A Mid Week Vacation Day at Laguna Beach in Orange County

Summer is soon coming to a close, the school year is restarting, and people are returning from their vacations. So today Travelin’ Local is visiting the beautiful beach and upscale village town of Laguna Beach in Orange County.

High Surf is Waiting

Laguna Beach has the distinction of being the second oldest town in Southern Orange County.  In 1900, Laguna Beach had approximately 5 families struggling to make a living via farming.

Because its lack of water and land was ill-suited for farming, the founding Laguna Beach families decided to rent its property to surrounding inland communities to escape the summer heat. Thus began Laguna Beach’s dedication to tourism, which remains the mainstay of its current economy. By the 1920s, Laguna Beach was discovered by a group of landscape artists who laid the foundation for its art community, which still thrives to this day. Over the years, other groups have celebrated and discovered the magnificent beauty and artistic culture of Laguna Beach including hippies, yuppies, rock stars, movie industry professionals, business executives, beach lover’s and everyday people.

View Laguna Beach Walk in a larger map

In Travelin’ Local’s inimitable tradition, I took a walking tour of the Main Beach area for today’s Walk My World Virtual Tour. Known the world over for its splendorous beauty and artistic community, I highly recommend a visit to Laguna Beach’s beaches, parks, galleries, unique boutiques, and great restaurants. Feel free to click each of the yellow markers to enjoy the local flare. For my next Walk My World Tour of Laguna Beach, I’ll be walking its other outstanding areas and neighborhoods.

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A Santa Monica Walking Tour

For my inaugural Walking Tour and Map for Santa Monica, I’m featuring three of its most popular locations– the Third Street Promenade, Palisades Park, and the Santa Monica Pier.

Relax, it’s not too bad to move about as they’re all within a 2.07 mile walk. Starting at Wilshire and Ocean Ave., you’re greeted by the St. Monica, who oversees her domain.

St. Monica

Continue walking on the pathway in Palisades Park—which also has a well worn jogging track.

With panoramic views of Santa Monica State Beach on your right, don’t miss the uniqueness of Palisades Park, a great place to just stroll and enjoy a twisted view of nature at work.


Across the street is the legendary Georgian Hotel, an emblem the of Art Deco Architectural style of Los Angeles.


As the Tour moves toward Ocean Avenue, the iconic Santa Monica Pier is omnipresent–soon it will have its grand 100th Anniversary. Be sure to mark your calendars for next month, because on September 9th there will be a huge celebration replete with the largest fireworks display on the Pier in 18 years.

Santa Monica Pier

From the Pier, walk back to Colorado Blvd. While there be sure to check out the new Santa Monica Place. Slated to open August 6th, 2010, the newly renovated Santa Monica Place will transform and replace the old mall into a vibrant, open-air, street scape – providing Santa Monica with another new dining and retail destination.

As you turn the corner at Colorado and 2nd Street, don’t miss the colorful angel who stands constant and vigilant guard at this mixed use building.

Angels are watching

Today’s walking tour ends at the Third Street Promenade.

These photos are a great example of places that you can visit, eat, or just enjoy a walk in the California sun. Santa Monica may be a small town, but its chock full of things to do, and walking is only one of the ways to make you feel better–your heart will thank you later.

View Walking Santa Monica in a larger map

Please click the Travelin’ Local sun icons on this Santa Monica Walking Tour Map, for more details, photos, and ideas for your next visit. Be sure to check out Travelin’ Local’s Mapping LA Public Art project, it’s being updated as we speak, incuding some of the additional sites from this walk.

Best Places to See the Hollywood Sign

Although at times you can see the Hollywood Sign from many places though out Los Angeles, getting close to it is easier said than done, and can be a daunting task. So Travelin’ Local thought we’d show you the best places to see the Hollywood Sign and how to get there.

To map your journey to visit the Hollywood Sign, all you have to do is plug your current location into Google Maps for each of the addresses provided in this story. From there, you’ll be able to get directions to each of the Hollywood Sign’s vantage points, from anywhere in the city.

View Larger Map

From here, not only is there a spectacular view of the Hollywood Sign, the Hollywood Reservoir is a must see place to enjoy. Although the map looks like you’re stopping in the middle of the road, there are a few “parking” spots here.

3202 Canyon Lake Dr

Los Angeles, CA 90068

View Larger Map

If you want to do some hiking along with the Hollywood Sign viewing, there is a small parking lot here.

Lake Hollywood Dr & Weidlake Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068

View Larger Map

Using this map as your guide, follow Beachwood Drive until it ends. Following the Hollyridge Trail, you can get as close to the Hollywood Sign as the trail will take you. I haven’t touched the sign—and I’m not sure if it’s possible anymore because of safety reasons—but let me know how close you can go! The parking lot is small but there is street parking further south if you want to walk. Also the DASH Beachwood Bus Line runs all the way up Beachwood Drive as far as Westshire Dr.

Another great place to view the Hollywood Sign is at the Hollywood & Highland Center. At the Hollywood & Highland Center, you can combine a little shopping and lunch, and stand 4 stories high to view the Hollywood Sign.

Travelin’ Local is just as much about going to the right places, as it’s about the best ways to get there to see the sights and sounds.

Los Angeles Historic Walks

Old LA

Literally on the road to see, hear, and learn about the history of Los Angeles, to find its heart, spirit, and soul is through walking the inner and outer sanctums of Los Angeles to discover its often forgotten roots.

Starting at Union Station, the hub of Amtrak and Metro in downtown, I followed the faint echoes of sound and music emanating from the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument across the street from Union Station.

Where you can literally touch, see, and experience the heart of Old Los Angeles, lays the site of one of its oldest structures–the Avila Adobe, which was built in 1818.

Letting my feet take the lead from my head; blasting through my own urban journey, I was to make not only a fertile historic visit to Los Angeles’ landmarks–city block, by block—but in doing so I was able to discover the city’s history at every turn.

In the near future, Travelin’ Local will cover and feature many of our cultural and historical locations, many times not in the front and center of our awareness; but nonetheless for today’s story here’s a walking map and some pictures from today’s march.

View Walking Union Station in a larger map

Just as with my previous Walking in LA article, if you click on the various markers, you’ll discover a photo of each location.

Travelin’ Local is just as much as what’s happening new and exciting today as well as knowing and understanding how we’ve come to this place in our history.

By walking when Travelin’ Local you can do both.

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