GBTA 2013 Convention in San Diego! (Global Business Travel Association)

GBTA 2013 Convention in San Diego! (Global Business Travel Association)

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NOTE: For ThrowbackThursday and FlashbackFriday we found this Blog draft. We laid out all the type and captions back in 2013 and never added the pics or details. So we went to the files for collateral from the convention, found old travel picture files on our other laptop for pictures that were never seen and also went hunting for the pics that we had already downloaded or posted, then we filled in all the details we could remember and constructed this Blog! And even though the event happened in 2013 we still hope you will enjoy this Blog for TravelTuesday in 2017!

We were invited to attend the GBTA 2013 Convention as a “Hosted Buyer”, but we had prior commitments and could only attend the first and second day of the event. So we made a one-night hotel reservation and arranged to attend the “preview day” on Sunday and the first day on Monday.

GBTA 2013 Convention Schedule for Sunday and Monday:
(Vendor Parties not shown) CLICK to SEE A LARGER PIC!

Road Trip to San Diego! – Ride along with me!

It was a foggy Sunday morning when we woke up very early and hit the road to San Diego. We left the San Fernando Valley at 7am to avoid traffic and drove south on the 405 and 5 freeways for about three hours. We were successful and drove fast (we also took pictures as we went) but other drivers were driving really fast! We were really amazed at the speed of some of the cars passing us at very high speeds like we were parked.

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GBTA 2013! – On The Road to San Diego (405 freeway south to 5 freeway south)

Ride along with me to San Diego, just click on the pics below:

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AND THEN CLICK AGAIN TO VIEW THE PIC AT FULL SIZE!

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GBTA 2013! – Downtown San Diego

Embassy Suites Hotel Downtown San Diego (A Hilton Hotel)

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GBTA 2013! – Embassy Suites Hotel Downtown San Diego

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AND THEN CLICK AGAIN TO VIEW THE PIC AT FULL SIZE!

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GBTA 2013! – Embassy Suites Hotel Downtown San Diego Atrium & Skylight

We arrived in San Diego and found our hotel, the Embassy Suites Downtown, sometime after 9am. We found metered street parking two blocks away from the hotel which was FREE and available because it was Sunday. We walked over to the hotel, had breakfast at the complimentary buffet and got an early check in.

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GBTA 2013! – Breakfast Buffet at the Embassy Suites Hotel Downtown San Diego

We went up to the room, checked it out and dropped our luggage. We set up the laptop, hooked into the hotel’s wi-fi and did our morning business via the internet and cell phone.

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AND THEN CLICK AGAIN TO VIEW THE PIC AT FULL SIZE!

After a short time in the room, we walked over to the Hyatt Regency and caught the Free Shuttle to the Convention Center.

Sunday was a “preview” day, so it was not very crowded, just busy. There were a lot of people checking in and the vendors and staff were making preparations for the week ahead. The Exhibition Hall didn’t open until Monday, but we were invited to the “First-Timers” lunch and the Welcome Party at the Hilton on Sunday evening.

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GBTA 2013! Global Business Travel Association Convention in San Diego

We rode the shuttle to the Convention Center, walked to Check-In, checked in and got our credentials, and then we walked to the “first timers” lunch in an adjacent meeting hall.

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GBTA 2013! – San Diego Convention Center

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AND THEN CLICK AGAIN TO VIEW THE PIC AT FULL SIZE!

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GBTA 2013! – “First Timers” Lunch, Orientation and Welcome

On The Menu: Turkey sandwich with mozzarella cheese balls, lettuce & tomato and a slice of apple pie with iced tea, water and coffee

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CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY
AND THEN CLICK AGAIN TO VIEW THE PIC AT FULL SIZE!

After lunch, we attended the “Going Global” session, walked around the Convention Center and then we walked to the shuttle pickup point, rode the shuttle back to the Hyatt and then walked back to our hotel. We cleaned up and enjoyed a free cocktail and complimentary appetizers at the Embassy Suites’ afternoon Happy Hour downstairs.

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GBTA 2013 Welcome Reception Party Buffet at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront

After the Happy Hour we drove over to the Hilton Bayfront Hotel and paid $15 to park for the Welcome Reception and Party on the Great Lawn which runs along the Marina.  An outdoor evening buffet for 7000 people or so, with beer/wine and magaritas at the bar.

