Wednesday, 31 August 2011


Bonjour. It's time to visit Europe on your latest world travels and where better than France's capital city and the worlds capital city of romance, culture and tradition? One of the worlds best business and cultural centres, housing politics, education, entertainment, media, fashion and science to a high degree. A city that opens up history, beauty and your heart. Where else? Biendeveu a Paris! Paris' motto is 'Fluctuat nec mergitur', which in Latin means, 'It is tossed by the waves, but does not sink'...well OK then. Make your own interpretation but it's clear that this city of light really shines and is on the rise. From great food and drink to grand architecture now it's speaking your language. Let's talk about it...

Off the sublimely serene River Seine, in this town your perspective of the world will change once again. What stands out most about gay Paris is the enormous, historical evoking Eiffel Tower that scrapes above the sky and towers above everything else. A cast-iron structure of epic, man-made proportions, this is bold and beautiful and in iconic status associated with France and Europe as a whole as much as Paris. Elevating your way to the top (if you don't have the shoes to walk the serious experience that is these staircases), you can almost see the whole city from the top of this tower. The view is as amazing as it is vast, all-encompassing in the day, golden and bright at night. Ooh la, la, this sure is beautiful. Words in any language can't describe, you just have to view it for yourself and take your time.

From the Eiffel Tower you can catch an upfront view of La Défense behind it. This stunning business district is well-endowed with sky scrapers and architectural structures that look more like something out of Asia or America than a traditional European city that has seen little change since 1860 (and believe me that's a good thing, as this cities positive percent is at a century). Nonetheless La Défense is inoffensive to the tradition of its home and a perfect part of Paris, a classic attraction and one of the worlds favourite cities that continues to make dynamic developments, just like neighbouring European city and country London in England.

Take another view from Eiffel and you will get an eye full of the long and epic Champs-Élysées. A road that doubles up as a boutique of restaurants and shops and mainly as a mall. One so magnificent it could even put London and Washington's malls in their respective places. Travel and traverse down this tree-lined mile that helps Paris make it's footprint as a green city and you'll really see a city rich in colour, texture and tradition. When the annual, worldwide appealing, tradition of the Tour De France reaches its destination here, you can really see it in all its glory. Take the Arc de Triomphe at the top of the mall for example. This really is an arc of triumph and iconic structure in the forefront of tourist attractions and the background of the capital of France's history. It rests as a monument and symbol of Paris' timeless culture and architectural greatness. White marble has never looked so perfect or pure.

As a matter of fact there's more to Paris then what meets the tour guides eyes. Every road, vestibule, alley and rue is rich with beautiful culture, character, tradition and history, making even a stop at any hotel, restaurant bar or coffee shop a memorable experience to cash into your memory banks. Still for a good nights sleep may we suggest Hotel Eiffel Seine. A good meal, Le Grand Véfour (where atmosphere and ambiance is on the menu). A good coffee (and lunch), Da Stuzzi which was used in 'Inception' (no it didn't really blow up) and a good time Le Baiser Salé. Or if you want to get real wild and fancy a cabaret how about the majestic Moulin Rouge? All these places are great and wonderful places to stay even with your world on a string. Speaking of money, this may not be Italy or London you best believe this city is in fashion with serious shopping, as the grand Galeries Lafayette department store really makes for one heaven sent shopping experience, especially in the magical Christmas season.

There's so much more to see in this city sight wise too. Where else can you read the 'Da Vinci Code' next to a pyramid that looks like a greenhouse and the 'other' Statue of Liberty. A place that has so many museums and galleries that you might just catch a glimpse of Napoleon or the worlds most famous painting and if that's not enough, why not save time and take it all in on the wheel that shows you all the WOW factors of this amazing place? Like the praise-worthy testament of the 12th century cathedral Notre Dame de Paris, the grace given Tuileries Gardens, the epic, song-worthy Opéra Garnier or the loving Louvre which will capture your heart.

