Southern California (known as So Cal to the locals) is home to some of the most beautiful beaches, great surfing spots, exciting theme parks, outdoor malls, and Hollywood celebrity sightings. Make sure you leave time before or after the IHS Symposium to visit some of So Cal's amazing sites!
Near Dtown LA/Colburn School (40 miles or less)
Santa Monica (16 miles) is home to the Santa Monica Beach, Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade. The Santa Monica Pier has circus games, food, and a ferris wheel. Third Street Promenade is a huge outdoor mall spanning three huge city blocks of Third Street and includes almost every major clothing brand store and many great restaurants. Santa Monica Beach minutes from the Pier and Promenade is a great spot to relax. One can also bicycle, skate, or jog along the two-and-a-half-mile beachside path that connects Santa Monica with it's southern neighbor Venice Beach. www.santamonica.com
Venice Beach (14 miles) aka "Muscle Beach" has long been known as the kooky Mecca of California and is just south of Santa Monica Beach. Venice built on canals (a homage to Venice, Italy) has a two-and-a-half-mile pedestrian-only ocean-front path that features performers, fortune-tellers, artists, and vendors. Home to millions of visitors each year, Venice Beach offers handball courts, paddle tennis, surfing spots, basketball courts, outdoor gyms, skate parks, beach volleyball courts, a bike path, and a Skate Dancing plaza. The ocean-front path runs from the Santa Monica Pier to Venice Beach. A fun adventure is to rent roller blades or bikes in Santa Monica and bike/blade to Venice Beach and back. www.venicebeach.com
Other So Cal Beaches: www.southerncaliforniabeaches.org
Hollywood (7 miles) known for its rich history of film stars and film studios is home of the Kodak Theatre (Oscars and Grammy's are held), Walk of Stars, Disney's El Capitan Theatre, Hollywood Sign, Magic Castle (hornist and magician - Jeff Nelsen's favorite), The Pantages Theatre, Capitol Records, and the famous hand and footprints at Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Countless movie stars and movie premiers have passed through Hollywood making it one of America's historic landmarks. www.hollywoodchamber.net
Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory
Griffith Park (8 miles) which spans 3, 015 acres just north of downtown Los Angeles is home to the Autry National Center, Greek Theatre, Griffith Merry-Go-Round, Griffith Observatory, Griffith Park Southern Railroad, LA Equestrian Center, LA Live Steamers, LA Zoo, Pony Rides, and Travel Town. Tennis courts, a golf course, hiking, and bicycle rental are also found within the park. www.laparks.org/dos/parks/griffithpk
The Griffith Observatory (8 miles) located at the top of Griffith Park near the Hollywood Sign is the most popular attraction in the park. There is always a great view of Los Angeles, and on a clear day one can see all the way to the ocean. The star attraction is the building itself, which has been featured in films such as Rebel Without a Cause (1955), Charlie's Angeles: Full Throttle (2003), The Rocketeer (1991), and The Terminator (1984) to name a few. Admission to the building and grounds of Griffith Observatory is free of charge. Planetarium shows at the Observatory are generally from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and cost a fee for admission. The Observatory is closed on Mondays. www.griffithobs.org
Los Angeles is known for its plush outdoor malls, fashion trends, and high-end shops.
Rodeo Drive (12 miles) in Beverly Hills is not only for the high-end shoppers but also a fun tourist spot. Rodeo Drive is featured in the film Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts shopped. Stores include: Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Prada, Cartier, CHANEL, Tiffany & Co., and FENDI to name a few. Window shopping is also fun! If you visit, make sure and check out Anderson Court located on Rodeo Drive, which is the only shopping mall designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. www.rodeodrive-bh.com
The Grove (7 miles), an open-air mall at the junction of 3rd Street and Fairfax Avenue, is also the location where Entertainment Tonight (ET) with Mario Lopez is filmed. Often times you can spot famous stars shopping here. There are about 50 top stores, including Abercrombie & Fitch and Barney's New York Co-Op. Adjacent, you'll find the Original Farmer's Market. Set up in 1934, it's expanded from selling fresh produce to offering an international culinary experience from a vast range of stalls. The Grove is a great place to people watch, grab a bite to eat, catch a movie, or shop 'til you drop. www.thegrovela.com
Ameoba Records (7 miles) is an often sought-out shop by music-lovers. As the largest independent record store in the United States, Ameoba offers a variety of music with fair prices and a staff of music experts. Definitely check this out if you have time! www.amoeba.com
Steeped in culture, Los Angeles is home to many different museums:
- Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is located adjacent to The Colburn School to the south.
- The Broad Museum, scheduled to open in the Fall of 2015, is located directly across the street from The Colburn School.