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GBTA 2013! – Hilton Bayfront Hotel in San Diego

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GBTA 2013! – Hilton Bayfront Hotel in San Diego

NOTE: It was a huge convention! Every hotel in San Diego remotely close to the Convention Center was at capacity and filled with Travel Agents, Vendors, Travel Writers and other attendees from all over the United States and other parts of the world. We commented on the size of the crowd to a staff person at the Convention Center and they just laughed because Comic-Con had been in town the week before and the size of GBTA convention wasn’t even close to the overflow crowd for Comic-Con.

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GBTA 2013 Welcome Reception Party on the Great Lawn – the Hilton Bayfront Hotel in San Diego

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GBTA 2103 Welcome Reception Party on the Great Lawn – the Hilton Bayfront Hotel in San Diego

On The Menu at the Welcome Reception Party Buffet at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront:
Buffalo chicken meatballs, lamb meatballs in a tomato sauce, pasta in lobster sauce, pita chips and a bunch of types of hummus, prime rib sliders with cheese, chicken potstickers, veggie potstickers, pork potstickers, other stuff too, and then on to the dessert table! Nice truffle selection, chocolate covered strawberries, candy lollipops in a bunch of weird flavors and mini-pastries…

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AND THEN CLICK AGAIN TO VIEW THE PIC AT FULL SIZE!

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GBTA 2013! – Sunset Over A Sea of Travel Industry at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel in San Diego

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AND THEN CLICK AGAIN TO VIEW THE PIC AT FULL SIZE!

We walked to over to Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Restaurant for the next party. It was a long “Las Vegas” walk just after dark along the Marina and Bayfront to get to Roy’s, but it was worth it! We immediately regretted eating at the Welcome Party Buffet, because there was an amazing assortment of incredible food at Roy’s!

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GBTA 2013! – The Kitchen at Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Restaurant in San Diego

There were all kinds of sushi and cut rolls, egg rolls, chicken and beef satay skewers, Hawaiian style ribs, other tasty appetizers and finger foods, fresh fruit and a lot of fancy desserts. We ate and drank and networked until it got too crowded inside the large restaurant and we didn’t take any pictures (except the one of the kitchen above). We left the party early and took a little food “to go” for later at the hotel. We didn’t want to do anymore walking or make the long dark walk back to the Hilton parking structure, so we negotiated with a pedal cab guy and survived a really fast and wild nighttime ride back to the hotel along the Bayfront for $10+tip.

We walked to our car and drove back to the Embassy Suites. We valet parked our car at the hotel and retired to our hotel room. We did some work, ate the “to go” food (ribs, sushi and little chocolate balls) after midnight and went to bed.

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AND THEN CLICK AGAIN TO VIEW THE PIC AT FULL SIZE!

Monday morning, we were up early and we enjoyed the Embassy Suites’ breakfast buffet again. We took the food up to the room, ate and did some more work, and then packed up our stuff, went downstairs and had a second breakfast. After eating again we got our stuff and checked out of the hotel. We picked up the car from the valet, drove to over the Convention Center and paid to park there. Parking was $15 for all day until midnight.

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GBTA 2013! – Embassy Suites Hotel Breakfast Buffet (in the room)

We arrived in time and got a pretty good seat for the Keynote Address and Lunch for 6000 people with a presentation and performance by singer/songwriter Jewel. All of the front area tables were “Reserved” so we took a seat at a forward table in the first section behind the front area. The hall at the Convention Center was massive! Lunch for 6000 is not an easy task!

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GBTA 2013 Keynote Lunch with Jewel at the San Diego Convention Center

Monday’s GBTA 2013 Keynote Speaker Jewel performs
“Who Will Save Your Soul” live at the San Diego Convention Center

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https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=703198789706690&set=vb.337421319696080&type=2&theater (facebook video)

On The Menu: iceberg lettuce salad, bread & butter, stuffed chicken breast with pesto sauce, vegetables, a fruit tart dessert and iced tea.

After lunch they opened the massive Exposition Hall which ran the entire length of the Convention Center and was filled with Vendors and Suppliers. There were also Vendor meetings scheduled for the afternoon. We walked a portion of the Exhibition Hall, collected brochures/information/swag and received invitations to events later on that evening and later in the week. It would have been impossible to cover the whole Exhibition Hall in one day, so we didn’t try. Instead we did what we could between 3-6pm and dropped all the promotional material in our car before beginning the evening activities.

