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Live like a film star on your honeymoon, in Los Angeles and San Francisco, the cities where dreams are made!

Los Angeles & San Francisco

Live like a film star on your honeymoon, in Los Angeles, the city where dreams are made!

There’s something very familiar about LA! and San Francisco, that’s because we have seen ithem so often in the movies. So if you want to feel like a star on your own film set, then head to California for the honeymoon of a lifetime and enjoy the glamour and charm of the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco.

LA LA LAND

Los Angeles is a sprawling Southern California city and the center of the nation’s film and television industry. With its mild weather, beautiful people, stylish shopping centers and, of course, Hollywood, it is easy to understand its appeal.

Filmography

 If you can’t get enough of movie stars and film studios and are hoping you might possibly rub shoulders with the rich and famous, then immerse yourself in the world as seen through the camera lens. Near the iconic Hollywood sign, studios such as Paramount Pictures, Universal and Warner Brothers offer behind-the-scenes tours. On Hollywood Boulevard, TCL Chinese Theatre displays celebrities’ hand- and footprints, the Walk of Fame honors thousands of the most famous celebrities through the ages and vendors sell maps to stars’ homes –­ you can even go on a guided tour of homes of Hollywood celebrities. Walk in the trail of stardust left by real stars as you head down to see the sights of Hollywood.

Beach society

 Did we mention the beach? A world-class white sandy beach stretches along the coastline of Los Angeles, taking in the areas from Malibu (the famous backdrop of Two and a Half Men) and Santa Monica, through Venice Beach (the trendy home of artists, musicians and poets) to Marina del Ray and the airport beyond.  Stroll, jog, or better still, cycle with the locals, along the vast beach promenade and take in all the sights and sounds.  Beach life is very much a part of the Los Angeles culture. Spot the beach babes working up a tan by Santa Monica Pier, better still, join them and relax in the warm sunshine – or watch the rippling muscles of sporty types, honing their bodies and working up a sweat on Muscle Beach. Alternatively stroll along the promenade, taking in the shops and buying souvenirs – baseball caps, T-shirts, arts and crafts.  Santa Monica pier is well worth a visit for its arty stores and cafes, but be warned, I am still recovering from paying the equivalent to £50 for a Marilyn Monroe motive souvenir vest. Daylight robbery!

For the best place to people watch and get a feel for the Bohemian side of Los Angeles stroll down to Venice Beach and its famous boardwalk. A popular hang-out of artists and musicians, you will be surprised and intrigued by the shops and inhabitants of this area – from stores selling cannabis products to old hippies playing impressive piano concertos in the street.

 Shopping spree!

 You will find some stunning fashions in the shops of LA, but be warned, you may need deep pockets! However, even window-shopping is a wonderful, inspiring experience in this city where style, glamour and creativity prevail. For high-end designer stores, head to Rodeo Drive (following in the footsteps of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman), and the shopping district known as Golden Triangle, bounded by Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards – but be warned, don’t let your credit card run away with you. For more realistic high-street shopping LA style, head to The Grove, in West Hollywood (WeHo), a one-stop destination for fashions with shops, Nordstrom department store and ever-changing pop-up shops. Also in WeHo, Melrose Avenue has become synonymous with trendiness with a mixture of indie boutiques and vintage shops, and across the street from The Grove, the original Farmers Market, in W Third St is home to over 100 artisan grocers, eclectic shops and eateries. Down in Santa Monica, Montana Avenue offers plenty of fashionable boutiques between 6thand 17thstreets.

 Culture vulture

From its hilltop campus, the Getty Center boasts impressive art works from its rich collection, including pieces by Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh. If architecture is your forte, take a walking tour of the city’s top sights to see anything from beautiful Art Deco buildings to the historic theaters in Downtown LA. For a truly grand welcome, view Chris Burden’s Urban Lights installation, which stands at the entrance to the vast 20-acre complex that makes up the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In the area, you will also find the Craft and Folk Art Museum and the Petersen Automotive Museum.

