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Publication: Weekend GetAways
We're Off To Downtown L.A.

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       WEEKEND GETAWAYS - Friday, July 11, 2008
    Make The Most Of Your Vacation - From Coast to Coast!


Greetings Getaway Lover,

Downtown L.A.

For the past few decades, Los Angeles has continually 
tried to reinvent its downtown area, cultivating new 
businesses, attractions, yuppie lofts, and cultural 
landmarks to create a core for a city that is in many 
ways decentralized. Valiant efforts to bring the 
suburban-bound masses back to the city center -- in-
cluding the stunning Walt Disney Concert Hall, the 
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, and the world's 
most expensive, but still limited, subway -- have 
yielded mixed results. The changes may not happen as 
quickly as the city's movers and shakers might like, 
but downtown L.A. is keeping its place as the cultural 
and historic heart of the city, and its pulse is slowly 
getting stronger.

Happy Trails,
Jan

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--DESTINATION: Downtown L.A.

The Downtown L.A. Standard has a groovy lounge with 
pink sofas and DJs, as well as an all-white restaurant 
that looks like something out of 2001: A Space Odyssey. 
But it's the rooftop bar, with an amazing view of the 
city's illuminated skyscrapers, a heated swimming pool, 
and private, podlike water-bed tents, that's worth wait-
ing in line to get into. And wait you probably will, 
especially on weekends and in summer.

------------------------------------------------------------
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Like the Ped Egg, but 1/2 the Price

Retail Price: $9.99
OUR PRICE: $4.99

By now we've all seen the tv commercial countless time on the
Ped Egg. We were lucky to find The Foot Buddy which is the same
thing, made by the same factory... but at 1/2 the price.

Gently removes callous and dry skin. for smooth and beautiful
feet. So gentle, it will not even burst a balloon. Safe to the
touch and easy, no mess disposal.

- Comfortable ergonomic design
- Over 135 stainless steel micro files
- No mess- collects shavings
- Safe to the touch
- Includes 2 emery finishing pads

At these affordable prices you can pick up a few.

THE FOOT BUDDY... 
------------------------------------------------------------

--WHAT TO DO AND SEE:

Blum & Poe 

Tim Blum and Jeff Poe's big orange box anchors the up-
and-coming part of Culver City, where art spaces are 
elbowing their way in among auto repair shops. Takashi 
Murakami and Sam Durant are among the high-profile 
artists on the gallery's roster, but the space is best 
known for showcasing hot young new talent and catering 
to an equally fresh and electic clientele.


Kirk Douglas Theatre 

Though relatively new on the scene, the Kirk Douglas 
Theatre has built a strong reputation for well-staged 
contemporary drama and comedy. It's got solid backing, 
too, as it's in the same family as the Ahmanson and the 
Mark Taper Forum.

Golden Gopher 
 
The old-school vibe of the Golden Gopher is as much 
about where it's at as about what it is. Don't be 
surprised if you're panhandled on your way inside 
this downtown spot, which manages simultaneously to 
be swanky (art deco columns, Victorian wallpaper), 
kitschy (golden gopher-shape lamps, video games), 
and divey (there's a small liquor store inside the 
place for stocking up for later).

Staples Center 
 
It's used mainly for sporting events, but the Staples 
Center also offers blockbuster concerts. Everyone from 
Madonna to U2 to Barbra Streisand have brought their 
shows here. The Lakers, Clippers, and Kings all call 
Staples home.

Walt Disney Concert Hall  
Concerts, Downtown 

Built in 2003 as a grand addition to L.A.'s Music 
Center, the 2,265-seat Walt Disney Concert Hall is 
now the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the 
Los Angeles Master Chorale. A sculptural monument of 
gleaming, curved steel, the theater is part of a 
complex that includes a public park, gardens, and 
shops as well as two outdoor amphitheaters for 
children's and preconcert events. In the main hall, 
the audience completely surrounds the stage, so it's 
worth checking the seating chart when buying tickets 
to gauge your view of the performers. And the acou-
stics definitely live up to the hype.
  
------------------------------------------------------------

Other Places of Interest:

Bob Baker Marionette Theater 
Theater, Downtown 

The Bob Baker Marionette Theater has been a staple 
for L.A. youth since 1963. Kids sit on a carpeted 
floor and get a close-up view of the intricate 
puppets; ice cream and juice are served after the 
shows.

Smell 
Music Clubs, Downtown 

The Smell may have bands only two or three nights a 
week (Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday), but they're 
often choice -- in the alternative fringe world, 
anyway. If they're not playing at the Knitting 
Factory, Spaceland, or the Silver Lake Lounge, they 
just might be at the Smell. There's no liquor, the 
cover's usually $5, and there's also an art gallery. 
Enter via the back alley.
 
