The chill at the queen Mary - long beach
Every year during Christmas time the famous Queen Mary puts on this winter wonderland event called The Chill. It's basically an Ice Land. Literally. You go into this ice dome, or the Ice Kingdom as they call it, and it is 9 degrees inside. Inside they tell you the story of The Nutcracker through giant, larger than life ice sculptures. It's amazing. I've never seen anything like it. But it's as cold as a bitch inside. They give you a parka to wear and it does help. But it's still freezing. Halfway through the exhibit you climb up a stair case and go down a slide carved out of ice. You can have a race with your friends if you want. I did and I totally won. Only in situations like this do I get weirdly competitive. So basically I get competitive when it doesn't matter. If it is a real game or race, I don't give two shits if I win or lose. But if it's a fake race, well then it's on bitches.
If freezing your ass of in an ice dome where it's a whopping 9 degrees isn't your idea of fun, don't worry, there are plenty of other activities to do. You can go snow tubing down a huge hill, ride a mechanical reindeer (with a real deer head on it), ice skate, visit Santa and Misses Claus say hello to a person in a weird Gingerbread costume, hit up Rudolph's Pub, frolic around in fake snow that falls from the sky and my personal favorite, eat a bunch of crap like a fat ass. Hey, I'm talking deep fried Oreos people! It took me to a whole different level of fatassness and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. They also have deep fried Snickers too. But I'm all about the Oreooooos. You can go inside this human sized snow globe and take pictures, and there is this really odd 20 foot tall rocking horse and you climb up a ladder and sit in it, but some poor employee rocks it back and forth. It's really embarrassing actually. Save the poor employees from public humiliation and just don't ride the rocking horse. I should point out that this whole event is technically geared towards children, which I did not know until half way through the evening. But I also don't care because I love that kind of stuff. I still watch Hannah Montana from time to time so I fit right in with the kids. It's a really fun experience for people of all ages. And don't forget......Deep Fried Oreos. You know you want it.
Runyon Canyon - Hollywood
Runyon Canyon is a great running and hiking path in Hollywood. If I'm being honest, most people go here to be seen than to work out. I mean, they walk and stuff, but they mostly Instagram pictures of themselves in their hot pink workout clothes with full hair and makeup on while holding their little dog. Then when people ask, "So what did you do today?" They can reply "Oh you know, I went hiking at Runyon. Summer is just around the corner so I'm trying to tone up." Don't think I haven't heard this conversation before. Then there's me on the complete opposite side of the spectrum, who sweats like a man, looks like crap and couldn't color coordinator a work-out outfit to save my life. And I'm okay with that. Back to Runyon, once you hike to the top, it has a gorgeous view of the city. It's especially beautiful if you go later in the evening when the sun is setting and when it's somewhat dark you can see all the twinkling city lights. It's quite the sight to take in.
For the record, I'm point to the tiny Hollywood sign, not to Jesus, who is also my homeboy.
Muholland Overlook is one of the most beautiful views in the entire city (in my opinion). Located off Muholland Drive (go figure) you can see this breath-taking view of the entire city. It's really spectacular, and on a clear day, you can see the ocean. It's not really a touristy spot, but you will see some tourists there. It's peaceful and beautiful and it's the best spot to see the entire city.
The Grove is a beautiful shopping center, that a lot of people go just to be "seen." There is a pretty water fountain in the center, a movie theater and a cute cable car that you can take a ride on around the shopping center. Walking into The Grove, feels and looks like you're walking right onto a movie set. It's absolutely perfect. The very popular Farmers Market on 3rd Street is connected to The Grove. You definitely have to check it out if you find yourself in the area.
The Grove is also a popular and well known celebrity hang out. If you are into seeing and/or stalking celebrities in their natural habitat, The Grove is the place to be. I can't remember a time when I went there and didn't see a celebrity. The Grove holds special events all the time. The groundbreaking newsworthy show "Extra" with Maria Menounos and that annoying specimen Mario Lopez [Please see the "Grinds My Gears" section] is filmed at The Grove. Throughout the year many popular artists will perform for special events. Demi Lovato performed last Valentines Day, Jesse McCartney did a Christmas show a couple years back, and even has Aerosmith made a special appearance at The Grove. In the summer have a free concert series, where once a week well known artists perform on their stage outside for freeeeeeee. I may or may not have attended a free Jonas Brothers concert at The Grove a few years back. I got stampeded over by a frenzy of preteens running towards the stage and my friend got pushed by an old man. We did not help the situation when we got the urge to yell "Oh my gosh, it's Justin Bieber!" It was a risky, bold move, but worth it.
