Kristen Bell
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The California Questionnaire: Kristen Bell

The California Questionnaire: Kristen Bell
The acclaimed actress shares why she is so proud to call California home

Kristen Bell may look like a California native but the bubbly, blonde-haired, blue-eyed actress actually hails from Michigan. She moved to the West Coast in her early twenties and now qualifies as an outspoken advocate for the Golden State. Bell first came to fame as high school student and detective Veronica Mars on the eponymous TV series, which filmed in San Diego County, and later on Heroes, which was shot in Los Angeles. But she stole the hearts of little girls all around the globe as Princess Anna of Arendelle in Disney’s Frozen, the highest-grossing animated film of all time. Bell, who currently co-stars with Ted Danson on NBC's The Good Place, explains why she and her husband, actor Dax Shepard, have chosen to raise their daughters in a sunshine-filled part of the world that also happens to be near some epic snow.

Where do you live? Los Angeles

Why there? I originally came to Los Angeles for work, but I stayed for the lifestyle. Every day, everywhere I look, I see acts of openness, and a plethora of diversity. The people here consistently reaffirm my belief in the human spirit. I’m very proud to call L.A. home.

Who or what is your greatest California love? The loyal sunshine. It never lets me down. It lifts my spirits, it makes my garden grow, and keeps me outdoors and active.

What is the biggest misperception about Californians? Many refer to Californians as living in a “bubble.” I disagree. A bubble insinuates insulation and a barrier to outside elements. Across the state of California, there is a vast range of political opinions, diversity, and ideologies.

What is the stereotype that most holds true? Traffic. It lives up to its notorious reputation.

What is your favorite Golden State splurge? Family trips to Mammoth Mountain. Playing in the snow is such a treat for us, since L.A. (almost) never sees any. More than the snow angels and the snowmobiling, the serenity and peace that permeate everything on Mammoth are unparalleled. There’s a very special warmth that you can only find in a cold environment, and Mammoth has no shortage of it. That feeling alone is worth the splurge.

Time for a road trip. Where (in California) are you going? Glamis [Algodones] Sand Dunes! We camp in an RV and go off-roading as often as possible. We find it very freeing to escape real life for a long weekend and get dirty in the sand.

If you could decree an official state culinary experience, what would it be? The French Laundry, Thomas Keller’s flagship restaurant in Northern California. It is truly an incomparable dining experience. From the food to the presentation to the atmosphere, it is unforgettable. From the moment you arrive to the moment you leave, every detail is executed with precision and artistic integrity. It has received countless accolades and awards for excellence from the culinary industry, and when you eat there, you immediately know why. It is very special.

Best California song? “California Love” by Tupac, featuring Dr. Dre. Because truer words have never been spoken… California knows how to party. 

How would your California dream day unfold? My perfect L.A. day would start by sleeping in (because on my dream day, my kids let me sleep past 6:30 a.m.) and waking up to the sunshine. Then, gathering the family, walking to Griffith Park and grabbing breakfast at the adorable and delicious café, Trails, that sits at the bottom of the mountain. After Trails, walking home, letting the kids play, while I dig around in my garden. After everyone feels adequately relaxed, we hop on our bikes and take a family bike ride along the L.A. River as the sun sets on us. After we get home, we have a family dance party while making dinner for the kids and singing them to sleep. Once the kids are tucked in, my husband and I get ready and head to dinner at our favorite spot, Eveleigh. The food is incredible and it’s a perfect date-night spot. It’s on Sunset Blvd, in the heart of L.A., and you can see the city twinkling all around you. After dinner, we come home, snuggle on the couch and throw on the latest episode of Dateline. And that’s that… perfection. 

 

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Ryan Killackey

Discover Los Angeles County

See a movie star. Sip a cocktail on a rooftop bar at sunset. Slip on a pair of designer shoes in an ultra-luxurious boutique in Beverly Hills. Play at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, explore world-class museums, or dance the night away in a starlet-filled club. Welcome to California’s liveliest city, entertainment capital of America, with megastar wattage and nonstop activities.

