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The Original Lobster Festival is This Weekend in Long Beach

September 3, 2019 by Sponsored Post

*** The following is a sponsored collaboration between The Original Lobster Festival and We Like L.A. ***

This weekend the Original Lobster Festival returns to the picturesque Rainbow Lagoon Park in Long Beach for a three-day event you won’t want to miss!

The Original Lobster Festival prepares fresh, live Maine lobsters in the world’s largest cooker, which steams up to a thousand pounds of lobster at a time—so there’s plenty to go around! And if that’s not enough, you can find all things lobster from lobster rolls to lobster mac and lobster tacos, lobster bisque, and even lobster surf ‘n’ turf!

This year’s festivities offer TONS of activities for guests to enjoy. Dance away the calories to a variety of popular artists throughout the day, enjoy tasty eats in the food court, kick back in the VIP Lounge, take a Free Souvenir E-Photo, or check out the local artisans.

You can also catch sports action at the Live Sports Tent, explore the live reptile exhibit, sip on adult beverages (beer, wine, specialty drinks — infamous Signature drink “Screaming Lobster” and Margaritas), and sing a tune at the Karaoke Lounge with a Live Band (Friday and Saturday night) or hang out at the complimentary whiskey tasting lounge. There is something for everyone, including a Magic Show (as seen on America’s Got Talent), Face Painting, Games and Inflatable Bounces for kids.

Admission is  $5 Friday,  or $13 Saturday/Sunday (Kids 12 under Free).

Hours are Friday 5 to 10 p.m, and Saturday/Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.

Get more info and tickets at www.originallobsterfestival.com


If you’d like to learn more about We Like L.A. sponsored posts and how we work with our partners, you can go here.

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The Best Things to do in Orange County if You’re Looking for a Place to Start

August 27, 2019 by Sponsored Post

*** The following is a sponsored collaboration between Hilton and We Like L.A. ***

Disneyland® Resort / Photo Credit: Christina Champlin

Just like its neighbor county to the north, Orange County can be a little intimidating because of its suburban sprawl, which means there are lots of things to do and lots of little pockets to explore. Whether you’re a traveler visiting the area or a local looking for new adventures, picking a list of fun to-dos can seem overwhelming simply because there are so many options. The question confounds… where to start?

Thankfully, We Like L.A. has teamed up with Hilton to create a massive list of great to-dos that’ll help you have the quintessential SoCal experience, whether you’re looking to spend a day at an iconic theme park, enjoy an idyllic beach scene, eat at a dynamic food hall, or get a view of the California landscape from nearly 500 feet in the air.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get exploring!

Signature Attractions

Disneyland® Resort: Hang with Mickey and the gang at the happiest place on earth. Located in Anaheim and built in Walt Disney’s own vision, this world renowned theme park is home to iconic rides such as “it’s a small world,” Pirates of the Carribbean and the latest addition, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge a themed area dedicated to all things Star Wars.

Knott’s Berry Farm: Spend a day with Snoopy and ride the coasters at this 57-acre theme park located in Buena Park. With five themed areas each appropriate for every age and thrill level, Knott’s Berry Farm is a great place for the whole family. Don’t forget to bite into their famous fried chicken and take home a jar of Boysenberry jam. Fun fact: Knott’s is the birthplace of the Boysenberry!

House of Blues Anaheim: Those who love live music can stop into the House of Blues, a rock and blues joint that host multiple music shows with a full service restaurant and bar serving southern inspired food.

Shopping & Eating

Anaheim Packing District / Photo Credit: Christina Champlin

Anaheim Packing District: Grab a bite at one of the last remaining citrus packing warehouses in California. Historically preserved and converted into a food hall, the building houses 27 merchants but the district extends to four additional buildings with even more merchants, full service restaurants and even a brewery all within walking distance.

Irvine Spectrum: It’s easy to spend an entire day at Irvine Spectrum, the popular outdoor shopping destination carries a wide range of shops from apparel to home decor and accessories. They also offer a variety of restaurants and cafes, a movie theatre and even an improv club. Take a ride on the Giant Wheel, a ferris wheel featuring sparkling LED lights that gives riders a breathtaking view of Orange County.

Sugar ‘n Spice / Photo Credit: Christina Champlin

Balboa Island: Stroll Orange County’s most scenic boardwalk located in Newport Beach. The man-made island is home to many restaurants, local shops and Balboa Island’s two most famous desserts, the frozen banana and the Balboa bar. You can find these frozen treats on Marine Avenue at either  Sugar ‘n Spice or Dad’s Donut & Bakery Shop.

South Coast Plaza:  The largest shopping center on the West Coast of the United States, South Coast Plaza is located in Costa Mesa and carries 250 shops, 30 restaurants and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Diamond Jabroree: Diamond Jamboree offers a massive retail and shopping experience with an international flair. There’s a karaoke lounge, an escape room, an e-sports gaming center, and even an HMart Supermarket. Plus, if you bring an appetite there’s plenty of dining destinations to choose from with favorites like Tim Ho Wan, BCD Tofu House, Haidilao Hot Pot, 85ºC Bakery Café, and MANY more options.

The LAB (Anti-Mall): If large malls full of people and big brands are not your thing consider hitting up The LAB in Costa Mesa instead. The LAB stands for “Little American Business” and that’s exactly what you’ll find there, independent shops and a few casual restaurants make up this outdoor marketplace.

Lido Marina Village: Newport Beach’s luxe waterside village offers boutique style shopping and chic dining options from Nobu, Malibu Farm to Zinqué.