Double Bonus: I once spent the entire day dancing around LA doing a Flash Mob with Hanson. The Grove was one of our performance venues. After our flash mob was done, me, my friends, 50 other girls and the boys in Hanson had a random dance party in the middle of The Grove. We made a giant circle and a couple different people would dance in the middle while everyone else cheered them on. One second I was standing in the outer circle, the next I was whisked into the center and was getting spun around....by Taylor Hanson. That's right. He grabbed my arm and pulled me into the middle of the dance circle and started dancing with me. I didn't know what was happening but I liked it. A lot. This was all being streamed live on their website so people around the world could watch it, and there was a live Twitter feed with it. After my impromptu dance session with Mr. Hanson I could feel the eyes of 50 other girls burning into the back of my head in a jealous rage. My mom (who had been watching the whole thing online) called me to inform me that girls had tweeted about me. Mostly that they were so jealous, and it's not fair because "Taylor always flirts with pretty girls." I'm not gonna lie, this pretty much made my day. I got singled out to dance with one of the members of my favorite band AND girls tweeted about how jealous they were?!? It was a dream come true. I know that sounds a little bit shallow, and it is. I am a nice girl, I swear. But I think we'd all be lying if we said we didn't have a shallow dream or two, or even a shallow moment every once in a while. So I did...and it was glorious. I realize this doesn't apply as a bonus to you whatsoever. But The Grove will always hold a special place in my heart for that reason.
Oh Melrose Avenue. This is one of my favorite places in LA for many reasons. First of all, it's prime real estate for people watching. The things you will see! There's just so much going on, no matter what time or day. It's always bustling. I could spend an entire day sitting at the Starbucks on the corner and just watching people all day. I appreciate the finer (weirder) things in life.
Melrose Avenue is famous for its shopping. Every girls dream! I used to think it was a place I could never afford to go shopping at, but that is just not the case. Melrose Ave is split up into 2 sections: East and West. If you go shopping on Melrose towards the west side, you will find all the high end stores that most people can't afford: Fred Segal, Betsey Johnson, Alexander McQueen, Dash, Vera Wang, Marc Jacobs, depressed yet? Because I can keep going. But I'll stop. I never go to the west side of Melrose, for obvious reasons. But someday when I'm a real grown up, I will. I'll still probably just be window shopping, but hey, at least I made it. The East side of Melrose is where it's at. It's a bunch of cute, vintage, unique and affordable boutiques! It makes me ever so happy. The first time I went shopping there with a friend I could barley process what has happening. "I can afford this stuff!" I yelled in euphoria. It was a magical day. They have really cute clothes that you can't find anywhere else, although some of the stores carry some of the same items. If you saw that cute one sleeve, olive green dress I was wearing in The Roosevelt pictures, then you know what I'm talking about. Holla for 28 dollas! That's my kind of shopping. There's a ton of other unique little shops and cafes. It's simply the best. You will leave feeling like you got really great clothes and you won't have to live in your car because you'll still be able to pay your rent next month. It just doesn't get any better than that.
dimples - burbank
Dimples is the best karaoke bar in all the land. It's also the most famous. Some of their karaoke clients include: Britney Spears, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Charlize Theron, Kiefer Sutherland, Drew Carey, Robert Pattinson and Katy Perry. You may run into any of them on any day of the week, but your chances of running into a celebrity are bigger if you go on a week night, when it's not as crowded. If you're lucky enough, they might even sing a song with you. My friend was there one night and ran into Ryan Cabrera and managed to convince him to get on stage and sing with them. First of all their song catalog is insane. There's not a song they don't have. Then they have a stage for you to sing on, but the fun doesn't stop there. They have ridiculous props and costumes for you to dress up in while you sing with all your friends. As if that's not enough, they film your whole performance and then give you a DVD of it, for FREE! I tend to opt out of the free DVD as it's most likely something I don't want to see ever again, but one of my friends usually grabs it anyways. They also make chocolate chip waffles, which are so goooooooood. Sometimes they'll even give them to you for free. The cool thing about Dimples is it's always a good time, no matter when you go. It's fun if you go with one or two friends and it's fun if you go with a huge group. I've never had anything less than an exceptional time whenever I go to Dimples!
