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Getting to and around in Scandinavian capitals

July 9, 2009



Scandinavia is a historical and geographical region in northern Europe that includes, and is named after, the Scandinavian Peninsula. It consists of the kingdoms of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark; some authorities argue for the inclusion of Finland and Iceland, in Scandinavia the term is, however, used unambiguously for Denmark, Norway and Sweden, which share a mutually intelligible language (a dialect continuum), ethnic composition and have close cultural and historic bonds, to a degree that Scandinavians may be considered one people.

Regardless of how the term Scandinavia is used outside the region, the terms Nordic countries and Nordic region are used officially and unambiguously to identify the nations of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland as well as the Danish territory of the Faroe Islands and the Finnish territory of Åland as politically and culturally similar entities.

Here’s a complete guide to getting to and around the Scandinavian capital cities of Copenhagen (Denmark), Stockholm (Sweden), Oslo (Norway), Helsinki (Finland) and Tallinn (Estonia).

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What happens if airline cancels your flight?

July 9, 2009

When you buy a ticket on an airline you enter into a contract with that airline. This contract of carriage spells out the obligations and rights of a carrier and a passenger. Some of the terms are set by the airline, while others are standard terms or terms provided by applicable law. Contracts of carriage can often be found on an airline’s Web site.

According to Department of Transportation data for 19 U.S. carriers, the airlines canceled 1.5 percent of their scheduled domestic flights in April, the most recent month for which the data is available.

The reasons an airline could change the time of your flight or cancel it altogether include weather, mechanical problems and shortage of crew. Some consumer advocates even speculate that airlines might cancel a flight if few people book tickets on it, though they acknowledge that would be hard to prove, and the airlines deny they would do that.

Here are tips to help you understand your options if your airline changes the time of your flight or cancels it.

There are no guarantees
Some airlines advises passengers that its schedules are subject to change without notice and that times shown on its tickets are not guaranteed. The airline may say it will not be responsible for errors or omissions in timetables or other representation of schedules.

Request a refund
Most airlines will refund the amount you paid for a ticket if they cancel your flight and can’t accommodate you on another flight that gets you to your destination on the day you were expecting. Most will not compensate you, however, for money you lost because your flight was canceled – such as missing a client meeting and not getting a big account. Remember that if you accept a refund and choose to buy a ticket on another airline, you will likely pay the walk-up fare, which is often significantly higher than the discounted coach seat you may have originally booked.

Try to negotiate
With fewer people flying, airlines are eager to generate loyalty and keep customers coming back. You may be able to use that to your advantage if an airline inconveniences you by canceling or rescheduling your flight.

Ask for a hotel room
American Airlines says that if a delay or cancellation was caused by events within its control and it does not get a passenger to his or her final destination on the expected arrival day, it will provide “reasonable” overnight accommodations, subject to availability.

Try to be rebooked
Some major airlines have interline agreements that allow them to easily rebook a passenger on another carrier. For example, under certain circumstances United Airlines may arrange for transportation on another carrier or a combination of carriers if it is unable to provide a new flight that is acceptable to the customer. In that case, the passenger would be entitled to the same class of service as the original flight at no additional cost.

Make sure your airline has your e-mail address or telephone number
… so it can alert you in the event that it cancels or reschedules your flight. There’s no hard and fast rule saying how much advance notice an airline must give you about a flight cancellation or schedule change. The last thing you want is to find out there’s a problem when you get to the airport. Delta Air Lines encourages its passengers to sign up for a service that sends them voice, text or e-mail alerts about changes to their flight. Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways have similar services. Some airlines also post the status of flights on their Web sites.

Priceline and Ticketmaster form partnership

July 9, 2009

Ticketmaster and Inc. announced Thursday that they would team up to offer travel services to ticket buyers, making Priceline the “Official Travel Partner” of the ticket agent.

The exclusive partnership allows Ticketmaster, a unit of Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc., to provide customers various hotel, airline and rental car offers from

The collaboration essentially gives the approximately 20 percent to 30 percent of Ticketmaster’s online customers that travel to events out of town a one-stop shopping experience as they can buy tickets to an event and plan their travel arrangements on one Web site.

Ticketmaster will have links and offers from Priceline on its Web site, such as Name Your Own Price hotel rooms, rental cars and airline tickets. It will also offer published-price travel services with comparision charts, maps, city attractions and hotel and restaurant reviews.

