31 March 2020

Seattle Travel Guide 2020

Getting there:

We arrived on the train from Vancouver.

Where to stay:

Most British tourists have never met a Kimpton hotel up close, as they haven't opened many in Europe yet. They are part of the IHG Holiday Inn/Crowne Plaza/Intercontinental group, but have a few quirks. Firstly they are much more boutique, with individual style and more varied rooms. Secondly they have a wine hour every evening in the lobby, a great way to meet other travellers and enjoy wine. Thirdly they allow dogs and are very pet-friendly.

We stayed at the Kimpton Vintage, so even more wine-themed! It was a gorgeous friendly place, with lots of perks like bar credit and free desserts in the Tulio restaurant.
5th Avenue at Spring, handy for downtown and Pike Place.

Getting around:

We weren't there long enough to get a travel pass, and everywhere was pretty walkable, though there are some steep hills a la San Francisco. Uber and buses are easy to get hold of.

Classic sights:

Monorail: https://www.seattlemonorail.com/
The Alweg monorail was built in 1962 for a World's Fair and is still in prime condition.
It leaves from Westlake Centre Mall (5th and Pine) and arrives at Seattle Centre to the northwest of town.

Space Needle: https://www.spaceneedle.com/
book in advance, with timed ticketing that is cheaper 10am-12 noon, and 6-8pm.
520 feet high, rotating glass floor, cafe and wine bar

Pike Place: http://pikeplacemarket.org/plan-your-visit
Market Diner, 1514 Pike Place - great for breakfast
Rachel's Ginger Beer, 1530 Post Alley - so many flavours, really refreshing
Robot vs Sloth, 1535 1st Avenue - great for handmade local art

The First Starbucks: 1912 Pike Place - this is still a Starbucks and claims to be the original
The REAL First Starbucks: 2000 Western Avenue - now a totally different restaurant

Seattle Art Museum
1300 1st Avenue, between Union and University
With art from all over the world, and special exhibitions of Modern and Contemporary art, this is a building you can lose yourself in. Well worth a visit, with a good café and shop.
It also has an Asian Art offshoot and a sculpture park.

Pacific Place
Pine Street, between 6th and 7th
Small mall, show your passport at the Concierge desk on Level 1 to get free stuff, like a cookie, tote bag, and popcorn and drinks from the cinema
Handmade Showroom, nice gifts including woodcrafts

Seattle Public Library
1000 4th Avenue, between Madison and Spring
An amazing building, worth more than one visit. Every floor, escalator and prospect is a viewing marvel.

Off the beaten track:

From downtown, to explore First Hill and the historical areas, you can walk through Freeway Park.
It sits atop a section of Interstate 5 and a large city-owned parking lot, and is an unusual mixture of brutalist architecture and greenery, strangely peaceful given its location. You can find it easily at 600 Seneca Street at 6th Avenue.

Frye Art Museum
704 Terry Avenue, between Columbia and Cherry
19th & 20th century works by American & European painters plus a range of rotating exhibitions
Excellent cafe

One area you must visit is Pioneer Square, around 1st Avenue and Yesler Way.
This is a historical district of Seattle dating from 1852. There are plenty of buildings, signs, street mosaics and ironwork showing the past. Visit Pioneer Park, Occidental Street Park, and support local businesses like Arundel Books and the Globe Bookstore, both on 1st Avenue.

Just to the east, in the "International District" you can:

  • see the Chinatown Gate
  • sit in Hing Hay park and listen to the buskers
  • visit Union Station, now disused but still maintained as a grand terminal
  • sit in Kobe Terrace Park
  • visit the Uwajimaya supermarket complex dating back to 1928

Our two recommendations for the area are:

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
719 South King at 8th
Enjoy a guided tour of what life was like for early Asian Pacific American immigrants.