 Nightlife

 After dark in West Hollywood, the iconic Sunset Strip between Doheny Drive and Crescent Heights Boulevard becomes one of the hottest stretches of asphalt in LA. The club scene here rocks with legendary establishments like Roxy, the Shisky a Go Go and the Viper Room. Newer nightclubs include Rock & Reilly’s and 1 Oak. In Hollywood, a lively bar and club scene permeates the district. On and around Hollywood Boulevard you can party under the guise of literary advancement at library-themed The Study Hollywood, and drink and dine at Houston Hospitality hot spot no Vacancy and attempt to get past the velvet ropes at nightclubs like Playhouse.

 Dining out

 $ – Kitchen 24

 Strolling along Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood on a balmy evening, you will be attracted to Kitchen 24 by the warm flames of the glowing heaters on the restaurant’s terrace as guests tuck into American-style cuisine served al-fresco. Tasty dishes are served up all day at this hip, bustling restaurant – from delicious breakfasts to creative dinner, with great vegetarian options, all at reasonable prices. 8575 Santa Monica Boulevard. www.kitchen24.info

 $$ – Matteo’s Restaurant

 Frequented in its early days by celebs including Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, Matteo’s restaurant has redefined its look and cuisine whilst maintaining its status at the epitome of classic cool. Now in its 50thyear, Matteo’s continutes to offer seasonal Italian fare in a homely and hip setting.. 2321 Westwood Blvd. www.matteosla.com 

$$$ – The Blvd at Beverly Wilshire
For a taste of the high life, The Blvd at Beverly Wilshire offers Californian-style culinary delights with Mediterranean influences in a casually sophisticated ambience.  This bistro-style all-day dining spot is located on the ground floor of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel – made famous in the film Pretty Woman – and offers fabulous people-watching opportunities from its world-famous patio at the end of Rodeo Drive. Yes it’s pricey, but yes, it’s worth it! 9500 Wilshire Blvd www.theblvdrestaurant.com

 

San Francisco Travel’s Guide

to Film and TV Locations 

From cinema classics to today’s biggest blockbusters, San Francisco has made hundreds of appearances on the silver screen. 

 “Mrs. Doubtfire”

 Everyone’s favourite nanny, played by Robin Williams, came into our lives in the ’90s and made herself at home. A must-see for families and kids at heart, the Hillard House is located in the Pacific Heights neighbourhood of San Francisco. If you’re a true film geek, you’ll have no problem pointing it out.  Locations include:

  • Hillard House, Broadway and Steiner St. – Please do not disturb the residents.
 “Pursuit of Happyness”

 This heartbreaking yet inspiring movie tells the tale of a father trying to raise his son after losing everything. Will Smith beautifully enacts the true story of Chris Gardner, who reaches success through hard work and persistence alone.  Locations include:

  • 1592 Taylor St. and Broadway St. – Final shot of Chris and his son walking towards the Bay Bridge.
  • Pacific Coast Stock Exchange, 301 Pine St. – Chris asks man with a Ferrari what he does for a living and is inspired to become a stock broker. The exchange now houses an Equinox Fitness Club. 
“Ant-Man / Ant-Man and the Wasp”

 Several San Francisco locations can be seen throughout the thrilling car chase scenes, the most famous of which ends at Fisherman’s Wharf.  Locations include:

  • 601 Buena Vista Ave. – Hank Pym’s Victorian house.
  • Fort Point National Historic Site, End of Marine Dr. in the Presidio – Scott reflects on his past after being released from prison.
 “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” puts a modern twist on the cult sci-fi classic. From atop the downtown skyscrapers and at the San Francisco Zoo, their uprising spreads throughout the Bay Area. If you’re looking to join Caesar’s tribe, head to the Muir Woods, where the apes eventually formed their own prosperous community.  Locations include:

  • Muir Woods, 10 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge – Caesar is introduced to nature and eventually builds a community. Make parking and shuttle reservations at https://gomuirwoods.com/.
  • San Francisco Zoo, 1 Zoo Rd. at corner of Great Hwy. and Sloat Blvd. – Where the apes free fellow primates during the uprising.
“Sister Act”

Where did Whoopi Goldberg hide from her angry mobster boyfriend in “Sister Act”? Right here in San Francisco at one of the most beautiful churches in the city. Located in Noe Valley, St. Paul’s is just a short walk from the Mission District.  Locations include:

