Driving to Hollywood is a relatively quick drive, if you time the traffic right. Five hours with a couple of quick stops. Loading the kids into the van makes for a less expensive weekend get-away, but of course, there is the hotel bill and the cost of our excursions. Honestly, nothing is cheap when you have this many kids!
It was a quick trip, and we filled it with fun activities!
If you get a chance to visit Hollywood, there is so much to do! Here are some of my recommendations…
Walking Hollywood Blvd
This in of itself is a sight to see. Looking at the stars on the ground as well as all at the impersonators dressed as stars. The kids had fun looking at the stars and finding the names of some favorite actors. A couple of the kids even got down on the ground to get their name taken next to a star or two. We drove down Friday late afternoon, and headed to the strip to get some dinner. The kids settled on Hard Rock Cafe, nothing spectacular, but a fun place to get a bite to eat. And since we had a rather hungry group – it was an easy choice.
Disneyland is an all-time favorite place for this family. But due to it’s close proximity, we decided to spend the day at Universal Studios. My son has had a season pass; he and my husband are both huge movie buffs – so a Saturday spent at Universal Studios seemed like a great way to spend the day.I had not been to Universal since I was a young child, and we lived in Los Angeles. I really did not know what to expect. I have seen lots of advertisements, I knew it was a movie based theme park, but other than that I really did not know what to expect.
It was fun! We enjoyed the rides that they had, especially the Jurassic Park water ride! It’s always fun to get wet! We loved the backlot tour led by Jimmy Fallon himself (via recording) – where we got to ride through many actual movie sets for very well known television and big screen movies. Just to name a few of the sets we saw – Jaws, Desperate Housewives, War of the Word, and Psycho. It was impressive!
Do not go to Universal Studios expecting a lot of rides. They have a few and they are great, but this is not a theme park full of adventurous rides. Go for the love of movies. It is worth it!
The Griddle Cafe
OK, this is a must hit spot for breakfast! The Griddle Cafe on Sunset Boulevard has an amazing menu. They have tons of sweet choices – like the “Mounds of Pleasure” coconut and chocolate file pancakes topped with whipped cream or “red Velvet PanCAKE” topped with swirls and swirls of cream cheese icing. So many crazy fun choices that the kids are in pancake heaven. If you might want something more along the lines of protein, they have you covered there as well! I especially love the breakfast tacos as well as their Tequila Sunrise. If you follow my blog you know I love huevos rancheros! Tequila Sunrise is their own version of huevos ranchers served with chicken tequila sausage and avocado!
Oh, and let me not forget – they have this amazing French press coffee that they press at your table for you and with a full bar; you can’t go wrong in ordering a Bloody Mary to go with the breakfast tacos! They do serve lunch as well, although this is a favorite breakfast spot for me when I am in the southland. They also have TVs so you can catch a game while enjoying you food. A great hang out! You can see their full menu here
La Brea Tar Pits at the Page Museum
Ok, so this is not technically Hollywood, but it is oh-so-close on Wilshire Boulevard. As a kid my dad worked on Wilshire Boulevard, and I always marveled at the giant prehistoric animals that they had out front. This is an actual working paleontological dig in the middle of Los Angeles! Who would have ever thought!The Page Museum is an excellent way to spend an afternoon! It is relaxing and (dare I say) educational Find out more here.
The kids – all five, ages 12 − 24, had fun walking through the museum and visiting the dig site. Here you can see the bones of a Mastodone, see a giant sloth – they are huge! And talk to the scientist digging in Pit 91. Fossils are being uncovered every day in the bubbling tar pits.
Walk outside the museum and head to Pit 91. Here the scientist give talks about their recents finds, how they catalog the fossils, and the entire process of examining the tar section by section. It is fascinating!
After the Tar Pits we headed across the street to catch a bit of a World Soccer game at the Counter. If you are hungry – they make excellent burgers to your specifications! We were still full from our breakfast at The Griddle Cafe, but the game was be beckoning my husband.That was our quick trip to Hollywood to visit my son, Robert. Before we new it, it was time to pile back into the van and drive north. We had a great weekend! We enjoyed walking the strip (twice), Universal Studios, tacos for dinner one night from a taco truck around the corner from my son’s place – one of his favorite food stops, breakfast at the Griddle Cafe, and an afternoon at La Brea Tar Pits.Actually just getting to see the kids together warms this mama’s heart. We were only able to round up five of the six kids for this weekend. We did not feel too guilty though, as Alyssa was off on her own adventures traveling Europe. But we sure missed her! Seeing my son flourish in his new place, enjoying his career, and living well is just simply the best!