The City of Angels really does live up to its nickname. I spent four days in LA after my Trek America trip last year and it was an amazing 96 hours of culture, scenery, shopping, relaxing and sunshine. It’s one of my favourite American cities and it has an incredible amount to offer. The good ol’ glitz and glamour of the mid-century Hollywood glamour hasn’t really left; it’s still a city of actresses, models, musicians and artists, who bring an electric energy to the city and give it that unique vibe that nowhere else can even begin to replicate.
The light is beautiful and the city has so many different things to offer it’s incredible that it all exists in the same place. I love this city so much I am planning on moving here one day – and that’s only after 96 hours there. Here is a sneak peak into what I did, and what I recommend you should do/visit/stay/eat when you’re visiting this incredible city.
Things To Do
Hike at Griffith Park – To get the best view of the whole of LA, you have to get up to the Griffith Observatory and Griffith Park. For anyone that’s interested in astronomy, the Observatory itself is a free (!!) experience that will open your eyes to the galaxy, energy and the planets. After you’ve spent two hours (this is genuinely how long I spent in there), it’s worth have a walk around the park itself. You don’t have to do a proper hike like the uber-healthy LA residents, but it’s worth getting out there in the sunshine and having a walk. You can even go up and see the Hollywood sign up close.
Visit Venice Beach & Santa Monica – This area is probably my favourite area in LA. It’s beautiful, chill and full of incredible areas that are world’s away from anything I’d seen before. The Santa Monica area is a cultural hub, where you can pass the time watching the mega men and women work up a sweat on Muscle Beach and act out your own version of Baywatch on the white sands of Venice Beach. The Santa Monica pier is a historical marker, with the sign signalling the end of Route 66 forming one of the main features of the pier. The shopping experience is excellent too, with Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade featuring a range of SoCal-ready shops and cafes including Levi’s, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Guess, Rip Curl and more.
Hollywood – If you’ve never been to LA before, you’ve got to make a quick trip to Hollywood. The Walk Of Fame winds it’s way up Hollywoods Blvd, stretching down to Hollywood & Vine and up to the Chinese Theatre, where the handprints of stars such as Marilyn Monroe make up the sidewalk. There’s so many classic LA activities to do in this area: the tour of the stars’ houses, a tour of the Chinese Theatres and celebrity spotting. It is incredibly busy round here with tourists, but it’s got a vibe that you can’t find anywhere else.
Beverly Hills & Rodeo Drive – If you want to experience that true Los Angeles wealth and mingle with those that think Chanel is a small buy, a trip to Beverly Hills won’t go amiss. My friends and I took the tour bus (one of those open top buses) down from Hollywood to Beverly Hills and we went window shopping around Dior, Louis Vuitton (my friend was so sucked into the glamorous lifestyle that she almost bought an LV bag…), Saint Laurent and all the other stores that we can only dream of shopping in. The silver fire hydrants are gorgeous (that’s a sentence I never thought I would right), the
Melrose Avenue – For a more unique and vintage-led shopping experience, you should go down to Melrose. Not only great because of it’s mention in Guns ‘N Roses “Pretty Tied Up”, Melrose has an incredible atmosphere and is full of one-off vintage shops, unique stores and boundary pushing retail concepts. From The Great Frog LA’s store where you can get the best rock ‘n’ roll jewellery in the world to classic vintage stores like Wasteland, Kulture Rose and LA Rose Vintage, Melrose covers everyone’s style and tastes
Live Music – LA’s impact on music is legendary. So many rock ‘n’ roll icons come from this city, such as Guns ‘n Roses, The Doors, Motley Crue, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Hole. The music scene is electric here, with West Hollywood’s legendary haunts making for an incredible night out. My favourites were Rainbow Bar & Grill, The Cathouse, The Troubadour, The Roxy, Whisky A-Go-Go and The El Rey. For a night out or a gig, West Hollywood’s rock spots are always a 10/10.
Where To Eat
For vegan food, LA is one of the best destinations in the world. In the city of health and wellness, there is a vegan or raw food cafe on every corner and acai bowl and smoothie options to last a lifetime. From Cafe Gratitude – who start off by asking you what you are grateful for today – to Urth Caffe, there are many cafes and restaurants that are internationally renowned for their vegan cuisine. Flore Vegan, Shojin, Cruzer Pizza & Pasta, SunCafe and Native Foods are all incredible too.
Where To Stay
In Los Angeles, AirBnb is your best bet for somewhere to sleep. You can get some amazing deals throughout the city, and they are often a lot cheaper than hotels. For places near the beach, go for Venice Beach & Santa Monica; for city living, go for Downtown LA; for glitz and glam, go for West Hollywood.
For those wanting to stay in hostels, I stayed in the Walk Of Fame Hostel in Hollywood last year; it was nice and clean and in a good location for exploring Hollywood, but it was so far away from every other thing I was wanting to do. It’s important to think about what you’ll want to do in LA before you book anywhere to stay. It’s a huge, huge city and doesn’t have a great public transport system and it takes a long time to get anywhere if you don’t rent a car. Bear in mind what you’ll want to spend most of your time doing while you’re there and choose your hostel/hotel/AirBnb wisely.