Honey Court Seafood Restaurant
516 Maynard Avenue South, in the heart of Chinatown, between King and Weller
excellent dim sum until 3pm, and an extensive menu

29 March 2020

Vancouver Travel Guide 2020

Getting There:

We flew Air Canada from Heathrow, which takes about 10 hours. Other airlines running direct flights include British Airways.
Customs at Vancouver airport was relatively quick, with a pre-desk machine processing your passport and entry.
Take the Canada Line SkyTrain (subway) to downtown for connections.

Where To Stay:

Like many North American cities, Vancouver is clamping down on private rentals like AirBnB and Flipkey. If your rental is unregistered then the owner can be fined and you can be evicted. We found a nice place on the waterfront near Davie Village.
Of course there are plenty of hotels, but prices can go sky-high if there is a convention or trade show in town. Choose your dates carefully.

Getting Around:

There are three subway lines which are mainly for commuters. You're more likely to take one of the numerous buses, but the summer climate is such that walking and cycling are often the easiest.
We each got a Compass Card at the airport ($6) and then topped up with $40 credit, which lasted us the whole fortnight.
Bus app: RADAR https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/radar-metro-vancouver-buses/id646651988

What To See:

Waterfront walk: all round the creek
This walk starts at David Lam park in Yorktown and finishes at Charleson Park near Spruce Harbour. Without stops, it takes about an hour, but there are lots of sights and food stops.
Ferries: the False Creek Ferries are tiny bobbing boats that run all over the creek, zigzagging from pier to pier. Tickets are about $4 or you can get a day pass for $16. https://granvilleislandferries.bc.ca/

Waterfront walk: Granville Island and Kitsilano to the Museum of Anthropology
While you can walk all the way round, there are some boring suburban streets blocking the waterfront, so we have put in a bus shortcut for you. This walk would be a day in itself, if you stop off at all the attractions.

Downtown Top Spots:

Bonus food fact:
Vancouver has the world's largest concentration of downtown foodtrucks - so many in fact, that you need an app just to keep track of which days they are allocated and their locations.
App: https://streetfoodapp.com/vancouver

Vancouver Cinematheque
1131 Howe Street
For film lovers, The Cinematheque has a great range of vintage moves, often 2 or 3 a day. We saw Nicholas Ray's In A Lonely Place and the atmosphere was superb.

In the heart of downtown, this revitalised area has great shops (Herschel https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/herschel-supply-vancouver-store-gastown-photos) and eateries (Tacofino https://www.tacofino.com/location/taco-bar), and commemorates its history with a steam-powered clock that plays tunes!

Davie Village:
This was our neighbourhood for a fortnight. We also timed it well to coincide with Vancouver Pride, whose parade goes from Stanley Park to downtown through the heart of the village. There were celebrations for several nights, and we had brunch at Forage (https://foragevancouver.com/#home) with great views of the parade. There are grocery stores all along Davie Street, plus branches of Fatburger (perfect for a first night blow-out, https://locations.fatburger.com/canada/bc/davie-st-(vancouver)/1067-davie-street), La Belle Patate (so many different poutines, https://westcoastpoutine.wixsite.com/labellepatatevan) and Banana Leaf (great Malaysian cuisine with a 9 course tasting menu and wine pairing, https://www.bananaleaf-vancouver.com/menu).

West End:
Roedde House Museum, 1415 Barclay, 2 blocks south of Robson at Nicola, https://www.roeddehouse.org/website/index.php/en/
St Paul's Anglican Church, 1130 Jervis Street, https://www.stpaulsanglican.bc.ca/
Cora Breakfast & Lunch, 1368 Robson Street,  https://www.chezcora.com/en/breakfast-restaurants/british-columbia/Cora-Robson-Street

Many people just hop off the subway here and get straight on a bus home. But as well as a transit hub, it also has a great food village on Mainland Street. We visited another branch of Tacofino (https://www.tacofino.com/location/yaletown-burrito-bar) and were severely tempted by West Oak, and The Greek By Anatoli.

