SoCal

Southern California vacation planning guides and itineraries. Best beaches in Orange County and Los Angeles, best things to do, and photos by Tom Bricker.

Tips for Hiking to the Hollywood Sign

You can hike to the Hollywood Sign via a few different trails in Los Angeles, including Griffith Observatory. This post offers our recommendations for the shortest route, easiest & best paths, what to avoid, and other tips for hiking to the Hollywood Sign. (Updated March 14, 2021.) More accurately, this is how to hike to […]

The Last Bookstore: Reading is Cool in Los Angeles

The Last Bookstore is an iconic location in Downtown Los Angeles, transcending its place as California’s largest seller of new, used, and rare books into a quasi art installation. It’s also a cultural touchstone connecting the Age of Literacy to the Post-Information Age. This post share photos from inside, info and tips for visiting, and […]

Newsletter Sign-up & Free Planning eBook!

Our free newsletter offers info & tips about our favorite places to travel. Right now, the big question we’re trying to update and answer is when will Japan reopen? We’re also monitoring news on California, Europe, and the National Parks. Beyond that, the newsletter offers the latest travel news, vacation planning guides, step by step itineraries, tips […]

Colors of Christmas at Montage Laguna Beach

It’s Christmas season in Southern California, which means two things: palm trees covered in lights and gorgeous sunrise and sunset skies! After a week of traveling when I landed at LAX last night, I decided to check the weather and noticed conditions were predicted to be ripe today in Laguna Beach for a nice sunrise. […]

Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel Review

The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel is an oceanfront 5-star luxury hotel perched on a seaside bluff located along Pacific Coast Highway between Dana Point and Laguna Beach, and 60 miles south of Los Angeles, California. In this resort review, we’ll share room photos, thoughts on our stay here, how the Ritz compares to nearby properties, and […]

IT Experience Hollywood House Review & Info

The IT Experience Chapter Two: the Derry Canal Days Festival is a free haunted house that will run August 15 to September 8, 2019, with free tickets that can be booked here. In this post, we preview this new interactive experience with a review & photos of IT Experience: Neibolt House, which we toured prior […]

Things To Do In Joshua Tree National Park

This provides info on my favorite things to do in Joshua Tree National Park, and tips for accomplishing it all. Since it’s the closest National Park to Los Angeles (see our Ultimate LA City Guide for more on visiting), Joshua Tree is an easy stop on a California road trip. For me, this is the […]

1-Day Pasadena, California Itinerary

Our 1-day Pasadena, California itinerary covers the most popular things to do in the City of Roses. It provides an efficient yet leisurely walking tour through Pasadena’s Old Town, past its most iconic homes and buildings. In so doing, we’ll take you to the highlights of Pasadena, including gardens, museums, and architecture, all in (under) […]

Tips for Visiting Hollywood, California

Hollywood. Tinseltown. Showbiz City. This post offers planning tips for visiting the neighborhood in Los Angeles that has a reputation as being the epicenter of the film business, a glamorous spot to rub elbows with celebrities. With the Oscars showcasing the glitz and splendor of Hollywood tonight, I thought this would be a perfect post […]

Annenberg Space for Photography Info: Free Los Angeles Museum

The Annenberg Space for Photography is a free museum in the Century City area of Los Angeles, California’s Westside. It showcases themed galleries of digital and print photography that rotate a few times per year as well as special programming that includes lectures, workshops, classes, and family-friendly events. The space’s galleries are curated to highlight […]