Enjoying Nature

Crystal Cove / Photo Credit: Christina Champlin

Beach Day(s): Orange County is renowned for having some of the best beaches in the country, and depending where you are and what you’re looking to do, you can pick the spot that meets your needs. Corona del Mar State Beach is a half mile stretch that is among the most popular in the county. Huntington State Beach offers over 8 miles of coastline to hang out, surf on, or even take a leisurely bike ride on the 10-mile Ocean Strand. And then of course there’s the iconic Huntington Beach Pier to check out. If you’re venturing further into south county Salt Creek might be a good choice if you have a big family (lots of parking, easy beach access), while Doheny State Beach offers beachside fun and easy access to activities at the adjacent Dana Point Harbor. Oh, and if you’re a surfer there are a number of excellent surfing spots in San Clemente as well.

Crystal Cove: Take a dip in the Pacific Ocean and explore over three miles of pristine beach. Located in Laguna Beach visitors can park on the bluff above the beach to take a scenic walk through paved trails while stopping for idyllic photo opportunities of the coastline.

Sherman Library & Gardens: The 2.2 acre located in Corona del Mar is a living museum from desert blooms in the Cactus and Succulent garden to the indoor Tropical Conservatory, a fragrant Rose Garden to a beautiful Botanical Garden. Joined with the garden is The Sherman Library which specializes in the history of the Pacific Southwest documenting the development of the region.

Bolsa Chica Ecological ReserveThis 1300-acre preserve and coastal wetlands area is home to over 300 species of birds plus multiples species of marine life, mammals, and reptiles. The trail is open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the adjoining Interpretive Center is open everyday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parking is free.

Heisler Park: Located in Laguna Beach the park offers panoramic views of the coastline and small coves where you can find tidal pools brimming with sea life. This park is also a safe choice for young swimmers to play in the ocean and the grassy areas is equipped with grills and make a perfect place for a picnic.

Art & History

Noguchi Garden / Photo Credit: Christina Champlin

Noguchi Garden: Explore a 1.6 acre hidden public sculpture garden built by renowned designer Isamu Noguchi. There is paid parking at the business plaza that surrounds the garden but your best bet during business hours might be to park at the South Coast Plaza parking lot down the block and walk over (about five minutes on foot).

Bowers Museum: The Bowers Museum in Santa Ana is Orange County’s largest museum with a collection of nearly 30,000 artifacts informing on the history of the O.C. in addition to a collection of nearly 2,000 paintings covering the 19th-20th centuries. The Bowers has been voted “The Best Museum in Orange County” by the readers of The Orange County Register for 16 consecutive years.

Mission San Juan Capistrano: Known as the “jewel” of the California missions, Mission San Juan Capistrano was the seventh of 21 missions to be established by the Spanish in California. A visit to the mission today offers a snapshot in history through the architectural ruins of the old mission church that was toppled during an earthquake in 1812. If you visit on Friday mornings there are docent-led tours at 10:30 a.m., included with your cost of admission.

International Surfing Museum: If you’re planning a trip to the Huntington Beach Pier (aka Surf City USA), then you ought to stroll over to Downtown HB to the The International Surfing Museum. The permanent exhibits at the museum primary focus on Duke Kahanamoku, a native Hawaiian Olympic swimmer and surfing enthusiast who helped popularize the sport. Admission to the museum is a humble $3.

Something Different

Tanaka Farms / Photo Credit: Christina Champlin

Tanaka Farms: Tour a stunning 30-acre family farm then visit the produce market to sample the latest harvest. Seasonal harvest festivals feature plenty of family oriented fun including food, games, arts and crafts, or even a visit with the resident rescue chickens.

Orange County Great Park: Take a ride on the Great Park Balloon and enjoy panoramic views 500 feet above Irvine. The balloon attraction offers guests a 360° view that spans up 40 miles (on a clear day).

Pirate Tower: Located right on the sand at Victoria Beach, is a one-of-a-kind seaside tower that looks like it’s straight from medieval lore, but really it was built as part of an enclosed staircase to a private cliff-top home in 1926. The stairs are not in use today, but the tower still offers a wonderful photo op for those who venture out. Keep in mind that the high tide may affect your ability to access the base of the tower, and that street parking in the surrounding neighborhood may be limited.


Are you planning a trip to Southern California? Hilton is a leading global hospitality company with over 100 hotels to choose from in Los Angeles and Orange County across 17 brands. Be sure to visit Travel.Hilton.com/LA for more information on exclusive offers for your next trip to SoCal.

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Spending the Perfect Day at Disneyland® Resort

August 8, 2019 by Sponsored Post

The following is a sponsored collaboration between Hilton and We Like L.A.

Sleeping Beauty Castle / Photo Credit: Christina Champlin. As to Disney properties / artwork: © Disney / Pixar; © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.

Every year millions of people make a summer pilgrimage to the happiest place on earth. As two thirty-somethings who haven’t been to Disneyland® Resort since their teens, a trip to the mecca of the mouse is as much about reconnecting with childhood memories as it is about exploring new attractions. And to be 100% honest, with so much to see, so many options available, and so many people all in one place at one time, it can all be a bit overwhelming.

But if you go at your own pace, prioritize what you want to do, and take advantage of some of the premium services offered, it truly is an experience you won’t soon forget.

This is how our perfect day of Disney unfolded.

Planning

Photo Credit: Christina Champlin. As to Disney properties / artwork: © Disney / Pixar; © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.