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GBTA 2013! – The Gaslamp District Sign in San Diego

The Gaslamp District!
The Historic Heart of San Diego is located across the street and train tracks from the Convention Center. Bars, clubs, restaurants, hotels and plenty of gift shops are within easy walking distance (unless you’ve already walked all day).

Let’s get this party started!
We were invited to eight different parties happening at different locations around the Gaslamp District and the Bayfront near the Convention Center.

Monday Party # 1 – Sunset cocktails and dinner at the Altitude Lounge

Our first invitation was for a party at the Altitude Lounge on top of the Marriott Gaslamp Hotel. We walked over to the Marriott Hotel next door to the Convention Center, but it was the wrong Marriott. So then we walked over to the Gaslamp District and found the right hotel. We ate and drank and watched the sunset from the rooftop patio.

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Excellent view of San Diego and Mission Bay from the outdoor patio!

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GBTA 2013! View from the Altitude Lounge in San Diego

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GBTA 2013! – View of Petco Park from the Altitude Lounge in San Diego

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GBTA 2013! – Sunset in San Diego from the Altitude Lounge

On The Menu: tray passed appetizers and a buffet with eggrolls, beef on toast, beef and chicken satay, tuna on wonton crisp, crab on cracker, pita bread and hummus and more… catered by Flemings Steakhouse!

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AND THEN CLICK AGAIN TO VIEW THE PIC AT FULL SIZE!

Monday Party #2 –
We crashed The Parking Spot Party at Lou & Mickey’s at the Gaslamp

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GBTA 2013! – The Parking Spot Party at Lou & Mickey’s at the Gaslamp

We left the party and walked across the street and crashed The Parking Spot’s party at Lou & Mickey’s restaurant. We ate and drank and met the nice folks from The Parking Spot and told them we crashed their party. They didn’t mind. Their party ended early, and the place emptied as the crowd left for other parties that were just getting started.

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Monday Party #3 – GBTA 2013 “AMPED” Party at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego!

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GBTA 2013! – Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Guitar at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

We walked over to our next event: the AMPED party at the Hard Rock Hotel! We ate and drank and met a bunch of really nice people. It started slow but soon the crowd at the main bar was five people deep, the music was rockin’ and it got pretty hopping.

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AND THEN CLICK AGAIN TO VIEW THE PIC AT FULL SIZE!

This party was on a very large rooftop patio, with several permanent bars, a couch area with fire pits and portable heaters, several floating bars and a bunch of buffet stations with a great selection of food. There was good music, of course, and a stage was set up for performance, but it didn’t get used until later. There was even a photo booth for taking pictures with silly wigs, hats and props.

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GBTA 2013! – Buffet Station at the AMPED Party at the Hard Rock Hotel

We asked permission before taking these pics of one of the Go-Go Dancers on a raised pedestal (there were several). She said “Go ahead, I don’t see why not” and posed for the first one. And she was a fantastic dancer too!

Monday Party #4 – Level Skye Club at the Andaz Hotel in San Diego!

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GBTA 2013! – The Bar at Level Skye Club at the Andaz Hotel in San Diego

We had one more party to check out or we would have just stayed at the Hard Rock, instead we left the hotel and walked over to Level Skye Club at the Andaz Hotel. We walked a lot and we were wearing our dress shoes, so by the end of the night our feet were really hurting. We were also tired from a long day at the convention and a long night of partying.
When we got to the club the upstairs was deceptively quiet because downstairs in the basement it was raging! The party at Level Skye was really “off-the-hook” with funky dance music and lots of light and a lot of drunk travel agents. Travel industry people love to party! Thanks American Express!

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GBTA 2013! – Big Party at Level Skye Club in the Andaz Hotel Basement in San Diego

We didn’t eat or drink anything alcoholic because we still had to walk back to the car and drive home to Los Angeles. So, Monday late night we walked back to the car on sore feet before they closed the Convention Center Garage for the night (at midnight).

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GBTA 2013! – San Diego Convention Center Parking ($15 all day – closes at midnight)

We drove back to Los Angeles on the 5 freeway north after midnight and hit a impossible “Stop-and-Go” traffic jam along the way because of construction at 2am in the morning.

