Guide To Exploring Los Angeles & Experiencing The Ellen Show

Quench Your Adventure

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Anacapa Island, CaliforniaQuench Your Adventure

California is a MASSIVE state with tons to explore. We've only seen a small chunk and hope to return for more!

This trip was brought on by us receiving tickets for the LIVE audience of the Ellen Degeneres Show in Burbank, California. We were able to get out there for about 5 or 6 Days. 

Travel tip: If you like pretty skies, check the sunrise and sunset times in advance and plan accordingly! Being on the west coast, we did our best to catch a few nice sunsets.

DAY 1 Thanks to our Southwest Companion Pass, our flights only cost $22 (and around 24,000 points) in TOTAL for BOTH of us ROUND TRIP. We left Raleigh, NC around 2:30 PM and landed in LAX at about 7 PM. We headed straight to Budget to get our vehicle (which we rented using points through the Chase Travel Portal). We made it to the Pacific Coast Highway in a race to see the sunset. We spontaneously pulled off into a parking lot of some restaurant and walked down to the beach as the sun was setting. We saw a few dolphins swimming with the waves sun disappeared.

We continued up to the Thousand Oaks area for the night, as it is about the midpoint between LA and Oxnard—where we would be boarding a boat the next morning. 

DAY 2 We were up early, partially due to the 3-hour time difference, but also because we needed to make it to the Oxnard Harbor for our Day-Trip out to Anacapa Island, the closest of the 5 islands that make up the Channel Islands National Park. We stopped at the grocery store to buy our lunch that we would eat out on the island.

We made it to the harbor, checked in, and boarded a large boat. Along the way out to Anacapa, which is about an hour ride, we saw dolphins, sea lions, and the top of a huge whale (we think it was a mid-size blue whale. Anacapa island is known for it's thousands of birds and it happened to be baby season! The Western Gulls were protectively squawking away as we walked along the trails and admired their eggs which were very close to hatching!

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Anacapa Island, CaliforniaQuench Your Adventure

A Western Gull posing on Anacapa Island looking East towards California.

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Gulls Eggs!Quench Your Adventure

Western Gull Eggs ready to hatch any day!

Our volunteer tour guide has explored the islands for many years and was a wealth of knowledge. On Anacapa, there's a lighthouse, a few small buildings for supplies and for the rangers to stay overnight when needed, picnic tables, a camping area, a couple miles of trails, and some gorgeous views and overlooks. Inspiration Point was a great place to eat and enjoy the beauty. There's also Cathedral Cove which reminds me of something out of Jurassic Park and we saw plenty of sea lions making noise below.

We were on the island from about 10:30 a.m. to about 3 p.m. which was the perfect amount of time to explore the small island, take some nice photos, observe the wildlife, and enjoy a picnic lunch. The ride back was nice, saw some more wildlife and they actually took us around the opposite side of the island before heading East back to the harbor.

Afterwards, we headed down along the coast to a spot that a friend told us about - Point Dume. This area has a very pretty trail that walks up to the point, or trails that go down to a couple different beach areas where you can surf, rock climb, or enjoy the beach. The sun was setting, dolphins were jumping, the waves were crashing, and the weather was perfect.

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Point Dume, CaliforniaQuench Your Adventure

The pretty sunset at Point Dume.

That night, we went to downtown West Hollywood for some fun. We heard that some of the cast of Vanderpump Rules would be around. (any Bravo T.V. Fans out there?) We went to the restaurant Sur, met Jax Taylor from the show and took some photos with him! Jenna bought a $16 mojito which was good but a little pricey for our liking. 

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Jax Taylor From Vanderpump RulesQuench Your Adventure

Vanderpump Rules is my guilty pleasure kind of TV show!

DAY 3 Jeremy and I wanted to see Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive. It's home to many Hollywood stars and it features upscale shopping, fancy cars, and yummy restaurants. The only thing we chose to buy there was a peanut butter chocolate cupcake from a Cupcake ATM! We then headed back towards the airport to pickup Jenna's parent from LAX. They were able to carve out a few days to come out, explore, and enjoy the Ellen experience. On our way to LAX, we enjoyed some lunch at In-N-Out Burger. The burger was awesome, but the fries were a waste of calories! Would only go back for a burger. 

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In-N-Out Burger!Quench Your Adventure

BEST BURGER EVER! 

We scooped up Jenna's parents from the airport and began our pursuit to see the Hollywood sign. Online, we read that Griffith Observatory is one of the better spots for a view of the Hollywood Sign. It was crazy packed, we parked about a half mile down the hill, and were a bit disappointed because it was much further away than we expected. On the positive side, this is a great spot to view the city from above and it's a nice park. We didn't bother including our Hollywood sign photo here as it's not very impressive.

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Overlooking Los AngelesQuench Your Adventure

Julie (mom), Jenna, and John (dad) with the cityscape of Los Angeles. 

Our next stop was to see the Celebrity Stars Hollywood Walk of Fame. You can google the address to find certain celebrities have their stars. We parked in an area that was not that exciting for us because we didn’t recognize any of the names on the stars, but my dad was loving it! I googled people like Ellen, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Jack Black, and many more. We found a good spot that had a lot of popular names and were satisfied.

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Ellen's Star!Quench Your Adventure

Of course we had to find Ellen's star!

For dinner, we decided to try and find something right there in Hollywood and just walk. We made it to Mama Shelter (eclectic food) with a rooftop but looked at the menu and we weren’t feeling it. It was also really loud with music, games, and the bar. We all agreed to see what else was around. We walked a couple blocks and ended up at La Velvet Margarita Cantina (Mexican). It was extremely dark inside as part of their Gothic appeal and the host was not the least bit friendly, (maybe this was also part of the appeal), but we decided to take one more look around. We found a taco place called Trejo’s Cantina (Mexican), which is actually owned by Danny Trejo the actor. 3rd times the charm! This place was delicioso! Great tacos, churros, and drinks. We highly recommend it!

