5 Overlooked Destinations for Fun in Los Angeles

walt disney concert hall rentavaluecar.comLos Angeles is a very big city. Its growing population isn’t the only thing that makes it big. Los Angeles is a sprawling place compared to cities like New York or Chicago. Greater L.A. has oceanfront, hills, riverfront, rich farmland and deserts. There are dozens of definable neighborhoods that have their own particular vibe. If doesn’t matter if you’re a Los Angeles native or a visitor, it would be hard to run out of things to do and see. Los Angeles makes it easy to accommodate extended trips to the area. You’ll find affordable car rental, lodging for all budgets, and a foodie culture that suits any taste or budget.

Even though the weather’s almost always pleasant, Los Angeles is very in tune to the calendar as well. You can find exciting and interesting events during most any time of the year. In fact, there are so many things to do in the city that it’s easy to overlook places that would be essential destinations in a less diverse city. Here’s a list of five of the most overlooked destinations for fun when you’re in Los Angeles:

The Los Angeles Philharmonic

Los Angeles has a long history, but it can seem brand new compared to east coast cities. The city also is associated with the movie industry, which is also constantly re-inventing itself. Don’t let that fool you into thinking there’s nothing cultural to do in the city. The Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Master Chorale are world class performers, and they hold court in the astonishing Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Many visitors to the city only take pictures of the exterior of the Walt Disney concert hall. Don’t miss out! The Frank Gehry design is as iconic as the Sydney Opera House in Australia. Step inside, and you’ll find out that the sound is as amazing as the architecture.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic

The Derby Dolls

Looking for something a little less sedate to do? Los Angeles has its very own roller derby team, the Derby Dolls. The all female squad has charming stage names like Thora Zeen, Amber Alert, and Carmen Monoxide. They deliver lots of action and laughs at their new location, the Dolloseum on Alhambra Avenue in Los Angeles.

The Derby Dolls aren’t really just one team. They’re a league with over 150 skaters and other volunteers, and they field five full roller derby teams on their banked track. The whole organization is run by volunteers, and the teams rely on the local community and the fans to keep the doors open. If you’re looking for 100% fun, with real spills and thrills, you can’t go wrong with a trip to the derby dolls. The Dolloseum is handy to the 101 freeway, and you’ll find plenty of affordable car rental places, hotels and motels, and eateries in the area.

The Derby Dolls

Dodger Stadium

The Los Angeles Dodgers are a hot team again. They were sort of an afterthought in decades past while the Lakers reigned supreme. Their stadium wasn’t considered a baseball cathedral like Wrigley Field or Fenway Park. Even though the stadium is close to downtown L. A., it seems a bit out of the way in the middle of Elysian Park. Don’t let that fool you. Dodger Stadium is one of the best places in the country to watch an MLB game.

The stadium  has aged well since it opened in 1962, and over the decades it’s hosted eight World Series. There’s plenty of nightlife and restaurants in the area, so the stadium makes a great place for an excursion while you’re in town.

The Los Angeles Dodgers

The Santa Monica Pier

Los Angeles is famous for its great beaches. Don’t restrict visits to the beach to sunbathing and swimming. There’s lots to do and see along the waterfront. The Santa Monica Pier is a great place to take the whole family, and there’s enough activities to keep you busy all day and night.

Sadly, most people just take Instagram pictures outside the gate that leads to the pier without entering. They’re all missing out. One of the most memorable rides in the world is at the end of the pier. It’s a blast to ride the world’s only solar powered Ferris wheel and look out over the ocean. If heights aren’t your thing, you can always stick to riding the carousel from the famous ’70s movie The Sting.

The Santa Monica Pier

The OUE Skyspace

Most people wouldn’t expect to find any fun in a bank building. The US Bank Tower in Los Angeles is an exception. The top of this tower has a breathtaking 360-degree view of the city, plus a very unusual twist. The building has a transparent slide on its exterior that lets you experience the city from midair. It’s a blast to test your bravery in the glass chute that makes it appear you’re flying between floors. There’s plenty of other activities and shopping destinations in the downtown area when you’re done with your thrill ride and sightseeing.

The OUE Skyspace

Photo of the Walt Disney Concert Hall courtesy of the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

How To Find the Best Hollywood Tours in Los Angeles

paramount pictures hollywood tours valuerentalcar.comLos Angeles is a big city with a bright future and an interesting past. The local economy is incredibly diversified. Industries of all kinds thrive in southern California, and Los Angeles is home to many famous brands. There’s one industry that stand above all others, however. For some people, Los Angeles is synonymous with Hollywood, and Hollywood means the movie and TV industry. Hollywood tours are some of the most popular reasons to visit Los Angeles. True to the city’s reputation, there are many to choose from. Value Rental Car welcomes many visitors from all over the world who want to rent a car, find a hotel, and then see where their favorite movies and shows are made. We’ve assembled a handy list of Hollywood tours to make it easier to find what you’re looking for:

Paramount Studios Tour

Paramount Studios are a great destination for tourists who want to visit a working movie studio. Technically, it’s the only remaining major movie studio still operating in Hollywood. Visitors to Paramount will enjoy a more old-school feel than some of the other studios. The studio is right next door to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and it can seem like the great names in Hollywood history never left.

