Even though getting lost may be scary because you don’t know what’s going to happen, getting lost can lead to adventures you didn’t plan. I was reminded of this as the day went on. It was nice to experience things that you don’t normally see staring out your bedroom window.

Urban Lights LACMA L.A.
LACMA — Urban Lights

Wanna Be In L.A.

Over break, I went with friends on a “photo day” in L.A. We had no idea what to expect, the parents had it all planned out, and I was just happy to be heading to Los Angeles. I had a playlist on repeat all morning in my head, with Eagles of Death Metal’s “Wanna Be In L.A.” on repeat.

It was the perfect song for what ended up being the perfect day.

Floating Rock LACMA L.A.
LACMA — Floating Rock

First, we headed to LACMA, and we took some amazing pictures and just walked around for photo ops.We made sure to get a bunch in front of Urban Lights, and under the floating rock.

La Brea Tar Pits

We spent just enough time there to figure out what to do next. I wish The Rain Room was still open because I knew they would have loved that so much. I know I did.

By the time we were finishing up at LACMA, we were all pretty hungry, so we went to Swingers where we ate lunch, shared onion rings, and had these gigantic milkshakes, while laughing our butts off about stupid things.

Swingers Diner Hollywood
Photo: Thai Pham

Swingers Diner is one of my most favorite spots in L.A. The food good, (the onion rings are the bomb,) and it is seventies themed complete with Andy Warhol wallpaper.

Swingers Diner Hollywood
Iggy says, “POP!”

Swingers is a really good place to go and hang out with friends. If you are into pop culture like I am, and up for a decent burger in a casual place, I recommend Swingers.

The Hollywood Sign

After lunch, we tried going to straight to the Hollywood sign. “Tried” being the key word, but this is where we get lost somewhere in the Hollywood Hills on Mullholland Drive.

We went on the wrong hill. Twice. Maybe three times. I stopped counting.

Hollywood sign from Griffith Observatory
Hooray! For Hollywood

During this time, we were laughing, talking, arguing, snoozing, someone yelling, singing, and playing video games. We passed by $100 million houses with billion dollar views, visited scenic overlooks that we thought would bring us to the top of the Hollywood sign, but we were nowhere close to it, and it was time to head back down these winding roads and abort this mission.

And this is when things got interesting.

Coco in Wonderland

We found ourselves weaving through Wonderland, and ended up in Laurel Canyon on Love Street. L.A. has some great street art, but this was one of the coolest and most beautiful murals I’ve seen. While mom took a call, Mr. Pham had us reenact a scene from a movie called “The Breakfast Club.”

Laurel Canyon Love Street mural Wonderland Los Angeles
Love Street with Pam + Jim #TheOffice

None of us had ever seen the movie, and had no idea why our parents asked us to pose this way, but the picture came out really cool so I’m happy we did it.

Laurel Canyon Love Street mural Wonderland Los Angeles
Laurel Canyon’s Love Street mural

Many of the photos we took reminded me so much of album covers. I used to look at them for hours while playing records when I was little.

Jump Out Kids!

Once we made it out of the canyon, we had a laugh because we were so far out of the way of the Hollywood sign it wasn’t funny. It was five miles away on a completely different side of the hill.


Our main goal was to get to The Griffith Observatory in time for “golden hour.” We were on a strict timeline, and nothing was going to stop our caravan from making it there.

Beachwood Canyon Hollywood Sign Photo

Well, almost anything. That’s when my mom pulled the car over, made us all jump out and take at least one tourist picture of the Hollywood sign. Did I mention she left the car running, in front of a fire hydrant, and made us jump out and pose in the middle of the street.

Now when I think of it, it was pretty funny. Foolish, but funny. And my mom got her picture!

The Griffith Observatory

Somehow we made it right in time. The golden hour at The Griffith Observatory was so beautiful. And it was my favorite part of the trip.

Downtown L.A. from Griffith Observatory
Downtown Los Angeles

From here you could see The Hollywood Sign in the distance, downtown L.A. (Hi, Amy!!!) and all the way to the ocean.

The Griffith Observatory photos
Photo: Thai Pham

Honestly, this part of the trip deserves its own blog post and someday I’ll write one just on The Griffith Observatory.

James Dean Statue Rebel without a cause Griffith Observatory

I’m still not sure why we’ve never been here before, but I know it won’t be the last.

Next time in L.A.

That’s right, we had so much fun, we’re doing it again, and I’m really excited for these stops! But, I’m not going to ruin the surprises, so you’ll just have to stay tuned for Part II.

Photo: Thai Pham

L.A. Photo Safari Part I

  • LACMA:
  • LACMA:
  • Swingers Diner Hollywood:
  • Love Street in Laurel Canyon
  • The Hollywood Sign
  • Griffith Observatory

P.S. from Coco’s Mom: We’ve all been there. Winter break. The days are long, the kids are home, and by day 10, you’ve exhausted all your resources. It’s time to get creative. Another parent from school and I decided to pack up a few of the kids and “Get Lost in L.A.” for the day. We wanted to see how many landmarks we could photograph the kids in front of before the sun went down. It was by far the best day of the entire break. I still think about the car ride and laugh. These kids are amazing. We already have our next outing planned, and that one is going to be even better! Stay tuned…