Articles Los Angeles

Natural History Museum

museum-kid.jpgThe Natural History Museum of Los Angeles is a museum displaying artifacts and diverse specimens of plant and animal life from around the world. A staple of Los Angeles’ museum circuit, the NHM displays the cultural artifacts from Latin America, African and North American mammals, the “mega-mouth” shark and 2,000 specimens of rock on display in the gem and mineral hall.

Right now, the museum has on temporary display a photography exhibit exploring the history of the Natural History Museum’s building, its construction and architecture by Joseph Hall, an architectural photographer.

Past exhibits include “Sonic Scenery” which is a collection of music that was inspired by the exhibits at the Natural History Museum and performed by several different world-renowned orchestras and the “Pavilion of Wings,” a display of live butterflies that visitors can handle and learn about interactively.

Location and Hours

The Natural History Museum is located right across the street from the University of Southern California at 900 Exposition Boulevard between Vermont and Figueroa. The museum is open 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the weekends.


Admission to the museum is free on the first Tuesday of each month and the museum’s members, USC faculty and USC students receive free admission to the museum’s First Fridays concert series.

For non-members, adult admission to the museum costs $9 and a bunch of other discounts for the old and young bring the admission down to $6.50.

The Natural History Museum recommends that you don’t even visit the museum on USC game days because of the hundreds of thousands of people that come to the area. Street closures and traffic jams make visiting too much of a hassle, the museum says.

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Articles Croatia

Baska Beach

Watch your step on your way down to Baska Beach on Krk Island. The long stretches of nearly-sand beach are inviting and fun to play on, but you have to get down there first and the descent can be a leg-sapping workout. Take all of your towels and picnic supplies with you, because you won’t want to make this trip twice.

A trip to Baska Beach does not have to include a grueling climb down from the parking lot. But hiking the trails to one of the secluded coves gets you into your own personal sunbathing and swimming hole and that is a feature worth every step of the walk down.

If you don’t want to make the effort to get what is close to a private beach, the beach at Stara Baska is still a worthy destination for your day. Known for its unspoiled nature and the pebbles that look like fully formed sand from a distance, Stara Baska is on the southwest coast of Krk Island. Krk Island is accessible by road or ferry. The main road (M2) extends by bridge to the mainland and connects to the island’s main road. Ferries connect from Valbiska to Merag, or if you want to get straight to Baska, there is a ferry running from Lopar to Baska.

Although there are plenty of tourists during the summer season, Baska is one of those “off the beaten path” destinations that you should visit to show up those travelers who think that if they’ve seen Dubrovnik they’ve seen Croatia. Dubrovnik is the face that Croatia wants to present to the rest of the world, but Baska beach, Krk Island and the rest of Istria hold some equally tempting attractions.

Although there are better beaches around Croatia, Baska’s appeal rests in that it has not been commercialized by the tour groups, windsurfing lessons, parasailing and other high cost ways to have fun that have moved in to other beaches. Instead of a resort, there are only the people who live there year round nearby.

Articles Los Angeles

The Grove

shopping_cart_presents_261532_l1.jpgThe Grove earned its place as one of LA’s most popular shopping centers by offering something for everyone. There is not only a farmer’s market full of produce and fresh made crepes, pizza and other standard farmer’s market fare, for those of you who have left your holiday shopping until today, a series of department stores, clothing stores for men and women, electronics and book stores.

And the selection does not end there. There is a museum celebrating the movie industry with artifacts from television and film productions that have firmly embedded themselves in our culture and seasonal decorations that demonstrate a fervent commitment to holidays.

The Grove is also home to one of the most advanced movie theaters in Hollywood, where the seats are large and plush and the picture is crisp and the tickets are expensive. Because of the quality of the showings, The Grove Theater attracts a dedicated type of moviegoer and those moviegoers in turn attract pre-release movies where directors, producers and actors gauge audience reactions. Ever see that a movie is on “limited release,” which means that it’s only playing in New York and LA? It’s a good bet that it’s playing at The Grove.

