view from above Avalon, Catalina

Winter Warm-up in Los Angeles

hiking griffith park in los angeles

I’ve lost track of how many years I’ve called the San Francisco Bay Area home, but I always get excited about planning a trip to Los Angeles. Southern California and Northern California may call the same state home, but it’s safe to say a bit of a rivalry exists. LA was where I spent my college days, and fell in love with summer-like weather that’s typical all year long.

So if you’re thinking about a trip, you may need to dig into the closet for some summer clothes. And along with flip flops, don’t forget good walking shoes so you can take advantage of spots like Griffith Park.

view of Hollywood sign from Griffith Park

Griffith Park is the largest municipal park in the United States, so there’s plenty to keep you busy on a hike here. Mountains, high-rises, the Hollywood Sign. This is the Los Angeles many folks don’t realize exists. Come in the morning, or come for sunset. There is some elevation gain, and a few narrow stretches, but overall, it’s good for novices and experienced hikers alike. If you don’t want to do it on your own, groups like Bikes and Hikes LA lead daily group hikes that include a trip into the Griffith Observatory.

view from above Avalon, Catalina

From the mountains to the sea..

Los Angeles has its own version of island life on Catalina. Just 22 miles off the coast of Southern California, Catalina has an old-school, seaside charm. The high speed ferry ride on Catalina Express takes a little more than an hour.

Once on the island, boats are plentiful, but there isn’t single traffic light to be found. You might however, come across one of the island’s resident bison; a herd of about 150 roam the island’s interior, thanks to a movie in the 1920’s that brought 14 buffalo to the Island for filming, and left them.

bison from Catalina Island

It’s historical tidbits that make exploring fun. And you can explore in a number of ways. Take an open-air Hummer tour or even go zip lining. There are a number of tour options and all will fill you in on the island’s history and its former owner William Wrigley, Jr., of chewing gum fame. He developed the main resort area of Avalon and brought his Chicago Cubs baseball team to the Island for spring training from 1921-1951 (with the exception of a few years during WWII). A majority of the island is now protected from development and part of the Catalina Island Conservancy.

From bison to a booming downtown..

LA LIVE, downtown Los Angeles

From island living to city life, L.A. LIVE is the city’s one-stop shopping spot for entertainment. If you think you might want to catch a game, Staples Center is home to the Lakers, Clippers, and Sparks basketball teams, along with the Kings Ice Hockey team. Check the schedule for when you are in town. There’s the Microsoft Theater, somewhere in the neighborhood of two dozen restaurants, a bowling alley, The Grammy Museum, and movie theaters. The list goes on and on. It covers just about any age group and interest. And there’s plenty of hotels, if you’re hunting for a spot to call home.

Review and photos by Dana Rebmann. Dana’s trip was sponsored by Discover Los Angeles, but as always, all of her thoughts and opinions are her own.

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