LA experience with my dad: neighborhoods and suburbs

As said in this previous post, I did an LA tour with no theme park and no outlet shopping. This gave me a chance to discover and visit some great spots I didn't know or go before. The first post of this series will introduce the non-downtown spots we went.

(Ordered from north to south)

Griffith Observatory

Great spot to get a city overview. It's already a very well-known place in LA, but be sure to come at the right time - they open at noon on weekdays, and 10am on weekends. Also a good place to get a photo with HOLLYWOOD in the background.

USC/Expo Park/California Science Center (including the Endeavor)

I can vividly remember in 2012, when the Endeavor just arrived in southern California (so did I), almost all Angelinos went out to see how this giant vehicle cruise on the street. Although its permanently home is not yet completed, the California Science Center already features its exhibit.

General admission to CSC is free, but the Endeavor exhibit costs 2 bucks per adult. In addition to the space shuttle itself, CSC also offers a separated exhibit about the state's connection with space exploration. It's definitely worth spending a half day for museum lovers. As for others, spending  2 bucks to see the space shuttle is a good deal as well.

CSC is located in Expo Park, across the street from USC. Both are suitable for strolling. The best thing is: it's accessible by Metro Expo Line.

Little Saigon

Orange county has nearly 200,000 Vietnamese, concentrated in Westminster, Garden Grove and Anaheim. Its prevalence can be observed with an interesting fact: the Christ Cathedral (formerly Crystal Cathedral) is now the largest Catholic congregation in Orange County. Out of its dozen of weekly masses, a half of them are Vietnamese masses.

The Asian Garden Mall, the center of Little Saigon, features a night market. We couldn't believe it's in the US when seeing grilled squid and pork stew are sold by the street, and the smoke can be smelt everywhere within that street block. This is something Little Taipei (Monterey Park) does not have...

Laguna Beach

How does it differ from other beach cities nearby? It's close, but not connected to the great southern California urban area. This makes it the most accessible seaside resort city in southern California.

There are two Starbucks stores across the highway from the beach. My dad and I grabbed a frappuccino and watched the sunset at the seashore park.

Thousand Steps Beach

This is a pretty secret beach one can hardly notice on the pacific highway, and approaching it is even more strenuous - you've got to go down hundreds of steps from the top of the cliff to the beach! It gave my dad a little hard time, but what we saw there is worth. Since not easy to approach, it provides a nice secluded experience. Several people sunbathed there while reading, relaxing or thinking. This is a place I would want to spend a lazy day at.

(There is no parking lots - be very careful when parking by the highway.)

San Ysidro (South of San San Diego)

The southernmost trolley station in California. Just hundreds of feet from the border, you can peek into the crowded metropolis in Mexico. The trolley carries numerous Mexico-bound people, who got off here and walked toward the border inspection.

As an island country native, walking into another country sounds weird in my home country, but that's something people do literally here. This is why I brought my dad here.