Olvera Street

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LA has many neighborhoods that make you feel like you are in a different country when you visit them. One of them is Olvera Street.

Before the Holidays, we took our kids here to immerse ourselves into some Latin flavor, and to get the children out of the house, because having your kids inside a 900 sq. feet dwelling all day can be a nightmare, literally.

Ideally, you will take the train to Union Station to get to Olvera Street, but, for us, the train is not the most convenient way of transportation because it takes so long, more than 45 minutes.

We went on a Saturday for the Virgen Guadalupe Celebration. There was dancing and a vigil, but the most fun part of going to Olvera Street is just walking around and having dinner in one of the many restaurants. The Street has old houses and tries to recreate a romantic idea of “Old Los Angeles”.

It also has a one-block market of  handcrafted items vendors that have been there for generations. Our children loved all the little shops and wanted to get into everything. There were so many colors and noises to spark their imagination, so it was very fun for them.

After walking around and buying some children’s guitars for $10, we had dinner at one of the restaurants. There are plenty of places to choose from. We ordered some guacamole, a couple of beers, some burritos, and we were set.

After a two-hour outing, we were ready to go back home, and felt very happy to have had this little adventure. Going to Olvera Street is a nice option for a short weekend family activity in Los Angeles.

Here is a calendar with the different community events they have at Olvera Street. As of today, they haven’t updated it with the events for 2016, but I am sure they will soon.

Here are some pictures, if you want to see:
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Central Library, DTLA

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The Central Library in DTLA is a treasure. The building was constructed in 1926 and renovated from 1988 to 1993. It has 538,000 square feet (HUGE!) and capacity for 1,400 people. It is a wonderful landmark in downtown, LA. A couple of weeks ago, I didn’t send Víctor to school so we could have a little adventure and we went there instead. Read more

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The Huntington Library and Gardens

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The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, near Pasadena,  is one of the most beautiful places in LA. If you live here and haven’t been, you need to go. If you don’t live here but will visit soon, you need to go. If you don’t live here and won’t visit LA soon, well, you can look at these pictures to enjoy the place from afar, because it is magic.

LA is a metropolis, and, like all metropolis, the motion of people and energy is constant. It is also true that LA is more laidback than other big urban areas. I think the cause of this casual motion is the weather and proximity to the beach, which demands the use of flip-flops and shorts at least once a week, no matter the month of the year.

In the middle of this chaos, The Huntington is a sanctuary. The moment you step in, you are transported to peace (because peace is a physical place, people!). So, after you pay your pricey $23 ticket (children are free) you can start your trip into art, nature, and fun. By the way, the first Thursday of the month is free, so take advantage of it! You can get your free tickets here, and here is a map of the grounds.

The Huntington has 14 different gardens, the lily pond and Conservatory. To start, I always go down the Desert Garden. This is my (and my dad’s) favorite place at the Huntington because of the big variety of shapes and flowers that are so unusual and pretty. I would recommend visiting this specific garden around February, when a lot of cactuses are blooming. Here are some pictures.
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Where is Wally?

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My sister and I took all the kids to the Huntington back in September for a little adventure, and we all had a very nice time. The lily pond is always a hit for the children, with its koi fishes and ducks. I am sorry Max missed it this time, as you can see, but that was a nap needed by all.

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After that, we made our way through the Japanese Garden and the Garden of Flowing Fragrance (Chinese Garden), which have gorgeous details and “secret” corners. It is impressive how much care has been placed into building these gardens; there are so many subtleties that you really need to stop and observe to not miss anything.

I would also recommend visiting the rose garden, that will enchant you with its fragrance and colors, or eating at the tea room if you need a break. The Huntington has 6 cafes scattered throughout the gardens (and entrance), but the tea room is my favorite. Also, bringing a picnic to share is a great idea for the kids.

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Finally, we went to the Conservatory and, most importantly, to the Children’s Garden, the best place for kids at The Huntington. This smaller (and beautiful) garden introduces children to the natural world through “interactive sculptural elements based on the themes of the earth, air, fire and water.” I would recommend bringing extra clothes (and towels) so your kids can explore freely. Be warned, if you don’t like your children to get dirty or wet, steer them away from this garden, though I would encourage you to not do so.

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Be careful during summer days, it can get hot out there.

Also, you won’t be able to take advantage all the things this place has to offer in one visit, as it is pretty massive. I still haven’t been able to go to all the galleries and garden areas, but that gives me a great excuse to go back again soon. I love this place, and you will too!