Ticketmaster president Eric Korman said, “Roughly 20-30 percent of tickets purchased on are for events outside of the fan’s home market so providing a convenient conduit to affordable travel information and solutions will bring a tremendous new convenience that will enhance the entire event experience.” Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Reasons to travel with a Kindle

July 8, 2009

You Don’t Have to Sprint to the Airport Newsstand
Before a flight you may face an abysmally long security queue. You may be worried that you are going to miss your flight and making a quick dash to the newsstand to pick up reading material is out of the question.

You can turn on the e-book reader’s wireless connection and buy the current editions of The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Newsweek. Within a few minutes, each publication is delivered wirelessly to your Kindle 2.

You Can Comfortably Read a Newspaper in Coach
Have you ever tried to read a newspaper in a crowded coach cabin? You have to fold the paper just so, and then position your arms in a certain way, so your elbows don’t make contact with your seatmate’s teeth. That’s not the case with a Kindle. You can comfortably read papers, as well as magazines, books, and blogs, with ease, no matter how sardined you are.

You Can Read Documents and Web Content
If you’ve got a lot of work-related reading to do in flight, you’ve traditionally had two options: (1) Print out and pack what you need, which adds bulk to your carry-on bag; and (2) Read it on your computer, which depletes your laptop battery.

The Kindle gives you a much better option for reading documents and even Web content in flight–one that adds no additional weight to your bag because you don’t need to carry printed pages, doesn’t drain your laptop/netbook battery (so you can use your portable PC for something else, like watching video), and doesn’t require in-flight Wi-Fi.

To read documents on your Kindle 1 or 2, most files will first need to be converted to the Kindle’s native formats (.azw and .azw1). (The Kindle DX supports PDF documents as well.)
There are a couple of ways to do this. The easiest is to e-mail your Microsoft Word files, PDFs, HTML pages, and other documents to your Kindle e-mail address. (If you didn’t set up a Kindle e-mail address, you can do so by signing in to Amazon’s Manage Your Kindle page.) The next time you turn on your Kindle’s wireless network, the document(s) will be automatically converted and downloaded to the device. The conversion process takes about 5 minutes, usually. However, Amazon charges 15 cents per megabyte for transferring documents to your Kindle wirelessly via e-mail. That’s not much, and the convenience is worth it. But if you plan to send dozens of documents on a regular basis, the cost can add up.

The other option is free but a tad more complicated. You e-mail the file you want to transfer to your Kindle address, but you add free to the address. For example, if your Kindle e-mail address is, you’d e-mail the attached file to

Within a few minutes, you’ll receive an e-mail from Amazon Kindle Support. The e-mail will include a hyperlink, which, when clicked, will download the converted file to your computer. Now you can drag and drop the file into your Kindle’s Documents folder, when the e-book reader is connected to your computer via USB cable. Amazon outlines the steps for transferring documents and files to a Kindle on its Web site.

You can download travel guides
While traveling to destinations which you’ve never traveled before, you can purchase travel guides on the Kindle 2 and refer them as you go on to your adventure.
Check out travel guides available for Kindle and PDF downloads

The Wrap Up
Paying $359 or $489 for the Kindle 2 or Kindle DX, respectively, may be way too much for many people in this economy. But any device that can lighten your carry-on load, and yet keep business travelers productive and entertained during long flights, is worth considering, if your budget allows.

Tip: M-Edge’s Platform Jacket ($30) for the Kindle 2 does double-duty as a protective cover and book stand. You can prop up your Kindle 2 on your seatback tray and read almost entirely hands free (you’ve got to push the Next Page and Prev Page buttons, of course).

If you own an iPhone then you can also download the Kindle reader application for iPhone for free!

Tiger Airways launch new Melbourne to Sydney flight

July 7, 2009

The world’s third busiest travel route has welcomed a new player to the market, with Tiger Airways launching budget flights between Melbourne and Sydney.

From Friday, up to four daily services will run between Sydney and Melbourne, which is expected to add more than 500,000 visitor seats annually between the two cities.

While the Melbourne-to-Sydney flight route is already hugely busy, Tiger Airways managing director Shelley Roberts said it expectED the new flights would open up travel to a new market.

“Our expansion into this route is in response to overwhelming customer feedback in both cities. Now we’re bringing real competition to this incredibly popular route,” Ms Roberts said.