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Remember you can save even more when you buy two. Get two (2)
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------------------------------------------------------------

--WHERE TO SLEEP:

Hilton Checkers Los Angeles 
$$$$, Downtown 
User Rating: **** 4.2  
 
Opened as the Mayflower Hotel in 1927, Checkers retains
much of its original character; its various-size rooms 
all have charming period details, although they also 
have contemporary luxuries like pillow-top mattresses, 
coffeemakers, 24-hour room service, and cordless phones. 
The rooftop pool deck overlooks the L.A. library and 
nearby office towers. The plush lobby bar and lounge 
look like they belong in a private club, with comfort-
able leather chairs and a large plasma-screen TV. In 
the mornings, the complimentary car service can drive 
you anywhere within a 2-mi radius.


Millennium Biltmore Hotel  
$$$, Downtown 
User Rating: ***** 4.5  
 
One of downtown L.A.'s true treasures, the gilded 1923 
beaux arts masterpiece exudes ambience and history. 
The lobby (formerly the Music Room) was the local head-
quarters of JFK's presidential campaign, and the ball-
room hosted some of the earliest Academy Awards. These 
days, the Biltmore hosts business types drawn by its 
central downtown location, ample meeting spaces, and 
services such as a well-outfitted business center that 
stays open 24/7. Some of the guest rooms are small by 
today's standards, but all have classic, formal furnish-
ings, shuttered windows, and marble bathrooms. Stay on 
the Club Level for excellent views and complimentary 
breakfast and evening cocktails. And bring your bathing 
suit for the vintage tiled indoor pool and adjacent 
steam room.


Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites 
$$-$$$, Downtown 
User Rating: *** 2.5  
 
L.A.'s largest hotel has five towers, each mirrored, 
cylindrical, and 35 stories tall. Inside the futuristic 
lobby are fountains, an indoor lake, an indoor track, 
and 12 glass elevators. Color-coded hotel floors and 
numerous signs help newcomers navigate the hotel. 
Standard rooms are on the small side, but the suites 
are expansive and come with practical extras such as 
two-line speaker phones and ergonomic office chairs. 
All rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, many with ter-
rific views. Perk up with a shiatsu or chair massage at 
the Asian-theme spa. On clear days, check out the 34th-
floor revolving lounge and its spectacular views.


Wilshire Grand Los Angeles 
$$-$$$, Downtown 
User Rating: *** 2.5  
 
Wedged in among the other high-rises at the start of 
Wilshire Boulevard, this sprawling 16-story hotel is 
two blocks from the Staples Center and is the closest 
hotel to the convention center. The location and 
services are the strong suits; guest rooms are small 
for the price, and the decor begs for an update. Din-
ing choices include Seoul Jung, serving savory Korean 
barbecue. Point Moorea, the lower lobby sports bar, 
makes good martinis and attracts a lively happy hour 
scene. A Metro stop one block away is a plus. Free 
access to the mega-sized Gold's Gym across the street 
helps relieve workaday stress.

 
--WHERE TO DINE:

Bistro de l'Hermitage 
$$-$$$, French, Culver City 
 
This charming bistro, near the Kirk Douglas Theatre, 
would pass credibly on a Parisian side street. Its menu 
(including a chalkboard of nightly specials) maintains 
its reputation, with French classics prepared quite well 
for this side of the Atlantic. Start with traditional 
escargots or foie gras terrine, then move on to duck 
confit or filet mignon. End with a cheese plate or a 
tarte Tatin (apple tart).


Philippe the Original  
¢-$, American, Downtown 

Not only is this L.A.'s oldest restaurant (1908), but 
it could be where the French dip sandwich originated. 
Here you can get one made with beef, pork, ham, lamb, 
or turkey on a freshly baked roll; the house hot 
mustard is as famous as the sandwiches. Philippe earns 
its reputation by maintaining its traditions, from 
sawdust on the floor to long, wooden tables where cus-
tomers can sit and socialize. The home cooking includes 
hearty breakfasts, chili, pickled eggs, and an enormous 
pie selection. The best bargain: a cup of java for only 
10 (and that's after a recent price increase!).


Noé 
$$$-$$$$, American, Downtown  
 
Defying the stereotype of staid hotel dining, this 
restaurant has a patio with striking downtown views; 
it's a short skip to Walt Disney Hall, making it a 
good preconcert spot. You might start with a ginger-
butternut squash "cappuccino" or king crab and 
asparagus rolls with sesame-honey dressing, then move 
on to hazelnut-crusted tuna with soy-mustard sauce or 
breast of duck with a raisin-and-mushroom sauce, all 
presented with artistic flourishes that may include 
a flute of mango frappé.


                      ********************
              
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newsletter have been selected by our editors. Apart from
those offers clearly set apart from the text, none of the
links presented here are paid promotions for any company
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