Archive for the ‘ Attractions ’ Category

Runyon Canyon Hiking Trail – Los Angeles, CA

Looking to get out of Long Beach for the day, we decided to try the Runyon Canyon hiking trail up in LA.  There definitely were a lot of people on the trail, however the views of the LA /Beverly Hills skyline were breathtaking.   The hike wasn’t difficult, but the change in elevation made it a great workout.   Don’t worry – if a tiny little chiwawa  can do it, so can you.

I think we hiked about 90% of it in around an hour and a half.

We ended up parking on the street close to the trail head as the lot was full.  There seems to be plenty of parking on the street close by, and you can’t really complain about getting close parking when you are there to hike.

Don’t forget to bring water and use the restroom before going as neither are available on the trail.  We’ll definitely be going back to take some more pictures when the clear days of winter come.

Official Website:

Contact Info:
2000 N. Fuller Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 666-5046

Trail Head:
34° 7’9.73″N

Runyon Canyon

Runyon Canyon - Hollywood Sign

Runyon Canyon - Summit

Oceanside Pier – Oceanside, CA

After a long day at the Wild Animal Park, we stopped in Oceanside on the way home for dinner.   We ended up at the end of the Pier at Ruby’s diner.   If your in the mood for burgers, fries, milk shakes and a good view of the sunset, it can’t be beat.   If you’re looking for more upscale dining alternatives, there are several along the street right by the pier entrance.  This was definitely the longest pier I’ve been to (1,942 feet!).  

More Info (unofficial):

Contact Info:
Pier View Way at N Pacific St
Oceanside, CA 92054


Oceanside Pier - Sunset

Oceanside Pier

San Diego Zoo – Wild Animal Park – San Diego, CA

At about noon on Sunday my parents and I were trying to think of something we hadn’t done yet in their many visits to CA.  One of my friends once tried to organize a trip for us to all stay overnight at San Diego’s Wild Animal park, and I remembered that we still hadn’t been there.

It took us less time than expected to get there from Long Beach, as it is 30 miles North of San Diego in Escondido.   We were lucky we didn’t run into much traffic on a Sunday afternoon. 

When arriving it was a bit confusing where to go to get your tickets.  To the left is a stand for memberships, and to the right is the stand for regular tickets.   There are also premium packages available if you want to take a Segway Tour or do the African Safari in a smaller, more personal vehicle.   Since the Zoo is non-profit, the prices are relatively reasonable for the value of the experience.  1 Day Adult tickets were only around $30 with AAA discount.

Upon arrival, I recommend you sit down and one of the tables near the entrance and plan your day out.   The park is unique in that you are a spectator in the natural habitat of the animal.  This makes the facility very large, so be ready to walk several miles. 

The park exudes a natural, peaceful aura.   This experience was unlike any other zoo I’ve been to in the respect that the animals seemed more natural in their large habitats.   It was particularly amazing to watch the gorilla in a more natural environment.   I couldn’t believe how human like their movements are. 

We spent about 4 hours at the park and saw most of the big name animals, but I’d definitely like to go back and spend a full day.  They have a hot air balloon ride that caught my eye (but the parent’s wouldn’t go for it!). 

Official Website:

Contact Info:
15500 San Pasqual Valley Road
Escondido, California 92027-7017
(760) 747-8702

Park Entrance:
33° 5’58.87″N
117° 0’5.40″W

San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park - Prarie Dog

San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park - Giraffe

San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park - Gorilla

San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park - Cheetah

San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park - Lion

Griffith Observatory – Los Angeles, CA

My parents just arrived into LAX and we were looking for something small  to do before heading back to Long Beach.   We’ve always wanted to go to Griffith Park, however never got around to it. 

After arriving, we found that there wasn’t anything small about it.  In fact, I wish we had dedicated more time to it.  

Parking was a bit rough.  Since the Observatory is on the top of a mountain, there is only a limited number of spaces.  Luckily someone left and we grabbed their spot.

We still had enough time to catch the “Centered in the Universe” program ($7).  Their star projector is the most advanced in the world.  There was a bright blue sky outside, but inside the dome you were instantly transported to a dark evening.   The stars were so lifelike!  The show goes through the concepts of how the Universe was created; from past to the presently accepted theory.  

Take time to explore the grounds of the Observatory.  They offer the best view of the Hollywood sign and Downtown LA I’ve seen.   Inside, there are many free exhibits from items ranging from Tesla’s coil to the inner workings of a telescope.  