The flights will start from $39 (one way, including tax and charges).

Tiger commenced operations from Melbourne Airport in November 2007 and currently has four Airbus A320 aircraft serving 11 destinations from Melbourne.

Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas welcomed the announcement as a boost for the local economy, tourism and commuters.


Spring Airlines to sell standing room tickets

July 7, 2009

Spring planes will become “like a bus” in an effort to increase passenger load by 40%, due to a sharp influx of customers wishing to take advantage of Spring Airlines’ cheap rates. Chinese airline officials are considering an unusual request made by Spring Airlines: allow passengers to purchase standing room only fares on short flights at cheaper rates.

Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang defends the idea, saying that “for a lower price, passengers should be able to get on a plane like catching a bus, with no seat, no luggage consignment, no food, no water, but very convenient.” It is theorized that the Spring Airlines Airbus A320 would be able to accommodate up to 40% more passengers while cutting operating costs significantly if it were to allow standing-room fares.

Where safety is concerned, airline spokesperson Zhang Wuan explained that passengers would be strapped into a barstool-like seat during take off and landing with a safety belt that fastens around the waist. Zhang claims that Airbus has assured the airline that this seating proposal is perfectly safe.

Airline president Wang Zhenghua, in a statement given to Chinese television, that since the Vice Premier lent his support, the idea has been gaining momentum.

Questions, such as how airline staff will move through the standing passengers, and safety concerns regarding evacuation issues have not been addressed.

Air India launches multi-user four coupon ticket for economy travel

July 7, 2009

Air India, as part of its ongoing marketing initiatives targeting the corporate sector, has launched “Quick Returns” – a four-coupon multi-user ticket booklet for economy class travel on the domestic sectors at an attractive price of Rs 22,916, inclusive of all taxes. The tickets are being made available for sale from July 4 till July 11; and the travel is to be completed by September 20, 2009.

“Quick Returns” booklets will be valid for use on both IC and AI coded flights on all domestic sectors barring Delhi-Thiruvananthapuram, Delhi-Kochi, Delhi-Kozhikode and Delhi-Coimbatore. Members of the Frequent Flyer Programme will earn 100 Mileage points for each sector of travel under the “Quick Returns” scheme. Corporate Houses which have entered into deals with Air India are also eligible to purchase the “Quick Returns” tickets.

To facilitate easier use of four coupon booklets, the “Quick Returns” scheme allows change of name and the sector of travel on payment of Rs 1000 per coupon. The UDF charges, wherever applicable, will have to be paid by the passengers. The tickets are non-refundable.

The Quick Returns scheme comes soon after the closure of Monsoon Special Fares – valid from June 27 till July 3, under which tickets were sold between Rs 1750 and Rs 2500 for travel on 130 domestic routes. In June 2009, the airline had introduced a short term Business Class Super Saver four-coupon scheme priced at Rs 38,000, for boosting travel in the Executive Class.

Joshua Tree National Park, California

July 6, 2009
Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree

Two deserts, two large ecosystems whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation, come together at Joshua Tree National Park. Below 3,000 feet, the Colorado Desert encompasses the eastern part of the park and features natural gardens of creosote bush, ocotillo, and cholla cactus. The higher, moister, and slightly cooler Mojave Desert is the special habitat of the Joshua tree. In addition to Joshua tree forests, the western part of the park also includes some of the most interesting geologic displays found in California’s deserts. Five fan palm oases also dot the park, indicating those few areas where water occurs naturally and wildlife abounds.

Days are typically clear with less than 25 percent humidity. Temperatures are most comfortable in the spring and fall, with an average high/low of 85 and 50°F (29 and 10°C) respectively. Winter brings cooler days, around 60°F (15°C), and freezing nights. It occasionally snows at higher elevations. Summers are hot, over 100°F (38°C) during the day and not cooling much below 75°F (24°C) until the early hours of the morning.

Get there
Joshua Tree National Park lies 140 miles east of Los Angeles. It can be approached from the west via Interstate 10 and Hwy 62 (Twentynine Palms Highway). The north entrances to the park are located at Joshua Tree Village and the city of Twentynine Palms. The south entrance at Cottonwood Spring, which lies 25 miles east of Indio, can be approached from the east or west, also via Interstate 10.