Broadway and Main Street walk:
This also takes about an hour end to end, not allowing for stops.
  • Start at West Broadway and Burrard Street, and walk east. You get post offices, chain stores and decent restaurants. What we are after though are the random finds:
  • (It means you miss the delights of Amy's Loonie-Toonie Town, discount store (loonie = $1, toonie = $2), 2582 W Broadway (south of Kitsilano), but no matter)
  • Book Warehouse, 632 West Broadway (at Ash), independent bookstore, https://www.bookwarehouse.ca/
  • Yolks, 546 West Broadway (at Cambie), the best poached eggs and pancakes, https://www.yolks.ca/
  • At Cambie Street, head south and walk to City Hall. Look for the statue of Captain Vancouver, not a superhero but a rather vain main who gave his name to the city.
  • Go back to Broadway and keep going east. Buses 9 and 99 run all day if you need a boost.
  • Once you get to Main Street, head south.
  • Bird On A Wire, 2535 Main Street (at East Broadway), https://birdonawirecreations.com/ now also at 2950 West Broadway
  • Urban Source, 3126 Main Street (at 16th), art materials, http://www.urbansource.bc.ca/
  • Vancouver Special, 3612 Main Street (at 20th), furniture and homewares, https://shop.vanspecial.com/pages/contact
  • Regional Assembly of Text (at 23rd), 3934 Main Street, stationery and gifts, https://www.assemblyoftext.com/
  • You can probably stop here and head back to Broadway. Bus 3 will get you there.
  • Now head 2 blocks north and 2 blocks east.
  • Dude Chilling Park, Guelph Park, 2390 Brunswick Street, https://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/new-public-art-in-guelph-park.aspx and Chill! Bonus marks if you find the statue of a chilling metal dude.

Queen Elizabeth Park: this large park to the south of town has a rose garden, pavilion and conservatory. https://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/queen-elizabeth-park.aspx
Also in the park is Scotiabank Field, home of the Vancouver Canadians baseball team
Take the Canada Line to King Edward Station, then walk, or take bus 33 through the park.

One more good mall to visit is Oakridge Centre, https://www.oakridgecentre.com/, which is on the Canada Line subway, only 12 minutes from Yaletown. It has a massive Crate and Barrel homewares store, Apple, Banana Republic, Hudson's Bay, and lots of restaurants.

Days Out:


This is a commuter city south of Vancouver, with lots of districts which are concentrations of immigrants from different parts of Asia. Wherever you go, you are guaranteed great food and great shopping. Travel on the Canada Line to Brighouse station and go to the Richmond Centre first. This is a great mall with 200 stores (think Apple, H&M, Old Navy, Uniqlo). Also a post office (come on, you need to send some postcards by now!)
Walk west to Minoru Park, which has Richmond Library, Art Gallery, and Museum, telling more about the different communities and how and where they settled. There's a Farmer's Market every Tuesday afternoon.

It's then a roughly 45 minute walk through the neighbourhood to the Aberdeen Centre. You can just go 2 stops on the subway if you prefer.
Halfway is Lansdowne Centre, we liked The Best Shop which has lots of Chinese-made goods.
A great place to stop for lunch is at Chef Tony, 4600 No 3 Road, with amazing dim sum. http://cheftonycanada.com/en/

When you arrive at the Aberdeen Centre you will find loads of gift shops and accessories stores from Japan, China, Korea and beyond. Our favourite is Oomomo (previously Daiso) https://www.oomomostore.com/, which is also in the International Village Mall in downtown, a similarly Asian-themed mall.
Finally hop back on the Canada Line to downtown Vancouver.

North Vancouver:

There's a free shuttle from Library Square and Canada Place to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, in North Vancouver https://www.capbridge.com/. There's a cliff walk, a 70m high glass bridge, a treetops walk, and historical exhibits. Further into the mountains is Grouse Mountain, with ziplines, skiing and skating https://www.grousemountain.com/.
Bus 236 takes you back from both to Lonsdale Quay, where you can catch the ferry back to Waterfront station in downtown.
Lonsdale is a nice neighbourhood to explore anyway, with a market, the Polygon Gallery, and a waterfront park. https://vancouversnorthshore.com/neighbourhood/lower-lonsdale/