Or how about the romantic street of Lycée Louis-le-Grand, again recently made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio movie 'Inception' (but again, don't worry the street won't really turn in on its self). Places like the lavish Latin Quarter, the evocative Élysée Palace or the canvas of the Canal Saint-Martin help paint this town whole. Paris is pretty and as perfect as a picture, from the Place Vendôme to the Place de la Concorde there's plenty to see and do in this cityscape. While the sensational Sacré-Cœur Basilica almost looks like something out of India. Still the Jardin du Luxembourg gardens are distinctly French and distinctly beautiful. For sports too, football or otherwise, no stage is greater than the Stade Da France, while for other forms of family entertainment, don't forget Disneyland Paris too.

This is why Paris is the most visited city in the world and all these millions of people can't be wrong. So take une minute as its time to wave au revoir to work for a week or two and wave hello to a city you'll really adore. The French have it all from the magnificent Marseilles to cool Calais but nothing is more of an exclamation to the country of France than the perfect place that is its capital, Paris. So brush up on your Francais, take the last train to Paris and live it up. Just make sure you say hello to Mona Lisa while your there. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Saturday, 27 August 2011


Welcome to fabulous, viva Las Vegas. As soon as you drive past that infamous, iconic sign after miles and miles of desert you know you've entered a whole different world all together. One full of light, life and money (even if it is yours) but Vegas is more than just a place for gambling or the city where Frank Sinatra-along with Dino, Sammy and the rest of the Rat Pack boys-did things his way. So whatever your vice, in this city do as you please, but here's some recommendations we're sure you can bet on. Let's roll the dice...

Whether your looking to get hungover with your wolf pack, or look as slick and smart as George Clooney and Brad Pitt as you try and take over some casino's (forget the 'Ocean's Eleven' speech the house always wins), this city in Nevada makes for the perfect night to hit the town. You can party on like Wayne and Garth in this world. I mean where else can you venture to New York, Paris and Egypt in the same night? Plus driving or walking the strip reveals the best this place or neon has to offer. From the vintage, classic signs of the past that where a part of American history to the constant modernisation the Las Vegas strip shines so much brighter than anything else, even New York's Times Square (hey, that's here too) the epicentre of the world.

It's little wonder from Mase's 'Feel So Good' to Lil' Wayne's 'Lollipop' that they've been filming expensive, money burning hip-hop videos here for years now. Sure there may be no account for taste or tack here, but hey your in Vegas and if you can't live it up here, where can you? Besides with escalators on the streets you really can walk in style in this visual orgy that really has everything for the eyes to see, stimulating all the senses too. If you really want to splurge (depends on how much you win) a helicopter ride really gives you an aerial, awesome-inspiring, amazing view of this strip that plain and bare really is something else.

I know your waiting to hit the casinos though right? If you can take your eyes off all of the lights and play your cards right then see if your gamble pays off when the chips are down in this strips classic, famous casinos. From the palms, to whatver you can get your fingers on, just make sure you play a good hand. Take the beautiful Bellagio for example in all it's bold brilliance. Or the fabulous flaunt of the Flamingo, a place that inspired the name of the stunning solo album from The Killer's frontman and hometown hero Brandon Flowers. Or why not hit Paris or New York or the French feel of the Monte Carlo? Or if that betrays your God like status (please!) then why not take a trip up to Caesar's Palace (and no, he didn't live here, stop asking and annoying the staff).

All these casino's and many more will guarantee you an unforgettable, classic night in all their grand spectacle. You don't even have to wait for Cher or Barry Manilow to get here (but you really should try and catch a truly magic Penn & Teller show, those two entertainers don't miss a trick). These places really make for one a real interesting night, whether your rolling dice or rolling out on the dance floor. Gambling or clubbing where else can you see woman smoking Cuban cigars so casually? Plus can you ever say you've danced the night away in a pirate ship, buying rounds for American troops that have come home? HOORAH!

'The Entertainment Capital of the World' has more to exclaim than a vast and vibrant nightlife however. With magnificent malls in the many numbers and beautiful boutiques that will leave your girlfriends mouth and your wallet open, shopping is also on the cards and in the bags here with even designer labels painted at a lower, more affordable price. You see these places don't need your money, the house and the city will take care of doing a pretty good job of that. Plus when a place can afford to put a roller coaster in the middle of a shopping centre you know your good for a bargain.

