Summer trip and places to visit in LA California

Visiting Los Angeles California was one of my childhood dreams. When you are born in a distant country where many things are limited, including dreaming big, LA seems especially alluring. Freedom to be who you want and create without restrictions was always in my mind when thinking about California LA. Maybe because it was so different from my hometown or the entertainment industry of Hollywood, but life seemed much more interesting there. And, in fact, it is. Does that make people happier there? That’s a philosophical question that will take several hundreds of pages to discuss. For now, I will write that I felt happy traveling to Los Angeles because it’s a sort of magic experiencing one of your childhood dreams come true. 

traveling to LA California

My husband organized a summer trip to California LA, for my anniversary. Traveling is how I love celebrating my birthdays, exploring new cities, taking photos, and asking myriad questions just to entertain my curiosity muscle. And that year was no exception. I travel to wonder and feel amused, to get inspired by new surroundings and different lifestyles, and to remind myself of a kaleidoscopic beauty emitted through nature, cultures, architecture, art, and food.  

We departed from Atlanta International Airport and, in 4 hours, landed in LAX, rented a car with Hertz, and went straight to the hotel, The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, which is located downtown. It’s famous for being a shooting location for many Hollywood movies, including Interstellar, Rain Man, Blade Runner, and True Lies. We stayed on the 27 floor, with a view combined of skyscrapers and distant mountains with a Hollywood sign.

paper plane on grass photo
Westin Bonaventure Hotel Suites
The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites
day view from Westin Bonaventure Hotel Suites
A different view from the room, overlooking LA Central Library
view from Westin Bonaventure Hotel Suites
The view from the room during sunset.

Love videos? Here is the vlog about my summer trip to Los Angeles.  

Things to do in downtown LA

After we checked in, my husband stayed at the hotel, and I explored the nearest surroundings and took photos. Although downtown is not a very tourist place in Los Angeles, compared to New York, I enjoyed it, especially all the tall buildings. I find them especially attractive and interesting as a subject for a photo. 

tall building downtown LA California
aesthetic images Los Angeles California
art on streets of LA California images
reflections in skyscrapers los Angeles
Robert Graham Source figure Los Angeles
Robert Graham "Source figure" 1992, bronze
Los Angeles sculptures downtown
professional photos los angeles California

At the end of my walk, I visited the Los Angeles Central Library. I love books and libraries, so I couldn’t miss this one. Inside, it’s nicely organized, and on the second floor, there is an impressive drawing on the walls and ceiling. Artistic elements are everywhere around the library.

central library los angeles
The historic Central Library Goodhue building. It was constructed in 1925 and is a Downtown Los Angeles landmark. It was designed by the architect Bertram Goodhue. Goodhue designed the original Los Angeles Central Library with influences of ancient Egyptian and Mediterranean Revival architecture.
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central library in los angeles
central library downtown LA California
The focal point of the library is the Rotunda. The walls feature murals depicting California history
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sculpture central library los angeles
Sphinxes at the Central Library
inside the central library los angeles
Three massive, sculptural chandeliers created by artist Therman Statom. The chandeliers represent nature, science and the arts.
central library downtown los angeles photos

Things to do in downtown LA:

  • Visit Walt Disney Concert Hall
  • Explore the modern art museum The Broad 
  • Hungry? Stop at Grand Central Market
  • Walk through the Bradbury Building 
  • Enjoy Broadway musicals at the Music Center 
  • Relax and have a snack at Grand Park 
  • Experience a funicular ride at Angels Flight 
  • Visit the downtown Arts District 
  • Love reading? Stop by The Last Bookstore and Los Angeles Central Library
  • For music fans, Grammy Museum
greenery and parks downtown LA California

Downtown LA is not only about tall buildings and cars but also about greenery, flowers, and parks.

flower pots downtown Los Angeles Callifornia
walking downtown LA California
purple tree streets los angeles
Jacarandas, with their beautiful blossoms in a distinctive purple color, and in the 1920s and ’30s they were planted extensively in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.

I love to walk, and when I travel and explore a new place, I do it mainly by walking. This way, I can see details that I would otherwise miss. Those details add something special to a character of a town. 

city hall los angeles california
art on streets of la

For example, I like this monument and drawing that was painted on an electric box. 

grand park los angeles
Fountain at the Grand Park
joy sign los angeles streets
The word "Joy" got my attention because it's one of the symbols of the "Fine Art Lifestyle"
little libraries in los angeles
Little libraries. The main idea is simple, put one book and take one, sort of an exchange of books.

Taking photos, recording videos, and slowly wandering around, I found myself in the park near City Hall with a court of historical flags that looked very impressive. After that, I visited Grand Park, just a few minutes away, had a strawberry Frappuccino in Starbucks, and continued exploring Los Angeles. 