“You know, you’re really a nobody in L.A. unless you have a really big door.”  –comedian Steve Martin

The main hub is the City of Los Angeles, with legendary Hollywood northwest of downtown, the San Fernando Valley to the east, and the inviting beaches of Santa Monica and Malibu to the west.

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Marina del Rey

Visit this inviting waterfront community near Venice Beach and Santa Monica for laid-back fun

Roughly six miles north of Los Angeles International Airport sits ...

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Head to this new summer festival in Pasadena to hear the impressive lineup and sample local cuisine

Music festivals don't have to cater to just one generation—and that couldn’t be clearer at Pasadena’s summer concert festival, Arroyo...

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Los Angeles county
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Burbank

The entertainment industry’s home base offers a microcosm of stars, shopping, and cool tours

If you come to Los Angeles wishing to see where movie magic gets made, look on the other side of Hollywood—literally.

...

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Photograph by Peggy Sirota

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The former volleyball champion and model—now an author and fitness guru—shares her California favorites

After retiring from a successful beach volleyball career, Gabrielle Reece didn’t slow down—instead, she kept adding to her résumé: mother,...

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Watch celebrity chefs in action at this annual event in downtown Los Angeles

If you’re a foodie, your definition of “celebrity sighting” in Los Angeles has little to do with movie stars. Instead, this annual event at L.A. Live, located across from Staples Center, is like...

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All around L.A. County, shoppers can find today’s trends at amazing prices

Homegrown Los Angeles fashion runs the gamut from red-carpet-ready looks by Rodarte to slouchy, soft T-shirts by James Perse, which makes this county a...

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La Brea Tar Pits

Find fossils and family-friendly fun at this prehistoric excavation site

Your idea of old may be 100, but that will undoubtedly change after you spend several hours at the La Brea Tar Pits & Museum. You will learn...

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"The Squaw Man" was filmed in 1913, and was the first feature-length film made in Hollywood.
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Spotlight: Los Angeles

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Bright lights, A-list celebrities & diverse culture

Welcome to the bright lights and big-city allure of California’s largest metropolis. Here, A-list celebrities really do walk the sidewalks, triple...

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Neil Kremer/ Flickr

Spotlight: Hollywood

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Showbiz, celebrities, & endless possibilities

Tinseltown, where starlets are discovered on every street corner (or at least we like to think they are), and the tinted windows of that stretch...

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North Hollywood

Experience a different Hollywood just north of Tinseltown

From bustling Hollywood Boulevard, it’s less than 10 minutes to North Hollywood’s NoHo Arts District, a happening enclave where live theater—not...

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Celebrity Spotting

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Where to see stars in Hollywood

Stargazing takes on a different meaning in Tinseltown. While there’s no guarantee you’ll spy a familiar face when you’re here, there are some...

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Courtesy of Visit West Hollywood

West Hollywood

A designer’s dream with shops, architecture, and style

West Hollywood has been dubbed “The Creative City,” and for good reason. Bordering Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, “WeHo” is where fashion and the...

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WeHo Design District

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Get trendy in a fashion-forward neighborhood

This stylish destination, roughly defined by the intersection of Melrose Avenue and Robertson and Beverly Boulevards might be one of the best...

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Courtesy of West Hollywood

Sunset Strip Nightlife

Welcome to L.A.’s home of rock ‘n’ roll

Few roads have as much history as this 2-mile-/3.2-km-long section of Sunset Boulevard, bounded by Havenhurst Drive and Doheny Drive. In the 1960s...

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Trip 8-10 days 10 stops

Ultimate Southern California

Beach Towns & Big Thrills
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Your trip begins in California’s largest city. L.A. has nonstop action and things to do, but it can be a challenge to navigate, so planning your trip in advance is a big plus. Start in the coastal city of Santa Monica, with a wide, uncrowded beach, a signature pier topped by carnival rides and...

