughs were conceived right here. Perhaps the most significant was the addition of sound into movies, or “talkies” as they were called. The Jazz Singer was shot at the Warner Brothers’ West Coast Studios in 1927, at what is today known as the Sunset Bronson studios.

The movie was an instant success and talkies spread to movie theaters across the country within the next couple of years. Charlie Chaplin released “City Lights”, the last great silent film in 1931 and the industry never looked back, unless you somehow remember the Oscar winning picture “The Artist” in 2011. Which you won’t.

First Earthquake (That History Recorded)

While Californians enjoy a fine lifestyle along with great weather, in the back of our minds we always worry about the daily threat for when the next big one hits. The earliest recorded earthquake in the state occurred in 1769 recorded by the Portola Expedition. The group reported four strong tremors, but obviously did not have the means to gauge any of its metrics.

Scientists believe the quake happened 30 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles with a magnitude of 6.0 somewhere along the San Andreas fault. Surprisingly, it was the last major earthquake within the region until the Long Beach quake of 1933.

First Dam

There are many reminders of our city’s famed water engineer, including the drought shaming fountain in Los Feliz or the poorly paved road dividing the valley from the westside. While the first aqueduct was the impetus to Los Angeles’ first growth spurt, William Mulholland’s greatest feat was also the most tragic. The St. Francis Dam was built on the outskirts of Santa Clarita to collect flow from the Owens Valley, opening in 1926. Upon filling, the dam constantly was fraught with leakages that haphazardly were patched up. Mulholland gave approval after an inspection on the morning of On March 12, 1928, the dam keeper brought a new crack to attention, but Mulholland deemed the conditions safe later that morning.

Right before midnight, the dam collapsed sending a tidal wave that powered through Valencia, Newhall, Oxnard and Ventura before reaching the ocean. In the end, about 600 people died from the event, the second worst tragedy in the state behind the 1906 Earthquake. Mulholland retired the following year and remained in semi-isolation before his death in 1935.

First Freeway

Arguing about our country’s first true freeway can be about semantics, but let’s just say it’s the Arroyo Seco and be done with it. The idea was hatched in the 1920’s with idea that Pasadena could use some significant linkage to downtown. Just as in modern times, residents argued about having a freeway in their backyard, so finalizing the route took years.

The freeway initially opened the first 3.7 mile segment from Orange Grove Boulevard to Avenue 40 in July of 1940. Later that year, the freeway extended to Avenue 22 near the LA River just days before the Rose Parade was to take place. The Arroyo Seco retains its beauty, but still features older on ramps that suit slower speeds.

First Satellite

As the space age was taking place, one of the most important missions facing our country was to launch a satellite after Russia launched the world’s first. The United States began their quest in 1954 with the Project Orbital proposal, involving the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) in Pasadena. Work began on the program, but was halted within the year with the government implementing another project that would never be realized.

When Sputnik launched on October 4, 1957, the JPL project was immediately revived and in less than four months, the US launched its first satellite, Orbiter. While it was a significant event in space race history, the satellite only lasted 105 days running on battery power.

First Internet Message

The reason why you’re reading this and not spending time with your significant other goes back to October 29, 1969, with one of the most significant ‘firsts’ in the timeline of the history of the Internet. That evening, a team of computer science engineers from UCLA sent the very first internet message up to another group in Stanfurd (that’s how I spell it).

The intended transmission was supposed to be the word, “LOGIN”, but of course, the network crashed and only the first two letters got through. Little was known about the significance of this event at the time, but the lab’s prominence grew along with the internet to the point it was named a heritage site in 2011.

What history tidbits about Los Angeles fascinate you? Let us know in the comments below!

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History

10 Iconic L.A. Institutions That Had to Move From Their Original Location

February 12, 2015 by Zachary Rynew

Los Angeles has its share of endearing landmarks, many that we can’t ever imagine the city without. Even as many of these institutions have been part of our fabric for over a lifetime, it’s hard to believe that some of the most significant have changed addresses over the years, from leading universities to culinary staples.

With that in mind, here’s a list of 10 of the most significant places in L.A. that didn’t start out where they ended up.

But then again, it was probably all for the best.

Hope you learning something new about our city and, as always, enjoy the rundown!

Canter’s

While there are few remaining signs today, Boyle Heights used to be the Jewish epicenter of Los Angeles. The Canters moved to Los Angeles after their first Deli failed in New Jersey. Having opened Canter Brothers on Brooklyn Avenue (now Cesar Chavez) in 1931, the neighborhood had already started its transition of Jews moving to the westside. Canter’s moved to Fairfax in 1948 into a small space which now occupies the Supreme Shoe boutique.

Five years later, it moved a few stores down into its larger and current location. Still very popular, Canter’s is a place that attracts Angelenos of all forms trying to get away for a nosh.

Tom Bergin’s

Living up to its name as the “House of Irish Coffee”, Tom Bergin’s has been serving Angelenos since 1936. Originally located up the street at Wilshire and Fairfax, Bergin followed his dream to build a tavern of his own just like his father. His establishment was such a success that Bergin was asked to operate the fine dining services at the Del Mar Racetrack, but ended up spreading himself too thin.

To make ends meet, he moved the restaurant just down Fairfax ultimately moving into a larger spot. Tom Bergin’s has changed owners a few times since, but had an extensive renovation completed in 2012 and still holds the character of the original restaurant.

Chinatown

The original Chinatown was located east of what visitors refer to as Olvera Street on the opposite side of Los Angeles Street. Its roots are traced to the early Chinese immigration to the US. This Chinatown grew in the 1860’s as one of the most volatile neighborhoods in the country, with an extremely high murder rate. Most noteworthy, the “Massacre of 1871” claimed 19 lives from a ransacking mob of 500 of white settlers.

Over 200 buildings became part of Chinatown, but the city soon grew weary of the nefarious nature of this neighborhood. In the 1910’s, the area began its decline and eventually was cleared out to make way for Union Station. The new Chinatown took a few years to form into the area we know around Broadway today.

UCLA

You can argue about UCLA’s true origins, but not about the fact that it was entirely Westwood bound. In 1881, the state legislature formed a southern branch of the California State Normal School, at the future site for the Central Library, for the purpose of training teachers. It moved north to a larger campus up Vermont Avenue in 1914 on what is now Los Angeles Community College.

It gained University of California status in 1919, but once again outgrew it’s environs and immediately looked for a new site. The story goes that developers had their employees serve as chauffeurs to influence the search committee’s decision. Their plot worked and the Janss family “donated” land to UCLA and Westwood had its new campus.

UCLA Vermont Ave Campus, 1919

The UCLA Campus on Vermont Ave in 1919. Credit: USC Digital Library

Pacific Dining Car

The Pacific Dining Car has the perfect story for one of LA’s most “mobile” businesses. Wanting to create a railcar restaurant of their home, Fred and Grace Cook built their own dining car in a friend’s backyard and moved it to 7th and Westlake in the middle of the night in 1921.

While business was good, they lost their lease and we’re forced to pick up and roll to their current location at 6th and Witmer. The restaurant’s current form has changed coming from a significant remodel in 1975. The Pacific Dining Car still serves fine dining 24 hours a day, a feat that few eateries can match.

Pepperdine

We’ve all driven down PCH and come across that massive glade of grass with the slight sense of envy of how perfect life seems in this idealistic Malibu setting. It’s strange to imagine any other setting for it, but Pepperdine was founded in the heart of South LA. The original campus was created in 1937 over 34 acres on Vermont Ave. and 79th Street. The school was built in the Streamline Moderne style with some of the buildings still donning the classic white paint today.

