Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Venice, Mulholland, Hollywood and more in our final hours in Los Angeles

Venice Beach Skatepark
After our misstep staying at a stinky AirBnB in Santa Monica on our first night in Los Angeles, we regrouped to get a refund and book the final night of our trip at the luxury Le Parc on Melrose in West Hollywood. It would prove to be the New Year's Eve climax to yet another perfect family-vacation day.

And it wouldn't have been our family without starting it at Venice Beach, and letting Jackson watch the famed Venice Skatepark on the beach for a bit. He only had his scooter with us and they are not allowed there. But I was pretty impressed that he said he would definitely get in and ride if it was allowed, without any worries about the hot-shot skaters and hordes of tourists watching. I always love hanging out in Venice and, after our walk, we headed to meet our cousins, a newlywed couple of musicians, at Gjusta on 3rd and Sunset for a tasty and fun outdoor breakfast.

I had to forego my planned celebrity-gawking stop of the O.J. Simpson murder house on Bundy in Brentwood so we could swing through the Culver City Skatepark. While Jackson scootered, the rest of us took a little climb up to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. We then killed a little time before checkin at our hotel by strolling the Hollywood Walk of Fame. You need about 30 minutes for that, unless you want to truly try to see all the stars on the pavement or want to spend more than the 10 minutes we did in the awesome Amoeba Music record store. At that point, we were more than ready to enjoy our hotel room for the rest of the night.

Venice Beach
The next morning we awoke to 2024 by playing tennis on the roof of the hotel, with magestic views of the Hollywood Hills and downtown L.A. After checkout, we wanted to make the best of our remaining hours on the West Coast before our 3 p.m. flight back to Baltimore via Phoenix. After grabbing some breakfast and snacks from Whole Foods and driving down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, we set out for a drive up the 405 to take winding and famed Mulholland Drive from west to east. Jackson read out famous addresses and we noted them as we passed the homes of Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, John Lennon, Madonna, and many others. As expected, most of the houses are well hidden behind gates and hills, but there are plenty of great sites and overlooks along the whole way, culminating in great views of the Hollywood sign at the Wonder View Trailhead.

Wonder View Trailhead

The three of us got In-N-Out Burger and Zoey got lunch at Ike’s Love & Sandwiches (which incidentally serves a John Ritter Burbank exclusive sandwich of fried chicken, wasabi honey mustard, and provolone). Then it was long, tired flights back home after a very successful family vacation.

Tennis at Le Parc on Melrose

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