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Ashlee Simpson’s Los Angeles

Vicki Arkoff tries ‘LA My Way’ with a genuine Hollywood star – Ashlee Simpson.

Ashlee Simpson’s perfect Los Angeles credentials (MTV, Melrose Place, Saturday Night Live, sister of Jessica Simpson, wife of Fall Out Boy Pete Wentz) make her a great tour guide.

Originally from Waco, Texas, Ashlee Simpson-Wentz isn’t a true California girl but she’s sooooo L.A.  She even has a baby boy with an only-in-L.A. name (Bronx Mowgli); a mansion in the Hollywood Hills; a West Hollywood shopping addiction; a blonder-than-blond mane (sometimes) and a gradually growing list of CD, TV and film credits.

She’s come a long way from her starlet start with her MTV reality show and has put her Saturday Night Live appearance behind her. She moved on and moved on up a starring role in Melrose Place, the update of the 1980s series … until she was evicted from the cast, that is. No matter. It’s just another twist in Ashlee’s rollercoaster life in La La Land.

Fortunately for Ashlee, she’s found happiness at home. “My favorite day in L.A. is waking up and hanging out with my son,” she says, grinning ear to ear. “He entertains me so much every day. It’s so fun to watch him go through so many changes.”

Ashlee’s content not changing much herself lately, especially when it comes to clothes (as celeb paparazzi insist on documenting 24/7). “I don’t shop as much now that I’m a mom. I like to be comfy so for me it’s all about a white t-shirt or a tank top and comfortable jeans. But I love Balenciaga, I can’t lie!”

She may not be as indulgent anymore, but given the opportunity Ashlee knows just what she’d do if she had a day to herself: hit one of her friends’ favorite L.A. spas. “I haven’t had a massage since the day my son was born. My friends keep talking about Korean and Thai massages they’ve had, which sounds so nice.”

But that’s rarely the case, and it would only mean a stressful day of dodging the gossip press and paparazzi that follow her every move. So Ashlee’s come up with a few special places for her new family to get away from it all and relax practically right in their own backyard.

First stop on a sunny day is the Los Angeles Zoo. “The first time I took my baby to the zoo he didn’t quite get it,” she laughs. “He was so young I don’t think he understood what he was seeing. It must have been surreal! Now he appreciates it all.”

And when it comes to entertaining guests, nightclubs are no longer Ashlee’s thing. “The Getty Center art museum is the place I most recommend for friends visiting L.A. It’s beautiful and it’s a place everyone can enjoy. There are things for kids, things for adults. You can have a nice café meal at a spectacular window table, or take a picnic lunch to spread out on the garden lawn. It’s a great place to walk around for a day. It’s free and it’s easy and it’s paparazzi free!”
Balenciaga:  8670 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles 90069.

Los Angeles’ flagship store for the French fashion house founded by Spanish-Basque designer Cristóbal Balenciaga. With its beautiful displays, spaceship lounge décor and complete line, this is the perfect place to lust over some of the most coveted clothes and bags in the world. Hours vary.

Getty Center: 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, 90049.

The West Coast’s most spectacular art museum is a piece of art on its own, a stunning architectural masterpiece by architect Richard Meier. The museum’s permanent collection includes perhaps the world’s most valuable private collection of pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts; and 19th- and 20th-century American and European photographs. Grand gardens, billion dollar views, unique tramway transport to the hilltop galleries, and all for free to visitors. Open Tuesday – Friday, 10 am – 5.50 pm; Saturday 10 am – 9 pm; Sunday 10 am – 5.30 pm; closed Monday. Parking $15; free after 5 p.m.

Los Angeles Zoo: 5333 Zoo Dr. Los Angeles, CA 90027

More than 1,100 species are housed in the L.A. Zoo’s beautiful Griffith Park location, directly across the road from the Gene Autry Museum. Highlights include new exhibits for gorillas, chimpanzees, red apes, Komodo dragons, a new children’s zoo, and a rare California

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