  • St. Paul’s Church, 221 Valley St.
“Milk” 

San Francisco would not be what it is today without Harvey Milk. In fact, Terminal 1 at San Francisco International Airport has just been named in his honour.  Milk’s story defines the fight for LGBTQ freedom that spread throughout the country during and after his life. The filmmakers were able to film nearly all of the outdoor scenes at the actual historic locations.  Locations include:

  • Harvey Milk Plaza, 17th and Castro streets – Harvey holds his first rally for gay rights standing on a soap box.
  • Human Rights Campaign Action Center and Store, 575 Castro St. – Harvey opens Castro Camera after moving to San Francisco.
  • Twin Peaks Tavern, 401 Castro St. 
“Dirty Harry”

As renegade cop Harry Callahan, Clint Eastwood roams the streets, telling the story with every step. Here are a few must-see locations from the classic.  Locations include:

  • Bank of America Building, 555 California St.
  • Kezar Stadium, Frederick Street, Golden Gate Park
  • Mt. Davidson Landmark Park and Cross, 125 Dalewood Way 
“Always Be My Maybe”

This modern-day “When Harry Met Sally” follows two childhood friends, Sasha and Marcus, as they reunite after years apart and explore their complicated friendship. This film has been celebrated for its diversity and celebration of Asian-American heritage, so there is no question that this story was made for San Francisco. Locations include:

  • Musée Mécanique, The Embarcadero at Pier 45 – As kids, Sasha and Marcus take pictures in the photo booth.
  • Palace of Fine Arts, 3601 Lyon St. – Sasha takes Marcus as her date to a red carpet event.
  • Pier 7, The Embarcadero – Sasha and Marcus go fishing.
“Bullitt”

 The streets of San Francisco provide the perfect setting for the best movie car chase ever. The action in this Steve McQueen classic set the precedent and has been often copied but never matched.  Locations include:

  • Taylor and Vallejo streets, Russian Hill – The chase begins. 
“The Rock” 

Sean Connery, Nicholas Cage, and Michael Bay action galore—but the real star of the movie is Alcatraz itself. Here are some other locations for your itinerary.  Locations include:

  • The Fairmont San Francisco, 950 Mason St. – Also the scene of the 80s TV series “Hotel.”
  • Palace of Fine Arts, 3601 Lyon St. 
“Venom” 

Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is involuntarily bound to the symbiote, Venom, and the two spend the movie learning how to utilise their new shared skills to fight evil. A great example of this is the motorcycle chase scene that peaks with a massive jump at the top of Taylor St.  Locations include:

  • Hawk Hill, Marin Headlands -This is the location for Life Foundation headquarters.
  • Transamerica Pyramid, 600 Montgomery St. – Venom scales the building.

“Sense8”

While the story bounces around the world to places like Iceland, Nairobi, and Seoul, Nomi’s story unfolds in San Francisco, a very fitting home for the proud, transgender, lesbian hacker.  Locations include:

 Billy Goat Hill, Stairs at corner of 30th St. and Laidley St. – Amanita takes Nomi out for a birthday picnic,

  • City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus Ave. – Amanita works at a book reading.
  • Clarion Alley, Between Valencia and Mission streets – Nomi tells Amanita about the strange visions she has been having.
“Tales of the City”

 Topic now common in today’s top-rated shows were revolutionary on a public network in the original 1993 miniseries, based on a series in the San Francisco Chronicle. The 2019 sequel embraced these themes and, with an all-queer writing team, made it a mission to accurately portray LGBTQ life in San Francisco. Locations include:

  • Macondray Lane, Steps are across from 1832 Taylor St.
“Vertigo”

 In a city known for its many hills and scenic overlooks, San Francisco might not be the place for someone with acrophobia, and this is just what makes Alfred Hitchcock’s movie a classic.  Locations include:

  • Fort Point National Historic Site, End of Marine Dr. in the Presidio
  • Hotel Vertigo, 940 Sutter St. – Featured as the Empire Hotel

 

 

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"We always said that we would get married abroad but I didn’t necessairily want a traditional beach wedding. It is something that we had previously spoken about so once Qamar had proposed we knew that’s what would happen."

Lisa Tytler