Entry fee options are as follows: The Joshua Tree National Park Annual Pass, $30 for 12 months; vehicle entry, $15.00 for 7 days; walk-in entry, $5.00 for 7 days. Alternatively, the new National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass can be purchased for $80 and allows free entry to all National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and U.S. Forest Service sites where entrance or standard amenity fees are charged for one year.

IMPORTANT: All fees must be paid in cash. They do not accept credit/debit cards.

Every campground has a unmaned post that says “Pay fees here” where you can collect the yellow envelope, write the details on it, put money in the envelope and place it in the secured box provided. 

Hidden Valley Campground. Put money in the yellow envelope and place it in the grey secured box

Hidden Valley Campground. Put money in the yellow envelope and place it in the grey secured box

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Air Arabia launches ticket & visa offer

July 2, 2009
Air Arabia

Air Arabia

Air Arabia, Sharjah’s budget carrier, has announced the launch of a special summer promotion, which offers roundtrip tickets to Sharjah, from any of the 46 destinations the airline currently serves, along with a one-month UAE tourist visa for just DHS 975 (approx $265) , inclusive of surcharges and exclusive of airport taxes.

The offer is valid for travel to Sharjah between June 15 and July 31 and return travel from Sharjah between July 16 and September 10, the airline has said.

Please note that we or our website are not responsible for any erroneous information; and we do not book tickets or apply for visas to any countries. It’s the responsibility of the website visitor to arrange and book their itineraries and visas.

Travel all around Turkey for 150TL

July 1, 2009

The Turkish State Railways, or TCDD, has announced a program offering three new cards for unlimited travel on certain types of trains during specified time periods.

The “Express Train Tour Card,” which costs 150 Turkish Liras, is valid for one month on super-express trains such as Başkent, Cumhuriyet and Fatih, as well as the blue train, express, regional express, rail bus and normal urban trains. For 500 liras, the “Compartment Train Tour Card” is valid for all trains on the Express Train Tour Card and also allows free rides for three days on train compartments with beds, with everything included.

The “High Speed Train Travel Card,” which costs 200 liras for students and 300 liras for all other passengers, is valid for one month on all trains in Turkey, with the exception of sleeper compartments.

A ride from Kapıkule to Kars
There are 42 provinces in Turkey where one can travel by train. The Eskişehir Express, leaving from Haydarpaşa Station in Istanbul at 7:10 a.m., offers the chance to discover Eskişehir’s museums of aviation and archeology as well as the Odunpazarı, Kurşunlu and Alaaddin mosques. From Eskişehir, train routes continue on to İzmir, Afyon, Konya, Adana, Ankara, Kayseri, Sivas, Erzurum, Kars, Diyarbakır, Tatvan and Kurtalan.

Travelers who stop off in Ankara can visit Atatürk’s mausoleum, the Anatolian Civilizations Museum, the Ethnography Museum, Beypazarı and Kızılcahamam. From the capital, one can continue on to Zonguldak and Karabük, Adana, Malatya or Kars on the rails. The “Güney,” or Van Gölü Express, leaves early in the morning and reaches Kayseri after midday. It is possible to leave for Sivas late in the evening without spending the night in Kayseri. The central city’s sights include the Ulu Mosque, Kale Mosque, Meydan Mosque, the Madrassa with Twin Minarets, Gök Madrassa, the Congress Museum, bridges, Turkish baths and inns. The Erzurum Express leaving from Sivas leads to Erzincan, home to plenty of historical monuments, including artifacts dating back to the Neolithic Age.

The Eastern Express or Erzurum Express may be used to travel to Kars to visit the Ani excavation site 42 kilometers away. Both of the express trains to Kars go back to Sivas, from where Samsun may be reached via the regional express. After visiting the city of Samsun, which was founded in the 7th century B.C., Amasya makes a nice stop on the way back to Sivas.

The provinces that can be visited with the new train cards include Istanbul, Edirne, Eskişehir, Ankara, Zonguldak, Kayseri, İzmir, Manisa, Adana, Mersin, Hatay, Gaziantep, Konya, Diyarbakır and Mardin.

“Smile Cards” for tourists in Bangkok

June 30, 2009

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration announced the launch of its Bangkok Smile Card project this July.

According to BMA Deputy Governor, Ms Taya Teepsuvarn, the BMA will introduce a boat pass, add information booths and designate certain roads as walking streets.

