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Ric Romero's one-tank getaway: Beverly Hills

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Beverly Hills used to be one of the best places to grow lima beans, but today, it's one of the most glamorous places in the world, known for mansions, movie stars, Rodeo Drive and the zip code 90210. But there's so much more worth taking in.

The first stop is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences headquarters at 8949 Wilshire Blvd. The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is one of the finest movie theaters in the world. Picture and sound are calibrated exactly to Academy standards.

The theater seats over a thousand people. From June 13 to August 8, visitors can watch silent movies on Monday nights for only $5, and the parking is free.

You'll find that the floor is not sticky at this theater because no food or drinks are allowed.

You can also see a fascinating and very colorful Cuban film poster exhibit in the grand lobby of the home of the Oscars - something you won't see anywhere else.

"Every time they release a film, they make a poster, and it's silk screened," said Randy Haberkamp. "It's kind of the way that we used to do it here in the old days, but it's something that they have held on to."

The Academy is open to the public Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission for the exhibit is free, as well as the parking.

Parking can be tough to come by on the street in Beverly Hills, so look for one of the city parking structures that has free parking for the first two hours - one of the best deals in town.

A great way to tour the city is to hop on the trolley. Take a ride through Beverly Hills on a 40-minute narrated tour of art, architecture and history of the city. Pick up the trolley on Rodeo Drive and Dayton Way at a cost of $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under.

If you're here on a Sunday, make sure you stop by the farmers' market on the 9300 block of Civic Center Drive. You'll find the finest in California grown fruits and vegetables from more than 60 farmers.

But you can't do a trip to 90210 without going to a mansion. The next stop is the historic Greystone Mansion and Park at 905 Loma Vista Dr. It is owned by the city of Beverly Hills.

"It was built in 1927 by a man named Edward Lawrence Doheny. He was an oil baron at the time and one of the wealthiest men in the world, and he had this house built for his son," said Lino Guananja.

The house was built at a cost of $3.1 million, which is the equivalent of more than $38 million in today's dollars. The mansion has beautiful grounds and a spectacular view, but the inside of the mansion is used primarily for special events and movie production.

Greystone Mansion is open to the public every day for free, and the parking is also free.

During your Beverly Hills getaway, take time to stop for an energy boost at Lette Macarons at 9466 Charleville Boulevard. Owner Paulette Koumetz says each macaron is a different flavor and is nothing like the coconut macaroon cookie.

Koumetz says because the macarons are small, you can eat them anytime - before meals, between meals or after meals.

Two other places to check out in Beverly Hills include the Paley Center for Media, which examines the intersections between media and society, and the Virginia Robinson Gardens, which is a beautiful historical landmark that was once the residence of retail giants Virginia and Harry Robinson.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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