As an adult couple visiting the Disneyland® Resort without kids, our plan probably deviates a bit than most park guests, but one thing that helps everyone is planning ahead to maximize your visit. Summer is a popular time to visit Disneyland, so using all the tools at your disposal makes a world of difference.

This is probably the biggest the reason we decided an overnight stay made sense. We wanted the flexibility to hop from park to hotel and back if need be, and have the peace of mind to know at the end of a long day we could simply crash out just a few minutes away rather than drive another hour to get back to L.A. That’s where Hilton has a great hookup.

If you book at least 2 nights in 2019 at participating Hilton hotels in Southern California you can receive a Magical Discount on your park admission to Disneyland® Resort. Guests who book this special offer will have the opportunity to purchase single-day and multi-day Disneyland® Resort Park Hopper® Tickets and Disney MaxPass at a 5% discount off the non-discounted price of the same ticket at the Disneyland® Resort Main Entrance Ticket Booth.

For our visit we arrived before 8 a.m. at the Homewood Suites in Anaheim, had the front desk hold our bags, and then headed off for our day of Disney. The hotel is adjacent to the Toy Story Parking Area, so we simply walked five minutes to the free shuttle and we were on our way!

Something New

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge / Photo Credit: Christina Champlin. As to Disney properties / artwork: © Disney / Pixar; © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.

Nostalgia was a big theme for the day, but to begin we wanted to see what was new, which meant our first destination within the park was Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. It did not disappoint.

The star attraction at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. The experience puts a crew of six park guests into an immersive arcade-style ride where you ‘borrow’ the Millennium Falcon as part of a cargo heist. It’s a lot of fun, but of course there’s more to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge than just Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run.

Guests can snap a selfie with storm troopers or rub elbows with bounty hunters at Oga’s Cantina while trying an expansive menu of exotic concoctions suitable for adults and children. If you’re hungry grab some Outpost Mix from Kat Saka’s Kettle or fuel up on galactic provisions at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo housed in a working hangar bay.

Rides, Rides, Rides

Photo Credit: Christina Champlin. As to Disney properties / artwork: © Disney / Pixar; © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.

After Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge our goal for the next four hours was to get through as many rides as possible. In order to make this happen, we enlisted the help of Disney MaxPass.

Disney MaxPass costs $15 to add to our one-day Park Hopper® tickets (that’s $15 per ticket – but remember, you can get 5% off when you book with Hilton), and it was money well spent. The service allowed us to make reservations using the Disney FASTPASS® service directly from a phone, meaning we could plan out and book reservation windows on rides even as we were in line for others. There were a bunch of old-school rides on our to-do list: Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones Adventure, Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and more. Fortunately we were able to get to just about all our targets with the help of Disney MaxPass. 

A couple of tips we advise for using Disney MaxPass:

First, stagger your ride selections so you’ve queued up a couple with short wait times, and then another that might be a few hours away.

Second, bring a portable phone charger because having the app open all day will drain your battery fairly quickly. 

Dining at Disneyland® Resort

If you’re going to eat at Disneyland® Resort then Main Street provides the richest array of options. For something quick we’d advise a stop by Little Red Wagon located next to the Plaza Inn where you can get a hand-dipped corn dog. This corn dog is legendary at the park due to a super thick and delicious cornbread batter. You can also get the corn dog at Corn Dog Castle in Disney California Adventure® Park, which offers a cheese filled option as well. 

For something a bit more substantial, opt for a friend chicken plate at aforementioned Plaza Inn. Each plate comes with mashed potatoes, vegetables, and a biscuit, and the portion is fairly sizable. We were able to share one fried chicken plate and add a couple of side salads and it squared out to a perfectly sized meal for two, at a cost of less than $30. It also left a little room for sweets!

Raspberry Rose Mickey Macaron / Photo Credit: Brian Champlin. As to Disney properties / artwork: © Disney / Pixar; © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.

Across the from the Plaza Inn is Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe, where you’ll find the adorable raspberry rose Mickey macaron. Fresh raspberries and raspberry mousse are sandwiched between two Mickey macarons. It tastes as sweet as it looks.

As you make your way through Disneyland®Resort cool off with a DOLE WHIP® or a DOLE WHIP® Float at the Tiki Juice Bar, a counter outside of Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room located in Adventureland. DOLE WHIP® is essentially a dairy-free pineapple soft serve. If you are looking for something more substantial to go with your DOLE WHIP® step inside The Tropical Hideaway located next to Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. There you can enjoy a selection of baos from bulgogi beef to spiced vegetables and lime chicken. A variety of fresh fruit, sweet lumpia and an assortment of whip flavors are also available. 

The Disney Pop-Up Experience

Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration / Photo Credit: Christina Champlin. As to Disney properties / artwork: © Disney / Pixar; © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.

After grabbing a bite we exited the park and headed over to Downtown Disney® District where we had afternoon reservations for Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration.

This pop-up experience is housed inside the former home of ESPN Zone, where the upstairs has been built out into a series of rooms featuring hyper-colorful displays, each showcasing Mickey in a variety of themes, from a look at the early years of Mickey to a Fantasia tribute and everything in between. The oversized backdrops and Instagrammable installations provide plenty of photo-ops, so if Mickey and the ‘gram are two of your favorite things, then Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration is a must. 

Tickets start at $30 for a weekday visit but keep in mind it’s open only until September 2, so if you want to visit, it’ll have to be before summer ends.

More Photo Ops

Pixar Pal-A-Round at Disney California Adventure® / Photo Credit: Christina Champlin. As to Disney properties / artwork: © Disney / Pixar; © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.

