Holiday happiness doesn’t need to be achieved by getting on a plane and heading for some distant destination. That is simply not necessary when you live in or near Los Angeles. Here in the Southland are plenty of opportunities for an array of distinctive activities that take advantage of our brand of eternal sunshine most of the rest of the world can only envy. So, with summer here, it’s time to catch some rays while trying these ways that aim for vacation memories experienced in and around the City of Angels.
532 S.Olive St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
The heart and soul of downtown, Pershing Square is especially keen when its free concert series starts up in the summer. Taking place during the final three weeks of July and the first three weeks of August, different days feature different sounds. Alternative rock is on offer on Thursday nights, a favorite among young professionals getting their groove on after work. Meanwhile, national touring acts like 10,000 Maniacs, Michelle Shocked and The Bangles take front and center on Saturday nights and at lunchtime on Wednesdays, the main stage is a free-for-all as far as music is concerned with new musicians and DJs like Wallpaper, Silversun Pickups and Peanut Butter Wolf. In addition, a dose of movie magic can be enjoyed at this palm-infused cement venue on Friday nights through October when themed movies are shown under the starry nights after the sun goes down in Tinseltown.
4211 Admiralty Way
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
Marina del Rey is the sole scene along the coast in our neck of the woods to offer what is accurately known as the the dock and dine. Local restaurant Killer Shrimp ensures this fun escape thanks to the restaurant’s 300-foot public landing that can accommodate just about anyone driving there by water, whether that be via kayak, on a paddle board, on a jet ski or even on a conventional boat. Before heading out for your killer grub, realize you’ll need to be dressed for the occasion (meaning everyone must be garbed in shoes and a shirt), but you can make that happen after you land and before you get inside this yummy eatery that satisfies seafarers from afar as well as seafarers who just took five minutes to get to the premises by his or her preferred mode of transportation. Customers at the cafe dine on succulent surf and turf menu items sporting secret sauces while Killer Shrimp offers up killer views of the picturesque waterfront through its massive picture windows.
Catalina Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau
#1 Green Pier
Avalon, CA 90704
The great outdoors, Catalina style, is enjoyed in as leisurely or as active a way as you so desire. Rent a tandem bike to wheel around the island or opt for a golf cart to do the same. Get your dive on and snorkel the surrounding waters looking for vibrant marine life like glowing orange baribaldi or shimmering sheepshead fish. Not ready to get wet? Glass bottom boat tours are the rage in this part of Southern California as are semi-submersible submarines. As for transportation between the mainland and the island, choose Catalina Express for a fun way to make the crossing while soaking up the sunshine on deck. That said, about the only problem with choosing Catalina on which to vacation is finding the time to take part in all this hot spot’s plethora of activities that strike so much fancy.
Splashtopia at Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort
41-100 Bob Hope Drive
Rancho Mirage, CA 97255
Southlanders eking out a family-friendly waterpark with adults-only options on tap is available about and-hour-and-a-half from downtown Los Angeles in the California desert at Splashtopia. Conveniently located inside the sprawling Rancho Las Palmas Resort, this new water wonderland is freshly ready with everything from water slides to sandy beaches. But that’s not all. Get set to jump in and out of a whole bunch of sprinklers and also get ready to revel in an array of foundations located in special water play zones on the resort’s two-acre property. Two pools reserved for mature guests are just the right touch for those who aren’t quite ready to join the younger ones for the entire time spent splashing around this watery paradise.
The Hotel Wilshire
6317 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Anyone looking for urban cool will find that and more at The Hotel Wilshire, the perfect place to check in for a seasonal staycation offering unique opportunities for fun in the Tinseltown sun via a rarified retreat located smack in the middle of the vast City of Angeles. After check-in, head for the roof of Kimpton hotel’s newest SoCal property for panoramic views of the Hollywood Hills, private dining cabanas, a sunken fire pit and a refreshing lap pool. It’s on this lofty level that you’ll experience a number of activities like wine hour, which takes place from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., during which time chef Eric Greenspan shares special cocktails and tasty bites as well as the requisite fruits of the grape. Satiated for a bit? Dive into the pool, or better yet, dive into the movies for a chance to enjoy a classic like “Chinatown” or Pretty Woman.” Not only will you be privy to the flick but you’ll also be privy to gourmet popcorn and other sensational snacks while enjoying such iconic films on top of the world at Hotel Wilshire.
Related: Hottest Summer Pool Parties In LA
Los Angeles freelance travel writer Jane Lasky, contributes to publications such as Travel + Leisure, Vogue and Esquire. Her weekly sojourning column ran in 40 newspapers for 20 years. Jane is anything but an accidental tourist. Check out her articles on Examiner.com.