As racial tensions hit the area in the 1960’s, the university started looking outward to areas like Valencia, Westlake Village and Orange County, but when Pepperdine was offered 138 acres by donation up the coast, the offer was too good to refuse. Classes at the new location started in 1972 and the campus was sold to the Crenshaw Christian Center, which later built the 10,000 seat Faith Dome, one of the largest churches in the country.

Philippe The Original

There are few things that divide Angelenos. Bruins versus Trojans. Bloods versus Crips. The Valley versus Locals Only. Kobe versus Shaq. But the biggest of them all has to be Philippe’s against Cole’s. Both lay claim to inventing the French Dip and argue over who’s been around longer. Philippe’s was birthed in 1908 near the corner of Temple and Alameda, but it wasn’t until ten years later when the restaurant moved up the block to Aliso that the famous sandwich was said to be invented.

It later moved over a block again where it stayed until 1951 when it relocated from 101 freeway construction to its current location where you can still enjoy their superior sandwich. Wait. Did I just say that?

Original Pantry

The city’s most venerable eatery qualifies for this list not by it’s own doing. The Original Pantry opened its doors at Figueroa and 9th for the first and last time in 1924 (that’s because it’s never closed except for one bad health inspection).

It added a dining room ten years later, but in 1950 the restaurant was forced to move down the block to make room for a Harbor Freeway off ramp. In true Pantry fashion, the restaurant transitioned locations seamlessly without closing for one day still not needing locks on its doors.

Warner Brothers

The Warner family had movie making in their blood starting out as traveling exhibitors in Ohio and Pennsylvania in 1903. While they were profitable as distributors, they knew the real money was in production. Their first big picture, My Four Years in Germany, was such a success that they made their move to Hollywood later that year in 1918.

They bought a large lot of land on Sunset Boulevard for what originally was called West Coast Studios. Here, the landmark picture The Jazz Singer was filmed ushering in the new era of talkies. In 1928, the Warners bought land in Burbank and slowly began transitioning into the valley until it closed its Sunset location in 1937. It served as a sports center and bowling alley until Paramount bought the property in 1954 and bulldozed many of the original buildings. It is now known as the Sunset Bronson Studios and still has its executive office building greeting passersby today.

Clifton’s Cafeteria

With all the hype surrounding Clifton’s reopening and restored facade, we are all eager to welcome back one of the most significant cafeterias in the country. While there is much history to the landmark on Broadway, the original Clifton’s opened at 618 S Olive in 1931. Eight years later, this cafeteria was remodeled into a tropical paradise called Clifton’s Pacific Seas, complete with waterfalls and lush foliage.

While the Clifton empire rose to eight restaurants, the Pacific Seas was closed and demolished in 1960. The Broadway site was Clifton’s second location, opening in 1935. The cafeteria was sold off from the original Clinton family in 2010 and an extensive renovations began a year later.

What local businesses do you know that have had to change addresses over the years? List them out in the comments below!

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View Points

8 L.A. City Construction Projects Every Angeleno Should Have on Their Radar

February 5, 2015 by Zachary Rynew

It is an exciting time to be living in Los Angeles with projects of all sorts are popping up across the region. It kind makes me wish that I was a building inspector so I could see the progress up close on a daily basis. Almost

The truth is that while there are many grand developments in our future, some are more nebulous than others. For example, the proposed Union Station expansion and LA River revitalization seem promising, but are stages away from having a shovel in the ground (how’s Farmer’s Field coming along?).

Fortunately, there are many tangible developments going forward that will impact our city’s future. Here are the most significant projects on their way that you should keep your radar on.

Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project

Sixth Street Viaduct

The Sixth Street Viaduct has served as an important link between the Arts District and Boyle Heights since it’s construction in 1932. Studies in 2004 deemed the bridge nearing an unsafe level due to it’s disintegrating concrete supports. A plan was hatched for its replacement putting forth a prestigious design competition drawing entries from many of the world’s top firms. Architectural big wig HTNB won with it’s impressive design featuring a flowing series of slanted arches strewn across the LA River. There will also be a pedestrian, bicycle and park space elements incorporated into the bridge. It’s such an elegant design that it may be the defining LA landmark of the 21st century.

Sunset La Cienega

The Strip has seen better days, but developers in West Hollywood are doubling down that the new Sunset La Cienega project will bring back some life. The first phase will open on the west side of La Cienega with two ten-story boutique hotels in the ilk of the Standard or the Mondrian. This sounds like a natural fit, but its hard to imagine that this first major hotel to be built on the Strip in over 30 years. On the other side of La Cienega, another two buildings will house 190 residential units and a large swath of retail space. The complex will have plenty of amenities, but thinking about the traffic already makes we wonder if it’ll be worth it.

Grand Wilshire Tower

One building that will soon be impossible to miss is the new Wilshire Grand, opening in 2017. When completed, this skyscraper will reach 1,100 feet, supplanting the US Bank Tower as the tallest in Los Angeles by 80 feet. The building will carry a mixture of around 900 hotel, rental and office units. While it’s sweeping roof will be come an instant landmark, the building is already famous for owning the Guinness World Record for the largest continuous concrete pour ever. Prepare to do some rubber-necking when you approach downtown.

Wilshire Grand Design Comp

Credit: AC Martin Partners

Purple Line

It’s been a long time coming, but the subway is finally headed where it was originally intended to go. The line was supposed to head west down Wilshire and then north up Fairfax into Hollywood, then the Valley, but faced a lot of pushback from the NIMBYs of Hancock Park. When a methane explosion hit the Fairfax District in 1985, congressman Henry Waxman led a legislative measure banning any subway expansion through this zone. Waxman overturned the ban in 2005 and now construction is moving forward. The Purple Line should open to La Cienega in 2023 with the hope of reaching Westwood in 2030. Of course, Beverly Hills is pressing opposition to some of the path, so maybe they should hire Waxman as a consultant.

The Village at Westfield Topanga

Let’s face it. It was a struggle for you to lean your eyes beneath something referencing the San Fernando Valley. For sure! The Village at Westfield Topanga aims to be an outdoor urban center instead of just another valley shopping mall. You know, like the other ones that bookend the site. Totally. Westfield is plugging over $350 million to build this 550,000 square foot development featuring a ton of retail and restaurants laid out in a pedestrian manner. I don’t know how the Costco is fits into this scheme, but I imagine that’ll attract more cars than walkers. For sure. Needless to say, this vehemoth will either sink or swim or kill off its neighboring malls. OMG.

LAX

The transformation of LAX has already begun, but as you’d expect with any major airport, it is done in long phases. With the Bradley International Terminal expansion recently finished and updates to the other terminals in various stages, LAX will finally have a modern feel both inside and out. The biggest feature that will radically change how it functions is the upcoming people mover that will connect the airport to the future Crenshaw Line stop on Aviation and 96th. Along the way, it’ll also link up to a Rental Car Center as well as new pick up and drop off zones. It took a lot of work by many government agencies, but I credit the Department of It’s About Time for getting this started.

Metropolis

As already evidenced, there are so many significant projects going up in downtown that it’s hard to stand out amongst them (hopefully you’re listening Grand Avenue). The Metropolis development is one that has been lingering for awhile and is now making quite a statement as it is finally going forward. Rising on the east side of the 110 between 8th & 9th street, construction is well underway for phase one featuring a 38 stories of condos and 19 story hotel. Phase two has also started bringing another 500 condos to a 40 story tower. The last phase has yet to begin, but when completed will be the tallest residential building in LA and form the biggest mixed-use complex on the west coast. Oh, and it’s already over 40% sold, so this one is getting built.

Expo Rail

There’s a lot of transportation mentioned here, but why not? This has been the greatest period of rail growth since the Huntingtons ruled the land. Phase two of Expo Rail is soon coming and should continue over performing on those ridership projection, just as phase one did. Our first real connection to the beach in about a lifetime, Santa Monica will now be accessible directly from downtown providing a great alternative to the 10 freeway. On the other end of the line, the regional connector has broken ground allowing both the Expo and Blue Lines to continue through downtown saving you that scary transfer at the 7th Street Metro Station. And yes, you can bring a surfboard on the train.

