Having had no summer vacation this year I decided to play tourist in my own city and take a “staycation” instead. And what fun it was.
There’s a reason Los Angeles is known as the entertainment capital of the world – there’s so much fun stuff to do. The first thing that comes to mind, of course, is films and as that’s both my passion and the topic of my hit Movie Locations Tour – I started my break with that by checking out two movie palaces getting great buzz.
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Rooftop Film Club screens classic movies in a classic setting: outdoors, under the stars in comfy beach chairs and a Saturday night watching the 40th anniversary screening of Saturday Night Fever high above Hollywood proved a hugely enjoyable opening to my staycation. I also ventured to Arena Cinelounge, a stylish screening room off Sunset Boulevard which has become Hollywood’s hip new gathering spot for film fans. It’s known for showing cool new indie films but I caught a screening there of another old classic, at least to my mind, the 1966 movie version of Batman starring the late, great Adam West.
My favorite place to watch new blockbuster films in LA is Westwood’s luxurious iPic where they have reclining seats and at seat service but I’d never visited the restaurant next door – until now. It’s called The Tuck Room and the food there is off the charts delicious. Other eateries I enjoyed on my break included Tao, a terrific taste of Asia in the heart of Hollywood, where they have a dessert for the ages called the World’s Largest Fortune Cookie which is what it says but there’s chocolate mousse inside as well as a fortune.
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I also loved Beauty and Essex where the inventive dishes are a work of beauty – I had spaghetti with a sunny side egg on top all drizzled in pesto sauce. What a combination.
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Griffith Observatory is a gorgeous planetarium featured in many movies ranging from Rebel without a Cause to La La Land and I had an out of this world time there before heading to the nearby LA Zoo, which I’ve loved ever since moving here and even more so now that they have started opening it up at nights for a range of special events ranging from concerts and keeper talks to light shows. I’ll be back for the next of these ‘Roaring Nights’ – an 80s and 90s music extravaganza on Sept. 15 where zoo fans can enjoy the animals and some classic pop sounds too.
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I ended my “stay at home summer holiday” at Hollywood’s newest and strangest attraction – the Museum of Broken Relationships. Full of objects and writings about doomed love affairs I thought it was fascinating.
Visitors to Los Angeles can enjoy a drive all over this great city while hearing my stories about the making of great movies at the places they were shot by taking my Tourific Escapes Movie Locations tour. But so too can locals by seeing their home town in an entirely different way.
There’s magic and excitement everywhere in Los Angeles – why would you ever want to vacation anywhere else?
See you on tour,
By Sandro Monetti, Host and Director of the Celebrity Insider Tour