Some SoCal locals might have annual passes, while others visit Disneyland® once every few years. Still for others this might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. In almost every case, people want to take great photos to capture the memory. Here are a few suggested spots for such a shot:

  • Sleeping Beauty Castle
  • Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse statue
  • The whimsical oversized teacups at the Mad Tea Party ride
  • In front of the Millennium Falcon at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge
  • Outside of “it’s a small world”
  • Next to one of the Main Street Vehicles
  • Mickey’s Toontown
  • Disneyland Forever®  fireworks in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle
  • In front of the Pixar Pal-A-Round at Disney California Adventure® Park
  • Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure® Park

Capping it Off

Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure® / Photo Credit: Christina Champlin. As to Disney properties / artwork: © Disney / Pixar; © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.

By late afternoon we were getting tired, so it was a great time to shuttle back to the hotel, check in, and catch a quick breather. A short while later we were ready for round two, and this time we were headed to Disney California Adventure® Park. 

There is no way to get through all of Disney California Adventure® Park in just a couple short hours, but we settled for a ride on the Incredicoaster, a walk on Pixar Pier, and a sunset view of the Pixar Pal-A-Round (formerly Mickey’s Fun Wheel). After the sunset photos it was time to go back to the Disneyland® Park for one last thrill.

By just after 9 p.m. a crowd had gathered in a column on Main Street with Sleeping Beauty Castle standing in the distance. Minutes later fireworks filled the night sky as a soaring medley of Disney’s most iconic scores played throughout the park. It was quite a moment, a culmination of experiences both past and present, calling back not just to things we’d seen that day, but also movies and experiences we’d had as children. And as we glanced around to the faces of those around us it was hard not to notice the awe and wonder captured in the eyes of both kids and adults. There really is something about this place, isn’t there?

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Planning the Perfect Summer Date at the Santa Monica Pier

July 25, 2019 by Sponsored Post

** This post is a sponsored collaboration between Pacific Park and We Like L.A. ***

Photo Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

Few locations capture the iconography of Southern California better than the Santa Monica Pier. The beach. The sunshine. The thriving, pulsing crowds and energy. And it’s those exact features that make it a great date spot.

During the summer the beach is going to be the coolest (literally, by temperature) place to be in L.A. And the fact that there’s something for everyone makes it a blast… games, sweets, rides, or just good old-fashioned people watching.

So how do you plan the perfect date at the pier? We’ll break it down below.

Getting There

Photo by Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

Let’s be real, parking in Downtown Santa Monica, especially on a weekend, can be a headache. Luckily, we have an entire article dedicated to planning a car-free day in Santa Monica, which is worth a read if you’re going to visit for a day and/or you’re new to the area.

In any case, we strongly recommend utilizing public transit (either the Expo Line or the Santa Monica bus system) if possible. That said, if part of your date involves driving, just make sure to account for the traffic times getting in and out, as well as the parking costs (they vary by day) associated with the Downtown SM lots.

Those Crowds

Photo Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

One of the best things to do at the pier (and that’s free!) is simply soak in the scenery. The throng of tourists, locals, performers, and purveyors can be a little overwhelming at first (especially if you walk up on a Saturday afternoon), but the upside is that there’s always something to see and discuss and laugh about.

A great date, at least in in our book, facilitates communication between the two principals. So don’t be shy, talk to each other!

Games, Rides, and Funnel Cake

Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

Communication might be the foundation of any great date, but the bottom line is, you’ve got to have fun and make it memorable!

Pacific Park, L.A. County’s only admission-free amusement park offers twelve different rides, including the West Coaster, the only west coast, oceanfront, steel roller coaster located on a Pier over the Pacific Coastline. Plus there’s an awesome array of midway games (aka, chances to win your date a big fluffy animal).

Once you’ve hit your limit for games and coasters, be sure to follow it up with a sweet treat (we recommend the funnel cakes!), then cap it off with a ride on the Pacific Wheel. With the big crowd, privacy comes at a premium, so a ride on the wheel provides some much needed one-on-one time, not to mention a killer view of the whole pier.

More Things to do

Photo Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

The nice thing about the pier is there’s lots to do, no matter what your mood or inclination. You and your date could go head to head at skee-ball inside the Playland Arcade, take a flying trapeze lesson at Trapeze School New York, spot some of the sea life inside the Santa Monica Aquarium, or take in some live music at Rusty’s Surf Ranch. If all else fails, just head down to the boardwalk to enjoy a light ocean breeze as the day unwinds.

Stay for the Sunset

Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

One final piece of advice: Make sure you pack a beach towel so you can make the most of magic hour. Right before sunset carve out a spot on south side of the pier and watch as the dusk sun fades and the neon lights up on the big wheel. It is, dare we say, pretty romantic.

Hopefully you’ve had a full (and fun-filled!) day, and if the plan has gone well, you’ve grown a little closer with the person you’ve shared it with.


If you’d like to learn more about We Like L.A. sponsored posts and how we work with our partners, you can go here.

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Sponsored

Midsummer Scream Brings Halloween and Horror Thrills to Summer in SoCal

July 15, 2019 by Sponsored Post

*** This post is a sponsored collaboration between Midsummer Scream and We Like L.A. ***

For some folks, the scary season is the best time of year. The costumes, the haunts, the fun, the total immersion in the dark and macabre. But then again, who says have to wait until October?