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Things To Do

16 Fun Things to do in Downtown L.A. Next Time You’re in the Neighborhood

February 2, 2015 by Zachary Rynew

If there’s one complaint I have about downtown Los Angeles, it’s that too much is happening really (maybe too?) fast. It’s a lot to absorb, but the good news is that DTLA is back and it’s here to stay.

For those that have never ventured into the neighborhood, consider this a primer of things to do in downtown L.A. to get you started exploring the area. If you’re a resident or frequent visitor, you might just find one or two things on the list below you’ve still yet to check out.

Either way, enjoy the rundown!

(In no particular order)

[RELATED: The Best Way to Find Discount Events in Los Angeles]

1. L.A. Central Library

Every great city must have a great library and ours is worthy of holding that title. You start by entering through the original core with little orientation to the vastness that surrounds. Most eyes are drawn to the large atrium addition that houses the greater part of the library’s collection. You can find virtually anything in print, but take the time to visit the map room to look at some of their historical offerings. I prefer to take my books up to the older reading rooms that harken to early California. Make sure to view the elaborate mosaics from the main rotunda on the upper floors.

2. Happy Hours

For those that are into great food and adult beverages at discounted rates, there’s many, MANY happy hour options in the downtown area to choose from ranging from the dirt cheap to the absurdly bourgeois. Fortunately, we’ve already put together a list of the best happy hours in DTLA for you to try. I’ll refer you there for more information.

3. The Downtown Artwalk

Every second Thursday of the month see downtown Los Angeles creates a unique blend of art, community, culture and food known as the DTLA Art Walk. The Art Walk activities center around the galleries predominantly on Spring and Main streets between 2nd and 9th streets.

4. Grand Park

Beginning its transformation into a better public space, Grand Park is developing into one of L.A.’s favorite places to bask in the outdoors. The terracing and open plan has made the park more welcoming to groups, children or people just wanting to read a book. For cheap entertainment, let your kids run through the fountain for hours of fun. The children’s playground on the lower part is new and larger than most you’d find elsewhere. Still, there are plenty of opportunities to relax and layout without feeling like you’re in an urban metropolis. It’s even a great place to spend time as you’re awaiting trial next door!

Made in America Festival at Grand Park

Made in America Festival at Grand Park. Credit: Eric Garcetti via flickr

5. Channel 101

Every month at the Downtown Independent Theater Channel 101 hosts a series of free screenings showcasing submissions of short pilots. The event is curated in part by Dan Harmon (producer who created Community) and the shorts each month get voted on by the audience, with the top echelon getting ‘picked up’ to have new episodes screened the month following. A T.V. network run by the people, for the people. Oh, and it’s FREE.

6. MOCA

If you’re thirsty for some culture, then the Museum of Contemporary Art should be your libation. The question is, which flavor? I like doing both, since your admission crosses over. I tend to drive to the Geffen in Little Tokyo because parking tends to be cheaper and more available. Plus, they always seem to be filming something at the main one on Grand. There’s a free shuttle between the two you can take advantage of, but I tend to only take it up to the Grand location to avoid the elevation. On the way back, stop for a beer at the beautiful Kyoto Gardens at the Double Tree and grab some sushi down at street level.

7. Take a Stand Against Prohibition

There’s a lot of nightlife action in downtown, but a lot of places come and go. Everyone enjoys going to bars that you can rightfully still call watering holes. I always like dipping my feet into three of our oldest that predate prohibition. At the King Eddy Saloon, you still feel like you can find stains from Bukowski. The Golden Gopher still holds a rare license that allows you to purchase alcohol on the way out. And at Cole’s, the speakeasy back bar is a great place to hide if you get caught up arguing who invented the French Dip. My suggestion: don’t hit up all three in one night.

8. The Last Bookstore

In a time where bookstores are closing one by one, it’s nice to see some businesses buck the trend. The Last Bookstore is more than a place to find standard reading material. It is a celebration for all things books. This former bank has been transformed into a post apocalyptic homage to literature with artwork featuring flying pages, a tidal wave of books and other interesting discoveries. Make sure to wander through and support the artist’s spaces upstairs.

9. City Hall

Most of us have the idea that a city hall as prominent as ours should be unworthy to access for us plebeians. If you’ve never been, you’ll quickly realize our City Hall is one of the most welcoming places in Los Angeles(after you get through the security check). Start off by heading to the third floor to experience the fabulous rotunda and peek inside the city council chambers. Go through the building and find how easy it is to voice your opinions in most offices. The signature of this trip is taking the three elevators to top balcony to a 360 view of Los Angeles. It’s a million dollar view you pay nothing for. Except in taxes.

View from Observation Deck at City Hall

From the observation deck at city hall. Credit: Joe Wolf via flickr

10. Santee Alley

Although Ridley Scott’s classic Blade Runner never came to fruition(we have a few years to go, but we’re not getting there), I always think of this movie when I head to Santee Alley. Hundreds of people chaotically filling a limited space all seemingly with the power to know where to go. It’s quite the experience seeing the dozens of stores selling clothing of varying quality, some of them with questionable authenticity. I find that most either go to browse or buy a boatload of everything. There’s very little middle ground. Don’t spend too much on your first trip. It’ll take awhile to get the lay of the land.

11. The Arts District

There is no other place in Los Angeles that is blowing up as quickly as the Arts District. I didn’t even know where to start until Tyler Durden told me to just let go! My advice is this: park your car in the early afternoon, give yourself the whole day and go block by block. Enjoy grabbing a fine Belgian beer at Wurstkuche. But sip, don’t chug. Go grab a slice of the maple custard at the Pie Hole. But nibble, don’t scarf. Wander through the galleries on Traction, but don’t worry about seeing it all. There’s too much to take in for just one trip. How much did Columbus discover over twelve years of travel?

12. Grand Central Market

There are whispers and other wild complaints that Grand Central Market is losing some of its character. The reality is the place is almost 100 years old. Do the same people expect Kobe to player forever? I find this venerable institution to be a perfect blend of vibrant new eateries, sturdy affordable staples and a variety of farmers market items that make you squint. What I like is when you’re in a big group, there’s no arguing where to eat. Everyone can go their own way. I’ve already taken an addictive liking to the pastrami sandwich from the recently added Wexler’s Deli.

Grand Central Market in Los Angeles

Grand Central Market in downtown. Credit: Heather Harvey via flickr

13. Do the Walk Around

There’s so much history around downtown that you’re most likely not going to notice it. The best thing to do is take a tour(I know, it’s weird! You live here!) from one of the many groups that are smarter than us. The LA Conservancy and DTLA Walking Tours are two of the websites I send people to. Even when you stroll through Broadway, the history is so rich that it make take a few of these tours to understand it all. If you want to go by bike, try the LA Explorers Club or LA Cycle Tours.

14. Tea Time

When you’re done in Pershing Square reenacting dialogue from the hit movie Speed, class it up by heading across the street to the landmark Biltmore Hotel. The Rendezvous Court was once served as the hotel’s elaborate lobby before it morphed into a tea room. You’ll instantly appreciate the room’s Moorish Revival style. Grab a drink or pastry from the cafe and kick back to enjoy the opulence. If you really want to take it to the nines, come Saturdays or Sundays for their afternoon tea from 2 pm to 5pm for $35. Reservations highly encouraged.

