It’s been awhile since I was in California on vacation — but better late than never!
LA was great – it has so much to offer for an area – beaches, hollywood, restaurants, and all of the sunshine. While I loved the beach towns of Malibu, Santa Monica, and Venice (didn’t have time to pop down to Redondo, that’s for the next visit), the LA traffic is as terrible as everyone says it is. I hate to admit it but I think I’ve gotten pretty comfortable to my Minneapolis traffic – aka none.
My trip was split into two different trips. I spent a long weekend with my friend Angie exploring the beaches and hitting some of the tourist spots, and ate my way through some really special neighborhoods with my friend Jen during the week. This post will focus on Part 1 of my LA trip.
A few (okay, several) lessons learned:
- Traffic exists at all times. Sunday nights, midday, it doesn’t matter — there will be traffic.
- So many restaurants, so little time. Take advantage of eating out for every meal. There are plenty of cheap options, but the possibility of trying every cuisine you can think of here is a reality.
- Have cash on hand. One word, parking.
- You can only do so much in one trip. There is so much to do in such a condensed area, so don’t feel bad if you don’t cross everything off your list. It’s not possible!
- Sunscreen should be applied everyday.
- Rent a small car. Between traffic and parking having an economy sized car is seriously handy.
- Expect HOLY SHIT kind of lines for your rental car. We waited at least an hour to get our car. It tested the shit out of me.
- Remember LA is a tourist attraction. I didn’t realize this and was shocked by how many tourists there were throughout the week. Try to not get frustrated by all of the selfies, at some point you’re that person, too.
. . .
Friday: Walked Abbott Kinney (the coolest street in LA) during the very start of the First Fridays — food trucks, shopping etc. It was a bit of a let down from what we saw. Where everyone was supposed to fit, I have no idea. There were plentiful food trucks but very little space to actually eat. So, we kept walking and went to Venice Beach where hanger guided us to the Sidewalk Cafe. After tacos we walked the boardwalk, took some pics and hit a couple of bars, most notably, the Townhouse. Great cocktails!
Saturday: Drove up to Malibu, stopped at the Fishing Pier, gawked at the beaches, planned the details of how we would move out here, and ate lunch at Paradise Cove Beach Cafe, where we continued to discuss the pros and cons of leaving MN. That night we ate at SUR and bar-hopped through West Hollywood. Ended up at PUMP and after a couple of cocktails, found ourselves belting Kelly Clarkson at Flaming Saddles. Girls Trip for the win!!!
Sunday: Pizza for breakfsat at the surprisingly good Upper Crust Pizzeria. We then walked through Rodeo Drive which was entertaining, but a long morning. So, we treated ourselves to drinks at Villa Blanca. Somehow we unintentionally tried all of Lisa Vanderpump’s restaurants? That night we ended our trip at the Santa Monica pier – a bit busier than I expected, but extremely picturesque.