The mall offers concierge services that go above and beyond your usual expectations for services at a mall. The Grove Concierge was named the #1 concierge in the nation by the Wall Street Journal and their assistance delivering packages, procuring event tickets, making restaurant reservations and loaning strollers, wheelchairs and designer umbrellas to their patrons has them positioned to stay at that ranking.

The concierge service is so comprehensive, it will book you through your trip to Los Angeles through partnerships with the city’s top hotels. The Grove claims you will receive special rates as well as VIP treatment by booking your trip through their service at such prestigious places as Chateau Marmont and the Beverly Hills Hotel.

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Articles Croatia


rocky-beach-losinj.jpgThe island of Losinj is a lesser known tourist destination off the coast of Croatia that is usually undisturbed by heavy tourist traffic. This could be because it is difficult to get to from the mainland, or because the island has had a sordid history surrounded in controversy. Yugoslavia annexed Losinj from Italy several decades ago, and many Italians left the island rather than live under communist rule. Today, Losinj is every inch a part of Croatia, although the group of Italians who lived there still stay in contact.

Although Cres island is considered something of a big brother island to Losinj, a vacation on Losinj has its advantages. Losinj is popular with couples and those looking for privacy while they’re away. Although there is an airport on the island, because of the island’s distance from the mainland, there are fewer people around and it is easier to get away from the crowds. The easiest way to access the island is by ferry Pula, Zadar, or Brestova.

Articles Croatia

Dugi Otok

sooke_mountains_water_21194_l.jpgThe long, narrow strip of land that makes up Dugi Otok is one of the most pristine islands in Croatia. Located off of the beaten path and far from the tourist hang outs, Dugi Otok allows you to relax in a natural setting, hike through olive trees, or even lounge on one of the rare sand beaches in Croatia.

The island’s relative isolation makes it a popular destination for couples and lovers to take a stroll and get lost in the natural surroundings. But, if your group calls for a more organized adventure, Dugi Otok makes up part of Kornati National Park, where you can tour the geologic and natural wonders that make up the attractions of the park on the south east side of the island.

Also, the Telascica Natural Park is a popular destination, with a 2 km salt-water pool full of balmy lukewarm water and dramatic white cliffs that separate the salt water pool from the ocean and plunge into the ocean on the other side. Telascica is much more difficult to access than Kornati, the best way to visit this park is to anchor your boat in the sea and come in to shore on your own.

The most popular family destination on Dugi Otok is Saharun, a white sand beach where kids can play and build sand castles that will not be destroyed by the encroaching tide.

The villages of Brbinj and Sali are home to most of the residents of Dugi Otok and it is at Brbinj that the ferry from Zadar arrives after an hour and a half trip from the mainland. The ferry ride twists around and in between other smaller islands and if it weren’t for those obstacles to a route as the crow flies, the ferry ride from Zadar might take less than half of the 90 minutes it takes now. But that is the sacrifice you must make to visit this archipelago.

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Articles Los Angeles

Cheap Laughs at the Downtown Comedy Club


The Downtown Comedy Club is Los Angeles’ newest stand-up venue, a start up trying to get laughs from scratch in an area that is on its way back to life. Although it can’t match the big name talent of other comedy clubs in Los Angeles, the club offers a night of stand-up comedy for significantly less than the $40 the other places demand.

Accommodation Edinburgh Travel Tips

Booking a Hostel in Edinburgh

hostelEdinburgh is one of the favorite cities on a backpacker’s tour – there’s culture if you want it, and more partying than you can handle. But finding the right hostel to stay in during your trip to Edinburgh isn’t always easy – especially with so many booking sites to sift through. What’s more, many of the sites are actually listing the same properties, so what makes one different than another?

Some hostel booking sites are going to seem pretty much the same, so things to look for that will set them apart – and help you decide which one you like best – include whether a site gives good directions for getting from public transportation to the hostel, whether there are good pictures of the hostel so you can see what you’re booking, whether there are ample reviews of the hostel, and whether there are good maps so you know where the hostel is in relation to the city’s sights.

