California dreaming on such a winter’s day

Do the mid-semester blues have you dreaming of a trip to the sunnier places? Not quite sure where to go? Look no further, here are the top 5 Reasons to make Southern California your post-exam spring getaway.

1. Disneyland/California Adventure Parks

Start your vacation off right with a group trip to the Disney Parks in Anaheim, California. With rides, shows, fireworks, and parades, you’ll want to spend two full days enjoying the park. For the best experience, try staying close by at the Park Vue Inn, located directly across the street from Disneyland on South Harbor Blvd. This hotel gives you the ideal location next to the park, without the expensive Disney Resort prices. Don’t miss out on the Dole Whip pineapple ice cream served at the Tiki Juice Bar in Adventureland, followed by Disneyland’s fireworks at 8:40pm Friday through Sunday each week. You can also download the DLR Lines App and stay up-to-date with wait times for all attractions in the parks. Growing up, my childhood consisted of family vacations to California almost every year. I love the Disney Parks today as much as I did at 4 years old. It truly is “The Happiest Place on Earth,” and in my opinion the best way to start a vacation with family or friends.

2. Hollywood Boulevard/Starline Tours

For a first time visit, head over to Hollywood Boulevard. Here, you can see the popular Chinese Grauman’s Theatre, the Dolby Theatre, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Enjoy shops and eateries along the main strip, and sign up for a Starline Tours public tour of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, celebrity homes, and more. Most tours take two to three hours, and offer pick up/drop off from major hotels and the Starline Tours office on Hollywood Boulevard for your convenience. I would personally recommend the Movie Stars Home Tour, a two-hour exclusive narrated tour of celebrities’ homes in Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Bel-Air and Los Angeles. The tour also includes access to the Hollywood Hills sign, Sunset Strip, Rodeo Drive, and more. Visit http://www.starlinetours.com/ for more information.

3. The Grove Shopping Centre

If you’re into shopping, this is the place to be! This Los Angeles indoor-outdoor shopping centre boasts high-end shops, eateries, and the Pacific Theatre. Also, be sure to stop by The Farmers Market at The Grove, which showcases cheap local and international cuisine from around the world, in a weekend-market-style setting. Enjoy the dancing fountain centrally located in front of the Pacific Theatre, which performs to songs by Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and more each hour. Barnes and Noble at The Grove also features a variety of celebrity events including book signings. Be sure to check out the website for upcoming events during your stay at http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/store/2089?subtype=detailCalendar.

4. Warner Bros. Studios VIP Tour

Are you interested in submerging yourself in an active working studio in the Burbank region? If so, Warner Bros. Studios is a must-see on your visit. Warner Bros. Studios has remained one of the most successful production companies since its humble beginning in 1923. I would strongly recommend the Warner Bros. Studios VIP Tour. The tour is 2 hours, $49/person, and worth every dollar. You will be placed in a small tram with a private tour guide, who will work to cater the tour to each individual’s show and movie preferences. The tour takes you through the busy, working back-lots, studio stages, props warehouse, and costume warehouse to see a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of your favorite shows and movies. Who knows, you may even see a celebrity in action on-set. Shows currently filming on the lot include The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Mike and Molly, The Big Bang Theory, Hart of Dixie, Pretty Little Liars, and many more. Also, be sure to check out Audiences Unlimited, Inc. at http://www.tvtickets.com/ for free tickets to live tapings of your favorite shows! During reading break, I was able to attend a live taping of Mike and Molly at Warner Bros. Studios. I would absolutely recommend attending a taping! The show filmed at night, so staff provided the entire audience with dinner and refreshments. The taping took only about two hours. After the show, the cast members were kind enough to come over and thank each audience member for coming.

5. Santa Monica Pier

If you have the time, the Santa Monica Pier is an absolute must-see on your summer getaway! Arrive at the pier early morning if possible and make the most of your day. From here, you can wander amongst the boardwalk kiosks, eateries, and the Pacific Park at the Pier. Be sure to check out the Pacific Park’s Ferris wheel, overlooking all of the beach, ocean and boardwalk. Next, visit Sea Mist Rentals, and rent bicycles for just $7/hour. From here, you can bicycle along the beach for 23 miles to Venice Beach and beyond. The palm trees, ocean waves, and sunshine are sure to give you a true California vacation-feel. Post-bike ride, end your day with a fresh burger at Santa Monica Pier Burger looking out over the beach, followed by a stroll through Palisades Park, which is adjacent to the beach.

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