15. Disney Rooftop

Any of Frank Gehry’s work can look a bit imposing. At the very least, you have to worry about getting caught on one of the sharp edges. Disney Hall is a beautiful building, but you can’t tell in passing that there’s a large rooftop sanctuary open to the public. The stairs are a bit of a challenge, but you’re definitely rewarded with solitude and a great view of the city. It’s such a nice setting that I’ve never been up there during daylight hours without engagement photos being shot. I always feel like I should have a book and sack lunch with me. And then I’d probably like to take a rest. Maybe that’s too much.

16. Kickin’ it Old School

There’s very few places where you could envision Los Angeles’ origins right in front of you. Heading to the El Pueblo de Los Angeles National Monument always seems to bring it together. I can imagine a dusty setting among these historic buildings back when the Spanish decided to establish this area as town instead of a missionary. It amazes me that La Placita started its construction over two hundred years ago and the Avila Adobe gives a look back at early life. If these people only know they were starting one of the greatest cities in the world!

Obviously there’s more to do than just this list, so we welcome your ideas for things to do in downtown Los Angeles. Let us know in the comments below!

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History

10 Cool Facts About Los Angeles Transportation History Most Angelenos Probably Don’t Even Know

January 26, 2015 by Zachary Rynew

The amazing thing about Los Angeles is how we have always been at the forefront of transportation trends. We first had an extensive rail system, then built expansive freeways and now are moving more towards a people’s street environment.

There are a lot of ins and out about Los Angeles transportation history that’ll fascinate you. Not only in how our citizens get from point A to B, but in the evolution of our commercial transit hubs over time. And while none of these facts involve, say, time travel,  there are quite a few bits of fascinating information embedded in these stories worth sharing with all angelenos.

[RELATED: 13 Trivia Facts About Los Angeles That Would Surprise Even the Most Knowledgable Angelenos

Reading up on a bit of history is always good for understanding the origins of our city and gaining a greater appreciate for where we’re at today. Mostly though, you might just learn some cool stuff that not a one of your friends probably knows.

Here are some of my favorites.

Public Transit as Tourist Attraction

Most don’t know that L.A.’s first major tourist attraction was up in the San Gabriel Mountains featuring the Mount Lowe Railway. Built in 1893, a funicular would take travelers up a 2,200 foot ascent at a 62% gradient to reach the 70 room Victorian Hotel known as Echo Mountain House.

Construction immediately began on a second leg taking a serpentine route which included a harrowing circular bridge up to another small development called Ye Alpine Tavern. A fire destroyed the Echo Mountain House in 1905 and the railroad slowly fell into disuse permanently closing in 1938. You can still see remnants and historical displays of the 2nd leg hiking up from Altadena.

L.A. Once Had Over 1,000 Miles of Rail Line

There are very few of us who knew that rail used to be king in Los Angeles, let alone remember we have a system. The bigger surprise is that at one point, our city had the largest interurban operator in the world when Henry Huntington acquired Southern Pacific in 1911. After the merger was completed, Los Angeles had over 1,000 miles of rail line. To put it in perspective, we now only have 87 miles of rail. Just imagine where we’d be now if it wasn’t for Mr Freeway.

Our Metro Bus Fleet is ENORMOUS

Bus service is an afterthought to most Angelenos, especially as we’re seen as the car capital of the world. While it seems like a birthright to own a car, Metro actually has the second largest fleet of buses in North America(behind New York). Furthermore, there are over one million bus boardings a every weekday on Metro. This doesn’t even count our other systems in the county, like the Big Blue Bus or Culver City Bus. Mass transit is in our blood.

The Finishing Line to Route 66

Los Angeles was the western terminus of the fabled Route 66, but few know about its origins as its course was mapped out before way before its existence. A plan was hatched in 1911 knowing the country needed an ocean to ocean connection even though only one in 200 Americans owned a car. The National Old Trails Road was formed as a set of loose connecting pathways from Baltimore to Los Angeles.

Some portions were poorly marked and could generously be called dirt roads. As the growth of the car continued, Route 66 was created in 1926 as a more formal national highway aligned with the St. Louis to LA segment of the National Old Trails Road. In the 1930’s, most of the California portion was rerouted to make it more of a direct route. Now, many incorrect signs label the newer Route 66 as the National Old Rails Road.

The Tunnel Under Griffith Park That Never Was

Most know that the Arroyo Seco Parkway was the first highway built in the Western United States opened in 1940, but it almost became a distant second. The Whitnall Highway was intended to connect the San Fernando Valley with Los Feliz through a two mile tunnel underneath Griffith Park.

Land was acquired in the valley and in 1927, a small portion of it opened off of Cahuenga, but many homeowners were mad at the prospect of losing their homes or having their properties subdivided for the highway. After enough public pressure, the idea quietly died, but most of the property in the valley remains vacant other than the large power lines on top.

The 405 is Really, Really Important to L.A.

There may not be a more important link throughout Los Angeles than the 405. While the freeway didn’t open until the 1960’s, passage between the westside and the valley was severely limited until then. It all started when in in 1875 Isaac Newton Van Nuys and Isaac Lankershim funded the widening of a prior footpath established by the Portola Expedition.

A new road opened in 1930 to better serve automobiles, including the tunnel that still functions along Sepulveda Boulevard today. With some of the valley freeways emerging in the 1950’s the need for a faster pathway through the Sepulveda Pass became necessary and the 405 was birthed, although sometimes we ask what’s the point?

Green Transit

One of Los Angeles’ most ambitious projects was created at the turn of the 20th Century in a venture called the California Cycleway. Its intention was to link Pasadena to Downtown Los Angeles through a raised dedicated bike tollway. Over a mile of the line was built and about six miles of its route were acquired for its right of way.

The cycleway faced problems right away facing battles with the streetcar magnates and a decline in the cycling craze. The line lasted only a few years and some of the land became what is now the Arroyo Seco Parkway

We Once Camouflaged Burbank Airport

There’s no doubt that LAX is the largest commercial airport in Los Angeles, but that distinction was previously held by the Burbank airport from 1930 to 1946. Aviation played a big part in the valley’s growth during World War II, but special tactics were taken to protect our airfields from possible Japanese attack during that.

With the help of Hollywood, the airport was concealed by camouflaged netting along with fake trees and houses to make the landscape appear like a typical rural setting from above. Catwalks were constructed to enable people to walk on top to show there were signs of life. You could say it worked, because the continental US never encountered any aircraft attacks.

 105 is Alive

The Century Freeway holds multiple distinctions that maybe not all good. At it’s opening in 1993, the freeway was known to be the most expensive freeway built coming in around $2.2 billion. About half of those costs dealt with relocating residents living in the path of the freeway.

It is also believed to be the last true urban freeway that will ever be constructed due the difficulties of eminent domain. The 105 & 110 interchange is also massive undertaking occupying over 100 acres of land. That’s the equivalent area of ten Rose Bowls.

Santa Monica Lost the Battle to Be L.A.’s Primary Port

It’s common knowledge that the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro is the busiest port in the United States, but most are confused by the Port Los Angeles sign seen in Santa Monica off the Pacific Coast Highway. As Los Angeles was emerging in the late 1800’s, the battle was on for where our major port would be placed along the coast.

The Huntington’s made their lot by constructing the long wharf off of Santa Monica in 1894 at a length of 4,700 feet, the longest in the world at the time. Meanwhile, the Bannings were dredging up the L.A. River ready to make their case to get federal dollars. Ultimately, San Pedro won out and the wharf in Santa Monica began being dismantled in 1913, lengthening the future commute of Captain Stubing.

What’s your favorite factoid about L.A. transit most people might not know? Let us know in the comments below!

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View Points

The 10 Biggest Eyesores in Los Angeles

January 23, 2015 by Zachary Rynew

Los Angeles is a wonderful city to live in, but it’s not perfect. I like to say that L.A. exists at an equilibrium point because if it was any nicer, we couldn’t handle flocks moving here (although demand is pretty high on that score already). And one of the ways we maintain that equilibrium is something that you can’t help but notice every single day you live here: the architecture.

