America; a wild, weird, wonderful country.
Eve and I had never visited the States before, so when we saw school holidays upon us, and with Sam getting a little time off work, we jumped at the chance to explore somewhere we've always wanted to see.
One thing we quickly realised while trying to plan is that the USA is ENORMOUS and there's too much to see in only the 2 weeks we had. We decided we couldn't miss Los Angeles in California and Manhattan, New York and since they're both family friendly, fun, full of culture with sooo much do, off we jetted on our little cultural getaway.
The minute we got there, I could see why Los Angeles is the Entertainment Capital of the world. Even though it was so spread out, wherever we went, we couldn't help but notice the endless amount of billboards advertising new TV shows, movies, music, and so many aspiring musicians selling there CD's to people walking past. A complete contrast to growing up in Perth!
We wanted to start things off with a bang, so you cant go to LA with kids (even big kids) and not visit Universal Studios and Disney Land. Our first stop was Universal, which ended up being a favourite... we have to go back!
Sam and Eve couldn't get enough of the theme park and especially the new Harry Potter World (it actually has a proper name but this is what I call it). Universal is more of an action packed day of adventure is perfect for someone Eves age (12) and older. Disney Land is where you revert to being a child again and even at 36 I couldn't help getting excited seeing my favourite childhood characters walking around and coming to life so I was a major fan girl and took a million photos.
A little advice:
SO...what to wear? Well, I did see some women dressed beautifully, in platforms or heels..... my advice though, Don't do it to yourself!!!
It's a fun, but bloody long day. My comfy converse were ideal. No dresses, skirts or low cut tops if you plan on going on intense rides because the last thing you want is your skirt up around head and your boobs on show for the photos of you screaming!
Opt for comfort, and depending on when you go it does got cooler later in the day, so maybe take something along so you and your little ones don't get cold. Yes - classic Mum advice to always pack a jacket!
The day is about fun, not fashion. Also a medium size, cross-over bag is a must for all you mums out there to fill with the essentials: wipes, tissues, band aids, hand sanitiser, hair ties and some small healthy snacks for in between the naughty theme park food which is something we can't avoid...Sorry Sam, hehehe.
With so many attractions at both Universal and Disney Land, my advice to anyone planning on going is to do your research and plan your day before you go. This way you don't miss out on anything you really wanted to see and do. It's not essential that you buy your tickets online before hand, the lines aren't too big at the entry however you do have a few ticket options (if you can afford it there is also a VIP ticket at Universal Studios that will have you skipping ques all day.)
All In All...
Asides from the theme parks, I couldn't do LA and not see the famous Hollywood sign on the hills. We didn't have enough time to walk to the top of the Hollywood Hills but we did drive to to furthest point possible and took photos! Awwww the sheer size of the sign was crazy. I do recommend if you have the time, opt for the hike to the top of the sign - it will help work off all that naughty food you ate at the theme parks!
My #1 Restaurant Tip
After two days of nothing but theme park food we were all (including Eve which surprised the life out of me!) craving some non-greasy, real food. We made a reservation at the most incredible bar/restaurant called Mastros Steakhouse in Beverly Hills. It's was beautiful inside, dark candle lit, incredible band and singer with an insane voice.
From the second we walked in, I new this was going to be a favurite. It was great to get a little dressed up and and sit down to one of the best meals I have had in my life, EVER. It's a big call but it's true! There was so much flavour in every mouthful even Eve devoured her vegetables (!). I found myself not able to stop, even after I said OMG I can't eat anymore. Purely because I wanted to savor the taste for ever! Luckily I do have a personal trainer fiancé that keeps me in check! The service was also impeccable (even when the waiter accidentally spilt a drink on me) I didn't even mind because I was so hypnotised by the food haha!
And... Off To New York
After LA, we flew east to the Big Apple and... WOW! It was everything I imagined. It really is a magical and inspiring concrete jungle. This part of our getaway was all about teaching Eve about the history of Manhattan and doing as many 'touristy' things as possible. We did most of the cliche activities like visit Central Park, headed to the top of the Empire state building, saw the Statue of liberty, visited Rockerfeller Centre, visit Times Square, go shopping in SOHO and so much more.
I recommend that you take one of the Bus Tours while you are here during the first few days of your visit this way just like us you will learn a little of the history of the places you visit and you can decide which places you would like to go back to and spend more time at during your stay.
The two places with the best pizza in Manhattan are Joes and Bleeker Street Pizza. You may need to line up at both, but it's definitely worth the wait! Bleeker Street very low key from the outside, nothing fancy - at all! In fact the appearance of this place is very underwhelming.
You're given paper plates with a giant slice of pizza (so if you're a little bit of a food snob you might need a Valium to brace yourself...kidding!). The wait was hilarious, we got to people watch which is the best part of New York.
There was an extremely impatient woman who wanted her pizza NOW (it literally took us back to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Veruca Salt yelling "Daddy I want it NOOOW!") and didn't want to wait like everybody else and was causing such a scene. Some other dinners told her in some - let's say, colourful language - to calm down. The drama made my mushroom pizza all the more enjoyable.
Sam took us this tiny little dingy restaurant in NYC for the most incredible Italian meal I have ever eaten! I'm trying to remember the name for you guys, you neeeed to try it!
I really wish we had more time in New York. I'm trying to find any excuse to visit again.