The Straits Times
Published on Dec 12, 2012

Living it up in the city of forever young: Los Angeles

From star-gazing and shopping in style to throwing the best parties, Los Angeles, famous for its glitz and glamour, is the city for living it up.


Hollywood Sights

A trip to Los Angeles is incomplete without a stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame. More than 2,400 pink terazzo stars bearing the names of celebrities in gold lettering are embedded in sidewalks along Hollywood Boulevard, giving visitors their first 'star'-spotting experience. Keep your eyes glued to the ground for big names ranging from Bruce Lee to Johnny Depp, and even The Muppets and The Simpsons. With so many immortalised names to look out for, it is hard not to get star-struck (pun intended).

Continue the walk down Hollywood Boulevard and make your way to the Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Film buffs, rejoice, for this is the one "shrine" that you should pay homage to. Swamped by throngs of tourists at any time of the day, the forecourt of the world-renowned movie theatre is where the signatures, handprints and footprints of over 200 popular actors and actresses are found. Opened since the 1920s, the theatre has since hosted countless movie gala premieres, witnessing the attendance of famous Hollywood stars, including the iconic Marilyn Monroe.

Expect to find buskers and street performers dressed up as superheroes such as Batman, Superman or Lady Gaga in the area. Do not attempt to snap a picture with them without permission though, as they will bug you to tip them a token sum for the photo. To avoid the crowd and get a good photo with the handprint of your favourite screen legend, visit the famous pagoda in the morning. The area gets terribly packed at night, thanks to busloads of tourists.

With time to spare, movie-lovers should also cross the street to suss out the adjacent Dolby Theatre (formerly named Kodak Theatre), where the prestigious star-studded Academy Awards is held annually. Planning a trip to Los Angeles to coincide with the Oscars is perfect for star-gazing, as this is the time when all the Hollywood A-listers congregate at the venue for a chance to nab one of the highly-coveted awards.

Just a stone's throw away is the Hollywood & Highland Center. Housing international brands such as Sephora, Victoria's Secret, Zara and American Apparel, the shopping mall is a good place for shopping and dining. However, the main reason to spend time at the mall lies on the third and fourth floors at the back of the building: The connecting bridges there offer visitors possibly the best views of the iconic Hollywood sign on the faraway hill. It is advisable to go in the early afternoon as it can be quite foggy in the morning and too dark in the evening for a clear view.


Hollywood Walk of Fame: Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street

Grauman's Chinese Theatre: 6925 Hollywood Boulevard

Dolby Theatre: 6801 Hollywood Boulevard

Hollywood & Highland Center: 6801 Hollywood Boulevard

Shop away at The Grove

The place to see and be seen, The Grove is an open-air outdoor shopping plaza housing top well-known brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Barnes & Noble, Crate and Barrel and Barneys New York CO-OP. One of the most popular shopping complexes in Los Angeles, The Grove generally attracts a young and stylish crowd running the gamut from their teens to their 30s. It can get packed during weekends, as idyllic shoppers pass their time catching up with their friends and people-watching in the al-fresco cafes.

The Grove is also a celebrity hot spot. With entertainment variety show Extra filming there every Monday to Friday between 9am and 2pm, Hollywood stars make their way to the venue on a daily basis for their live interviews with host Mario Lopez. After the recording, lucky fans get to take photographs with the stars before they hurry off to their next event. Recent star appearances include Eva Longoria, Jamie Lee Curis and Mila Jovovich. In order not to miss the sighting of your idols, check the schedule here before heading down.

Hungry from all the star-gazing and shopping, shoppers can make their way to the nearby Farmers Market, which has been around since 1934. Featuring over 30 bright and colourful old-fashioned food booths which sell everything from delicious crepes and doughtnuts to pizzas and beer, the iconic landmark is sure to satisfy tastebuds from all over the world. Grab something cold from the well-known Bennett's Old Fashioned Ice Cream to cool you down under the hot Californian sun or have a simple meal from the long-standing Bob's Coffee and Doughtnuts.


The Grove: 189, The Grove Drive

Farmers Market: 6333, West 3rd Street, at Fairfax Avenue

Party It Up

With thousands of clubs and bars to party at in the glamorous city, revellers never run out of nightspots to dance their nights away. One of the top choices is Avalon Hollywood, Los Angeles' popular megaclub. Big name DJs spin at the huge party hotspot with a capacity of close to 1000, dishing out Euro beats, trance, techno and house music on different nights. Attracting a generally young crowd ranging from early 20s to late 30s, partygoers should be prepared to queue for at least 30 minutes on weekends before entering. Clubbers looking to party the night away can head there on a Saturday as it opens till 7am in the morning. The famous DJs, coupled with the impressive killer sound system and the occasional celebrity sighting (think Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan), make Avalon Hollywood a must-visit.

The Rooftop Lounge at The Standard Hollywood is all sorts of spectacular. A beautiful model sits nonchalantly in an enclosed aquarium from behind the reception desk, ignoring all the inquisitive looks cast at her as people walk past. Gorgeous leggy actresses-wannabe frequent the small cosy bar, making one wonder if they are there to be spotted for their next big break. Throw in handfuls of well-dressed travellers, and hip good-looking locals, and the crowd is quite a sight to behold. With a funky décor of bright 60s retro plastic chairs and tables on astro-turf built around the pool, a handsome DJ dropping good electronic dance music, and the fact that it was once featured on cult sitcom Sex And The City, it is no wonder the bar is one of the hippest nightspots in town.


Avalon Hollywood: 1735 Vine Street, Hollywood

The Rooftop Lounge at The Standard Hollywood: 8300 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood

Young Hollywood

An innocuous tiny stretch that runs over several blocks, Robertson Boulevard is where young celebrities love to hang out. Boasting trendy boutiques such as Kitson, Madison and Lisa Kline, the street has since made a name for itself as the Young Hollywood shopping mecca, and has thus, also become the paparazzi's default camp-out spot. If you really want to spot a celebrity, make your way to the overrated but celebrated restaurant The Ivy, where some fancy posh nosh is served under pretty white umbrellas set in a dainty garden-like brick patio. Look around you and observe - for the person sitting next to you could be the lead actor from the latest blockbuster hit. If organic healthy food is more your cup of tea, head to the Newsroom Café instead to indulge in a clean hearty meal, away from the zoom-in paparazzi cameras.


The Ivy: 113 North Robertson Boulevard

Newsroom Café: 120 North Robertson Boulevard

Singapore Airlines always goes one step further for its customers in Singapore Airlines Suites, First Class and Business Class. 

So it is really no surprise that the airline has an exclusive Book The Cook programme, which offers passengers the option to preselect their preferred main course from over 60 diverse dishes, ex-Singapore, at least 24 hours before their flight. 

The extensive menu ingeniously created by Singapore Airlines’ renowned International Culinary Panel provides tantalising choices from diverse cuisines. Main courses include Pan Roasted Beef Fillet with asparagus, baby spinach, crushed potato served with balsamic onion sauce by Alfred Portale (New York), Seared Black Cod Fillet 'à la Niçoise‘, with haricot vert, olives, kalamata olives, cherry tomato and anchovy butter by Suzanne Goin (Los Angeles) and seasonal surprises in Kyo-Kaiseki by Yoshihiro Murata (Kyoto). 

In addition to flights departing from Singapore, Book The Cook dishes are available for flights from selected overseas stations.

Singapore Airlines flies 12 times a week to Los Angeles.