The “smile cards” are part of a wider campaign that tags Bangkok as a city of smiles. About 100,000 smile cards are to be produced for tourists to pick up at BMA information booths. It will offer discounts for attractions, shopping, dining, night sightseeing, spa, golf, massage as well as medical treatment.

Ms Taya said the BMA would work with Chao Phraya River boat operators to offer a one-day pass, priced at Bt150 (about US$5). It will enable tourists to board ferry services on the Chao Phraya River at a discount flat rate.

BMA also plans to redecorate existing information booths and build 13 new booths. It will ultimately have 28 BMA information booths once the project is completed. Another ambitious project involves setting up walking street zones in Samprang district, close to Ratchadamneon Road and Pak Klong Talat.

BMA has roughly Bt300 million a year to spend on tourism. The city welcomes about 27 million domestic visitors and 8 million international visitors who generate about Bt260 to Bt300 million in revenue.

For more information about destinations and festivals around Thailand, please call the TAT Call Center 1672.

Bandra-Worli Sea-link opens in Mumbai

June 30, 2009

After 10 years of expectations, delays and, of course, hardcore planning and labour, the spectacular Bandra-Worli Sea Link is set to open at midnight on Tuesday. Come Wednesday morning and a new day will dawn for Mumbai’s rush-hour motorists, with the Rs 750-crore link offering a new route between the island city and the western suburbs. Till now, the Mahim Causeway was the only route.

Bandra-Worli sea link in Mumbai

Bandra-Worli sea link in Mumbai

A fireworks, lights and laser show, coupled with music, was held on Monday night at the main cable-stayed bridge at the Bandra end. It was enjoyed by thousands from the Bandra promenade and Mahim beach, but was not clearly visible to those at Worli sea face and Dadar due to slight drizzles, haze and cloudiness. There was no space left at the sea-faces as thousands gathered to view the show, but those at Worli were disappointed, said Anandini Mulgaonkar and Shubha Sehgal of Worli and Bandra, respectively.

From 12.01 am onwards on Wednesday, officials are expecting joyriders to take the link before office-goers arrive in larger numbers as morning peak hour nears. With no toll from July 1 to July 5, a large amount of traffic is expected. The traffic police will face a daunting task at Worli and Bandra.

Bandra-Worli Sea-Link Map

Bandra-Worli Sea-Link Map

Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) engineers said the toll-free move is at the behest of politicians seeking political mileage.

An automatic system will identify vehicles going over the 50 kmph limit. MSRDC engineers said cameras on the link can take swift 360-degree turns and capture images of vehicles within 1.5 km. Two cameras fitted under the cable-stayed portions of the link will keep watch on the movements of boats and ships.

While work on beautifying the promenade at Bandra has begun, plans for the highest fountain in the country are on the backburner, but floating fountains may be ready in about six months.

Traffic curbs at Bandra
All vehicles will be prohibited on the road to the sea link at the Bandra end as well as K C Marg (Reclamation) on Tuesday from 3 to 8 pm. Traffic police will allow only vehicles engaged in essential and emergency services and the vehicles of invitees to the sea link’s opening. People travelling to Chapel Road, Mehboob Circle, Bandstand, Chimbai and Carter Road will have to use S V Road or Hill road. Parking restrictions will be implemented on sea link road, K C Marg, A K Vaidya Marg and adjoining roads. TNN

Mahim Causeway is currently the only route that connects the western suburbs and island city. The Bandra-Worli Sea Link will be the second major route.

Currently, it takes 35 to 38 minutes to go the 7.7-km distance between Mahim flyover and Love Grove Junction, Worli. Transport experts estimate that travelling the link plus its approach and exit roads, which also measure about 7.7 km, will take at least 25 minutes. The builders claim that travelling the 4.7-km main link will take just 6 minutes.

FREE: From July 1 to July 5
BASIC FEE: Car or SUV | Rs 50 | Mini bus or mini truck | Rs 75 | Bus or truck Rs 100
PASSES: Daily travel: (2-way ) | 1.5 times basic toll
Daily travel: (multiple entries) | 2.5 times basic toll
Monthly pass: (all vehicles) | 50 times basic toll
Note: Buses will be charged Re 1 extra for each commuter ticket

Manual payment: 30 seconds
Swipe card (for monthly passes): 20 seconds On-board-unit electronic payment: 10 to 12 seconds


Statue of Liberty Crown opens July 4, 2009

June 29, 2009
Statue of Liberty (Source: Wikipedia)

Statue of Liberty (Source: Wikipedia)

After closure since 9/11 (2001), the Statue pedestal reopened to visitors in 2004.

