I recently spent a few days in Los Angeles with my fabulous sister. We landed without a plan, but ended up having the best time! Thanks to a super cool Uber driver on our first night we were able to throw together a game plan (and learned about WeedMaps). Here’s how to maximize your time in LA if you only have a few days to spend in the fun and funky city.
Day 1 - Venice Beach & Santa Monica
We started our morning off with a Starbucks and Uber ride to Venice Beach, where we spent the first thirty minutes or so at the Venice Canal Historic District. Tucked behind Pacific Avenue, you’ll find a grid system of small canals reminiscent of those in Venice, Italy (but with that iconic California flair.) We headed to check out the Venice Fishing Pier before visiting the Venice Whaler Bar & Grill for lunch. Try the sweet potato fries if you visit! We took in the scene after lunch and did the 2.5 mile walk from Venice to Santa Monica, where we popped in and out of stores, watched the street performers and checked out the skate park.
Before hitting Santa Monica we stopped to relax on the beach, taking in the afternoon sun and view of Santa Monica Pier. You’ll also find the original Muscle Beach nearby! At the pier you’ll find the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, the historic carousel, rides at Pacific Park an arcade and so much more. The pier is also a great place to catch the sunset over the beach! Don’t miss Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Place for shopping. We didn’t get to eat dinner in the area, but you can use this guide to Santa Monica restaurants if you plan on spending more than one day here! If you want a quick bite or cup of coffee, though, you NEED to check out Perry’s — It’s a darling cafe where you can chill in a beach chair and take in the view from the sand.
Day 2 - Hollywood, West Hollywood & Rodeo
This sounds like a lot of ground to cover, but if you spend the majority of your day in Hollywood & West Hollywood then head for dinner off Rodeo Drive, it can be one of the most exciting and fun-packed days of your visit.
Start with brunch at The Highlight Room in Hollywood. Be sure to make a reservation, and note their dress code (the view of the Hollywood sign and surrounding area make both of those things worth it!) After brunch, visit The Record Parlour and peruse their selection of classic vinyls, vintage Playboy magazines and all of the other funky stuff sitting around the shop. You’ll be two blocks away from the Hollywood Walk of Fame where you can find your favorite entertainer’s star, or visit the TCL Chinese Theater where huge stars have imprinted their hands and feet (you can put your hand in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s handprint!) Snap a few photos of the Capitol Records Building and enjoy a slice of pie from famous bakery The Pie Hole before heading to West Hollywood.
Known as WeHo, this area has plenty to explore. Visit one of their rooftop bars, take a walk around Book Soup, catch a show or spend some money at Glossier! We didn’t spend much time here, but it’s a great place to enjoy lunch or a drink on your way to Beverly Hills.
Beverly Hills… Home of Rodeo Drive! You can’t miss LA foodie staples Alfred Coffee (which is the original coffee shop that coined the term “But first, coffee”) and Sprinkles. Grab a cupcake and world-famous iced vanilla latte before heading to Beverly Gardens Park for a relaxing little break at the main pond. From there, walk to Rodeo Drive for some luxury shopping — the inside of Prada and Gucci are truly fantastic! If you have the chance, stop by Fashionphile for a wide selection of consignment designer bags. When it comes to food, make a reservation and treat yourself at Mr. Chow or 208 Rodeo. If you’re on a budget, Nate & Al’s Delicatessen offers plenty of tasty authentic deli-style food (and I hear Kim Kardashian has eaten there.) Before you leave, don’t forget to snap a few photos by the Via Rodeo staircase and Tiffany & Co. fountain.
Optional: Check out Urban Light at LACMA for the ultimate LA Photo op!
Day 3 - Griffith Park & Downtown
Indulge your sense of adventure by going out to Griffith Park for a sunrise hike to the Hollywood sign. There are a few routes you can take — If you plan on visiting the Griffith Observatory as well, that trail is one of the easier options and starts/ends right at the observatory. Definitely wear cute tennis shoes for this day… You can’t go wrong with white! Inside the observatory you’ll find a planetarium show you can grab tickets for, but if you want to save some money take the walk around the entire building for countless city views.
Downtown LA is a short(ish) drive from the park. The city is pretty grungy, but there are still a few things you’ll want to check out. First on our list was The Last Bookstore, a TOTALLY rad two-story place with shelves on shelves of books, a book “labyrinth”, multiple photo opps, a book tunnel, rare book section and even some small art gallery-type shops. Worth the Uber all in itself! From there, walk two blocks to the Spring Arcade Building, where you’ll find a cute arch with Christmas lights and a strip of restaurants. It made me think of Chelsea in NYC — and makes for a great spot to grab a macaroon or baked good for your sweet tooth. For dinner, eat at Clifton’s down the street. The interior, cocktails and menu are nothing short of fabulous.
All in all, LA was a treat! Not only was it fun, but the weather was a delight and my sister and I had such a great trip. If you liked seeing my pictures, be sure to check out my blog post on what I wore during my trip to LA!