The tour covers a lot of ground, so there’s a lot of walking and riding in golf carts to see the whole thing. One of the big highlights is passing through the iconic Bronson Gate, which is instantly recognizable from many movies and TV shows.

Make sure you stick around for the part of the tour that features Paramount’s back lot. There’s a maze of little street the studio uses to represent cities like New York, Chicago, and Saint Louis. There’s also a giant water tank used for water scenes like the parting of the Red Sea in The Ten Commandments.

Paramount Studio Tours

Universal Studio Hollywood Tours

If you’re more in the mood for a theme park experience than a history lesson, Universal Studio Hollywood Tours is for you. The studio tour is free with your admission to the Universal Theme Park. There’s a tram that takes you past familiar blocks of studio buildings from many different movies. Unlike other Hollywood tours, at Universal, the exhibits get up and perform. You won’t just see memorabilia from Jaws. The shark will jump right out of the water and give you a toothy smile as you pass by.

Universal Studios Hollywood Tours

Sony Pictures Studio Tours

Sony Pictures tours are held at the old Metro Goldwyn Mayer lot in nearby Culver City. The tour is more compact than some of the others, so there’s more walking and less riding. MGM had a long and illustrious history before Sony Pictures added to it, so there’s a lot to see.

Sony is big in television, as well, and the tour visits the set of familiar shows like Jeopardy for a backstage look. The whole tour is interesting for the nuts and bolts look at making entertainment over the decades.

Sony Pictures Studio Tours

Warner Brothers Studio Tour

Warner Brothers Studio is located in “The Valley” in Burbank, California. The Warner’s tour has the best mix of movie-making history and real-time fun of any of the Hollywood tours. The tour begins on an open bus, and takes you past familiar streetscapes from countless movies and TV shows. The tour stops at a warehouse for props and costumes from such familiar hits as Harry Potter and Batman.

Further along the tour, you’ll see demonstrations of the process of CGI effects. There’s also an interactive exhibit of cinematic steps that show you how the studio takes an idea from script to screen.

The Warner Brothers tour lets visitors do more things than many other tours. It’s fun to sit on an original set from Friends, or even be filmed in front of a green screen and placed in a movie scene.

Warner Brothers Studio Tour

Photo of the Melrose Gate to Paramount Studio courtesy of the The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Insider Travel Tips for International Visitors to Los Angeles

lax at night affordable rental car https://rentavaluecar.com/Los Angeles is a frequent destination for travelers from all over the world. That’s because Los Angeles is such a multi-faceted city. The L. A. area is home to lots of different industries. It’s also an entertainment and leisure destination without equal in the whole world. If you’re coming to Los Angeles for the first time, the city can be a little intimidating. It’s much more spread out than other cities in the United States. Visitors from countries with densely packed cities will be especially surprised to see how far apart local landmarks can be. If you want to get the most from your trip to the City of Angels, you’ll need more than just affordable car rental and a map. Check out this list of travel tips that will save you time and money when you visit Los Angeles.

A Shorter Stay Isn’t Necessarily Cheaper

It might seem crazy, but a longer stay in Los Angeles might be cheaper than zipping in and out. Many airlines hotels, motels, and affordable car rental companies offer big discounts for longer stays. It’s more logical than it sounds if you look at it from the point of view of the hotel or other service. Turnover costs money. Checking people in and out of a hotel or similar business is time-intensive. Businesses will offer premium rates to customers with longer term deals that require the same amount of paperwork and other administration as shorter stays.

Airlines also charge a premium for short term stays in a city. You might find that you can save so much money on airfare by extending your stay that it pays for the additional cost of things like accommodations and affordable car rental.

Plan Ahead

If you’ve never been to Los Angeles, simply driving around can be intimidating. Many foreign visitors are amazed at how wide open the roads are, and how easy it is to find parking compared to other cities. That’s the good stuff. Unfortunately, those roads are packed during certain times of the day, and certain days of the week.

Los Angeles isn’t the kind of city where you can hop on a subway, day or night, and predict how long it will take to arrive at your destination. Affordable car rental is your first priority if you want to travel to multiple destinations in the city. It’s smart to plan your excursions well in advance to avoid needless delays in traffic.

Embrace the Offbeat Food Culture

Eating out in Los Angeles has a different vibe than any other city in the world. Los Angeles was built on car culture and the entertainment business. That’s spilled over into its local food scene. You’re just as likely to get an amazing meal from a food truck in Los Angeles as you’d get from a four-star restaurant in a more traditional city. And if you’re open to offbeat food combinations served in somewhat theatrical eateries, you’ll find some of the best eating in the United States.

