Spent a day being a tourist in my own city with a few friends. Here is what we got up to.
Back when I was in Santa Cruz with Jessie for her birthday, we met two super nice guys at the Sand Bar in Capitola. Khalid and Makan passed a few hours with us at the bar and at the end of the night, we all exchanged information.
When Khalid and Makan reached out saying that they were going to come to LA for a weekend, I of course jumped at the opportunity to see my new friends again. Here is how we spent our day together.
I started out with the Metro. If you want to feel like a true local, this probably isn’t the way as most everyone drives in LA, but it is a pretty easy system to learn and is awesome since you don’t have to pay for (and find) parking.
I took the Red line down to Civic Center and walked to their hotel, where I would meet Khalid (Makan was visiting some family). He and I were starving, so we walked a short distance to Border Grill. We both got lemonades and quesadillas. It was delicious, although the portions were pretty filling.
Khalid and I then explored DTLA. We did not have a destination in mind, just turned when we felt like it. The great thing about a place like DTLA is that there is amazing architecture and history to see on any street, so it is not a bad place to get lost in.
Plus, the weather was 75 and sunny. It seemed as if LA was bringing out its finest for my friends!
We ended up at the Disney Concert Hall. Unfortunately, the building was closed so I was not able to show Khalid the inside of it…but honestly, I don’t remember there being all that much to see inside. It does offer access to outdoor corridors that take you through the sides of the building, which are pretty cool.
This is a really unique building in LA and definitely worth stopping to snap a photo with.
We then continued our journey through DTLA until we ended up at the Grand Central Market. This is one of my favorite places to take visitors because there is something for everyone if you are hungry. It is filled with all different types of food and great people watching. It was here that we met up with Makan. I treated our group to ice cream at McConnell’s as they came all the way to LA for a visit. The line was insane, but really worth it. I had a scoop of churro con leche and sea salt creme cookie. So, so good.
When we had been exploring earlier, Khalid and I had been talking about how you can live in a city your whole life and never really feel like you know it well. I told him that while I am living in LA, I want to act like a tourist as much as possible. I don’t really see myself settling here, so I want to take advantage of this great city while I am here. I would hate to have lived in LA for 20 years of my life and never do some of the things tourists accomplish in a week.
I was telling Khalid that, for example, I have only been to Disneyland about five times in my life despite living so close. Well, being the spontaneous person that Khalid is, he suggested that we go to Disneyland that night, if only for a few hours. We asked Makan later and he fully agreed. It would be both Makan and Khalid’s first time at Disneyland and with a little persuasion, I was excited to share the experience with them!
With that, we started the hour drive to Disneyland! We made sure to go on as many of the best rides as possible, since we got there at 7pm and the park closes at midnight. We went on Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain (x2), Indiana Jones, and HyperSpace Mountain, which are my personal favorites.
If you haven’t been on the new HyperSpace Mountain, you really should plan a trip to Disneyland. The original Space Mountain was great, but the StarWars-themed renovation has taken this ride to a whole new galaxy (see what I did there?).
Although it was a short visit, we had a great time and really made the most of it! Honestly, a five-hour visit was probably perfect. I have gone to Disneyland from open to close, but it can be a little exhausting, although it is better dollar per hour (tickets are about $100 now). However long you visit the park for, you should always get fast passes for the rides. They are an awesome way to save time that would be spent waiting in line!
Also, if you do not what to commit a full day to Disneyland and only want to go for a few hours, definitely do what we did and go at night.
Two main reasons for this:
1) the sun is down so it is a lot nicer to walk around the park (just remember to bring a jacket!)
2) the kids go home! The park is so much quieter and much more empty!
Final tip, if you are in line for a ride before midnight, you can stay in past the park closing!
Overall, it was a great day playing tourist in my own city! I definitely am going to try to take advantage more of my time in LA! I have my applications in for graduate school now, and only one school is in LA, so there is a good chance I’ll be gone by next Fall! Time to take advantage!
Big thank you to Khalid and Makan for driving down for a quick weekend visit! It is so amazing to continue to make friends while traveling! As I had written here, one of the hardest things about traveling is meeting people and not knowing if you will get to see them again. I feel so lucky to have had so many new friends take the time to visit me in LA! I am also so glad that Khalid and Makan were able to talk me into a Disneyland trip. It was a great example of how saying “yes” can lead to so much fun, happiness, and joy.
How often do you play tourist in your city? Let me know below.