The crown has been closed since 9/11, but will reopen on July 4 2009. Visitors will enter/exit the crown in groups of 10, under the direct supervision of a Park Service employee.

Tel: +1 866 782 8834 (within USA) or +1 212 269 5755 (international)
Timings: 8:30am-5:15pm (hours adjusted seasonally).

  • Take the ferry from Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan or from Liberty State Park in New Jersey (Statue cruises).
  • Be prepared for airport like security screening with similar restrictions (no food or open liquids, no knives, etc.) before boarding the boat.
  • No entry ticket is required to visit the island.
  • A free, timed ticket is required for entry to the statue.
  • Tickets are limited in number and can be obtained on the day from the ferry company or in advance (for $1.75) by calling the ticket office on the phone number above (8am-7pm) or online.
  • Signs on the Island state that you should obtain your tickets 1 week in advance to guarantee that you will be able to enter the pedestal.
  • The Promenade Tour (which requires a second security check) consists of a tour through the monument lobby and museum (20-30 minutes) and then outside to the promenade and Fort Wood. The Observatory Tour additionally includes a trip in the elevator to the pedestal observation deck (not up into the statue itself).
  • Security checks are rigorous so travel as light as possible.
  • Backpacks and other large bags are not permitted on the tours but can be stored in lockers for a fee. On busy days there may be long waits.
  • If leaving from Manhattan, you may need to arrive at Battery Park 2 hours before your timed tour to allow for security screening and ferry travel.
  • Best to arrive at Battery Park early in the morning.
  • From the Manhattan ferry the Statue of Liberty will be located on the right side of the boat. Admission to the Island is free – but you need to pay for the ferry.
  • Ferry Fees Audio tour $6.

Tips for traveling with a baby

June 29, 2009

Traveling with a baby can be daunting and overwhelming. You can avoid disasters of missing a flight or losing the stroller – here are top ten tips to prepare you for traveling with a baby:

Make sure to leave plenty of time to get to the airport, check in, and go through security. With baby in tow, everything takes a bit longer.

If you are bringing a bottle, be aware that security will have to scan the milk as you pass through. This often takes a while.

Make sure you know exactly how to fold your stroller. You will need to be able to do it quickly and efficiently!

Light Stroller
A stroller that is inexpensive and lightweight is your best bet. When I first started traveling with my son, I carried my two-piece Bugaboo, which is both lightweight and easy to fold.

Pack Light
Only carry what you will need for the airport and plane ride. Bring a bottle if needed, three diapers, and buy travel sizes of your baby essentials such as wet wipes and Aquaphor.

Only carry on what you really need for yourself. You will be preoccupied with taking care of the baby.

Include an extra change of clothes for the baby. Make sure that both of you are dressed comfortably, especially for longer flights.

Best time to travel
Pick the best time to travel with a baby. When taking a long trip, try and book the red-eye flight so your baby can sleep for the entire flight.

Think ahead. Buy your baby supplies when you get to your destination. Or, you can order them in advance from and have them shipped directly to your destination.

If your baby uses a pacifier, as mine does, make sure to bring at least one extra for the trip in case it falls on the floor.

Photos: Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles

June 29, 2009


Click here to see photographs

A New Space For Music

Designed by architect Frank Gehry, Walt Disney Concert Hall, new home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, is designed to be one of the most acoustically sophisticated concert halls in the world, providing both visual and aural intimacy for an unparalleled musical experience.

Through the vision and generosity of Lillian Disney, the Disney family, and many other individual and corporate donors, the city will enjoy one of the finest concert halls in the world, as well as an internationally recognized architectural landmark.

From the stainless steel curves of its striking exterior to the state-of-the-art acoustics of the hardwood-paneled main auditorium, the 3.6-acre complex embodies the unique energy and creative spirit of the city of Los Angeles and its orchestra.

The Vision

In 1987, the late Lillian Disney made an initial gift of $50 million to build a world-class performance venue as a gift to the people of Los Angeles and a tribute to Walt Disney’s devotion to the arts. Since then, other gifts and accumulated interest bring the Disney family’s total contribution to over $100 million. The County of Los Angeles agreed to provide the land and significant additional funding to finance Walt Disney Concert Hall’s six-level subterranean parking garage.

