Be sure to make time to play tourist while at the American Society of Association Executives Annual Meeting & Exposition in Los Angeles August 21–24. There are few convention cities that offer the kind of recreation and attractions that L.A. does. If you’re like me, a relative newbie to the city, you’ll find these insider tips perfect for you—and your family.
1. Ready for My Closeup. Take a walking tour and get a whole different perspective of the Red Carpet and the dozens of TV shows that are filmed in the heart and soul of Hollywood: Grauman’s Chinese Theatre along the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Kodak Theatre, and Madame Tussaud’s. You can get a great view of the Hollywood sign from a nearby upscale shopping mall, Hollywood & Highland Center. The Hollywood CityPass, a pocket-size ticket booklet that offers nearly 50 percent savings on admission to four attractions, is well worth the price if you have time to visit all four (you get a choice of five). Find details at the CityPass Web site.
2. Hold on to Your Hat on These Hills. Take a tour of celebrity homes from the Chinese Theatre. Starline Tours is the original movie-star-homes tour—an idea created by Sid Grauman when he told his chauffer, “People would pay to see where the stars live.” I highly recommend the smaller, open-air vehicles that maneuver up and down the Hollywood Hills (rather than the larger buses). The ride itself can be as much fun as the fabulous home sightings—a regular thrill ride! More often than not, the guides are former actors, or have lived in the area so long that they have juicy tidbits you just won’t hear on “Access Hollywood.”
3. Flamboyant West Hollywood. The hotels and restaurants in West Hollywood are among the most colorful—and the most fun—in the area. I think I would liken it to Chelsea or the East Village in Manhattan. Poolside at the Standard, a very trendy boutique hotel, is just one of the places to see or be seen post-reception on Saturday night. Just be up for the opening general session on Sunday morning!
4. A Hidden Shopping Gem. My friend Carol Martinez, associate vice president, communications, LA Inc., turned me on to It's a Wrap on my last visit. With two locations in L.A., the shop sells clothes from movie and TV sets. You’ll find lots of tiny sizes (0 to 4), quite telling about the size of actresses these days, but there are some larger sizes, shoes, and a great men’s selection, too. Clothes are coded by show or movie! Here’s a sampling.
5. Two Dives to Die For. Carol also turned me onto Pinks Hot Dogs, on LaBrea near Melrose. Lots of stars have dined here and there are photos of the stars and good hot dogs. Just be ready to stand in line. I also discovered—and loved—In-N-Out Burger, offering fresh, made-to-order burgers, fries, and shakes. One of the earliest ones is on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.