L. A. Has Outdoor Activities Most Cities Lack

The weather in Los Angeles is glorious almost every month of the year. There’s no reason to hole up inside when you visit, whether it’s winter or summer. Another surprising detail about the city is how rural a lot of it can be. You can schedule activities like hiking or horseback riding near Griffith Park, or even kayaking on the L.A. River to get great views of the city that others miss. Of course you can always visit one of the local beaches if your idea of fun tends more to swimming, surfing, or suntanning.

All the Beaches Aren’t the Same

If you’re new to Los Angeles, all the sparkling blue water and sand can look the same from beach to beach. You’ll find that each beach on the map has a different vibe, and will be crowded at different times of the day, week, month, and year. Different beaches also cater to different activities. If you’re into people watching, you’ll love Venice Beach. If you’re a novice surfer, you might prefer Malibu or Topanga. Ask around to find out the best beach for you.

Save Money By Avoiding All-Inclusive Vacations

If you’re headed to vacation destinations like Disneyland, you might want to rethink that all-in-one vacation package. If you’re trapped inside the park, you’ll pay more for things like lodging and food than you would if you stayed outside the park and visited every day. You’ll also be able to avoid the worst lines at rides and at restaurants by coming and going to the park when it’s convenient for you.

Photo of the approach to LAX airport courtesy of the The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

5 Offbeat Landmarks on the Road From LAX to Pasadena

bradbury building LAX to Pasadena-value rental carIf you’re renting a car at LAX and traveling to the Pasadena area, there’s more than one way to get there. If you’d rather get a taste of greater Los Angeles instead of just looking out the window of your car at miles of pavement, you’re in luck. There are all sorts of interesting landmarks along the way. Here’s a list of 5 offbeat milestones on the way during a trip from LAX to Pasadena:

The Beach Boys Historic Landmark

If you’re heading east on the 105 freeway to go from LAX to Pasadena, it’s just a few miles to the Beach Boys Historic Landmark in Hawthorne, California. It’s near the freeway at 3701 W. 119th Street. The monument marks the site of the childhood home of Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, the core members of the Beach Boys.

For some people, the Beach Boys and their surf sound define southern California. If you’re on a surfin’ safari to California, it’s worth a little detour to take a selfie at the Beach Boys landmark.

The Beach Boys Historic Landmark

The Bradbury Building

The Bradbury Building is an architectural landmark that’s bound to look familiar to moviegoers. It’s about halfway on the road from LAX to Pasadena at 304 South Broadway. The Bradbury is a five-story office building that opened for business in 1893. The outside of the building looks similar to many late 19th century commercial buildings, but the interior spaces really set it apart. The building is ostensibly designed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style, but the interior is so densely decorated that it defies categorization.

Most tourists recognize the Bradbury from the movie Blade Runner. You can ride up past the ornate ironwork on the same birdcage elevators that carried Decker and the replicants if you like. The top floors are off limits, however. The Bradbury is so popular with movie buffs that a full time guide is on duty to show visitors around. They also offer interesting facts about the building.

The Bradbury Building

Angel’s Flight

Angel’s Flight is a funicular railway that links Downtown Los Angeles with the Bunker Hill district. The narrow gauge railcars climb a 300-foot ramp that affords great views of the city. The inside of the railcars has been restored, but they still have their original vibe from the early 20th century.

The railway has been under reconstruction for the last few years, but is scheduled to re-open by Labor Day 2017

Angel’s Flight

The Triforium

It’s hard to say if a trip to the Triforium is a step into the future or a retro good time. It’s a sculpture that holds court in the Civic Center of Los Angeles. The iconic Los Angeles City Hall stands at one end of the Civic Center, with the Triforium located nearby. The kinetic sculpture was installed in 1975, touted by its designer as the Rosetta stone of art and technology. It turned into more of a monument to budgetary and repair problems.

The Triforium is 60 feet tall. It’s hung on three concrete, two-legged pillars with multicolored prisms that move and light up. The original design had a glass bell carillon that was supposed to play everything from classical music to disco. They’ve been replaced with a conventional sound system. The Triforium is famous for being bizarre but somehow lovable, and has been called everything from Three Wishbones in Search of a Turkey, to The Psychedelic Nickelodeon. It’s a fun destination on the way from LAX to Pasadena, and the area is filled with other attractions and eateries.

The Triforium

The Chicken Boy

Just outside Pasadena in the Highland Park area, you’ll find one of the strangest local landmarks in the greater Los Angeles area. The Chicken Boy is a 22-foot fiberglass statue of a person with a chicken’s head. It was originally the mascot of a restaurant, which is long since gone out of business. It now stands atop a nondescript building on the famous Route 66 at 5558 North Figueroa.

