Have a Devilish Good Time This Halloween in LA

When it comes to Halloween, the City of Angels knows how to have a devil of a good time. From the world’s largest Halloween street party, to family-friendly Halloween events at museums and other cultural institutions, Los Angeles attractions, tours and parties offer fiendish fun and spooky scares for everyone.

October 7-31: Haunted Hayride at the Old Zoo

The theme for this year’s Haunted Hayride is “Through The Eyes Of A Child,” a frightening journey into the Old Zoo in the woods at Griffith Park. The twin daughters of zookeeper Ferdinand Clifton were rumored to suffer from violent nightmares, and their journals have provided the ghastly inspiration for an experience that includes 15-foot mascots of death, 400-year-old children, terrifying clowns, “The In-Between (Dark Maze),” and “The Human Menagerie” sideshow. The Haunted Hayride takes place Thursday-Sunday, October 7th through 31st. Hours are 7 p.m. to midnight on Friday-Saturday, and 7-10:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sunday & Halloween. Ticket prices vary, including options for Hayride only, Hayride & Dark Maze, VIP (front of line) and Group rates

Crime Scene Tours, Los Angeles

www.crimescenetours.net
The newest offering from Starline Tours takes you to some of LA’s most infamous crime scenes, including the site of the North Hollywood bank robbery, the murder of Bonnie Lee Bakley (wife of Robert Blake), and the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Each tour will be escorted by either off-duty or retired law enforcement personnel. In many cases, the person leading the tour investigated or responded to the original crime scene. The tour uses a custom-designed, 28-passenger bus equipped with video screens for viewing actual police and news helicopter footage of the event prior to arrival. The Crime Scene Tours bus departs from Grauman’s Chinese Theatre twice daily Thursday through Sunday, at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Special evening Halloween Crime Scene Tours will run on Saturday-Monday, October 29-31. Tickets are $69, with Private Charter, Group rates, Student and Senior Citizen Discounts available.

October 29: Dead Celebrities Costume Ball at Madame Tussauds Hollywood

On Saturday, October 29th, Madame Tussauds Hollywood will host the Dead Celebrities Halloween Costume Ball, a one-of-a-kind event taking place on two floors, featuring hundreds of celebrity wax figures in a maze-like atmosphere. For one night only, Madame Tussauds Hollywood welcomes guests dressed as their favorite dead celebrities into a Halloween party complete with five open bars, complimentary dinner buffet, three dance floors, and VIP tables with A-list wax celebrities like Will Smith​, Angelina Jolie​, Justin Timberlake​ and more “seated” in their sections. DJs include SKAM artist Eric Cubeechee, Rico Rox (spinning House), and DJ Coolwhip with Hip Hop, Top 40 and Mash Up. Tickets available atWantickets.com.

October 31: West Hollywood Costume Carnaval

www.westhollywoodhalloween.com
Each year, more than 500,000 people take to the streets of Santa Monica Boulevard to enjoy the largest Halloween street party in the world. Two of the evening’s highlights are the Halloween Costume Contest and crowning of an Honorary “Queen of the Carnaval.” Visitors can also expect live entertainment, food vendors, pumpkin-carving contests and children’s activities throughout the week previous. Admission is free and the event starts at 6 p.m. and runs until 11 p.m.

October 21-22: Día de los Muertos at Hollywood Forever

The 12th Annual Día de los Muertos festival returns to Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Saturday, October 22nd from 12 p.m. to midnight. This quintessential Los Angeles Halloween event takes place in the historic final resting place of Hollywood luminaries, and is based on the indigenous Mexican ceremony that celebrates life and ancient traditions, fused with modern culture. Featured performers include Astrid Hadad and Ruben Albarran (lead singer of Café Tacvba). The Ceremonial Altar Set-Up takes place on Friday, October 21st beginning at 5 p.m. General Admission is $10 per person; children under 6 years are admitted free.

October 23: Haunted Museum at the Natural History Museum

www.nhm.org/site/activities-programs/haunted-museum
The theme for the 8th Annual Haunted Museum is “Fairy Tales and Scary Tales,” a family-friendly event taking place at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles on Sunday, October 23rd from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The museum invites guests to explore the enchanted exhibits and get lost in magical wonderlands and sinister woods. The Haunted Museum will also feature dancing men in tights, fairy face painting, and a scavenger hunt.

October 7-31: The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor

Unique among Halloween attractions, Dark Harbor takes you through the Queen Mary’s actual haunted areas. Thanks to the macabre minds behind some of Southern California’s biggest scream-fests, the scares clock in at over “45,000 per hour,” along with 160 monsters and 20-foot tall flames. Even if you survive the three shipboard and two onshore mazes, the food, drink and entertainment inside will ensure you’ll never want to leave.