Vancouver Island and Victoria:

You have various options for visiting Vancouver Island and its capital Victoria. The most expensive is to take a seaplane from the harbour with https://www.harbourair.com/ (30 minutes, $250). By far the easiest and cheapest is to book a one-day tour with a pick-up from your hotel or lodging.
There are plenty of companies that do this, we chose Landsea Tours (https://vancouvertours.com/tour/victoria-butchart-gardens-tour/) and there are also https://westcoastsightseeing.com/guided_tours/victoria-butchart-gardens-tour/ and https://www.discovercanadatours.com/tour/victoria-sightseeing-tour/

You book online in advance so they know where to find you. We walked 5 minutes to the nearest hotel and were picked up by a minibus and cheery guide. After a few other stops we were driven to the ferry port and told lots of facts by our guide. The ferry crossing is very scenic, we chose to upgrade to the Seawest Lounge (around $10) with free snacks and soft drinks. https://www.bcferries.com/onboard-experiences/amenities/seawest.html

The ferry docks at Swartz Bay and then it's back on the bus for the trip to Victoria. This is a large town with plenty of shops and restaurants, and picturesque buildings. Chinatown is a highlight, and the best street food court is Victoria Public Market https://victoriapublicmarket.com/. Top shop was Munro Books, 1108 Government Street, in a large Art Deco building https://www.munrobooks.com/.

On the way back the bus stops at Butchart Gardens for a couple of hours. This is definitely worth a visit, and there are nice cafes and garden gift shops inside. The ferry travels back at sunset and you are dropped back at your hotel around 9pm.

Seattle and Portland:

These would each take more than a day, but are accessible by an Amtrak leaving from Vancouver's forgotten station, Pacific Central Station. You clear American customs at the station. Make sure you have an ESTA for the US, or if you don't, request a form CBP I-94 at the inspection desk. It only takes ten minutes to fill in, though the border patrol will not be pleased you have messed up their system. Rail does not count as a "land crossing", bizarrely.

The Amtrak Cascades takes 4 hours to Seattle, and 8 to Portland. You cannot reserve a seat when booking, but charming the check-in guard means you might get a Pacific-side seat for best views. On board they serve an excellent clam chowder, from Ivar's of Pier 54 (https://www.ivars.com/locations/seafood-bars)

Schedules are inconvenient to say the least. The train to Seattle is twice daily, with the first at 6.35am arriving 11am. An early start! The 5.45pm train gets in at 10.10pm so an Uber to your hotel is pretty vital. On the way back, 7.45am to 11.45am, or in the evening 7pm to 11pm. Amtrak services are often delayed by freight trains or problems elsewhere on the system. We got back to Vancouver after midnight (no apology, no delay repay) and found no buses or subway, so had to call a taxi.

1 March 2020

Madrid and Barcelona Travel Guide 2020


Eurostar/Thalys from St Pancras, changing at Paris.
In the summer, you can even Eurostar to Lyon, then change on a fast train to Spain there.
Alternatively, flights to Spain are well-timed and not too expensive.



Intercontinental Madrid, Paseo De La Castellana 49
It might be pricey, but you are paying for excellent service and facilities. It's 45 minutes walk from the centre of the city, but only 5 minutes from Metro Ruben Dario which is on several lines. It's also handy for the out-of-town shopping centre at Nuevos Ministerios.

Tourist Card:

A travel ticket for between 1 and 7 days is available


Chocolateria San Gines, in the San Gines passage
The most famous chocolate and churros shop in Madrid. The hot chocolate is undrinkable, but that's because you're not meant to drink it - it's for dipping! Open 24 hours.

Mercado de San Miguel, Plaza de San Miguel
A great food hall, with so much to choose from. We recommend Lhardy for delicious croquetas.

Mercado San Anton, Calle de Augusto Figueroa 24
A great food hall, with so much to choose from. We recommend Delitaca for Greek specialities.


North-east from the city centre, this shopping district has high-end fashion, notably along the "Golden Mile". Worth a stroll, even if you can't afford anything. 