Clearly our city has an incredible architectural variety of styles and a massive quantity of buildings. The consequence of this is that along with some amazing buildings, projects and public spaces, you’ll find equally disastrous constructions that practically make you want to gouge your eyes out as you drive by.

I have critiqued them for years without ever facing any opposing opinion, probably because no one wants to admit having anything to do with them.

But now, for your viewing displeasure pleasure, I present them to you in one blustering, comprehensive list.

The ten biggest eyesores in Los Angeles. At least according to this man’s opinion.

Citadel Outlet Mall

Credit: Prayitno Photography via flickr

The Citadel

As you drive south on I-5 out of downtown, the best thing you’ll lay eyes on is the former tire factory transformed into a shopping outlet called the Citadel. This Assyrian themed building was designed by the same famed architects that brought us the Mayan Theater. The detail for a project this size goes unmatched in Los Angeles. The mall portion behind the wall is fine, if not anything less than typical. The only problem with the Citadel is when driving at night..(switch to your monster truck reading voice) Forty foot LED advertisements! Glaring signs hotter than a supernova! Dodge cars while you avoiding this flaming inferno!(back to your Coldplay reading voice) It’s distracting and dangerous to drive through there. Makes we wonder why we have laws prohibiting the use of laser pointers.

Geoff Palmer Collection

The Medici. The Orsini. The Piero, the Visconti or whatever new crap is coming. If I specifically had to name one, then it would be whatever was the last I laid eyes on. These buildings may be something you’d be proud of if you live in Riverside, Barstow or Jacksonville, but not Los Angeles. The stucco exteriors along with their gaudy features are counter to the aesthetic downtown. The living units are perched high above street level making them virtual fortresses with businesses refusing to occupy the first floor. They look like some designer took plans from a McMansion and used the scale tool. I have yet to meet a person claiming they live there.

Westwood Medical Plaza

This building was designed by noted architect Paul R. Williams in 1961. It’s not one of his best, but that’s not my beef with it. It’s the large super graphic and what it represents. These type of advertisements were not supposed to be permitted, but found passage through some backdoor methods. In the early part 2001, Jon Muller, the building’s owner, tried painting an advertisement for Pearl Harbor(the movie) without a permit. The city council immediately forced him to take it down, but right after 9/11, another mural was painted with an innocuous patriotic theme. We were so wrapped up with Toby Keith that we did nothing as it morphed into an advertisement. Next thing you knew, those 1969 Statue of Liberty murals popped up all across the city trying to same tactic. So while the signage of Westwood Medical Plaza may not be ugly, it’s the principal!

Sunset Beach

The Sunset Strip used the be the focal point of nightlife activity, but its popularity waned as it tried to hold onto that glory. Some will remember Dublin’s, a dark and disorienting haunt that attracted a good crowd of twenty somethings. Most didn’t miss it when it closed, but now we yearn the day until time travel is in our grasp. Sunset Beach brought a 1990’s theme while they had no clue it was 2007. With its colorless facade and curved canopies, the building is the definition of forced blandness. I don’t even think it was open for more than a month. To quote Chris Rock, “Grand Opening. Grand Closing.” If there ever was a building that signifies the death of Sunset Strip’s livelihood, this is it.

Sunset Beach Hollywood

Credit: Yelp

The Blue Whale

Cesar Pelli is a great architect capable of designing work that inspires. The original portion of the Pacific Design Center does just that, but instead motivates you to gag. The Blue Whale is the best moniker I would choose because of its large size and lack of any other color. To be fair, I don’t hate the green or red additions as much because their transparency doesn’t make them appear as flat. I also think it’s cool that this was a project realized over 35 years, like the crap Richard Linklater puts out. But still, every time I look at Moby Dick, I think it one of those buildings that seems out of place in films and a few scenes later, it gets blown up. Robocop, we need you.

Redondo Beach Metro Station

I know the first thing you’re thinking, Redondo Beach has a rail line? Well yes, but just barely out of some creative gerrymandering. You can have a beef that most of the station actually lies in Hawthorne, but it’s not as bad as calling yourself the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. For visual purposes, the station sadly sits across Marine Avenue using from what I assume are discarded pieces from the 80’s show Buck Rogers. If there was any white framing left over from the Convention Center, it found its way here. There are a couple of spires that are supposed to reference oil derricks? It’s a question you don’t want answered. Also depressing, the Green Line abruptly stops here as if construction was still pending. If someone told me they were dismantling the station, I’d believe it.

Redondo Beach Metro Station

Credit: Wikipedia

The Los Angeles Mall

This list could have consisted just of shopping malls, but the Los Angeles Mall is my favorite. Favorite to hate, that is. Experiencing it makes you feel like we lost the Cold War. The design is impersonal and you leave scratching your skin trying to rid yourself of asbestos. Things seem off kilter enough that you’d think the business are phony copies of legitimate ones, like when you find $25 Oakleys online. I’ll give the architects credit for submerging it from the street. I like the Triforium just because it makes me feel educated saying the word. The site wouldn’t receive so much hatred if it still contained the Children’s Museum. Which brings me too…

Discovery Cube Los Angeles

When the Children’s Museum of Los Angeles closed in 2000, it was to be replaced by two new buildings, one in Little Tokyo(never built) and the other in Hansen Dam. Construction on the latter began in 2005, but didn’t open until the end of 2014. That delay may explain why the design looks slightly dated, but who you ever think that the metallic veneer would inspire our future? The building reminds me of(*this portion of the rant has been omitted due to its graphic nature*) which is how ground beef is made. I guess it’s nice that this part of Los Angeles got some recognition from the city, but the building doesn’t fit the environment. I don’t know if it’s all the horseback riding or the wash, but Hansen Dam always seems dusty, like you’re looking through the Crema filter on Instagram. They would have been better off building an ant hill rather than this sling blade.

Discovery Cube Los Angeles

Credit: Discovery Cube Los Angeles on Facebook

Baldwin Hills Oil Fields

Travelers arriving in L.A. may not get the best first impression coming out of LAX. If you really want to leave a bad taste of reflux in their mouth, head up La Cienega on the way out. These sprawling hills are covered with drills and dug out holes that makes you think that the Terminators won. It’s hard to determine the existence of lifeforms due to the constant haze swept up from the dust. I often wonder what other major city in the world has such a monstrosity right in the middle of it? Luckily, it’s mostly tucked into the hills so it’s hidden from afar, but still I worry that Skynet has become self-aware.

8500 Melrose

Noted as one of the ugliest buildings in the country, every list must include this homage to tastelessness on the corner of Melrose and La Cienega. The largess of the black and white striping makes you think it should be Sephora’s headquarters. This catastrophe has served West Hollywood since the 1980’s, an era beloved for its kitschiness, but even taste has its boundaries. The good news is that a pharmacy occupies the ground floor if you experience motion sickness.

Have any ‘least favorite’ buildings in Los Angeles that make you want to avert your eyes? Let us know how you feel in the comments below!

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Cool Spots

10 L.A. Tourist Traps That Every Local Still Needs to Check Out At Least Once

January 9, 2015 by Zachary Rynew

Any angeleno who is to determined to really ‘see’ Los Angeles will undoubtedly experience the daily cross-breeding of tourists and locals when it comes to visiting our city’s most treasured attractions. Venues like the Chinese Theater, Rodeo Drive and Universal Studios are places most angelenos stay away from precisely because of the tourist-trappy feel.

Other spots, like the Arts District, Hermosa Beach or Silver Lake, will never have eyes laid on them by out-of-towners, even though they hold some of L.A.’s most unique culture.

The truth is there are places that have universal appeal and we can all enjoy, even if they are sometimes overrun by a mass of tourists. In fact, if you avoid the landmarks because of the people, you might be doing yourself a disservice in the long run by missing out on something truly special.