Thinking a little less green, even the hippest hotels here are in budgets price range, no need for hotels here really. With so many unique, incredible places to lay your hat at, the choice and the theme is yours. May we suggest you rock out at the legendary Hard Rock of all Hard Rock's however? You know the place whose guitar front was totalled by a plane flew by Nic Cage and John Malkovich in 'Con Air'. Where else but a place where you can check in with Bruce Springsteen motioning at you to keep quiet or wake up to Prince's purple suit staring at you? Money still plays in this casino/hotel as does Johnny Cash's guitar. Plus everybody loves the famous Hard Rock Café, so how about breakfast?

Still if that doesn't whet your appetite, even more food is on the menu for brunch, lunch dinner or even a light snack in Las Vegas. Just make sure you take a bite or two out the Tao Beach or the Mon Ami Gabi. Mmm, mmm. How's that for a review? Or if you like it a little tougher how about the meaty Delmonico's Steakhouse? Or the Mesa Grill for your fill?

It's clear to the average holiday maker that Las Vegas is more than just cards and dice. There are many great concert venues bringing performers in from Donny Osmond to Wayne Brady as they all perform marathon dates that cross off more calendars than excited kids waiting for Spring break. Sports also play here with the Thomas & Mack Centre just outside the strip. Home to UNLV, some great college basketball and even some preseason Lakers and Summer league NBA (not this lockout year however) but as for an NBA franchise, after the 2007 All-Star game, forget about it.

Still if you want to get further away from the strip and the beaten track why not drive out the city, from the beautiful, isolated and serene desert scene and sublime Spring Mountains, to nearby (ish) state Arizona and visit a National Park American landmark and one of the worlds eight wonders; the Grand Canyon. Your close enough, and the incredible, structurally grand Hoover Dam is on the way. As for the canyon, this inspiring, vast beautiful wonder can not be done justice by words or the new, groundbreaking, glass floor 'Skywalk'. You simply have to see this unforgettable experience for yourself. Still, this isn't Vegas, so let's get back on track.

A track that trains the eyes to Black Jack, Lady Luck and a festival of neon that runs all night, every night. The city of Las Vegas will take you everywhere and the Fremont Street Experience is the best mall and most attractive, pedestrian by name but not by nature with it's lavishing cool, 'Viva Vision' LED canopy and much more to offer below, amongst and beyond. An experience as classic as the waving Binion's Horseshoe sign, which is pure, Americana vintage and second only to a neon lady waving her leg in iconic and synonymous status with this place.

Believe us, you can make it in this town. Vegas has New York in it's pocket as the real city that never sleeps, even with it's cool eerie daytime feel. The casino's never shut their lights off, so expect to be kept awake by a place so illuminating Frank Sinatra built a house on the outskirts when he was banned from the city just to be close to it. Love it or loathe the thought this is just one place you have to visit and what happens here shouldn't stay here. Go tell a friend how fabulous this place is. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Thursday, 25 August 2011


Scott McKenzie once said that if you ever go to San Francisco be sure to wear some flowers in your hair and this classic place surely takes you to decades past with it's peaceful vibe. If you want to get away from the rat race and the stress of the hustle and bustle then this is the city for you. A modern place that isn't behind the times but yet has a 60's feel, you'll fall in love with this warm, friendly, embracing and welcoming town the moment you get there. So let's take a minute.

Don't waste a second in this sensational city but take your time and relax as you take in everything. Just walking by the sea of this place on the Californian coast makes the most of your future memories. The beautiful boardwalk and serene perfect ports really take you away as the Bay Area really is all encompassing in this Golden State. Speaking of Oakland as you walk by the shore in the distance you can see the beautiful bridge that will take you there. Before you walk any further however don't forget the attractive, appealing Pier 39, or the favourite Fisherman's Wharf, which still functions as a tourist destination and a place to reel in the customers. Above all though it's simple but meaningful elements of community and beauty really add colour and character to this city.