The Chicken Boy’s back story is even stranger than its appearance. The statue was originally made to resemble Paul Bunyan. The manufacturer removed the head and replaced it with a chicken’s head. The hands were reworked to hold a giant bucket of chicken.

It’s considered a local rite of passage to have your picture taken with Chicken Boy in the background, and then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger gave it a Historic Preservation Award in 2010.

Photo of the Bradbury Building courtesy of the The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

5 Must-See Old School Hollywood Landmarks

hollywood landmarks griffith observatory value rental carLos Angeles is the kind of city that reinvents itself all the time. Part of that phenomenon is caused by how fast it grows. Los Angeles was a small city by east coast standards until the movie industry took off early in the 20th century, starting with silent movies, later expanding greatly with the rise of modern movies and television. The real driver of the city’s expansion was the rise of the interstate highway system in the 1950s and 60s. Los Angeles is now the biggest city in California, and the 2nd most populous city in the US.

The newer parts of the city have swamped the original footprint of L.A. That can fool newcomers into thinking that the entire city is only a few years old. That’s misleading. There are still lots of historic Hollywood landmarks in the city worth visiting.

Perhaps the most enjoyable part about visiting Hollywood landmarks when you’re in town is how familiar they are, even to travelers from foreign countries. If it’s in Los Angeles, and it’s more than a few years old, you’ve probably seen it in a movie or television episode at least once. Here’s a handy list of five old school Hollywood landmarks to visit to get a great dose of Hollywood history.

Grauman’s Chinese Theatre

Los Angeles was built on the movie industry. It was once home to dozens of exotic, palatial movie houses. The rise of entertainment on the small screen has put a dent in movie theater attendance over the years.  That forced the closure of many big movie houses in L. A.

Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard is a notable exception. It has been going strong since it opened in 1927, and it’s still a great place to take in a movie. Even if you’re not in the mood for movie, a trip to Graumans to see the handprints and signatures of famous movie stars in the concrete sidewalk outside the theater is a real treat for movie buffs. The street scene on Hollywood Boulevard is great fun for people watching, too.

Griffith Observatory

The Griffith Observatory is a fun Hollywood landmark to visit. The observatory is located high above the city, so it offers great views of Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. Griffith Observatory is also a great place to start a hiking tour that wends along the hills to the top of Mount Hollywood. It’s fun to see the city framed from various angles by the iconic Hollywood sign.

Chaplin Studios

Los Angeles isn’t a high rise city. There are a few skyscrapers downtown, but for the most part, it’s a one-story town. One of the more charming old Hollywood landmarks is the original Charlie Chaplin Studio on North LaBrea Avenue. It looks more like a Tudor-style apartment complex from the street, but it’s still a fully-functioning movie, TV, and recording studio.

The studio included a residence for Charlie Chaplin, and had a tennis court, pool, and horse stables. After Chaplin stopped making movies, the buildings and grounds passed through several hands, but it’s now home to Jim Henson productions. The studio has been designated as a Historic-Cultural Monument since 1969, so it’s still got its old school look. It can be hard to get a tour of the studio, but many events like Puppet Up! are held on the grounds that will get you inside for a look.

The Musso and Frank Grill

You’ll feel like a Hollywood bigwig when you slide into a cool, red, leatherette booth at the Musso and Frank Grill. It’s been a go-to restaurant for the industry’s movers and shakers since it opened  in 1919. You can drop by most any time they’re open and see the celebrities and executives making deals over cocktails or meals. You’ll have to be starstruck without bothering anyone, however. The staff at Musso’s pride themselves on treating Hollywood stars and film and TV honchos with low-key respect, and won’t take kindly to you bothering their guests for selfies or autographs. Just soak in the atmosphere, and have on of their famous martinis.

Will Rogers State Park

Will Rogers isn’t the first name that comes to mind when you think of Hollywood legends, but back in the early 1930s he was the highest paid actor in Tinseltown. He used a lot of that money to buy a beautiful house and almost 200 acres of ranchland in Pacific Palisades. His house and a lot of the grounds are a state park now, and it’s fun to take a tour of his ranch style house and stables. The park features tours, hiking, horseback riding, a wonderful picnicking area, and even the occasional polo match.

The easiest way to see Hollywood landmarks is with a long term car rental from Value Rental Car. They offer free pickup and dropoff service from their locations in Inglewood near LAX, and on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena. Call to find out more!

Photo courtesy of the The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

How To Save Money Using Car Rental Near Disneyland

car rental near disneyland fairytale castle value rental carA trip to Disneyland might just be the most enjoyable trip you can take with your family. Disneyland has so many things to do and see that it’s possible to visit many times without getting bored. Even if you only go once in a lifetime, you’re sure to form lasting memories. A trip to the Magic Kingdom is an important milestone for children and adults alike. It makes sense to minimize any inconvenience during your stay, so you can enjoy it fully. One of the easiest ways to save money and time is to use car rental near Disneyland to save money and time.

