Spring Break Ideas for Your Kids in Los Angeles

Dad and kids playing in beach surf on boardsWhen spring break rolls around, you have a full house. Kids look forward to spring break — after all, it is a week off school — but for parents it means finding ways to keep the kids entertained. There are tons of activities in Los Angeles to keep your kids busy and some are even free.

Create a Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are fun and free to do for spring break. They don’t have to be complex and if you live in a family-friendly apartment building, just have the kids do the hunt at neighboring apartments. It’s a fun way to get the gets outside and exercise, but also keep them entertained. Do a themed scavenger hunt, such as an Easter or Mother’s Day scavenger hunt.

Go to the Beach

Los Angeles isn’t short of beaches and there are plenty that are family-friendly. Take the kids to the beach for the day just to have some fun in the sun. Consider inviting some friends from school and make a spring break trip out of it. A free, fun day trip will help pass the time.

Walk the Piers

You can walk the piers for free and just get out and get some fresh air. Luckily, there are a lot of pier activities going on during the spring break weeks, so you might be able to catch a special event, show, or other free activity on the pier.

Head Downtown

Downtown Los Angeles has plenty to do with the kids. From visiting the parks to going the tar pits, you’ll have something to do and learn all for free.

Visit a Museum

While the museums aren’t free, they are fun for spring break. Because spring break is usually the wettest time of year in Los Angeles, you’ll have some indoor fun that is away from the apartment. The Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena or the Zimmer Children’s Museum in Los Angeles are great choices.

Host a Family Game Night

Instead of worrying about entertaining during the day, have a fun, family-focused night at home. Family game nights are great ways to connect with your kids and have some fun at the same time. Play a game that everyone in the family can enjoy (and understand). If games aren’t your thing, a family movie night is always a good idea. Get popcorn, movie theater snacks and rent a movie that everyone will have fun watching.

Spring break is a great time to get everyone together. If you can take time off work, do so and think about visiting other family you don’t see much during the year. Either way, use it as an opportunity to bond with your children and just get out and enjoy what Los Angeles has to offer, together.

Mar 2014

8 Free Things to Do in LA This Weekend

Los Angeles At NightLos Angeles is notorious for its expensive living and even more expensive night life, but there are weekend activities you can do in LA without breaking the bank. In fact, Los Angeles is home to hundreds of free activities that work for singles, couples and even families.

Take a Drive Down Mulholland

This is a world famous scenic drive. It’s on television shows, mentioned in the news and listed on travel guides. It goes from the Hollywood Hills throughout the Santa Monica Mountains and stops at the PCH Highway on the ocean. Take a drive with the family down to the beach through Mulholland.

Go Down the PCH

The Pacific Coast Highway or PCH takes you along the coast from Los Angeles up to Camarillo. It is a signature driving route with plenty of stops, beaches and sights along the way.

Be in the Audience of Your Favorite Shows

Did you know you can go watch a live taping of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune for free? You’ll need to purchase tickets in advance, but you can enjoy a live taping for free when you go.

Head Over to Rodeo

You can look for Hollywood’s finest and just browse the lifestyle of the rich and famous on Rodeo Drive. Window shop and feel like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. It’s free to walk down the street and even enter the stores.

Take Photos with the Wax People

Get pictures with your favorite stars at Madame Tussauds in Hollywood. These wax figures look so real people can’t tell the difference. It costs money to get in, but there is always a wax figure on display at the box office that you can snap a photo with real quick for free.

Walk Downtown

Downtown Los Angeles offers restaurants, unique stores and sights. Take a stroll in downtown and explore the sights. Find new eateries to try out, check out the cultural attractions that happen almost weekly, and take it all in for free.

Hit a Dance Club

Most of Los Angeles clubs are free to enter. You can get your groove on and dance the night away (well until 2:00am) at most clubs downtown. If you’re not sure what clubs offer free cover, ask locals or just follow groups of people that look like they’re ready to go out dancing for the night.

Head Over to LA Fashion District

If you’re a fashionista or you just like to keep up to date on the trends, hit up LA’s fashion district. This premier shopping destination is one of the most popular fashion spots in the state. During LA Fashion Week you can see top designers on display, visit trunk shows, and even get great deals on runway fashions.

Feb 2014

Five Ways to Commute in Los Angeles

bigstock-Female-Commuter-Cycling-5219376Let’s face it; the traffic alone on Los Angeles freeways could keep anyone from getting to work on time. The downtown area especially is cramped and crowded and what technically should only take 10 minutes could easily take an hour if you leave at the wrong time of the day. Driving to work is hard on your time and your wallet and with the gas prices constantly on the up, it’s not uncommon to wonder if there are better ways to commute in L.A. If you’re looking to ditch the car — even just for a day or two per week — you have a few commuting options.

Ride a Bike

Los Angeles is friendly to bikes. In fact you’ll be hard pressed to not find a bike lane or a bike path leading right over the freeway. Taking a bike to work will not only help save on gas and the environment, but it benefits your health. You’ll want to time it out a few times on the weekend to see how long it takes you from home to work on a bike — accounting for traffic and road crossings.

Use Mass Transit

The mass transit in Los Angeles might not be as grand as it is in New York, but it definitely gets you from home to work. Busses run constantly throughout LA and there are bus stops located just about everywhere downtown. You can also take the train if you need to get from one side of L.A. to the other. Even though you have to pay for public transportation, you might be surprised how much less a bus pass costs compared to gas for your vehicle.

