It's getting easier to travel during COVID-19. Here's what you should know

It's getting easier to travel during COVID-19. Here's what you should know

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By Rachel Schnalzer
Design and illustrations by Jade Cuevas

Good morning, travelers!

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It’s been more than six months since we began to hunker down because of the coronavirus pandemic. Most foreign travel is still off the table, but there is hope for those who want to travel domestically. In this edition of Escapes, you’ll learn about states that are easing restrictions on California travelers.

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Sticking close to home, however, remains advisable. Read on for ideas about how to explore some of the gems in and around Los Angeles.

✈️ Good news for domestic travelers


New York, New Jersey and Connecticut last week removed California from their lists of quarantined states, Times travel writer Christopher Reynolds reports. Californians no longer must undergo a 14-day quarantine when they travel to these three states. Those who visit New York still must complete a travel health form from New York’s Department of Health — or risk a $2,000 fine with mandatory quarantine, Reynolds explains.

It also will be easier to visit Hawaii, writes Times contributor Jay Jones. The state plans to allow visitors to enter without a 14-day self-quarantine if they can show they have had a negative COVID test within 72 hours of their arrival. This will take effect in mid-October.

Before you buy your plane tickets, it’s important to note that California officials continue to discourage nonessential travel. “Even though businesses around the state are opening up, avoid travelling long distances for vacations or pleasure as much as possible,” officials say online.

Hawaii travel could be in your future come mid-October.

(Caleb Jones / Associated Press; photo illustration by Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)

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🏛️ Pasadena architecture tour


Those who wish to travel closer to home have no shortage of places to explore in the Los Angeles area. For example, architecture buffs can hit the road for a few hours to see 16 architectural gems in one easy drive through Pasadena.

Times contributor Sharon Boorstin plotted the best way to experience sights such as Pasadena City Hall (a.k.a. Pawnee City Hall, for all my fellow “Parks and Recreation” fans), the Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics and a striking “bubble” house that was built using a giant balloon.

Do you have a favorite building in Los Angeles? Let me know, and I may include it in an edition of Escapes.

🚲 The Venice Electric Light Parade


Have you spotted the Venice Electric Light Parade? For the last five years the technicolor extravaganza has lighted up the Westside, starting each Sunday at dusk, and it’s “open to anyone with wheels and a desire for fun.” Times staff writer Jeanette Marantos recently spoke with the parade’s founder, Marcus Gladney, about his inspiration for the event: “I said, ‘I’m going to start a bicycle parade for everyone, and I’ll be like Willy Wonka and the Pied Piper combined.’”

It’s free to participate if you’d like to give it a whirl. If you need a bike, Gladney rents them for $80 a night. Visit the Electric Light Parade’s Facebook page for more information.

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When Marcus Gladney lights up the 5,000 LEDs on his bike, Big Red, it glows like a celestial being.

When Marcus Gladney lights up the 5,000 LEDs on his bike, Big Red, it glows like a celestial being.

(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

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🚗 Feeling fancy? Try this luxury experience

Canossa Grand Tours is launching four-day, three-night Italian-style car tours around Paso Robles’ wineries and California 1, limited to 20 guests and/or 10 cars at a time. At $3,950 per couple per car, this experience isn’t cheap — but it’s a relatively safe way to travel during the pandemic, Times contributor Terry Gardner writes.

Travelers have the opportunity to enjoy off-the-beaten-track vineyards and farm-to-table food, as well as lodging at Allegretto Vineyard Resort and a visit to Bruce Munro’s Field of Light at Sensorio, a stunning outdoor art installation.

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For those looking for a budget-friendly alternative, drive to Paso Robles to see Field of Light on your own, then experience an outdoor tasting at Tablas Creek or one of the region’s many other wineries.

Vineyards in Paso Robles, California

Paso Robles, Calif., wineries can replicate the Italian vacation you’ve been daydreaming about.

(Travel Paso; photo illustration by Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)

📰 What I’m reading

  • Much has been written about the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the last week. But did you know that Ginsburg was a summer regular in Santa Fe? Christopher Reynolds describes how she enjoyed spending time in New Mexico.
  • There’s a “tsunami” of hotel closures coming, experts warn. Times business reporter Hugo Martín explains how the coronavirus pandemic has been especially devastating for the hotel industry.
  • “Leisure — not business — travel will help the battered industry recover,” writes former Times travel editor Catharine Hamm. She outlines why travel associations, airlines and other experts see leisure travelers as key to getting the industry back to some semblance of normalcy.
  • Hoping to ski or snowboard this winter? Mammoth Mountain and other California resorts will limit the number of people allowed on the slopes, Times assistant travel editor Mary Forgione reports.
  • Big news for Vegas-goers: Bars and lounges were allowed to reopen at midnight on Sept. 19, albeit at half capacity because of the pandemic. Times contributor Jay Jones breaks down what this looks like.
Snow skiiers

If you’re planning on skiing this winter, you might want to read up on how the slopes will be managed this winter.

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times; photo illustration by Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)

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💻 Can’t adventure IRL? Here’s one way to expand your horizons

The world’s first completely virtual art museum launched this month, and it’s free, reports Jennifer Nalewicki in Smithsonian. Online guests can explore the Virtual Online Museum of Art’s computer-generated building in a way that feels both novel and familiar to regular museum-goers. Nalewicki explains how you can install the free VOMA program and take a spin through its galleries.

The Virtual Online Museum of Art’s computer-generated building.

With a computer and a quick download of the Virtual Online Museum of Art, you can experience a realistic art museum visit.

(Deanna J / Unsplash; photo illustration by Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)

📸 Our favorite photo

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🎸 Road song


“Carry the feeling / Through Paris, all through Rome / And I’m still thinking back to / A time under the canyon moon.”

Last weekend I took a drive down Malibu Canyon Road on the way to Carbon Beach. “Canyon Moon” by Harry Styles began playing on shuffle just as the ocean peeked into view. I couldn’t have timed it better if I had tried — and I hope it will serve as an uplifting soundtrack for your future canyon drives as well.

A sports car drives along the coast.

Get goin’ with “Canyon Moon” by Harry Styles on your next scenic drive.

(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times; photo illustration by Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)

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