Walking across the Golden Gate bridge in the day or driving across at night is a real inspiring and beautiful trip. The grand design of this red iron structure is truly remarkable, it's little wonder this single bit of road has been used in countless cinematic moments in many big-budget blockbusters (most recently it was taken over by the 'Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes' but don't worry it's just a film). With the misty, awe-inspiring atmosphere and the most perfect view of the Pacific, words don't do this unforgettable, magical experience justice. You will literally have to see it for yourself, but trust me it's well worth the price of admission for this holiday. The Golden Gate bridge stands as one of the brightest gateways and one of the greatest things you'll ever see or do. This American landmark really is one of the realest wonders of the world.

If you want to see more American landmarks that have made for some massive Hollywood blockbusters why not head to 'The Rock' or Alcatraz as it is more commonly known. This famous former prison famously homed Al Capone and a Clint Eastwood movie ('Escape From Alcatraz') amongst others. Even as you head down on a boat amongst the eerie mist and creepy, 'Shutter Island' esque atmosphere you almost feel like a prisoner yourself and you'd really feel it if it wasn't for the choppy ride over. Today the jail stands as a relic and a brilliant piece of history. As you make your way round this prison, you can feel what it's like to be behind bars and even hear stories of some infamous escapes or attempts at escape. You be the judge, but see for yourself one of the most strangest/intriguing places in the world. One of such interest that it draws 1.5 million visitors per every 365 days. Plus from the penitentiary you can really catch an incredible view of the city.

As you take the boat back and head back downtown you can delve into the depths of the brilliant view from the sea. The Financial District of San Fran affords some of the best buildings you'll see like the 1925 Pacbell building that really stands the test of time but nothing stand out more than the perfectly perplexing, transfixing Transamerica Pyramid building in all its architectural creativity and beauty. If you head down California street you can really see the economical effects of the California Gold Rush, but if your really want to mine the best nuggets out of this city then you have to walk or better yet drive down the famous, iconic hilly streets of this town. This is where this place really shines, especially with the classic, vintage, cable car trams that take you on a real trip down this town. Drivers beware however, you are not Steve McQueen and this is not 'Bullitt' (or any other of the many more movies inspired by this place). Your speeding tickets or cars chassis can not take your best impression.

The mix of modern and Victorian architecture give this place the perfect big city/small town feeling mix while the beautiful descending row of houses really gives this city an uprising and warm feel. Still, however unless your couch surfing you may want to find yourself some accommodation and from the Edwardian hotel, the aptly named 'Good' hotel and the 'Hi' hostels you ll be hard-pressed not to find somewhere and some place so welcoming. Plus from Bar Jules, to the Sweet Sugar Lounge and the Millennium Restaurant and Zuni Cafe there are plenty of places for your food and drink needs, wants and desires. In the core of the city you can find everything from shopping to dining in the unifying Union Square. An area which is cool, calm and also doubles up as a really great outside library, complete with fountains and views pouring with character and charm. So bring a book and take a load off. This city is made for relaxing too.

Don't stay too long chopping it up in coffee houses however as talk all you want because there is so much more to see in San Francisco. From Chinatown to Japantown, the bold Baker Beach, the grace of Golden Gate Park and the awesome Aquatic Park. The famous Silicon Valley is worth processing, while the Pacific Heights will really take you higher. Or add the classic City Hall and the traditional Ferry Building which is just classic California all over. Still if you've had enough of the sights how about some entertainment. There are lots of great gigs and music venues here like Annie's Music club. Or how about some sports? Where the 49er's of the NFL and the Giants of baseball make for some legendary sports franchises and memorable evenings out and tourist experiences. Or if you like to relax a bit more, why not hit the links on the Harding Park Golf Course? A beautiful green that's PGA approved.

