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View Full Version : Where in LA, Las Vegas, New York and Hawaii to visit?



Colin D
3-Sep-2014, 14:16
This year I'm making it to the US for a quick look around. Starting in NY, then Vegas, LA and finally Hawaii. The wife and I do enjoy a good museum and art exhibitions, particularly photographic:cool:. What do you good folk out there recommend? We have a week in NY, a few days in Vegas then drive to LA where we stay for a week finishing off in Hawaii for four days to catch our breath before heading back to the antipodes.

Unlike the trip last year to Italy I will not be taking the Super Speed Graphic, more likely a compact digital and perhaps a 6x6 film box.

Thanks in advance.

Colin

John Kasaian
3-Sep-2014, 16:08
You might enjoy the Getty Villa in Malibu, and the Huntington Library, Gardens and Galleries in San Marino.

Colin D
4-Sep-2014, 03:34
Many thanks John and roufi, some grouse ideas there. The Huntington Library is going to be close to where we are staying I think so it could get a look. Niagara Falls I hadn't thought of and yet it is obvious. It's easy to get excited about NY, seeing all those iconic shots taken there, but the 4x5 isn't joining us this time so I'll have to do with the digibox and maybe the 6x6 MF.

Any more ideas.

Peter Lewin
4-Sep-2014, 06:55
Colin: When you say "NY" do you mean New York City (since Vegas and LA are cities) or the entire NY State (which is a bit much for the one week you have allocated)? If you mean NYC, the two obvious museums are the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. Both usually have good photography exhibits along with world-class paintings. You can look at www.photographmag.com to see what photo-specific shows are available during the time you will be in NY.

Niagara Falls is up at the Canadian border, that is a very long drive from NYC, and in my opinion, not worth it given your limited time, assuming you want to spend any time in NYC. If you want to get outside the city, there are quite a few historic estates and scenic towns along the Hudson River, maybe a two hour drive each way: http://www.hudsonriver.com/home.

If you want to give us some more ideas of what you and your wife are looking for, we might be able to tailor our replies a little. New York City can easily eat up a week, let alone NY State; I imagine those who know Hawaii or the L.A. area might have a similar response (Vegas seems smaller to me, but I've never been there).

John Kasaian
4-Sep-2014, 08:48
For free in LA, check out the School of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences at USC offering numerous exhibits of memorabilia from John Wayne westerns and George Lucas /Stephen Spielberg Star Wars all through out the department building.

lab black
4-Sep-2014, 08:53
L.A.

+1
Getty
Huntington Gardens

The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena is an often forgotten gem

MikeH
4-Sep-2014, 10:08
If you're staying near the Huntington in LA, it sounds like you will be in or near Pasadena (my childhood home). The Gamble House:
http://www.gamblehouse.org/
is a well-known classic example of Southern California architecture. It's very close to the Norton Simon Museum. The Rose Bowl is also close to here: makes a great "touristy" photo-op to take home... :-)

If you like Mexican food, Mijares is great; their location on Palmetto is about 1/2 mile south of The Gamble House:
http://www.mijaresrestaurant.com/

You can drive down Colorado Blvd., which is both the old "Route 66:"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_66
and the street that the Rose Parade runs on January 1.

Although there is not a lot to see, you could spend an an early evening walking through the CalTech grounds. 3 blocks west of CalTech, on Lake Avenue, is the Macy's Department store with some architectural significance: (It was originally a "Bullock's" store.)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullock%27s_Pasadena

Already mentioned is the Getty: there are 2 locations.
http://www.getty.edu/museum/
One is on the west side of LA, about 45 minutes from Pasadena (depending on traffic, which can be horrible). They have an exhibit on Minor White which is already being discussed here:
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?115374-Minor-White-at-The-Getty
And the Getty webpage for the exhibit is here:
http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/minor_white/

Someone else with more knowledge please jump in here...The Getty Villa is in Malibu, on the ocean, maybe another 1/2 hour west from the other Getty. Reservations were required at one time. I would think this is a must see: it' was built as a museum, but it's a reconstructed villa from Pompeii (?):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Getty_Villa

Arcadia is the city east of Pasadena with The Arboretum:
http://www.arboretum.org/

There's also this thread here where photographing the Los Angeles Freeways is discussed:
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?110137-L-A-flyovers-safe-places-to-wander-with-LF

If you have any specific questions about the Pasadena area, please feel free to ask...

Drew Wiley
4-Sep-2014, 10:50
If you can stand Vegas at all, it's quite a showplace for everything fake and tacky. Perhaps the "faux" capital of the world. But don't expect to see much serious art or architecture. It's all build-it-today/tear it down tomorrow themes. You can find good restaurants there. On the other hand, if you want to take in a bit of scenery and it's not too hot, there are some wonderful desert sights not too far from Vegas, like Red Rocks, Valley of Fire, and Hoover Dam. Even Zion Natl Park is not much more than an hour's drive away, or two at the most. You didn't specify the time of year. Vegas is an oven in summer.

