Arriving in Los Angeles after roadtripping down from San Francisco meant this was officially the last leg of our trip. We had 5 days to explore the City of Angels and I loved every minute. LA gets a bad wrap from Australians who have compared it to an oversized version of Parramatta Road here in Sydney. Sure, there are run down parts of Hollywood that look like this, but there are SO many amazing parts of LA too! My only advice is to forget all the tourist traps and explore more as a local. Details on what we got up to below.
WHERE WE STAYED
We used Airbnb and stayed in this amazing little house right on the border of Venice and Santa Monica. I just loved the street that we stayed on so much, I didn’t want to leave! The whole process of using Airbnb was incredible — so efficient, so affordable and our host was just the nicest person ever to deal with. I don’t think I could ever bring myself to stay in a hotel again, the whole experience was just that good.
WHAT WE DID
- Venice Beach boardwalk / Santa Monica Pier
This was pretty close to where we were staying so we used the beach cruisers from our airbnb and did a few morning rides along the boardwalk. Sidenote – do not stop on the boardwalk to snap photos, LA cyclists have serious road rage! (boardwalk rage?)
- Conan O’Brien show
We randomly signed up for tickets on the website and got an email on the same day saying we were successful! So we drove up to Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank to be in the live studio audience. The guests on the show were Jessica Paré (Mad Men), Martin Short and Kelis. As a big TV show geek, it was totally exciting seeing the “behind the scenes” of a typical Hollywood set.
- Griffith Observatory
The view from up there makes you realise how truly massive and sprawling LA really is, with clear views of the Pacific Ocean, the Hollywood Sign and Downtown LA.
- Abbot Kinney in Venice
Probably one of my favourite streets in LA, it has a diverse choice of eclectic boutiques, shops and restaurants — not a single chain outlet. Totally laid back and beachy. Because our Airbnb was close by, we felt like locals taking a stroll down there each day. I also bit the bullet and bought my Acne Pistols from Steve Alan on Abbot Kinney.
- Venice Canals
Omg! What a hidden gem. Just something you totally wouldn’t expect to see in Venice. There are little bridges over the water and amazing houses on the banks, each with kayaks or row boats outside. I could totally live there. I’m going to do a full post on this place because it blew me away.
On our final day, we were only flying out at 8pm that night so we drove up to Malibu and spent our last day on Zuma beach. The beaches along the Pacific Coast Highway are so beautiful.
WHERE WE ATE / DRANK
- Whole Foods Market | Venice
Whole Foods is a giant supermarket specialising in organic food and there just so happened to be one a block away from our Airbnb house. This place is the absolute bomb and we picked up snacks here a lot, I was very partial to their raw cheesecake slices. Yummm…
- Intelligentsia | Abbot Kinney
I was resorting to Starbucks (the horror) until I discovered the huge range of coffee shops on Abbot Kinney. Intellgentsia had great coffee and we saw Liam Hemsworth there so he must agree.
- Kreation Kafe & Juicery | Abbot Kinney
Cold pressed juice with an eco-cool vibe, all very ~LA. I had a delish mixed greens, avocado and hummus wrap there.
- Ace Hotel | Downtown Los Angeles
We had the most amazing cocktails on the rooftop of the super hip Ace Hotel and watched a pretty epic sunset go down over LA.
- Urth Caffe | Santa Monica
I had heard a lot about this chain of cafes via the Blogosphere and there was one close to our Airbnb. We went there for breakfast, sat in a lovely outdoor garden terrace and people watched (people watching in LA is pretty incredible)
- Nobu | West Hollywood
We decided to splurge in LA and got our fine dining on. The food here was OUT OF THIS WORLD. One of the best meals of the trip by far. I also love how most restaurants in LA valet park for you — and for reasonably too!
- In-N-Out Burger | Hollywood
Ok I lied, maybe this was the meal of the trip. Haha, kidding — Nobu wins, but In-n-Out was pretty damn good and is an LA institution. We went on our final night and left in a Double Double food coma.