California, U.S.

Southern California and Hollywood weekend

My boyfriend Jim and I decided to take an extra long weekend to visit my sister and brother-in-law in Southern California. We flew out Thursday morning and I had to be drug home Monday night (I don’t see my sister nearly enough!)

They currently live in Temecula, aka wine country which is a great change up from the beach in North Carolina. It had been dozens of years since I had been to California and Jim had never been. We decided we were going to do all of the fun touristy things!

Getting there

We flew into LAX at about noon, which gave us nearly the entire day to spend in Los Angeles. We rented a car (a convertible of course) from Avis, which was off the airport property. They had very well marked shuttles that drove you right to their rental area.

The line was long and it was busy. To compensate, they kept upgrading customers. We were happily upgraded to a Mustang convertible. I am not a car person, but Jim and my brother-in-law had a ton of fun driving it!


They met up with us at Avis and took us to lunch. We went to Beach Pizza in Westchester. The food was decent, we were the only ones in there so the service was excellent. We got a regular and a white pizza and none of us could decide on our favorite!!

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Next stop Hollywood!! We spent the rest of the day in downtown Hollywood, starting with the Walk of Fame. It was a crowded day and crews were setting up for the Oscars so we didn’t have much access. We walked for hours stopping to check out some stores. Our favorite? The giant Disney/Ghirardelli store.

Disney/Ghirardelli Store

We walk in and there is a woman handing you chocolate. Not sure how the store can get better from here! It did. The store has a huge selection of bulk Ghirardelli chocolate. Every flavor, every size. They also have an ice cream shop that made us the most amazing chocolate shakes. In the back is the Disney Store part of it that had stuff we can’t get at our local store. After eating out weight in chocolate, he headed back down the strip. Here are a few of our favorite stars!

Robin Williams
Mickey Mouse
For my daughter Madison!
Betty White
Will Ferrell


Hollywood Wax Museum

We walked up to this museum and thought about going in.  A lady approached us with an extra ticket because her husband refused to go. We offered to pay her for it and she wouldn’t hear of it. After thanking her we decided we may as well go in. There was no wait so we walked right in.

Our expectations weren’t very high for the exhibit since everyone talks about Madam Tussauds, but we were pleasantly wrong.

Samuel L Jackson was so realistic that it was almost creepy.

Probably my favorite picture of the entire trip! You almost can’t find the men!

Like I said they had most of the front of the Chinese Theatre blocked off because of the Oscars, but we did grab a few shots.

Griffith Observatory and Hollywood Sign

From the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it’s a quick 15-minute drive up to the Griffith Observatory. Admission is free and there is a ton to do.  You can walk out on the balcony and look at down Los Angeles, you can check out some science exhibits, planet models, look through telescopes or catch a show in the Planetarium (small fee for that). My favorite thing was the amazing views of downtown and of the Hollywood sign.

Beverly Hills and Greystone Mansion

After we left Hollywood, we drove to Beverly Hills to go to Greystone Mansion.  Tons of movies and shows are filmed here.  Movies such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Muppets, National Treasure, Austin Powers and many more.  A self-guided tour of the grounds will take you along a maze of winding stone walkways and brick stairways, past sweeping green lawns and wonderful vistas, sculpted hedges, hidden courtyards, and lush landscaping. Keep to your right as you make your way downhill, and you’ll eventually find the paths that lead to the mansion itself. There’s a lot of walking and stair-climbing to be done here if you wish to fully explore the estate, so wear comfortable shoes and be ready for some exercise.

They also filmed part of Gilmore Girls here. The day we were there, they were filming Gilmore Girls, A day in the Life ( the new Netflix season). My sister and I were big fans of the show in high school and were disappointed when they turned down our offer of being extras…lol.

The grounds were gorgeous.  We couldn’t get close to the house to see inside and we weren’t allowed to take pictures of where they were filming, but there was still lots to see. Leaving the mansion, we drove around Beverly Hills before finally heading to Temecula.

We loved our mini tour of Hollywood!

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