Hello All! I have decided to add a trip report to the California section to give back to all of the reports that I have read and enjoyed so much. This trip is in fact 3 years old, but I recall most details pretty well and thanks to digital pictures I have exact dates of when we went to specific places. This trip report will include Santa Monica, Hollywood, Universal Studios, Long Beach, Warner Brothers Studios, and much much more. I don't recall every place we ate, but I will include what I do remember. Let's start with the cast. Me 27 - Loves cheesy tourist stuff & star crazed (24 at the time of the trip) and hubby 37 - Rock & Roll Rebel who is dragged along kicking & screaming (34 at the time of the trip). We took this trip to celebrate our third wedding anniversary and it was well needed as we hadn't had a vacation since our honeymoon. The trip was purchased through Expedia a few months prior and I paid one price for flight, hotel, and car rental (around $1500 for both of us for 9 nights.) This also included the Hollywood CityPass which at that time included admission to Universal Studios, Starline Tours of the Movie Stars Home, Tour of the Kodak Theater, Admission to Hollywood Entertainment Museum, and Admission to the Autry National Center (a Wild West and Indian Heritage Museum). Off we go Saturday October 11 - DAY 1 Flight and Santa Monica We woke up to get ready for our extremely early flight out of Cincinnati to LAX. We sadly, left our 2 year old with grandma and grandpa and waved goodbye to them as they drove away from the airport. Fast forward to landing at LAX. Wow, what a busy airport. I really didn't find it all that bad compared to what I had been told. We claimed our bags and prepared to take the shuttle to the rental car office. We had a slight issue with the fact that I was only 24 and the rule for renting a car under 25 . As I said earlier the car was already prepaid, but then they wanted to charge me the underage fee which was almost $200 more dollars. All I had was cash and a debit card, which they didn't want to accept, so after some arguing a manager finally agreed to take the debit card . I was kind of upset to lose $200 out of our preplanned money budget, but oh well I was on vacation and didn't want anything to ruin it. Quick note for those of you who are asking why we didn't have my husband get the car. He has mild epilepsy and is not allowed to have a driver's liscence. So back to it, we get our car and drive the hour or so to the hotel. It was really only 25 miles from the airport, but traffic was slow. I was well prepared for the traffic situation as two of my coworker formally lived in LA. The tips they gave me, were to definitely avoid the rush hour times and leave 30 minutes before you would normally leave to get some where. I followed these rules and for the most part avoided any really long delays. Beware of the motorcycles , they really freaked me out the first time one whizzed by our car doing 70 when we were going at about 30. Anyway, we stayed at the Best Western in Lawndale. If I had it to do over again I would have researched hotels a little more, but it was ok. Although, I think it was a bit of a crime ridden area. We unpack our things and take a quick nap. Afterwards we hop in our car for dinner and the Santa Monica Pier. Now, this was the first time I had ever been to CA so I was determined to see everything I could. My other mission was to see someone famous. I didn't care who or where it occured, but I was star crazed. So, for dinner we go to Schatzi on Main in Santa Monica. This restaurant is owned by Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife Maria and is a top spot for celebrity sightings according to some websites. We went, we sat on the patio, no celebrities , but overall it was a really nice place to eat. The food was great and they sell Margaritas by the pitcher. This is a photo that was in the parking structure So now we are off to the Santa Monica Pier. Just pulling up was breathtaking seeing the ferris wheel with nothing but the ocean and sky as a backdrop . Note: I am from the midwest so oceans are a big deal to me. Anyway, we went on the pier, rode a few rides, ate some junk food, and stopped to admire one of the pier entertainers (he was dressed in gold and his skin was also painted gold.) Photos of the pier. Then we decided we were pooped out, it was about 10 pm which was 1 am in our normal time zone, so we went back to the hotel for some sleep.