Nuevos Ministerios, Paseode la Castellana 79
This has lots of the usual (El Corte Ingles, H&M etc) but is notable for having the largest Zara in Madrid and indeed in Spain. We did a last minute dash on our final morning and managed to spend £££ (well €€€ but you know what I mean)

El Rastro Street Market
This vast market seems to go on for miles. Open every Sunday from 9am. Plaza de Cascorro and the streets Ribera de Curtidores and Calle de Embajadores, as well as the small side streets leading off these main thoroughfares. Start or finish at La Latina Metro station, on Line 5.


Royal Palace, Calle de Bailén
Almudena Cathedral, Calle de Bailén
Next to each other by a viaduct with amazing views

Museum Reine Sofia
free 1.30-7.00pm on Sundays, or 7-9pm on Saturdays
National museum of 20th century art, including Picasso's Guernica
Take the glass lift to the top for views

Museum Prado
free 6-8pm Mon-Sat, 5-7pm Sun - but allow 30 minutes for the queue
A gigantic art museum in the Louvre mould

National Library of Spain, Paseo de Recoletos 20
Open 10am-8pm, Sunday 10am-2pm. Airport-style security as you go in. Permanent and temporary exhibitions.

Huertas district
Calle Cervantes 2 is the house where the author died. There is a statue of him at Plaza de las Cortes. Nearby is the Museum Thyssen-Bornemisza with art from 13th century to the present day.

Imprenta Municipal, Callede Concepción Jerónima 15
A museum dedicated to printing and the graphic arts. Historical printing presses and temporary exhibitions about visual art in Spain. Closed Monday.

Museo ABC - Design Museum, Amaniel 29

Museo ICO, Calle de Zorrilla 3
Architecture and photography, with great temporary exhibitions, and a well-stocked bookshop


The train from Madrid Atocha to Barcelona Sants takes under 3 hours, and there are about 20 trains a day. You can buy tickets on the Renfe site, or from any rail reseller, and they cost around €70 in Turista (2nd class) or €100 in Preferente (1st class - which gets you drinks and a meal, plus wider seats with more legroom). If you get a Promo+ fare (slightly more expensive than the cheapest Promo advance fare) you can cancel or change your reservation, and Preferente customers get to use the Sala Club Lounges in the station.



Hotel Colon, Avenida de la Catedral 7
We were recommended this by our friends Peter and Miriam. It's literally opposite the cathedral, and most rooms have a balcony with a cathedral view. It also has a rooftoop bar with great views. The clientele are generally elderly or families, as we found in the lounge bar (very chintz) and at breakfast (nice buffet, in the basement). Not our usual style but we liked it! Walkable with a case from Urquinaona Metro station through the shopping area.

Tourist Card:

Barcelona Card
This gets you free transport (essential in such a sprawling city), including to the airport, as well as entry to 25 major museums. Available for 3, 4 or 5 days.

Tourist Info Bureaus can be found all over the city - check


Boqueria Food Market, on la Rambla, northwest of Liceu station

Mercat de Santa Catarina, Av de Francesc Cambo
We only discovered this on the last day. Away from the tourists, it's a neighbourbood market hall with lots of atmosphere and nice snacks.


This is a mountain and museum district to the south-west of the city.
Start by taking the Teleferic funicular railway from Parallel (Metro lines 2 and 3) to the cable car station, then continue up to the top of the mountain. On the way you get great views of the bay. Visit the Castle. Walk downhill (or take the cable car again) and visit the Fundacio Jean Miro, the Olympic Stadium from 1992, and the Catalan Art Museum.
Beyond that is a grand plaza with the Montjuic Magic Fountain.

The Diagonal:
Often overlooked by the casual tourist, this is a very long straight street to the east of the city.
Catch the bus or tram to Glories station. The shopping mall here has a large Carrefour, the usual mid-price fashion stores, and a food court.
First visit the Design Museum.
Here also is the Encants Vells fleamarket, quite an experience!
At the end of the Diagonal is the Natural Sciences Museum, and the beach!

