Monday, December 21, 2009

My city celebrates: Los Angeles

I religiously read National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel Blog, in fact I can’t start my day without reading through their daily post. It’s like my Wall Street Journal. Anyways, ITB recently launched a new series, “My City Celebrates,” a spin off their “I Heart My City,” which I participated in last spring. As I love the holidays, and am resolved to making the most of my time in LA I thought it would be good for me to fill out this survey and tell the Internet exactly why you can “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” in Los Angeles.

When I need a dose of holiday cheer, I always head to the DWP Holiday Light Festival at Griffith Park for the Christmas music, beautiful lights and a walk in the crisp, cool air.

The best place to grab a cup of cocoa is Zona Rosa Caffe, in Pasadena on the corner of Colorado Blvd and El Molino Avenue. Their Mexican Hot Chocolate has the perfect amount of cinnamon and vanilla in every sip.

If you want to find great sledding you have to head to the Big Bear or Mountain High, but personally my favorite is to head to Mammoth Mountain for a snowy, weekend getaway.

Strap on your skates at Pershing Square and enjoy the view of the skyscrapers and historical landmarks of downtown LA.

For a classic holiday photo op, don’t miss Disneyland at Christmas with its seasonal decorations adding to its already considerable charm. Main Street boats a 60-foot Christmas tree covered with thousands of lights and decorations, Sleeping Beauty’s castle sports snow-covered turrets, and the nightly fireworks display include swirling snow, just for the season.

A great place to take the kids during the season is Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena. This historical landmark contains nearly 135 cedar trees decorated with nearly 10,000 lights.

For all of your gift-giving shopping in one store, check out Vroman’s (for book lovers), or the Beverly Center (a mall featuring classic American retailers) or Paseo Colorado in Pasadena for the ultimate outdoor shopping experience (since it usually is 72 and sunny during the Christmas season!)

The historic Farmer’s Market (at Third & Fairfax) has the best shops, produce, and strolling yuletide carolers; be sure to pick up delicious seasonal fruit, a sampling of nut butters at Magee’s House of Nuts, and a Christmas scented candle at By Candlelight for your next holiday party.

No holiday meal in my city is complete without a Peppermint Mocha at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

My favorite holiday tradition in my city is the sense of unity and respect that the citizens display during this time of year. Despite the growing diversity within the sprawling southland, generally people seem to respect the beliefs of the numbers cultures and religions all residing in the same area.

Locals know to avoid the throngs of shoppers at any of the classic mega-malls and find the real magic at the Glory of Christmas at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove. This live-action pageant tells the classic Christmas story with actors, flying angels and a parade of live animals including camels, sheep, horses and a donkey.

The best part about my city during the holiday season is a rare rainy Saturday when it’s cold enough for a wood-burning fire.


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