Midsummer Scream, now in its fourth year, brings the world’s largest Halloween and horror fan convention to the Long Beach Convention Center this August 3-4. Some 30,000 guests are expected to attend, and 2019 promises to be the best edition yet.

This year’s event includes 350 unique vendors, the Hall of Shadows featuring over a dozen haunted attractions, educational workshops to sharpen your haunting skills, special presentations by signature SoCal haunts like Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights and the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, and plenty of live entertainment including a presentation of Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group’s Urban Death (a We Like L.A. favorite!). 

New for 2019, Midsummer Scream has added a Podcast Studio, where fans can watch their favorite podcasters interview industry icons and personalities live in a relaxed, fun environment all weekend long. 

Plus, make sure to stop by the Black Cat Lounge where you’ll be able to mix and mingle with adorable feline friends (and adopt!) as part of an ongoing partnership with Kitten Rescue Los Angeles.

All in all, there is no place that Halloween and horror-lovers can find a more authentic experience than in the heart of downtown Long Beach at the 2019 Midsummer Scream.

To get more information, and to purchase tickets now, visit MidsummerScream.org.


If you’d like to learn more about We Like L.A. sponsored posts and how we work with our partners, you can go here.

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The Best Things to do in L.A. if You’re Looking for a Place to Start

July 11, 2019 by Sponsored Post

*** The following is a sponsored collaboration between Hilton and We Like L.A. ***

View from above the Hollywood Sign. Photo by Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

When you look for things to do in Los Angeles, the sheer size and scope of the region can be intimidating. It’s so big, and there’s so much to do, where does one even start?

The good news? We Like L.A. + Hilton have teamed up to create a sort of ‘cheat sheet’ for fast-tracking a few fun adventures in the city of angels. This collection of signature landmarks, free museums, walkable areas, and hidden gems is perfect whether you’re visiting for the first time, are a recent transplant, or maybe even lived here for a hot minute but just haven’t yet really gotten to know L.A.

Our advice? Take a peak below, mark off a few to-dos, and most importantly, have fun!

Signature Attractions

Krustyland at Universal Studios Hollywood. Photo by Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

Universal Studios Hollywood: Experience a theme park filled with one-of-kind attractions based on iconic films and T.V. Shows, including the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, The Simpsons ride, and a newly revamped Jurassic World ride (to open in summer 2019).

The Hollywood Sign: Hike to the top of Mt. Lee to see one of L.A.’s most famous icons up close and enjoy an incredible view of the city. There are several different routes through Griffith Park to get to the sign, but in each case it’s going to take at least a couple of hours to get there and back, and the trails offer little shade, meaning we recommend this as an early morning activity (and that helps with the crowds too!).

The Griffith Observatory: See the stars, learn about our solar system, then take in a stunning view of Los Angeles at one of the most iconic structures in all of Southern California. The Observatory offers free admission Tuesday through Sunday (closed Monday) plus free monthly programming that includes star parties and live talks with expert astronomers. Plus, the landmark makes a great hub to access various trails within Griffith Park.

The Aquarium of the Pacific: Check out 11,000 animals in more than 50 exhibits at Southern California’s largest aquarium. In spring of 2019 AOP opened its first major expansion called Pacific Visions. The new addition includes a 2,800-square-foot art gallery chock full of video projections and soundscapes plus a cutting edge 300-seat theater with a 36-foot-wide tilting floor projection disc. Once you fully explore the aquarium you can also head to the nearby Queen Mary if you’re looking to add more to-dos to a Long Beach adventure.

Top Museums

LACMA Photo by Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

Getty Center (and the Getty Villa): The Getty features a stunning 134,000-square-foot Central Garden along with a world-renowned collection of art on display in the surrounding campus. Both The Getty and The Getty Villa offer free admission, but in the case of the latter a timed-entry ticket (available online) is required.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art: Snap a photo at the Instagram-fave Urban Light installation and explore the massive collection of nearly 140,000 works/objects covering some 6,000 years of art contained at LACMA. The museum is free to the public every second Tuesday, plus select holidays. Additionally, make sure to stop into the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum located across Hancock Park. And if you’re into cars, the Peterson Automotive Museum is just down the street on Wilshire Blvd.

The Broad: Examine some of coolest modern art pieces in the city (and the world!), including an Infinity Mirrored Room created by Yayoi Kusama. Admission to the museum is free to the public, but reservations are recommended. A stand-by line is available for same-day visits, but the line shuts down about 60-90 minutes before the museum closes and may close earlier on busy days. Note that for some special exhibitions a paid ticket is required.

Natural History Museum: NHMLA is not only the largest natural and historical museum in the western United States, but it is probably the greatest single local resource for understanding the cultural development of the city of Los Angeles itself. Plus… dinosaurs! As a bonus if you plan to visit make sure to the check out the nearby California Science Center, which offers free admission year-round.

Shopping & Dining

Grand Central Market. Photo by Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

Grand Central Market: Sample bites at a historic open air arcade in DTLA featuring some of L.A.’s finest purveyors. Find delicious offerings ranging from breakfast sandwiches and BBQ to sweet treats and seafood. After you’re done eating make sure to head across the street to take a ride on the historic Angels Flight Railway or poke your head inside the nearby Bradbury Building, which features of L.A.’s most unique architectural interiors.

Eataly L.A.: Explore the flavors of Italy right in Los Angeles! This Itailan marketplace houses a number of cafes, restaurants, food counters and shops with everything you can imagine from fresh house-made pasta to fine wines, cheeses and salumi. If the weather is nice (it usually is in L.A.!) head to Terra, their rooftop restaurant for a sunset dinner or an al fresco brunch. If you want to dive a little deeper, consider taking one of the many public culinary classes offered year round.