October 22-23: Scarium of the Pacific

www.aquariumofpacific.org/newsevents/eventsdetail/scarium_of_the_pacific
At this family-friendly weekend event, the Aquarium of the Pacific presents the annual children’s costume contest, the creepy coloring contest, magic shows, underwater pumpkin carving, spooky storytelling, kooky crafts, eerie animals in the Great Hall, and more.

Sept. 23-Oct. 31: Halloween Horror Nights

This year’s Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) at Universal Studios Hollywood brings together a Hollywood horror dream team to create the ultimate Halloween nightmare. Featuring six sinister mazes:

  • The Thing: Assimilation
  • Eli Roth’s Hostel: Hunting Season
  • Alice Cooper: Welcome to My Nightmare
  • Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses: In 3D ZombieVision
  • La Llorona: Villa De Almas Pedidas (“The Weeping Woman: Village of the Lost Souls”) imagined by Diego Luna
  • The Wolfman: The Terror of Talbot Hall

HHN also features five terror-filled “Scare Zones,” the return of “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure” and a fully re-imagined “Terror Tram” backlot studio experience, offering guests the chance to walk through Universal Studios historic movie sets. Universal’s most popular rides and attractions will also be open to guests, including “Jurassic Park In the Dark,” “The Simpsons Ride” and “Revenge of the Mummy – The Ride.”

Halloween Horror Nights kicks off on Friday, September 23 and continues on select nights through Halloween, Monday, October 31. The event will begin nightly at 7:00 p.m.; closing hours vary by night throughout the event.

Stay for all the screams and save!

Experience what fear fears the most! Book your Halloween Horror Nights Package today which includes 2 tickets to Halloween Horror Nights, Overnight Accommodations and Complimentary self parking.

For more activities not listed here, visit Discover La today! Our source for this blog.

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Celebrate ‘Grinchmas’ in the Entertainment Capital of L.A.

Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood next to Hilton Universal City Hotel in CAFUN FRIDAY:

“Grinchmas” time is coming to Universal Studios Hollywood as The Entertainment Capital of L.A. prepares for a lively holiday season with the Grinch, his faithful dog Max, tons of fresh snow and a “Whoville Whobilation” at the original movie sets where the classic “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” was filmed.

Nightly tree-lighting ceremonies, celebrity readings of “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and encounters with a “Who’s Who” of Whoville characters will be part of the celebration, which expands this year to 18 days, beginning on December 11 and 12 and continuing daily from December 18 through January 2, 2011. “Grinchmas” is included in the price of theme park admission.

Grinchmas event at Hollywood theme park next to Hilton Los Angeles / Universal CityLarry Kurzweil, President, Universal Studios Hollywood, said: “‘Grinchmas’ has become a true holiday tradition, an event where families can enjoy a slightly irreverent approach to the season while still being thoroughly immersed in holiday spirit. Because we expect very strong attendance during Christmas week, we’re adding five dates to this year’s ‘Grinchmas’ schedule in response to the event’s growing popularity.”

Guests will find an immersive holiday atmosphere. A whimsical, curving “Grinchmas” tree will tower 60 feet above the center of a snow-covered “Grinchmas” winter wonderland and will be lit in a nightly ceremony that will feature a colorfully costumed “Whoville” choir caroling and spreading holiday cheer. The Grinch and his faithful dog Max will be on hand to meet fans and take memorable holiday photos. Families will also be able to enjoy traditional winter fun, romping together in a playground of snow and building their own snowmen.

“Grinchmas” will also provide fans of the blockbuster movie a close-up view of the original “Whoville” film sets, featured in the classic “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” aboard the world-famous behind-the-scenes Studio Tour. As the tram rolls to a stop amid the fanciful “Whoville” buildings, guests will experience a one-of-a-kind performance by “Whoville’s” residents re-enacting favorite scenes and songs from the film.

Guests who attend Universal Studios Hollywood‘s “Grinchmas” celebration will be able to stay at one of two local Universal City hotels.  Hotel packages and holiday deals enable each guest visit to become a full seasonal experience, with additional time to liesurely peruse CityWalk’s shopping and entertainment, among other treasured Hollywood highlights. The Hilton Los Angeles / Universal City hotel offers all the best of the Hilton brand in a convenient location with a complimentary shuttle to and from the theme park and nearby CityWalk.

More information, including holiday promotional offers and information regarding celebrity readings of “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” will be available at www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com.

The International Cafe, Universal Studios Restaurant Wins Award

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA –Universal Studios Hollywood’s new restaurant, The International Cafe, has been honored with a prestigious Sante Restaurant Award for innovation and outstanding achievement in culinary service and hospitality.

theme park restaurant at Universal Studios hollywood near hilton universal hotel

Now in its 13th year, the Sante Awards program is the only peer-judged national restaurant and hospitality competition in North America. Of the restaurants recognized with awards this year, The International Cafe is the only establishment located within a theme park. The International Cafe opened earlier this year to provide theme park guests with healthy food choices in a casual, unhurried European bistro-style setting.