MikeH
4-Sep-2014, 10:55
Drew: you reminded me... Hoover Dam is a tremendous site to see and is about 1/2 southeast of 'Vegas, depending on where you stay. There's a new bridge south of the dam that gives a breath-taking view. Also, with the new bridge, is it only maybe 2 1/2 hours to the Grand Canyon from 'Vegas?

Drew Wiley
4-Sep-2014, 11:42
Hoover Dam is quite close, and like I said, Zion isn't terribly far, but the drive all the way to the Grand Canyon from Vegas would seem pretty taxing on such a tight schedule. If it were me headed that way I'd prefer to spend at little bit of time around Flagstaff and some of the more accessible Indian ruins like Walnut Canyon or Hovenweep. There's also a wonderful natural history museum on the outskirts of Flagstaff. But so much running around hither and thither?? Too much driving just robs the quality time. We could all probably mention two hundred interesting places to see on a trip like this. I personally find the Vegas city scene disgusting, but I guess everyone wants to see it for themselves at least once, unless they're into shows or gambling. Just yesterday I learned of a whole other crop of visual hot spots out in the desert there, if you have 4WD. Maybe some winter after I retire. I'll be crossing northern Nevada in a day, and hopefully can detour Hwy 80 without too much loss in time. Thinking about 50 then up the Reese River valley.

BradS
4-Sep-2014, 11:48
I would completely skip Vegas. It is a zoo...so many effing people you can barely move. Developers and money grubbers have turned the whole strip into some kind of high end shopping destination. Disgusting waste of time.


I would instead head up to the north rim of the grand canyon....zion and bryce canyon are also nearby.

MikeH
4-Sep-2014, 12:21
Just yesterday I learned of a whole other crop of visual hot spots out in the desert there, if you have 4WD.

Is this info something you could easily share? I spend a lot of time in the Mojave Desert east of Mojave and west of Needles, and some time east of Reno around I80 and US50...

Bob Salomon
4-Sep-2014, 12:32
If you can stand Vegas at all, it's quite a showplace for everything fake and tacky. Perhaps the "faux" capital of the world. But don't expect to see much serious art or architecture. It's all build-it-today/tear it down tomorrow themes. You can find good restaurants there. On the other hand, if you want to take in a bit of scenery and it's not too hot, there are some wonderful desert sights not too far from Vegas, like Red Rocks, Valley of Fire, and Hoover Dam. Even Zion Natl Park is not much more than an hour's drive away, or two at the most. You didn't specify the time of year. Vegas is an oven in summer.

But there is the Liberace museum as well as the car collection at the Imaerial. What else could you want?
Oops, just saw that his museum closed.
And that the Imperial is no more. It is now the Quad and will become the Linq in 2 months. But the car collection is still there and billed as "the world's largest classic car showroom". So you can still see that!

Drew Wiley
4-Sep-2014, 13:19
In Oct or Nov when things have cooled off a bit, the drive itself from Vegas to LA can be just slightly detoured into something highly scenic. Just head thru Death Valley over to Lone Pine etc before detouring south. A day or two extracted from documenting Elvis impersonators will let you see some truly memorable sights, even if you just have time to drive past them. The routine freeway to LA does give you a glimpse of the Mojave desert in some of its more boring aspects, but Barstow uh,er... more the kind of place to document tire shops and try to keep constantly blowing sand out of your nostrils, if you manage to survive the massive truck traffic and all the lunatics speeding to and from Vegas. Just gas up when and where you can and carry extra food and water. Long distances between, regardless.

Bob Salomon
4-Sep-2014, 13:42
In Oct or Nov when things have cooled off a bit, the drive itself from Vegas to LA can be just slightly detoured into something highly scenic. Just head thru Death Valley over to Lone Pine etc before detouring south. A day or two extracted from documenting Elvis impersonators will let you see some truly memorable sights, even if you just have time to drive past them. The routine freeway to LA does give you a glimpse of the Mojave desert in some of its more boring aspects, but Barstow uh,er... more the kind of place to document tire shops and try to keep constantly blowing sand out of your nostrils, if you manage to survive the massive truck traffic and all the lunatics speeding to and from Vegas. Just gas up when and where you can and carry extra food and water. Long distances between, regardless.

Don't forget the Greek Diner!

MikeH
4-Sep-2014, 13:48
Another way, not as scenic as going through Death Valley, but there's some old buildings and decent scenery along the way, is to head south, exiting I15 @ Nipton Road, then head south to Kelso, then south again and either take I40 into Barstow, or keep going south until you hit the 29 Palms area and I10. Same cautions here as Drew: food, water & gas. Cellphone service doesn't exist in some places.

