A quick jaunt through the twisty boulevards of the Hollywood Hills deposits you in Studio City, hub of the San Fernando Valley. Many visitors return to Universal Studios theme park again and again, while the Warner Bros. Studio VIP Tour gives a behind-the-scenes perspective on the movie industry.
Universal CityWalk provides a fantastic outdoor dining, shopping and entertainment experience. And while the Sherman Oaks Galleria has been a favorite for generations, the super stylish new Americana at Brand, sister center to the Grove, offers a theater, live outdoor music, trolley and shopping for any wallet size from H & M to Tiffany and Co.
The gay club Oil Can Harry’s is famous for country western dancing, plus ‘80s nights. If you’re not into line dancing, Club Fuel offers a diverse mix including Hookah on Thursdays, LA’s original gay Middle Eastern club night featuring exotic, hypnotic music on the dance floor and hookah pipes in the smoking court.
As home to the world’s major movie studios, the San Fernando Valley is where celebrities live, work and play. Here’s a 24-hour behind-the-scenes itinerary of the Valley’s sizzling attractions, restaurants and nightspots.
The San Fernando Valley has it all. It’s made up of gorgeous suburbs and mini-malls. Major network and movie studios call it home. Then there are the tremendous opportunities for dining and entertainment. The Valley has anything you need or want: great food, great fun, and definitely great shopping.
The region is conveniently accessible from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) via the FlyAway Van Nuys bus service for $6, or you can fly directly into the Valley via Bob Hope Airport in Burbank. If you’re coming from Downtown, the Metro Red Line stops in both North Hollywood and Universal City.
If we had to choose a central hub for the Valley, it’d most likely be Ventura Boulevard, a strip of high-end restaurants and shops that stretches from Universal City to Thousand Oaks. Here you’ll find everything from diners and fast-food joints, boutique shopping to traditional clothing stores, grocery stores, coffee shops and lots of retail shopping.
And if Ventura Boulevard is the Valley’s backbone, Universal Studios Hollywood is probably its heart. No trip would be complete without a visit (or several) to this LA icon. Take a studio tour or spend the day on thrilling rides in the theme park. Be sure to check out Universal’s newest attraction, The Simpson’s Ride, a fun romp through a fictional amusement park dreamed up by Krusty the Clown.
Then there’s Universal CityWalk Hollywood, an outdoor center with restaurants, entertainment and shopping galore. Now visitors can experience the thrill of skydiving at one of CityWalk’s newest attractions, iFLY. LA’s first indoor skydiving wind tunnel uses two high-power electric fans to suspend guests up to 30 feet in the air for a thrilling, authentic free-falling sensation.
Of course, you can enjoy a roller coaster ride just by driving up (and down) Mulholland Drive, which meanders along the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains. The drive takes you past beautiful homes surrounded by eucalyptus trees, sporting views of West Los Angeles out one window and Valley cities such as Woodland Hills and Sherman Oaks out the other.
In other words, you don’t have to drive “over the hill” to get to the excitement in Hollywood or Beverly Hills. It’s all right here.
Art galleries abound on Lankershim Boulevard. Make sure to check out NoHo Gallery LA, which presents a wide variety of artists working in various mediums. Live music and other performances make the area an artist’s paradise.
For some outdoor time, head to Ahmanson Ranch, a 2,983-acre wildlife refuge and natural park just north of Calabasas. The pristine park features 15 miles of recreational trails and several rare and endangered species. Made up of oak forest, wetlands, canyons, rolling hills and pastures, the land was slated to become a housing development before the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy stepped in and bought it in 2003.
Bringing the whole family? At Universal Studios Hollywood, you can get both the studio experience and everything you would ever want in a major theme park. Kids will love the Shrek 4-D experience and the all-new Simpsons Ride. This is just the beginning, of course.
After experiencing The Simpsons Ride, visitors to the theme park can explore the new "Universal World of Entertainment" attraction where Hollywood’s crown jewels are on view as Universal Studios Hollywood mixes rare, never-before-seen props, costumes, wardrobe and artifacts with special effects displays. The attraction showcases a close-up view of many of the memorable items seen on film from Universal Pictures, a library of more than 6,000 titles dating back to the studio’s early beginnings in 1913, as well as offers a peek into the technology used in early motion picture and modern day filmmaking. Insightful trivia and film clip kiosks also add an interactive component.
Leave time to take the studio tour, so you can see what movie making is all about.
For more about how “the industry” works, take a tour of NBC Studios, where they film The Tonight Show. Or take the Warner Bros. Studios VIP Tours, where you might see film or television productions in progress.
Looking for spine-tingling thrills? Make sure you go to Six Flags Magic Mountain and Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Los Angeles in Valencia. Featuring more than 40 different amusements, including roller coasters, water rides and others, Magic Mountain is an all-day experience. The world's first fourth dimension coaster ride, X2, redefines the thrills of conventional roller coasters. Just make sure you save room for funnel cake!
If after a long day of thrills and excitement you need something a little more low key, visit the Japanese Garden for a tranquil walk among peaceful ponds and intricate landscaping. Various municipal golf courses in the Valley are available to take advantage of LA's perfect weather.