If you’ve been following me longer than a hot minute you’d know that a) I’m currently one half of a very long distance relationship and b) that distance is approximately 11,000km (hint: it’s LA, in case you missed the title..)
What this means is that in the last year and a bit I’ve been 4 times, giving me just a smidgen of info about what you should.. and should not (!) do in the City of Angels!
Read on & wanderlust like hell, babes x
1. SANTA MONICA
Santa Monica & Venice beach are quite possibly two of the most touristy spots in Los Angeles, and once you arrive you’ll see why. You can shop, bike, swim (although no one recommends it) pamper, eat your heart out or people watch all day long. My top attraction is the 9 mile bike trail from Santa Monica Pier to Venice Beach. You can hire a bike for roughly $20 a day and cruise the beach front, lock your bikes up in Venice and wander until you’ve done the whole town. We usually start at Santa Monica pier, have lunch on Abbot Kinney Blvd, check out the Venice canals then bike back in time for the sunset at the pier. You can even jump on the Ferris Wheel for top-notch views.
2. SPORTS GAMES
I can hear EVERYONE cackling right now. I am the first to admit, sport is not my thing. Never has been, never will be. But I LOVE watching it. Watching in America in particular is an experience and a half. The way that country cares about their sports teams is UNREAL. I’m slightly biased and will say that Baseball in LA has been my favourite so far, but depending on your interests pick a game that you want to see. If you’re a total noob like me, then baseball and basketball are simple enough to follow and the stadiums are insane. Buy your tickets from Stubhub or Ticketmaster and save on the ‘imaginary’ tourist tax, and take plenty of $$ for good ol American hot dogs and bottomless sodas. I’ve started my own collection of cheesy sports merch, so I’d recommend grabbing a hat or a t-shirt so you fit right in. NOTE: a lot of stadiums/teams will give out merchandise for free at the beginning of the game or have it available for purchase so don’t stress if you forget!
3. HOLLYWOOD SIGN
Two options here; the lazy option and the not so lazy option. You can either catch an Uber to Griffith Observatory and catch the whole LA skyline aswell as the Hollywood sign behind you, or you can WALK *gag* up the track behind the sign… I caved and did the walk once and I died but it was SO worth it. Both options are absolutely packed with tourists, but the Hollywood Sign is something you just can’t miss. If you walk, take plenty of water and ideally go at sunrise or before sunset so you don’t melt, alternatively make sure you check out the observatory up the hill.
4. MALIBU BEACH
If tourists (aka yourself) annoy the crap out of you, skip Santa Monica and head to Malibu Beach. Not only is it beautiful and you CAN SWIM, but the pier houses the most delicious, wholesome restaurant with breathtaking views. Malibu is off the regular LA grid so it’s a mildly-expensive Uber ride, but I’d recommend making a day trip out of it and staying until after the sun sets. There’s a wee outdoor shopping complex and plenty of things to meander to. Also 10/10 would recommend hiring a stand-up paddle board. We didn’t do it, but you should so I can live vicariously through you.
5. MELROSE AVENUE
AHHH, the home of every Instagram picture I have posted in the last 2 years (almost). Melrose Ave is one of LA’s most popular streets, full of beautiful shops, street art and grammable food. My top photo spots are the Paul Smith Pink Wall (literally just a pink wall but photo op galore) and Carrera Cafe which is directly opposite the Pink Wall and boasts its own wall art (changed frequently) and the most amazing LATTE ART ever! I absolutely LOVE Urth Cafe, who make killer Tostadas, and Taste on Melrose is a growing tradition, a cute little restaurant that doesn’t break the bank but keeps your stomach super happy. On Melrose you’ll also find the likes of DASH, Marc Jacobs, NARS, MAC Pro, Nasty Gal, Revolve, the list goes on. And so does the street- it’s long- wear comfy shoes.
6. LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)
Again, another famous one. It’s about a 6 minute trip unless you actually want to go inside the museum, but the lights display outside is enough to draw you there. There’s also an amazing ‘levitated mass’ on the other side of the building that’s totally worth a visit if you’re with males who like huge rocks.
7. THE GROVE
FINALLY, she has spoken about the shopping!! You definitely need to head to The Grove if you’re trying to avoid visiting every Westfield in the world. The Grove is a beaaaautiful outdoor shopping mall about 3 blocks from LACMA. While it’s not ‘full’ of shops, it’s got a fair bit and some amazing food options. You’ll find ZARA, TopShop, Apple, Brandy Melville, Nordstrom and more. Once you’re tired, head up to Mixology for a cocktail (if you’re old enough lol) and some amazing burgers. Fun Fact: The Grove gets more foot traffic over the holiday season than DISNEYLAND- which brings me to my next point.
Doesn’t even really need its own point, but if you’re a child at heart you’re going to want to visit the Happiest Place in the World. I’ve only done it once, and I didn’t get on a single ride but I ate every character themed food offering, took a photo with anything that moved and sat happily on the Main Street to watch the fireworks over the castle. It’s a huge experience and something that makes you appreciate the little things like children screaming because the are too impatient to wait their turn. I’m joking, kind of.
9. FASHION ISLAND
Now, if you’ve come to LA to shop, or you’ve got a credit card and you don’t have a luggage allowance, let me introduce you to Fashion Island. Another one a wee while away, I’d recommend a day trip (which you will need because it’s HUGE). Boasting every shop under the sun and about 78 water features, Fashion Island is something I’m never going back to if I’m concerned about my spending.
10. HOLLYWOOD & HIGHLAND
It almost pains me to finish with this one, but I definitely need to include it. Hollywood Boulevard is a MISSION. I won’t lie to you, it’s flippin crazy and by the end of it you’ll likely want to sue the human race. But the amount of things you can do is ENDLESS! Madame Tussaud’s, The Walk of Fame, Ghiradellis, Live Shows, heaps of shopping and photo opportunities around every corner (it’s a straight piece of road, I’ve run out of sayings).
So I’m full of post holiday sadness now, I hope you’re planning and ready to jet off.
If you’re heading to LAX please don’t hesitate to share your travel plans/highlights with me, I’d love to share in your adventure!