Donuts, Telescopes, & Dinosaurs

Follow my day that started with a sugar rush from California Donuts, taking in the views from the Griffith Observatory, and discovering a coffee shop named after prehistoric creatures.

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         On the corner of Third and South New Hampshire Avenue in a small shopping center sits California Donuts; the Instagram famous sweet shop that attracts locals and explorers from neighboring cities like myself. The glitz and glam of these decorated pastries contrasted greatly with the surrounding urban, grungy backdrop that is Los Angeles.  

     I had to suppress my initial instinct to buy every donut they had, but I decided on a reasonable four: blueberry toast crunch, M&M, Pink D’oh-nut, and maple bacon. I had to try them as soon as I got into the car. The maple bacon was by far my favorite, the savory bacon chunks combined with the sweet maple topping under a fluffy donut were mesmerizing. My least favorite was the blueberry toast crunch, but it was still fun to try something new.

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          From California Donuts it was only a twenty-minute drive straight down North Virgil Avenue or North Vermont Avenue to the Griffith Observatory. Passing through the Los Feliz neighborhood was a mixture of hipster coffee shops, cute sandwich joints, and authentic Mexican restaurants with women busy outside preparing the evening meal. 

          As you near the base of Griffith Park, lush green trees sprout up from the concrete and bend themselves over the street creating a canopy of greens and yellows where little slivers of the blue sky can be seen. The houses seem to be part of the perfect quintessential American neighborhood and remind me of the movie Father of the Bride.

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           Snaking up the road to the observatory there were some people beginning their hikes, others were walking dogs, and a brave few were beginning the steep uphill battle on their bicycles; bless their hearts.  

          We luckily found a parking spot quickly along the winding road and begin the walk up to Griffith along with the other crowds of people. Although not the clearest day, the smog still hung in the air, it was clear enough to see Los Angeles and the surrounding Hollywood areas, even the Hollywood sign.

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          There were beautiful views and a childlike feel that came over me once I got up to the base of the observatory. Inside it was a bit of a madhouse, but I was happy to see that most of the exhibit was free, and paid tours were offered for those who desired. 

         Around the sides and back were plenty of balconies and open terraces where you could pause and take in the view of the city and the mountains. I enjoyed these shady little nooks the most. It was there that i could enjoy the breeze and enjoy the architecture. I was too early to look out of the large telescope, but it was just as fascinating to go inside and see it in all of its glory. In all honesty, my attentions pan didn’t last long enough to truly read every exhibit, but I enjoyed my time nonetheless.  It was one Los Angeles tourist attraction I felt compelled to experience considering I was born and raised in Southern California. 

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          The evening was still young when we left the observatory, but we weren’t quite sure what to do next. My friend Jordan did what he does best and yelped coffee shops so we could get a pick-me-up up and perhaps stay in Los Angeles longer.

          We drove down Sunset Boulevard into Silver Lake and found Dinosaur Coffee; an eclectic coffee shop that utilizes the minimal while emphasizing an artistic flair. The light wood and succulent centerpieces brought in an earthy vibe. There was the usual mix of busy bodies on their laptops, but the barista’s were friendly and provided me with a trusty mocha latte.

        Driving further down Sunset Boulevard there were bohemian shops lining the streets and we even passed a small plot of grass where a movie in the park was setting up for the evening. Silver Lake seemed to be booming with culture and excitement, the kind that can easily be found in alcoves all over Los Angeles.

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          The LA traffic took its toll on Jordan and I, so instead of making it a night in LA we left after our run in with the dinosaur coffee-house. But it was definitely a day packed full of fun and laughter and sightseeing. 

          Finally getting to check off items from my touristy list felt so good! I realized that half of the thrill of traveling, either to places you know or don’t know, are the quaint communities you find along the way. It is the niche places that hold life and adventure that really teach you about who you are and where you come from. But most importantly, you need to stay open to the treasures that you are sure to find along the way. 

-Em


Take a Visit: 

California Donuts:

Open 24 hours 

Griffith Observatory:

Admission to the building, grounds, and parking is always FREE.

Mondays are always CLOSED 

Tuesday – Friday, 12:00 Noon – 10:00 p.m.

Saturday – Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

 Dinosaur Coffee:

Open daily 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

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