Los Angeles Travel Guide
For Thanksgiving this year, my boyfriend and I flew to Los Angeles. We took it as a time to see family and to explore areas we haven’t seen before. My boyfriend used to live in LA and I in Orange, so the city isn’t foreign to us, but it seems like there is always more to see.
And yes, this trip there were definitely some new places, new bites, and new adventures that we’ve never experienced before.
Where to Stay:
I love staying in Airbnb’s because you can find some really unique ones and it gives you the option to cook some of your meals and feel like you’re a local.
If you’ve never used Airbnb, you can use this link to get $40 in travel credit when you sign up.
What to Do:
Not only can you find accommodations on Airbnb, but you call also find experiences and great restaurant deals. Keep reading, for info. about the LA trip I just went on.
Venice & Santa Monica
The first day was a little hectic because the car rental took forever and we were starving and sleep deprived. We immediately got food and went to Venice. We’ve been to the Venice Boardwalk and canals before, so this time we new exactly where we wanted to go. For me, Cafe Gratitude was my food stop and for my boyfriend, In-N-Out was a must.
I also recommend The Butcher’s Daughter for another great food experience and for the ambience. Then we walked along Abbot Kinney and explored the shops. We had a super unique experience at the Shinola store, where the salesman led us back to a secret room to try out their record player. The rest of the day was us settling in, being reintroduced to LA traffic ;), and reuniting with family. I would also recommend checking out Santa Monica, the beach and the promenade.
Echo Park & Silver Lake
We woke up and ventured to Echo Park for brunch at Ostrich Farm. My breakfast flatbread was amazing! Next we hit up Silverlake for some shopping and oat iced lattes at Intelligentsia. On our last trip to LA, we also walked around the actual park in Echo Park, which was beautiful with lots of water and greenery. You should definitely check that out! Another time, I would love to check out the Hollyhock house, built by the well known architect, Frank Loyd Wright.
The little town of Orange in Orange County is where I spent four years at Chapman University, so it was a must to go back to. They have a super quaint little old town to walk around with lots of shops and restaurants. Here we met one of my best friends from college for some great Mexican food at Taco Adobe. Then we walked around and shopped in the boutiques, and visited the Chapman campus, which is beautiful. In the circle, there are lots of antique/vintage stores and some great boutiques like Laurenly, Coco Rose, and Nectar that have really cute women’s clothes.
For some great bites, Growl Juice Pubs has yummy juices and smoothies, The Filling Station has a great brunch, and A La Minute has the best ice cream I have ever tasted (try the vanilla bean and olive oil flavor, it will blow your mind).
Downtown LA is super fun to walk or drive around in because of all the different buildings, areas, and architecture. Some parts are a little sketchy, which is why I recommend wandering around during the day and if you go there at night, know exactly where you’re headed. Being an architecture lover, my boyfriend took me to the newest skyscraper, the Wilshire Grand Center, which has a hotel, retail, and offices in it. The design aspects of the building are really cool and we had fun wandering around from bottom to top.
If you are interested in architecture, you should definitely check out the Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Broad Museum, and The Bradbury Building, all in downtown. For our next trip we definitely want to go on the Skyslide, a glass slide on top of the US Bank Tower. You definitely need to be a thrill seeker for this one and will get an awesome view of the city.
The Last Bookstore is a really cool bookstore, music store, and art collective that we randomly stumbled upon. For foodies, you must visit the Grand Central Market, which houses tons of restaurants, bars, and stores all in one place. It reminds me of the markets that you see in a lot of European cities. Also, it’s across from the Bradbury Building, which I mentioned early and is a 1893 built office building with an iconic interior of an atrium, elevators, and stairs. Out the opposite end of the market, is the Angel’s Flight, built in 1901, which is like a little gondola that takes you up to the next street.
Hollywood is the spot for some interesting people watching. It’s not the nicest place to walk around in, but there are some landmarks you might want to see, like the Walk of Fame, Chinese Theater, Hollywood sign, etc. The Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park where the Hollywood sign is, is beautiful and has an awesome view of the city. We visited Hollywood to go to Amoeba Records, a wonderland for music lovers. There’s some other shops, healthy food spots, and an Urban Outfitters Home store (I was so excited because I’d never seen one before!!!) We ate lunch at one of my favorite burger places of all time, Umami, where you can enjoy homemade burger buns and ketchup and lots of truffle options. Our must do in Hollywood is actually at night. Good Times at Davey Wayne’s is a speakeasy type bar/club that is always a fun time. The venue is literally a house with a bar area, living room area, patio area, and dance floor. Have fun singing and dancing to oldies and you’ll feel like you stepped back in time and into a 70’s house party.
In Melrose there is endless shopping from high-end stores to vintage stores. We started our morning by grabbing two iced lattes at Alfred in the Alley. It’s a wonderful atmosphere and they even sell coconut water for you to drink right out of a coconut! There are several locations, so look for the nearest one. Then we did some great vintage shopping and on Sundays, there is the Melrose Trading Post, a market of antique, vintage, and artisan goods. Keep on the lookout for lots of wall murals to take some good pics. in front of. Then, we took a drive through Bel-Air and Beverly Hills neighborhoods and saw some ginormous luxury homes. We stopped in to walk along Rodeo Drive for the experience, saw all the designer stores, and had some pistachio and vanilla gelato in the shape of a rose.
When going to the Beverly Grove are, you have to visit The Grove shopping center. It was a lot smaller than I expected, but was beautifully decorated for the holidays. And while you’re there you have to check out the Farmer’s Market, which is more of place with small shops and food places than what I think of as a farmer’s market, a market of local farmers with their produce and goods. After The Grove, we stopped by the Urban Lights art installation outside of the LA County Museum for a photo op. You’ll probably remember this group of lamp posts from movies and TV, like in No Strings Attached.
We drove to the Malibu Pier and had brunch at the Malibu Farm Cafe (we had lattes and some delicious cauliflower pizza). Then we drove through the beautiful hills and wineries to the Saddle Rock Ranch, where we went on a Malbu Wine Safari (yes, it’s just like it sounds. Wine tasting and exotic animals). On the estate, there is a collection of many different types of animals that you can get up close and personal with and a collection of old vehicles from a vintage fire truck to a VW hippie van. The experience was amazing and I definitely recommend it. We had some wonderful wine, snacks, conversation, and tons of fun! Unfortunately, we were short on time, but would of liked to visit The Getty Villa to see some beautiful art and architecture.
Well that raps up our latest LA trip. There’s so much to see, so next time we visit we’ll check off some more experiences on our list.
Where are some places you recommend to visit while in LA (food, attractions, experiences, etc.)?
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