Thursday, June 28, 2012

How to Entertain Two Teenagers in Los Angeles Without Going Crazy or Going Broke

One of the best things for us about hosting out-of-town guests is getting to go into tourist-mode in our own city. Los Angeles is huge (duh) and broken up in to a million distinct neighborhoods, and it can be easy, during our day-to-day, to stay within our manageable 6 mile radius of Silverlake-Downtown-Echo Park-Highland Park-Los Feliz, and ignore the glittering Westside or the sometimes underrated Valley, or the vast Southside, or even (shudder) Hollywood...

So whenever visitors are in town (note: please visit!) we take the opportunity to break out of our familiar routine and go forth into distant neighborhoods. There we try new restaurants and bars, take more impressive hikes, partake in whatever cultural activity is on offer, all in an effort to entertain and pamper our guests while giving them a taste of the diversity of this city. Also, often, we try and convince them to move here. (Note: move here!) And as a bonus, we pretty much always have an awesome time discovering new things to do.

Usually a large part of our plan consists of simply eating and drinking at interesting and delicious places, because really, what more do you ever need? But last week we were charged with hosting Jared's 15-year-old sister and her best friend for a few days, and for a moment we panicked. What do you even DO with children that age? They can't go out for cocktails, or even most concerts, they're too old for "little kid" activities like the zoo, and their culinary interests are firmly in the spaghetti-with-red-sauce/bean-burrito-no-salsa/cheese-pizza-no-toppings camp. To make matters worse, we don't have a TV, and our apartment is quite small, and we had no idea whether they would be into outdoorsy activities like hiking, or cultural activities like museums or concert halls (lol, as if)

(Diorama at the Natural History Museum, not a live elephant.)

Well I'm happy to report that aside from a few flight-related frustrations, the visit turned out to be a smashing success. And in case you are interested, here is exactly how you entertain two young girls in Los Angeles for five full days:

First you stock your kitchen full of Trader Joe's Frozen Pizzas, dry pasta, and multiple jars of spaghetti sauce. Trust me. Then you simply go to: Third Street Promenade for window shopping and watching street performers; Umami Burger for a coke and a burger with all the goodies scraped off (for them), and one with all its regular deliciousness intact for you; Venice Beach for ice cream, strolling, watching skateboarders, and getting henna tattoos; the Stairs of Silverlake to catch a glimpse of the Hollywood SignAmoeba Records for music browsing; a hike to Griffith Observatory on a beautiful day with an enthusiastic dog (making sure you run into Odd Future shooting a video (score!)) Mexcali for authentic tacos; a long stroll through Chinatown, Olvera Street, and Little Tokyo to look at tchotchkes; Pinkberry for pinkberry; the Americana for shopping and a PG-13 movie (Rock of Ages); Beverly Hills for a long drive past the fancy houses and a slow trek down Rodeo DriveSanta Monica Beach for chillin' and getting a rosy sunburn next to the screams of the roller coaster; In-N-Out in Eagle Rock for scarfing animal-styleHollywood for an obligatory walk-through including Grauman's Chinese TheaterLACMA for culture and pictures of Urban LightLeela Thai for the girls' first Thai food; the Academy 5 in Pasadena for two-dollar matinee of 21 Jump Street; the dog park for dogs; a few more walks; annnnnd you're done!

There now, wasn't that a breeze?


  1. I find that I have complicated feelings about the woman who hosts the segment about the staircases.

    1. But I bet you learned something.

  2. zomg jealous! amoeba and third street pretty much defined my tween and teen years. such a fun host! i don't want to be 15 again, but with you as a guide, maybe i would reconsider...

    1. Next time you are in town we will reclaim our lost youth!

  3. Leela Thai!
    Leela Thai!!!!



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