With that in mind, here’s 10 of the must-sees we think you have to visit at least once, even if it means braving the crowds to get there.

Griffith Observatory Los Angeles CA

Griffith Observatory. Credit: Amatullah Guyot

Griffith Observatory

Telescopes aside, the Griffith Observatory provides one of the best views of the city that all can appreciate. The Hollywood Sign, Capitol Records, Century City, Catalina and Downtown L.A. are all in front of you. The observatory itself is free to the public with exhibits about the atmosphere and beyond catering to both young and old. Plus, there are very few buildings in the city that are as iconic. It’s a great reward for all that choose to hike the trails of Griffith Park.

Also see: A Handy List of Free Museums and Free Museum Days in Los Angeles

Original Farmers Market

Even with all the attention coming from the Grove, the Farmers Market still retains its character serving Los Angeles since 1934. Tourists come either by the busloads or from CBS Studios celebrating a victory meal from a “The Price is Right” taping. Locals love it because of the good food, many options and low key atmosphere. Oh yes, there’s free validated parking too.

Also see: 7 Farmers Markets in Los Angeles You Need to Check Out If You’re In the Neighborhood

Rose Parade

It’s a given that thousands of tourists flock to Los Angeles for their winter break to reacquaint themselves with the sun or cheer on their favorite football team in the Rose Bowl. The popularity of this parade isn’t just due to seasonal timing. The Rose Parade is the greatest such event in the world. Watching it in person is like seeing HD for the first time. The colors, marching bands and pageantry always makes this a special event you can take in every year.

Rose Parade Crowd

2014 Rose Parade. Credit bchampla via Instagram

Broadway in DTLA

Broadway is the heart of downtown and is being rediscovered both by tourists and locals. With a new wave of investment bringing our old theaters back to life and a resurgence of residential living, this district is one of the most happening places in the city. All can enjoy the delicacies of Grand Central Market and the architecture of the Bradbury Building. Even the locals will feel like tourists.

Also see: 10 Essential Downtown L.A. Parking Tips Every Angeleno Ought to Know

Malibu

Most Angelenos can’t afford living in Malibu, so it’s a virtual vacation for us. The beaches from Santa Monica down to Redondo are nice, but the further out you go in Malibu, the more you are taken away. Part of the escape is the sand and waves seem to be better than anywhere else. Grabbing lunch at the Reel Inn or Malibu Seafood makes you feel like you’re up the coast eating at one of those beach towns.

Also see: The Ultimate Guide to the Beaches of Malibu

TV Show Tapings

If you come to LA, you want to tell friends that you saw a celebrity. There are no guarantees, unless you go to a show taping. It’s an experience that all will enjoy because these productions know a happy audience makes a better product. While the actual filming takes a small portion of the time, the warm up comics and interactions with the cast and crew makes you feel part of the experience. If they could only bring back Newhart.

Also see: The 10 Best Free Comedy Shows in Los Angeles

Getty Center

Los Angeles has its share of great museums, but Getty Center stands out perched atop the hills on the Westside. You can be entertained for the whole day wandering the grounds and not even entering a gallery. There is a lot of art to view from many different periods and the rotating exhibits are always intriguing. With free admission, it keeps bringing you back. Probably more so for the locals.

Also see: A Perfect Day at the Getty

Getty Center Garden

The Getty Center. Credit: Nick Webb via flickr

Santa Monica Pier

The era when piers ruled the beaches of Los Angeles are long gone. Venice, Pacific Park and others offered a wide range of amusement activities. Even Santa Monica Pier fell on hard times, but now we embrace it(except the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company). It’s still a great place to take the family for a stroll, play carnival games and take in the ocean. With Expo Rail soon reaching nearby, expect another wave of tourists and Angelenos to visit this landmark.

Also see: 17 Fun Things to do in Santa Monica If You’re in The Neighborhood

Disneyland

When relatives come to town, you just assume that Disneyland will be part of their itinerary. It’s just another excuse for us to go. There are plenty of amusement parks in the world, but few that capture this level of feeling like a child again. It’s a place where all can go and leave the troubles of the outside world behind(a polar opposite of the DMV). Times change and so has Disneyland, but the same feelings will always remain.

Also see: 16 Fun Things to do in Orange County That Are Worth the Drive from Los Angeles

Catalina

While about 25 miles offshore, few associate Catalina Island as being part of Los Angeles. It is part of the county. The long boat ride out serves part of a nice day retreat for this isolated enclave welcoming tourists since the late 1800’s. With limited activities and vehicular access, just a simple hike or lying out on the beach is enough to call it a day. If you make friend with one of the yacht owners, even better!

Oh, and don’t forget you can also get free passage on the Catalina Express if it’s your birthday!

Also see: The Best Birthday Freebies in Los Angeles

What’s your favorite tourist trap in L.A. that you’ll brave the crowd for? Let us know in the comments below!

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10 Rookie Mistakes Visitors Make When Traveling to Los Angeles

January 5, 2015 by Zachary Rynew

Los Angeles has a metropolitan population of over 12 million souls and you would think with that absurd amount of people visitors could just blend in without notice.

But… nope. They stick out like a half amputated sore thumb dangling from a hitchhiker’s raised fist.

Maybe this is because even as one of the most diverse cities in the world, angelenos share certain characteristics that makes the behavior of outsiders stand out. We know our city, what to avoid, and how to get the most out of things.

The virgin L.A. visitor? They’re just trying to take it all in.

That said, below you’ll find a list of classic rookie errors travelers commit when visiting Los Angeles. After all, if you’re planning your first visit to the city of angels, you ought to know exactly what you’re getting into.

[RELATED: 10 L.A. Secrets for Travelers Visiting Los Angeles for the First Time]

Hollywood Sign California

Credit: Glen Scarborough via flickr

Figuring it Out on the Fly

We understand you’re not from here, but nothing annoys LA drivers more than people slowing down on our roads while they cross reference maps. Angelenos know where we’re going and we’ll be damned if we lose even a precious second while you figure out if you’re at the right Travelodge. We’re nicer people when we get out of our cars, but we all act like we’re the second coming when we have to get somewhere. Yeah, we have some issues, but you don’t want to spend your vacation solving them. Advice: Pull over and stay there until you’re absolutely sure where you’re going.

Advice: Map out your plan in detail.

Hollywood Sign

Everyone visiting is tempted to show off their trophy prize having their photo taken above the Hollywood Sign. The problem being, there’s no convenient way of getting up there. Parking is restricted, residents give you the stink eye and the hike is longer and steeper than you think. Half the day is gone and you’re still scrambling around Beechwood trying to find a way. I bike to the peak only to imagine than I’m finishing one of the iconic mountain top finishes at the Tour de France! There are plenty of other places where you can get a similar view without the hassle.

Advice: Go to Griffith Observatory or Lake Hollywood Park and someone as lost as you will take your picture.

Paging Ten Years Ago…

Los Angeles is a very stylish city, but we’re somewhat forgiving if everyone’s wardrobe isn’t updated on a daily basis. Even then, you can go outside the boundaries. How people still come across Ed Hardy still baffles me. Does the rest of the world get television programming on delay? Do these clothes prove the existence of wormholes in time travel? Did these shirts wash up on shore from a hurricane? I imagine this is what Columbus felt like when he encountered the natives of the West Indies. Or you could just dress like these guys.

Advice: Wear something timeless, like Dodgers or Lakers gear.

Disneyland is Where?

One of the worst things you can ask an Angeleno is “What part of Los Angeles is Disneyland in?” Even writing about it angers me to the point that I want to slam my keyboard Incredible Hulk style. Locals treat Orange County like New Yorkers scoff at New Jersey. We don’t have a geographic feature to separate us, but you’ll notice the difference with their sixteen lane freeways, the extinction of pedestrians and neuticles hanging from most pickup trucks. It’s a region where those have sold out to upper class, suburban values. Us O.G.ers don’t take too kindly to that.