Poblenou District:
Also worth a stroll, off the beaten track, start at Poblenou metro and walk west back to town.
Visit the boutiques, delis, art studios, or just enjoy the local atmosphere.
It's very safe and a great stroll.
You can hop on bus 20/25 or the Metro anytime

Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA), Placa dels Angels 1
West of La Rambla, closed Tuesday

Mirador de Colom
https://www.barcelonaturisme.com/wv3/en/page/457/mirador-de-colom.html? A Columbus Column, if you will, marking where La Rambla meets the sea. Open 0830-2030 every day, with a lift to the viewing gallery 50m up.

Catalan History Museum, Pl de Pau Vila 3
Closed Monday

Correus I Telegrafs, Placa d'Antonio Lopez
One for the architecture fan, it's a post office, but it is the size of a theatre!

Other random sights:
Santa Maria del Mar, church of the sea, Ribera district: 
Estacio de Franca, railway station, Av. del Marquès de l'Argentera

Los Angeles Travel Guide 2019

Travel from Airport:

FlyAway bus to Union Station
each terminal has a FlyAway bus stop near the shuttle buses
around $10 per person, they run every 30 minutes or so
pay when you disembark at Union Station, debit or credit cards only

Super Shuttle to your hotel
after Baggage Claim go out to the Shared Ride Van area for your terminal and find the blue uniformed attendant
around $18 per person

Taxi to your hotel

fixed rate of around $50 from LAX to downtown


Doubletree by Hilton Downtown
120 South Los Angeles Street
a nicely presented hotel, some dated decor in the lobby, with an outdoor Japanese garden above reception, and a Starbucks next door; three blocks from City Center station

Standard Downtown
550 South Flower Street
a rather trendy hotel, with a rooftop bar and pool, 24-7 restaurant, and rooms with gigantic beds and baths; two blocks from 7th & Metro station

Travel Card:

Metro card
You first need to buy a plastic TAP card for $1 (like an Oyster card in London) then load your day’s travel onto it - at Union Station ignore the "Metrolink" machines, that's a different company
Day pass $7, week's pass $25, pay in cash, credit or debit cards
Valid on all Metro trains and buses, but not on other bus company lines

Local Info:

LA Downtowner newspaper
Downtown News newspaper
LA Weekly newspaper
all available free in eg Grand Central Market



Los Angeles City Hall
200 North Spring Street, enter from Main Street
built in 1928, this iconic structure appears on LAPD badges and feature in an enormous number of films.
To visit the free observation deck on the 27th floor, you need to take your passport to the Main Street entrance and get a visitor sticker. Lifts take you to the 22nd floor, then another to the 26th floor, then stairs to the 27th.
On your way out take the lift to the 3rd floor and see the impressive rotunda, then at the Spring St exit is the Olympic torch from 1984. Spring Street has the most monumental staircase.

Avila Adobe
125 Paseo de la Plaza, enter from Olvera Street
built 1818, the oldest house in LA, part of the El Pueblo district with Mexican market
and stop off at Mr Churro next door for some great filled churros

Union Station
800 North Alameda Street
in a Dutch Colonial Revival style, this ornate and historic Amtrack station is a pleasure to visit and has ornamental gardens

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
555 West Temple Street, Downtown
modern Catholic cathedral, fantastic tapestries by John Nava, 9am-6pm
there's always lots of priests around

The Broad
221 S Grand Avenue
even though it is free, booking is essential, months in advance, as numbers are very tightly controlled and they have a Twitter feed just for daily ticket unavailability
Impressive international art works
PS It's pronounced "Brode" after the philanthropists who paid for it.

Department of Water and Power
111 N Hope St, opposite the Music Center
free, open 8am-4pm, take your passport, get a visitor sticker at reception, and ask to see the exhibition/museum which is on the ground floor and in the lower atrium
a history of water and power in Los Angeles, including things belonging to William Mulholland

The Bradbury Building
built in 1893, this is a landmark in its own right, as well as a film setting for movies from Double Indemnity to Blade Runner; visitors are allowed to the first floor landing, but not in the lifts

Los Angeles Central Library
630 West Fifth Street, Downtown
even though the whole exterior is in a bland beige stone, it has an amazing pyramid on top that looks like an illustrated manuscript. Inside are large atriums and a decent shop.


