The Hollywood Bowl: There's Still Some Summer Left!

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Hollywood Bowl is hands down, my favorite Southern California venue for music. Set up in the hills, the Bowl is best at sunset. In fact, the Bowl is the best in the late afternoon. And it’s the best in the evening, with the stars and the trees and the breeze from the hills. It’s just the best.

Every summer we try to see at least a few concerts there.

Earlier this season we went to see James Taylor and as we climbed the 101 freeway in the middle of the afternoon, the friends in our car said, “Are you sure we should be there this early?”

It wasn’t even dinner time yet and they’d never been before.

“Trust us,” we told them. “Everyone comes this early.

And they do. And when everyone spreads their table cloths and their blankets on the grass and share bottles of wine, it’s very hard to feel alone in a big city like Los Angeles.

Everybody has their own special way of “doing” the Bowl, but here is ours. And whatever you end up doing, make sure you arrive a few hours early to picnic. Lot D is located right off of the 101 and Highland. If you are coming from the south, exit Highland and make a right. Lot D will be on your left hand side.

Parking is stacked in this lot, but the stacks are short so even if you are in the back you’ll get out soon. 

We like to bring wine and meats and cheeses, and apparently some beer. We usually bring other finger foods like crackers and hummus and vegetables and we always, always have too much. Dessert for us is usually a easily portable few cupcakes to share and when we are done picnicking we carry whatever wine we haven’t consumed as well as our dessert into the show.

Whatever concert you decide to see, from James Taylor to the LA Philharmonic, you can’t go wrong. It’s simply being there that is the treat.

Details: The Hollywood Bowl is located at 2301 N Highland Ave in Los Angeles and has been a favorite venue in the Los Angeles area since 1922. The Bowl's summer concert series is still in full swing. See a list of their upcoming shows here. 

Local Tip: If you attend a non-Hollywood Bowl Summer Series concert check food and drink guidelines for entry. Some say “no glass” and some say “no outside food or drink at all.” The best way to get around the no glass rule is to utilize wine cartons. Here’s a list of some of the best non-glasswine picks available.

The Orange County Fair: Summer Starts Here

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I grew up going to the LA County Fair at the fairgrounds in Pomona, but in more recent years, the Orange County Fair has been our County Fair of choice.

Turkey legs, chocolate dipped frozen bananas, and fried anything, the fair always seems like a little bit of home once a year. And because it is in Costa Mesa, the fairgrounds sit up on a bluff that, on a good day, gets some of the Pacific Ocean breeze.

This year’s theme is Summer Starts Here. Last year, we were able to go on the first weekend of the fair to avoid the crowds, but this year, our family ended up going on a Wednesday. We also decided not to haggle with the kids over how many rides they could go on but instead bought them the available-Wednesdays-only unlimited ride bracelet for $30. We traded the lesser crowds for the unlimited rides and I think in the end it was well worth it.

After a few carnival rides we found a place to sit near the main outdoor stage, and with another family, shared a spot out of the July sun to have a meal. The fair is perfect because everyone can have what they want. I had a Hawaiian chicken bowl and my girls each ate burgers. And my father, he came back with some meat-BBQ-smothered plate piled high.

Whether you come with your whole family, a group of friends or just you and your spouse, the Fair is a blast. From the Toyota Summer ConcertSeries to Alaskan Pig Races, it kind of has something for everyone.

Details: The OC Fair runs through August 10th and is located at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. Parking is $10 cash but you can park off site at Orange Coast College for cheaper. Click here for more information.

Local Tip: We CareWednesdays happen every Wednesdays at the fair. Yesterday we participate in their book drive and brought 3 gently used children’s books for free admission. Coming up:  Clothing Drive on July 30 and a School Supply Drive on August 6. Check out their other We Care Wednesday promotions. Also on Wednesdays only, unlimited ride bracelets for $30 (available from 3-5pm and only good until 8pm). Purchase these at any ticket booth inside the fairgrounds.

Welcome to CAlovesCulture

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Welcome to CAlovesCulture!

CAlovesCulture is an offering of local happenings and great things to do, eat and experience in and around Southern California. We'll be exploring the arts including theater and music events, local food including farmers markets, restaurants and eateries, local travel and local culture including fun places to go and things to do in and around our amazing area.

We already have curious minds around here for new and amazing things to do here, so we are looking forward to sharing them with you.

If you have any ideas of great places to visit, please feel free to leave them in the comments. We can't wait to hear your ideas!
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