The only reason that I would not rate this park higher is due to the heat issue during summer months. The trees are still growing, I guess, and there really is not enough shade in most areas to make this a comfortable place to be during the summer months. Great for walking (there is a walking path) and watching ducks and birds swimming around in the large man-made lake. There is also a large childrens' playground, but again, the weather makes this attraction not useable during summer.
Perhaps one of the best multi-purpose parks in Los Angeles, Cheviot Park has a large outdoor swimming pool, numerous tennis courts, an indoor gym for basketball and volleyball, outdoor basketball courts, soccer and baseball fields, and picnic tables andbenches. It used to have an archery range, but I don't know if it is still operating. It is also adjacent to Rancho Golf Course. I really like this park because of its size and cleanliness, as well as for the obvious functional advantages of many facilities in one place. The location also means that heat issues are not as bad as in other parts of town. Really a lot of tennis courts...there need to be a few more parks like Cheviot Hills aroung LA County. The only drawback is that during summer months you must compete with Parks and Recreation Youth Day Camps that use this place extensively.
I would enjoy this mall more, if were not for the convoluted parking situation. The parking structure is too compact and confusing, and directions are not always easy to follow. Also, there seems to be a problem with elevators and escalators here, as I have encountered delays on many occasions, and even had to walk down broken escalators on numerous other occasions. It is well-lit and spacious, but overall, just a mess to get into and out of. The variety of stores is one attraction that is appealing, however. They also have movie theatres here, small and engaging. Just fix the parking...!
Even though this park is located on busy Ventura Blvd., once you've settled down by a picnic table to eat lunch or dinner, you really feel away from the crowd. Perhaps it is the number of large shade trees, or the coziness of the park itself, that gives off this feeling, but it is a slice of isolation in a busy part of town. There are basketball courts and a childrens' playground available, but the attraction is a park located in a busy area. I have had the opportunity to enjoy a lunch under the trees here, and it does represent a great way to get away from the office, even though only for lunch time. It is also very clean, and parking is not a problem (you park on the side streets). If you're looking for a brief interlude during a rough, busy day...this is the place.
It is a little run down in here, and books are all over the place, but that's the charm of The Iliad Bookshop in North Hollywood. None of the Barnes & Noble organization at this place, but if you're looking for an older, harder to find publication, my bet is you find it at The Iliad. Assistance is readily available, and books can be ordered or researched. Seems like the place your "old college professor" would spend his weekends and evenings. Nothing special, just plenty of reading material. Get past the outward appearances, and you won't be disappointed.
Rhino Records and Tapes, located in Westwood, is perhaps the best place to buy music without going to a large bookstore (i.e. Borders), if you're looking for hard to find artists. I am always impressed with their used record/cd selection as well. It is a funky place, but the selection is great, and the prices are competitive. A great place to find movie soundtracks.
I have been to Harold and Belle's Restaurant on numerous occasions, and the thing that strikes me most is the generous amount of food that you get with your meal. I usually leave with a doggy bag, and the folks here are always ready to oblige with one. Also, the food is home-style, and tastes like it was made by the owner right on the spot. Cajun oriented, this place is comfy and roomy inside. Prices are in the medium to high range, but you don't get cheated on portions for the price. I recommendthe pork chops with red beans and rice.
I love going to Gumbo Pot for lunch. Located in the Original Farmer's Market, this place has great jamalaya, gumbo, cajun meatloaf, and delicious blackened catfish on its menu, as well as a great selection of other cajun dishes. Prices are very reasonable, and the ambience is cool. You order in line at this outdoor place and find the nearest table to enjoy your meal. People milling around Farmer's Market actually add to the experience. Really, the jambalaya with andouwe (sp) sausage is teriffic. Parking at Farmer's Market can be a problem, but you can get a two hour validation at Gumbo Pot. I visit Gumbo Pot about 8-10 times per year, and I live up here in Santa Clarita!!! Always an enjoyable experience.
The reason I thoroughly recommend The Jazz Bakery is that this place is really for jazz enthusiasts who enjoy music, pure and simple. This is a place where you aren't distracted by waiters, cigarette smoke, noisey patrons, or outdoor distractions. A simple room and stage, seating about 100 people (give or take 15 or so). The music is jazz straight ahead. If you like big band, bop, modern jazz, hard bop, or vocals, you won't be disappointed in this place's line-up of artists. It is located in old Culver City, as part of Helms Bakery facility, thus the name...Jazz Bakery. Prices are very reasonable, around $15-$30 per person for most shows. Seating in folding chairs and just listening to live jazz is great. I feel this is the preeminent place inLA to listen to jazz as performed by new and old artists alike. You can try to new wave of jazz clubs and restaurants, but I feel that one trip to The Jazz Bakery will force you to return again and again.
I really recommend Trader Joe's as an alternative to the larger grocery stores in the area, in particular if you are looking for healthy food products. The prices may be a little higher, but you benefit in the long run by eating a healthier diet. The help is friendly and informative, and checkout lines are not a problem. You move fast!!! Parking has become more of an issue, now that more people are finding out about the quality of this store. Try their great Trader Joe's crunchy peanut butter, andtheir French Roast whole coffee beans. You won't be disappointed. They also sell great wines at reasonable prices. A great local store.