One of the first things I noticed walking around the streets of LA is that only a few people are walking around compared to New York, which is buzzing with active walkers. 

grand park los angeles
Grand Park

Walt Disney Concert Hall

This is Walt Disney Concert Hall, one of my favorite buildings I’ve seen during my six days in Los Angeles. It was designed by Frank Gehry and opened in 2003. It’s the home to Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, presenting its best in classical, contemporary, and world music. And it’s also one of the most acoustically sophisticated concert halls in the world. The building itself is considered an international landmark. As a first-time tourist in LA, I appreciated the view of the nearest surroundings that opened from several points of the building. 

Walt Disney Concert Hall Los Angeles
walt disney concert hall los angeles
The building consists of multiple materials, including 165,000 square feet of stainless steel metal panel system, metal studs and exterior plaster, glazed curtain wall, and pre-cast concrete.
we believe in arts los angeles
walking around walt disney concert hall
sculpture behind fountain Walt Disney Concert Hall
A fountain "A Rose for Lilly" designed by Frank Gehry is located in the Blue Ribbon Garden. The fountain is shaped from fragments of Royal Blue Delft porcelain vases and tiles.
view from Walt Disney concert hall
The view of the street from the top of The Walt Disney Concert hall
peace on Earth Sculpture Los Angeles
Designed by Jacques Lipchitz and installed in 1969, the 30-foot "Peace on Earth" bronze sculpture depicts a dove descending to Earth as a spirit of peace.

Later on, that day, while walking back to the hotel, I saw a bronze sculpture, “Peace on Earth” It stands near Ahmanson Theatre, whose entrance is decorated with a fountain. A nice, refreshing spot in the hot climate of LA. 

Ahmanson theatre Los Angeles
Ahmanson Theatre

Griffith Observatory is one more place to visit in LA

Griffith Observatory is another beautiful place to visit in LA. This is one of the spots in Los Angeles where you can see the Hollywood sign. We didn’t intend on going inside, but we enjoyed walking around, looking at the different installations, and remembering the names of famous scientists whose work was related to astronomy. 

Griffith Observatory was opened in May 1935, and admission to the ground and the major building is free. Griffith Observatory offers a free telescope viewing that starts around 7 PM when the weather allows. It’s a popular place for commercials, and it’s been featured in several Hollywood movies, including a sequel of the James Dean “Rebel without a Cause.”

Griffith Observatory is open:

Tuesday-Friday 12-10 PM

Saturday, Sunday 1-AM-10PM

Monday – closed.

griffith observatory photos
Griffith Observatory view Los Angeles
walk path at park at Griffith Observatory
Overview from Griffith Observatory
Griffith Observatory entrance tickets
blogger and traveller Elena Sullivan photos
In front of the bronze sculpture "Wings of Mexico" Created by Mexican sculptor Jorge Marin, the human-scale wings are a gift from Mexico City to the City of Los Angeles.
hollywood sign Griffith Observatory
This is one of the spots in Los Angeles where you can see the Hollywood sign.

Santa Monica Pier

Later the same day, we drove to Santa Monica Pier, one of the most iconic touristic spots near LA. It’s crowded and noisy but also fun to walk around, enjoy people watching, and see the life of locals. 

Santa Monica Pier is considered a historic landmark and was first opened to the public in September 1909. It was the first concrete pier on the West Coast and, in a short time, gained popularity among fishing fans. Santa Monica Pier is made up of two adjoining piers that long had separate owners. Nowadays, it contains a small amusement park, concession stands, and areas for views and fishing. The entrance is free.

Photo Santa Monica Pier
beach at Santa Monica pier
Elena Sullivan Santa Monica pier
Santa Monica pier Pacific Park
Santa Monica California
santa monica pier general view
restaurants Santa Monica Pier
Do you like fishing?
lifestyle photos Santa Monica pier
The stairs - a great place to relax 🙂
ocean view santa monica pier
Can you swim in santa monica pier
Refreshing after a long day of exploring LA.

Gorgeous tall palm trees are one of the symbols of California. I loved observing and taking photos of them, especially on a sunset with a soft, warm light. 

palm trees LA California
palm trees California
elena sullivan blog fine art lifestyle in la

On one of the days during our trip to Los Angeles, we stopped by the University of California Los Angeles UCLA. While walking around, listening to my husband’s stories about his student years in California, I connected a little more with the local lifestyle.

University of California photos
university california southern
USC Californai images
Powell Library is the main college undergraduate library on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Powell Library is also known as the College Library. It was constructed from 1926 to 1929.

One week was enough to enjoy Los Angeles and visit The Huntington Library, Getty Museum, and Botanical Gardens in Pasadena. And after a great trip like this one, it’s always great to return home. I love traveling, it’s entertaining, and it’s been an important activity in my personal growth. And it becomes much better when you have a place you call home and appreciate its beauty.   

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