Dan Dozer
4-Sep-2014, 16:26
From Vegas to LA, you might instead consider heading down towards Palm Springs and catch Joshua Tree NP instead of the freeway to LA. Spend the night in Joshua Tree or down in the Palm Springs area and then head over to LA the next day. The freeway to LA is pretty boring with not much to see and it sometimes get's pretty bogged down with traffic. There are two routes down to Joshua Tree from Vegas where you hardly ever see any other cars at all.

Colin D
5-Sep-2014, 04:46
Many thanks to all contributors, that is certainly enough to fill in our time without any problems.

Peter, we are in NYC, close to Central Park, and I have the Museum of Modern Arts on my to do list.

Hoover dam yes, the people from LA we are meeting in Vegas want to go there.

Getty definitely.

Many more options to decide on. Looking forward to this a lot as it closer, it is our first trip to USA after doing a couple to Europe, this is something different but at least language will not be a problem :O.

Thanks again.

BradS
5-Sep-2014, 06:26
....the people from LA we are meeting in Vegas want to go there...

if that be the case, best to avoid the weekend. The traffic jam leaving Vegas, headed back to California on Sunday will extend from Whiskey Pete's all the way to Barstow...this is not an exaggeration! It will be stop-and-go for nearly 100 miles!

DrTang
5-Sep-2014, 08:16
a stay in LA would not be complete without a visit to Venice Beach.. and then to the nearby MUSEUM of JURASSIC TECHNOLOGY

http://www.mjt.org/

also..why not take in a Dodger's game or hell..a Yankee's game in NYC?


your time in LV is probably best spent hitting the tables and pounding the buffets


and yeah..get some real, authentic, california-american Mexican Food in L.A.... then maybe to Norm's for a late night shake or something

Peter Lewin
6-Sep-2014, 14:18
Colin, I feel a need to counterbalance the glut of West Coasters with their LA and Vegas area expertise ;)!

I will reinforce my recommendation for the Metropolitan Museum, it is really world class. Like many NY museums, the entry fee is steep, but it is also a "pay what you want" system. This means that while most people feel embarrassed to pay less than the posted amount, you are allowed to pay whatever you want. Saying you are visitors stretching your dollars seems to me a good way to go.

A couple of less obvious ideas occurred. From lower Manhattan, the ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty is fun and inexpensive. While the Statue is an icon, I would consider it more for the ride on the ferry back and forth.

There is also something called the High Line which is very popular. It is a re-purposed elevated train line which is now a linear park, with nice views of Manhattan and the Hudson River, plus a ton of "people watching." And because of the unusual view point, fun with a hand held camera.

Yet another lesser known museum, consider the Morgan Library, which is also the mansion of one of the most famous "robber barons," J.P. Morgan. Of course, with the way real estate prices in NYC are going, I think the age of the robber barons is returning...

Anyway, enough for now. The urge to think of recommendations is overwhelming, probably a bit as if I posted a request "what should I see in Australia?"

ScottPhotoCo
6-Sep-2014, 15:44
Colin,

The Huntington is an amazing place and worth the effort to go. I am a "reader" at the library as I am researching a long term project and can likely get you a couple of passes to the gardens if you like. (Normally $20-25 I believe). Let me know.

Tim
www.ScottPhoto.co

Randy Moe
6-Sep-2014, 17:40
That is a very ambitious vacation.

Next trip, stop in Chicago and slow down a lot.

I usually pick one city and stay a month in one hotel. Spent a month in London for the fake Millennium and a month the next year in Venice Italy for the Venice Art Biennale.

I like museums and I never ran out of things to do in those diverse cities.

Now I go to the North woods, very soon.

Good luck!

lab black
6-Sep-2014, 21:59
Colin,

The Huntington Gardens are spectacular and well worth a visit, especially with Tim's gracious offer of two passes.

John Kasaian
7-Sep-2014, 20:03
Between NYC and Las Vegas, there is New Mexico. Santa Fe has no shortage of museums and galleries and some very good Mexican food! The cable car to the top of Sandia Peak and the view is nearly magical at night.

MikeH
8-Sep-2014, 07:29
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huntington_Library
http://www.huntington.org/

The Huntington is located in a very wealthy residential area. There are no stores within several miles of the place. It's been a while since I've been there. I don't recall any picnic areas, but there might be some.

Colin D
9-Sep-2014, 04:32
a stay in LA would not be complete without a visit to Venice Beach.. and then to the nearby MUSEUM of JURASSIC TECHNOLOGY

http://www.mjt.org/

also..why not take in a Dodger's game or hell..a Yankee's game in NYC?


your time in LV is probably best spent hitting the tables and pounding the buffets


and yeah..get some real, authentic, california-american Mexican Food in L.A.... then maybe to Norm's for a late night shake or something

Thanks DrTang, now I had going to a Jets v. Broncos game on my list, didn't think of a ball game, but that might just make it as well if I can simply convince the missus to spend one more day at a sporting event :p.

