Although I’ve visited the US a fair amount in recent years, the last time I was on the west coast was in 1993, when I was about one and a half. So it’s safe to say when we landed in Los Angeles late on Good Friday it all felt very new to me!
We based ourselves in West Hollywood, with our Airbnb host Oscar and it was the perfect spot for walking and ubering our way around the city.
I can’t even begin to say how excited this foodie was to arrive in the land where there’s always a Whole Foods a short ride away, almond milk and iced coffees galore, and all the brunch options with the crispiest of bacon. HEAVEN. So it was only natural for us to start out our stay in LA by hitting up a vegetarian café – Black Bicycle Café – to fuel ourselves for our first day. Gotta love those clichés.
Perfect fuel for our walk over to The Original Farmers Market. Complete with a retro gas station and a colourful candy store. Our American dream was complete!
I jest. But seriously, we did find some dreamy green juice there too and it seemed to be a great spot to pick up some weekend treats.
From scenic to…smelly? Our next stop was La Brea Tar Pits which I had no idea existed until M suggested we visit. For those of you as in the dark as me, the tar pits are quite literally a series of tar pools located in the middle of Los Angeles. They have been there for thousands of years and house countless fossils dating right back to the dinosaur era.
The museum even contains a magical garden, providing a welcome break from the rather ponky exterior!
From La Brea we headed downtown to Little Tokyo to explore the fractious history of America and Japan in the dedicated museum downtown. Before being greeted by lanterns fluttering in the Los Angeles sunshine…
Because I’m a typical tourist, I was rather overexcited to see the Hollywood sign (yes, I’m ashamed to say there was a squeal) and the trek up to Griffith Observatory in the stifling Californian heat was well worth the view. HA. We took a taxi… But it was still 110% worth it!
I mean, c’mon. We were on a schedule people! Next time we’ll walk…
The observatory itself also made for a wonderous sight, even though we didn’t go inside to explore it’s still a stunning viewpoint.
Sunday morning saw us don our walking shoes and depart our Airbnb for the hour long stroll to Beverly Hills and (more importantly) brunch.
Now, something I find quite strange about LA is the distinct lack of other pedestrians on the sidewalks, the majority of people we passed on our walk were either homeless or out jogging. It seems the car is still the number one transport choice, and with the city being essentially compiled of numerous smaller cities it does rather make sense. But, being so used to the London crowds, I still find it odd. Besides, there’s nothing quite like a good old walk to start the day, especially when you find a tree lined avenue such as this one.
When we arrived in Beverly Hills we headed for Rodeo Drive’s more affordable neighbour, Beverly Drive, and stumbled upon the most perfect of brunch spots – The Farm of Beverly Hills. I mean, they even had kombucha on the beverage menu. God I love this city!
After a good stint of window shopping the ocean was calling us, so we caught an uber down to Venice and the famous Muscle Beach.
Cue sand squidging beneath your toes, waves crashing in the distance, lifeguard huts dotting the horizon and a whole load of folks lifting heavy weights. Just your standard Sunday.
From there we strolled towards, slightly tamer, Santa Monica, catching rays as we went. The seafront was packed with cyclists and walkers galore, as it seemed like the whole of LA was out to catch some Sunday sunshine. Before we knew it, Santa Monica was upon us and we were at the case of the famous pier.
Our final day in Los Angeles was spent at Universal Studios where I was too busy playing on the rides to take many pictures. I admit, I was sceptical before we went, expecting kids’ rides and more of a child theme park feel but I am happy to say I was totally wrong.
Universal Studios was AMAZING. From the studio tour and a, literal, trip down Wysteria Lane to a small scale Hogwarts and the best ride I’ve ever been on (yes I totally did chase the snitch across the quidditch pitch) it was truly spectacular day and a very appropriate end to our time in La La Land.
Next up? Hollywood’s escape – Palm Springs.