The Queen Mary is interesting to see, but I think if I were to go back I would go on Halloween or for one of the haunted tours ($40 nightly). If you opt not to take the tour, you can walk around and check out the common areas on the ship, but you have to pay $15 (which you can use in the restaurant or bar). The Queen Mary also is a hotel and the ship has a few restaurants to chose from. I’m glad I saw it before I moved because the ship is well preserved from its original sea days, but I would be interested in seeing the more spooky areas of the ship. The Queen Mary definitely has a haunted vibe to it. Oh and you can check out an exhibit all about Princess Diana if you want.
I was lucky to get to Catalina Island before my move. It is hard to believe you are still in Los Angeles County when you’re on Catalina Island. This is by far one of the most beautiful and unique places to see while you are in Los Angeles. I haven’t visited the island very often over the years because it is expensive to get there and the hotels are pricey. The good thing is though it isn’t terribly far from L.A. so you can definitely go for just the day. Catalina Express departs from Long Beach and costs $70 or $62 if you have an AAA card.
Things to do on the island include:
Check out the view from the roof of the Avalon Hotel
Glass Submarine Tour (better than the glass bottom boat)
Snorkeling- the waters surrounding Catalina are some of the clearest in the world so you can see everything down there.
Just hanging out by the beach
Zip Lining- I haven’t done this on Catalina, but I’m sure it’s fun.
Renting a golf cart and checking out the island including the old practice field for the Chicago Cubs
Not many places near the beach can beat the view you see from the rooftop deck at Hotel Erwin in Venice. The hotel is around the corner from the start of the Venice Boardwalk and you can catch the sunset while enjoying one of their specialty cocktails. You have to make reservations in advance for a table because the seating is limited. It can get cold up there, but the seating comes with a heat lamp and a blanket if you need it.
Palms Thai used to be one of the most popular places to eat in Thai Town because of the nightly performances by “Thai Elvis.” I had read online that Thai Elvis was MIA, but the Palm Thai website referenced him on their homepage so I thought maybe the rumors were false. Unfortunately, it is true: Thai Elvis is missing and judging by the more-empty-than-usual restaurant he has been gone a while. I probably should have inquired with one of the waitresses where he was, but I kind of didn’t want them to feel badly about it. I hope he landed a gig in Vegas somewhere. Palms Thai does not have the best Thai Food in town, but you can’t beat paying $30 for dinner for 2. Well you get that price at the other Thai places too. OK, I just miss Thai Elvis.
One of my favorite things to do in my neighborhood is to walk down Sunset Blvd, have dinner at Toi Thai, look at vintage rock t-shirts next door and then shop at Meltdown Comics. I don’t pretend to be a huge comic book fan because I grew up with a sister and was never exposed to anything other than Barbie, but I love this place. The first time I came here I saw Lt. Adama from Battlestar Galactica before I got into watching the show. Now I come back hoping to run into him again. I have so many questions.
Meltdown Comics has evolved over the years and in a smart way. While other comic book stores must be struggling to stay open; they have developed other ways to make money. They have a back room called the Nerdmelt Showroom that hosts a ton of events including comic book drawing and writing classes, improv, “Horrible Movie Night” and comedy nights hosted by actors like Jonah Hill. I am slowly getting more into comics & graphic novels coming here and I’m reading a new one right now called SAGA which is really good. I will miss this place.
I had never spent any time in Larchmont Village and I had a lunch in the area today so I checked out the neighborhood a bit. Larchmont has the feel of a small town except parking is impossible (even on a Monday afternoon). There are some really cute shops and restaurants on this little stretch of street between Beverly and Melrose including this great vintage consignment store called Ampersand. Also worth checking out is the Larchmont Village Wine & Cheese Shop where you can dine outside. The neighborhood was full of people eating at outdoor cafes and I don’t think there are any big offices nearby. Either people travel here for lunch or maybe this part of town is the place to be for the fun-employed.
Hitting the vintage and thrift stores in Palm Springs and Desert Springs is the perfect way to escape the intense desert heat. If you are in the market for vintage furniture there are a ton of places to choose from along the main drag in Palm Springs. I discovered this great vintage store called Dazzles and found some beautiful candle holders from the 60s for only $32. I also never miss stopping by the beautiful flagship Trina Turk store just up the street from The Parker. Also not to miss is the thrift store Gypsyland in Desert Springs just 10 minutes past the I-10 entrance on your way out of town.