Join a Carpool

Talk to others you work with and see about starting a carpool group. Some companies promote carpooling and have carpooling sign-up boards. Carpooling gives everyone a break from driving to work, helps you get to know your co-workers and lets you use the express lane on the freeway.

Take a Stroll

If you are lucky enough to have an apartment close to your work, you can walk. The weather, even in the early morning, is favorable in Los Angeles. The sun rises pretty early in southern California, so it is likely to be well-lit when you are heading off to work. Just avoid walking during the April raining season — you could get caught in a heavy downpour.

Discuss Work from Home Opportunities

Some employers allow their staff to work from home one or two days per week to save on overhead and transportation costs. Discuss with your employer about a temporary work from home opportunity or even a full-time opportunity. More businesses are embracing telecommuting because they can lessen how much they pay in office space. If you are able to telecommute you’ll be able to save time and money and your office is just in the next room.

Feb 2014

A Survival Guide for Los Angeles Renters

bigstock-Young-couple-buying-new-home-20438549The Los Angeles area can certainly be intimidating — even more so if you’re not from California. While it is a big city, it’s not like your typical metropolis. It’s extensive, well spread out and you will notice living in Los Angeles means it could take you over an hour to get from one side to the other. To help you survive, consider these first-time survival tips.

Get a Car

Walking and public transportation in Los Angeles isn’t like it is in New York. There are long lines and the public transportation system isn’t as advanced as the subways of New York and Chicago. Los Angeles was designed for vehicles, with its wide roads. Keep a variety of things in your car so if you get stuck in traffic you’re not without. Such as a few bottles of water, snacks and even a change of clothes.

Find a Local Friend

Los Angeles is full of secret discoveries. Areas that look run down sometimes have hidden gems — like a top rated restaurant or great clothing store. But, if you don’t know the area you won’t be able to find these unique places.

People Eat In

Los Angeles isn’t as big on eating out as you might think. Instead of being invited out to dinner, you are more likely to find yourself invited to someone’s house for a dinner party. Be prepared for the invitations, but more importantly, be prepared to host your own dinner party as a thank you.

Go For Casual Attire

Los Angeles isn’t about fancy dress up; in fact the city is very casual. Jeans and a good shirt will help you blend in here just fine. If you have a lot of fancy clothes or warm attire, it’s time to give them away, because the temperatures out here rarely go low enough to need winter wear.

Enjoy Fresh Produce

If you are from another state, you will be instantly surprised at how amazing fresh produce is in Los Angeles. Not only is it literally fresh (sometimes picked that day), but it is extremely affordable. Also, Santa Monica has their infamous farmer’s market, where you could pick up buckets of fresh produce for practically nothing

Become a Morning Person

Los Angeles is a morning type of place. People start their days early (usually around six in the morning) and end their nights equally early. This is because the sun is up and ready to go earlier on the coast. The outside light is beautiful to wake up to and almost encourages you to get out of bed. If you’re on the side of L.A. by the beach, you will also be wakened to a coastal breeze and the smell of sea salt.

Living in Los Angeles can be exciting. When you move to a big city, don’t let it intimidate you. Make some friends, get out and explore and see what you can find. Look for blogs online where locals discuss their latest finds to help you find the unique things L.A. has to offer.

Feb 2014

Tips for a Small Downtown Bedroom

bigstock-Very-modern-bed-in-urban-apart-48712124Los Angeles is known for small apartments with big rental prices. It isn’t about the space in California; it is about the location. When you are downtown, you are in the heart of everything and you can’t put a price on that. Unfortunately these small apartments have even smaller bedroom spaces and while you might not spend all day in you room, you want some space in your personal sanctuary. There are some ways you can decorate and give a little life to your small bedroom without risking your security deposit in the process.

Use Patterns

Keep the bedroom simple, because too much can make a room feel cramped and small. Add a single splash of pattern, such as a colorful headboard, a wall with temporary wallpaper or a patterned rug. Avoid layers of patterns if you can.

Use Shelves and Minimize Your Belongings

Sometimes you just have to decide what you need and what you don’t. Get rid of the items you can live without — such as excess clothing. Use bookshelves or wall shelving for additional storage. Because California is prone to earthquakes, make sure your bookshelves and wall shelves are anchored appropriately so they don’t come crashing down.

Paint – If You’re Allowed To

Sometimes property owners let their renters paint. If yours is allowing it, use neutral colors that still give your room some personality aside from boring weight. Beige, light green or even grey colors can help add a touch of style to a room. Paint just a single accent wall to give the room the illusion it is longer.

Invest in a Quality Bed

You spend 6 to 8 hours a night in your bed, so you should invest in one that will make that enjoyable. Get a bed that isn’t too big for your bedroom, but still fits your needs. If you have a sleeping partner, you both need enough space to roll around, but also you need space to walk around. Murphy beds are popular in smaller apartments, especially if a queen or full-size bed literally takes up the entire room.

Add Light

When a room is dark it looks a lot smaller than it is. Add lights where you can and keep the blinds open during the day to give the room the illusion of more space.

Focus on Other Areas

Sometimes a room is just a room. You won’t be in there all day, but you want it comfortable enough when you are there. Focus on other rooms of the house that do have space, such as the living room. If you have the funds, get a two bedroom apartment so you can turn the second room into an office, reading room or craft area.

The more ways you can personalize your space, the easier it is to adjust to a smaller living space. Hopefully you’ll spend most of your time walking the boardwalks, hitting the sand and browsing the downtown area, but for the times you are home, make it your own.

Feb 2014