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LOS ANGELES | The Travel Empire


Los Angeles: Top of Tony’s at Tony’s on the Pier

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IMG_0475Popular among tourists and locals, “Old Tony’s” has been a staple on Redondo Beach’s Fisherman’s Wharf since 1952. Top of Tony’s, easily identified by its colorful sign, was DSC02154added to the original space in a 1963 expansion. The family owned and operated bar offers a casual seaside spot to enjoy the ocean views, spanning from Palos Verdes to Santa Monica. The unpretentious surroundings at Top of Tony’s are anchored by a DSC02150small bar, located in the center of the room so as not to obstruct the views. Pull up a spot at the bar or hunker down at one of the small tables directly in front of a window. Though you may have been drawn in by the ocean front location, surely, once you enter you will be hooked on the signature mai-tai, but don’t leave before catching the colorful sunset against the ocean backdrop.

210 Fisherman’s Wharf, Redondo Beach

Los Angeles: El Gringo Mexican Restaurant

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DSC02117With three locations spanning the ocean front communities of Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo Beach, El Gringo is a local favorite for high quality Mexican food served in a laid back hometown atmosphere. The first location in Hermosa Beach has been in operation since 1986 and has been an active member in the community ever since. Easily identified by its surfer monkey logo, El Gringo is just as easily recognized for its DSC02118excellent food. Covering all of the standard bases, quesadillas, tacos, burritos and salads, the restaurants also offer up regular specials, though locals will argue that El Gringo would remain the local stand-by for top Mexican food even without the extra incentives.

Manhattan Beach: 921 N. Sepulveda

Hermosa Beach: 2620 Hermosa Ave

Redondo Beach: 821 Torrance Blvd.

Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum-Cultural Haven

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Designed by architect Richard Meier and occupying approximately 110 acres across a hilltop in the Santa Monica mountains, the Getty Center was designed to display the nature surrounding the museum as much as the collection of artwork that it holds. From the street level parking lot, visitors can take an elevated tram up the hillside, taking in sweeping views of the city and Pacific Ocean, while ascending to the museum’s entrance.

“Irises” Van Gogh, 1889

The Center is constructed of Italian travertine in a manner that incorporates the museum into the hillside while framing panoramic views of the city. The architectural design allows for the museum’s galleries to be naturally lit, with the help of special filters that adjust the light in order to avoid damage to the artwork.

The museum itself is comprised of five pavilions, housing an expansive collection of pre-20th century Western Art and 19th and 20th century American and European photographs. The art on display includes paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts.

The Getty is also home to a 134,000 square foot central garden, designed by Robert Irwin, that invites visitors to wander along its pathways through an ever-changing oasis, created from over 500 varieties of plant materials. In addition to the Central Garden, the natural landscape of the Getty is transformed by its outdoor sculpture garden, which features 28 contemporary and modern sculptures.

1200 Getty Center Drive/Admission is FREE (read-no excuse to skip this)
To visit the educational center and museum dedicated to ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria, head to the Getty Villa in Malibu: 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades.

Los Angeles: The World Famous Hollywood Magic Castle-Home of the Academy of Magical Arts

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The Magic Castle is exactly what it sounds like, it’s a castle (well, of the Hollywood kind) devoted to the advancement of magic. It’s also member’s only, so you will either need to become a member or befriend someone who is a member and go as their guest. Membership comes in many forms, but as you may have expected, most require some degree of skill in the art of magic and a successful audition. The easy way to go about getting temporary membership privileges is to sign up for beginner magic classes (or, again, befriend someone who has).

Getting in the door will be well worth the effort as I feel fairly confident in saying that there are few places like this in the world. Decorated in the Victorian Style, the Magic Castle acts as a restaurant, bar, magic show and general performance space (think like a mini-magical amusement world located in the heart of Los Angeles). Magic shows are hosted regularly in three main showcases, you’ll have to review the night’s schedule and time your eating and drinking around queuing up for the showcases you wish to see. The main showcases consist of the Close-Up Gallery (self-explanatory), The Parlour of Prestidigitation (Victorian-era living-room magicians) and The Palace of Mystery (grand illusion and larger stage shows). However, even outside of the showcases, magicians set-up impromptu acts in the hallways or approach you with card tricks with a fair amount of regularity. There are even a few tricks that let you get in on the act, sometimes without you even realizing it.

7001 Franklin Avenue/Private Clubhouse/Dress Code