Smorgasborg LA / ROW DTLA: Smorgasburg is a New York transplant making a big time L.A. impression. This open-air food market pops up every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at ROW DTLA. Vendors at Smorgasburg L.A. include rising chefs and some famous faces in the culinary world. There are also a row of lifestyle vendors selling flowers, jewelry, vintage and more for those who need a foodie break. Even if it’s not a Sunday you can find a host of shops and restaurants at ROW to explore or you can pop over to the nearby Arts District.

Rodeo Drive: Shop for luxury goods on one of the most fabulous streets in the world. The two-mile long stretch in Beverly Hills is home to fashion houses Louis Vuitton, Prada, Versace, Hermès and Chanel.

Beachside Fun

Santa Monica Beach viewed from the pier. Photo by Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

Santa Monica Pier: Savor the sights and sounds of the pier, ride a coaster at Pacific Park, or just head down to the beach to enjoy the sun. For more fun, rent a Bird scooter and zoom over to 3rd Street Promenade for sights and sounds, plus a bevy of shopping and dining options.

Venice Boardwalk: The sights and sounds of the Venice Boardwalk make it an experience unto itself. Strolling along the boardwalk you’ll find street performers, vendors, mimes, musicians, and more. Plus, be sure to get a look at the world famous Muscle Beach.

The Beaches of Malibu: Take a drive up Pacific Coast Highway into Malibu to explore some of L.A. County’s most beautiful beaches, including El Matador Beach (a favorite of We Like L.A.), which is one of the smaller pocket beaches that make up the Robert H. Meyer State Beaches.

The Beaches of South Bay: If you’re closer to the southern reaches of L.A. County, then the South Bay is a great option for exploring close to the water or spending a day in the sun. The coastal cities of Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Hermosa Beach each offer beach-adjacent shopping and dining, and numerous options for surf and sand adventures.

World Class Music Venues

Hollywood Bowl Playboy Jazz Festival
The Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl. Photo by Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

The Forum: This historic indoor arena located in Inglewood underwent a major renovation in 2014 and has transformed back into one of the top premier musical venues in the entire city. Over the years it has attracted some of the biggest acts in the world including David Bowie, Prince and The Rolling Stones. Today new school artists such as Travis Scott and Anderson .Paak thrill crowds inside the five star entertainment venue.  PLUS: Hilton has a special offer right now where if you book a stay for the night of your concert you’ll receive a $25 Lyft credit to the Forum, on-site parking at the hotel, two premium drinks at the hotel lobby bar (not available for Hampton Inn & Suites) and breakfast for two the next morning.

Hollywood Bowl: The largest natural outdoor amphitheater in the United States is probably the most popular venue for outdoor concerts in Los Angeles. However, you might not know that the Hollywood Bowl is also a public park open during the day. If you show up on the right day during the summer you may be able to sneak a listen to the LA Phil (for free!) as they rehearse for an upcoming concert.

The Greek Theatre: Listen to live music at this award winning outdoor amphitheater. Built in 1929 the theatre is hidden away inside Griffith Park which happens to provide great natural acoustics thanks to the parks surrounding canyons.

The Wiltern: The art deco style theater was built in 1931 for vaudeville acts. In the 80’s the Wiltern was turned into a music venue. Today a variety of performances including concerts, stand up shows and themed film screenings keep the iconic theatre more vibrant than ever.

Unique Experiences

Venice Canals. Photo by Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

The Venice Canals: These man-made canals were built by developer Abbot Kinney in 1905 and modeled after the famous canals in Venice, Italy. Today they offer one of the most picturesque walks in all of Los Angeles, plus you’re only steps away from the trendy Abbott Kinney Blvd., where you can shop boutiques and try more of L.A.’s best food.

The Magic Castle: The Magic Castle is home to a secret society where world class magicians perform for a lucky few. The castle is filled with hidden chambers, sliding bookcases, and mysterious stairwells, making it one of the most exciting buildings in the city. To gain entry you either have to be a member, get an invite from a member or magician, book a room at the Magic Castle Hotel or book a stay at one of over 40 Hilton locations in SoCal through their exclusive partnership. The special Magic Castle and Hilton package also includes access to the members-only clubhouse of the Academy of Magical Arts.

The Last Bookstore: This unique bookstore is not only the largest independent bookstore in all of California, but the upstairs space offers a one-of-a-kind labyrinth of books, including a book ‘archway’ that you’ll be sure to want to snap a photo of.

Greystone Mansion: This Tudor style mansion and 18-acre surrounding site was originally developed by oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny in 1927, and formally dedicated as a historic landmark in 1976. The garden grounds are open to the public (including free parking) year-round, unless closed for filming or special events. A walk at Greystone Mansion offers not only a peaceful respite from city life, but a terrific viewpoint to see much of the city of Los Angeles.


Are you planning a trip to Southern California? Hilton is a leading global hospitality company with over 100 hotels to choose from in Los Angeles and Orange County across 17 brands. Be sure to visit Travel.Hilton.com/LA for more information on exclusive offers for your next trip to SoCal.


If you’d like to learn more about We Like L.A. sponsored posts and how we work with our partners, you can go here.

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Old Pasadena Summer Cinema Returns with FREE Screenings July 5-27

July 1, 2019 by Sponsored Post

*** This post is a sponsored collaboration between Old Pasadena and We Like L.A. ***

Starting this Friday, July 5, Old Pasadena Summer Cinema returns with a dozen screening events spread over three-plus weeks at two unique Old Pasadena locations. And just as in years past, each one is FREE and open to the public.

