Lots of fun things to do this year in Los Angeles. Have a great holiday season. I have shared some of my ideas and experiences as a native of Los Angeles. Hope you enjoy some of the suggestions.
by Deborah Wyle
DOWNTOWN ON ICE
Right across from the Biltmore Hotel in Pershing Square
532 South Olive St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Skating Session $6; Skate Rental $2
HOURS OF OPERATION
General Schedule: November 17, 2011 – January 16, 2012
Monday – Thursday: 12:00pm to 10:00pm
Friday – Sunday: 10:00am to 10:00pm
*Special Extended Holiday Hours
December 19 – January 2 from 10:00am to 10:00pm daily
Parking in the lot underneath.
TRAIN RIDE TO SANTA ( GRIFFITH PARK)
The Travel Town Museum has a magical Holiday Train Ride and Visit with Santa. Santa, himself, will be on hand and each child will receive a candy cane and a special little gift. Mrs. Claus will also be there to greet you and talk about life at the North Pole. If you wish, Santa’s helpers will happily take your picture with Santa for purchase as a keepsake of your visit. After visiting Santa you can board the Santa Express at Travel Town Station for a trip through a wonderland of holiday lights and scenery. If you prefer, you can get into the Holiday spirit by riding the Santa Express before you visit Santa.
The ride will continue on December 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 and December 14th through December 23rd. The first train leaves about 5 pm each night and the last train will leave at about 8 pm, unless it sells out, in which case they may close earlier.
BILTMORE MILLENIUM HOTEL – Holiday Tea for Children
In conjunction with the City Ballet of Los Angeles’ annual performance of this time-honored classic, the Biltmore hosts a special tea for children and parents with holiday sandwiches and cupcakes! Event will feature special performances throughout the tea by real ballet dancers from the production, including the Sugar Plum Fairy herself!
Saturday, December 12 and Sunday, December 13, 2009 from 11:00am – 1:00pm in the Rendezvous Court
$38 per person
Please call Smeraldi’s Restaurant at (213) 612-1562 for reservations.
LOS FELIZ 3 THEATERS
Mommy and me Wednesday matinee at 10:30 am at 1822 N. Vermont Ave. Great to do when the kids are out of school.
Beautiful Holiday Lights
Los Feliz is the perfect place to view holiday lights and decorations. When my daughter was young, we used to gather together as a family in my mom and dad’s camper with its big windows and drive the streets. Armed with hot chocolate in Thermoses, we drove the streets, oohing and aahing at the sparkling and colorful lights and inventive decorations.
Los Feliz usually has the DWP Lights Festival but this year, due to prolonged construction, it is not open. Hopefully the construction will be complete by next year.
Relatives in town/ Children Off from School
Geocaching is a new way for family and friends to have fun and explore the Los Feliz area. It is a fabulous blend of an old-fashioned treasure hunt and modern day technology. In our family, it appeals to my husband’s love of computers, his Iphone, and technology in general, to my love of treasure hunts that take me back to childhood and college days, and to our children and grandchildren’s love of the hunt.
Here is how geocaching works. All over the world, people have hidden small boxes and other containers that contain a log for recording the finder’s name and often, little trinkets and trackers. Trackers are the official geocaching item that has a tracking number that keeps track of the travels of these items.
In order to find these caches, you go online to geocaching.com and look up an area where you want to search for a cache. I looked up 90027 and found many interesting possibilities. You make note of the area and the GPS coordinates, then off you go in search of the cache. Now these hiders are quite clever so you have to use the clues the other cache finders have left to solve the puzzle and locate the cache.
When you find the container, sign in on the log. If there is a tracker, you can take it and place it in a new cache that you find next time. At the end of your caching day, whether you have one or several, log on and record what you have done at geocache.com. It is nice to leave a clue on the computer record if you found that a cache was tricky to find. We ended up eating in a great restaurant right next to a cache, an added bonus to the experience.
So if you find yourself with family and friends looking for something fun to do that can take 20 minutes or several hours or you need everyone out of the house so you can cook or wrap packages, try geocaching. We have found that we learn something new about our Los Feliz neighborhood every time.
Holiday Shopping for Chanukah and Stocking Treats
Holiday shopping is truly upon us. I was raised in a traditional manner here in Los Angeles; Christmas shopping only began after Thanksgiving. There were no early holiday purchases, decorations or holiday music. While times have changed now that I have grandchildren, I still leave the stocking presents for close to the holiday. In Los Feliz, there are many delightful places to buy great holiday gifts and stocking stuffers.
For the coffee or tea drinker:
- (Starbucks on Vermont and Prospect (http://www.starbucks.com/store/15113),
- Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on Hillhurst (http://coffeebean.com/location.aspx?UserID=38650288&SessionID=iqKCsPjuBOLdZnkvRAld),
- Intelligentsia on W. Sunset (http://www.intelligentsiacoffee.com/locations/view/)
- A new book by a favorite or new author plus an interesting selection of books you might not find everywhere ( Skylight Books on N. Vermont (http://www.skylightbooks.com/))
- Theater tickets are a nice treat at Los Feliz 3 on 1822 N. Vermont Ave.
When our grown children come with the grandchildren, it opens the door to much more shopping. Great toys and children’s clothes can be purchased at:
- Dragonfly Dulou on Hillhurst Ave. (http://www.dragonflydulou.com/contact)
- La La Ling on N. Vermont ) http://www.lalaling.com/e-store/cnt_store.asp).
- The Farmer’s Market on Hollywood just west of Vermont at Barnsdall Park on Wednesday from noon to 6 pm is a great source of food goodies and handmade items.
Los Feliz Library- A Jewel in the Crown
Remember the library; Los Feliz has a great one.
Los Feliz library (http://www.lapl.org/branches/Branch.php?bID=36) is one of the jewels in the crown of the Los Angeles Public Library system. Located at the corner of Franklin and Hillhurst Ave, it is a community center for much more than books. We are so lucky to have a beautiful building with natural light and wonderful spaces to enjoy many neighborly experiences.
As a preschool, we regularly uses this library to get books that reflect activities in the classroom and children’s interests. The book collection offers so much to choose from; the 56,000 books is very thoughtfully and well put together. This collection is loaded with current titles and excellent breadth of subjects. The librarians are very knowledge, always able to guide with great suggestions. There are movies to rent and books on tape. They have a program that allows interlibrary
The library is much more than books. It offers a wide variety of programs such ascomputer classes, author program, architectural lectures, monthly book discussions, music performances, chess, and a quilting circle.
One of the lesser known treasures of the library that I have been wanting to try is the Scrabble Club. I love Scrabble but I am part of a family who are not enthusiasts. On Saturday morning, people with all levels of skills put their Scrabble boards under their arms and come to the community room to find a similarly skilled partner. I loved the friendships and goodwill that were evident the day I visited.
The children’s story hours are always lovely and many of the preschool families have enjoyed many hours with well-chosen books.
A library card and the Los Feliz Library are definitely a passport to hours of enjoyment.
For Last Minute Boxing and Shipping Needs
No matter how we try and how careful we are in our planning, there is always something that needs to ship at the last minute. Box Brothers on Hillhurst Ave (http://www.boxbrosla.com/boxtest/store-locations/box-bros-los-feliz-village) has everything you need. They can do any kind of shipping from electronics to antiques and also provide a valet boxing pick-up service if you aren’t able to get to the store (or want to avoid long lines). They will also assist you in helping to find the exact size box you need so you can pay for only what you need. They have loads of packing materials as well. They save us every year.
I wish you a wonderful holiday and a great new year.