For those of you who are planning to spend a few days pre or post cruise in the Southern California area, here are few points of interest for you:
J. Paul Getty Museum - a wonderful day to spend part of the day for art loves. The museum has a wonderful view (on a clear day) of the LA Basin and West LA. there is some great art work there and the architecture is beautiful. Reservations are not required. There is no admission fee, only a parking fee.
Farmer's Market/The Grove - LA's original farmer's market is a charming way to spend the lunch hour. Located in the Fairfax district, there are some nice eateries, a farmer's market, and some merchants. Its located right next door to the new outdoor shopping area known as the Grove which has some upscale restaurants, a movie theater, and shops!
Santa Catalina Island - for those not stopping at Catalina on their cruise, its just a short 1 hour ferry ride from Long Beach to Santa Catalina Island. Its a great way to spend a day strolling along the main walk, renting bikes for a great tour of the island, hiking, kayaking or other watersports.
Disneyland - this is more for someone who has 2-3 days to spend exploring Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure. For those who just want to come for the evening or for lunch for some dining, Downtown Disney is a nice place to be. And its free!
3rd Street Promenade/Santa Monica Pier - walking 3rd Street Promenade is quite entertaining. 3rd Street, adjacent to the Santa Monica Pier is closed off as a pedestrian shopping zone for 3-4 blocks. There are street performers, great restaurants, and lots of shopping. When you're tired of walking the shopping area, you can come over to the Santa Monica Pier and watch the sun set into the Pacific Ocean.
Venice Boardwalk - famous throughout the world for its shopping, dining and street entertainment. Its a 1-2 mile stretch of boardwalk at Venice Beach.
Hollywood Walk of Fame/Mann's Chinese Theater/Hollywood & Highland - this seems to be a must for most tourist visiting the area. I personally think its a bit overrated, but you can walk along Hollywood Blvd and see thousands of starts on the Walk of Fame. Walk from the historic Mann's Chinese Theater all the way to the more hip shopping area of Hollywood & Highland where the Kodak Theater is, home to the Academy Awards.