Here are some booking sites – we recommend that you take a look at each of them so you can decide which you prefer when you’re trying to find the perfect hostel in Edinburgh.

Articles Croatia

Zagreb’s next top hostel

bunkbedkid.jpgOne of the newest hostels in Zagreb, Fulir Hostel has only been open since 2006. That makes its meteoric rise and its perch atop the hostel market in that city all the more impressive. Ranked at the top of most of the Internet booking websites, Fulir Hostel also has rabid endorsements from travelers and a great looking website to recommend it.

Fulir Hostel’s most impressive bit of evidence to recommend it is its location. Just 50 meters off the main square in Zagreb, the hostel is convenient to the center of the city and part of the central downtown atmosphere. The hostel’s visitors create the scene as much as they enjoy it and you’ll find that the hostel itself is as much a part of the downtown culture as anywhere else.

Articles Los Angeles

Santa Monica

santa-monica.jpgOne of the original and most established beach communities in Los Angeles, Santa Monica is the home of surf-culture and skateboarding, a la “Dogtown” and has taken in a growing number of hipsters and progressive thinkers who have migrated toward the coast.

Santa Monica is directly west of downtown Los Angeles and the tall buildings of its downtown area can often be seen looking toward the ocean from the hills behind the city. Santa Monica is home to a number of attractions that bring tourists from around the world.

Santa Monica Pier

The Santa Monica Pier is a famous landmark near the coast and its arching entrance can be seen representing the entire city in many places. The pier itself is home to an amusement park and a few restaurants, as well as many fisherman who cast lines off the back end at night for herring and other small fish.

Even more than the arching entrance, the ferris wheel on the Santa Monica is a symbol of the city and for all of greater Los Angeles.

Third Street Promenade

The Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica is a walking street running on Third Street that has become so popular that many of the other beach communities in Los Angeles have tried to emulate its success in bringing people to the city. Streets are being temporarily closed off on weekend and high traffic nights and live music acts flock to try to earn the tips and spare change of the passerby.

The Promenade is best experienced at night, after dark, when its own stable of street performers interacts with tourists and shoppers. When white lights turn on in the trees and live music can be heard.

Santa Monica Beach

The beach at Santa Monica is north of Venice Beach, closer to the less-polluted beaches in Malibu and the water clarity and crowds the beaches draws reflects that location.

Santa Monica Beach is also connected to the bike path that famously runs all the way down the beach through the major beach cities. Riding on “The Strand” as it’s known is a great activity for seeing the beaches up and down the coast of the city, internalizing the differences between places like Santa Monica, Venice and Manhattan Beaches, and people watching as you ride or skate along the pathway.

Articles Croatia Los Angeles

Rodeo Drive

rodeo.jpgRodeo Drive’s shops and stores are some of the most expensive in the world. The shopping experience down Rodeo finds haute couture taken to new levels along the famous street where you’ll find unparalleled service if you make a purchase and be shown the door if you dare to enter the wrong store without dressing up to the level of their usual clientele.

For a street of the most exclusive order, Rodeo Drive comes from humble beginnings. Originally a path for horses and horse-drawn carts, the shopping district that stands today was not established until the 1970’s. Before that, nary an Yves-Saint Laurent could be found on the road.

The term “Rodeo Drive,” refers to N Rodeo Drive, which runs from Santa Monica Blvd to Wilshire Ave. The short three block shopping district is located in Beverly Hills and is one of the more famous parts of the city.

Window shopping along Rodeo Dr is recommended if you’re in need of some really potent sticker shock, but actually going into a store is done at your own risk. While you probably won’t get kicked out, if you cause a scene and don’t seem like you’re going to buy anything, there may be some impolite exchanges.

Christmas is the best time of year to visit Rodeo Drive. Crews decorate the streets with lights and create a festival atmosphere on the weekends. Although it’s hard to justify spending extra time out shopping and fighting crowds during the holidays, they are the best time to see Rodeo and the incredible affluence surrounding it.

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