♫ You could travel the world, but nothing comes close to the golden coast...
June 17, 2010 1:45 AM   Subscribe

Help me enjoy 5 weeks of California endulgence after living in the Middle East!

I'm finally going on vacation after living and travelling in the Middle East, based in Turkey, for the past 2 years. I'm a Canadian, but I'll be visiting some friends in Los Angeles for 5 weeks, before returning to this side of the pond for at least another year. I'm looking for ideas of things to do that I cannot enjoy here. Similar to this question, but I do not have a mass of belongings in LA, nor am I American, so unfortunately I can't take care of any legal things like insurance or drivers licenses.

I'm looking for things I can activly do (go to In-n-Out, get my camera serviced, etc) rather than just things I will passivly (though seriously) enjoy (like good customer service, polite English speaking people, and free refills.)

To focus the answers a bit: I'll be staying at a friends house in Long Beach, have possible access to a car, and have a budget of only about $1500 for the 5 weeks, so I'm not looking to be too spendy. To be honest, even though a lot of the reason I moved overseas was to escape the consumerist, capitalistic, materilistic mindset of North America, this is my vacation, dammit! I'm looking forward to indulging a bit. I'll be there June 30-Aug 6. (possibly related info: I teach ESL overseas, I'm 24, female, bit of a geek, LOVE politics, into photography, active, and I enjoy a good night of drinking (etc... ahem.) )

So far on my list:
-Goodwill! (and maybe the Goodwill sorting center)
-Gyno visit (actually, anyone know whether Planned Parenthood accepts Canadians?)
-In-n-Out, Taco Bell, Chıpotle, etc... (Jewish though, so no "bacon wrapped bacon sandwiches")
-Camping, Theme Park, Kareoke!
-Getting my Istanbul'dan acquired tattoo fixed
-Seeing an English movie without subtitles, maybe the drive-in
-Having my DSL serviced officially by Canon
-Bringing lappy for a checkup at an Apple store
-picking up various items at the Dollar Tree
-Maybe trying out heat yoga
-Walmart: school supplies, Mac and Cheese, Oreos, Cake Mix!

How else can I enjoy America? Sure, I'll be doing plenty of the usual vacationy things like sleeping in, going to the beach, reading a lot, but I know the HiveMınd can help me think of some more great ideas!! Çok teşekkür ederim in advance!
posted by hasna to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'm 24 as well and moving back to California after a year away and I'm very excited, so I'll tell you a few of the things that I'm looking forward to the most (though I'm from northern California, so I don't have any LA specific advice, but I think a lot of the same things apply):

-Farmer's markets!! ohmygodsomuch. Summer produce in California is heaven. Go in the late morning, have lunch, hang out with the peaches in the sun. There are probably several in your area so you can do this several days a week if you fancy, and cook your friend/host yummy meals with all your fresh fruits and veggies.

-Champagne brunches after a night out with friends.

-Restaurants with really fresh ingredients.

-Amazing sushi and thai food.

-Hotsprings. Swimming in rivers. I think both of these things are possible down south, maybe someone else will have some specific recommendations.

-Goodwill! Yess. There should also be some other similar places like Salvation Army. Also vintage, if you're into that.

-Maybe stock up on things you need/brands or styles you love but have a hard time finding where you're living like favorite bras/underwear, etc. Shoes?

-Used book stores. Local coffee shops...iced americanos.

-Summer concerts. See if any of your favorite bands/artists are playing in LA during the time you'll be down there.

-Chocolate chip cookies.

Many other things that are not coming to me at the moment. I'll come back if I think of any other suggestions. Enjoy your vacation!
posted by Ginkgo at 3:18 AM on June 17, 2010

Go to a good library. If not for yourself, then as a favour to me. :)

Good concerts. Definitely.

Dunno what Turkey is like, really, but if I were to make a trip back to the US, libraries and concerts would be the first non-meeting-friends-and-family things on my agenda.

Ben n Jerry's

Good Mexican food.
posted by bardophile at 4:00 AM on June 17, 2010

This isn't wildly helpful, but in my experience, planned parenthood doesn't ask many questions, so I think you should be able to visit without having American citizenship. As for LA/LBC: there is some great hiking and camping to be done in the Angeles state park, north and east from where you'll be. If I were in the states right now, I'd be hitting rei pretty hard- there's one near the third st promenade in Santa Monica, along with just about every other chain store you could dream of. Prepare to be swamped with commercialism (and go early on a wkday, that place swarms with tourists). While you're in Santa Monica, there are tons of lovely restaurants (yelp is a pretty good resource for LA), and there's Venice, which has a wide array of dirty hippies and beachy bars and more *ahem* than you can shake a stick at. Rent a bike and ride along the beach sidewalk between SM and Venice. Take the blue line metro from Long Beach to downtown la- there are lots of cool bars and great new restaurants there (can you telli miss American food?). Silverlake and Los Feliz are good walking-around places, and if you're looking to stock up on books, I'd recommend Skylight books on Vermont in Los Feliz. There's only one working drive-in as far as I know, along the 5 I believe. If you want a very LA movie experience, try the arclight- assigned, very comfortable seats and just high quality experience all around. And, they have bars in the lobby and screenings where you can bring drinks in, so, wins all around. The nearest one to LB is Hollywood, though. But, while you're there, you could hit roscoes chicken and waffles. Hope this is helpful--these are probs the sorts of things I'd want to do after being abroad for a while.
posted by charlemagne at 4:56 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

I spent a year in the Middle East and In n' Out was somewhere near the top of my list as well....

Having said that, get thee to a Cinespia screening. The calendar isn't up yet for the time you're here but it's always a good time.

Also, the Lotus Festival is in Echo Park from July 10th-11th and is a really beautiful festival of Asian cultures here in Los Angeles including Dragon Boat races!
posted by Sophie1 at 9:01 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Planned Parenthood will see anyone at all. Citizenship is not a pre-req. You will have to pay, but most have sliding scales.
posted by fiercecupcake at 11:21 AM on June 17, 2010

Have a barbecue on the beach and watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
posted by HeyAllie at 12:01 PM on June 17, 2010

Enjoy a bit of Shakespeare by the Sea, one of our favorite summer traditions! Downtown Long Beach also has some outdoor concerts/events, sorry I don't have links, you can google around for a calendar. Also, it looks like you will be here for the 4th of July, I think you can hang out on the beach and watch the fireworks from the Queen Mary (or if you don't mind crowds, you can catch them from the deck at the Yard House.
posted by vignettist at 8:08 PM on June 17, 2010

Response by poster: You guys are awesome!! I'm back from vacation, and I miss California already!
I managed to accomplish many of the things you guys suggested, THANKS!! I'd have to choose you all as best answer, so I'm just going to pick the first one to reply.

Watching "Airplane" at the Hollywood Forever cinema with a picnic and lots of wine was one of the highlights. Venice beach was great. Spent a lot of time hanging out on Second Street and down by the Pike. Went to Sgt. Pepper's Dueling Piano Bar. WENT TO A MEETUP! :) Lots of libraries, Mexican food, got a new tattoo, thrift store shopping, drank so much champagne, watched a bunch of movies on the beach, saw Inception at the Arclight, went on picnics...

man, I want to go back!
Well now I'm moving to Vietnam, so I gotta go post a question about that!
posted by hasna at 10:43 AM on August 19, 2010

« Older Voices Underground   |   Where to rent a 1br on New York, reasonably close... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.