You’re Already Renting a Car at Disneyland

No matter what kind of excursion you had in mind for Disneyland, you’re already renting a car. Or more accurately, you’re renting a series of cars, taxis, shuttle buses, or trams. There’s no way around it. In order to get to Disneyland in Anaheim, you have to fly into the nearest airport, which for most people is LAX.

LAX is located in Inglewood, which is fairly close to Disney in Anaheim. It’s only about 30 miles, and if the traffic is moving right along, you’ll be at the park in less than 40 minutes. Even though it’s not that far, one way or the other, you’re going to have to make the trip.

Your Free Car Rental Is Going To Cost You

There are many different methods available to get from LAX to Disneyland. Disney vacations come in all shapes and sizes. You may qualify for free shuttle service to Disney, or at least to some intermediate location that offers free shuttles. There’s a hitch with any free shuttle service to Disney, however.

Many families don’t rent cars for Disneyland trips. It’s a smart strategy if you have an all-inclusive Disney vacation. It’s quite possible to get everything you need inside the park. There are lodgings, restaurants, and shops of all kinds on the premises. If you’re a set it and forget it type of vacationer, an all inclusive vacation is the way to go.

There are downsides to all inclusive vacation packages to Disney. They cost big money. Many consumers are shocked when they see the ticket prices at Disney. They might be more surprised to find out that admission is actually a bargain for all the benefits it offers. It’s all the other amenities at Disney that really cost a lot compared to services outside the park.

Free Things At Disney Require Waiting

At first sight, paying for a car rental near Disneyland seems silly. If you’re entitled to a free shuttle bus service with your vacation package, it’s money you won’t have to spend. There’s a problem. Free things are popular, and popular things involve waiting.

Your trip to Disneyland gives you a limited amount of time to see and do everything. The last thing you want to do is wait in any lines you can skip. You’ll naturally spend a lot of time waiting in lines inside the park. Rides are fun, and park visitors like to go on them multiple times. There’s not a lot you can do about lines for rides. It’s smart to avoid all the other lines you can.

Shuttle buses might be free, but they run on a schedule that you can’t change. Depending on when you arrive at LAX, you could be required to wait for long periods for the right one to show up. During the parts of the day when the shuttle runs more often, there are more people trying to use it. Late at night, when the crowds thin out, the bus schedule is cut back to reflect smaller ridership. Either way, you end up waiting.

Car Rental Near Disneyland Is All About Freedom

If you spend a little extra money on a car rental at LAX, you’ll save a lot of time in the long run. You’ll also get many more opportunities to save money. That’s because you’ll be able to come and go from the park anytime you wish.

The amenities inside Disneyland are great, but they cost a lot more than similar services outside the park. If you use shuttles for your transportation, you’ll be trapped inside the park, and you won’t be able to save money by visiting businesses outside the park:

Restaurants

The restaurants inside Disney are first-rate. They’re also crowded at regular mealtimes, and they cost a lot more than a comparable meal just outside the park. If you have a rental car at your disposal, you can find hundreds of good, affordable restaurants within a few miles of the park. You’ll save money, and you’ll be able to choose any kind of food you want. You’ll also have less trouble with crowds at mealtime.

Hotels

Once again, the accommodations inside the park are fantastic. Like the restaurants, they cost a whole lot more than comparable lodgings outside the park. Many smart Disney travelers stay at clean, comfortable hotels and motels just outside the park, and use the money they save to buy admission tickets. If you have a rental car from LAX, you’ll be able to come and go as you please.

Beverages

Even if you skimp on meals inside the park to save money, one way or the other, you’re going to need something to drink. Anaheim can get hot, and you’ll be out in the sun a great deal. Disney charges a lot for soda, coffee, and even water. It’s much less expensive to purchase drinks for the day outside the park.

Souvenirs

It may sound odd, but buying Disney souvenirs inside the park isn’t a smart move. You can buy Disney souvenirs online, or in many shops in the area, always for less than you’ll pay in the park. If you want to buy souvenirs for your children or yourself, it’s smart to buy them beforehand, and bring them with you, or purchase them outside the park before you go in.

Clothing

If you’re flying into LAX, the amount of luggage you can carry is limited. You’re bound to need at least one article of clothing you can’t pack ahead of time. Clothing and other personal accessories are very pricey inside the park. If it looks like rain, and you don’t have a poncho, having a rental car to shop outside the park can save you the cost of the clothes in one trip.

Different Strokes for Different Disney Folks

There is no “right” way to visit Disneyland in Anaheim. Different visitors have different ideas of what an ideal vacation to the Magic Kingdom looks like. If you’re a budget-conscious shopper, or just like the idea of the freedom that your own personal transportation offers, rent a car at LAX and take a trip to Disney on your own terms.