When we finally made it home after 3am, we unloaded the car and crashed hard. We had a really good time, did a lot of business and networking, saw Jewel play live music, enjoyed our “budget” stay at the Embassy Suites, and ate and drank and danced and partied in San Diego for two days.

NOTE: We did a lot of walking, a whole lot of walking in our dress shoes, so next time we bring and wear more comfortable walking shoes.

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GBTA 2013! – San Diego Convention Center Stairs at Night

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GBTA 2013! – We did not attend GBTA 2014 in Los Angeles

FINAL NOTE: We finished this Blog and hit “PUBLISH” and it did not. WordPress lost the Blog and the draft(s) totally disappeared! We had to use Google Cache to rescue it and then we had to start over and rebuild the original Blog again. Total waste of time. There is a flaw (BUG) in the wordpress program, because when we went looking for help we found that this has happened to other people as well. So, please ENJOY THIS BLOG, a lot of time went into it.



 

UPDATED Wednesday March 29, 2017 – We posted this Blog yesterday!

We collected a bunch of FREE stuff in the short time we were there, two bags full of stuff actually! Most was promotional “paper”: sell sheets, pamphlets, maps and brochures. But there was some fun giveaway stuff and cool “incentives” for visiting certain booths.

We were given a “Swag” bag at check-in provided/sponsored by Delta and the padded bag was very nice. We recently found it in Storage (see our previous Blog about Storage) and we are now using it as a laptop bag.

UPDATED April 5, 2017 – TRAVEL TIP!
We found these “hospitality cards” (restaurant and bar coupons, freebies, come-ons, etc.) from the San Diego trip. We had so much FREE food and drink and were only in town for one night, so we didn’t use any of them. They can be found at the Concierge Desk at the San Diego Convention Center (and these are just a few of the ones available).

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Hospitality Cards (Restaurant and Bar Coupons, Freebies, Come-Ons, etc.)

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Many thanks to our loyal readers and all the “drop-in” visitors since February 2013!

There are almost 600 Previous Blog Posts (BLOGS) archived for your enjoyment!
Use the Search Box at the top of the page or just read though (there’s an “Older Posts” link at the bottom of the page) to find fun and interesting stuff.

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! More to come!

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“West Side Story” at the Hollywood Bowl!

“West Side Story” at the Hollywood Bowl!

And we are back! We went to the Hollywood Bowl last week and it was good fun! We’re having a heatwave again in Los Angeles and it’s been 90 degrees+ and into the 100s on some days. So, it has stayed warm at night and it was really perfect weather for an outdoor concert.

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“West Side Story” at the Hollywood Bowl

Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra performing “West Side Story” at the Hollywood Bowl on a Tuesday evening in July!

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“West Side Story” at the Hollywood Bowl

We were invited to the Bowl again. Well, there was a “small” brush fire on the mountain across the 101 freeway at Cahuenga Blvd from the venue at 4pm and we watched on the television as the Los Angeles Fire Department responded and made quick work of it!

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Fire on the Mountain! (That yellow dot is three firefighters)

By 5:30pm the fire was out, they were handling the hot spots and traffic was f*cked. So we left the San Fernando Valley for Hollywood at about 6pm. After some miles of “stop and go” traffic, the Highland exit ramp jam and Lot B parking ($20 cash) we were walking past the crowd of picnickers that occupy any convenient spot they can find out front at 7pm.

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Picnickers Out Front at the Hollywood Bowl for “West Side Story”

NOTE: It wasn’t as crowded as usual! It was a Tuesday night and a lot of people must have stayed home to watch the Republican National Convention night #2 from Cleveland, Ohio. Of course, that meant more people arrived around 8pm as the performance was starting…

We decided to go directly to our seats (Super Seats! not benches) behind the light and sound booth and have our dinner there instead of going to one of the picnic areas. And picnicking at the Hollywood Bowl in the super seats or bench seating is even more of a challenge than dining in one of the boxes because you have no table and very limited space.

Picnic time! On the Menu: Roast beef sandwich, veggie chips, dill pickle, bottled water and 1/4 of a chocolate tart from Sweet Lady Jane. We remembered to take a pic just before finishing the sandwich, but didn’t take one of the sides and desserts. We also brought red and white wine, a bottle of bubbly water, carrots, cole slaw, a rice dish and a berry cobbler.