This year’s lineup offers a diverse lineup of films, ranging from the family friendly (Babe, Monsters, Inc, Coco, Zootopia) to the action-packed (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Captain America: Civil War, Ocean’s 8) to laugh-out-loud funny classics (Clueless, Nacho Libre).

Central Park hosts four of this year’s screenings, with each evening including special free activities, DJ music, free Paradis Ice Cream (while supplies last), and the chance to picnic in the picturesque setting prior to each film (chairs and blankets welcome!). For each screening the activities begin at 6:30 p.m., with films to begin at 8:30.

One Colorado offers another open-air option, with films projected in a charming courtyard just off Colorado Blvd. Select One Colorado businesses will get in on the fun by offering discounts and pop-ups. Seating is provided at One Colorado, but be sure to arrive early to secure your spot!

Read below for the complete list of dates, locations, and films. And for details on each evening’s events be sure to go to https://www.oldpasadena.org/summercinema/.

Old Pasadena Summer Cinema 2019 Schedule

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – One Colorado, 41 Hugus Alley – Friday, July 5, 2019 – 8:30 p.m.

Captain America: Civil War – One  Colorado, 41 Hugus Alley – Saturday, July 6, 2019 – 8:30 p.m.

Babe – Central  Park,  141 S.  Raymond  Avenue – Saturday, July 6, 2019 –  6:30 p.m. (film start at 8:30) 

Clueless – One Colorado, 41 Hugus Alley – Friday, July 12, 2019 – 8:30 p.m.

The Lego Movie – Central  Park,  141 S.  Raymond  Avenue – Saturday, July 13, 2019 – 6:30 p.m. (film start at 8:30)

Monsters, Inc. – One Colorado, 41 Hugus Alley – Saturday, July 13, 2019 – 8:30 p.m.

Enchanted – One Colorado, 41 Hugus Alley – Friday, July 19, 2019 – 8:30 p.m.

Singles – Central  Park, 141 S. Raymond  Avenue – Saturday, July 20, 2019 –  6:30 p.m. (film start at 8:30)

Coco – One Colorado, 41 Hugus Alley – Saturday, July 20, 2019 – 8:30 p.m.

Ocean’s 8 – One Colorado, 41 Hugus Alley – Friday, July 26, 2019 – 8:30 p.m.

Zootopia – Central  Park, 141 S. Raymond  Avenue – Saturday, July 27, 2019 –  6:30 p.m. (film start at 8:30)

Nacho Libre – One Colorado, 41 Hugus Alley – Saturday, July 27, 2019 – 8:30 p.m.

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Here’s a Look at the Stranger Things Fun Fair at the Santa Monica Pier

June 29, 2019 by Sponsored Post

*** This post is a sponsored collaboration between Pacific Park and We Like L.A. ***

Photo by Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

This weekend Stranger Things has come to life at the Santa Monica Pier via a massive (and free!) ‘Fun Fair’ transforming a portion of the pier into a Hawkins, IN carnival in anticipation of the new season of the hit Netflix show.

As it happens, the folks over at Pacific Park reached out to us to see if we’d like to get a first look at the Fun Fair and gather a few photos documenting our visit. Umm… did they know we were huge fans of the show? We were all in.

Our journey began with a Saturday morning drive to Santa Monica from NELA (thankfully before traffic picked up). We parked near Santa Monica Place and headed over to the pier. Here’s what we saw…

Photo by Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

First up, we couldn’t not snap a photo on the bikes of our four main Hawkins heroes.

Photo by Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

Next up, the ‘Curiosity House’ was more than a little psychedelic. We loved it, even the part where you stick your hand in the mystery wall at the end.

Photo by Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

The Hawkins High School cheerleaders took to the stage for a little midday entertainment. Later, an 80’s cover band will perform to entertain the fair-goers.

We stepped into the photo booth and snapped a few glamour shots, but not before we found some attire that was a little more era-appropriate.

Photo by Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

As the sun came out in full force it was nice to cool down with some ice cream from the Scoops Ahoy truck.

Photo by Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

To wrap things up we walked over from the Fun Fair to Pacific Park to take a spin on the ‘Hawkins Wheel’ and play a few games at midway.

All in all, a fun-filled afternoon!

As a reminder If you plan to head over to the pier this weekend, crowds are expected to be in full force, so public transit is a preferred option.

Remember that the Metro Expo Line Downtown Santa Monica Station is only about a 10-minute walk to the pier. Plus you’ll save on parking if you can get to the Westside on Metro or via bus. In fact, we have an entire article where we discuss doing a car-free day in Santa Monica, so be sure to take a look before you depart!

Stranger Things 3 Fun Fair hours are 11 a.m to 9 p.m. on both Saturday, June 29 and Sunday June 30. Admission is free, but you should expect a line to get in.

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Celebrate the 4th of July In the Sky at OUE Skyspace LA

June 25, 2019 by Sponsored Post

The following is a sponsored collaboration between OUE Skyspace LA and We Like L.A.

Celebrate the 4th of July In the Sky! Chow down on an all-you-can-eat buffet and enjoy a ride on the all-glass Skyslide while viewing multiple fireworks displays around L.A. Your first 2 drinks are included with your ticket and a live DJ starts spinning at 9 p.m. There is no better way to celebrate Independence Day! 

