Los Angeles: Hollywood & Los Feliz
Formerly the film industry's center, Hollywood is now filled with more tourists than movie execs. The L.A. Zoo and Griffith Park, one of the biggest green spaces in any U.S. city, are nearby in calmer Los Feliz.
SEE Hollywood Forever Cemetery
6000 Santa Monica Blvd., 323/469-1181, hollywoodforever.com
A haunt that's pure Hollywood. This functioning funeral home and cemetery is the resting place for Rudolph Valentino and Cecil B. DeMille, among many others. Curious visitors can view the deceaseds' "LifeStories" on television screens found on kiosks throughout the park. In summer, cult movies are shown, and the grounds turn into a picnic area. Call for a calendar of events. Screenings are $10.
EAT Lucy's el Adobe Cafe
5536 Melrose Ave., 323/462-9421
One of the best places for Mexican food in all of L.A.--everyone from studio executives to neighborhood regulars agrees. The cheap margaritas and hefty portions of chili and cheese enchiladas and arroz con pollo can't be beat.
SPLURGE Geisha House
6633 Hollywood Blvd., 323/460-6300, geishahousehollywood.com
A lot of Ashton Kutcher's money has gone into creating a unique experience at this übertrendy dinner hotspot. The decor is flashy and the clientele even flashier. Fireplaces, red lacquer tables, and pink and red lighting all work together to create a dramatic, almost theatrical, environment. The menu features new twists on old Japanese favorites (for sushi, try the Marilyn Monroll or Green Lawn Roll), and the cocktails are fit for an emperor. Great for large groups--sharing food is encouraged. Try the Five Spice Chocolate Mousse for dessert.
DRINK The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
7000 Hollywood Blvd., 800/950-7667, hollywoodroosevelt.com
Just about any night of the week there's a private poolside party at the revitalized Hollywood hangout. Skip the hassle of bouncers and guest lists and go before sundown to have drinks in the linen bungalows at the new Tropicana Bar alongside the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Simpson, and Owen Wilson.
SHOP Uncle Jer's
4459 W. Sunset Blvd., 323/662-6710
Uncle Jer's sells Eastern-inspired treasures--toys, jewelry, gifts, cards, magic potions--and the latest fashions from groovy higher-end brands like Free People, as well as surprisingly cheap vintage items. Free gift-wrapping.
SHOP Y-Que Trading Post
1770 N. Vermont Ave., 323/664-0021, yque.com
Famous for its T-shirts silk-screened with topical celeb slogans: FREE MARTHA, FREE WINONA, and RUN KATIE RUN. Y-Que strikes a mean bargain, offering slightly less-than-perfect tees for five smackeroos. They print custom-tees, too.
PLAY Dodger Stadium
1000 Elysian Park Ave., 323/224-1500, losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com
Check the L.A. Times sports pages or the Dodgers' website for a schedule of home games. From $12 for Reserve (midlevel) seats; from $75 for Field Box MVP; and for those who don't mind having a hot dog without the beer, there are alcohol-free Pavilion seats in the outfield, from $8.
PLAY Lucky Strike Lanes
6801 Hollywood Blvd., entrance on N. Highland Ave., 323/467-7776, bowlluckystrike.com/hollywood
Parties every night of the week make this an unlikely hotspot. It also supports up-and-coming video artists; check out the projection screens for the next big thing. Only bowlers of legal drinking age are allowed in after 7 p.m. From $5 per person, depending on the time and day of the week; $4 for shoe rental.
PLAY Upright Citizens Brigade Theater
5919 Franklin Ave., 323/908-8702
Improv comedy at its best. Every weekend the one-hour shows pack 'em in, and there's no extra charge when celeb guest stars, such as Janeane Garofalo or Andy Dick, make surprise appearances. $8 weekends, $5 weeknights, sometimes no admission fee.
1313 S. Harbor Blvd., 714/781-4565, Anaheim, disney.go.com
About 35 miles south of LAX, Disney's first theme park has been recently rejuvenated for its 50th-birthday celebration, with new additions to Space Mountain and Sleeping Beauty's Castle. Some tips: