Category: Things to Do

Best Event Spaces For Birthday Parties In South Pasadena

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South Pasadena is a great place to be a kid. There are plenty of parks and year-round activities to keep your little ones busy and having fun. After all, there are so many great places for awesome family activities. From the stimulating “Discovery Areas” over at the Kidz Club Summer Camp, to the hundreds of speciality dinosaur toys at the world famous Dinosaur Farm toy store, there’s plenty to do here.

If it’s your child’s birthday, there are just as many options. Planning any birthday party can be troublesome, especially when you have limited space at home. These birthday party event spaces can make your planning much smoother, and give your child and their guests an awesome party experience:

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Kid’s Jewelry Heist

The Kid’s Jewelry Heist is one of the most unique children’s experiences is Los Angeles, and it’s well worth looking into for birthday parties. This original and interactive jewelry-making parlor is located inside the world-renowned Dinosaur Farm Toy Store. Here, guests can sort through treasure chests and troves of jewelry pieces and find all sorts of sizes, shapes, and colors. Then, they’ll piece them together to create their own custom-made, unique piece of jewelry.

According to their website, “There is quite a fresh selection of sparkly beads, gemstones, antique colorful chains, silks, leathers & a wondrous supply of sought after charms from our treasure chamber drawers.” Need help? An enthusiastic design team is there to help every child create something they’re absolutely ecstatic about. To date, Kid’s Jewelry Heist has hosted over 1,000 birthday parties in South Pasadena, and they are highly sought after. Check out their website for pricing and plenty of images.

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Amy’s Playground

Amy’s Playground was founded by a South Pasadena mom who wanted to provide a place where local kids could come and play, rain or shine. This indoor children’s spot is a wonderland for kids: there’s a huge bounce house, several slides, tubes, and much more for the little ones to enjoy. Kids of all ages are welcome here. And fortunately, parents can be comfortable here, too: there’s a reading nook, free coffee, and picnic tables where you can eat your own food.

In addition to being open during regular business hours, Amy’s Playground is also an ideal spot for birthday parties. There are four tiers for birthday parties:

Fun & Frolic

For $400, you’ll have private use of Amy’s Indoor Playground for up to 20 children, two party assistants that will help with set-up and clean-up, and a free return pass for the birthday child.

Birthday Bash

For $450, you’ll get private 2-hour access for up to 15 children, two party assistants, a personalized cake, solid color cake products and utensils, juice, party favors, and return pass.

Hullabaloo

For $525, you’ll get private 2-hour access for up to 15 children, two party assistants, cheese pizza, solid color products and utensils, a personalized cake, juice, face painting and temporary tattoo application, and free return pass.

Amy’s Theme Party Spectacular

In addition to all the items in the Hullabaloo, for $540, you’ll get themed invitations, themed paper products and utensils, themed birthday cake, and party favors.

You can check out the Amy’s Indoor Playground website for a full list of available theme options, which include popular choices like Batman, Spiderman, and Disney Princesses. You can also choose add-on options, like helium-filled balloons, tablecloths, and balloon and magician artist packages.

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Chirp Karaoke Cafe

Chirp Karaoke Cafe is a very unique way to throw your child the perfect birthday party. Chirp was started by two moms who wanted a fun and creative space for kids to have fun and sing. Think about it: there are countless karaoke spots for adults, but very few for children, and Chirp aims to bridge the gap by creating a beautiful space where kids can have a blast performing, and parents can sit back and watch.

There are many different types of parties available at Chirp, including toddler parties and teen parties. There are also discounted weekday parties. During Toddler parties, a host manages the entire day and keeps the children engaged with songs, activities, and plenty of games. Some activities might include sing-a-longs, coloring, playing kitchen, and much more. Teen parties will have a karaoke DJ, foosball, basketball, and various other games.

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Duff’s Cakemix

The center of every birthday party is the birthday cake, and with Duff’s Cakemix, it’s never been more true. The company’s mantra is, “We bake…you create”–and it’s a great opportunity for children to stay engaged, have fun, be creative, and learn something new. They offer a range of party packages for different types of events and budgets. A standard party package includes a two hour reservation, a cake kit that includes buttercream, fondant, and other goodies, expert decorating guidance, celebration cake to cut and serve, a special apron for the birthday kid, and much more!

And if your kids really enjoy their Duff Cakemix birthday party, consider enrolling them in the summer camp program. The Summer Cake Camp teaches kids how to roll, sculpt, and cover cakes with fondant, work with buttercream, and airbrush a cake with edible spray.

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Playlab

PlayLab is designed to be a versatile play space for children and infants, where they can safely experiment with different kinds of play in an environment that caters to their growth. The space was created by early childhood development experts, making it optimized for all their needs. Among many things, the PlayLab space encourages socializing, exploration, and curiosity.

PlayLab’s parties are ideal for mothers who want a prime space for both themselves and their children. For just $400, you’ll get a 4-hour private party (though you can add more time for a fee). A staff member will be there to help you set up and clean up, the team is flexible with furniture arrange, and each party allows up to 45 children (which is much higher than some other places). Furthermore, all party attendants gets a free return pass. There are additional options for a character appearance, magician, music performance, and other birthday party inclusions.

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Club Champion Gymnastics

Club Champion Gymnastics is one of Southern California’s best gymnastics clubs. But for the tumblers and active ones in your life, they also offer birthday parties. A birthday party includes gymnastics activities and lessons from knowledgeable staff, birthday invitations, party favors, and a special birthday gift for the guest of honor. Kinds another three require an extra fee for special assistance. Check out their website for more details.

MyGym

Like the previous entry, MyGym is all about flexible fun through fitness. They offer different party tiers depending on your party size, needs, and budget. The MyGym team puts thorough planning and effort into each party, before you arrive. They’ll take special song and game requests and incorporate it into the party plans. Each birthday party is filled with activities, puppets, games, songs, and much more. Party tiers include the Grand Celebration, Deluxe Celebration, and Premier Celebration. Check out their website for details and price points.

Best Food Events In South Pasadena & Surrounding Area

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With the wonderful and highly-rated Farmer’s food market right in the backyard, South Pasadena is no stranger to strong flavors and culinary class. This is a city with plenty of food events to please any palate, and the many South Pasadena restaurants are a testament of what to expect. Cos & Pi is known for their seasonal and lunch menus; Fiore Market Cafe brought a little bit of Italy back to South Pasadena with their baked breads and fresh sandwiches; and Gus’s BBQ has effectively transplanted Southern hospitality and cuisine with rich, flavorful meats and great service.

As you can tell, food is one of South Pasadena’s strong points. In addition to their many restaurants, there are also plenty of food-related activities happening in the immediate and surrounding areas, and they’re well worth checking out. Here are a few food events to consider:

Taste of South Pasadena

With so many restaurant options in South Pasadena, choosing just one can quickly become difficult, especially when they’re strongly rated evenly across the board. The annual “Taste of South Pasadena” event aims to cure any indecision you might have. It takes event-goers on a journey through some of the area’s best cuisine and best restaurants.

Bringing together some of the best food enthusiasts, it allows attendants to sample food and drinks from over 20 participating restaurants. Together, you’ll stroll around South Pasadena, stopping to savor small plates and enjoy friendly conversation. Events also have live music, optional wine tastings, and various other activities. If you have children, don’t worry: if they’re under 7, they’re free.

Los Angeles Times FoodBowl x Crossings

This year, the second annual LA Times FoodBowl takes place at the Crossings restaurant in South Pasadena. This festival aims to feature the best of the city’s food and drink scene, and will be serving a one-time menu from chef Kevin Malone, which will be paired with wines that are hand picked and imported by Karl Curran and Charlemagne Fine Wines. There’s a limited time availability for seating, but if you miss it this year, you can always try again next year. The menu includes caviar, oysters, duck, and beef ribeye cap among others.

Angeleno Winemaker Dinner

The Angeleno Winemaker Dinner also takes place at South Pasadena’s Crossings restaurant, and will feature guest winemaker Jasper Dickson. Dickson works as a small-batch producer under his Rhythm Wine label. He purchases his grapes only from South California growers, and has been known for his intimate experimentation with different types of juices. The five-course meal will cost just $98, including tax and gratuity. Plates will include ceviche, monkfish, quail, pork belly, and churro.

Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet

You can expect food events happening every Mother’s Day in Pasadena, and this Mother’s Day brunch is a popular option. The The Mixx’s Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet offers bottomless mimosas, Bloody Marys, and live jazz entertainment. The menu includes organic free range soft scrambled eggs, house made chicken sausage, apple smoked bacon, brioche French toast, a smoked salmon presentation, and much more. The Mixx–a popular new urban oasis for foodies–is known for hosting many other types of events, too. Check out their calendar for more information.

Introduction to Pu-erh Tea

At this “Introduction to Pu-erh Tea” event, Pu-erh expert Jeffrey McIntosh (who owns multiple tea companies) will share his personal experiences in the tea industry, detailing his many adventures visiting tea mountains and regions around the world over the last decade. Pu-erh tea is a variety of dark tea that’s grown exclusively in the Yunnan Province of China. McIntosh’s goal is to educate people on why Pu-erh tea is so fascinating by exploring ripe and raw variations, fermentation processes, health benefits, and various other tasting characteristics. This one hour class and tea-tasting session costs $65 per person.

Masters of Taste, Pasadena Rose Bowl

The Masters of Taste food and drink festival is a regular tradition at the Pasadena Rose Bowl. This single-day luxury festival brings in food and crafted drinks from over 40 different restaurants and master chefs, and also features live music and entertainment. The festival is broken down into three master food concepts, which include, “Sweet Masters,” “Culinary Masters,” and “Beverage Masters.” Featured vendors include Sprinkles, The Raymond 1886, and the Butter Cake Shoppe. Beverage Masters bring in some of L.A.’s best master mixologists, concocting creations from some of California’s best wineries and craft breweries. Every year, the event takes place at the Rose Bowl stadium and expects to bring in at least 2,500 food and drink enthusiasts. All ticket proceeds will benefit the Union Station Homeless Services.

Future Con

While this event isn’t a food-specific gathering, it gets a worthy mention because it’s a popular event with great food that serves as the backdrop to a tech space. Future-Con celebrates the latest in consumer technology from different industry innovators. Learn more about virtual reality, artificial intelligence, machine learning, game learning, smart tech, and so much more. Many of the tech products will be available for purchase, and you’ll get the opportunity to see the latest advancements demonstrated live before you make a decision.

According to the event’s ticketing page, “Along with the latest in innovation, you’ll be able to enjoy delicious food from some of the best culinary artists which will be sure to satisfy your appetite.” Tech + cuisine sounds like a recipe for a good evening.

Everything You Need To Know About Pasadena’s Bunny Museum

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South Pasadena’s Bunny Museum currently holds the largest collection of rabbit stuffed animals than any other place in the world. This world-record holding museum originally opened in 1998, and their slogan is very appropriate: “The hoppiest place in the world.” Even celebrity Elijah Wood took a tour of the Bunny Museum. You can check out some of his videos of the experience here.

At the Bunny Museum, curators believe that bunny rabbits aren’t just an Easter occasion. According to the museum, there are bunny references everywhere: dust bunnies, rabbit ear antennas, and rabbits being pulled out of a magician’s hat. The museum is an ode to all things bunny, from the obvious Easter references, to this lesser known facts.

The museum is a non-profit corporation, and there’s so much more than just plush bunnies to touch here. For just $8 (or free for members), you can touch and feed real bunny rabbits, and even bring your own bunny if you have one. Although there is a fee for admission, visitors are still required to make a reservation in advance.

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Aside from holding the Guiness Book of World Records for largest collection of bunny memorabilia, the Bunny Museum currently holds over two dozen awards, including:

  • The Most Unusual Museum, 2015
  • The Best Rabbit Paraphernalia, 2006
  • The Best Kept Secret, 1999
  • Top Three things To See in California, 2014
  • The Most Weird Museum in Los Angeles, 2014
  • The Best Off-The-Beaten Path Museum in Los Angeles, 2016

The Bunny Museum was established in 1993, and the story of its opening is just as interesting as the museum itself. A boy (Steve Lubanski) gave a plush bunny to a girl (Candace Frazee), and they eventually became a married couple built on the foundation of the art of bunny gift-giving.

After Steve gave Candace the first rabbit as a gift (as an homage to her nickname, “Honey Bunny”), they made it a tradition to give one another a bunny-themed item every single day. As you can imagine, the tradition ballooned into quite the collection, and they eventually amassed a collection of over 8,000 bunny items. At this point, they opened their home to the public to share their collection with others.

Eventually, they moved to Pasadena to Alameda, where they currently hold over 34,000 items. The displays are currently on exhibit in “salon-style,” which means they span floor to ceiling. Though initially this style of display–which originated in Paris in 1667–may seem chaotic, there’s a particular type of order and cohesive flow that guests can easily take notice of. Thanks to the salon style of display, there’s always something to look at.

Some of the exhibitions and displays include:

  • Chamber of Hop Horrors
  • An antiquity display, which contains a 2,000 year-old ring, amulet, pendant, and fibula
  • Rose Parade Float Bunnies (nine original Rose Parade floats)
  • White House Easter Egg Roll, a display with several original wooden decorated Easter bunny eggs from their holiday event

Among the more stranger exhibits include the freeze-dried bunnies, which were once household pets that are now situated in a display case.

Guests 13 years and older who have a particular affinity for bunny rabbits can join the Paw Patrol, a daily committee that helps clean litter boxes for bunnies and cats, vacuum, groom, feed, and clean bunnies and cats. Paw Patrol takes place throughout the day in half an hour shifts. Guests can also bring fresh fruits and vegetables for the animals, although carrots are not allowed. The Bunny Museum provides carrots themselves, to prevent guests from bringing only carrots and thwarting a versatile diet for the animals.

The museum earned itself an entry in the world’s best curated book of all things unique, the Atlas Obscura. According to Atlas Obscura, the couple plans to eventually locate to an even larger space.

Best Kids & Family Activities in South Pasadena

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Although South Pasadena is just 3.5 miles of area, but it packs a strong punch. South Pasadena’s city mission is to stay small, making plenty of room for mom-and-pop shops and creating the perfect family environment. There is a strong sense of community in the area, and kids are the center of that community. The South Pasadena neighborhoods are charming, and parents have plenty of opportunities to keep their children engaged. Here are some of the best kids and family activities in South Pasadena:

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Amy’s Playground

Amy’s Indoor Playground is the perfect place to take your little ones. The business was founded and continues to operate by Amy, a South Pasadena mom that always has the children’s best interest at heart. The shoe-free, carpeted indoor playground is designed to be challenging, stimulating, and a blast for anyone who joins.

What to expect: a huge bounce house with a slide, miniature houses and cars, and even a balloonist once a week that makes awesome balloon creations. And the space is also built to be just as cozy for adults: there’s a quiet reading area, free coffee, picnic tables, and a bring-your-own-food policy (though drinks and snacks are available for purchase). And at just $8 for a day pass, it’s a steal.

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 Visit Garfield Park

If the weather’s on your side, take your kids over to Garfield Park––a South Pasadena staple. This is a town where parks are the focal point of the city, and it shows when you arrive. There are six parks in total in South Pasadena, and Garfield easily ranks at the top for many residents.

This beautifully-landscaped park sits on seven acres, has plenty of picnic tables throughout, two tennis courts, a fire pit, and is even home to the Summer Concert in Parks series. Other events, (especially during the holiday) take place here, too. Keep an eye out for Eggstravaganza, an Easter egg hunt happening on March 31st, and check out the park’s website for more upcoming events. At the northern end of the park is the The South Pasadena Children’s Memorial and Healing Garden, a place reserved to memorialize young Pasadena residents who have passed away.

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Kids Klub Summer Camp

At Kids Klub, there’s an endless supply of fun. Michael Wojciechowski, CEO & President of the Kids Klub, says, “Our philosophy is a ‘Back to Basics’ approach where we provide a safe, clean, and stimulating environment for children to play, learn and grow in, while teaching the children self-esteem, respect, and responsibility.” Part of what makes the Kids Klub unique is their mission to mix fun with education by providing stimulating “Discovery Areas” that allow children to learn in a hands-on environment. There are a variety of services available: infant care, pre-school, after-school, and evening and weekend drop-off services. Prices are provided in “membership” tiers by season. Check out their site for more details.

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The Dinosaur Farm

The Dinosaur Farm is specialty toy and book store in South Pasadena, and if your children weren’t fans of these prehistoric creatures before, they just may be after they step through the Dinosaur Farm door. Everything dinosaur is found here: cups, puzzles, games, merchandise, inflatables, party supplies, and much more.

There are also other collectibles outside of dinosaurs to be found. But it’s not just about buying a handful of toy gear; what makes this place so great is the experience it offers. The store opened in 1994, and has received a handful of awards and press mentions since. Forbes Magazine listed the Dinosaur Farm as one of the Top 10 Amazing Toy Stores, alongside nationally recognized brands like FAO Schwarz.

Partake in Parade Festivities

The city puts on the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade annually, and it’s an event you don’t want the kiddos to miss. Every year, this floral-based event takes on a different theme. In 2016, the theme was “Find Your Adventure,” while 2018’s theme was “Making A Difference.” The event coincides with the Rose Bowl Tournament festivities, where several cities in the area make a float to contribute to the high-energy parade event.

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San Pascual Stables

South Pasadena’s San Pascual Stables make for an ideal day-trip during a warm day. Like many local businesses in South Pasadena, San Pascual is steeped in history. The center has been in operation since 1978 and has been offering premier horseback riding lessons ever since.

The expert instructors work with any type of rider, at all age levels. The Riding Academy also offers “Mommy (or Daddy) & Me” lessons, as well as a summer camp program for children who really enjoy horses. They also host events during the holidays, like the free San Pascual Holiday Horse Show this past December, which offered pony rides, games, and food.

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Kidspace Children’s Museum 

The Kidspace Children’s Museum is Southern California’s premier family destination, and one look at their reviews can attest to this. There are so many activities here, that you’ll have to check the lineup to see what’s happening during a particular time. It’s true that Kidspace has it all: fun physics classes, art lessons, mud to play in, science experiments, playgrounds, and tunnels galore. These sites and exhibitions allow your children to explore, have fun, and learn. Check out the Free Family Night, which occurs on the first Tuesday of every month.

Top Outdoor Activities In Echo Park

Echo Park is a great place to live and play no matter what the season is, but the warmer months offer ample opportunity to partake in some outdoor activities. The neighborhood is centrally located, making it the perfect starting point for a myriad of activities and events. Here’s a few things you can do if you’re in the area:

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Echo Park Lake

You can’t have a conversation about outdoor activities in Echo Park without talking about Echo Park Lake. This historic park underwent a massive makeover and has remained a go-to ever since. The lotus flower blooms make way for the Lotus Festival (mentioned later) and downtown views make for the perfect backdrop to a sunny afternoon. Though you’ll have to keep an eye out for events, there’s plenty to do here on a day-to-day basis. Start your day by heading over to the revived boathouse for breakfast at Square One. Then have a picnic, go fishing, take a stroll through its pathways, or rent a pedal boat and coast along still waters.

Lunch Concerts In Grand Park

If you live in Echo Park but commute downtown for work, why not spend your lunch hours listening to music at Grand Park? The performance lawn will have free music and plenty of food trucks to satiate your hunger. Head over to check out the local talent every other Thursday throughout the year.

Get A Workout On Echo Park Stairs

Echo Park is renowned for its many staircases, some hidden and winding, while others offer phenomenal views of the Los Angeles landscape. Whatever your style, there’s a staircase for you. It makes for the perfect workout and helps build appreciation for the neighborhood. For a challenging workout, the Baxter staircase is your best bet. The 231 steps offer downtown LA views at the top, and you’ll even find a wealth of succulents at the bottom of the steps near Elysian Park. Alternatively, the Delta staircase offers some great views of the northern side of Echo Park and is adorned with natural floral displays growing along the stairwell.

Go To A Dodger’s Game

Head to the Dodger’s stadium and root for your home team. Tickets start at just $12, and it’s a perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon. Go for an infamous Dodger Dog, or head to one of Echo Park’s highly-rated restaurants nearby.

Beach Yoga

There’s little doubt that beach yoga is worth traveling for. Head over to the beach for SUNSET Beach Yoga with Brad. The class is held by Brad Keimach, a Juilliard-trained conductor who’s also a yoga enthusiast and health lecturer. Classes are held on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and while no registration is required, there is a minimum donation of $15 for each 90-minute session. The Santa Monica Business Group voted the class “Best Yoga Business in Santa Monica” for the past three years.

Lotus Festival

Every year, the City of Los Angeles hosts the The Lotus Festival, an Echo Park Lake event that occurs during the lotus flower summer bloom. Each year, the festival is hosted by a different country. Last year, the host was Bangladesh, while this year, its 38th installment will be hosted by China. Expect traditional dancing, food, and other attractions inspired by the Chinese culture. This year, the event will be held July 14th and 15. There will be dragon boat races, free family-friendly entertainment, a silent auction, and much more. Visit the Lotus site for more information.

2018 LA Beer Fest

Starting at just $45, you’ll have access to unlimited beer tastings at the 2018 LA Beer Fest, held at LA Center Studios Studios over the course of two three-hour sessions (one session per ticket). Last year’s event was completely sold out, and this marks its 10th annual event. Expect dozens of domestic and international beers, food trucks, and live music. Proceeds from this event will go towards Noah’s B-ark, Inc, a non-profit organization whose aim is to rescue dogs from shelters and place them in permanent homes.

Best Family Spots in Echo Park

As Echo Park real estate continues to break price tag records and more people migrate to the area, you might be wondering what family-friendly activities you can partake in. Echo Park is popular spot for young adults, with some of the best restaurants and venues in Los Angeles, but what about your little ones? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are six of the best family spots in Echo Park.

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See A Show At The Bob Baker Marionette Theatre

There’s a reason why the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre has so many stellar reviews on Yelp; it’s the perfect show for families and provides some of the most unique entertainment in East LA. The description for the company’s upcoming show, “Something To Crow About,” perfectly sums up the entire experience: “The most enchanting place on Earth… A place that exists in every child’s imagination, and is a warm glow in the secret heart of the adult.”

Originally started in 1963, it’s the oldest children’s theatre in Los Angeles and was designated as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument. Every year, the performance utilizes over 2000 handcrafted puppets for a show-stopping puppetry performance. During the holidays, the company also runs festive-themed productions like Bob Baker’s “Nutcracker” and “Holiday On Strings.” Admission to the space is free for children under two.

Echo Park Lake

Echo Park Lake has stunning views of downtown Los Angeles and serves as the epicenter of the community. Whether you’re walking along the park’s paths, having a family picnic, or pedaling across the lake on a pedal boat, there’s plenty to do here. Other activities you can indulge in include fishing, guided canoe and gondola tours, and a visit to the boat house.

See A Dodgers Game

What’s a more classic family outing than a good ol’ fashioned baseball game? Fortunately, the Los Angeles’ Dodgers Stadium is right in Echo Park, so families don’t have to go too far. Sit back and relax in the sun with a hotdog or bag of peanuts. Maybe one of your kids will even catch a ball. Before you go, check out these tips for taking your kids to a baseball game.

Visit Button Mash

Right around the corner from the Dodgers Stadium is Button Mash––an ideal family outing for your average weekend, with better than average arcade games and cuisine. With an impressive lineup of old school video games, this food-fun hybrid is ringing with energy. Classics like “Food Fight” and “Ms. Pac Man” keep the little ones entertained, and a diverse food menu ensures that everyone has their fair share of good food and leaves with a full stomach.

Buy Something at the Echo Park Time Travel Mart

For a quick trip back (or forward) in time, take the family to visit the Echo Park Time Travel Mart. Here, you can purchase magazines like “Self Defense For Time Travelers” and groceries like “Robot Milk,” “Mammoth Chunks” and “Fresh Dinosaur Eggs.” Of course, the entire thing is a gimmick, but it’s all a part of the adventure. The store was created by creative company 826, who also have other unique retail locations in Brooklyn and San Francisco.

The store also doubles as a non-profit; in the back, students are taught creative and expository writing, and all proceeds go towards funding lessons. If you’re interested in what they’re up to, you can purchase student publications in the freezer.

Cool Off at Icy Rush

Icy Rush Co creates Latin-inspired ice cream flavors from scratch. This artisan creamery originally started by catering to children’s parties, and still does––only now, they’ve expanded to provide a nostalgic ice cream experience for families everywhere. Flavors include Horchata, coffee cake, coconut flake, smores, and Mexican chocolate. The ice-cream boutique uses only organic ingredients, and also has vegan and dairy-free ice cream options. On Wednesdays, single scoops are doubled for free.

Best New Year’s Celebrations Around Echo Park

It’s that time of the year again to start researching where you’ll go to ring in the new year! It’s an exciting endeavor, but with so many options, it can be difficult to hone in on where you’ll have the most fun. That decision is even more tiring when you’re looking for an event that isn’t so far from home. We’ve narrowed down some of the best New Year’s celebrations around Echo Park to make your choice a little easier. These options accomodate all types of budgets and party styles. As usual, the Los Angeles Metro service will be providing free routes on rail and bus from 9pm to 2am on New Year’s Eve. Here are our top picks.

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N.Y.E.L.A.