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Roast Beef Sandwich and Veggie Chips

Show time! The orchestra took the stage  a little after 8pm, just as the sun was setting. They always begin with the “Star Spangled Banner” (note the flags flying at half mast).

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“West Side Story” at the Hollywood Bowl

Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic performing under a full moon on a warm summer evening in Southern California, no complaints here.

“West Side Story”

The musical “West Side Story” has special meaning for us.  We participated in building and and presenting a production on the Performing Arts MainStage at UC Santa Cruz in Spring of 1986.

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Directed by Michael Edwards
I was a Set Builder, Costumer and then Wardrobe Master for the run of show.
I also did the hair/makeup and hand inked tattoos for the actors.

The Jets were “Glam Punks” circa early 1980’s in ripped denim and studded leather.
The Sharks were 1970’s “Cholos” complete with bandanas, pleated flannels, pressed white t-shirts and tan khakis. The Shark girls were hot!

A truly professional production with a live band, great singing and dancing and a truly amazing set design! The program cover above is one of the design sketches, but the freeway was left unfinished with exposed rebar extending out over the audience and then we added chain link fencing, lots of graffiti and debris for texture.

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY!

Very proud of this production and the work we did. Also of note is the level of talent and the future professional career paths of some of the participants.

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“West Side Story” at the Hollywood Bowl

 

 

Downtown Los Angeles 2013

Well, I just found a draft of a Downtown Los Angeles Blog from 2013 and the pictures were all laid out with captions. So I thought for the third year anniversary I would work it up a little and publish it for your entertainment.

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Los Angeles Times Travel Show (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

I was invited down to L.A. Live in DTLA for lunch and a private tour of the Grammy Museum courtesy of AEG. I was working a deal to package their events with travel and destination specific tours. At the time when this was written I was a newbie travel advisor and set this deal with AEG up for the agency immediately. This lunch meeting was to discuss all the details and I’ll write more on the outcome later in this Blog.

The day included freeway traffic in both directions from the San Fernando Valley, driving around DTLA, parking at Staples Center and L.A. Live, a nice lunch at Rock’N’Fish and a private tour of the Grammy Museum and the AEG offices.

Here’s the Blog and please note the pics were shot with a Blackberry camera.

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There was traffic on the 101 Freeway heading Downtown (as usual).

101 Freeway Traffic - Downtown in the Distance (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

101 Freeway Traffic – Downtown in the Distance (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Downtown - This is where once got a flat tire at Midnight (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

101 – 110 Freeway South Exchange – Downtown, Los Angeles – This shoulder is where I once got a flat tire at Midnight (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

110 Freeway south - Downtown, Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

110 Freeway south – Downtown, Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

110 Freeway South

110 Freeway South

110 Freeway South

110 Freeway South

Convention Center or Staples Center (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Convention Center or Staples Center?  (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Los Angeles Convention Center

L.A. Convention Center

L.A. Convention Center (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

L.A. Convention Center

L.A. Convention Center (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

L.A. Convention Center

L.A. Convention Center (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Staples Center

Up the Escalator - L.A. LIVE (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Up the Escalator – L.A. LIVE (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

L.A. Live (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

L.A. Live (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

L.A.'s Finest at L.A. Live (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

L.A.’s Finest at L.A. Live (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Ritz-Carlton and J.W. Marriott Hotels at L.A. Live (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Ritz-Carlton and J.W. Marriott Hotels at L.A. Live (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Staples Center (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Staples Center (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Staples Center (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Staples Center (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Staples Center - Chick Hearn Plaza

Staples Center – Chick Hearn Plaza (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Staples Center - Chick Hearn Plaza

Staples Center – Chick Hearn Plaza (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

L.A. Live

L.A. Live (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

L.A. Live (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lunch at Rock'N'Fish - L.A. Live (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lunch at Rock’N’Fish – L.A. Live (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lunch at Rock’N’Fish!  We shared a Calamari appetizer (no pic, but it was good), then I had the 1/2 rack of Baby Back Ribs with fries and a salad, and Creme Brulee for dessert.  The food was excellent!  The calamari and ribs were tasty and cooked perfectly, and the creme brulee was delicious too.

Luxe Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Luxe Hotel Downtown Los Angeles (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Grammy Museum at L.A. Live – Would you like a private tour?