It wasn’t until after we left and read the brochure that we realized we missed a free show outlining the past, present and future of the Observatory in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater.   Next time we’ll be sure to allow more time to have lunch at the cafe and take in another show.     

Official Website:

Contact Info:
2800 East Observatory Road
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(213) 473-0800

34° 7’6.73″N


Griffith Observatory Los Angeles Skylinve
Griffith Observatory
Griffith Observatory Telescope

Redondo Beach Pier

The last stop for the day was to Redondo Beach Pier.  I had a craving for some good seafood, was going to make a stop at Old Tony’s.  There’s a ton of other restaurants as well, ranging from Hot Dog on a Stick to Mexican, to Irish, and everything in between. 

If you have a lady in your group, stop by the Mie Pearl to try your luck at winning her a big pearl.   Basically you pick the clam, and they open it for you.  You get to keep whatever sized pearl is inside.  It’s a little touristy, but fun – especially if you get a large one.  For kids there is an arcade on the ground level.  You can also watch local fisherman catch fish (if you don’t mind the smell of the bait).  Once we saw a fisherman pull in a large sting ray.      

 The pier was built back in 1889.  It’s gone through several iterations due to storms and fires; most recently being rebuilt in 1995.  It was used many times in filming of the hit TV series “The O.C.”.  

Official Website:


Redondo Beach Pier

Redondo Beach Pier Entrance

Point Fermin Park/Lighthouse – San Pedro

Nestled atop a seaside cliff, lies Point Fermin Park.  Along the cliff are several picnic tables with incredible views of the ocean/coastline/cliffside.  The park has plenty of shade trees, a playground, and a stage for local performances.

On the grounds is also a lighthouse dating back to 1874.   It was originally built from California redwoods.  In 1941 the light was extinguished for 30 years after the battle of Pearl Harbor in fears it may be used as a beacon for enemy planes/ships.

The lighthouse is open to the public by guided tour Tuesday thru Sunday from 1:00PM – 4:00PM (Closed Mondays and Holidays).

Official Website:

Contact Info:
807 W. Paseo Del Mar
San Pedro, CA 90731
(310) 241-0684

Park Entrance:


Point Fermin Lighthouse

Point Fermin Park

Point Fermin Park - Tree

Point Fermin Park - View From Cliff

Korean Bell of Friendship – San Pedro

Next on my list of attractions to pre-visit before my parents came was Point Fermin Park, however I ran into the Korean Bell of Friendship on the way. 

Perched atop what seemed to be the highest point of San Pedro lies the Korean Bell of Friendship.  From here you can see amazing views of San Pedro, the Port of LA, the Pacific Ocean, and Ranchos Palos Verdes.  It was purposefully located here to overlook the sea gate in which US troops sailed into the Pacific.   

The bell was donated in 1976 to Los Angeles by the Republic of Korea to celebrate the bicentennial of US independence, honor veterans of the Korean War, and to consolidate traditional friendship between the two countries.  The bell was crafted after the Bronze Bell of King Songdok, which was made in 771 AD (still in existence in South Korea today).  It weighs 17 tons, has a height of 12 feet, and a diameter of 7 1/2 feet.  When built in 1976, it cost $500,000. 

One note – don’t park at the bottom of the hill unless you want a steap hike up an nearly vertical path.   There is another parking lot at the top of the hill (entrance at West 37th Street and South GaffeyStreet).


Korean Bell of Friendshiop

Korean Bell of Friendship - Pagoda

Lion’s Lighthouse for Sight – Long Beach

I had off on Friday 9/4 and thought I would do some local sightseeing in preparation for my parents visit.  We’ve seen most of the major attractions in the LA area, so trying to find something new was a challenge.

Close by to where I live is a fairly new lighthouse named Lion’s Lighthouse for Sight (built in December of 2000).  It was partially funded by the local Lion’s club.  It is a symbol of their fundraising efforts for the visually impaired.  The harbor office is also located in the base of the structure.

The lighthouse is in an ideal location.  You can enjoy great views of downtown Long Beach, the Queen Mary, and Shoreline Village.   The bike/running path runs along the perimeter of the park.  Close by you can visit the Aquarium of the Pacific, and the recently completed Pike complex.  

Finding the park is a bit difficult, so I suggest punching in the coordinates to Google Earth to find the nearby parking lot (minimum $2 for 90 minutes).  Since the park is a bit hard to find, it is very peaceful and not as crowded as Shoreline Village.   


Long Beach Skyline 

Lion's Lighthouse for Sight