N.Y.E.L.A. is touted as the West Coast’s flagship New Year’s Eve celebration, where thousands of fellow LA neighbors come together as one. City Hall will splashed in color as the countdown is projected onto the building. There will be live performances, food, photo booths, and more. For those going to the NYE Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers afternoon game at the Coliseum, there will be enhanced Metro service directly between the stadium and N.Y.E.L.A. at Grand Park. This event is promised to be a colorful Angeleno experience to remember. Check out more information about the event here.

Prohibition NYE

Now in its 6th year, Prohibition NYE is a 20s-style theme party you don’t want to miss.  Come dressed in your best Roaring Twenties attire and prepare for a night of live DJs, jazz music, custom cocktails, champagne fountains, and show-stopping burlesque dancers. At midnight, a 60-foot custom ball will be dropped — and the party will go on. Join your fellow party-goers at Union Station for a majestic night of Prohibition-style dancing.

Queen Mary

The Queen Mary has a little something for everyone. Dance the night away while coasting through gentle waters and taking in the beautiful Los Angeles skyline. Listen to music from a Selena Tribute Band, Sir Mix A Lot, and Los Chicos Del 512.

The Las Vegas Showgirls will kick-off the evening’s celebrations, and different areas of the boat will cater to different types of music. The Verandah Deck Gazebo will feature Top 40 hits; DJ Cutt will be playing the best EDM in the Queen’s Salon; over at the Royal Salon, guests can catch live performances by Daniel Bonte and the Bonafide; and lastly, the VIP Britannia Salon will feature music from the Dueling Pianos.

The countdown will culminate with a full display of fireworks, and those aboard will have the best view of the midnight-colored sky. In addition to the live performances, there will of course be plenty of food and drinks.

Cleopatra’s NYE Ball

California Nightlife is hosting its 9th annual Cleopatra’s NYE Ball at the Egyptian Theatre. Tickets don’t come cheap, but they do include a five-hour open bar, three rooms, and separate VIP areas. Top Hollywood DJs (DJ Rico 100, DJ Shanto, & DJ Structure) will be playing Top 40, Hip Hop, and House. This celebration has been rated the best NYE gathering for six years in a row. A grand courtyard will be decorated in festive lighting with both indoor and outdoor dancing in the heart of Hollywood Boulevard. Though the event is Cleopatra-themed, guests are not required to dress according to theme. Buy tickets here.

Minimal Effort

Minimal Effort is a finely-curated champion in the underground house and techno scene. A few times a year, they bring together some of the best international DJs to set the stage for a wildly fun countdown. Expect to bring in the new year with over 3,000 house fans. There will be multiple indoor and outdoor stages, and the lineup includes Justin Martin, DJ Tennis, Jimmy Edgar, J. Phlip, and DJ Three. You can purchase your tickets here.

Ace Hotel Palm Springs – Wavves

If you’re looking for an NYE event in Los Angeles that doesn’t break the bank, Wavves fits the bill. This mini-music festival is taking place at the Commune at Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs, where guests can take a dip in the pool and dance to music from Wavves, The Love Language, and Desert Daze DJs. Tickets include a champagne toast at the stroke of midnight.

Candi Pop Dance Party

If you want to go back in time, the Candi Pop Dance Party is probably for you. With emphasis on the 90s, this party will be playing all your turn-of-the-millenium favorites. Expect Britney Spears, *NSYNC, Madonna, Backstreet Boys, Mandy Moore, the Spice Girls, and many more. Candi Pop calls it “a bubblegum dance party littered with all your guilty pleasures.” For party-goers who want to jump into the future with a blast from the past, get your tickets here.

Real Estate Unlimited is a real estate agency with expertise in luxury real estate in Los Angeles. Whether you are looking to buy or sell a home in Los Feliz or in another Los Angeles neighborhood, we are here to answer your questions, share our knowledge with you, and help you find the right fit. Feel free to contact us today.

Griffith Park (Los Feliz)

Need some time away from the city? Head over to Griffith Park in Los Feliz, a neighborhood in Los Angeles. Owned by the city, this recreational land is enjoyed by Californians who escape there to go swimming, play golf, picnic, rent bicycles, camp, ride horses, and hike the trails. Known as the “Central Park of Los Angeles,” Griffith Park is home to the Heritage Tree, the Autry National Center, the Los Angeles Zoo, the Travel Town Museum, and the Friendship Auditorium. Read on to learn more.

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Hollywood Sign

Photo Credit: https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5251/5498644878_4a22f69e99_b.jpg

Colonel Griffith J. Griffith, originally from Wales, traveled to America during the 19th century. With the wealth he accumulated through gold mines, he purchased land in Los Angeles known as Rancho Los Feliz that would become the Griffith Park. After purchasing the land, he started an ostrich farm. Later, Griffith donated the park to the city of Los Angeles for the purpose of serving as a city park that would provide “recreation and rest for the masses” (website).

As time went on, the park continued to expand, including the addition of 100 acres named after Cahuenga Peak. Today, the park covers five-square miles (4,310 acres). When you visit Griffith Park, be sure to include all of the sites in your visit.