Take a trip to the incredible twin peaks and you can really see all this city has to offer and take a photographic memory opportunity of everything you've traversed during your San Francisco chronicles. This place is rich in history and culture and from the majestic museums to the pretty, pretty nice people you have to take it all in. One trip isn't enough but you really have to make the most of a place you'll want to see again and again. With a cool climate, with just enough Summer breeze too you can really feel the atmosphere of this bright and beautiful place. The legendary crooner Tony Bennett left his heart in this city and this towns so loving you just may find his or even yours here. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Welcome to Miami! Bienvenido a Miami! South Beach is bringing the heat. The city that attracted everyone from Will Smith to Shaquille O'Neal and one that will draw you in to from its beautiful beaches to scintillating sunlight. This place is home to all nations, Spanish, Haitian, Indian, Jamaican, Black, White, Cuban or Asian. OK, enough of the Will Smith lyrics, how about some facts? In 2008 'Forbes' magazine named Miami the 'Cleanest City In America' and with beautiful streets and a great atmosphere it's also one of the freshest places in the entire United States. So don your least and brightest and take a walk round this city while we show you the bare essentials of the sensational South Beach.

As soon as you touch down in this town the amazing atmosphere and humidity hits you, even at night giving this city a fresh, new feeling. Some may not be able to stand it, but this feeling really helps you take in this place and make you realise you really are on holiday and somewhere else. So as you hitch a ride downtown in a cab (see if you can find one that isn't a hummer these days) it's time to lay your hat. Miami has any hip and happening hotels and hostels to stay in from the art deco to the constantly developing 'Manhattanized' high rise buildings. Our pick however is the affordable yet idyllic Indian Creek Hotel. It's quaint, friendly and a pebbles throw away from the beach and everything after. Plus it has a grand garden in the middle and you'll be sure not to lose the cool alligator room keys.

After your first nights sleep and before you get this travel show on the road its time to fuel up. So why not take a rest stop at one of the many brilliant diners, cafes and/or eateries which house a great way to get full and spend an hour or two? Our choice from the menu is the 'Big Pink' restaurant, which is perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even cocktails (I had a corn beef hash with scrambled eggs there which is among the biggest, best things I've ever chowed down). This diverse, do it all giant place may have a dodgy name but it is coloured by bright and friendly staff. Plus if your in to your big portions you have to try the mammoth corned beef hash and scrambled eggs, ready for anytime of the day. Now if you can handle that you have to go hard and try one of the many delicious desserts. Nobody does portions like the U.S. or them in the Pink. The proof in the big pudding is in the ordering and of course the tasting.

Now you have to leave time to digest for this next one as its time to hit the beach for one of your trips highlights. From the stunning sun to the beautiful people South Beach keeps the good times going from dusk 'till dawn. As a matter of fact watching the clear sky turn from day to night on the shore of this beach is one of the most beautiful, inspiring things you'll ever see-but safety first-this isn't the best place to be at night. Still from wonderful white sand to the sublime turquoise sea, you'll fall in love with this city the moment you have to pour sand out of your shoes.

Even going under the boardwalk like the Four Tops or sitting on the dock of the bay like Otis Redding gives you more memorable moments in South Beach, you'll feel a million miles away but strangely at home with all the twists and turns this place has to offer if you take a walking tour. From watching grand hotel complexes being built to seeing beautiful boats and yachts chug by it's clear a lot of money is going in to the development of this city, a place definitely worth investing your time in.

South Beach has more to offer than just sand and sea however. The South Beach strip is also home to one of America's most hip and happening nights out with clubs and bars adorning the street and facing the ocean. You can do everything from grabbing a quiet drink and listening to some alive, live music to dancing the night and the morning away in some of South Beaches best nightspots. Our ideal night out however is 'The Clevelander'. What better in a hot city like this then an outside club? Now just try getting rejected or thrown out of this place. Plus with great music, people and surroundings this really does make for one of South Beaches most memorable moments whether your a clubber or not.

Still if this really isn't for you then why not save South Beach for the next morning and check out some shops. With streets and streets of famous stores and boutiques this retail sector really offers everything to your credit card. The Kardashian's even have made a 'Dash' here. Still if this isn't your reality the streets have much more to offer with cinemas and beautiful, white-stone buildings galore. From the feel of art deco, to modern neon lights South Beach glitters in all it's colorful gold. Seriously this place even has one of the brightest looking banks you'll ever see, now you can draw a lot from that.