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Famous for their giant sequoias, soaring mountains, deep canyons, and roaring rivers, this tandem set of parks have plenty to see, even though they are less well known than Yosemite, roughly 75 miles/120 kilometers north. Within the borders of Sequoia & Kings Canyon are Mount Whitney, the...

For me, returning to Los Angeles annihilates the memories of where I have just been with an astonishing speed.
Henry Rollins
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Courtesy of Chris Burden/ Museum Associates/ LACMA

Museums

See masterpieces and innovative contemporary works

With its diverse collection of museums, Los Angeles has grown into one of the world’s great cities for art lovers. From the dramatically modern...

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Malibu

Explore a fabled beachfront town with real star power

Stretching for more than 30 miles along the Pacific and Highway One, Malibu has achieved...

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Sharon Mollerus/ Flickr

Los Angeles County Shopping

Go boutique to bargain in one of the world’s fashion (and shopping) capitals

You’ll definitely want to leave room in your suitcase for L.A. shopping.

If you’re ready to whip out the platinum card, head to Rodeo Drive...

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Make memories at some of California's family-favorite beaches

Sand, water, and kids—it’s a natural combination for easy family fun. This sandy dozen offers appealing, family-friendly features, such as calm water for new swimmers, tide pools for intrepid...

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Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisanal cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets...

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Check these amazing experiences off your bucket list

Kiss a beluga, see cool movie props, and learn about Walt’s secret hideaway on exclusive and behind-the-scenes tours at California’s theme parks and attractions. Here’s a roundup of worth-the-...

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Pasadena

Tour an Arts and Crafts masterpiece and more in the home of the Rose Bowl

Set at the base of the towering San Gabriel Mountains, Pasadena is best known as the home of the annual Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose...

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World-class accommodations in world-class locations

Head to the heart of California’s cities for luxurious stays at world-class accommodations. From San Francisco’s historic hotels to celebrity hot spots in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, California’s...

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Lynn Gately/Flickr
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Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you're in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you'll find it here. Want to sample fresh produce? Try our farmers...

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Spotlight: Santa Catalina Island

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An island retreat off the Southern California coast

Swaying palms, white-sand beaches, warmest water in summer, and melt-your-heart sunsets—that’s what you’ll find at pretty-much-perfect island...

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Taste the delicious dishes from these amazing California chefs

From a candy-colored pastry shop to Michelin-starred dining rooms, top restaurants run by celebrity chefs dot the Golden State. And even if you don’t know these chefs from the TV...

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Venice

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Surfers, skateboarders, and stars

Venice is the ultimate L.A. neighborhood where the surf meets the human circus. Spend a day along Venice’s palm-lined, beachfront boardwalk and...

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Discover quintessential sun and fun at these coastal charmers

Take one part water, one part sand, one part sun-soaked coastal charm, and you’ve got the recipe for some of the Golden State’s most appealing destinations....

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Long Beach

Experience the many sides of a dynamic coastal city

With beaches and marinas along its waterfront and a busy dining and shopping scene on downtown’s Pine Avenue, Long Beach blends big city...

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L.A. Architecture

See eye-catching icons and stately landmarks

While Los Angeles is still a young city when compared to places like, say, Rome, it still boasts a unique architectural tradition that spans a...

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Lancaster's Civic Musical Road is the only "musical" or "singing" road in the United States.
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Hands-on fun for all at farms, ranches, and fields statewide

From almonds and olives up north to avocados, oranges, and dates in South, the Golden State has a crop (or 10) for nearly every stretch of terrain. After all,...

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February or March

You certainly won’t be the only one celebrating the Lunar New Year at this colorful event in L.A.’s Chinatown. Join thousands of revelers lining the parade route as lion dancers and giant dragons...

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Jorge Gonzalez/Flickr
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Unleash the kid within at California’s ultimate playgrounds

From Disneyland classics to beachfront carousels, the Golden State’s best-in-class theme parks deliver something for everyone. Take a tram ride to tour movie back lots at Universal Studios...

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