DAY 4 We had been staying at the Embassy Suites (with our Hilton points from their credit card) which has a great breakfast buffet and made-to-order omelets with hash browns, and bacon. After stuffing ourselves, we drove to the Santa Monica Pier. We parked on the pier and saw the waves crashing on the beach, all the food and drink carts, and an arcade. We stopped to play some ski ball (my moms favorite) and then went to rent bikes below. We rode down Venice Beach and Muscle Beach. Jeremy and I got a tandem bike and my parents got their own bikes.

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Biking Around Santa MonicaQuench Your Adventure

This was a blast! What you didn't see is my parents attempting to ride the tandem bike. HAHA!

We then headed up the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway to get some lunch in Malibu at the Farm Table Cafe. They had a variety of soups, salads, and sandwiches. We had a perfect view of the surfers shredding the longest waves with a beautiful shore break. 

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Malibu, CaliforniaQuench Your Adventure

Belly's full after a yummy lunch! 

After our late lunch, we drove up into the mountains for some nice views and to try and find the sun again. Sure enough, we made it over some mountains and it went from overcast to sunny and clear! We made it well out into the middle of nowhere and enjoyed the quiet that you won't find in LA. We found a nice spot to fly the drone for a few minutes before heading back towards the coast. Here's a short clip of some of the beautiful mountains in Southern California!

We wanted to find a nice sunset spot for a picnic dinner, so we headed to Trader Joe's and grabbed some food and drinks. We enjoyed Point Dume so much and only explored a small portion of it, so we decided to retun and show Jenna's parents! Unfortunately, it was very cloudy and we didn't have much of a sunset, however, we ate chocolate covered strawberries on the top of a cliff above the ocean, watched some surfers, dolphins, and even saw two bunnies hopping around. Not bad at all!

Day 5 Today's the day! Time to experience The Ellen Show! When we arrived on property at Warner Bros Studio, we had to check in and get some lunch. We were there very early and were not even close to the first ones. You wait outside for about an hour and then the hosts line you up. You walk across the street to Warner Bros Studio and they let you in a side door to the studio. You wait in a hallway for  about 10-15 minutes looking at all the pictures of Ellen and all her guests.

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Quench Your Adventure

We then waited in the gift shop for about an hour, so we used this time to shop for some goodies. Finally, it was time to line up and get seated in the studio. YOU MUST TURN OFF YOUR PHONES or you will get kicked out. Understandable, but it was extremely tempting to try and snap a pic of Ellen and the cool set. 

We stood at the top of the stairs, gazing over the set we had seen so many times on my television. Bright lights beamed back at us, people with clipboards buzzed around the set, a girl in a bright yellow shirt showed people to their seats, and then we saw "tWitch" (best dancer and DJ)! 

There’s probably room for I think about 300 people. The producers hype you up a lot by doing little dance-offs, clapping, singing, and questions! They picked people from the audience to come up on stage and dance. There were about 7 people in total. We were often told to start clapping, smile, be energetic, and be happy.

They announced that Taylor Swift was today's guest! People were screaming and freaking out! When Ellen walked out my mom and I both busted out crying! We couldn’t help it! The energy in the room was so incredible and we just sat there silently sobbing because of how cool it was to finally see Ellen in real life. (P.S. Ellen is so selfless, hilarious, and overall a great human being and role model.) Props to Ellen. 

The segment started with Ellen talking to Taylor about her new album coming out and they talked about cats for awhile. We were bummed Taylor Swift didn’t perform for us but it was cool seeing two famous people chatting on stage.

I swear Ellen and I made eye contact! We then had a chef come and do a cooking demonstration and we all got a copy of his cookbook and they played a funny blindfolded food tasting game that earned his charity a huge donation from Ellen!

To end the afternoon, they surprised us with Adam Lambert and he performed his new song "New Eyes." Here are some clips from the  show. https://www.ellentube.com/episode/taylor-swift-chef-jos-andrs.html

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Quench Your Adventure

To try and get tickets to The Ellen Show: click here. https://send.ellentv.com/tickets/

After the show, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and decompressed after a ton of clapping, cheering, and smiling! 

We had nothing planned, but Jeremy wanted to look for a trail to take a short walk/hike. He found this place on Google Maps, Bronson Cave so we went for it. We took a nice, quiet trail up to some little caves with cool rocks. We were walking around casually exploring and my dad starts freaking out when he turns a corner and looked up. There was the Hollywood sign and it was a WAY better view and unique location compared to our previous experience. We were loving the fact that we just found some random place to take a walk and ended up having a really fun time with very few other people around!

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Hollywood Sign Up Above!Quench Your Adventure

DAY 6 We woke up on our last day to one last excellent breakfast from Embassy Suites. We were up early to make one last excursion in search of Sea Lions. We read online that Marina Del Ray is a good place to see them. We ended up finding this place, Burton Chase Park which walks you right out to a dock for fishing boats and we saw a bunch! We saw maybe 8 sea lions laying out on the docks sunbathing. Apparently they are there all the time!

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Quench Your Adventure

California Sea Lions lounging outside on the dock.

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Quench Your Adventure

This should help explain the difference between Sea Lion and Seals. 

Our trip had come to an end and it was time to say our goodbyes! Goodbye California and see ya next time! Very grateful for the opportunity to spend time together in such a fun place. 

We hope you enjoyed hearing about our experience and we encourage you to go on an adventure of your own. It can be a trip to Cali or as simple as exploring a new place in town. Feel free to share or offer any feedback in the comments below.

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