How To Kayak on the L.A. River

kayak la river rent a carWhen visitors to Los Angeles touch down at LAX, they usually rent a car and head for the Pacific Ocean for outdoor fun. That’s understandable. Los Angeles has many amazing beaches, and the weather is great for swimming, surfing, or simply sunbathing almost every month of the year. There’s another, less well known way to enjoy the water in Los Angeles: kayaking.

That’s right, it’s easy and fun to go kayaking on the L.A. River! Here’s the inside scoop on this fun, rewarding activity.

When Can I Go?

You can visit the L.A. River all year round, but kayaking is limited to certain months. There are many pedestrian and bike paths along the river, so you can always enjoy an outdoor excursion without acres of pavement surrounding you.

The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority offers two distinct zones on the river for public access. They’re both open during the summer months, with slightly different schedules:

The Elysian Valley Zone

The Elysian Valley Zone is about halfway between downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena. Head on out to Fletcher Drive and look for the iconic Great Heron Gates that mark the entrance to Rattlesnake Park.

The Sepulveda Basin Zone

To find the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Zone, travel to Burbank Boulevard in Encino, slightly west of Woodley Avenue. You can also find an entrance to the rivershed area at Balboa Boulevard near Victory Boulevard. For most visitors, finding your way to the river is the hardest part of an excursion. Once you’re at the water’s edge, the zones are clearly marked to make it easier to find your way around. Rules for kayaking, picnicking, walking, and cycling are clearly posted as well.

Is Kayaking the Only Way to Go on the Water?

Kayaking might be the easiest and most enjoyable way to enjoy the river, but many other types of watercraft are welcome as well. Canoes are popular. You can’t use anything with a motor, even a quite trolling motor. You’re not allowed to use inner tubes or pool rafts on the river. That’s because you must be able to steer whatever craft you take on the river. The river has become a popular destination, and while it’s rarely crowded, you’ll need to be able to avoid collisions with other visitors on the river.

How To Choose Between Zones

If you want a real escape to nature, you’ll love the Sepulveda zone. It’s near Lake Balboa, and sits smack dab in the middle of a big wildlife refuge. Because the area is a flood control area, there’s no concrete around the river’s edge. There are many grassy areas, and trees overhang the river to produce a very peaceful woodland effect. If you just want a peaceful paddle, it’s perfect. The water is very calm, and moves fairly slowly.

The Elysian Valley zone passes through the Glendale Narrows, the only part of the L.A. River that doesn’t have a concrete bottom. It’s dotted with little islands with lush greenery on them, which makes the trip more scenic. It’s slightly more challenging for a kayaker than the Sepulveda zone, however. The water moves relatively swiftly, and there are some rapids that will give you a workout. There are more obstructions to watch out for as well.

Where Can I Park?

If you’re using a rent a car from LAX, it’s easy to head north on the 405 freeway until it crosses the 101 in Sherman Oaks. Look for signs for Woodley Park, located on the west side of the freeway. The Sepulveda Basin L.A. River Recreation Zone runs through the park. There’s plenty of free on-street parking spaces on Woodley Avenue. You can also park in the lot near the kayak put-in ramp on Balboa Boulevard.

If you rent a car in Pasadena or downtown L.A., Elysian Valley is closer than the Sepulveda Basin. You can park for 4 hours on Fletcher Drive, or take advantage of free parking at the MRCA lot at Marsh Park. You’ll also find parking downstream at Confluence Park. It’s near the Home Depot under the 2 Freeway.

Where Do I Rent A Kayak?

Using the river is free for individuals and small parties, and doesn’t require a permit. If you’re part of an organized group, the MRCA issues permits for a fee.

You can rent kayaks at the following locations:

L.A. River Expeditions (both zones)

L.A. River Kayak Safari (Elysian zone)

Paddle the L.A. River (Sepulveda zone)

L.A. River Kayaks (Sepulveda zone, plus the Elysian zone on Sunday afternoons)

If you’d like to see a side of Los Angeles that very few people know about, paddling a kayak along the L.A. River is a must for your bucket list while you’re in town. For more information, see the Los Angeles River Recreation Zone website.

Photo courtesy of the The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

The Broad Museum Gives Los Angeles Art a New Place To Call Home

broad museum los angeles rental carsLos Angeles is home to one of the liveliest abstract art scenes in the country. It’s also becoming known for its recent cutting edge architectural projects. It’s appropriate that a collection of Los Angeles abstract art and Pop Art is housed in a building as adventurous as the works on the walls. The newly opened Broad Museum at 221 South Grand Avenue is drawing praise from art lovers and architectural critics.