Hiking in Griffith Park
Hiking at Griffith Park is one of my favorite places to go because it's so gorgeous. There are a few different trails you can take at Griffith, which is nice because you can pick if you want to go on a long, intense hike, or a shorter, but still very steep hike. You can also hike up to the Griffith Observatory, which I definitely recommend that you do because it's gorgeous! And the view isn't so bad either.
Rollerblading on the beach in Santa Monica
What better way to see all of Santa Monica and it's beautiful beach than to Rollerblade through the beach! For $7 you can rent roller blades and enjoy the sights and skate along the bike path. The bike path goes for miles and miles. You can go north, which will take you towards Malibu and Pacific Palisades, or you can go south and that will take you towards Venice Beach. Fun Fact: If you take the north route you will pass the Annenberg Community Beach House, which is where Saved By The Bell filmed their episodes for their summer spent at "Malibu Sands Beach Club" for all you 90s kids out there. The new 90210 also films at the Annenberg Community Beach House, for their scenes at the "Beverly Hills Beach Club."
Chelsea lately taping - universal studios
Chelsea Lately is by far on the most fun TV tapings in LA. She’s just awesome and hilarious. Their warm up guy (also a comedian on the round table) is super funny and will most likely talk about his one scene in The Hangover. He got the whole audience laughing and excited. Sometimes the warm up person sucks…but not Brody. He is the man. Whole process is fairly short, which is nice. Some talk shows take up your entire day. Sometimes they film two different episodes with one audience. So you may get to see Chelsea do two monologs or see interviews with two different guests. If you have ever watched the show on TV, you probably notice Chelsea signing books for people in the first couple rows. I went to a taping and brought my book just in case, but didn’t expect anything because I figured it was only for the select few in the first rows. That is not the case. Chelsea signed autographs for every single person who brought one of her books! I couldn’t believe it, and was so excited! Before the show they have a crew member come by and ask you what your name is. They write it on a post it note and put it in the front of your book. That way when Chelsea comes by she will know how to spell your name. It makes the process go quickly and smoothly. But she will talk with you as she’s signing your book. She is so kind, and beautiful and so funny. I don’t ever get star struck or have a loss for words, but when she came over to me, all I could do was smile and spit out “T-thank you!!” and smile like a big dork. She’s great, and even more beautiful in person. Now you know who my lesbian crush is. If you are visiting and want to go to a taping for any talk show or TV show, I highly recommend Chelsea Lately, over all the other options. It’s just a great, fun, experience from beginning to end! You can get (FREE!) tickets here:
Attending a Dodgers game is a must. Even if you're like me and don't care for baseball, or sports for that matter, it's still a great time. I like to go to these games because I like flipping through the little program booklet to see who's the hottest player on either team. I also don't mind looking at hot guys in tight pants. Hey, guys are allowed to do it when they go to Hooters. Why can't I stare at a hot guy's ass at a baseball game? I also enjoy a good fight. I enjoy watching two players just go at it for whatever reason. It's best to watch it happen in person because you can hear them throwing punches at each other. It's just wonderful. I also like Dodgers games to hear what song each person chooses to play as they step up to bat. One guy had "Party In The USA" by Miley Cyrus play every time he'd walk up to home plate. I still have mixed emotions about it.
the comedy store - sunset blvd
If you're a fan of comedy clubs, then you've found your place. The Comedy Store is located on the famous Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. I went with some friends one night, because they had a friend who was performing so we all went to support him. I had never been there and I was pleasantly surprised. They had about 7 different acts and then a headliner. It's just an all around good time to hang out and laugh (even if some of the acts aren't so great.) Tickets are about $10 and they do have a 2 drink minimum, which in my opinion is lame. But I have to say, they make the best Long Islands I've ever had. Most places make them so strong that all you can taste is the alcohol and I can barely stomach that stuff. The Comedy Store makes them perfectly sweet, but just as strong as anywhere else. That can either be really great or really dangerous. That's up to you to decide.