Grammy Museum at L.A. Live (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Grammy Museum at L.A. Live (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

In the Lobby of the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Janis Joplin’s Porsche 356 in the Lobby of the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Photographs are not allowed inside the museum., but I was able to take a picture of the Janis car in the Lobby before taking a private tour. It’s a great space and the permanent and visiting exhibits were pretty spectacular!

NOTE: Dec. 10, 2015 – A 1964 Porsche 356 that once belonged to the rock singer Janis Joplin sold at auction for $1.76 million. The car had been expected to sell for between $400,000 and $600,000. The sale price includes a 10% commission for Sotheby’s auction house.

The Plaza at L.A. Live

The Plaza at L.A. Live (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Plaza - L.A. Live

The Plaza – L.A. Live

The Plaza at L.A. Live (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Plaza at L.A. Live (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

J.W. Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

J.W. Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Downtown Los Angeles

Condo

717 Condo – Downtown Los Angeles

Downtown

Downtown Los Angeles

Downtown

Downtown Los Angeles

Westin Bonaventure Hotel

Westin Bonaventure Hotel and the Wells Fargo Towers

Wedbush Building - Downtown Los Angeles

Wedbush Building – Downtown Los Angeles

Four Level Freeway - Downtown Los Angeles

Four Level Freeway – Downtown Los Angeles

Under the Freeway - Downtown

Under the Freeway – Downtown Los Angeles

Under the Freeway

Under the Freeway – Downtown Los Angeles

 

NOTE: As you can see, there was a lot of the Blog laid out but never finished.

The meeting was a great success! I had a terrific lunch and a private tour of the Grammy Museum. I was gifted a couple of FREE tickets to return another time on my own. I wasn’t able to tour the Staples Center because Rihanna was rehearsing for her concert that night (if I remember right, and we would get a private tour of Staples Center on my next visit). It was a good day downtown and they did comp my parking!

The deal included access to the Grammy Museum and the 200 seat performance space, AEG events at L.A. Live and Staples Center including the Kings, Clippers, and Stars games; the BET Experience and other concerts (including corporate CLUB BOXES) and the L.A. Galaxy soccer (fútbol) games. It was a major score! But, the best laid plans….la la la.

All photos copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel

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Here are a couple more recent picture of DTLA from the Echo Park Blog:

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US District Court Building & Los Angeles City Hall

 

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Echo Park – Downtown Los Angeles, California


“Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city
Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty
How can you lose?
The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares and go
Downtown, things’ll be great when you’re
Downtown, no finer place for sure,
Downtown, everything’s waiting for you
Downtown!”

Downtown Los Angeles is the central area of the Los Angeles metropolitan area and features many of the city’s major arts institutions and sports facilities, sightseeing opportunities, a variety of skyscrapers and associated large multinational corporations, and an array of public art and unique shopping opportunities. Downtown Los Angeles is the hub of the city’s freeway network and Metro rapid transit system.

Staples Center, opened in 1999, has contributed immensely to the revitalization of Downtown, adding 250 events and nearly 4 million visitors per year to the neighborhood.  Since the opening of the Staples Center, the adjacent L.A. Live complex was completed, which includes the Nokia Theater, the Regency Theaters and the Grammy Museum.

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Downtown Los Angeles from up high 2014 (taken from WP24)!

Throwback Thursday! Four Seasons Westlake Village!

Throwback Thursday! Four Seasons Westlake Village!

Handmade chocolate truffles after lunch. Love the Four Seasons!

Four Seasons Westlake Village (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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Four Seasons Westlake Village (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)



Sunday Sunsets (30 Photos) at 70mph! CA-OR Road Trip‬ continued! (Part 4)

Sunday Sunsets at 70mph

California – Oregon Road Trip‬ continued! (Part 4)

This is a TRAVEL BLOG! Even more Select Pics from the Highway – August 2015:

This is a series (but not in order) of 30 photos.

Taken with a Blackberry camera (from a moving vehicle at ~70mph)

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California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

California-Oregon ‪Road Trip‬! Pic from the Highway

Sunday Sunsets

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NOTE: These pics are not in exact order. The route there was I-5 north from Los Angeles, California to Ashland, Oregon. The route back was I-5 south to 505 to 37 to 101 across the Golden Gate Bridge, through San Francisco to Highway 1 south to Santa Cruz and then south to Castroville and back to the 101 south to Los Angeles. There was also a brief detour from the 101 at Solvang to the Chumash reservation and back on the way home.

