California dreaming on such a winter’s day…
This lyric could not be more accurate as I write this during the first blizzard of 2018.
Don’t get me wrong I love the hustle & bustle of New York, but sometimes you just need a break. California is the perfect mix of a city and the beach. Last year, I was fortunate enough to visit three times and let me tell you – it does not get easier leaving each time. There were many times that I contemplated “missing” my flight so that I could sit on the beach for a few more hours and soak up the sun.
Here are some things to do and places to eat broken down by area:
Downtown LA – One of my trips, I stayed at the LA Hotel Downtown. This hotel was great because it was close to the Museums and great restaurants and bars and it was very clean. It was also near the Staples Center if you wanted to see the Kings or Lakers play.
Grand Central Market – You can take the girl out of New York, but you can’t take the New York out of the girl. It is located in Downtown, LA and it is a food hall similar to the Pennsy, Gansevoort Market or Chelsea Market in New York. I went to visit this market for breakfast, so I stopped by Eggslut to pick up a Bacon, Egg & Cheese and picked up avocado toast by Clark Street Bread.
Little Damage is located in Downtown, LA and they have new flavors each month! Pumpkin Charcoal Ice Cream was the flavor of the month when I went and it was so good.
Bottega Louie – Great Italian restaurant located in DTLA. I definitely recommend getting a pizza here!
The Perch – A rooftop restaurant and bar located on top of Pershing Square! Great food and great night vibe – make a reservation though.
The Edison – Great place to grab drinks. They have shows as well on Friday and Saturday nights; either an acrobat or burlesque show every hour. I once saw Elon Musk here! Really cool speakeasy vibe.
The Broad Museum – This is a great contemporary museum. Similar to the Whitney in NYC. Look out for my other post on the Broad!
Hollywood – This area is definitely worth checking out if you are a movie buff. I would also love to do a hike to the Hollywood sign. Perhaps I will do that on my next trip. There are three main attractions to see in this part of town:
Universal Studios – There is the park that you can get tickets to that has rides and other attractions. If you are a huge Harry Potter fan like myself, I would definitely recommend seeing the Hogwarts section. You can also take a tour of the studio and see many of the sets from Desperate Housewives, Psycho, JAWS, etc. The park ticket gives you access to this tour!
Warner Brothers Studio Tour – This was an interactive tour where you could get out of the tram and walk around the sets which was pretty cool. You see the set of Gilmore Girls, Casablanca, LaLa Land, The Ellen Degeneres Show, and many more! I would recommend this one over Universal Studios.
Griffith Observatory – I didn’t actually go inside the Griffith Observatory due to time constraints, but the views were amazing from the top. You can see the Hollywood Hills in its full glory.
Hollywood Walk of Fame/Dolby Theater – This area of town reminds me of Times Square – It is veryyyy touristy, but definitely worth checking out for first timers. The Dolby Theater is where they have the Oscars which was cool to see.
La Brea – This is where the LACMA Museum is and where The Grove is. The LACMA stands for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and this is also home to the famous light sculpture from “No Strings Attached.” The Grove is within walking distance and has great shopping like Nordstrom, Zara, and Nike. There is a farmer’s market attached to it as well that has different food stands. There are Tar Pits nearby which was very interesting – you can see them digging away.
Beverly Hills – As Weezer once said, “Living in Beverly Hills, that’s where I want to be.” This lyric could also not be more accurate. Rodeo Drive is definitely worth checking out because they have all of the luxury shops like Gucci, Van Cleef, Balenciaga, and Celine.
208 Rodeo – This restaurant is located right on Rodeo Drive, so it is convenient to do some shopping before or after grabbing breakfast, lunch or dinner. Great American food.
The Ivy – Cutest floral themed restaurant and it is very well known. Celebrities often are seen here!
Santa Monica & Venice Beach – Located on the Strand (22 mile bike path on the coast) these beach towns are always crowded in the summer. I love The Bungalow in Santa Monica – A great day drinking spot and celebrities are often seen here. There is a good acai bowl place called Backyard Bowls in Santa Monica as well. I would also check out Santa Monica Pier – it is touristy, but worth it and they have a cute aquarium! You can then walk down to Venice Beach and checkout the skate park. These are professionals that play around here and it is really fun to watch.
Manhattan Beach/Hermosa Beach – if you are walking or biking the Strand, I would definitely recommend checking out Manhattan Beach. They often have volleyball tournaments set up on the beach, and they have great shops. I would also recommend checking out The Strand House. If you are in the mood for an Acai bowl, I would check out Paradise Bowls or SunLife Organics. Hermosa Beach is within walking distance from Manhattan Beach and this is where the Lighthouse Cafe is from the movie LaLa Land. They also have a Paradise Bowl location here.
Newport Beach Area – About an hour and a half south of LA, but definitely worth checking out. If you are down in this area for the day, I would definitely recommend checking out Balboa Island and trying the Hippo Cookies. This is a cool island to walk around and explore!
Bear Flag – Amazing fresh seafood. I went to the one that was located in Newport Beach and I got the fish taco! A local favorite.
Zinc Cafe – Located in Laguna Beach, but they also have another location in LA. This is a great breakfast spot with healthy options.
Hope this helps when planning your trip to LA!