The menu includes creative salads, cheese plates and healthy artisanal sandwiches, along with juices, mineral waters and many other food options suitable for a relaxed, sit-down or on-the-go meal for hungry theme park guests.

“Dining is an important part of the experience we provide at Universal Studios Hollywood and we want to ensure that our guests have choices that fit their tastes and their lifestyles,” said Eric Kopelow, Universal Studios Hollywood Executive Chef. “The International Cafe is helping us to satisfy a growing demand for healthy, tasty food options.” A graduate of New York’s Culinary Institute of America, Kopelow designed The International Cafe’s innovative menu.
universal studios hollwyood themepark near hilton hotelSample menu choices include a shrimp cobb and Greek salad, a grilled vegetable sandwich with gorgonzola cheese, a turkey with muenster cheese and arugula sandwich, a roast beef and brie with roasted pears sandwich and a “caprese-style” plate featuring heirloom tomatoes with mozzarella and basil. Located adjacent to the theme park’s “Streets of the World” film locations, which re-create European streets and plazas, The International Cafe offers indoor and al fresco seating.

The Sante Awards were created to recognize excellence in restaurant food, wine, spirits and service hospitality. Award winners represent a broad spectrum of restaurants and industry professionals.

Enjoy These Attractions on Your Southern California Vacation by Road or Rail

Fall is upon us and the rush of travelers has slowed slightly from the tourist filled summer season travel. Maybe this is the time for you to look into an Amtrak vacation or roadtrip, especially if you have never done that sort of thing before. The national train network makes it possible to get around from most major cities.  Convention and Visitors Bureaus are located in almost every city and can assist road warriors with most questions or concerns along the way. Given how beautiful and interesting our country is, the trip itself can be a big part of the total enjoyment.

Of all the many great vacation destinations accessible by train, San Diego is in the top echelon. The train runs right into the middle of town, with easy local public transportation available to take you to your choice of many San Diego hotels, and most of the attractions.  San Diego is spread out over a tighter radius than other parts of southern California, notably Orange County and Los Angeles. In fact, a great many of the local points of interest can be enjoyed by walking. Enjoy marine life? Don’t forget to add Sea World, right next to Legoland on your list of attractions.

Maybe it’s your idea to spend some time on this vacation at a theme park that offers thrill rides. I’m talking about Knott’s Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain (aka Magic Mountain to the locals). As a means to compete more effectively with the Disneyland Resort, one Southern California vacation writer notes that these two theme parks have invested a tremendous amount of cash in developing their thrill rides over the years.

You won’t find any place with more edgy thrill rides and coasters than Six Flags Magic Mountain.  There’s lots more to do there besides roller coasters (for the rest of your group who may not be coaster fanatics), so check out what is availability ahead of time, to get the most from your visit.  Also keep in mind that larger Los Angeles hotels in the  area should be able to provide you information and tickets through their concierge service.

Knott’s Berry Farm also has really focused on thrill rides, although they offer Camp Snoopy, Ghost Town and many other fun attractions and themed areas within the park. My daughter worked on the new Silver Bullet ride and she says that is one of several coasters that will really help you lose your dinner.

Of course Disneyland is the first park that comes to mind, with Dumbo, Mickey, Goofy and the others. Who doesn’t love the wonderful job Disney has done in creating a fictional universe of lovable characters? While you are in the area be sure to peruse Downtown Disney and consider visiting the Angels Stadium of Anaheim for a lively baseball game or quick tour.

Your next stop would be Universal Studios Hollywood and the many TV and movie stars such as Betty Boop, the Hulk, Batman and Spiderman, joined most recently by Homer Simpson and his wonderful family. The metro red line will drop you directly across the street from the main entrance to Universal City. Only two stops away from the excitement and entertainment of Hollywood and Highland, this would be an ideal location to stop for a rest and visit some of the nearby centralized L.A. area sites.

Pick up some useful information and tips about Universal Studios Hollywood theme park and nearby attractions  from one of the local host hotels. The guest services at Hilton Los Angeles / Universal City hotel will help you navigate through the many ticket options and offers shuttles to and from the park, even though it is only a short walk away. Better yet, save a little with the online hotel package and have everything ready and waiting for you when you arrive.

Whatever your primary vacation objective may be, it is important to be smart about where you stay. You will spend way more time than you expected traveling around Southern California if you goof up the selection of your hotel. So get input from as many places as possible while planning your trip. Online reviews, hotel concierge desks, travel agents, convention and visitors bureaus, and online planning guides are all great places to start.

(Information courtesy of Southern California Guru)