The Last Bookstore
453 South Spring Street
cavernous, with new and used books, including the arts, graphic novels, and California's favourite social issues


Grand Central Market
between Broadway and Hill St, at 3rd
this used to be a fruit and veg market, but now has a wide range of great eating places, including Eggslut (coddled eggs and sandwiches), Mexican taquerias, pizza, bagels for breakfast (at Wexler's Deli), and great Chinese and Thai at Sticky Rice Co.
evening events include live music, a pub quiz (free to enter, win free food!) and more

Nickel Diner 

524 South Main St, between 5th and 6th
modern reinterpetation of diner food, good breakfasts, popular with cops
closed Monday, open 8-3 and 6-9pm

The Original Pantry Café
Figueroa St at 9th
open 24-7 since 1924, bread and gravy and meat and all in gigantic portions, this is an eating experience with a sense of history

George’s Greek Café
Figueroa St at 7th, downstairs in the "Fig at 7th" shopping centre
fantastic authentic food, quickly served, lots of variety, take away also available


Getting there:
Take the Gold Line Metro to Little Tokyo station and walk south on Alameda until you reach 2nd St. Turn left along Traction Avenue and this takes you past the shops and cafes below.


Hauser Wirth Schimmel
901 E 3rd St
large art gallery with cafe and bookshop
open 11am-6pm, closed Mon Tue

Architecture and Design Museum
900 E 4th St

Sci Architecture Gallery
960 E 3rd St


Poketo gift shop
820 E 3rd St
open 12 noon - 7pm all week, Japanese stationery, homewares, clothing

Apolis bags & clothing shop
806 E 3rd St

Hennessey and Ingalls Art Bookstore
300 S Santa Fe Avenue


The Pie Hole
714 Traction Avenue
amazing pies, including Shepherds Pie Pie, open 7am-10pm

800 E 3rd St at Traction Avenue
sausages, open 11am - 1.30am all week

Zinc Cafe
580 Mateo St


Getting there:

The Metro Red Line has 3 stations along Hollywood Boulevard. There's not a lot at the first, so get off at Hollywood/Vine or Hollywood/Highland to be in the centre of things


The Hollywood/Highland complex has views to the Hollywood sign, street entertainers outside, big cinemas, and the famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre. There's also the Hollywood Walk Of Fame (find your favourite actors/bands at http://walkoffame.com/) and cement handprints of early film stars.


Amoeba Music
6400 West Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood (two blocks south of Hollywood/Vine)
the best record store you’ll find in Los Angeles, super-friendly and knowledgable staff, you’ll browse for hours before coming away with something you didn’t know existed; good range of DVDs but remember about NTSC and Region 1!


Getting there:

The fastest buses are the express 720 from Downtown, also stopping at Wilshire stations on the Red/Purple lines. Don't get off at La Brea for the Tar Pits, they're actually further along at Wilshire/Fairfax, the same stop as for LACMA.
Bus 20 stops in more places but is much slower. 


Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
5905 Wilshire Boulevard
11am-5pm, Fri 11am-8pm, Sat Sun 10am-7pm, closed Wednesdays
free on the 2nd Tuesday of each month, $15/$25 otherwise
permanent collection and lots of visiting art exhibitions, spread across 5 different buildings

La Brea Tar Pits & Page Museum
5801 Wilshire Boulevard
the outdoor tar pits are free to visit, the museum is 

Petersen Automotive Museum
6060 Wilshire Boulevard
open every day 10am-6pm, $15
honestly, the best thing about this museum is the outside cladding, but if you like cars you may want to go inside