Then again if you'd like to get away from the South Beach scene you could always head downtown, where even more developments are happening and coming along in the heart of Miami. The streets are lined with murals and new building projects as the city looks more and more like New York by the day. Also from the Port Of Miami to the beautiful Bayside you will see some of the best perspectives of this town and all that's down here. This 'Cruise Capital Of The World' has great markets and imported and exported promise. The Freedom Tower and the Miami Tower really do stand above everything though, looking grand and eye-catching whether it be in the heat of the day or the bright neon of the night.

Downtown is also home to the American Airlines Arena and its Miami Heat basketball team one of the best forms of sports events and entertainment in the state of Florida. This team really is giant with their new big three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. So make sure you take your tickets down to South beach so you can really feel the Heat and one of the best teams in the NBA If roundball isn't your sport however then why not make a pitch for the Miami Dolphins NFL franchise and call down to see how formidable this football franchise really is.

After this gridiron trip there's still plenty more afield to see in Dade County, so make sure you pack plenty of oranges and get your passport Miami inked because in the heart of Florida there's not much more that beats faster. From famous streets like Ocean Drive to the classic area of Coconut Grove and more beautiful neighbourhoods. Next door too, Miami is only a few tricks away from the magic kingdom of Orlando and a beautiful drive away from the tranquil Florida keys this cities reach spreads far and wide across the Atlantic. With a futuristic skyline and a present-day feeling of comfort and peace this is one place you don't want to pass up on. It's time to give in to temptation and visit vice city. TIM DAVID HARVEY

Tuesday, 2 August 2011


Welcome to Southern California. L.A. Los Angeles, the city of dreams. A place where the stars shine as bright as the West-coast sun. The home of angelenos and the world centre of business, culture, media, fashion, technology, and the "Entertainment Capital of the World". From the palm tree lined streets to some of the most beautiful beaches around this is really one of the best getaways. Want to swim, shop or see the sights? This great, unforgettable place has it all. Now lets check it out.

As soon as you touchdown in LAX (whose large letter entrance really initials the innovative place) in the day one of the things that takes your eye-if your looking out the window and not away with the fairies-is the Hollywood sign in the far distance. One of the city, countries and worlds most iconic landmarks, this district is definitely worth a visit as you surreally get closer to the famous streets and stars...but not yet. Just wait.

First-as you step off the plane-you have to get acclimatised to this place with a Mediterranean climate. From the hotter then July weather to the breathtaking scenery, this city of angels really is heaven sent. You have to hit the beach first-off because what else is better to do in your shades and shorts? In the soul of California and the heart of Los Angeles is the vast Venice Beach full of character, sand and beautiful sunshine. This is the place where they filmed 'Baywatch' and the location for a great tan and Los Angeles experience. From great courts to play sports-whether your game is tennis or basketball (the Venice Beach playgrounds are legendary)-to a muscle beach that isn't for the faint physiqued, Venice Beach is almost like a different world.

The bold boardwalk is even full of life from stalls to shops to magnificent murals. You can get everything from rock band T-shirts to your palm read and between shops if you look up you may be greeted by late legend of The Doors and L.A. son Jim Morrison amongst others painted on the side of the buildings, giving this place a Miami esque art deco feel. There are more beaches available in this city sand canvassing the Los Angeles map, from the magnificent area of Malibu to the picturesque Paradise Cove and an old favourite down in Newport with a beach tha'ts always fresh and never out of reach. Still nothing tops Venice...apart from the namesake city in Italy. Rollerblade, cycle or walk down the boardwalk and you'll be greeted with so much character and personal charm.

Then walk a little further and you'll find yourself in the sweet, memorable Santa Monica. A place dedicated to by many written songs and worn T-shirts around the world-it's that popular-even for people who've never been. You can see why to, with the famous pier-littered with old school amusements and the iconic 'Welcome To Santa Monica' sign, that's where Forrest Gump finished his epic run. Santa Monica is also home to many great restaurants, shops, cinemas, boutiques and beautiful people. There are even hedge sculptures and water fountains shaped like Dinosaurs in this perfectly peculiar plaza that is anything but prehistoric. Everything and everybody's here, from the best designers to the great self-owned business', making for a perfect day out or place for a cuppa for the English, as there is even a British themed store full of English tea, delicacies and all the British trimmings. Plus with the recently renovated Santa Monica place, you needn't shop anywhere else than this perfect place.

