Free things to do in LA

I’ve got some college buddies staying with me for the week. Two are unemployed, one is engaged, and the other is just a cheapskate, and they’ve never been to Los Angeles before. So they want a complete tour of LA…for free. Fortunately, they’ve got me as their guide and I know the ins and outs of the city and how to have packed days without spending a dime.

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Buckhead, Atlanta

I just read an article in the New York Times travel section (albeit a year old) about Buckhead, which is just north of Atlanta’s central downtown area—or we say “uptown” since it tends to be classier, more upscale, and a lot more expensive. According to the NYTimes article, it’s “one the of the nation’s wealthiest communities…the Beverly Hills of the South.” Now I don’t know if I’d go THAT far, but it certainly is a very nice area, with beautiful malls, great restaurants and bars (yes, I’ve created for myself a bit of a social life), museums, and stunning houses and hotels.

Here are some places in the Buckhead area that are worth checking out:

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Happy Thanksgiving Month!

In my classroom, November is Turkey Month. Why celebrate a fun and meaningful holiday for only one day when you can celebrate all month long? Besides spending a lot of time focusing on what we are thankful for, collecting charity for those less fortunate than we are, and learning about (and cooking) traditional American and Native American food, we spend a lot of time talking about the first settlers, American history, and early American geography. I simulate a Mayflower journey to America and we travel around the East Coast delving into all these subjects. Here are the highlights from our historical journey through New England. Ask your kids—they should be able to tell you the early significance of all these places (that is, if they have a teacher as good as I am!):

Happy Turkey Month!
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A Kid’s Guide to L.A.

It’s been a while since I’ve put in my two cents on the California scene, and when my sister and her two little kids came for a visit, it inspired me to do a little research. So here’s a list of fun activities for kids in the Los Angeles area. Some are more obvious and some are a bit more obscure. Feel free to add to the list!

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San Francisco

I can’t believe our family trip has already come and gone so quickly! I don’t think I have ever had such a jam packed vacation. Usually we’ll go somewhere A LOT smaller and spend most of the time on the beach or hiking, with a museum or theme park thrown in for kicks. This time, we spent the entire time on the go. it was exhausting, to say the least, but fun. The kids had a great time and I really felt like they deserved it after a difficult year, moving and all.

We did the things that were on my list: Basic Brown Bear Factory (loved it!), the Wax Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf (helloooo Elvis!), and Alcatraz Island (Julia threw up on the ferry, but otherwise, fun!). We also went to Pier 39, at Fisherman’s Wharf where we bought tons of junk and saw sea lions (which Justin loved).

Other big hits were the Exploratorium which was fantastic, the de Young Museum which I loved, but mainly because it was just me and my dad. My mom took the kids to the Golden Gate Park. One day we went to the Ghirardelli store and then rented bikes and rode across the Golden Gate Bridge into Sausalito. Had lunch, and ferried back (Julia was fine that time). That was probably the best day.

We spent a day on Baker Beach only having to shield the kids’ eyes a few times. (NOTE: if you want to stick near clothed (at least minimally) beach goers, stay away from the northern section of the beach). We went to Oakland Zoo, Children’s Fairyland (cute), the Chabot Space & Science Center, and Waterworld Park.

And more! It was definitely our best trip. I only got into a few fights with my parents (which is NOTHING) and the kids got to see their cousin and my brother is doing great. it was such a relief to have things out of my hands, the planning, the paying, the transportation. And the best part…is that it’s nice to be home!
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