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March 19, 2015

California Dreamin’

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Who else is dreaming of California? I got the chance to savor the exciting “City of Angels” last week, and the sun was waiting for me. Ready to trade in my winter sweaters for summer dresses, I headed out to explore the sights as a Cosmos traveler.

My first stop was the infamous TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood. I walked in the footsteps of iconic celebrities and took a stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Did you know that the footprints, handprints and signatures of the stars in front of the Chinese Theater happened by pure accident? Sid Grauman, the man who created this landmark, was visiting the site while it was under construction when he unknowingly stepped in wet concrete. After realizing what he had done, he suggested that his partners, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., do the same. Little did Grauman know that he started a legacy in which every Hollywood star wants to become a part of — to permanently make their mark on Hollywood!

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Next stop was Sunset Strip. This is a 1.5 miles stretch of Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood and home to boutiques, restaurants, concert venues and the Laugh Factory. Above the Strip in the Hollywood Hills live many celebrities, including Halle Berry, Leonardo DiCaprio, the Hilton sisters, James Franco, and Alec Baldwin. And of course, it was just my luck…on a beautiful, sunny, warm California morning, I did not see any of these famous residents.

After the Strip, I ventured to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Lined with chic shops like Gucci, Fendi, Giorgio Armani, Robert Vacalli, Rolex and Louis Vuitton, Rodeo Drive is three blocks of luxury and fashion.

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A little hidden secret of Rodeo Drive is Two Rodeo Drive, which is a short side street full of even more shops (and restaurants). If you’d like to simply walk Rodeo Drive and shop elsewhere, I highly recommend walking a block east to Beverly Drive. There’s some great shopping to be had there!

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Two Rodeo Drive

My last stop was Olvera Street where I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but to my surprise, this turned out to be my favorite part of my trip! This marketplace is located in the oldest part of downtown Los Angeles and there are several landmarks you can see while you shop. This isn’t shopping like on Rodeo Drive. It’s more authentic Los Angeles, and what you buy here would make great gifts for those back home. I was able to walk through the Avila Adobe (the oldest existing house in Los Angeles) and ate lunch at the Pelanconi House (the oldest brick house in Los Angeles, now known as Casa La Golondrina Mexican Café).

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Avila Adobe garden

Avila Adobe garden

Enjoying lunch in front of the oldest brick house in L.A.

Enjoying lunch in front of the oldest brick house in L.A.

I’ve learned so much about the city of Los Angeles while visiting with Cosmos, and I can’t wait to travel with them again! Are you looking to take a tour of Los Angeles? Here are some of my travel suggestions:

  • Make sure to pack sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Ask your Tour Director for local restaurant suggestions
  • Pack a bathing suit (hotel pool = perfect relaxation)
  • Bring a camera (even if it’s your phone) — you never know what (or WHO) you’ll see!
  • Book with Cosmos (budget-friendly AND very thorough, plus local knowledge)

I’m always available on the Cosmos Facebook, so feel free to ask any questions you have on our tours!