-Greek Theatre (funded by Griffith)

-Griffith Observatory (funded by Griffith)

-Friendship Auditorium

-Los Angeles River

-Los Angeles Zoo

-Heritage Tree

-Feliz Adobe

-Travel Town Museum

-Autry National Center

-Hollywood Sign

-Visitors Center Auditorium

-site of the Griffith Park Zoo (now serves as a picnic area)

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Autry National Center

Photo Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4f/Entrance_to_the_Autry_National_Center%2C_Griffith_Park%2C_CA_DSCN0091.JPG/1280px-Entrance_to_the_Autry_National_Center%2C_Griffith_Park%2C_CA_DSCN0091.JPG

Dogs are welcome on leashes and cyclists enjoy specific trails. Griffith Park is the perfect family destination for barbecues, birthday parties, cultural events, tennis, soccer, and baseball . Located at 4730 Crystal Springs Drive from 5 am to 10:30 pm.

You may recognize Griffith Park as the background scenery in Hollywood productions. It has been used as a filming location for the music video “Gun and Horses” (by Ellie Goulding), Criminal Minds, The Closer, “If I Had You” music video (by Adam Lambert), Full House, and the feature films Birth of a Nation (directed by D.W. Griffith in 1915), Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Back to the Future and its sequel, and La La Land.

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Griffith Observatory

Photo Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/93/Griffith_Observatory.jpg

About Los Feliz: Los Feliz is a historic neighborhood in Los Angeles and is bordered by the Santa Monica Mountains, the Hollywood Hills, the Hollywood Sign, Silver Lake, and Atwater Village. Los Feliz developed from a portion of what was previously the Rancho Los Feliz land grant. Eventually, the land grant became the neighborhoods of Los Feliz and Silver Lake. Today, 35,000 residents call Los Feliz home.

Other destinations in Los Feliz include:

-Barnsdall Art Park

-Los Feliz Heights Steps

-first Walt Disney Animation Studio.Walt Disney first drew Mickey Mouse in his uncle’s garage,

-Vista Theater

-Lovell Health House by Richard Neutra,

-Hollyhock House

-Franklin Avenue Bridge (also known as the Shakespeare Bridge)

Real Estate Unlimited is a real estate agency with a team of professionals dedicated to educating clients about the neighborhoods, businesses, schools, and shopping in Los Angeles. Whether you are buying or selling, feel free to contact us today about Los Feliz and/or other neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

Vista Theater

The historic Vista Theater in Los Feliz is a cultural landmark and artifact of life in Los Angeles. Located at 4473 Sunset Drive, this antique movie theater features a 50-foot movie screen, vintage architecture, and cement handprints from famous actors, actresses, and directors.

Spend a night out and go see a movie or the occasional concert at the Vista. It’s also available for special events, birthdays, and weddings. Many filmmakers have used the Vista as a shooting location and have premiered their films on its screen.

Vista 1

Photo Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d1/Vista_Theater%2C_Los_Angeles.jpg

This famous silver screen was opened in October of 1923, which means that it is almost one-hundred-years-old. Back in the roaring twenties, the theater went by the name Lou Bard Playhouse and it hosted vaudeville shows before it screened the film Tips, starring actress Baby Peggy.

Today, the Vista Theater projects films on both a Sony Digital projector as well as a 35 mm film projector. For example, Interstellar (directed by Christopher Nolan) was screened on 35 mm film at the Vista a week before its national premiere. Contemporary films are screened on a regular basis at the Visa now. The Secret Movie Club Film Festival of 2017 features movies screened every weekend of the month of August. It’s not every day you get the opportunity to see classics (like Freaks, Blue Velvet, Dr. Strangelove, and Roadhouse) on the big screen. Find out more here.

The Egyptian aesthetic in the building’s décor was popular in America in the twenties, and this historic building was designed by Lewis A. Smith. Think of Intolerance (1916) by D.W. Griffith. Ronald Wright later added etchings of hieroglyphics to the design. The original layout of the theater space contained 838 seats, but half of the seating was removed later to increase legroom for audience members. Now the Vista is known for “the most legroom in Hollywood.”

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Photo Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTkVwEs0Zxo&feature=youtu.be

Check out this YouTube video by American Public Media to learn more. Thomas Theaters renovated the Vista Theater during the eighties, and it is currently owned by Lance Alspaugh.

You may have been to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, but don’t forget to visit the forecourt at the Vista Theater, where you’ll see the cement handprints of famous Hollywood actors and directors. Are you a Spike Jonze fan? Love laughing at John C. Reily? Or are you more into John Landis films? See the mark left by the cast and crew of famous pictures like Ed Wood, Swingers, Show Girls, Poltergeist, and more. Baby Peggy herself was featured in a handprint ceremony at the Vista when she was 91-years-old to celebrate the theater’s history. Other celebrated artists include Tenacious D, Ray Harryhausen, Forrest J. Ackerman, Penelope Spheeris, Vilmos Zsigmond, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and more.

About Los Feliz:

Los Feliz is a neighborhood in central Los Angeles known for its history as a California land grant and as the home of various Hollywood celebrities. Los Feliz was the neighborhood where Walt Disney first drew Mickey Mouse in his uncle’s garage, and it was home to his first animation studio. Today, Los Feliz covers two-and-a-half acres of land and is home to approximately 35,500 citizens. The borders of Los Feliz touch the Santa Monica Mountains, Hollywood, Griffith Park, Atwater Village, Silver Lake, the Los Angeles River, and the Hollywood Hills.