Contemporary Art Covers a Lot of Ground

The Broad includes an eclectic and wide-ranging collection of works from some of the greatest postwar artists in the world. The collection reaps the benefits of careful acquisitions over a long period by Eli and Edythe Broad, the museum’s patrons. They assembled their collection of Modern Art as the works were being produced, not as a retrospective after the public embraced styles like Abstract Impressionism, Pop Art, and Color Field painting. The Broad’s collection nimbly covers the transition from Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art. It also features rare canvases from artists better known for their sculpture.

A Building Worthy of Its Contents

The designers of The Broad have created a truly memorable building. It adds to the Los Angeles architectural landscape without overshadowing the works inside. For many years, abstract art in Los Angeles, like most contemporary art, was displayed in re-purposed warehouse galleries. Converted industrial buildings often make excellent gallery spaces for exhibits of artwork of all kinds. However, warehouses don’t add much to a patron’s viewing experience. The Broad has a fun design that makes a  more interesting backdrop for the works inside than a bland, off-white hangar.

The Broad Museum Just Might Be the Ultimate Art Gallery

Contemporary art looks best in spaces that draw your eye towards interesting objects, and that add surprise to the experience of viewing a work. Modern art installations often require multiple sight lines to fully appreciate the theme that the artist was trying to convey.

The Broad delivers interesting spaces for visitors to enjoy the works. The spaces in the building are versatile enough to suit any type of show from the Broad’s gigantic collection, or the visiting collections that are sure to follow.

The pierced screen facade on The Broad museum looks fun and funky, but it’s more than just an architectural gimmick. Museum designers must balance the proper amount of indirect light with the structure and appearance of the building itself.

In less ambitious buildings, this is accomplished by simply adding a glazed clerestory with translucent glass. Unfortunately, this sometimes results in a stark, monotone effect that detracts from the displays.

The pierced facade on The Broad lets sunlight enter from countless additional angles without exposing the artworks to direct sunlight. That’s a neat trick, and Diller, Scofidio + Renfro pulled it off brilliantly. The corrugated pattern of the ceiling in the main gallery complements and enhances the overall effect.

A Worthy Neighbor to the Disney Concert Hall

Los Angeles is currently a hotbed of adventurous architecture. The Broad sits next to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, one of the most notable and exuberant designs from local starchitect Frank Gehry.

The Broad adds interest and energy to the local streetscape, but it doesn’t make the mistake of trying to outdo the Disney. The designers avoided the urge to be outrageous. They never forgot that the building is ultimately a display space with important design requirements that shouldn’t take a back seat to architectural excitement.

Destined to Become a Los Angeles Landmark

Los Angeles art lovers have long supported the nearby Museum of Contemporary Art, despite the fact that the building isn’t innovative or compelling in its own right. The public deserves to view contemporary art in surroundings that suit these important trends in the art world.

The Broad has become an immediate sensation in downtown L.A. It’s likely to take its place alongside destination museums like the Guggenheim in New York that attract visitors to see the building as much as the collections inside.

Visit Los Angeles Landmarks With an Economical Rental Car

The best way to visit Los Angeles landmarks like The Broad museum is with a rental car from Value Rental Car. You can rent a late model Toyota for local driving at a fraction of the cost of traditional car rentals. Call or email Value Rental Car today!

Photo courtesy of Peter Alfred Hess at Flickr.com

See the Biggest British Movie Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

car rentals in los angeles california hollywood and vineIf you’re visiting Los Angeles from the United Kingdom, it’s fun to find a little bit of home smack dab in the middle of Hollywood. The United Kingdom has as much or more movie history as the United States, but getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is as important to actors from the British Isles as it to their American cousins. Car rentals in Los Angeles California make it easy to tour the whole city, including the Hollywood Walk of Fame. If you’re visiting Los Angeles from anywhere in the United Kingdom, or you’re just interested in the British film industry, here’s a handy list of the biggest British stars honored with the star that never fades:

Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie’s ability to mimic an American accent fools a lot of TV viewers. His iconic portrayal of House on American TV made him an international star, but he’s British, right down to the Union Jack socks he wore when he got his star on the Walk of Fame in 2016.

Of course Laurie was already well-known in England for his portrayal of Bertie Wooster in Jeeves and Wooster on British television, with close friend Stephen Fry as the inimitable Jeeves. They also performed as Fry & Laurie on their own comedy sketch show. Fittingly, you’ll find Hugh Laurie’s star outside the Pig ‘n Whistle British pub on Hollywood Boulevard.

Helen Mirren

Dame Helen Mirren is one of the most well-known British actresses working in today’s cinema. Mirren was born in London, and her most famous roles were portrayals of three different queens of England. She played Queen Charlotte in The Madness of King George, and Queen Elizabeth I for a made-for-TV miniseries. She won an Oscar for her portrayal of the reigning Queen Elizabeth as well. Mirren became a Dame of the British Empire in 2003. Car rentals in Los Angeles California make it easy to visit her star at the 6700 block of Hollywood Boulevard.

