Diversity reigns as options for activities on a summer day in L.A. run the gamut. From riding the city’s landmark funicular to visiting an old Spanish Mission and from trodding the paths of an unforgettable botanical garden to staying cool in a legendary movie house, the City of Angels has something for everyone. The following are five of the best.
Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana
1515 San Fernando Mission Blvd.
Mission Hills, CA 91345
Anyone who likes to combine sightseeing with a history lesson will thoroughly enjoy the old Spanish Mission called San Fernando Rey de Espana. Founded in 1797 and named for the King of Spain in the 13th century, the monumental edifice that’s an active part of the Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is located to the north of Los Angeles in aptly named Mission Hills. A self-guilded tour of the property will take a couple of hours, if not more. Among the most adored architectural highlights is the The Convento, built in 1822 as the largest adobe structure in California. The two-story building was originally the padre’s quarters and is now set up to look like it did when it was first used. The Madonna Room highlights Mary in hundreds of paintings and statues.
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608
Evenings are a delightful time to get to know what happens outside at the famous theme park at Universal Studies. Loads of precious shops, as well as places to dine and drink are everywhere and there’s also a multiplex on the pretty premises, promising first-run fare. And those are just the tame options in this village-like setting that sits on top of a hill not far from Hollywood proper. Indoor skydiving is an option courtesy iFly thanks to its vertical wind tunnel and Jillian’s Hi-Life Lanes offers cosmic bowling that is, well, out of this world.
351 S. Hill St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
While many Angelenos don’t see Angels Flight Railway as an enticing attraction but rather as a means of getting from one uphill place down to another below, this historical landmark in the form of a narrow gauge funicular railway located in the Bunker Hill district of downtown should be explored for the historic value and fun of the ride. Cost is a mere half dollar or a quarter if you hold a Metro pass and bragging rights include the ability to say you rode on a counterbalanced car controlled by cables and built in 1901 by Colonel J.W. Eddy who called Angels Flight the world’s shortest incorporated railway. As a reminder, this singular site can be seen in “The Muppets” 2011 movie where Jason Segal’s character sings “Man or Muppet.” The song, helped along by the celebrated backdrop, won an Oscar.
6360 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Unlike in other cities, citizens of Los Angeles often like to get in from the heat, especially at times during the hottest part of the summer. For those who want to go out and about but still stay chill, try the Archlight Cinemas, home to the celebrated Cinerama Dome where “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World” bowed for the first time in the new theater in 1963. Since then, this geodesic domed movie house designed in the unique and highly recognizable style of R. Buckminster Fuller has since been joined by others in the now massive complex. However, by far, this is the theater with the most gravitas. If you’ve seen Lana Del Rey’s 2013 “Tropico,” then you know what this means since the Cinerama Dome is featured in the short film.
1418 Descanso DriveLa Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011
Savor the rosarium and drink chai at the Japanese tea house before going on to wander in the lilac garden and find yourself in the bird sanctuary. These Descanso Gardens opportunities are ripe for anyone in the Southland raring to explore these well-cultivated botanical gardens in La Canada Flintridge on a warm summer day. For those who prefer to ride and not walk, the Descanso Gardens Enchanted Railroad – an 8th scale replica of an actual diesel train – takes visitors around the park, chugging from one section to another.
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