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RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE A LARGER PIC!

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RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE A LARGER PIC!

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RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE A LARGER PIC!

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RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO SEE A LARGER PIC!

There were so many beautiful moments along the road, driving for hours with only the miles ahead before reaching my destination. For those of you who may have concerns, I’m very careful when using the camera while driving and never take pictures if it is unsafe.

Don’t try this. I’m a professional. Take pictures while driving at your own risk, don’t endanger anyone else…and make sure you get great pictures.

All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

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Memorial Day 2015 – ROAD TRIP! to Ashland, Oregon pt.1

Memorial Day 2015 – ROAD TRIP! to Ashland, Oregon pt.1

MORE TO COME!

road trip 2015

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405 Freeway south at Mulholland Drive

Another day on the 405 freeway south at Mulholland Drive….

405 Freeway south at Mulholland Drive

405 Freeway south at Mulholland Drive (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

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Random Pics of Los Angeles (part one)

Random Pics of Los Angeles (part one)

Had a meeting in Santa Monica yesterday, so I made the drive and took some cool pics. I wanted to cruise to Malibu, but there was major construction and a “traffic delay” on PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). Thought I’d share some of the pics I took plus a few others from other trips that I haven’t posted that are also interesting.

Here are some (hence the part one) in no particular order or narrative:

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West LA (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Tunnel Vision – McClure Tunnel in Santa Monica (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

 

West LA (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Cruisin’ West LA (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

 

West LA (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Wilshire blvd at Midvale in Westwood (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

 

West LA (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Cruisin’ West LA – 10 freeway Transition to 405 freeway north (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

 

West LA (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Pacific Ocean from the California Incline in Santa Monica (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

 

Sunset Over West LA (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Sunset Over West LA (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

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First time in L.A.? Want the local experience?

First time in L.A.? Want the local experience?

San Fernando Valley #1 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

San Fernando Valley #1 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

I’m going to run down the beautiful San Fernando Valley for you. Here are some attractions, Points of Interest, good restaurants, and fun things to do. This list is nowhere near complete and things are constantly changing!

Don’t say there’s nothing to do and nowhere good to eat in the San Fernando Valley! Also, you”ll probably find a celebrity sighting or three if you get lucky.

San Fernando Valley #2 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

San Fernando Valley #2 (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Let’s start at Universal City, CA: Universal Studios Hollywood, and Universal CityWalk with lots of places to eat/drink/shop on the hill, Firenze Osteria (Fabio from “Top Chef”) Italian restaurant,

Universal CityWalk (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Universal CityWalk (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Universal CityWalk Hollywood (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Universal CityWalk Hollywood (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

North Hollywood: Television Academy, NoHo Arts District and it’s many theatre companies, The Federal Bar, Circus Liquor and the giant clown sign on Cahuenga, Los Angeles Valley College, North Hollywood Park, Tiki No Bar, Joe Peep’s Pizza, Bar One: a craft beer bar, Krua Thai restaurant,

 

Atwater Village: Atwater Village Theatre, The Village Bakery & Cafe Proof Bakery, Canele Restaurant,

Burbank: Warner Brothers Studios, Disney Studios, Burbank Media Center, Bob’s Big Boy, Johnny Carson Park, Market City Caffe Italian restaurant, Smoke House Restaurant, Burbank equestriain center, Pickwick Bowl, Colony Theatre, Ribs USA, Arnie Morton’s The Steakhouse – Burbank,

Glendale: The Americana at Brand Shopping Center, Autry Museum, Griffith Park, Forest Lawn (there are two cemeteries, one near Griffith Park and one in Glendale), Jax Bar & Grill, Griffith Park and the Observatory, Griffith Park Travel Town, Los Angeles Zoo, Tam O’Shanter restaurant, Damon’s Steak House, Mori Teppan Grill, Billy’s Deli – Glendale, (continue east on the 134 freeway to Eagle Rock and Pasadena)

Sun Valley: Hansen Dam Park, Georgio’s Pizza and Sports Bar,

Studio City: CBS Studio Center, The Village restaurant, CA DEL SOLE restaurant, Black Market Liquor Bar, Spark Woodfire Grill, Vitello’s Italian Restaurant, Loteria Grill, Du-par’s Restaurant & Bakery, Fryman Canyon, The Six Restaurant, City Wok Chinese restaurant, Henry’s Tacos, Art’s Delicatessen & Restaurant, Firefly Studio City restaurant and bar,