lucky strike - Hollywood
Lucky Strike has got to be the coolest, most unique bowling alley I've ever come across in my life. I never thought that a bowling alley could look so cool and actually be a fun place to hang out, without looking like a loser. Lucky Strike proved me wrong. It honestly has more of a nightclub feel to it than a bowling alley. There's a bar, a lounge area and restaurant. Lucky Strike was first brought to my attention on some reality TV show (I can't remember which one) but I remember thinking how cool it looked for a bowling alley! Once I moved to LA my friend and I went to check it out and it was in fact awesome. It's a really great place to have a party at, casually hang out with a group of friends, or even a date. The only reason I'd recommend you do not go on a date to Lucky Strike is if you are a horrendous bowler, like me. I once received the award for the person with the lowest score out of a group of 40 people, no joke. The sad part is, I was actually trying really, really hard. I'm an absolute mess without the damn bumpers.
venice beach freak show
Venice Beach Freakshow is exactly how it sounds. It's an utter and cringe worthy Freak Show. It's just a room and show full of nasty, freaky stuff. There's a dude who hammers, yes HAMMERS, thick, fat ass nails in his nose and makes an audience member (in this case ME) come on stage and pull it out. It's disgusting. He just hammers it in there, and then asked me to please pull it out, like it was normal. I thought part of his brains were gonna come out on the nail. It made me very, very nervous. Another guy who swallows swords. A girl who sits on an electric chair and will lite stuff on fire by touching them (she lights a stick on fire with her tongue.) Another chick who chews glass, you know, for fun. A long haired bleach blonde Gothic guy who puts a hook in his nose and it comes out his mouth. And an old guy, who is missing an eye, so he sticks his finger in his mouth and it comes out of his eye socket. If you are easily squirmish or faint at the sight of objects going in an unnatural place in a body and coming out another unnatural place, then this probably isn't for you. But if you're like me, and have a deep appreciation for the freaks, then you will love it. And it's only $5. Freakshow recently got their own television show, which can be seen on AMC. But I suggest you see it in real life. It's so disturbingly wonderful.
jimmy kimmel live! - hollywood
One of the coolest things about living in LA is that you get to go to TV show tapings FOR FREE. Absolutely free. It's awesome. My little heart almost exploded with happiness when I managed to get my hands on 2 tickets to see John Mayer perform on Jimmy Kimmel. We were extra happy because Mr. Mayer was going to play a show at the Hollywood Bowl 2 days later and tickets were $115. Seeing as I feel guilty when I spend money on groceries, there was no way in hell I'd be able to afford tickets to see my (future) husband perform. I was heartbroken. The tickets had been sold out to see him on Jimmy Kimmel, but then a few were released last minute. The good Lord in heaven was definitely looking out for us. [Insert white girl happy dance here.]
The set up at Jimmy Kimmel is really cool, because it's actually quite small. It looks giant when you watch it on TV. So it doesn't matter where you're standing or how far back you are, you are still close and have a great view. John Mayer did a little mini concert and played 4 songs. He played "Slow Dancing In A Burning Room" and I almost peed my pants. That is exactly why I chose to wear black jeans that day, I know myself and I know my love for that song and John Mayer and I couldn't take any chances.
Attending a taping of Jimmy Kimmel Live! is a must if you live or are visiting LA. The other great thing is it's a quick, easy process. You don't have to stand in line all day, and wait for hours once you get into the stage area. We just walked in, waited maybe 15 minutes at most, Johnny Boy came out performed his songs and we were on our way. It's just perfect. And so is John. He has no idea, but he will be mine someday. Ew. I sound so creepy when I talk about him. But I don't even care.
HOllywood Forever cemetery movies
This is on of my favorite summertime activities! During the summer, the famous Hollywood Forever Cemetery plays movies outside in on a giant screen for 3,000 people! Tickets are $15 and you can bring a blanket and food and drinks and alcohol and anything else you want. It's amazing! They play movies like Jurassic Park, Clueless, Dirty Dancing, Princess Bride and Pulp Fiction just to name a few. Even though there are thousands of people, you can see the screen from anywhere you sit and people are quite and respectful for the most part. There's not a lot of people talking and being annoying when you're trying to watch the movie. So grab all your friends and your favorite snacks and comfiest blankets and head over to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery this summer! You will need to buy your tickets in advanced as they sell out every showing. You can get your tickets here: http://cinespia.ticketfly.com/