- The Japanese American National Museum, located in Little Tokyo (a 15 minute walk to the east of Colburn), tells the compelling story of Japanese immigration to the United States.
- Located south of Colburn 1.5 miles, The GRAMMY Museum is an interactive, educational museum devoted to the history and winners of the Grammy Awards.
- Museum Row in Los Angeles' Miracle Mile is 7 miles west of Colburn and home to the following museums:
- Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, located in San Marino - twelve miles from downtown, is home to 120 acres of specialized botanical landscaped gardens. The Huntington Gardens is best known for its Japanese Garden, Desert Garden, and Chinese Garden.
- The Getty Center is well known for its architecture, gardens, and views overlooking Los Angeles. Located off the 405 in Brentwood, The Getty Center is 17 miles from downtown Los Angeles.
- Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum (LALSRM) was founded on the premise of railroad history education and to further the avocation of live steam, gas-mechanical, and electronic railroad technology. 7½" gauge model trains are available for the general public to ride every Sunday from 11 am - 3 pm (weather permitting). LALSRM is located 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles.
Disneyland (27 miles) is the first and original of the Disney parks. It is about a 45 minute drive south to Anaheim, CA. Take I-5 south and exit off of Disneyland Drive. Get a Park-Hopper and visit both Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure (parks are next to each other) in the same day! Great rides include the Space Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventure, Splash Mountain, Soaring over California, Cars, and Toy Story. www.disneyland.com
Universal Studios Hollywood (9 miles) is a film studio and theme park. Attractions include: Studio Tour, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Transformers™: The Ride-3D, The Simpsons Ride™, Jurassic Park® — The Ride, and King Kong 360 3-D. From downtown, one can take the Metro Red line subway to Universal City Station. www.universalstudioshollywood.com
Knott’s Berry Farm (22 miles) originated from a berry stand in Anaheim, CA. It now holds dozens of attractions, rides, restaurants, and shops. www.knotts.com
Raging Waters (28 miles) is one of the largest water parks in the country with rides ranging from mellow to extreme. This is a great place to go during the summer and is open seasonally from about May to September, so make sure to check before you go for the park hours. It is about 45 minutes east of downtown in San Dimas, CA. www.ragingwaters.com
Six Flags Magic Mountain (36 miles) offers some of the largest roller coasters in the world. It is about an hour north of Los Angeles. Take I-5 north and exit on Magic Mountain Pkwy. www.sixflags.com/magicmountain
Since you can make it from the sunny Los Angeles beaches to the snowy San Gabriel mountains within one afternoon, there is a lot of terrain that is hike-able in and around Los Angeles. Check out these links:
Hop-On, Hop-Off Adventure - Great way to see Los Angeles: www.starlinetours.com/los-angeles-tour (Pick-up across street from Colburn @ Walt Disney Concert Hall)
LA Conservancy: www.laconservancy.org/tours
Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead (95 miles) are mountain communities that offer great summer and winter outdoor activities. Big Bear is one of the closest ski and snowboarding areas, and during the summer months Lake Arrowhead or Big Bear Lake have hiking, boating and more. www.bigbear.com and www.lakearrowhead.com
Santa Barbara (95 miles) is a beachside community north of Los Angeles that began as a mission town in the late 18th century. Santa Barbara offers beautiful beaches, shopping, dinning and nightlife. Some points of interest include the Santa Barbara Mission, the Santa Barbara Zoo, and the gorgeous downtown courthouse. State Street offers many restaurants, hotels, and shopping areas. There are also ample opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in the Los Padres National Forest and the Lake Casitas Recreation area. There is an Amtrak train that leaves from Union Station near Colburn that will take you on a scenic ride up the Pacific coast into downtown Santa Barbara and is a great day trip! www.santabarbaraca.gov/visiting
San Diego (121 miles) is California’s third largest city, and is south of Los Angeles. It is home to the baseball team the Padres and the football team the Chargers. It has great warm water beaches and restaurants of all types in neighborhoods like Old Town and Coronado. San Diego is also the home of Sea World and the famous San Diego Zoo. www.sandiego.org
Solvang (130 miles) is a small Danish-themed Village located in the Santa Ynez Mountains in Santa Barbara County. It offers small boutique shopping, local restaurants, wine tasting, and much more. The shops tend to close around 5:00 PM so make sure to do you shopping earlier in the day. www.solvangusa.com
Las Vegas (270 miles) is known for its bright lights, casinos and glamorous hotels. Just a 5 hour drive from Los Angeles, it is a weekend and holiday vacation spot for many Southern Californians. Take the I-10 east to the I-15 east. Just remember, "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." www.vegas.com