In 1988, renowned architect Frank Gehry was selected to design the complex, whose final shape he unveiled in 1991. The County initiated construction of the parking garage in 1992, completing it in 1996. Construction on the Concert Hall itself began in November 1999. Also that year, the Music Center launched a capital campaign to complete the construction funding. Many corporate, foundation, and individual partners, along with the State of California, have contributed generously to the campaign due to the remarkable leadership of Andrea L. Van de Kamp, Chairman of the Music Center, Eli Broad, Chairman of SunAmerica, Inc., and former Los Angeles Mayor Richard J. Riordan. The Los Angeles Philharmonic provided additional funding for the core project and full funding for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Center.

Tour Information
Virtual Tour

111 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Driving Directions

Santa Ana (5 North)
From the 5 North, take 101 North and exit at Grand Avenue, just before the 110 interchange. Turn right onto Grand. Turn right on Second Street and right into the parking lot. Or, from Grand, turn left on First, right on Olive, right on Kosciuszko, right on Lower Grand, left into the main parking entrance.

Golden State (5 South)
From the 5 South, take 110 South, exit on Hill Street. Continue past Temple to First Street, turn right. Left on Olive, right on Kosciuszko, right on Lower Grand, left into the lot.

Hollywood (101 North)
From 101 North, exit on Grand Avenue, just before the 110 interchange. Turn right onto Grand. Turn right on Second Street and right into the parking lot. Or, from Grand, turn left on First, right on Olive, right on Kosciuszko, right on Lower Grand, left into the main parking entrance.

Hollywood (101 South)
From 101 South, exit at Temple St., going straight across Temple St. onto Hope St. Turn left at Second Place, from the middle lane veer left onto Kosciuszko, left at lower Grand, left into the lot.

Harbor (110 North)
Exit on Fourth Street. Continue straight to lower Grand, turn left. Pass Kosciuszko, turn left into the lot.

Pasadena (110 South)
Exit on Hill Street. Continue past Temple to First Street, turn right. Left on Olive, right on Kosciuszko, right on Lower Grand, left into the lot.

Santa Monica (10 East)
From the 10 East take 110 North, exit on 4th Street. Continue straight to lower Grand, turn left. Past Kosciuszko, turn left into the lot.

San Bernardino (10 West)
From the 10 West, take 101 North and exit at Grand Avenue, just before the 110 interchange. Turn right onto Grand. Turn right on Second Street and right into the parking lot. Or, from Grand, turn left on First, right on Olive, right on Kosciuszko, right on Lower Grand, left into the main parking entrance.

Metro Rail

Don’t want to drive? Learn how to take Metro Rail to Philharmonic concerts by clicking on the TripPlanner. The site will map your route from home to the Music Center, as well as provide fare information and arrival & departure times. Walt Disney Concert Hall is located closest to the Red Line Civic Center Metro stop at 101 S. Hill St. (southwest corner of First and Hill).

The MTA provides a helpful TripPlanner for those using public transportation. The Civic Center station on the Red Line is the closest, just to the east of Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Bus Service

For information on bus service to the Music Center, please contact the MTA at 1-800-COMMUTE or visit their website:

Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus now offers weekend service. Click here for their website.

Holiday Late Night DASH and Red Line Service

Free Holiday Late Night DASH Service
DASH will be running evening service for free on Friday and Saturday nights from 6:30pm to 3:00am from November 21 through December 27, as well as December 31. Click here for the route map.

In addition, the MTA Red Line will be running special service on Friday and Saturday evenings till 3am.


Parking is available directly beneath Walt Disney Concert Hall. Enter on Second Street or Lower Grand Avenue. Regular parking costs $8 beginning at 5:00 p.m. for evening concerts; two hours before weekday matinees; and all day on weekends. Both the Second Street and Lower Grand entrances will be open 6:00am to midnight, Monday through Friday, and 7:00am to midnight on Saturday and Sunday.

Valet parking is available for $20 at the Hope Street entrance, beginning at 5:00 p.m. for evening concerts; two hours before weekday matinees; and all day on weekends. The Hope Street valet and Founders parking entrance will open three hours before each concert.

Accessible parking spaces for vehicles displaying valid, state-issued disability parking placards or license plates are reserved near the elevators on each level.

For questions or problems regarding Music Center parking, please contact Five Star Parking at 213.687.4484.

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