Where to go in LA - the rest of it

I already wrote of my recent LA trip - the part where we visited LACMA. We also played and ate and shopped and slept. And here is where we did it.

Of course visiting with a six year old your first stop is going to be Disneyland. We visited Disneyworld when the girl was 4 1/2 and it was the perfect time for someone completely into princesses. And the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique where the girl was transformed into Snow White. Think 40C (100F) in a polyester princess costume, make up and hair style. She was a trooper and spent the entire day dressed up. That's my girl!

This time she was over the princesses and more into the rides - as long as they weren't dark or scary. Indiana Jones was a bit of a mistake. And the closest she got to the haunted mansion was waiting for the man by the exit. When you have a huge imagination, that's what you avoid for the time being. It's all too real.

The teacups and cars were a huge hit.  And the Tiki Room is a lovely throw back to sixties kitsch with animatronic birds singing about Hawaii. The flying chairs deserved three visits.

After Disney we zoomed over to Santa Monica where we stayed at the Hotel Shangri-La. It's right on the beach and the perfect starting point to explore LA. All art deco inside and out.

We ate at the Blue Plate Oysterette, a short walk away. And the Huckleberry Cafe. It was sooo yummy, we went there twice. I cannot oversell the food - it was amazing. On our second visit we were seated by director Paul Haggis. His breakfast mate was making a huge effort to sell him on some movie ideas but he wasn't buying. Don't you find it inspiring to be in a cafe surrounded by creative people?

Another great restaurant was the Thyme Cafe. We hit there twice too. Also incredible food and stunning service. It is such a pleasure to eat at a place with great food and great service. 

We hung out in Silverlake and visited the Mohawk General Store. Not a huge shop but well curated with many original to them items. And Modernica for mid-century modern furniture. They had for sale the same patio furniture that was on display at LACMA in their California mid-century modern exhibit. Also great service.

We only had a few days and ran out of time. I picked up some props on sale for tabletop photography and then it was time to pack up to go home. We barely scratched the surface of Santa Monica and Venice let alone anywhere else in LA. More on our next visit.

There are a lot of stereotypes about LA but like any large city, there are many different LA's. You find what you look for, what you are drawn to. For us it's good food and fun and bookstores and museums and architecture.

What do you look for when you visit a new city?


Where to go in LA - Los Angeles County Museum of Art

You know already that we love to travel. And that we have been to NYC many, many times. At six the girl has already been five times (benefit of having parents who love theatre and museums)! So when we moved back to the west coast after 10 years we decided that we wanted to get to know LA at least as well as NYC. The man and I have been before - I even went to grad school in Santa Barbara - but we want to REALLY know LA. Our LA. And our LA includes museums - here is our visit to LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
At the entrance is an installation called Urban Light with 202 vintage LA street lamps. The artist bought one at the Rose Bowl flea market and then became obsessed with collecting them. They are lit at night (solar powered of course - it is California).
The size and scope of this steel sculpture are amazing. The room is hundreds of feet long and wide to accommodate it.
We were very lucky as one of the exhibits is the first major study of California mid-century modern design. With over 300 objects from ceramics to an automobile, it is worth attending.
The girl is watching the Debbie Sussman video that is below this photo. Sussman worked with Ray and Charles Eames. If you saw the American Masters PBS episode on the Eames', you will recognize her. How could you not remember her with those amazing glasses! (You can only watch the entire show via this link if you are in the US).
The childrens' area is surprisingly quite small considering the size of the museum. I wasn't too concerned as the girl is quite at home in galleries and museums. Like when we saw the Herzog exhibit, she was busy with the man's blackberry taking photos.
But it does have space for artmaking. And the staff were incredibly friendly.
The other exhibit that we viewed was called "In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States". One of the quotes on the wall of the gallery spoke to how women artists throughout history have been characterized as crazy because they made their creative work a priority. How brave they were. And how much of a challenge it still can be to balance creative work and the rest of our lives. The more things change and all that...
So that was my visit to LACMA last week. We barely scratched the surface - it'll take a few more visits to get through the entire collection. And to start to get to know smaller galleries too. 
More on the rest of our trip soon. Disney. And shopping - clothes and furniture. Restaurants too. We had our moments of panic because we want to see and do and know everything right.now. But that'll come.
Have you been to LA? Favourite spots?