Colin D
9-Sep-2014, 04:38
Colin, I feel a need to counterbalance the glut of West Coasters with their LA and Vegas area expertise ;)!

I will reinforce my recommendation for the Metropolitan Museum, it is really world class. Like many NY museums, the entry fee is steep, but it is also a "pay what you want" system. This means that while most people feel embarrassed to pay less than the posted amount, you are allowed to pay whatever you want. Saying you are visitors stretching your dollars seems to me a good way to go.

A couple of less obvious ideas occurred. From lower Manhattan, the ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty is fun and inexpensive. While the Statue is an icon, I would consider it more for the ride on the ferry back and forth.

There is also something called the High Line which is very popular. It is a re-purposed elevated train line which is now a linear park, with nice views of Manhattan and the Hudson River, plus a ton of "people watching." And because of the unusual view point, fun with a hand held camera.

Yet another lesser known museum, consider the Morgan Library, which is also the mansion of one of the most famous "robber barons," J.P. Morgan. Of course, with the way real estate prices in NYC are going, I think the age of the robber barons is returning...

Anyway, enough for now. The urge to think of recommendations is overwhelming, probably a bit as if I posted a request "what should I see in Australia?"

Great, fantastic recommendations Pete. The High Line I had not heard of before but sounds cool. And a ferry ride around the statue has to be a must do if one is going all the way to NYC.

The wife is ultra keen to go up the Empire State Building or the Chrysler Building, is one better than the other?

Getting closer, only a month to go.

Colin

MikeH
9-Sep-2014, 12:00
Colin: The Dodgers regular season ends very early October, and, although they have a good chance of making the playoffs, tix would be hard to come by.

I would avoid Venice Beach right now: there are a number of problems and it is not a good area to be in, day or night.

Peter Lewin
10-Sep-2014, 04:59
Colin: Since it has been ages since I visited either the Empire State Building or the Chrysler Building, I checked via Google. The Chrysler Building is not really "viewable" since it is purely a business building. Entry to the lobby is free, apparently there is a famous art-deco mural, but anything else is off-limits. You have to make do with the famous photograph of Margaret Bourke-White out taking pictures from one of the gargoyles. (I may have the wrong photographer, but the image is famous.)

The Empire State Building courts visitors, but to me seems outrageously over-priced. $29/person to visit the 86th floor "main deck" and $46/person to visit the main deck and then the extra elevator to the 103rd floor highest observation point.

While playing with google, a couple of additions/changes to my earlier suggestions. Take a look at http://www.nyhabitat.com/blog/2013/10/14/top-10-free-things-see-do-new-york/ which points out that while the ferry to the Statue of Liberty has a fee, the ferry to Staten Island is free. Since it is a longer ride, with more views of the harbor, I would just take the ferry to Staten Island, then take the next ferry right back to Manhattan. Other links in the same blog, to museums for example, show the times when some otherwise expensive museums have free entrance times.

For views of Manhattan "from above," while the Empire State (& the similar "Top of the Rock") seem over-priced just for a view, I stumbled across www.theviewnyc.com, which is a rotating restaurant & lounge at the NY Marriott hotel. For the same or less than the Empire State, it looks like you can have a meal or a drink and still get a birds-eye view. I've never been there, but I got involved in trying to find a view for your wife which didn't offend my sense of value for money.

Anyway, enough of this amateur tour guide stuff, I'm on to daily errands!

John Kasaian
10-Sep-2014, 07:57
How could I forget the LA County Museum which has the Space Shuttle on exhibit? And the Museum of Tolerance? The Ronald Regan library in Simi Valley with Air Force One is pretty cool, too. I would try to take in a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, and an afternoon at Santa Anita racetrack. Farmer's Market also has a lot of classic LA flavored fun.

Colin D
10-Sep-2014, 20:39
That is a very ambitious vacation.

Next trip, stop in Chicago and slow down a lot.

I usually pick one city and stay a month in one hotel. Spent a month in London for the fake Millennium and a month the next year in Venice Italy for the Venice Art Biennale.

I like museums and I never ran out of things to do in those diverse cities.

Now I go to the North woods, very soon.

Good luck!

Would you believe RM originally we planned on dropping into Chicago to catch up with some friends from Ohio but they couldn't make it so we decided to go straight to NYC.

But I agree with your philosophy on stopping and propping, makes sense if you want to immerse yourself in the area.

Colin D
10-Sep-2014, 20:41
Thanks again everyone, I've made a list of the suggestions and will attempt to do as many as possible, time and budget permitting.

Hawaii is going to be our recharge the batteries, do stuff all in the sun sitting around the pool gulping overpriced drinks and recap the mainland experience stop over before heading across the Pacific to Oz.