A DAY WITH THE STARS
It’s a long haul from Death Valley to your next destination, but then you are swapping one of the most remote regions in the state for one of the most glamourous cities in America. The bright lights of LOS ANGELES are a 270-mile drive away, but thanks to the straight, clear roads (at least until you get to LA’s outskirts), you should be there in just over four and a half hours or so; leave early and follow Highway 190 west of Furnace Creek towards Panamint Springs (for the first fifty miles, you’ll still be in Death Valley National Park), turn left onto Panamint Valley Road (signed “Lone Pine”) and again onto Trona Road (“Red Mountain”) to US 395, and then take Highway 14 S all the way south to the fringes of Los Angeles, where I-5 runs you into the heart of Downtown LA.
The place that most encapsulates Los Angeles for kids has got to be HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD. This is where it all began, with the first Hollywood premiere taking place at the EGYPTIAN THEATRE at 6712 Hollywood Bd – the cinema still shows classic films most nights and you can poke around behind the scenes on monthly guided tours. Some of the biggest names in showbiz are written in stars along the boulevard’s so-called WALK OF FAME, which runs for 15 blocks between the corners of La Brea and Gower. It’s good touristy fun searching for your favourites – there’s over 2500, so don’t try to look too hard or you’ll be there all day! When you’re done, you can see which other film stars have had their handprints and footprints (and, in the case of the cast of Harry Potter, their wands) enshrined in concrete outside the TCL CHINESE THEATRE, at 6925 Hollywood Bd, towards La Brea. The Oscars are still held in the Dolby Theatre at HOLLYWOOD & HIGHLAND, just around the corner, though sights-wise the complex is probably of more interest for the good look you can get of the HOLLYWOOD SIGN from its top floor.
As the sun begins to fade, jump in a cab and head up into the surrounding hills. Given Los Angeles’ rambling sprawl, there’s no one defining view of the city, but the lookout from the GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY, 4.5 miles northwest of Hollywood Boulevard, comes closest. You’ll probably recognise its distinctive facade from Rebel Without a Cause and La La Land – you’re never too far from a film set in LA – and if you head up here just before dusk, the views are just as stellar, with the lights of Downtown’s skyscrapers twinkling into life in the valley below.
WHERE TO STAY
THE LIJOMA LOWDOWN
Delve deeper with our tips on what to read and watch before you go, foods and drinks your kids must try, and some key cultural advice
From beachfront hotels to Downtown B&Bs – our pick of the most memorable places for families to stay in California
NEED TO KNOW
A handy overview of California’s weather and climate throughout the year, with recommendations for the best time to visit
Pre-trip practicalities, including getting there, visas and passports, health and safety, and how to get around
MORE AMAZING TRIPS
Inside glaciers, under waterfalls and out into the Atlantic to watch whales
Two weeks exploring the most family-friendly country in Southeast Asia