Colin Firth

Colin Firth is another actor made famous for playing a British monarch. His turn as King George the VI in The King’s Speech won a slew of awards. It was also one of the most successful productions ever made in the United Kingdom. Firth won a Golden Globe and an Oscar for his portrayal of the stammering prince who is suddenly thrust onto the throne when his brother abdicates. You can find Colin Firth’s star on the Walk of Fame very close to Helen Mirren’s. In movie terms, they’re also very close. Firth’s George VI was Helen Mirren’s Elizabeth II’s father!

Vivien Leigh

Vivien Leigh rose to stardom playing a southern belle in the antebellum United States in Gone With the Wind, but she was a British subject through and through. She was born in India when it was still part of the British Empire. Leigh was married to another luminary of the English stage and screen, Laurence Olivier.

Leigh had many other notable movie roles, like Blanche DuBois in Streetcar Named Desire, but she will always be remembered as Scarlett O’Hara. You can see her star on the 6700 block of Hollywood Boulevard.

The Beatles

The Hollywood Walk of Fame has stars for work in television, radio, live performance, music, and film. Only one performer, Gene Autry, has a star for each of these five specialties, but the Beatles surely qualify for all five, too. Everyone knows the Beatles for their superbly crafted record albums, wild live performances, and influence on pop culture. It’s easy to overlook the fact that they were popular actors as well. Of course they simply played themselves in A Hard Day’s Night, and Help!, but that’s a testament to how entertaining they were no matter what they set their mind to. In the UK, the Beatles were also well known for their Christmas radio broadcasts. Perhaps the Walk of Fame should consider making the Beatles the only other group with five stars. Look for their star on the north side of the 7100 block of Marshfield Way.

Car Rentals In Los Angeles California

The easiest way to see the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and many other notable sights, is by car. One of the most economical ways to hire a car is to use car rentals in Los Angeles California from Value Rental Car. They have short and long term rentals of late model cars for local driving, at rates other car rental companies can’t match. Call today to make your reservation!

Photo courtesy of the The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Five More Fabulous Things To Do In Pasadena

You may have read the recent article covering things you can do in your Pasadena car rental. However, there are so many things to do in Pasadena, it needs another entry. Get ready to pack up your Pasadena car rentals, because this list is sure to keep you busy. From museums to gardens, even nature centers, Pasadena is chock full of entertainment for the whole family.

Pasadena City College Flea Market

If you’ve gotten your Pasadena car rentals on the first Sunday of the month, this flea market is not to be missed. Your flea market trip will have you finding antiques and collectibles, ranging from valuable antiques to things you’ll find at rummage sales. There are usually more than 400 vendors, so you’re certain to find a wide assortment of interesting things. As a bonus, a portion of your purchases will go towards student scholarships and activities.

Pasadena Museum of History

For history lovers, the Pasadena Museum of History can’t be beat. It’s an easy drive using Pasadena car rentals. It’s fun and interesting to learn all about Pasadena’s rich history. You’ll see exhibits like “Art in the Street: 25 Years of the Pasadena Chalk Festival.” Pasadena dates back to 1874, so there’s a lot of history for your family to learn about.

Pasadena Playhouse District

You’re sure to find excitement during your trip to the Pasadena Playhouse District. This district combines tradition with modernity in a unique way that is sure to appeal to everyone in your family. You’ll find public art throughout the district. Additionally, they’ve started a “parklet” project, to create fun walking-friendly places. This is a great place to get out of your Pasadena car rentals and walk around seeing the sights.

Norton Simon Museum

Art lovers should definitely make time for a trip to the Norton Simon Museum. Here you’ll see a wide collection of art from lots of different artists. As a matter of fact, the museum itself has a deep history, stretching all the way back to 1922 with the Pasadena Art Institute. Some of the exhibits you’ll find are for Pietro Rotari, and the “Blue Four,” a group of artists that created the art phenomenon of the same name. Finally, your trip to this museum will inspire curiosity and wonder at all the great works of art.

Huntington Library and Gardens

The Huntington Library and Gardens was founded in 1919 by Henry E. Huntington. This destination is filled with the things Henry loved. You’ll find books, art, and gardens on your trip here. There are three galleries on site, boasting one of the most complete collections of 18th to 19th century American, British and French art.

The library has over nine million items from British and American history and literature. Consequently, you’ll find rare books, manuscripts, and prints that you won’t find anywhere else. If your family has a bookworm, you don’t want to pass this up. Once you’ve seen the beautiful art works, you can explore the botanical gardens. At 120 acres, these gardens are huge, offering hours of interesting exploration possibilities.

When you’re looking for Pasadena car rentals, Value Rental Car has a great fleet of cars ranging from budget compacts like the Toyota Corolla, to large SUVs and vans.

Photo courtesy of the The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division