The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens

1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108

(626) 405-2100

 

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NexGen Family Sundays At LACMA

L.A. can be so much fun for families and kids; there is so much to do and so much to learn. I don’t like to live faraway from my family in Chile, but LA makes it all worthwhile. In this city, I am able to expose my children to the world in a way that, hopefully, allows them to explore and absorb a lot of what life has to offer. This city has an incredible amount of places that are made for children and enables them to wander and discover.

An example is the NexGen Family Sundays at LACMA; one of our favorite activities to do on Sundays. If we have people visiting us in LA, this is where we take them.

Why? Well, the LACMA is a beautiful “open” museum with great outdoor areas and plenty of things to do for adults and children. Even if you don’t feel like looking at art, you can enjoy a coffee, a drink, or a good meal, while watching your kids participate in workshops that inspire their imagination. Also, the museum is free if you have kids, in case you want to see an exhibition. It is a win, win situation.

A couple of weeks ago, we took my sister and nephews to NexGen Family Sundays and they loved it. The theme of the day was architecture; in the workshops, the kids painted imaginary houses and built giant structures.

After playing and having a coffee, we went to the BCAM building to see the Metropolis II exhibit, which is a miniature frenetic modern city that has 100,000 cars circulating through the buildings (yes, that is 100,000). Take your kids to this exhibition if you want to impress them!

Here is a picture of the kids in front of the “Levitated Mass.” If you go to the LACMA, you need to take a picture of yourself (or kids) in front of this giant boulder, the only piece of art in the museum that is supposed to outlive it. More pictures of our field trip are down below.

jestcafe.com-Andell-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma7jestcafe.com-Andell-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma8Here is the cutest child in the world (my nephew) that always looks good in pictures because he has those beautiful eyes and willingness to smile at the camera. jestcafe.com--NexGen-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma17jestcafe.com-NexGen-Family-Sundays-at-LacmaVíctor is still doing his model face every time I ask him to look at the camera, as you can see.
jestcafe.com-Andell-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma10jestcafe.com-Andell-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma9 Here are some pictures of one of the workshops they participated in. The idea was to build a big structure with cardboard and clips. They had a great time trying to do it. jestcafe.com--NexGen-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma16 jestcafe.com-Andell-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma11 jestcafe.com--NexGen-Family-Sundays-at-Lacma14 Can you believe Víctor’s face of happiness and achievement in this picture? He was able to place that triangle on top of the structure and was so proud of himself! Cute.
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Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

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LA Opera Season 2015/2016 Picks For Adults And Children

I would not be a good daughter to my dad if I didn’t give space to classical music and opera in my site. This is not everybody’s cup of tea, I understand, but I believe the reason for this is that we are hardly exposed to this kind of music and it seems foreign. In my opinion, opera can be lots of fun. I remember watching The Magic Flute on TV when I was 8 and loving it. No child dislikes the Papageno/ Papagena Duet or the Queen of the Night Aria, just take a look and see.

In the LA Opera 2015/2016 Season, they will be showing The Magic Flute and I would like to take my kids to watch it, but they are too little right now. What I will do, instead, is taking them to Saturday Mornings At The Opera, a couple of one hour shows special for children. They are interactive and are preceded by workshops for kids with music related activities. A wonderful way of introducing kids to opera.

There will be two shows:

The Prospector on January 16, 2016 and Figaro Opera Tales on April 30, 2016. The workshops start at 10am and the performances are at 11am. To buy tickets, go here.

Now, for the adults, here are the operas I would like to see this season. Let me know if you have any other favorites:

The Magic Flute by Wolfang Amadeus Mozart
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Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 7:30pm / Saturday, February 20, 2016 at 7:30pm / Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at 7:30pm / Sunday, February 28, 2016 at 2pm / Wednesday, March 02, 2016 at 7:30pm / Sunday, March 06, 2016 at 2pm

Madame Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini
jestcafe.com- LA Opera Season 2015/2016

Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 7:30pm / Sunday, March 20, 2016 at 2 pm / Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 7:30pm / Saturday, March 26, 2016 at 7:30pm/ Thursday, March 31, 2016 at 7:30pm /Sunday, April 03, 2016 at 2pm

Domingo/Fleming in Concert

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Friday, March 18, 2016 at 7:30pm

La Boheme by Giacomo Puccini

jestcafe.com- LA Opera Season 2015/2016Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 7:30pm / Thursday, May 19, 2016 at 7:30pm / Monday, May 22, 2016 at 2pm / Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 7:30pm / Saturday, May 28, 2016 at 7:30pm / Sunday, June 05, 2016 at 2pm / Friday, June 10, 2016 at 7:30pm / Sunday, June 12, 2016 at 2pm

Buy your tickets for the LA Opera Season 2015/1016 now. Give it a try!

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