Unless you'd rather take a trip downtown. Los Angeles recently improved downtown area is a great destination, just be smart about what you do and where you go after hours. Shopping on the other hand (full of bags) you can do 'till you drop. From the Macy's mall to all sorts of shops, places, coffee houses (the Starbucks near the STAPLES Centre with great outside seating is a favourite), fast food joints and restaurants you'd be hard-pressed to find nothing to do here. Looking toward the STAPLES Centre this place is your home for some of America's greatest sporting events from the cool as ice, Los Angeles King's hockey team to the new Blake Griffin dunk show that is Los Angeles Clippers basketball. Still for your best basketball and sports experience you have to check out the team that plays in purple and gold as the STAPLES Centre really is Kobe Bryant and the Lakers house. These former champs really are the biggest draw in downtown Los Angeles and the NBA period, bringing in all sorts of Hollywood celebrities with everyone from Leonardo Dicaprio to courtside mainstay Jack Nicholson cheering the side on.

Or if basketball isn't your sport of choice how does baseball pitch you? Where taking a drive to the beautiful, legendary Dodger stadium would rank amongst some of the best experiences in this city. Still back at STAPLES, there's lots of impressive things to be seen from the illuminating building to the bronze statues of sporting legends Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Chick Hearn (of the Lakers), Wayne Gretzky and Oscar De La Hoya. Or the three tiered Hotel Figueroa (also a remarkable place to stay) nearby and it's ever changing with the times design. Also across the way is the newly designed Nokia theatre and L.A. Live building, which really brings this illuminating downtown area to life after hours. Here makes for a great venue for gigs, cinemas and bar and restaurants, making for the best before or after game activities(s). As does the 'Team L.A.' or new Niketown stores that offer some great sporting memorabilia for your momentous occasion.

Plus with beautiful, big, art, architectural buildings bookending everything, and sensational skyscrapers rising above it all, downtown really makes for a grand day out. Make sure you make an effort to see the innovative Disney Concert Hall up the road, one of the best steel, structured sculptures you'll ever see. Make sure you try and catch a classic performance there too. These futuristic buildings really take you further at nightfall, combined with the hot, clear air to make this cities skyline look more like something out of 'Blade Runner'. The Michael Mann movie 'Collateral' captures the shimmer and shine of downtown Los Angeles futuristic beauty at night. It's no wonder this place is used for so many movies.

Speaking of which, it's time to take that trip to Hollywood, from it's soul to the bowl. From walking past everyone from Spiderman to Marylin Monroe, to walking across the star lined streets of the Hollywood 'Walk Of Fame', this is the place to see everything from John Wayne's hand prints to Johnny Depp's star, floor sign. If you want to get even closer to the stars then maybe it would be a good idea to try and win some tickets for the hilarious Jimmy Kimmel television show, that rivals Conan, Leno or Fallon in New York. Hollywood boulevard is also the place to check out the magnificent Grauman's Chinese Theatre (and if your lucky a star-studded premiere) or to take a snap of the cool Kodak Theatre. The place where winners and losers are made at the Oscar's. Mid-February would also be the time to go if you'd rather catch a glimpse of George Clooney and Brad Pitt as opposed to just seeing their names engraved on the floor. If you want to get you full stalker on however then why not take a star map or guided tour to the Hollywood Hills and check out how some of the towns best stars are living, door to door as you take a trip round some of the most famous streets and homes in this city. Just remember, these are people too. Do not disturb. Or how about taking that guided tour to some places even mre famous then some stars? Like the sensational Sunset Boulevard or the magnificent Mulholland Drive.

