A word of caution to Southern Californians: My 18-year old nephew Christopher Gullo is headed your way with his friends for a vacation before he begins college in the fall, and it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest to find his name pop up in conjunction with Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton. The kid just has that animal magnetism and star quality that is like a form of currency in Hollywood.
While he's making the scene on the Sunset Strip, there are some places that I would advise him, and you, to visit. Los Angeles is such a marvelous combination of pop culture, cosmopolitan city and beach scenery that the tourist opportunities are dizzying. The one key factor for the visitor to remember is that traffic is brutal, and planning your day to avoid peak traffic times is crucial to enjoying your trip. Don't think for a minute that you can just drive across town in a half-hour, because driving across town can take days and days.
You have to go to the La Brea Tar Pits in the middle of the city to remind yourself that not so long ago, the stars of Hollywood
were saber-tooth tigers. You have to go to Venice Beach and watch the guys on Muscle Beach lift weights, then rent a bike or walk the wonderful paved path to either Marina del Ray or Santa Monica. You have to see the big movie theaters on Hollywood Boulevard, but then you have to get out of there fast because it's the least attractive part of the whole city. You have to eat Mexican food at the sublime Paco's Tacos on Centinela Avenue, and a hickory burger at the Apple Pan on Pico. Maybe a Pink's Hot Dog if you're still hungry, and a hamburger at one of the little burger joints named Tommy's. At sunset, go to Manhattan Beach and watch all of the neighbors play beach volleyball. Go to a Dodgers game.
You should go to the movies at Century City, and drive past the Paramount Studios entrance, and people-watch on Melrose and the Beverly Center. And Chris, you have to meet Lindsey Lohan. I think you two will really hit it off, and then you have to bring her to our next family reunion.
Do my readers have any more tips for things young Chris should do in L.A.? Send them along by way of a comment.