Advice: Do not cross back over that county line. But if you do, here’s a bunch of other stuff you can do there as well.

Disneyland Adventure Park

Credit: Michael Saechang via flickr

Cahuenga Pass

Cycling through the Cahuenga Pass can be a dangerous endeavor with no bike lanes and cars zipping by. My adventurous streak helped me discover a rare phenomena, tourists walking to the valley! I’d say a majority of those I’ve encountered are not from this continent and mistake the three mile trek being in kilometers. It’s a dangerous journey to make with no sidewalks and cars zipping by you. At times, I’ve found these wanderers looking for safe passage on the more confusing side streets trying to find civilization like the Hunger Games.

Advice: Metro Red Line Hollywood to Universal City.

Bend It!

Soccer is a popular game worldwide and people love wearing their favorite team’s jerseys, but recently I’ve noticed more scripted in english without recognizing their origin. Research helped me discover that groups travel to Los Angeles to support their local Major League Soccer team when they play the Galaxy(nee David Beckham). Now, our team has been highly successful winning the latest championship and three out of the last four, but freeway chases gain better local ratings than MLS games. You’ll find these tribes of people near Farmers Market because they think they appeal to Drew Carey because he’s part owner of a team. Next time you see a family in a Portland Timbers or Seattle Sounders kit, see how they walk around proudly bracing for the criticism that never comes.

Advice: Supplement your wardrobe with a Venice Beach hat to signify you’re an out-of-towner. 

Walk of Fame

There are certain sites you need to see as a tourist. Not because they are entirely exciting, but everyone will nag you about whether you visited it when you return home. So we’re cool with you going to visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We are annoyed when people look for celebrities here. Just because people’s footprints are laid into cement doesn’t mean they’re beholden to the place. One thing that the stars enjoy living in Los Angeles is the level of anonymity it provides due to the fact there are so many of them. They are not going to visit the Chinese Theater on a whim.

Advice: Have lunch in Toluca Lake.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Credit: Christian Haugen via flickr

Ex-LAX

Not totally avoidable, but using our primary airport can be a mess. The concourses swirl with traffic. Getting through security is laborious. Even the lines for check-in looks like an Escher drawing. Locals know that Burbank and Long Beach offer the most hassle free way getting in and out of town. The downside is they have limited connections, but if you’re headed to Las Vegas or the Bay Area, then you’re short changing yourself by not using them.

Advice: Pray you can find a connecting flight!

The 405 is a what?

You look at a map. You see the numbers “405” embedded within an interstate symbol. Logic dictates that by federal standards the accentuated line indicates this a freeway of some kind. Only in spirit. Travelers that rely on the 405 will be baffled by its usefulness. Traffic barely moves. We widened it and things only got worse! We’ve given up hope. Notice when radio stations give traffic reports, they omit mention of the 405. Why? You should just assume it’s a continuous sig alert. Avoid. Avoid. Avoid!

Advice: AVOID!!!

[RELATED: 21 Memes About Living in Los Angeles Every Angeleno Knows to Be True]

Get on the Bus!

One of the biggest mistakes travelers make is expecting us to give proper advice how to get around by bus. Public transportation is on the rise in Los Angeles, yet it is still an enigma to most of us. We can locate a rail station, but recommend a bus line? Not likely. The city is so big with so many routes that I swear no one knows where they all go. Can you blame us with Los Angeles County having over 40 transit agencies? Asking for help yields you the opposite response of the SNL skit, “The Californians.”

Advice: Google Maps & stiff alcohol.

Do you notice when touristy behavior makes tourists stand out while visiting Los Angeles? Share you wisdom with us in the comments below!

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10 Essential Downtown L.A. Parking Tips Every Angeleno Needs to Know

December 26, 2014 by Zachary Rynew

Parking in Downtown Los Angeles is such a mystery that even Neil deGrasse Tyson won’t touch it. Navigating the busy streets is difficult enough, but trying to find parking at the same time…? Forget about it.

It takes years of skill, practice, dedication, note taking, interviews, surveillance, survey crews, government intervention, SWAT teams and superhero powers to master the downtown parking scene. Or, if you really need to shortcut the process, you could just read this article.

Our 10 best tips to parking in Downtown L.A. to follow. Enjoy the rundown!

Parking Lot in Downtown Los Angeles

Credit: Neil Kremer on flickr

1. Over One Hundred Years in the Making

Philippe’s or Cole’s? Cole’s or Philippe’s? That’s the eternal question for Angelenos. One of these disputed creators of the French Dip Sandwich has the upper hand in one department: Free parking! That would be Philippe’s. Yes, technically it sits in Chinatown, but is so convenient to downtown, Dodger games and Union Station, how could you say no? It’s only available while dining, so please respect the rights of others while eating their superior sandwiches!

2. Spare Change?

One go-to trick instead of parking my Rolls Royce in an expensive lot is finding metered parking a few blocks away from the $20 parking. You won’t find them on Figueroa or Flower, but there are pockets all around. Since most meters expire at 8pm, you’re screwed trying to find a spot. I’ll use basic math skills when to find a spot. Since the meters typically have one, two or four hour limits, I’ll subtract those numbers from eight to see when I can start parking. Actually, my butler does the math for me.

3. There’s So Much Space in the Car with those Tight Pants

Since I’m slow to pick up on trends, I had to wonder about the cluster of hipsters parked on the side of the road scrolling through their phones, for what I presumed was shopping online for fedoras. I was able to put two and two together once I noticed those pink mustaches on the dashboards. With my apologies to the man purse crowd, Uber, Lyft and other ride share apps are a great way to supplement your commute. I pulled a move where a few of us drove separately and met up in a cheap lot to put our savings towards ride share to bring us the rest of the way. We each saved big cash over doling out for the expensive lot. And our driver had more money for the thrift store.

4. Go West Young Man

Seeing a game at Staples is always an event, but so is leaving. Do I ever park in the associated lots? Only when someone gives me a free pass. The reality is, the time you gain parking nearby you lose afterwards trying to get out of the lot and finding a freeway. If you live south of Staples or on the westside, I advise trying to find metered or cheap parking east of Flower and hop onto the 10 at Grand for easy access. If you’re Hollywood bound or carpooling with the Kardashians to Calabasas, look to park off of 11th Street on the other side of the 110. There are some $10 lots or if you’re adventurous, free spots along the side streets. Afterward, hop onto to Alvarado and hit the 101. Boom! Mind blown!

5. Underground

Avoiding parking altogether is a good move. Convincing people of that practice is a whole other animal. Because its public transit, some people have the stigma that the trains are like Gangs of New York without all the overacting. Truth be told, it’s you best option going downtown. There are rail lines converging from all the cardinal directions and takes you within a couple of blocks of where you want to go, like Disney Hall, LA Live, Broadway and the Arts District. The lines run very frequently up until 8pm and only costs $1.75 including all transfers for two hours. Plus, you won’t be sitting in traffic. Enough for you to give up your car.

6. Lock it, Hide it, Keep it

While Downtown LA is overall safer than most neighborhoods, the rate for car related crimes is about average. The malfeasance is pretty equally distributed inside the inner loop, so no one is safe, even in parking garages. I look to pick a smaller lot where someone is in attendance to keep an eye on things, but that’s no guarantee. Always remember to hide all valuables. Justin Bieber albums don’t count.

7. How does Free Sound?

I never went to the Wharton School of Business, but to make money, you have to collect it. When I heard of the recent service that will shuttle you for free around downtown, I pinched myself and slapped my face for good measure. Downtown Concierge will provide you free rides anywhere inside the downtown loop. The only downside is you’ll possibly be sharing the ride, but dollars count these days. By setting up your pickup times, it’s a great way to bar hop once you’ve parked. Just connect with their webpage and go from there.