The 4th of July In the Sky package includes:

  • All-you-can-eat BBQ Buffet (7 to 9 p.m.)
  • Two (2) drink tickets (good for domestic beer/wine & well drinks)
  • Access to all three levels of OUE Skyspace LA
  • Ride on the Skyslide 

For groups of 10 or more, please contact groups@oue-skyspace.com. Unlimited soft drinks available for guests under 21 and under.  Skyspace will close at 6 p.m. and reopen 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Buffet includes Hamburgers and Hot Dogs (Vegan Options available), Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Salads, Corn on the Cob, Mac and Cheese and Assorted Dessert.


If you’d like to learn more about We Like L.A. sponsored posts and how we work with our partners, you can go here.

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This Saturday BoldPas Brings Another HUGE Day of FREE Art to Old Pasadena

June 4, 2019 by Sponsored Post

*** The following is a sponsored collaboration between Old Pasadena and We Like L.A. ***

If you love art, you love exploring, and you love FREE… then we’ve got a ‘thing to do’ that absolutely needs to be on your radar.

Now in its third year, BoldPas: A Day of Art & Play in Old Pasadena returns this Saturday, June 8 for a massive, BOLD display of temporary street art and engaging public activities. The event, staged in Old Pasadena’s historic 19th-century alleys, is free to the public and offers a one-day-only opportunity to encounter artistic, ephemeral interventions in unique urban spaces. 

Guests of BoldPas can explore all of 17 site-specific art installations spread throughout the 22-block historic district of Old Pasadena. And this year it’s all about being hands-on and interactive! Walk under a 60-foot canvas suspended high above one alley. Meander through a giant sea of balloons. Manipulate a serpentine tube made of beach balls. Watch live painters transform walls and canvases with graffiti and street art. Behold a massive parking garage wall shimmering with a cascading curtain of gold.

PLUS: Attendees can check out three Merchant Art Stops, take part in free instructor-led art activities and hands-on art making at multiple locations, or go to sp[a]ce gallery at Ayzenberg for early access to Robot Remix and printmaking demos by artist Sean StarWars.

This year’s BoldPas event also runs concurrently with the annual Playhouse District Block Party (running from noon to 10 p.m.), giving your even more reason to make a day of it!

BoldPas takes place on Saturday, June 8 from noon to 8 p.m. Make sure to visit Old Pasadena’s official website for more information on attending the event, including a downloadable map, information on accessible public transit, and full descriptions of all of the day’s activities.

Enjoy!


If you’d like to learn more about We Like L.A. sponsored posts and how we work with our partners, you can go here.

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Kids Can Now Have Birthday Parties at Wallis Annenberg PetSpace

May 22, 2019 by Sponsored Post

*** The following is a sponsored collaboration between Wallis Annenberg PetSpace and We Like L.A. ***

If your child can’t stop talking about furry four-legged companions, there’s a brand new way to make their special day even more special that they’re absolutely going to love.

Kids 6 through 12 can now celebrate birthdays at Wallis Annenberg PetSpace. Parties includes tons of fun activities for kids to enjoy, like a guided tour of PetSpace, educational games, a pet encounter, and pet-related crafts.

Reservations offer access to the birthday party area to open gifts and partake in host-provided cake and refreshments, and each registered attendee also receives a goody bag to take home!

The cost per party is $350 fee with a non-refundable $100 deposit, for groups of up to ten children. There is an added fee of $15 for each additional child, up to a maximum of 20 children per birthday party.

Wallis Annenberg PetSpace is located at: 12005 Bluff Creek Drive Playa Vista, CA 90094. For more details and to make your reservation, please visit annenbergpetspace.org


If you’d like to learn more about We Like L.A. sponsored posts and how we work with our partners, you can go here.

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Make Mother’s Day Magical With a VIP Cirque du Soleil Brunch Experience

May 8, 2019 by Sponsored Post

The following is a sponsored collaboration between Cirque du Soleil and We Like L.A.

We all know that every day should be a tribute to mothers, but sometimes we need a little extra  holiday push to make the matriarch in our life know how special she truly is. Well, what better way to treat mom than with an unforgettable trio of fantastical dance, music, and food. And with a VIP brunch experience by Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna (now playing at LA Waterfront), you’ll get all that and more!

Mom’s special brunch package features premium tickets giving you the best seats in the house, access to the exclusive VIP suite, and a delicious menu that includes chef attended food stations (waffles please!), passed hors d’oeuvres, desserts, sparkling mimosas, and more. PLUS: Mom’s VIP ticket holders also get access to a private terrace and restrooms, complimentary parking and an exclusive gift. And then of course there is the show!

Amaluna invites the audience to a mysterious island governed by Goddesses and guided by the cycles of the moon. Your mom will get to enjoy a female-driven show (the cast comprise a majority of female, including a 100% female band) that puts a mother-daughter relationship at the centre of the story.

Plus, Amaluna is a fusion of the words ama, which refers to “mother” in many languages, and luna, the latin word for moon, which in itself is a symbol of feminity. This makes it the perfect show to celebrate your mom on her special day!

The Mother’s Day VIP Brunch offer is available for the 1:30 p.m. show (the early show) on both May 12 and May 19. If you’re unable to make it for either date, guests can still book tickets to Hennessy Black VIP Experience, available through May 26.

Whatever you decide, just remember to make this year’s Mother’s Day magical. We know mom will appreciate it.

To book tickets for the Cirque du Soleil Amaluna VIP Brunch experience, go here.


If you’d like to learn more about We Like L.A. sponsored posts and how we work with our partners, you can go here.

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