As most of you know, at the beginning of the year I booked my first vacation to L.A. I’ve had a lot of people asking about my trip, and what the “must do’s” are, so I hope this blog post helps!
In January one of my co-workers, Kelsey and I booked a spontaneous five day trip to L.A. Even though Kelsey and I only had a few brief conversations with each other prior to booking this trip, we thought we’d give it a try.
L.A is somewhere most people envision fame, glamour, money, and luxury. During my short visit to L.A I learned that every place you go to is a complete different experience, giving you the mix of a little bit of everything. Five months after our trip, the co-worker I barely knew, is now one of my best friends, and together we experienced an unforgettable trip to L.A.
There is an unlimited amount of things to do in L.A, that it almost may be a little overwhelming. L.A is full of many different vibes, such as Rodeo Drive fulfilling the picture perfect scene, full of high end stores and rich people living their glamorous, every day lives. Venice Beach + Boardwalk is full of beach vibes, and is surrounded by a lot of street performers and free spirits. Abbot Kinney Blvd is a street you cannot miss out on, and is filled with cute shops and restaurants. Abbot Kinney Blvd is still located in Venice, but is almost like a whole new place with it’s different scenery. As you probably get the point, L.A is full of everything. So if there’s a place/town/or neighbourhood you may not enjoy, don’t worry because the next street over or the next town you go to will be completely different.
Our highlights of VENICE:
As mentioned above, Venice beach and boardwalk is where you’ll find a lot of free spirits. Personally, coming from a small, preppy town it is very cool to see how different and how happy people are doing crazy things you’d never experience seeing in a small town. With our empty stomachs, one thing we noticed while on the boardwalk is that there weren’t too many appealing places to eat. It may just have been where we specifically were, but it was definitely hard to find a good place to get dinner.
Abbot Kinney Blvd is a great place to check out cute, unique shops and foods. There are a lot of pricey stores, but also some great ones that are super cute and affordable. “Heavenly Couture” was one of my favourites. We tried out a lunch place called “Lemonade” and split their “Not so Little Italy” and “Special grilled cheese” sandwiches. They also had great soups, and had many different flavours of lemonade. The way they organize guests placing and making their food orders is pretty different, and may be confusing. But overall, it is a great place to grab a quick lunch.
To end the night off in Venice, we Uber’d to the Marina Del Rey area and strolled around taking in all the breath taking, beautiful views. We went to the Warehouse Restaurant, which is a casual, American food restaurant. The food wasn’t anything to brag about, but we got a window seat near the water and enjoyed our food and drinks with the pretty marina views.
How we spent our day in SANTA MONICA:
We started Day Two off with Ubering to Santa Monica from Venice. We woke ourselves up by enjoying coffee at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf which is a small, cafe on the Santa Monica Pier. We got our coffees and took a stroll down the pier while appreciating the beautiful morning we had. We then went on some rides in Pacific Park, with the Ferris Wheel being my favourite because of the Santa Monica views you get at the top.
We then walked to Downtown Santa Monica, and did some shopping. Something you have to check out for either a meal, or just some drinks, is The Fairmont Bungalow. It’s absolutely beautiful, very popular, classy, and a great place for celebrity spotting’s. We also went to a really great Italian restaurant called Lago which had great food and service.
What we got up to in HOLLYWOOD:
In my opinion, Hollywood is definitely the most glamorous part of L.A. The nightlife is amazing, and people watching never gets boring. One of the most memorable activities we did in Hollywood was the hike to the Hollywood sign. Long story short, Kelsey and I got the wrong directions on the correct way to do the hike. When you do the correct trail/hike, you end up behind the Hollywood sign. As you can see in this picture, we are waaay in front of it. It was still super fun, and I loved the views of the sign from the way we took, but if you are interested in the hike from seeing and being behind the sign, make sure you have the correct path/route before you go, and bring lots of water!!
In-N-Out is one of the most hyped things about L.A. You see it a ton of times on Instagram, and each time I have gone, it is always full of customers inside the restaurants, and it always has a busy drive through (which is a good sign). This incredibly popular restaurant is something you can’t miss out on in L.A, and have to go to check it out for yourself. I have visited L.A two different times, and have gone to two different In-N-Out restaurants. Unfortunately, both times I went I hated it. The food was cold, shakes were warm and the service was slow. I love McDonald’s and Wendy’s, so it’s not that I’m this hard to please, food critic. Hopefully, this was just two times of bad luck, and if you go it is as good as it’s reputation.
Another incredibly popular thing is the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This was somewhere Kelsey and I tried Ubering too, until we realized we were literally standing on it. This is another thing that didn’t really live up to it’s expectation, with having so many dirty spots along the walk. The Hollywood Walk of Fame goes on forever, and is something you need to see while in Hollywood, but just know that not all spots on it are as perfect as pictures make it look.
We ended our first day in Hollywood with dinner at Catch L.A. This was one of my favourite restaurants with it’s beautiful, picturesque scenery, and great food. This is somewhere you definitely dress up for, and somewhere you will NEED to make a reservation for. This is a great restaurant for seafood lovers, or somewhere just for great cocktails, and mouthwatering desserts. Make sure you save room for the “Hit Me” chocolate cake because its one of the best desserts you’ll ever have. After enough cocktails we made our way to a comedy show we bought tickets for online for the Laugh Factory. I have been to comedy shows before, but to be honest, this wasn’t one of my favourites.
Our second day in Hollywood we spent checking out Rodeo Drive, and having another fabulous meal at Il Pasta Ristorante. This was an Italian meal that served an unbelievable chicken parmesan, and had a cute patio overlooking the expensive stores, and people who walked them. This was another time I felt myself getting lost in L.A, by observing the people and admiring the crazy lifestyle they must live. After a great experience at this restaurant we went to our next stop which was at Warner Bros. for a studio tour. This is where we got to see the set of Friends, Pretty Little Liars, The Big Bang Theory, Harry Potter (I’m not a fan, but Kelsey is a huge one) and many more. The tour took up most of the day, and because of one of my connections in L.A, we got free passes.
After the tour, we went back to our beautiful Airbnb and got freshened up for a night out. (I also would 100% recommend checking out Airbnb before getting a hotel, because our experience this trip with our Airbnb accommodation was a lot better than the hotel room we got. )
We wanted a fun night out on the town, and that’s what we got when we spent our night at The Abbey. The Abbey, is a gay bar, and we happened to go on the night where they were performing an incredible drag show. Since this was the first drag show I have ever been too, I was mesmerized. We had so much fun, socializing with new friends and drinking until the bar closed. The Abbey was really a great nightlife experience.
Visiting L.A, and the memories you make will be something you will never forget. As you can tell there are many things to do, so to get the most out of your trip I would recommend planning ahead. We couldn’t be happier with the time we spent there which was four nights, and five days. A very important thing I learned while in L.A is that a lot of places are close to each other in distance, but will take an extra 20-30 minutes to travel because of the insane amount of traffic (keep this in mind while timing out activities and travel time).
This was my first time in L.A but definitely won’t be my last. Thanks for reading, and I’d love to know your “L.A MUST DO’S”, so leave a comment below.