5905 Wilshire Boulevard (in LACMA)
nice place at which to get a modern lunch while browsing the art at LACMA

Courtyard Place
opposite the Tar Pits
has an outdoor food market on Wednesday lunchtimes with lots of stalls and a nice park at the end to eat in


Getting there:
If you're already at LACMA, we'd recommend a nice walk north on Fairfax, stopping in at This Is Not Ikea (515 South Fairfax), a vintage store that supplies lots of film productions and is worth a browse.
Otherwise, from Downtown you can catch buses 16, 17 and 316 which rattle along at a fair pace

Shopping (the only reason you'd come here!):

The Grove
189 The Grove Drive, West Hollywood
shopping, trolleycars, cops on bikes, restaurants, hip destination as seen on The Hills

West 3rd Street
A new shopping district with cafes along its length from the Beverly Center to The Grove
We recommend:
Magnolia Bakery #8389
Plastica #8405
Joan's On Third #8350

Beverly Centre and Beverly Connection
Bloomingdales, Macys, Uniqlo, Old Navy, Target etc etc


The Original Farmers' Market
hundreds of grocers, shops, cafes and restaurants in a historic semi-covered area


Getting there:

The new Metro Expo line takes you from downtown LA to downtown Santa Monica, passing through Culver City. There are also buses but these tend to drive slowly through acres of tract houses.


Visitor Information Center, 1920 Main Street and a kiosk on Ocean Avenue

Santa Monica Pier
Aquarium run by Heal the Bay charity, volunteers explain how they are trying to conserve the local marine life. A 'petting zoo' has fish, eels, crabs etc.

You can walk East along the beach, or alternatively catch a bus from the corner of 3rd and Broadway which runs all the way along the coast road to the end of Venice Beach.
The Tide Shuttle every 15 minutes, only 25c.

Ocean Park Library
2601 Main St
built 1917-18 one of last of Carnegie Foundation libraries


Third Street Promenade

Ye Olde King's Head British Pub, Restaurant and Gift Shoppe
Santa Monica Blvd and 2nd St


Hummus Bar Express
1333 3rd St Promenade
delicious Mediterranean food


Getting there:

Metro Blue Line from Downtown
takes you through lots of suburbs, then travel alongside freeway
as street numbers get bigger and bigger – eventually 190th St!
loop at end goes along main shopping street


The Queen Mary
1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach
vast ocean liner, now permanently berthed in Long Beach, a short bus ride (route C from Pine Avenue); shops, restaurants and historical exhibits of a life on the ocean wave

Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA)
628 Alamitos Avenue, Long Beach
off the beaten track, but a nice walk from the centre of Long Beach, this new museum has art from a variety of cultures and styles

East Village Arts District

St Anthony's Church
600 Olive Avenue, Long Beach

City Center Motel, Atlantic Ave and 3rd St
classic motel architecture and typography


Getting there:

Metro Gold Line, get off at Del Mar station for a nice walk through a park into the central shopping district


Pasadena Museum of California Art
490 East Union Street
open 12-5, closed Mon Tue


The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Drive
unless you have a hire car or know a friendly local who can drive you, you’ll have to catch the bus (234 and 734 from Expo/Sepulveda on the Expo Line) to this beautiful complex out of town.

Griffith Observatory
2800 East Observatory Road
Metro Red Line to Vermont/Sunset - take the Vermont exit
DASH bus to the Observatory (a weekly Metro pass gets you free travel, ticket only 50c otherwise) which now runs 7 days a week from 12pm (10am on Sat Sun)
get there early to buy tickets for the Planetarium show which can only be bought on site, on the day
alternatively go in the evening to look at the real stars through free, public telescopes

San Antonio Winery
737 Lamar Street
the only Californian winery in central LA, including tastings, a shop and a great restaurant
open 8am-7pm
catch bus 76 from Downtown and get off at Main/Lamar just after it crosses the LA river and railroad tracks, the winery is down a side street about 5 minutes away

Exposition Park:
Museums of Natural History, Science, African American History
Coliseum, site of 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, tours for $25
take the Metro Expo line, and get off at Expo Park/USC or Expo/Vermont