Spark Italian Woodfire Grill in Studio City (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Spark Italian Woodfire Grill in Studio City (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Sherman Oaks: Sherman Oaks Galleria, Sherman Oaks Castle Park, Casa Vega, Westfield Fashion Square, Smoke City Market bbq restaurant, Delmonico’s Steak and Lobster House, Café Bizou restaurant, Blu Jam Café, The Getty Center, Skirball Cultural Center, Bamboo Cuisine Chinese restaurant, Valley Inn restaurant,

Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks (copyright 2012 JoshWillTravel)

Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks (copyright 2012 JoshWillTravel)

Van Nuys: Van Nuys Courthouse and historic district, Lake Balboa Park, Puro Sabor Peruvian restaurant, Swiss Chef restaurant, Salsa And Beer Mexican restaurant (Papas &Beer), Sepulveda Recreation Center, Japanese Gardens, Woodley Avenue Park,

Lake Balboa Park - Los Angeles, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lake Balboa Park – Los Angeles, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Encino: Encino Commons, Okumura Sushi Restaurant, Sushi Hirosuke, Larsen’s Steakhouse, Versailles Cuban restaurant, Taj Mahal Indian restaurant, Balboa Sports Center, Los Encinos State Historic Park, Benihana Japanese restaurant, Yamato’s Japanese Restaurant, Aroma Bakery Cafe, Encino Velodrome,

Oh yeah, we're gonna have sushi. Sushi at Okumura! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Oh yeah, we’re gonna have sushi.
Sushi at Okumura! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Tarzana/Reseda: Tarzana Village, Le Sanglier French Restaurant, Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen, Sushi Ichiban Kan, Bea’s Bakery, Superwok Chinese restaurant, Las Fuentes Mexican restaurant, Sol y Luna Mexican restaurant,

Le Sanglier (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Le Sanglier (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Northridge: Northridge Fashion Center, California State University, Northridge (CSUN), Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC), Pacific Theatres Winnetka 21, A & W Seafood Chinese restaurant, Brent’s Deli, Mandarin Deli Restaurant (soup dumplings), (continue northwest on the 118 freeway to Simi Valley)

 

Woodland Hills: CA: Warner Center, Westfield Topanga Mall, Yang Chow Restaurant, Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion restaurant, Pierce College: Farm Center, Arnie Morton’s The Steakhouse, My Brother’s Bar-B-Q, (continue west on the 101 freeway to Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks)

Drive Topanga Canyon south over the Santa Monica Mountains to Topanga State Park, Saddle Peak Lodge, and down to the Pacific Coast Highway for access to Malibu Beach,

Drive Mulholland Drive from Cahuenga Blvd to the 405 freeway at Sepulveda or vice versa. Great views of the valley day or night!

San Fernando Valley Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

San Fernando Valley Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

OTHER UNIQUE EATS (multiple locations):

In-N-Out Burger in North Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, and Woodland Hills

Katsu-ya in Encino and Studio City

Cheesecake Factory in Sherman Oaks and Woodland Hills

Cupid’s Hot Dogs in Northridge and Tarzana

Tommy’s Burgers in North Hollywood and Van Nuys

Solley’s Deli in Van Nuys and Woodland Hills, Jerry’s Deli in Studio City and Encino

Mulberry Street NY Pizzeria in Encino and Sherman Oaks

El Torito Mexican Restaurant in Sherman Oaks and Woodland Hills

Zankou Chicken in Tarzana and Sherman Oaks

Dinner at El Torito (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Dinner at El Torito in Woodland Hills, CA (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

There are numerous public and private Golf Gourses, Tennis Courts and Country Clubs in and around the valley.

The Woodland Hills Country Club (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

The Woodland Hills Country Club (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

There are also numerous city parks, bike paths, small dog parks and urban garden areas. The rehabilitation of the L.A. River is an ongoing project.

 

 

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area http://www.nps.gov/samo has 500 miles of trails and spans 153,075 acres, the world’s largest urban national park!

Paramount Ranch, Agoura, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Paramount Ranch, Agoura, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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San Fernando Valley Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

San Fernando Valley Sunset (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

San Fernando Valley at night (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

San Fernando Valley at night (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)