I have just spent a couple of weeks in California visiting my sister who lives in San Deigo. The last time we were there a couple of years ago my husband Dave and I nipped up to LA for a couple of days and we just fell in love! We have been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit in the States and while the East Coast would probably be our first choice, LA is just so underrated as an amazing destination for culture and food. This time we had six days and we packed A LOT in and here are a few of things we got up to.
I am going to do a separate post on food next week as it deserves it's own moment and is always one of the most important parts of any trip we take!
WHERE WE STAYED
Both times we have been to LA we have stayed at the Line Hotel in Koreatown. Yes it's a total hipster haven but who cares! The rooms are small but incredible, concrete walls, amazing art and you can lie in bed and remote control the curtains to open to that view - bliss!
TIP: Definitely pay a bit extra to get a Hollywood Hills view it's worth every penny plus a bit more quiet on that side of the building. If you have a car they have valet parking which is expensive but super handy and you can come and go as much as you want.
The Getty - this is part gallery part museum and honestly you could just go to look at the buildings, the architecture is insane. The photography centre was so inspiring and definitely our favourite part. Grab some lunch from one of the cafes and eat it out on the lawn as the gardens are beautiful.
The Broad - I have been to a lot of art galleries around the world and I think this has to be almost at the top. We hadn't really looked at what they had at the Broad and room after room is just full of iconic art you have seen in books your whole life, almost overwhelming. Again, the building itself is so stunning. This is a must do.
TIP: We didn't realise you actually have to book tickets to go even though it is free admission. There is a stand by queue to wait in if you haven't booked which is what we did but would definitely recommend booking ahead so you can walk right in. There is a Yayoi Kusama room here and you can reserve a spot in the line in the foyet on an ipad.
LACMA – Los Angeles County Museum of Art
We had seen a lot of posters around the streets advertising a David Hockney exhibition here so we went to check it out and it was amazing.
TIP: Every second Tues of the month is free admission. Across the road from the main entrance with all the lamps is a row of food trucks where we grabbed some lunch - seriously the taco trucks in LA are something to behold. Right by the food trucks are some sections of the Berlin Wall, I think it is one of the biggest sections of the wall you can see anywhere.
SANTA MONICE AND VENICE
Yes these are touristy spots but also must do's in my opinion. Venice Beach is pretty trashy but if you walk behind it you can walk through the Venice Canals which is really quiet and beautiful. If you are in Venice you HAVE to visit Abbot Kinney Blvd it is the coolest street we came across - incredible boutiques and cafes. It's the only place I would go back to shop.
Santa Monica has a pedestrian strip mall with all the big stores and the Pier is a must, amazing buskers, arcade games and rides.
Downtown is a great place to do some walking and walking is what we did! I had researched a walking route to do which was the perfect way to get all the sights in.
Start at the Central Library which apparently is just beautiful on the inside but it wasn't open when we went unfortunately. Next walk to City Hall where you can take a lift to the observation deck for a spectacular view. The Broad gallery was next on the route and right next to that is the Walt Disney Concert Hall - seeing this building never gets old. After that walk to the Bradbury Building which is a real architectural landmark, built in 1893. It is an office building but the public can walk into the lobby and it is pretty special. Across the road is Central Market which is pretty much the most epic high energy food court you've ever seen - worth a look and a great place to stop for lunch. From there you can walk to the Angel Flight Railway which is the cutest little train you can ride for $1. The last stop is the Last Bookstore which if you like books is your mecca, biggest bookshop I've ever seen and very instagram worthy!
I mean, the most touristy spot you can think of but if you haven't been it's fun to go and walk Hollywood Boulevard. Be your best cliche self and go to the Chinese Theatre where all the stars hand and footprints are. The best part of Hollywood for us was a roof top bar I had researched called Mama Shelter. It's a hotel too but you can go up to the rooftop bar to eat and drink and it is a quiet and colourful oasis - can't recommend enough!
On our last day we went to Sqirl for breakfast which I will go into more in the food post but only a 10 min drive away was Echo Park which is a really nice spot to just take a book and hang out on the grass. We went full tourist styles and hired a swan paddle boat which we had zero regrets about.
A lot of our favourite spots were definitely the bars and restaurants we checked out so stay tuned for my post about that next week. A dessert that literally bought tears to my eyes is worth a read!