The Rancho Los Feliz land grant was a parcel of land covering six-and-a-half acres. It was granted to Corporal Jose Vicente Feliz (the neighborhood’s namesake). In Griffith Park, you’ll see the adobe home his children built, which still exists. Now, the same land is what we know as Los Feliz and Silver Lake.

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Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sergesegal/9082603467

Visit Los Feliz Village for excellent shopping, dining, nightlife, and vintage stores. Drive by Laughlin Park, Los Feliz Estates, Los Feliz Hills, Franklin Hills, Los Feliz Square, and Los Feliz Knolls to get to know the neighborhood better. Celebrities like Adam Levine, James Cameron, Jenji Kohan, Geena Davis, Lily Tomlin, Val Kilmer, Beck, Spike Jonze, Katherine Heigl, Brad Pitt and more have lived in Los Feliz.

Other historic sites to visit in Los Feliz include:

-The Franklin Avenue Bridge (“The Shakespeare Bridge”)

-The Ennis House, the Sowden House, and the Hollyhock House, designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright

-The Los Feliz Heights Steps

-The Lovell Health House, designed by Richard Neutra

-The First Walt Disney Animation Studio and the Animation School for the Walt Disney Studios

-The original Feliz Adobe in Griffith Park

Enjoy your time in Los Feliz and the great city of Los Angeles.

Real Estate Unlimited is a real estate agency with over thirty years of experience with luxury real estate in the city of Los Angeles. Since 1980, we have been assisting clients with buying, selling, and researching homes. Do you have questions about Los Feliz real estate? Feel free to contact us today.

Top Family Activities in Mt. Washington

The neighborhood of Mt. Washington in northeast Los Angeles among the San Rafael Hills is located nearby multiple activities the whole family can enjoy. Read on to learn about even more reasons to love living in sunny Los Angeles.

Kidspace Children’s Museum

Take your children on an educational and memorable adventure at the Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena (near the Rose Bowl and located in Brookside Park). The museum specializes in providing children the opportunity to learn about science, nature, art, and more through interactive exhibits and environments and museum programming. Kids under 1 get in free and programming is offered for kids between 1 and 10-years-old. The pairing of learning and play teaches children to discover the joy of learning. At the same time, the museum setting encourages families to play together and spend quality time with one another. Various exhibits are also set outdoors, so children can enjoy time outside and learn about physics. Free Family Nights take place between 4 pm and 8 pm on the first Tuesday of each month. Go to the museum’s website for more details, visitor information, hours, and ticket pricing.

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Photo Credit: http://hometown-pasadena.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Kidspace-Childrens-Museum-3-4-2015.jpg

Galco’s Soda Pop Stop

Does creating your own soda flavor sound like something your family would enjoy doing together? We think it sounds like a one-of-a-kind experience! Craft your own soda at Galco’s Soda Pop Stop. Once a family-run grocery store, Galco’s offers more than 400 soda flavors. John F. Nese transformed his family’s store Galco’s Old World Grocery into a soda store. The original Italian deli still serves up its famous Blockbuster sandwiches within the store. The Soda Creation Station offers 100 cane sugar syrups. Customers mix their choice of syrups with carbonated water. If you’d rather take home premade soda, your choices are endless. Galco’s carries national flavors, international flavors, and a whirlwind of options. Sodas to choose from include egg cream, dandelion, butterscotch, passionfruit, cucumber, guava, honey, vanilla, strawberry, rhubarb, rose, mango, peach, chocolate, birch, caramel, lavender, and more. Galco’s also stocks 600 types of beer and bottles of champagne, wine, cider, and mead. Kids will enjoy browsing retro and vintage candy and toys. You can also shop from Galco’s online store (a minimum online order is 6 bottles of soda).

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Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/pg/GalcosSodaPopStop/photos/?tab=album&album_id=330017650395519

LA River Kayak Safari

Spend a weekend in Elysian Valley and explore the Los Angeles River on the LA River Kayak Safari. With 4.0 stars on Google and 4.5 stars on Yelp, this adventure company is making a splash. LA River Kayak Safari offers two adventure options: an easy and a difficult adventure experience. Different sections of the river measure at different difficulty levels, including both lazy river areas and Class II areas. Get away from city life for a day with your family and learn how to do some urban paddling on the river.

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Photo Credit: https://img.vimbly.com/images/full_photos/la-river-kayak-safari-7.jpg

Moon Canyon Park

Take a traditional trip to the park with your family and enjoy a day at Moon Canyon Park. At 300 San Rafael, Moon Canyon Park is the perfect place to let your children enjoy the playground, go on a trail with the family and your dogs, and feast on a picnic in the sun.

Mt. Washington was founded in 1909. It’s home to the Self-Realization Fellowship and Eldred Street, one of the steepest streets in Los Angeles. To learn more about Mt. Washington, visit Real Estate Unlimited’s website.

Real Estate Unlimited is a real estate agency with expertise in luxury real estate in Los Angeles, California. Visit our website to browse our listings and learn more about our experience and our services. Feel free to contact us today.