8. Just Submit

I don’t always fight the power. Knowing there’s a lot with available space and modest pricing does it for me sometimes. Pershing Square’s lot is right in the middle of things and doesn’t break the bank. Their early bird special which lasts until 11am(that doesn’t seem that early), costs only $10. After 7pm and on weekends & holidays it drops to $7. If you feel bad about spending this much, just peek your head into Rendezvous Court across the street at the Biltmore for its beautiful lounge and all anger will subside. If you want to get an overview of all the paid lots (and there are tons!) in the area, check out this map provided by bestparking.com.

9. On the Other Hand…

You shouldn’t drive down Broadway, let alone park there. Even with all its attractions, everyone wnats to be near there and parking operators know it. That’s why I’ll try to find one of the lots around Main or Los Angeles St. My price point is $5, but you’ll find a number of others that land in the single digits. Just don’t look up Joe’s Parking and ask someone on the street where their lot is. The have a million of them downtown. At least.

10. Grand Central Yum

I’ll ignore the complaints about Grand Central Market being gentrified. It’s been a damn good place to eat and always will be. And also park too. The garage next to the building on the corner of Hill and 3rd Street provides free one hour validated parking with purchase. There are a few places that offer this sort of deal, but I’ll choose Grand Central Market every time. Also, poke your nose across Broadway into the Bradbury Building before you time expires.

 So what’s your best advice for parking in downtown Los Angeles? Let us know in the comments below!

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Things To Do

12 Things to Do for New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles

December 19, 2014 by Zachary Rynew

Ah, December. The time of year you ask others, “What do you want to do for New Year’s?” instead of saying, “I’m doing this for New Year’s”.

No one seems to be enthusiastic the planning aspect until after Thanksgiving, and then it seems too late. It is one of life’s biggest paradoxes.

Good thing for you I’m your Doug Flutie, ready to make sure your Hail Mary for last minute plans gets caught with seconds in the end zone.

With that in mind, here’s some great ideas to spend your New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles.

Fairmont Miramar

New Year’s Eve is supposed to be special, so why not pamper yourself? The Fairmont Miramar is one of our best hotels and offers the finest views of the coast. Even better, they have a package which does all the planning for you! It includes accommodations, dinner and breakfast for two at their restaurant FIG, valet parking and two tickets to their festive NYE party for $899. And those fabulous robes! You can also spend New Year’s Day at their fabulous pool, because you know it never rains when there’s a Rose Parade.

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Tony’s Darts Away

Does New Year’s have to be an excuse to drink beer? No, but when Tony’s Darts Away comes calling, you take notice. Already known for having one of the best beer lists in the valley, they’ll be ringing in the New Year with UNLIMITED pours of California’s finest brews, all you can eat pub food and a raffle from Tony’s private reserves. Tickets are $75, so grab them quickly. And pace yourself please.

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Union Station

Who wouldn’t like to celebrate New Year’s Gatsby style? Prohibition NYE is hosting their celebration in 1920’s fashion at one of LA’s most elegant(and transit oriented) landmarks, Union Station. Accompanying the mood will be live jazz music, oyster trays, hand rolled cigars and dance music led by DJ duo POSSO. Don’t read too much into the event’s title, an open bar will provide custom cocktails and flowing champagne.  Pre-sale tickets are gone, so hurry up and grab the few remaining or you’ll be commemorating the Great Depression instead.

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Rose Parade

If you’re pot committed to living in Los Angeles, then camping out for the Rose Parade is something you’ll do once in your lifetime. Unlike the Twilight movie premieres, there are rules for staying overnight. You can start occupying the sidewalks starting at noon of New Year’s Eve, and then at 11pm you can move into the street up to the blue “honor” line starting at 11pm. Bring celebratory accoutrements, blankets and whatever else you can grab from REI and expect a party atmosphere. If you’re planning on sleep, then make sure you have time after the parade to catch up.

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The Sh*t Show

Sometimes, you just want to get up and go for New Year’s without checking your bank account. Promising a fun and young environment, the Sh*t Show presented by Bootie LA will do just that. Joining as part of Downtown’s revival, the Regent Theater reopened this November by famed Echo owner Mitchell Frank and promises the same quality you’d get from his other venue on Sunset. DJ Lobsterdust will be flying in from New York providing the beats and the first 500 will get their mashup mixtape to take home. Some early bird tickets for $20 are available now before they go up to $40.

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Saint Rocke

Living in the South Bay has its privileges, but not easy access to the rest of the city. That doesn’t mean you’re screwed for New Year’s. Hermosa Beach is always a hotbed of activity, so you can’t go wrong(unless you show up too late). Saint Rocke is hosting a party that matches the pace of the area. The Expendables will be playing a few sets along with Dub Architect that’ll make you feel irie. Tickets go from $45 to $64.99.

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New Year’s Eve Yacht Party

I’m on a boat! That’s all you have to say to get my attention. Now I have yours. We all dream of owning a luxury yacht, but really, where do you start looking? Instead, try the New Year’s Eve Yacht Party from Majestic Yacht launching out of San Pedro. An open bar, dancing, three decks and fresh air is enough to make this an experience. The ship launches promptly at 9:30, so make sure you’re going with a group that likes to be timely.

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Grand Park

Building a tradition, downtown’s featured park will ring in the new year in what promises to be bigger, stronger, and faster than last year’s inaugural event. This edition will double in size allowing 50,000 party goers to dance the night away open to the public for free. Some of KCRW’s finest will be spinning on various stages and City Hall will be the backdrop for a 3-D digital mapping presentation on two sides! The event is family oriented, so no alcohol is permitted. If you want to be an early adopter of what will become an LA institution, head down to Grand Park.

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Downtown Long Beach

If you in Long Beach or down in the South Bay, there’s tons going on in downtown Long Beach to ring in the new year. A family friendly series of events will take place at the Waterfront Amphitheater at Rainbow Harbor, with free music from 5pm-10pm, children’s face painting, and a 9pm fireworks show that will celebrate the east coast countdown. Then over near Pine and Broadway they’ll have a paid event (cost: $25) that will take party goers on through midnight with musical performances headlined by Fitz and the Tantrums.

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Boom!

You can’t think about New Year’s without bringing West Hollywood into the conversation. If you’ve already enjoyed Halloween out on Santa Monica, then this will seem like a natural progression. Last year’s #BOOM event was at capacity, so this year they’ll be expanding out further into West Hollywood Park. The celebration is open to 18+ and is drug and alcohol free. Will there be dancing? That’s the very definition of the word DUH!.RSVP to this FREE event, because even reservations might not get you in if you come late.

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Would You Like to Play a Game?

This may seem like the most nerdy idea, but you’ll be the envy at the water cooler when you go back to work. The One Up has already gripped Ventura Blvd. with a combination of creative pub fare and craft beer along with video games. Free video games that is. Pac Man. Galaga. Donkey Kong. Over 200 choices! Holy Jolt Cola! There’s no cover charge, but tables are available for reservation.

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Party Train

This probably won’t be your primary plans, but please supplement wherever you travel with using Metro. Driving drunk is a no-no and putting other people’s lives in danger should never be on the table. Metro is offering free rides on all buses and trains from 9pm to 2am and all rail lines, including the Orange bus, will run all night. Besides, why not join the celebratory atmosphere with other smart minded people?

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Have any special plans for New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles you’d like to share? Let us know what you’re doing in the comments below! 

Also, if you’re looking for a bunch of ideas and resources for how to spend your New Year’s Eve, check out this megathread on the Los Angeles subreddit. Tons of useful info here!

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