American Nomad Blog
About this blog
American Nomad covers the best of U.S. travel—from vacation deals to festivals, weekend getaways, travel tips, and more. A seasoned traveler and Moon author, Laura is the perfect guide to help discover new gems when traveling domestically.
- A Southern Girl's Wintertime Adventure in Yellowstone
- One Novelist's Odyssey Across America
- Gearing up for a Family Camping Trip
- Mint Juleps and More at Oak Alley Plantation
- Avoiding Identity Theft While on Vacation
- Money-Saving Travel Tips from Nomadic Matt
- Fashion, Fun, and Convenience for the Modern Traveler
- In Search of Irish Museums Across America
- The Inspiring Journey of a Solo Kayaker
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 2
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 1
- Experiencing Yosemite with YExplore
- Two Travel Contests Worth Mentioning
- A Word About the TSA's No-No List
- A Reader's Advice About Airport Security
U.S. Travel Secret #1: The Magic Castle
In early November, Katie of Tripbase blogged about her three “best kept travel secrets,” then tagged five other travel bloggers to do the same. Since then, this challenge has been making the rounds on the Internet, and just last week, the hilarious mind behind The Word Wire tagged me to offer three secrets of my own.
Now, in keeping with this blog's theme, I've prepared a three-part series to highlight some of my favorite places or events in America. Naturally, I hope you'll consider them the next time you hit the road.
My first travel secret involves The Magic Castle in Hollywood, California. Featured in the film Lord of Illusions (1995), The Magic Castle (7001 Franklin Ave., 323/851-3313, show times vary) is a one-of-a-kind place, a storied edifice that well suits its legendary Hollywood surroundings. Built in 1908, this gorgeous Victorian-style mansion is indeed the world's most famous club for magicians and magic enthusiasts, a showplace for some of the finest magicians from around the world, and home to the Academy of Magical Arts. Inside, you'll find a labyrinth of rooms and theaters, filled with memorabilia and magic tricks – and surely, no one leaves this real-life Hogwarts disappointed.
The problem is that it's closed to the public. In fact, this exclusive club is only open to members and invited guests. Even the on-site restaurant (for which reservations are required) is off-limits to regular folks.
Of course, this makes it even more exciting to visit, as though you're part of a select group ushered into a house of mysteries. A few years ago, my husband and I were lucky enough to be invited by a newly accepted magician, a friend of a friend. It was truly a wondrous experience. From the moment we said the “secret word” that opened the front doors, we were immersed in a world of magic. We watched and participated in several magic shows that night – and we even had a chance to witness the young man who had recently won a world championship with his unique cup-and-ball trick, using clear glasses! To this day, I don't know how he accomplished that.
If you're even remotely interested in magic, I highly recommend adding The Magic Castle to your must-see list, and the great news is that being or knowing a member is not the only way to gain entrance. A little-known fact is that staying at the nearby Magic Castle Hotel (7025 Franklin Ave., 323/851-0800 or 800/741-4915, $154-314 d), which was renovated in 2004, allows you access to the coveted Magic Castle. That's reason alone to stay at this lovely boutique hotel, which also offers Turkish cotton bathrobes, complimentary snacks, free high-speed wireless Internet access, suites with fully equipped kitchens, and a heated pool, among other amenities.
Even if you live in the Los Angeles area, it's worth staying at this hotel. Believe me, you won't soon forget your visit to the Magic Castle. I doubt there's any other place like it on earth.
I hope this “travel secret” has piqued your interest about the Hollywood area, a place filled with magic, mystery, and, oftentimes, mirth. For more information, consult the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce (7018 Hollywood Blvd., 323/469-8311) or pick up a copy of Liz Hamill Scott's Moon California travel guide.
As always, I’m open to ideas for future posts. If you have any suggestions, burning questions, or destinations that you’d like me to explore in greater detail, please comment below or contact me at laura [at] wanderingsoles [dot] com.