Cultural Experience | Los Angeles

Touring LA Through Song

Let The Music Be Your Guide

Everything is better with music. This list offers a tour of Los Angeles combined with popular music hits to complement each experience!

1. Pacific Coast Highway – West Coast (Lana Del Ray) 

Pacific Coast Highway Elizabeth Tzagournis 2015 image

Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, CA.

This sultry single epitomizes the sexiness that is Los Angeles. Cruising down the popular Pacific Coast Highway is the only way to get those West Coast vibes. Try driving the famed road at night when the Santa Monica Pier is lit up and the road is clear of the terror that is LA traffic. There is no experience like speeding down an empty highway when the ocean is as dark as the sky and the only sound is the crashing waves and Lana’s mesmerizing vocals.

Memorable Lyrics:
Down on the West Coast, they love their movies.
Their golden gods, and rock and roll groupies.
And you’ve got the music, you’ve got the music in you, don’t you?

2. Hollywood Boulevard – California English (Vampire Weekend)

Hollywood Boulevard Elizabeth Tzagournis 2015 image

An afternoon in May on the Hollywood Boulevard.

This upbeat, fun song characterizes the exciting and crazy nature of California. Vampire Weekend calls out all the California stereotypes and also adds their own twists. Listen to this song while walking down Hollywood Boulevard.  As one of the most well-known streets in Los Angeles (and even America), California English seems to fit perfectly in the famous, wacky place. You’ll find the tourists and the street performers and maybe even a local or two. Eat at 25 Degrees (restaurant) in The Roosevelt Hotel for some delicious burgers with a high class, old-school diner feel.  There will never be a down moment on Hollywood Boulevard, that’s for sure. From the Chinese Theater to Jimmy Kimmel Live, the excitement and entertainment value is always on point.

Memorable Lyrics:
Your father moved across the country
Just to sunburn his scalp
Contra Costa, Contra Mundum, contradict what I say
Living like the French Connection, but we’ll die in L.A.

3. The Beach – California Dreamin’ (The Mamas and Papas)

Santa Monica Beach Elizabeth Tzagournis 2015 image

The beach at Santa Monica in June 2015.

This melodic swoon of a song is an absolute must for a lazy day on the beach (which there is no shortage of in California). Visit any of the multiple beaches around the Los Angeles area (Venice, Santa Monica, Redondo, Hermosa, Torrance, etc.). Get the Frenchie sandwich at Sacks On The Beach in Redondo. Eating a croissant covered in turkey, brie, apples and house raspberry sauce while lounging on the beach is my idea of the California Dream. Surf, sand and sun – that’s all there is to it.

Memorable Lyrics: All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray.
I’ve been for a walk on a winter’s day.
I’d be safe and warm if I was in L.A.;
California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day.

4. Beverly Hills – Beverly Hills (Weezer)

Touring LA Through Song

It is pretty obvious where you should listen to this song. First, hit up Sprinkle’s Cupcakes (they even have a Cupcake ATM and cupcake ice cream). Grab a classic red velvet cupcake to eat as you drive around the Beverly Hills neighborhood while crooning Weezer’s spot-on chorus and wishing you knew anybody who lived in the neighborhood of McMansions. The Beverly Hills sign is a tourist trap you’ll still want to stop at. You know you’ve really made it when you get a picture with the sign.

Memorable Lyrics:
Beverly Hills – That’s where I want to be! (Gimme Gimme)
Living in Beverly Hills…
Beverly Hills – Rolling like a celebrity! (Gimme Gimme)
Living in Beverly Hills…

5. Santa Monica Pier – California Gurls (Katy Perry)

Santa Monica Pier Elizabeth Tzagournis 2015 image

The Santa Monica Pier in June 2015.

This confectionary sugar pop song is the perfect hit for a visit to the Santa Monica Pier. Santa Monica and Venice beaches flank the famous pier and provide many a chances for a Sex on the Beach or daisy dukes and bikinis. The Pier is a must-see (if only once) and has appeared in many different films (Hannah Montana: The Movie anyone?). Then, people watch from a seat at The Albright and enjoy some fresh fish.

Memorable Lyrics:
You could travel the world
But nothing comes close
To the Golden Coast
Once you party with us
You’ll be falling in love
Oh oh oh oh

Elizabeth Tzagournis

Ohio State University | 3 stories

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