Still if you don't want to reach the heights of the Hollywood hills then why not scale some other hills? Beverly Hills is famous for more than 90210, Eddie Murphy's comic cop and a Weezer song. It's also famous for being a great area and a cool place to pass through. Nearby you'll also find Rodeo Drive. An affluent place where you could snap up a camera phone picture of a passing celebrity or a not so bargain buy. This is actually the place to shop, if your bank account won't drop. These grand, great streets are full of expensive boutiques and designer shops. It's a place designed for the wealthy-even the bums won't except anything less than ten dollars-still it's an experience you can't afford to lose out on. Plus there is something for everyone.

There's more then this though, from beautiful areas like La Cienga (home of a famous Ryan Adams song) to La Brea and those infamous prehistoric filled tar pits. Or how about a walk in the park. From the evocative Echo Park to the famous MacArthur Park. Take a drive or a tour and there's plenty more to see like the classic, cool Capitol Building, which is a place where many hit records have been cut. Or how about where everything goes down in the timeless City Hall. Still if it is movies that really move you then you could spend a day in Universal Studios where you can visit some sensational sets (who would know that the crashed plane from 'War Of The Worlds' would be just round the corner from 'Desperate Housewives' Wisteria Lane, they'll have to be careful when they film there) and ride some radical rides like the Jurassic Park or The Mummy themed ones.

Now that's a hell of a lot of things to see in this city right? Well this place really is vast and one of the best ways to truly see everything is by looking out for the Griffith Observatory, a landmark that makes for an awe-inspiring, epic perspective of this awesome place. The drive up to the observatory is nice to as you pass the incredible, iconic Hollywood Bowl (a great concert venue, where everyone from The Doors to Ben Harper have played and filmed a live show) that is only rivalled by the hip Hollywood House Of Blues or the legendary Greek Theatre. Like the bowl, the observatory is a white stone, old-fashioned, but innovative building that evokes elements of Greek stylings. Nothing comes close except the old Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, look hard enough and you may see it from here. Still the observatory makes for your best view of the entire city (downtown even looks tiny, the views that grand) or the Hollywood sign (if you turn around) so don't forget to bring your cameras. Griffith also is high up in some of the most beautiful hills in Hollywood and also has some perfect surroundings. There's even a nice tribute to James Dean. The bust of his profile cementing his iconic work in the legendary 'Rebel Without A Cause' movie that had a vital scene filmed here.

You think that's it for Los Angeles' sites? Then take a trip to some other destinations here that highlight this holiday before you vacate this vacation. Why not take a car, put the top down and drive round this town with some cool Los Angeles radio station playing the songs that will serve as instant nostalgia as you cruise around a city rich with character and culture on every street corner, just watch how you go. From Wilshire Boulevard and the development of it's Grand Tower to Bel-Air if you want to try and find the Fresh Prince. Or the perfect Pacific Palisades, great Getty Centre and the wonderful works of art that are the Watts Towers are more things you must cross off the list.

Then after all this your going to want to refuel so how about some dinner? There's all sorts of great, recommended places like Cicada on 617 South Olive Street, The Pacific Dining Car on 1310 West 6Th Street, or many more, memorable places you'll be able to seek out. Then after some chow how mixing it up with the locals or your friends in one of the many great bars or night-clubs this city has to offer? From Johnny Depp's 'The Viper Room' on Sunset (just don't expect him to be pulling pints), all the way to Seven Grand on West 7Th Street (515 to be exact). Then you got to find somewhere to stay and from the best hotels (the Marriott serving your downtown needs and the 'Hotel Erwin' getting you a little closer to the Pacific) to hostels (there's a great 'Hostelling International' in Santa Monica that doesn't feel so rigidly official and a friendly one called the Hostel California which may not be a hotel or have anything to do with the famous Eagles song, but it still makes for a great little place to stay).

Now you've got all that out the way, coupled with your rest and recuperation (your going to need it) you best believe there's even more things to see and people to meet in one of the biggest and most populated cities in the world. Plus the perfectly beautiful Pacific Coast will take you to some sensational, surrounding cities (Orange County, San Francisco and Diego) and on the drive of your life. So make sure you get yourself out there. With a cold Winter coming for most places (except L.A.), now the time to take a trip you won't ever forget. TIM DAVID HARVEY.